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Title: Spanish Highways and Byways
Author: Bates, Katharine Lee, 1859-1929
Language: English
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SPANISH HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS

  [Illustration: SAN SEBASTIAN]



     SPANISH HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS

     BY
     KATHARINE LEE BATES

     _Author of "American Literature" "The English Religious Drama," etc._

     ILLUSTRATED WITH MANY ENGRAVINGS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS

     _Published by_ THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
     _New York MCM_

     LONDON: MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED



     COPYRIGHT, 1900,
     BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

     _Norwood Press_
     _J. S. Cushing & Co.--Berwick & Smith_
     _Norwood, Mass., U.S.A._



     Madre Mia

     AQUI TIENES TU LIBRO



Preface


A tourist in Spain can hope to understand but little of that strange,
deep-rooted, and complex life shut away beyond the Pyrenees. This book
claims to be nothing more than a record of impressions. As such,
whatever may be its errors, it should at least bear witness to the
picturesque, poetic charm of the Peninsula and to the graciousness of
Spanish manners.



Contents


  Chapter                                                   Page

       I. "The Lazy Spaniard"                                  1
      II. A Continuous Carnival                               11
     III. Within the Alhambra                                 27
      IV. A Function in Granada                               39
       V. In Sight of the Giralda                             48
      VI. Passion Week in Seville                             58
     VII. Traces of the Inquisition                           82
    VIII. An Andalusian Type                                 102
      IX. A Bull-fight                                       113
       X. Gypsies                                            132
      XI. The Route of the Silver Fleets                     147
     XII. Murillo's Cherubs                                  162
    XIII. The Yolk of the Spanish Egg                        183
     XIV. A Study in Contrasts                               203
      XV. The Patron Saint of Madrid                         214
     XVI. The Funeral of Castelar                            233
    XVII. The Immemorial Fashion                             246
   XVIII. Corpus Christi in Toledo                           263
     XIX. The Tercentenary of Velázquez                      283
      XX. Choral Games of Spanish Children                   297
     XXI. "O la Señorita!"                                   338
    XXII. Across the Basque Provinces                        362
   XXIII. In Old Castile                                     376
    XXIV. Pilgrims of Saint James                            394
     XXV. The Building of a Shrine                           409
    XXVI. The Son of Thunder                                 423
   XXVII. Vigo and Away                                      439



List of Illustrations


     San Sebastian                                _Frontispiece_
                                                     Facing Page
     Pasajes                                                   8
     An Arab Gateway in Burgos                                23
     Playing at Bull-fight. From painting by Bayeu            30
     The Mosque of Cordova                                    39
     The Columbus Monument in Granada                         46
     The Alhambra. Hall of Justice                            55
     Filling the Water-jars                                   62
     Off for the War. From painting by Rubio                  71
     Looking toward the Darro                                 78
     A Milkman of Granada                                    101
     A Roman Well in Ronda                                   112
     The Giralda                                             131
     The Passing of the Pageants                             146
     The Pageant of Gethsemane                               167
     "Jesus of the Passion"                                  174
     "Christ of the Seven Words"                             195
     Maria Santisima                                         210
     A Spanish Monk. From painting by Zurbarán               215
     A Seville Street                                        222
     An Old-fashioned Bull-fight. From painting by Goya      243
     The Bull-fight of To-day                                258
     The King of the Gypsies                                 275
     Gypsy Tenants of an Arab Palace                         290
     From the Golden Tower down the Guadalquivír             311
     Cadiz, from the Sea                                     318
     The Divine Shepherd. From painting by Murillo           339
     The Royal Palace in Madrid                              354
     The Royal Family                                        359
     The Manzanares                                          366
     A Spanish Cemetery                                      375
     Toledo                                                  382
     Toledo Cathedral. Puerta de los Leones                  391
     St. Paul, the first Hermit. From painting by Ribera     398
     The Maids of Honor. From painting by Velázquez          407
     Dancing the Sevillana                                   414
     Within the Cloister                                     423
     The Trampler of the Moors                               430
     Santiago Cathedral. Puerta de la Gloria                 439
     St. James. From painting by Murillo                     446



SPANISH HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS



Spanish Highways and Byways



I

"THE LAZY SPANIARD"

     "There is a difference between Peter and Peter."--CERVANTES:
     _Don Quixote_.


"Spain is a contradiction," was the parting word of the Rev. William
H. Gulick, the honored American missionary whose unwearied kindness
looked after us, during the break in official representation, more
effectively than a whole diplomatic corps. "Spanish blood is a strange
_mezcla_, whose elements, Gothic, African, Oriental, are at war among
themselves. You will find Spaniards tender and cruel, boastful and
humble, frank and secretive, and all at once. It will be a journey of
surprises."

We were saying good-by, on February 4, 1899, to sunshiny Biarritz,
whither Mrs. Gulick's school for Spanish girls had been spirited over
the border at the outbreak of the war. Here we had found Spanish and
American flags draped together, Spanish and American friendships
holding fast, and a gallant little band of American teachers spending
youth and strength in their patient campaign for conquering the
Peninsula by a purer idea of truth. Rough Riders may be more
pictorial, but hardly more heroic.

We were barely through the custom house, in itself the simplest and
swiftest of operations, before the prophesied train of surprises
began. One of our preconceived ideas went to wreck at the very outset
on the industry of the Basque provinces. "The lazy Spaniard" has
passed into a proverb. The round world knows his portrait--that broad
_sombrero_, romantic cloak, and tilted cigarette. But the laborious
Spaniard can no longer be ignored. Even at Biarritz we had to reckon
with him, for the working population there is scarcely less Spanish
than French. Everybody understands both languages as spoken, and it is
a common thing to overhear animated dialogue where the talk is all
Spanish on the one side and all French on the other. The war set
streams of Spanish laborers flowing over the mountain bar into French
territory. Young men fled from conscription, and fathers of families
came under pressure of hard times. Skilled artisans, as masons and
carpenters, could make in Biarritz a daily wage of five francs, the
normal equivalent of five _pesetas_, or a dollar, while only the half
of this was to be earned on their native side of the Pyrenees. Such,
too, was the magic of exchange that these five francs, sent home,
might transform themselves into ten, eight, or seven and a half
_pesetas_. Even when we entered Spain, after the Paris Commission had
risen, the rate of exchange was anything but stable, varying not
merely from day to day, but from hour to hour, a difference of two or
three per cent often occurring between morning and evening. The
conditions that bore so heavily on the crafts were crushing the field
laborers almost to starvation. In point of excessive toil, those
peasants of northern Spain seemed to us worse off than Mr. Markham's
"Man with the Hoe," for the rude mattock, centuries out of date, with
which they break up the ground, involves the utmost bodily exertion.
And by all that sweat of the brow, they were gaining, on an average,
ten or twelve cents a day.

No wonder that discontent clouded the land. We met this first at
Pasajes, on one of the excursions arranged for our pleasure by the
overflow goodness of that missionary garrison. The busiest of teachers
had brought us--a young compatriot from a Paris studio and myself--so
far as San Sebastian, where she lingered long enough to make us
acquainted with a circle of friends, and, incidentally, with Pasajes.
This Basque fishing hamlet is perched between hill and sea, with a
single rough-paved street running the length of the village from the
Church of St. Peter to the Church of St. John. Nature has not been
chary of beauty here. The mountain-folded Bay of Pasajes appears at
first view like an Alpine lake, but the presence of stately Dutch and
Spanish merchantmen in these sapphire waters makes it evident that
there must be an outlet to the ocean. Such a rift, in fact, was
disclosed as the strong-armed old ferry woman rowed us across, a deep
but narrow passage (hence the name) between sheer walls of rock, whose
clefts and crannies thrill the most respectable tourist with longings
to turn smuggler. The village clings with difficulty to its stony
strip between steep and wave. On one side of that single street, the
peering stone houses, some still showing faded coats of arms, are half
embedded in the mountain, and on the other the tide beats perilously
against the old foundation piles.

Above the uneven roofs, on the precipitous hillside, sleep the dead,
watched over by Santa Ana from her neglected hermitage. Only once a
year, on her own feast day, is her gorgeous altar cloth brought forth
and her tall candles lighted, while the rats, who have been nibbling
her gilded shoes and comparing the taste of the blues and crimsons in
her painted robes, skurry into their holes at the unaccustomed sound
of crowding feet. Pasajes boasts, too, a touch of historical dignity.
From here Lafayette, gallant young Frenchman that he was, sailed for
America, and probably then, as now, little Basque girls ran at the
stranger's side with small hands full of wild flowers, and roguish
Basque boys hid behind boulders and tried to frighten him by playing
brigand, with a prodigious waving of thorn-branch guns and booming of
vocal artillery.

But not the joy of beauty nor the pride of ancient memory takes the
place of bread. We approached a factory and asked of the workman at
the entrance, "What do you manufacture here?" "What they manufacture
in all Spain, nowadays," he answered, "misery." This particular
misery, however, had the form of tableware, the long rows of simple
cups and plates and pitchers, in various stages of completion, being
diversified by jaunty little images of the Basque ball players, whose
game is famous throughout the Peninsula. We finally succeeded in
purchasing one of these for fifteen cents, although the village was
hard put to it to make change for a dollar, and was obliged, with
grave apologies, to load us down with forty or so big Spanish coppers.

"The lazy Spaniard!" Look at the very children as they romp about San
Sebastian. This is the most aristocratic summer resort in Spain, the
Queen Regent having a châlet on that artistic bay called the _Concha_
or Shell. It is a crescent of shimmering color, so dainty and so
perfect, with guardian mountains of jasper and a fringe of diamond
surf, that it is hard to believe it anything but a bit of magical
jewel-work. It might be a city of fairyland, did not the clamor of
childish voices continually break all dreamy spells. What energy and
tireless activity! Up and down the streets, the cleanest streets in
Spain, twinkle hundreds of little _alpargatas_, brightly embroidered
canvas shoes with soles of plaited hemp. Spanish families are large,
although from the ignorance of the mothers and the unsanitary
condition of the homes, the mortality among the children is extreme.
Here is a household, for example, where out of seventeen black-eyed
babies but three have fought their way to maturity. Spanish parents
are notably affectionate, but, in the poorer classes, at least,
impatient in their discipline. It is the morning impulse of the busy
mother, working at disadvantage in her small and crowded rooms, to
clear them of the juvenile uproar by turning her noisy brood out of
doors for the day. Surprisingly neat in their dress but often with
nothing save cabbage in their young stomachs, forth they storm into
the streets. Here the stranger may stand and watch them by the hour as
they bow and circle, toss and tumble, dance and race through an
enchanting variety of games. The most violent seem to please them
best. Now and then a laughing girl stoops to whisk away the beads of
perspiration from a little brother's shining face, but in general they
are too rapt with the excitement of their sports to be aware of
weariness. Such flashing of eyes and streaming of hair and jubilee of
songs!

One of their favorite games, for instance, is this: An especially
active child, by preference a boy, takes the name of _milano_, or
kite, and throws himself down in some convenient doorway, as if
asleep. The others form in Indian file, the _madre_, or mother, at the
head, and the smallest girl, Mariquilla, last in line. The file
proceeds to sing:--

     "We are going to the garden,
      Although its wicked warden,
      Hungry early and late,
      Is crouching before the gate."

Then ensues a musical dialogue between the mother and Mariquilla:--

     _Mother._       Little Mary in the rear!

     _Little Mary._  What's your bidding, mother dear?

     _Mother._       Tell me how the kite may thrive.

     _Little Mary [after cautiously sidling up to the doorway and
     inspecting the prone figure there]._

                     He's half dead and half alive.

Then the file chants again:--

                     "We are going to the garden,
                     Although its wicked warden,
                     Hungry early and late,
                     Is crouching before the gate."

     _Mother._       Little Mary in the rear!

     _Little Mary._  What's your bidding, mother dear?

     _Mother._       Of the kite I bid you speak.

     _Little Mary [after a second reconnoissance, which sends her
     scampering back to her own place]._

                     He whets his claws and whets his beak.

Here the enemy advances, beating a most appalling tattoo:--

     _Kite._         Pum, pum! Tat, tat!

     _Mother._       Who is here and what is that?

     _Kite._         'Tis the kite.

     _Mother._                 What seeks the kite?

     _Kite._         Human flesh! A bite, a bite!

     _Mother._       You must catch before you dine.
                     Children, children, keep the line!

And with this the dauntless parent, abandoning song for action, darts
with outspread arms in front of the robber, who bends all his energies
to reaching and snatching away Little Mary. The entire line, keeping
rank, curves and twists behind the leader, all intent on protecting
that poor midget at the end. And when the wild frolic has resulted in
her capture, and every child is panting with fatigue, they straightway
resume their original positions and play it all over again. In Seville
this game takes on a religious variation, the kite becoming the Devil,
and the _madre_ the angel Michael defending a troop of souls. In Cuba
we have a hawk pitted against a hen with her brood of chickens.

We stepped into a Protestant Kindergarten one day to see how such
stirring atoms of humanity might demean themselves in school. Talk of
little pitchers! Here were some twoscore tiny jugs, bubbling full of
mischief, with one bright, sympathetic girl of twenty-two keeping a
finger on every dancing lid. Impossible, of course! But all her week's
work looked to us impossible. We had known diligent teachers in the
United States; this "lazy Spaniard," however, not only keeps her
Kindergarten well in hand from nine to twelve, but instructs the same
restless mites--so many of them as do not fall into a baby-sleep over
their desks--in reading and counting from two to four, gives a Spanish
lesson from six to seven, and struggles with the pathetic ignorance of
grown men and women in the night school from eight to half-past nine
or ten.

The Spanish pastor and his wife, also teachers in day school, night
school, Sunday school, are no less marvels of industry. The
multiplication table, lustily intoned to the tramp of marching feet,
called us into a class-room where the older girls were gathered for
lessons in reading and writing, arithmetic and geography, sewing and
embroidery. The delicate little lady who presides over this lively
kingdom may be seen on Sunday, seated at the melodeon, leading the
chapel music--an exquisite picture of a Spanish señora, with the lace
mantilla crowning the black hair and gracefully falling to the slender
shoulders. We had heard her give an address on foreign soil, before an
audience of a hundred strangers, speaking with an irresistible fervor
of appeal, and no less charming was she at the head of her own table,
the soul of vivacious and winsome hospitality.

As for the pastor himself, he carries the administrative burdens of
church and school, teaches the larger boys morning and afternoon, and
the men in the evening, preaches once on Thursday and twice on Sunday,
and slips in between these stated tasks all the innumerable incidental
duties of a missionary pastorate. And yet this man of many labors is
not only Spanish, but Philippine. His childhood was passed at Cavite,
the home of his father, a Spanish officer, who had chosen his bride
from a native family. The boy was put to school with the friars at
Manila, where, rather to the disgust of the soldier-father, he formed
the desire to enter the brotherhood. He was not blind--what students
are?--to the blemishes of his teachers. He had often stood by with the
other lads and shouted with laughter to see a group of friars, their
cassocks well girded up, drive a pig into their shallow pond and stab
the plunging creature there, that it might be counted "fish" and serve
them for dinner on Friday. But his faith in the order held firm, and,
when his novitiate was well advanced, he was sent to Madrid for the
final ceremonies. Here, by chance, he dropped into a Protestant
service, and after several years of examination and indecision, chose
the thorny road.

  [Illustration: PASAJES]

All his wearing occupations do not dull that fine sense of courtesy
inherent in a Spanish gentleman. The sun itself had hardly risen when
we departed from San Sebastian, yet we found Don Angel at the station,
muffled in the inevitable Spanish _capa_, to say good-by once more and
assure us that, come what might, we had always "a house and a friend
in Spain." We laid down the local journal, hard reading that it was
with its denunciations of "the inhuman barbarities of the North
Americans toward the Filipinos," and ventured to ask for his own view
of the matter.

"The United States," he answered, speaking modestly and very gently,
"means well and has, in the main, done well. When I say this in the
Casino, men get angry and call me a Yankee filibuster. But in truth
the Philippines are very dear to me and I carry a sad heart. It was
the protocol that did the mischief. It is not easy for simple
islanders to understand that words may say one thing and mean another.
Philippine faith in American promises is broken. And red is a hard
color to wash out. Yet I still hope that, when the days of slaughter
are over, peace and life may finally come to my unhappy birthplace
from your great nation. The Tagalos are not so worthless as Americans
seem to think, though the climate of the Philippines, like that of
Andalusia, tempts to indolence. But strong motives make good workers
everywhere."



II

A CONTINUOUS CARNIVAL

     "This periodical explosion of freedom and folly."--BECQUER: _El
     Carnaval_.


Having re-formed our concept of a Spaniard to admit the elements of
natural vigor and determined diligence, we were surprised again to
find this tragic nation, whose fresh grief and shame had almost
deterred us from the indelicacy of intrusion, entering with eager zest
into the wild fun of Carnival. Sorrow was still fresh for the eighty
thousand dead in Cuba, the hapless prisoners in the Philippines, the
wretched _repatriados_ landed, cargo after cargo, at ports where some
were suffered to perish in the streets. Every household had its tale
of loss; yet, notwithstanding all the troubles of the time, Spain must
keep her Carnival. "It is one of the saddest and most disheartening
features of the situation," said a Spaniard to us. "There is no
earnestness here, no realization of the national crisis. The
politicians care for nothing but to enrich themselves, and the people,
as you see, care for nothing but to divert themselves."

Yet we looked from the madcap crowd to the closed shutters, keeping
their secrets of heartbreak, and remembered the words of Zorrilla,
"Where there is one who laughs, there is ever another who weeps in the
great Carnival of our life."

The parks of San Sebastian were gay with maskers and music, tickling
brushes and showers of _confetti_, on our last day there, but the
peculiar feature of the festivity in this Basque city is "the baiting
of the ox." On that Carnival-Sunday afternoon we found ourselves
looking down, from a safe balcony, upon the old _Plaza de la
Constitución_, with its arcaded sides. The genuine bull-fights, which
used to take place here, have now a handsome amphitheatre of their
own, where, when the summer has brought the court to San Sebastian,
the choicest Andalusian bulls crimson the sand of the arena. But the
_Plaza de la Constitución_, mindful of its pristine glory, still
furnishes what cheap suggestions it can of the terrible play. The
square below was crowded with men and boys, and even some hoydenish
girls, many in fantastic masks and gaudy dominos, while the tiers of
balconies were thronged with eager spectators. A strange and savage
peal of music announced that "the bull" was coming. That music was
enough to make the hereditary barbarian beat in any heart, but "the
bull"! At the further corner of the _plaza_, pulled by a long rope and
driven by a yelling rabble, came in, at a clumsy gallop, an astonished
and scandalized old ox. Never did living creature bear a meeker and
less resentful temper.

At first, beaten and pricked by his tormentors, he tore blindly round
and round the _plaza_, the long rope by which he was held dragging
behind him, and sometimes, as he wheeled about, tripping up and
overturning a bunch of the merrymakers. This was a joy to the
balconies, but did not often happen, as the people below showed a
marvellous dexterity in skipping over the rope just in time to escape
its swinging blow. Sometimes the poor, stupid beast entangled his own
legs, and that, too, was a source of noisy glee. But, on the whole,
he was a disappointing and inglorious ox. He caused no serious
accident. Nothing could ruffle his disposition. The scarlet cloaks
waved in his eyes he regarded with courteous interest; he wore only a
look of grieved surprise when he was slapped across the face with red
and yellow banners; tweaks of the tail he endured like a Socrates, but
now and then a cruel prod from a sharp stick would make him lower his
horns and rush, for an instant, upon the nearest offender. The
balconies would shout with the hope of something vicious and violent
at last, but the mobile crowd beneath would close in between the ox
and his assailant, a hundred fresh insults would divert his attention,
and indeed, his own impulses of wrath were of the shortest. To the end
he was hardly an angry ox--only a puzzled, baffled, weary old creature
who could not make out, for the life of him, into what sort of red and
yellow pasture and among what kind of buzzing hornets his unlucky
hoofs had strayed.

Finally he gave the enigma up and stood wrapped in a brown study among
his emboldened enemies, who clung to his horns and tail, tossed
children upon his back, tickled his nostrils with their hat brims, and
showered him with indignities. The balconies joined in hooting him out
of the _plaza_, but he was so pleased to go that I doubt if human
scorn of his beastly gentleness really interfered with his appetite
for supper. He trotted away to that rude clang of music, the babies
who were dancing to it on their nurses' arms not more harmless than
he. And although that worrying half hour may have told upon his
nerves, and his legs may have ached for the unaccustomed exercise, no
blood was to be seen upon him. It was all a rough-and-tumble romp,
nothing worse, but the balconies would have liked it better had it
been flavored with a broken leg or two. A few sprawlings over the rope
really amounted to so little. But the _toro de fuego_ was to come
there Tuesday evening, and when this blazing pasteboard bull, with
fireworks spluttering all over him from horns to tail, is dragged
about among the throng, there is always a fine chance of explosions,
burnings, and even of blindings for life.

But Carnival Tuesday found us no longer in sunny San Sebastian. We
were shivering over a _brasero_ in storied Burgos, a city chill as if
with the very breath of the past. And the Spanish _brasero_, a great
brass pan holding a pudding of ashes, plummed with sparks, under a
wire screen, is the coldest comfort, the most hypocritical heater,
that has yet come my way.

Our Monday had been spent in a marvellous journey through the
Pyrenees, whose rugged sublimities were bathed in the very blue of
Velázquez, a cold, clear, glorious blue expanding all the soul. These
are haunted mountains, with wild legends of lonely castles, where
fierce old chieftains, beaten back by the Franks, shut themselves in
with their treasure and died like wounded lions in their lairs. We
passed fallen towers from whose summits mediæval heralds had trumpeted
the signal for war, ruined convents whence the sound of woman's
chanting was wont to startle the wolves of the forest, mysterious
lakes deep in whose waters are said to shine golden crowns set with
nine precious pearls--those ducal coronets that Rome bestowed upon her
vassals--craggy paths once trod by pilgrims, hermits, jugglers,
minstrels, and knights-errant, and shadowy pine groves where, when
the wind is high, the shepherds still hear the weeping ghost of the
cruel princess, whose beauty and disdain slew dozens of men a day
until her love was won and scorned, so that she died of longing.

We had reached Burgos at dusk and, without pausing for rest or food,
had sallied out for our first awe-stricken gaze up at the far-famed
cathedral towers, then had ignominiously lost our way over and over in
the narrow, crooked streets and been finally marched back to our hotel
by a compassionate, though contemptuous, policeman. My artist comrade
was fairly ill by morning with a heavy cold, but she would not hear of
missing the cathedral and sneezed three or four enraptured hours away
in its chill magnificence. As we came to know Spanish and Spaniards
better, they would exclaim "_Jesús, Maria y José!_" when we sneezed,
that the evil spirit given to tickling noses might take flight; but
the Burgos sacristan was too keen to waste these amenities on
stammering heretics. What we thought of the cathedral is little to the
purpose of this chapter. In a word, however, we thought nothing at
all; we only felt. It was our first introduction to one of the monster
churches of Spain, and its very greatness, the terrible weight of all
that antiquity, sanctity, and beauty, crushed our understanding. Like
sleepwalkers we followed our guide down the frozen length of nave and
aisles and cloisters; we went the round of the fifteen chapels,
splendid presence-chambers where the dead keep sculptured state; we
looked, as we were bidden, on the worm-eaten treasure-chest of the
Cid, on the clock whose life-sized tenant, Papa-Moscas, used to scream
the hours to the embarrassment of long-winded pulpiteers, on the
cathedral's crown of fretted spires whose marvellous tracery was
chiselled by the angels, and on the "Most Holy Christ of Burgos," the
crucified image that bleeds every Friday.

Fulfilled with amazement, we searched our way back to the hotel
through the sleety rain, ate a shivering luncheon at the "_mesa
redonda_," that "round table" which is never round, and agreed to
postpone our anticipated visits to the haunts of the Cid until a less
inclement season. For of course we should come back to Burgos. The
proud old city seemed to fill all the horizon of thought. How had we
lived so long without it? That the stormy afternoon was not favorable
to exploration mattered little. We peeped down from our balconies into
the ancient streets, half expecting the exiled Cid to come spurring
up, seeking the welcome which we, like all the craven folk of Burgos,
must refuse him.

     "With sixty lances in his train my Cid rode up the town,
     The burghers and their dames from all the windows looking down;
     And there were tears in every eye, and on each lip one word:
     'A worthy vassal--would to God he served a worthy lord!'
     Fain would they shelter him, but none durst yield to his desire.
     Great was the fear through Burgos town of King Alphonso's ire.
     Sealed with his royal seal hath come his letter to forbid
     All men to offer harborage or succor to my Cid.
     And he that dared to disobey, well did he know the cost--
     His goods, his eyes, stood forfeited, his soul and body lost.
     A hard and grievous word was that to men of Christian race;
     And since they might not greet my Cid, they hid them from his
         face."

Meanwhile the streets were a living picture-book. Muffled cavaliers,
with cloaks drawn up and hats drawn down till only the dance of
coal-black eyes, full of fire and fun, was visible between, saluted
our balcony with Carnival impertinence. Beggars of both sexes, equally
wound about with tattered shawls, reached up expectant hands as if we
were made of Spanish pennies. A funeral procession passed, with the
pale light of tapers, the chanting of priests, with purple-draped
coffin, and mourners trooping on foot--men only, for in Spain women
never accompany their dead either to church or grave. A troop of
infantry, whose dapper costume outwent itself in the last touch of
bright green gloves, dazzled by, and then came a miscellany of
maskers. It was rather a rag-tag show, take it all in all--red devils
with horns, friars extremely fat, caricatures of English tourists with
tall hats and perky blue eye-glasses, giants, dwarfs, tumblers, and
even a sorry Cid mounted on a sorrier Bavieca. But the climax of
excitement was reached when a novel bull-fight wheeled into view. It
was a stuffed calf this time, set on wheels and propelled by a merry
fellow of the tribe of Joseph, if one might judge by his multi-colored
attire. With white hood, black mask, blue domino, garnet arms, and
yellow legs, he was as cheery as a bit of rainbow out of that sombre
sky. All the people in sight hastened to flock about him, policemen
left their beats, and servant maids their doorways, an itinerant band
of gypsy girls ceased clashing their tambourines, the blind beggar
opened his eyes, and the small boys were in ecstasies. For over an
hour the populace played with that mimic bull in this one spot under
our windows, good-humored _caballeros_ lending their scarfs and cloaks
to delighted urchins, who would thrust these stimulating objects into
the calf's bland face and then run for their lives, while the motley
Mask trundled his precious image in hot pursuit behind them. We were
reminded of the scene months after by an old painting in the Escorial,
depicting an almost identical performance. Spain is not a land of
change.

But that teeth-chattering cold, "_un frio de todos los demonios_,"
eased our farewells to Burgos, and night found us dividing the
privileges of a second-class carriage with two black-bearded
Castilians, who slept foot to foot along the leather-cushioned seat on
the one side, while we copied their example on the other. I started
from my first doze at some hubbub of arrival to ask drowsily, "Is this
Madrid?" "Be at peace, señora!" cooed one of these sable-headed
neighbors, in that tone of humorous indulgence characteristic of the
dons when addressing women and children. "It is twelve hours yet to
Madrid. Slumber on with tranquil heart." So we lay like warriors
taking our rest, with our travelling rugs, in lieu of martial cloaks,
about us, until the east began to glow with rose and fire, revealing a
bleak extent of treeless, tawny steppe.

We had only a few days to give to "the crowned city" then, but those
sufficed for business, for a first acquaintance with the _Puerta del
Sol_ and its radiating avenues, a first joy in the peerless _Museo del
Prado_, and a brilliant glimpse of Carnival. We found the great drive
of the _Prado_, on Ash Wednesday afternoon, reserved for carriages and
maskers. Stages were erected along one side of the way, and on the
other the park was closely set with chairs. Stages and chairs were
filled with a well-clad, joyous multitude, diverted awhile from their
pretty labors of shooting roses and showering _confetti_ by the
fascinating panorama before their eyes. The privileged landaus that
held the middle of the road were laden with the loveliest women of
Castile. Carriages, horses, and coachmen were all adorned, but these
showy equipages only served as setting to the high-bred beauty of the
occupants. The cream of Madrid society was there. The adults were
elegantly dressed, but not as masqueraders. The children in the
carriages, however, were often costumed in the picturesque habits of
the provinces--the scarlet cap and striped shawl of the Catalan
peasant, the open velvet waistcoat, puffed trousers, and blue or red
sash of the Valencian, the gayly embroidered mantle of the Andalusian
mountaineer, the cocked hat and tasselled jacket of the gypsy. Moors,
flower girls, fairies, French lords and ladies of the old régime, even
court fools with cap and bells, were brightly imaged by these little
people, to whom the maskers on foot seemed to have left the monopoly
of beauty. The figures darting among the landaus, in and out of which
they leaped with confident impudence, were almost invariably
grotesques--smirking fishwives, staring chimney-sweeps, pucker-mouthed
babies, and scarecrows of every variety. Political satires are sternly
forbidden, and among the few national burlesques, we saw nowhere any
representation of Uncle Sam. He was hardly a subject of the King of
Nonsense then.

Squeaking and gibbering, the maskers, unrebuked, took all manner of
saucy liberties. A stately old gentleman rose from his cushion in a
crested carriage to observe how gallantly a bevy of ladies were
beating off with a hail of _confetti_ and bonbons an imploring
cavalier who ran by their wheels, and when he would have resumed his
seat he found himself dandled on the knees of a grinning Chinaman.
Sometimes a swarm of maskers would beset a favorite carriage,
climbing up beside the coachman and snatching his reins, standing on
the steps and throwing kisses, lying along the back and twitting the
proudest beauty in the ear or making love to the haughtiest. This
all-licensed masker, with his monstrous disguise and affected squeal,
may be a duke or a doorkeeper. Carnival is democracy.

Meanwhile the inevitable small boy, whose Spanish variety is
exceptionally light of heart and heels, gets his own fun out of the
occasion by whisking under the ropes into this reserved avenue and
dodging hither and thither among the vehicles, to the fury of the
mounted police, whose duty it is to keep the public out. One
resplendent rider devoted his full energies for nearly an hour to the
unavailing chase of a nimble little rogue who risked ten of his nine
lives under coaches and in front of horses' hoofs, but always turned
up laughing with a finger at the nose.

Yet this jocund day did not set without its tragedy. A hot-tempered
Madrileño, abroad with his wife, resented the attentions paid her by
one of the maskers and shot him down. The mortally wounded man was
found to be a physician of high repute. This was not the only
misadventure of the afternoon, a lady losing one eye by the blow of a
flying sugar-plum.

Our next night journey was less fortunate than our first, though it
should be remembered that our discomforts were partly due to our
persistency in travelling second-class. The carriage had its full
complement of passengers, and each of our eight companions brought
with him an unlawful excess of small luggage. Valises, boxes, bundles,
sacks, cans, canes, umbrellas wedged us in on every side, while our
own accumulation of grips, shawl-straps, hold-alls, and sketching kit
denied us even the relief of indignation. We all sat bolt upright the
night through in an atmosphere that sickens memory. Not a chink of
window air would those sensitive _caballeros_ endure, while the smoke
of their ever puffing cigarettes clouded the compartment with an
uncanny haze that grew heavier hour by hour. Conversation, which
seldom flagged, became a violent chorus at those intervals when the
conductor burst in for another chapter of his serial wrangle with a
fiery gentleman who refused to pay full fare. Every don in the
carriage, even to the chubby priest nodding in the coziest corner, had
an unalterable conviction as to the rights and wrongs of that
question, and men we had supposed, from their swaying and snoring,
fast asleep, would leap to their feet when the conductor entered,
fling out their hands in vehement gestures, and dash into the midst of
the vociferous dispute. Lazy Spaniards, indeed! We began to wish that
the Peninsula would cultivate repose of manner. Our tempers were
sorely shaken, and when, in the pale chill of dawn, we arrived at
Cordova, sleepless, nauseated, and out of love with humanity, we had
every prospect of passing a wretched forenoon.

Thus it is I am inclined to believe we lay down under an orange tree
and dreamed a dream of the "Arabian Nights." Or perhaps it was only
another freak of the Carnival. At all events, a cup of coffee, and the
world was changed. Cordova! A midsummer heat, a land of vineyards and
olive groves, palms and aloes, a white, unearthly city, with narrow,
silent, deathlike streets, peopled only by drowsy beggars and by
gliding maskers that seemed more real than this Oriental picture in
which they moved, high walls with grated, harem-like windows, and an
occasional glimpse, through some arched doorway, into a
marble-floored, rose-waving, fountain-playing patio, enchanted and
mysterious, a dream within a dream. Cordova is more than haunted. It
is itself a ghost. The court of the Spanish caliphs, at once the Mecca
and the Athens of the West, a holy city which counted its baths and
mosques by hundreds, a seat of learning whose universities were
renowned for mathematics and philosophy, chemistry, astronomy, and
medicine, and within whose libraries were treasured manuscripts by
hundreds of thousands, a star of art and poetry, it ever reproaches,
by this lovely, empty shadow, the Christian barbarism that spurned
away the Moors.

The insulted Mosque of Cordova well-nigh makes Mohammedans of us all.
Entering by the studded Door of Pardon into the spacious Court of
Oranges, with its ancient trees and sparkling quintette of fountains,
one passes onward under the Arch of Blessings into a marble forest of
slender, sculptured pillars. The wide world, from Carthage to
Damascus, from Jerusalem to Ephesus and Rome, was searched for the
choicest shafts of jasper, breccia, alabaster, porphyry, until one
thousand four hundred precious columns bore the glory of rose-red
arches and wonder-roof of gilded and enamelled cedar. More than seven
thousand hanging lamps of bronze, filled with perfumed oil, flashed
out the mosaic tints,--golds, greens, violets, vermilions,--of
ceiling, walls, and pavement. All this shining sanctity culminated in
the Mihrâb, or Prayer-Niche, an octagonal recess whose shell-shaped
ceiling is hollowed from a single block of pure white marble. This
Holy of Holies held the Koran, bound in gold and pearls, around
which the Faithful were wont to make seven turns upon their knees, an
act of devotion that has left indisputable grooves in the marble of
the pavement.

  [Illustration: AN ARAB GATEWAY IN BURGOS]

The Christian conquerors splashed whitewash over the exquisite
ceiling, hewed down the pillars of the outer aisles to give space for
a fringe of garish chapels, and even chopped away threescore
glistening columns in the centre to make room for an incongruous
Renaissance choir, with an altar of silver gilt and a big pink
retablo. We could have wandered for endless hours among the strange
half-lights and colored shadows of that petrified faith of Islam,
marvelling on the processes of time. It is claimed that the Arab
mosque rose on the site of a Roman temple, whence Mahomet drove forth
Janus, to be in his own turn expelled by Christ. The race of those who
bowed themselves in this gleaming labyrinth has fared ill at Spanish
hands. Even now a Moor, however courteous and cultured, is refused
admission to certain Castilian churches, as the Escorial.

How did we ever part from Cordova, from her resplendent, desecrated
mosque, her stone lanes of streets, her hinted patios, the Moorish
mills and Roman bridge of her yellow Guadalquivír? It must all have
been a morning dream, for the early afternoon saw us tucked away in
another second-class carriage speeding toward Granada.

We were in beautiful Andalusia, _la tierra de Maria Santisima_. The
green slopes of the Sierra Morena, planted to the top with olive
groves, watched the beginnings of our journey, and banks of strange,
sweet flowers, with glimpses of Moorish minarets and groups of
dark-faced, bright-sashed peasants, looking as if they had just
stepped down from an artist's easel, beguiled us of all physical
discomforts save heat and thirst. When the sun was at its sorest, the
train drew up at a tumble-down station, and we looked eagerly for the
customary water seller, with his cry of "Water! Fresh water! Water
cooler than snow!" But it was too warm for this worthy to venture out,
and our hopes fastened on a picturesque old merchant seated in a shaft
of cypress shade beside a heap of golden oranges. Those juicy globes
were a sight to madden all the parched mouths in the train, and
imploring voices hailed the proprietor from window after window. But
our venerable hidalgo smoked his cigarette in tranquil ease,
disdaining the vulgarities of barter. At the very last moment we
persuaded a ragged boy in the throng of bystanders to fetch us a
hatful of the fruit. Then the peasant languidly arose, followed the
lad to our window, named an infinitesimal price, and received his coin
with the bow of a grandee. He was no hustler in business, this
Andalusian patriarch, but his dignity was epic and his oranges were
nectar.

We shall never know whether or not we had an adventure that evening. A
wild-eyed tatterdemalion swung himself suddenly into our compartment
and demanded our tickets, but as all the Andalusians looked to our
unaccustomed view like brigands, we did not discriminate against this
abrupt individual, but yielded up our strips of pasteboard without
demur. A swarthy young Moor of Tangier, the only other occupant of the
carriage, sharply refused to surrender his own until the intruder
should produce a conductor's badge, whereupon the stranger swore in
gypsy, or "words to that effect," wrenched open the door and fled,
like Judas, into the outer dark. The Moor excitedly declared to us
that our tickets would be called for at the station in Granada, that
we should have to pay their price to the gate-keeper, and that our
irregular collector, hiding somewhere along the train, would be
admitted by that corrupt official to a share in the spoils. Moved by
our dismay, this son of the desert thrust his head through the window
at the next stop, and roared so lustily for the conductor and the
civil guard that, in a twinkling, the robber, if he was a robber,
popped up in the doorway again, like a Jack-in-the-box, and rudely
flung us back the tickets. Thereupon our benefactor, if he was a
benefactor, solemnly charged us never, on the Granada road, to give up
anything to anybody who wore no gilt on his cap.

More and more the purple mountains were folding us about, until at
last we arrived at Granada, too tired for a thrill. Mr. Gulick's
constant care, which had secured us harborage in Madrid, had provided
welcome here. Content in mere well-being, it was not until the
following afternoon that tourist enterprise revived within us. Then we
somewhat recklessly wandered down from the Alhambra hill into the
heart of the People's Carnival, a second Sunday of festival given over
to the enjoyment of the lower classes. The grotesque costumes were
coarser than ever and the fun was rougher. The maskers cracked whips
at the other promenaders, blew horns, shook rattles, and struck about
them with painted bladders, but the balconies were bright with the
bewitching looks of Andalusian beauties, each vying with the rest in
throwing the many-colored _serpentinas_, curly lengths of paper that
crisp themselves in gaudy fetters about their captives. A single
business house in Granada claimed to have sold over a million of
these, representing a value of some ten thousand dollars, during
Carnival week. Southern Spain was grumbling bitterly against the
Government and the war taxes, and in Seville, where a tax is put on
masks, the Carnival had been given up this year as last; but Granada
would not be cheated of her frolic. Our study of this closing phase of
the Carnival was cut short by the recollection that it was, above all,
the _fiesta_ of pickpockets. Finding ourselves, on the superb _Paseo
del Salón_, in the midst of a hooting, jostling, half-gypsy mob,
rained upon with _confetti_, called upon in broken French and English,
pressed upon by boys and beggars, and happening to catch sight of the
stately bronze statue of Columbus which the women of Granada had
recently stoned because, by discovering America, he brought all the
Cuban troubles upon Spain, we took the hint of the wise navigator's
eye and decided that we two stray Yankees might be as well off
somewhere else. "Feet, why do I love you?" say the Spaniards; and so
said we, suiting the action to the word.



III

WITHIN THE ALHAMBRA

     "The Sierra Nevada, an enormous dove which shelters under its
     most spotless wings Saracen Granada."--ALARCÓN: _Los Seis
     Velos_.


Our surprises were by no means over. We had come to Granada to bask in
the quintessence of earthly sunshine, and we found bleak rains, dark
skies, and influenza. The Moorish palace was indeed as wonderful as
our lifelong dream of it,--arched and columned halls of exquisite
fretwork, walls of arabesque where flushes and glints of color linger
yet, ceilings crusted with stalactite figures of tapering caprice, but
all too chill, even if the guides would cease from troubling, for
tarrying revery. We tarried, nevertheless, were enraptured, and caught
cold. We were dwelling in the village on the Alhambra hill, within the
circuit of the ruined fortress, in a villa kept by descendants of the
Moors, but the insolent grippe microbe respected neither ancient blood
nor republican. During the month of our residence, every member of the
household was brought low in turn, and there were days when even the
stubborn Yankees retreated to their pillows, lulled by the howling of
as wild March winds as ever whirled the grasshopper vane on Faneuil
Hall. From beyond the partition sounded the groans of our
fever-smitten hostess, and from the kitchen below arose the noise of
battle between our sturdy host and the rebel spoons and sauce-pans. If
we could not always swallow his bold experiments in gruel and
porridge, we could always enjoy the roars of laughter with which that
merry silversmith plied his unaccustomed labors. It is said that there
are only three months of the year when Granada is fit to live in, and
certainly February and March are not of these. But our delighted
spirits had no thought of surrender to our discomfited bodies. We
would not go away. It is better to ache in beautiful Granada than to
be at ease elsewhere.

At the first peep of convalescence, we fled out of doors in search of
a sunbeam and discovered, again to our surprise, this immemorial
Alhambra hill as young as springtime. The famous fragments of towers,
with their dim legends of enchantment, all those tumbled masses of
time-worn, saffron-lichened masonry, are tragically old, yet the
tender petals of peach blossoms, drifting through the fragrant air,
lay pink as baby touches against those hoary piles. We rested beside
many an ancient ruin overclambered by red rosebuds or by branches
laden with the fresh gold of oranges, where thrushes practised songs
of welcome for the nightingales. We were too early for these sweetest
minstrels of the Alhambra, who, like the Moors of long ago, were
yearning on the edge of Africa for the Vega of Granada.

One expects, shut in by the crumbling walls of the Alhambra, in shadow
of the ruddy towers, in sound of the Moslem fountains, to live with
dreams and visions for one's company, to have no associates less
dignified than the moonlight cavalcades of shadowy Arabian warriors,
whom the mountain caverns cast forth at stated seasons to troop once
more in their remembered ways, or lustrous-eyed, lute-playing
sultanas, or, at least, a crook-backed, snow-bearded magician, with a
wallet full of talismans, and footsteps that clink like the gold of
buried treasure. But here again the eternal fact of youth in the world
disconcerts all venerable calculations. The Alhambra dances and laughs
with children--ragamuffins, most of them, but none the less radiant
with the precious joy of the morning.

They are gentle little people, too. It became well known on the hill
that we were Americans, yet not a pebble or rude word followed us from
the groups of unkempt boys among whom we daily passed. Once a mimic
regiment, with a deafening variety of unmusical instruments and a
genuine Spanish flag, charged on me roguishly and drew up in battle
square about their prisoner, but it was only to troll the staple song
of Spanish adolescence: "I want to be a soldier," and when I had
munificently rewarded the captain with a copper, the youngsters doffed
their varied headgear, dipped their banner in martial salute, and
contentedly re-formed their ranks. It was seldom that we gave money,
but we usually carried _dulces_ for the little ones, who, even the
dirtiest, have their own pretty standard of manners.

Some half-dozen _pequeñitos_, not one of whom was clearly out of
petticoats, were scampering off one day, for instance, their thanks
duly spoken, and their bits of candy just between hand and mouth, when
they turned with one accord, as if suddenly aware of an abruptness in
their leave-taking, and trotted back to bow them low, their tatters of
cap sweeping the ground, and lisp with all Spanish gravity, "Good
afternoon, señora." One chubby hidalgo tipped over with the
profundity of his obeisance, but the others righted him so solemnly
that the dignity of the ceremonial was unimpaired.

The habit of begging, that plague of tourist resorts, is an incessant
nuisance on the Alhambra hill. Half-grown girls and young women were
the most shameless and persistent of our tormentors. Age can be
discouraged, and babyhood diverted, while the Spanish boy, if his
importunities are met by smile and jest, will break into a laugh in
the midst of his most pathetic appeals and let you off till next time.

"A little money for our Blessed Lady's sake, señora. I am starving."

"Wouldn't you rather have a cigarette?"

"And that I would."

"Then you are not starving, little brother. Run away. I have no
cigarettes."

"But you have money for me, señora."

"No, nor enough for myself, not enough to buy one tile of the
Alhambra."

"Then may God take care of you!"

"And of you!"

  [Illustration: PLAYING AT BULL-FIGHT]

But the wild-haired, jet-eyed gypsy girl from the Albaicín is
impervious to mirth and untouched by courtesy. She would not do us the
honor of believing our word, even when we were telling the truth.

"Five _centimos_ to buy me a scarlet ribbon! Five _centimos_!"

"Not to-day, excuse me. I have no change."

"Hoh! You have change enough. Look in your little brown bag and see."

"I have no change."

"Then give me a _peseta_. Come, now, a whole _peseta_!"

"But why should I give you a _peseta_?"

The girl stares like an angry hawk.

"But why shouldn't you?" Darting away, she hustles together a group of
toddlers, hardly able to lisp, and drives them on to the attack.

"Beg, Isabelita! Beg of the lady, little Conception! Beg, Alfonsito!
Beg, beg, beg! Beg five _centimos_, ten _centimos_! Beg a _peseta_ for
us all!"

And out pop the tiny palms, and the babble of baby voices makes a
pleading music in the air. It is for such as these that the little
brown bag has learned to carry _dulces_.

Before the month was over we had, in a slow, grippe-chastened fashion,
"done our Baedeker." We had our favorite courts and corridors in the
magical maze of the Moorish palace; we knew the gardens and fountains
of the _Generalife_, even to that many-centuried cypress beneath whose
shade the Sultana Zoraya was wont to meet her Abencerrage lover; our
fortunes had been told in the gypsy caves of the Albaicín; we had
visited the stately Renaissance cathedral where, in a dim vault, the
"Catholic Kings," Ferdinand and Isabella, take their royal rest; we
had made a first acquaintance with the paintings of the fire-tempered
Granadine, Alonso Cano, and paid our dubious respects to the convent
of Cartuja, with its over-gorgeous ornament and its horrible pictures
of Spanish martyrdoms inflicted by that "devil's bride," Elizabeth of
England. We had explored the parks and streets of the strange old
city, where we possessed, according to the terms of Spanish
hospitality, several houses; but better than the clamorous town we
liked our own wall-girdled height, with its songful wood of English
elms, planted by the Duke of Wellington, its ever murmuring runlets
of clear water, its jessamines and myrtles, its Arabian Nights of
mosque and tower, and its far outlook over what is perhaps the most
entrancing prospect any hill of earth can show. The sunset often found
us leaning over the ivied wall beneath the _Torre de la Vela_, that
bell-tower where the first cross was raised after the Christian
conquest, gazing forth from our trellised garden-nook on a vast
panorama of gray city all quaintly set with arch and cupola, of
sweeping plain with wealth of olive groves, vineyards, orange
orchards, pomegranates, aloes, and cypresses, bounded by glistening
ranks of snow-cloaked mountains. From the other side of the Alhambra
plateau, the fall is sheer to the silver line of the Darro. Across the
river rises the slope of the Albaicín, once the chosen residence of
Moorish aristocracy, but now dotted over, amid the thickets of cactus
and prickly pear, with whitewashed entrances to gypsy caves. Beyond
all shine the resplendent summits of the great Sierras.

Yet it is strange how homely are many of the memories that spring to
life in me at the name of the Alhambra,--decorous donkeys, laden with
water-jars, trooping up the narrow footpath to the old Fountain of
Tears, herds of goats clinging like flies to the upright precipice, a
lurking peasant darting out on his wife as she passes with a day's
earnings hidden in her stocking and holding her close, with laughter
and coaxing, while he persistently searches her clothing until he
finds and appropriates that copper hoard, and our own cheery little
house-drudge washing our linen in a wayside rivulet and singing like a
bird as she rubs and pounds an unfortunate handkerchief between two
haphazard stones:--

     "I like to live in Granada,
       It pleases me so well
     When I am falling asleep at night
       To hear the _Vela_ bell."

There is the proud young mother, too, whom we came upon by chance over
behind the Tower of the Princesses, where her pot of _puchero_ was
bubbling above a miniature bonfire, while the velvet-eyed baby boy
sucked his thumb in joyous expectation. She often made us welcome,
after that, to her home,--a dingy stone kitchen and bedroom,
unfurnished save for pallet, a few cooking-utensils, a chest or two,
and, fastened to the wall, a gaudy print of _La Virgen de las
Angustias_, the venerated _Patrona_ of Granada. But this wretched
abode, the remains of what may once have been a palace, opened on a
lordly pleasure-garden with walls inlaid with patterns of rainbow
tiles, whose broken edges were hidden by rose bushes. There were
pedestals and even fragments of images in this wild Eden, jets of
sparkling water and walks of variegated marble. In the course of the
month, English and Spanish callers climbed the hill to us and
encompassed us with kindness, but we still maintained our incorrigible
taste for low society and used to hold informal receptions on sunny
benches for all the tatterdemalions within sight. Swarthy boys,
wearied with much loafing, would thriftily lay aside their cigarettes
to favor us with conversation, asking many questions about America,
for whose recent action they gallantly declined to hold us
responsible. "It was not the ladies that made the war," said these
modern cavaliers of the Alhambra.

Their especial spokesman was a shambling orphan lad of some fifteen
summers, with shrewd and merry eyes. Nothing pleased him better than
to give an ornamental hitch to the shabby, bright-colored scarf about
his thin, brown throat, and proceed to expound the political
situation.

"You admire the Alhambra? I suppose you have no palaces in America
because your Government is a republic. That is a very good thing. Our
Government is the worst possible. All the loss falls on the poor. All
the gain goes to the rich. But there are few rich in Spain. America is
the richest country of all the world. When America fought us it was as
a rich man, fed and clothed, fighting a poor man weak from famine. And
the rich man took from the poor man all that he had. Spain has nothing
left--nothing."

"Oh, don't say that! Spain has the Alhambra, and beautiful churches,
beautiful pictures."

"Can one eat churches and pictures, my lady?"

"And a fertile soil. What country outblooms Andalusia?"

His half-shod foot kicked the battle-trampled earth of the immortal
hill contemptuously.

"Soil! Yes. All the world has soil. It serves to be buried in."

This budding politician graced us with his company one Sunday
afternoon, when we went down into Granada to see a religious
procession. Our Lady of Lourdes, escorted by a distinguished train of
ecclesiastical and civic dignitaries, with pomp of many shining lights
and sonorous instruments, with peal of church bells and incongruous
popping of fireworks, passed through extended ranks of candle-bearing
worshippers, along thronged streets, where every balcony was hung with
the national red and yellow, to the Church of Mary Magdalene. There
the sacred guest was entertained with a concert, and thence conducted,
with the same processional state, amid the same reverent salutations
of the multitude, back to her own niche. Our youthful guide showed
himself so devout on this occasion, kneeling whenever the image, borne
aloft in a glory of flowers and tapers, passed us, and gazing on every
feature of the pageant with large-eyed adoration, that we asked him,
as we climbed the hill again, if he would like to be a priest. But he
shrugged his shoulders. "There are better Christians in Spain than the
priests," he answered.

The son of the house, Don Pepe, a young man of five and twenty, who
usually attended us on any difficult excursion, was also frankly
outspoken in his disapproval of the clergy. He could hardly hold his
countenance in passing a Franciscan friar. "There walks the ruin of
Spain," he muttered once, with bitter accent, turning to scowl after
the bareheaded, brown-frocked figure so common in Granada streets. We
had, indeed, our own little grudge against the friars, for they were
the only men of the city who forced us off the narrow sidewalks out
into the rough and dirty road. All other Granadines, from dandies to
gypsies, yielded us the strip of pavement with ready courtesy, but the
friars, three or four in Indian file, would press on their way like
graven images and drive us to take refuge among the donkeys.

This escort of ours, formally a Catholic, was no more a lover of State
than of Church. He was eager to get to work in the world and, finding
no foothold, charged up his grievance against the Government. He was
firmly persuaded that Madrid had sold the Santiago and Manila
victories to Washington for sums of money down,--deep down in
official pockets. But his talk, however angry, would always end in
throwing out the hands with a gesture of despair.

"But what use in revolutions? Spain is tired--tired of tumult, tired
of bloodshed, tired of deceit and disappointment. A new government
would only mean the old dogs with new collars. We, the people, are
always the bone to be gnawed bare. What use in anything? Let it go as
God wills."

The Silvela and Polavieja ministry came in during our stay at Granada,
and the Liberal and Republican chorus against what was known as the
Reactionary Government swelled loud. "It means the yoke of the
Jesuits," growled our burly host. Our Alhambra dream suffered frequent
jars from these ignoble confusions of to-day. When we were musing
comfortably on the melancholy fortunes of Boabdil, a cheap newspaper
would be thrust before our eyes with an editorial headed "Boabdil
Sagasta." It is always best to do what one must. Since we could not be
left in peace to the imagination of plumy cavaliers, stars of Moslem
and Christian chivalry, who sowed this mount so thick with glorious
memories, we turned our thoughts to the poor soldiers from Cuba,
especially during the week throughout which they paraded the cities of
Spain in rag-tag companies under rude flags with the ruder motto:
"_Hungry Repatriados_." Their appearance was so woful that it became a
by-word. A child, picking up from a gutter one day a mud-stained,
dog-eared notebook, cried gleefully, "It's a _repatriado_." There was
no glamour here, but the courage and sacrifice, the love and anguish,
held good.

Granada had borne her share in Spain's last war sorrow. So many of her
sons were drafted for the Antilles that her anger against America
waxed hot. A few months before our arrival every star-spangled banner
that could be hunted out in shop or residence was trampled and burned
in the public squares. The Washington Irving Hotel hastened to take
down its sign, and even the driver of its omnibus was sternly warned
by the people to erase those offensive American names from his vehicle
on pain of seeing it transformed into a chariot of fire. A shot,
possibly accidental, whistled through the office of the English
consul, who was given to understand, in more ways than one, that Spain
made little difference between "the cloaked enemy" and the foe in the
field. Meanwhile, month after month, the recruits were marched to the
station, and the City Fathers, who came in all municipal dignity to
bid the lads godspeed, were so overwhelmed by the weeping of the women
that they forgot the cream of their speeches.

Among the new tales of Spanish valor told us on the Alhambra hill was
this:--

When lots were drawn for military service, one blithe young scapegrace
found in his hand a fortunate high number, but, walking away in fine
feather over his luck, he met the mother of a friend of his, sobbing
wildly as she went. Her son had been drafted, and the two hundred
dollars of redemption money was as far beyond her reach as those
dazzling crests of the Sierra Nevada are above the lame beggar at the
Alhambra gate. Then the kindly fellow, troubled by her grief and
mindful of the fact that, orphan as he was, his own parting would be
at no such cost of tears, offered to serve in her boy's stead. Her
passion of gratitude could not let his service go all unrecompensed.
Poorest of the poor, she went about among her humble friends, lauding
his deed, until she had collected, _peseta_ by _peseta_, the sum of
sixteen dollars, which she thrust into his hands to buy comforts for
the campaign. But another sobbing mother sought him out. He had saved
her neighbor's son; would he not save hers? Laughing at her logic and
moved by her faith in him, he answered: "I am only one man, señora. I
cannot go in place of two. But here are sixteen dollars. If you can
find a substitute at such a price, the money is yours."

Sixteen dollars is a fortune to hunger and nakedness, and the
substitute was found. As the year wore on those two mothers did not
let the city forget its light-hearted hero, and a great assembly
gathered at the station to honor his return. A remnant of his comrades
descended from the train, but as for him, they said, he had died in
Cuba of the fever months before.

His was no poetic death like that of the Abencerrages. Happy
Abencerrages! They knew the Alhambra in the freshness of her beauty.
Their last uplifted glances looked upon the most exquisite ceilings in
the world. Their blood left immortal stains on the marble base of the
fountain. But this young Spaniard, in his obscure Cuban grave, only
one out of the eighty thousand, will promptly be forgotten. _No
importa._ There must be something better than glory for the man who
does more than his duty.

  [Illustration: THE MOSQUE OF CORDOVA]



IV

A FUNCTION IN GRANADA

     "O Love Divine, Celestial Purity,
       Pity my cries!
     My soul is prone before a clouded throne.
       Let thy keen light arise,
     Pierce this obscurity
       And free my dream-bound eyes!"
                                   --_Ganivet's Last Poem._


The civilization of Spain, streaked as it is with Oriental barbarisms,
belated and discouraged as the end of the nineteenth century finds it,
is still in many respects finer than our own. In everything that
relates to grace and charm of social intercourse, to the dignified
expression of reverence, compassion, and acknowledgment, Spain puts us
to the blush. I was especially touched in Granada by the whole-souled
sympathy and veneration with which the city rendered public honors to
one of its sons, Angel Ganivet, who died in the preceding winter, a
poet hardly thirty.

Although I had glanced over obituary notices of this Spanish writer in
the Paris papers, I had but a vague idea of his work and life, and
sought, before the night of the memorial ceremonies, for further
information. I appealed, first of all, to our table waiter, whose
keen black eyes instantly turned sad and tender.

"_Pobre! Pobre!_ He threw himself into the river at Riga, in Russia,
where he was consul. It was at the close of the war. And he such a
genius! So young! So true a Spaniard! But all Granada will be at the
theatre. He left his play to Granada, asking that it be seen here
first of all. I have never read his books, but I have met him in the
streets, and lifted my hat to him for a wise _caballero_ who cared
greatly for Spain."

My next appeal was to our kind neighbor, the English consul, who
assured me laughingly that he, like myself, was vainly ransacking the
few bookstores of Granada for Ganivet's works.

"The first time I ever heard the name," he added, "was some three or
four years ago, when I noticed an old gentleman standing often in
front of my house, and gazing at the British coat-of-arms above my
door. He told me one day when I drew him into talk that he had a
nephew, Angel Ganivet, roaming in foreign lands. 'But he does not
forget his old uncle,' said he. 'I always receive my little pension
prompt to the day, and so I like to look at the foreign shields about
the city, and remember my nephew, far away, who remembers me.' That
was a trifle, of course, but it gave me a kindly feeling for the young
fellow, and I'm sorry he came to such an end. They found him in the
river, you know. I dare say it was suicide, and likely enough the
defeat of Spain had its share in causing his despondency; but nobody
knows. He was a zealous patriot, I understand, and all Granada seems
to take his death to heart."

My next authority was an aged Granadine, a man of letters; but he had
not read Ganivet's books.

"I have heard of him often," he said, "but I never met him. He was not
much in Granada, although he seems to have had a romantic affection
for the place. _Bueno!_ Its pomegranates are worth remembering. But
Ganivet liked to live in foreign countries, with the idea of
understanding his own better by comparison. He was young; he still had
hopes for Spain. Eighty years are on my head, and I have long done
with hoping. I have served in my country's armies, I have served in
her Government, I have seen much of Church and State, and since the
night when they murdered General Prim I have seen nothing good. But
Ganivet had faith in the national future, and the people, without
waiting to ask on what that faith was founded, love him for it, and
mourn his loss as if he had been their benefactor. They are all going
to pour into the theatre to-morrow night to hear his symbolic drama,
that not one in a hundred of them will try to understand, and the
hundredth will get it all wrong."

The "function" took place in the _Gran Teatro de Isabel la Católica_,
a name to conjure with throughout all Spain, and especially in
Granada. The day set for the performance, and widely advertised by
newspapers and posters for a month in advance, was a Wednesday. On
Tuesday, in a fever lest we be too late, we arrived at the ticket
office. We had our hurry all to ourselves. Apparently nobody else had
as yet taken a seat. The office was empty, save for us and our
attendant train of boys and beggars.

The official in charge, deaf, slow, and courteous, invited us into a
private room and gave us rocking-chairs by the _brasero_, while he,
with paper and pencil, laboriously added the price of our _entradas_
to the price of our modest box, and spent five minutes in subtracting
the amount from the figure of the small bill we handed him. The
counting out of the change was another strain on his arithmetic, and,
after all these toils, we were still without tickets. He said he would
"write them out at home," and we might send some one for them the next
day. But he affably offered to show us the theatre, and led us through
black passages to a great dusky space, where, while he struck match
after match, we could catch glimpses of pit and balconies, and even a
far-off stage, with a group of actors gathered about a lamp,
rehearsing the play. In Wednesday morning's paper, however, they
announced with entire nonchalance that they were not ready yet, and
would postpone the representation until Thursday.

On Thursday evening the theatre, choking full though it was, hardly
presented a brilliant appearance. Granada is not Madrid, nor Seville,
and the best the Granadines had to offer their dead poet was the
tribute of their presence in such guise as they could command. The
big, barnlike theatre, with its rows of broken lamp-chimneys, looked
shabby, and the rag-tag proportion of the audience was so great that
it overflowed the _Paraiso_ into the aisles and doorways and all
conceivable corners. People were so jumbled and crumpled together
that, with reminiscences of my traveller's hold-all, I found myself
wondering if they would ever shake out smooth again.

Whole families were there, from the infant in arms that invariably
screamed when the actors were reciting any passage of peculiar
delicacy, to the dozing old grandfather, who kept dropping his
cigarette out of his mouth in a way that threatened to set us all on
fire. The gentlemen, even in the boxes and the stalls, were generally
ungloved, and we did not see a dress suit in the house. Cloaks and
neckties were ablaze with color as usual, but the masculine toilets
eluded our stricter observation; for when the curtain was up, our eyes
were all for the stage, and between acts your Spaniard sits with hat
on head, enveloped in a cloud of tobacco smoke.

But the Andalusian ladies made amends for everything. By some
prehistoric agreement, Spanish women have yielded the rainbow to the
men, reserving for their own attire the quiet elegance of black or the
festive beauty of pure white. The dress that evening, even in the
principal boxes, was conspicuously simple. But the clear brunette
complexions, the delicate contours, the rich black hair worn high and
crowned with natural flowers, the waving fans and flashing glances,
cast a glamour over the whole scene.

The memorial rites themselves made up in quantity whatever they might
lack in quality, continuing from eight o'clock till two. An orchestra,
organized from Granada musicians for this occasion, opened the
programme. The bust of Ganivet, wrought by a young Granada sculptor,
was reverently unveiled. The star actor, Fuentes of Granada, who had
undertaken with his troupe to present his fellow-townsman's drama
purely as a labor of love, read an interpretation written by one of
Granada's leading critics. The orchestra was in evidence again,
introducing the first act, entitled "Faith." After this the orchestra
played Bretón's serenade, "In the Alhambra," and the curtain rose for
the second act on so natural a scene-painting of the famous fortress
that the audience went wild with enthusiasm, and the blushing artist,
also a Granadine, had to be literally shoved from the wings upon the
stage to receive his plaudits.

Between the second act, "Love," and the last act, "Death," came an
_andante elegiaco_, "written expressly for this artistic solemnity" by
a Granada composer. Here, again, the appreciation of the audience was
unbounded, and nothing would do but the reluctant master must leave
his box, struggle through the packed multitude to the conductor's
stand, and take the baton himself for a second rendering from the
first chord to the last. At the close of the third act the orchestra
did its part once more, and the celebration ended, somewhat
incongruously, with a lively bit of modern comedy.

There was imperfection enough, had one been disposed to look for it.
The fifty members of the impromptu orchestra had hardly brought
themselves into accord, the acting was not of the best Spanish
quality, and the players had not half learned their parts. Every long
declamation was a duet, the prompter's rapid undertone charging along
beneath the actor's voice like a horse beneath its rider. But the
audience understood, forgave, were grateful, and sat with sublime
patience through the long pauses between the acts, repeating one to
another, "They say Fuentes is studying his speeches." As the caustic
old scholar had predicted, most of them, apparently, did not try to
understand the allegory. They applauded the obviously poetic touches,
the palpably dramatic situations, and when, in the Alhambra act, a
gypsy air was sung, the galleries delightedly caught it up and
chorused it over again.

But in general that nondescript assembly looked on in passive gravity
while _El Escultor de su Alma_ was rendered, as their poet had
bidden, in their own theatre and for them. They may have gathered
hints and snatches of that mystical message from the dead, whose lofty
look, fixed in shining marble, dominated all the house.

The restless Spirit of Man, seeking the perfect Truth, tears himself
loose from the bride of his youth, Heavenly Faith, and wanders in
beggary through the world. Yet Truth for him can only be the child of
his union with Faith, and in parting from one he has parted from both.
In old age, almost maddened by his wanderings and woes, he meets his
Truth again, full-grown and beautiful, but is so fierce and wild in
his desire to possess her that only Death can reconcile them--Death
and that Heavenly Faith who could not abandon him, though he had
forsaken her.

Ganivet's mother, who, with his brothers, witnessed the play from
behind the scenes, is said to have rejoiced in it as a last solemn
assurance from her son of his secure repose in the Catholic faith of
his fathers. It may not have meant so much to that great audience,
many of whom could neither read nor write, but those tiers upon tiers
of dark Spanish faces were full of earnestness and of a proud content.
However it may have baffled their heads, this legacy of a play, in its
Alhambra setting, spoke clearly to their hearts. One ragamuffin said
to another, as an all-sufficient criticism, "He was thinking of
Granada when he wrote it."

A few days later, I found and eagerly read Angel Ganivet's most
significant booklet, _Idearium_, published in the autumn of 1896, in
which he sets forth his dream for the future of his beloved country.

Ganivet claims that the deepest moral element in Spanish character is
stoicism, "not the brutal and heroic stoicism of Cato, nor the serene
and majestic stoicism of Marcus Aurelius, nor the rigid and extreme
stoicism of Epictetus, but the natural and humane stoicism of Seneca."
He holds that Seneca, himself a Spaniard, found his philosophy in the
inherent genius of the country, and only gave voice to the indwelling
soul of Spain. The Spanish church, cherishing this element, became a
thing apart from the general Catholicism of Europe. The long warfare
and incidental intercourse with the Moors stamped Spanish Christianity
with its two other characteristic features of mysticism and
fanaticism. "Mysticism was like a sanctification of African
sensuality, and fanaticism was a turning against ourselves, when the
Reconquest ended, of the fury accumulated during eight centuries of
combat."

The author, _muy español_, is naturally _muy católico_, yet he
protests against violence in the repression of other forms of
religion. "Liberty should bring with it no fear." He believes that
Spain is, above all, _sui generis_, independent and individual. The
representative Spaniard is a free lance, striving and conquering by
his own impulse and under his own direction, like the Cid of old or
Cortes in the field of arms, like Loyola in the church, like Cervantes
in letters. He lays stress on the achievements of Spanish art--the
master paintings of Velázquez and Murillo, the master dramas of Lope
de Vega and Calderon, as expressing, better than political history has
expressed, that intensification of Spanish life resulting from the
struggle against the Arabs "and making of our nation a Christian
Greece."

  [Illustration: THE COLUMBUS MONUMENT IN GRANADA]

He finds it logical and right that Spain, after her successive
periods of Roman influence, Visigothic influence, Arab influence,
and her modern era of colonial expansion, should now abandon foreign
policies and concentrate all her vitality within her own borders. Not
by the sword, but by the spirit, would he have Spain henceforth hold
sway over mankind, and especially over the Spanish-descended peoples
of South America.

He winces under the monopoly of the term "American" by the citizens of
the United States--"a formidable nation," he admits, "very populous,
very rich, and apparently very well governed." He notes, in contrast,
the poverty and comparative anarchy of the South American republics,
but he urges still that the Spanish character, shaped through such
eventful centuries, is an entity, clear and firm, with qualities well
defined, whereas the Yankees are yet in the fusing pot. He would have
all the peoples of Hispanian descent recognize and realize in
themselves this Spanish individuality, effecting not a political
union, but a "confederation, intellectual and spiritual," whose first
aim should be the preservation of Spanish ideas and ideals, and the
second, the free gift of these to all the nations of the earth.

The ancient glory of Spain, he says, has vanished like a dream; let a
new and whiter glory dawn. Her career of material conquest is ended.
Those savage struggles have left her faint and spent. Let her now seek
to attain, through purification and discipline, such fresh fulness of
life as shall insure the triumph of her spiritual forces--her fervent
faith and her unworldly wisdom. "Our Ulysses is Don Quixote."



V

IN SIGHT OF THE GIRALDA

     "We were nearing Seville. I felt the eager throbbing of my
     heart. Seville had ever been for me the symbol of light, the
     city of love and joy."--VALDÉS: _La Hermana San Sulpicio_.


One of the wise sayings of Andalusia runs, "Do not squeeze the orange
till the juice is bitter." And so we said good-by to Granada before we
were ready to go, and persuaded ourselves, in defiance of maps and
time-tables, that our shortest route to Seville led by Ronda. The
weather did its very best to dampen our enthusiasm for this wildest of
crag aeries, equally famed for romantic beauty of outlook and
salubrity of air. Men live long in Ronda, unless, indeed, they hit
against a bullet while practising their hereditary trade of
_contrabandista_. They have a saying that octogenarians there are only
chickens, but one should not believe all that they say in Ronda. Did
we not clamber, slipping on wet stones, down a precipitous path to
peer, from under dripping umbrellas, at what our guide declared was an
old Roman bridge? "It doesn't look old and it doesn't look Roman," was
the artist's dubious comment, but our highly recommended conductor, a
Gib, as the English-Spanish natives of Gibraltar Rock are called,
assured us that it was built in the days of Julius Cæsar, but had been
wonderfully well preserved. We eyed him thoughtfully, bearing in mind
that he had already pointed out the statue of a long-dead poet as a
living politician; but we meekly continued through the lashing rain to
follow his long footsteps over the breakneck ways of that natural
fortress where race after race has left its autograph. The Roman
columns of the church make the Arab cupolas look young, and put the
Gothic choir altogether out of countenance. A bright-shawled peasant
woman, who we fondly hoped might be a smuggler's wife, drew us
delicious water from a Roman well in a Moorish patio, where a mediæval
king of gentle memory used to drink his wine from cups wrought of the
skulls of those enemies whom he had beheaded with his own sword. But
not all this, and more, could efface our doubts of that Roman bridge,
which, indeed, we found, on a belated perusal of our guide-books, had
been erected by a Malaga architect in the last century.

The street rabble of Ronda was the rudest and fiercest we encountered
anywhere in Spain. Several times our guide wheeled suddenly to
confront some gypsyish lad, creeping up behind us with stone all ready
to throw, and when, at a glint of sunset through the stormy clouds, we
tried to slip out unattended to the neighboring _alameda_, with its
far-sweeping prospect of folded mountain ranges and its vertical view
of gorge and rushing river, the children actually hounded us back to
the hotel. Their leader was a scrofulous boy, with one cheek eaten
away, who had been taught to press his face so closely upon strangers
that, in fear of his open sore, they would hastily give money to keep
him back. He was a merry scamp and got a world of sport out of his
sickening business, laughing at the top of his voice to see himself
"avoided like the sun."

Although the tempest had lulled by evening, Ronda, still inhospitable,
would not let us sleep. All up and down the window-grated street
sounded, from midnight to morning, a tinkling of guitars. It was,
forsooth, St. Joseph's Day, and every Don José, every Doña Josefa,
every little Pepe, every pretty Pepita, must be saluted by a serenade.
All Andalusians are musical, taking much pleasure, moreover, in one of
their own bits of philosophy, "The poorest player has his uses, for he
can at least drive the rats out of the house." Rats or no, we left
Ronda by the morning train.

Our carriage was crowded with several Spaniards and a "Jew-Gib," who,
without saying "_oxte ni moxte_," assumed full charge of us and our
belongings for the journey. This unceremonious but really helpful
escort put every one of his fellow-travellers through a sharp
catechism as to birthplace, business, destination, and the like. Our
turn came first of all. "You are English?" "We speak English." "Ha!"
He fell into our own vernacular. "Came about three thousand miles to
Spain?" "Across the channel." He chuckled with prompt appreciation of
the situation and mendaciously translated to the carriage at large,
"The ladies are distinguished Londoners, on their way to visit
relatives in Seville," whereat the Andalusians smiled sleepily upon us
and asked permission to smoke. We consented cheerfully, as our Spanish
sisters had taught us that we should. "I like it," one pallid señora
had said on an earlier trip. "It makes me sick, yes, but men ought to
be men."

We were journeying toward the very palace of the sun, with gray ranks
of olive trees standing guard on either hand. "And posted among them,
like white doves, could be seen now and again a few mills where the
bitter olive is wont to pour its juice." Orange plantations and hedges
of the bluish aloe, fig trees, palms, and all manner of strange,
tropical flowers gladdened our approach to Seville. And when, at last,
we saw from afar the world-praised Giralda, the Moorish bell-tower of
the cathedral, soaring pink into a purple sky, we felt as if we were
really arrived in fairyland.

Our friendly Gib put his tall figure between us and the howling press
of swarthy porters and cab-drivers, scolded, expostulated, threatened,
picked out his men, beat down their prices, called up a policeman to
witness the bargain and take the number of our cab, raised his hat,
and vanished into grateful memory.

Six weeks in Seville! And six weeks in a Seville home, where evening
after evening the gay youth of Andalusia laughed and sang, danced and
rattled the castanets, and cast about our wondering Western souls
strange witcheries from which we shall never more go free. It was all
as Oriental as a dream. The Sultana of the South lifted her gleaming
coronet of domes and pinnacles above such a kingdom of idle, delicious
mirth as has permanently unfitted us for considering it important to
do our duty. Our hereditary bits of Plymouth Rock were melted up in
that fervent heat. Right or wrong? "Where there is music, there can be
no harm." True or false?

     "In this world, my masters,
       There's neither truth nor lie,
     But all things take the color
       Of the glass before the eye."

Only six weeks, and yet we shall ever go homesick for Seville, for her
palm trees and orange gardens, her narrow streets like lanes of
shadow, her tiled and statued patios, with caged birds singing answer
to the ripple of the fountain, the musical midnight cry of her
_serenos_, "her black and burning eyes like beacons in the dark," her
sighing serenaders, "lyrical mosquitoes," outside the grated window or
beneath the balcony, her fragrances of rose and jessamine, her poetic
sense of values. A homeless Andalusian, dinnerless and in rags, strums
on his guitar, a necessity which he would not dream of selling for
such a mere luxury as bread, and is happy. There is always sun to
sleep in. There are always piquant faces and gliding forms to gaze
after. What more does a mortal want? Exquisite Seville! No wonder that
her exiled sons still sing, after years of "comfortable living" in
foreign cities:--

     "When I am missing, hunt me down
       In Andalusia's purple light,
     Where all the beauties are so brown,
       And all the wits so bright."

Yet the old Arabian enchantment casts a glamour which the Anglo-Saxon
vision dimly recognizes as such and faintly strives against. To the
clear survey all is not charm. Grace, mirth, and music, on the one
hand, are offset by ignorance, suffering, and vice on the other. Many
evil things were told us, and some ugly things we saw, but to look on
Andalusia is to love her, even while realizing that to live with her
would put that love to a very stringent test.

The lordly Guadalquivír, for instance, so fair to see from the
picture-making summit of the Giralda, as he lingers through his
blooming Paradise, forgetful of the ocean, is not altogether goodly.

     "Ay, ay, the black and stinging flies he breeds
     To plague the decent body of mankind!"

The Andalusian leisure was a perpetual delight to us. A typical
Seville shop reaches far along the street front, with many open doors,
and a counter running the full length. Here ladies sit in pairs and
groups, never singly, to cheapen fans and mantillas, while the smiling
salesmen, cigarette in hand, shrug and gesticulate and give back
banter for banter as gayly as if it were all a holiday frolic. Scraps
of the graceful bargaining would float to our ears.

"Is the quality good?"

"As good as God's blessing."

Among the tempting wares of Seville are Albacete knives, with gorgeous
handles of inlaid ebony, tortoise, or ivory. The peasant women of
Andalusia so resent the charge of carrying these knives in their
garters that the Seville gamin dodges offence by asking them in an
unnecessarily loud voice if they carry garters in their knives. The
irascible dames do not stand upon fine points of rhetoric, however,
and when the small boy has delivered his shot, he does well to take to
his heels. We once saw one of these sturdy women, while a line of
soldiers, bristling with steel, was holding a street, seize a gallant
son of Mars by the shoulder and swing him, amid the laughter of his
comrades, out of her path as if he were a cabbage. Nobody knew how to
stop her, and she trudged serenely on, her broad back to those
helpless bayonets, down the forbidden way.

The beggars of Seville are gentler than those of Ronda and Granada,
but hardly less numerous. Mendicant figures are thick as Guadalquivír
mosquitoes in my memory of Andalusia. Some of those pitiful children
will haunt me till I die. There was a forlorn urchin, with filmy,
frightful eyes, to be seen in all weathers crouching on one side of
the road leading up to the Alhambra, so dull and dreary a little
fellow that he hardly grasped the coppers when they were thrust into
his weakly groping hands, and hardly stayed his monotonous formula of
entreaty for his other monotonous formula of thanks. There was an
idiot child in Seville--a mere lump of deformity--that would rush out
upon the startled stranger with an inarticulate, fierce little yell,
clutching at charity with a tiny, twisted claw. He seemed the very
incarnation of childish woe and wrong. Almost every hand dived into
pocket for him, and he was probably worth far more to his proprietors
than his rival on the street, a crafty little girl, with the most
lustrous eyes that painter ever dreamed. They were not blue nor gray,
but a living light in which both those colors had been melted.

The economists, who say so firmly that "nothing should ever be given
to mendicant children," can hardly have had the experience of seeing
Murillo's own cherubs, their wings hidden under the dirt, fluttering
about the car windows at Andalusian stations. I have it still on my
conscience that I occasionally gave away my comrade's share of our
luncheon as well as my own. She was too young and too polite to
reproach me, but too hungry to be comforted by the assurance that I
reproached myself. Sometimes a foreign traveller, very sure of his
Spanish, would attempt remonstrance with these small nuisances. I
remember one kindly Teuton in particular. Commerce had claimed him for
its own, but the predestined German professor shone out of his mild
blue eyes. A ragamuffin had mounted the car steps to beg at the
window, and Mein Herr delivered him such a lecture that the youngster
clung to his perch, fascinated with astonishment at the novel
doctrine, until the train was in alarmingly swift motion.

  [Illustration: THE ALHAMBRA. HALL OF JUSTICE]

"This is a very bad habit of thine. I told thee so a month ago."

"Me, sir?"

"Thee, boy. When I passed over this road last, thou wert begging at
the windows, to my shame if not to thine. Tut, tut! Go thy ways. Look
for work, work, work."

"Work, sir?"

"Work, boy. And when thou hast found it, love it, and do it with a
will. Learn to read and write. Wash thy face and change thy customs,
and when thou art richer than I, then will I give thee a _peseta_."

Mendicancy is bred of ignorance, and in the seventeen and a half
millions that make up the population of Spain, more than twelve
millions do not read nor write.

Seville sight-seeing is no brief matter. You must climb the Giralda,
walk in the parks, view the yellowed fragments of the ancient city
wall, visit the tobacco factory, shop in _Las Sierpes_, buy pottery in
Triana, see the gypsy dances in the cafés, attend the Thursday
rag-fair, do reverence to the Columbus manuscripts in the _Biblioteca
Columbina_, look up the haunts of Don Juan, Figaro, Pedro the Cruel,
and explore the curious "House of Pilate," which, tradition says, was
built by a pilgrim noble after the Jerusalem pattern. You must lose
your heart to the Alcázar, the Alhambra of Seville, a storied palace
embowered in fountain-freshened gardens of palm and magnolia, oranges
and cypresses, rose and myrtle, with shadowy arcades leading to marble
baths and arabesqued pavilions. You must follow Murillo from gallery
to gallery, from church to church, above all, from the _Hospital de la
Caridad_, where hang six of his greatest compositions, to the _Museo
Provincial_, where over a score of the Master's sacred works, lovely
Virgins, longing saints, deep-eyed Christ-Childs, rain their sweet
influence. And first, last, and always, there is the cathedral. We had
been stunned at Burgos, blind to all save the Moorish features of
Cordova, almost untouched by the cold splendors of Granada, but to
Seville, as later to Toledo, we surrendered utterly. Beauty, mystery,
sublimity--these are Seville cathedral. Five centuries have gone to
the rearing and enriching of those solemn aisles and awful choir. The
colossal structure, second in size only to St. Peter's, is a majesty
before which Luther himself might well have trembled. Within a Spanish
cathedral one begins to understand the mighty hold of Roman
Catholicism on Spain. "I love," says Alarcón, whose jest and earnest
are as closely twined as fibres of the same heart, "the clouds of
incense which rise to the cupola of the Catholic temple, amid the
harmonies of the holy organ. (For this I am not a Protestant.)" And
elsewhere, writing of his childhood, he speaks of receiving in the
cathedral of Guadix all his first impressions of artistic
beauty,--beauty of architecture, music, painting, processional
splendors, tissue of gold and silver, cunning embroideries and
jewel-work, his first sense, in short, of poetry. And all these
impressions were inextricably blent with his first yearnings of holy
aspiration, his first passion of mystical devotion. But not even
Seville cathedral could win over our full sympathy. Too heavy were the
faces of the priests who "sang the gori gori," too selfish that wigged
and jointed doll, "Our Lady of Kings," with her sixty gorgeous
mantles, a few of which would have clothed all the poor of Andalusia.
Who shall draw the line between faith and superstition?

But let not the tourist suppose he can escape his tyrant Baedeker even
at the top of the Giralda. There are excursions that must be taken to
points of interest outside the city. Most imperative of all is the
trip to the ruined Roman amphitheatre of Italica, guarded by the
mighty names of Scipio Africanus, Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius. Off
we start, a dozen strong, in a great, open carriage, all the
women-folk with fans and veils and with flowers in the hair. We rattle
past the cathedral, over the bridge to Triana and out into the
sweet-breathed country, passing many a picturesque group on the
road,--these two peasants, for example, with their yellow-handled
knives thrust into scarlet girdles, tossing dice under a fig tree. Our
meditations among the crumbling blocks of that savage play-house would
perhaps interest the reader less than our luncheon. Such Andalusian
dainties as we swallowed,--cold soups like melted salads, home-made
fig marmalade, cinnamon pastes of which the gypsies know the secret,
and sugared chestnuts overflowed by a marvellous syrup wherein could
be detected flavors of lemon peel, orange peel, and a medley of
spices! In that scene of ancient bloodshed, of the lion's wrath and
the martyr's anguish, we ate, drank, and were merry, but our banquet
tasted of ghosts.



VI

PASSION WEEK IN SEVILLE

     "All that was gracious was bestowed by the Virgin, and she was
     the giver of all that human creatures could ask for. God
     frowned, while she smiled; God chastised, but she forgave;
     this last notion was by no means a strange one. It is accepted
     with almost absolute faith among the laboring classes of the
     rural parts of Spain."--GALDÓS: _Marianela_.


Holy week throngs Seville to overflowing. The devout no longer scourge
themselves in public, sprinkling the pavements with their blood, but
Spaniards flock from all Andalusia, from Madrid, and even from the
northern provinces to the sunny city on the storied Guadalquivír.
Hotel charges run from twelve dollars a day up to incredible figures;
a mere bed in a lodging house costs its three dollars, four dollars,
or five dollars a night, and fortunate are those who enjoy the
hospitality of a private home.

The ceremonies opened Sunday morning with the procession of palms. We
had been told by our cathedral guide the day before that this
procession would take place at seven or half-past seven at the latest,
and had asked the maid to call us at half-past six. As the chiming
bells should have warned us, her knock was an hour tardy, but when,
breakfastless and eager, we reached the cathedral a few minutes after
eight, there was as yet no sign of a procession. Mass was being said
in the Sagrario and in several chapels, and the morning light poured
in through the rich-colored windows upon groups of kneeling figures
before every shrine. The women wore black mantillas, for, although
this most graceful of headdresses is losing credit on the fashionable
promenades of Seville, and is almost never seen in open carriages,
Holy Week demands it of all the faithful.

We asked a white-robed young chorister when the procession would form.
He answered with encouraging precision, "In twenty minutes." We roamed
about for a half hour or more through those majestic spaces, beneath
those soaring arches, aspiration wrought in stone, until by chance in
that shifting multitude we came face to face with our guide of the day
before. We asked how soon the procession would form. He said, "In
twenty minutes," and we went home for coffee.

When we returned the procession was streaming out of the cathedral
into the street of the _Gran Capitán_. It was simple and all the more
attractive for that simplicity. The colors of standards and vestments
were mainly purple and gold, and the long, yellow fronds of palm,
blown by the fresh breeze from the river, gleamed brighter than the
sheen of candle or of mitre. Turning the corner, the procession, now
facing the beautiful Giralda, entered by the ample Door of Pardon,
still incrusted with its Arabic decorations, into the Court of
Oranges, whose ripe fruit gave new touches of gold to the picture.

Venders of palm were stationed in every sheltered corner, selling
their wares, more than twice the height of a man, at fifteen cents
the frond, while boys, darting about with armfuls of olive, were glad
to take a cent the branch, and not have the best of their leafy store
filched from them by sly old women, more intent, like the rest of us,
on getting a blessing than deserving it.

Through the multitude the glittering palms and purple robes swept on
back into the cathedral, where the silent and remote archbishop, an
image of gold in his splendid apparel, shed his benediction not only
over the proud palms, but over every spray of "little gray leaves,"
like those of Gethsemane. These blessed palms, sprinkled with holy
water and wafting strange fragrances of incense, would be carried home
and kept in myriad balconies all the year through, to protect the
house from "the all-dreaded thunder-stone."

That Sunday afternoon at five o'clock we were leaning out expectantly
from our host's best balcony. With the constant Spanish courtesy, he
had betaken himself, with the children of the household, to a less
commanding balcony below, and his eldest son had considerately
withdrawn, accompanied by his fiancée, to a mere speck of a balcony
above. This left a dozen of us, Spanish, English, and American, to
enjoy as good a view as the city afforded of the processional
tableaux.

The oblong _Plaza de la Constitución_, the scene in days gone by of
many a tournament, _auto de fe_, and bull-fight, is bounded on one
side by the ornate Renaissance façade of the city hall, and on the
other, in part, by the plain front of the court-house, before which
criminals used to be done to death. Private dwellings, with their
tiers of balconies, one of which had fallen to our happy lot, cross
the wider end of the _plaza_, while the other opens into the brilliant
street of _Las Sierpes_, too narrow for carriages, but boasting the
gayest shop windows and merriest cafés of all the town.

The _plaza_, always animated, fairly rippled with excitement this Palm
Sunday afternoon. The grand stand, erected in front of the city hall,
was filled, although many of the camp-chairs and benches placed in
thick-set rows on the farther side of the line of march were not yet
rented. Thursday and Friday are the days that draw the multitudes. The
crowd was bright with uniforms, most conspicuous being the spruce
white-edged, three-cornered hats and dark-blue, red-faced coats of the
civil guard. Venders of peanuts, peanut candy, macaroons, caramels,
and all manner of _dulces_ swung their baskets from one sweet-toothed
Spaniard to another, while wisely the water-seller went in their wake,
with the artistic yellow jar over his shoulder. One young pedler was
doing a flourishing business in crabs, the customers receiving these
delicacies in outstretched pocket handkerchiefs.

Busy as our eyes were kept, we were able to lend ear to the
explanations of our Spanish friends, who told us that the church
dignitaries, after the procession of palms, took no official part in
the shows of Passion Week, although many of the clergy belonged, as
individuals, to the religious brotherhoods concerned. The church
reserves its street displays for Corpus Christi. These brotherhoods,
societies of ancient origin, and connected with some church or chapel,
own dramatic properties often of great intrinsic value and
considerable antiquity.

For days before Holy Week one may see the members busy in the churches
at the task of arranging groups of sacred figures, vested as richly as
possible in garments of silk and velvet, with ornaments of jewels and
gold, on platforms so heavy that twenty-five men, at the least, are
needed to carry each. These litters are escorted through the principal
streets and squares of the city by their respective societies, each
brotherhood having its distinctive dress. It is customary for every
_cofradia_ to present two pageants--the first in honor of Christ; the
second, and more important, in honor of Mary, to whom chivalrous Spain
has always rendered supreme homage; but sometimes the two tableaux are
combined into one.

After long watching and waiting we saw, far down _Las Sierpes_, the
coming of the first procession. A line of police marched in advance to
clear the road. Then appeared a loosely ordered company of fantastic
figures in blue capes and blue peaked caps, absurdly high and reaching
down to the shoulder, with holes cut for the eyes. From beneath the
capes flowed white frocks, and the gloves and sandals were white.
These "Nazarenes," who looked like a survival of the Carnival,
conducted in silence a litter upon which was erected an image of the
crucified Christ, with face uplifted as if in prayer.

The pageant halted before the doors of the city hall to greet the
Alcalde, who rose from his red velvet chair and bared his head. Men
uncovered, and people stood all along the route, but acclamations were
reserved for Our Lady of the Star. Her attendant troop was dressed
like the preceding, with a star embroidered in white on the shoulder
of the blue tunic. Her litter was ablaze with candles and laden with
flowers; her outsweeping train was upborne by four little pages, and a
brass band followed her with unceasing music.

  [Illustration: FILLING THE WATER-JARS]

Sunset colors were in the sky before the procession of the second
brotherhood arrived. At last, far down the _Sierpes_, the dusk was
dotted with the gleam of many tapers, and above these, most impressive
in the dim distance, glimmered a white figure high upon the cross. As
the pageant drew near, waves of incense rolled out upon the air. The
crash of trumpets and deep boom of drums announced that Our Lady of
the Angels was advancing upon the same platform with her Son, for
music in these Passion Week processions is always a sign of the
presence of the Virgin. The brothers of this retinue wore black, save
that their peaked caps were purple.

As twilight gathered, a company of strange dark shapes bore past in
solemn hush the Most Holy Christ of the Waters. The Saviour hung upon
the cross, an angel receiving in a golden cup the blood from his
wounded side. Then her great banner of white and blue heralded the
approach of Our Lady of the Utter Grief, who passed with her
accustomed pomp of lights and music, holding to her eyes a
handkerchief said to be of the most exquisite lace.

Night had fallen when, at eight o'clock, a maid left on vigil called
us all from the dinner table to see the beautiful procession of
white-robed figures conducting Our Father Jesus of the Silence. The
figure of Christ, resplendent in gold and purple, stood before Herod,
whose mail-clad soldiers guarded the prisoner. The Roman costumes were
so well copied, and all the postures and groupings so startlingly
natural, that _vivas_ went up all along the crowded square. As the
banner of the Virgin saluted the Alcalde, her attendants let fall
their long white trains, which swept out quite six yards behind,
reaching from one brother to the next and yielding a wonderfully fine
effect in the slow march. Our Lady of the Bitterness, toward whom
leaned the tender look of St. John, was robed in superb brocade, so
precious that her train, which stood stiffly out behind, was guarded
by a soldier with drawn sword.

This closed the ceremonies of Palm Sunday, and the throng, catching
one from another the blithe, sweet Andalusian melodies, went singing
softly through the darkness on their various ways.

After Palm Sunday a secular quiet fell upon Seville, not broken until
Wednesday. At five o'clock this March afternoon it was still so hot
that few people were rash enough to move about without the shelter of
parasols. Sevillian priests, sombre-robed as they were, sauntered
cheerily across the _plaza_ under sunshades of the gayest hues,
orange, green, azure, red, and usually all at once, but the shamefaced
Englishmen flapped up broad umbrellas of an uncompromising black.
There was a breezy flutter of fans on the grand stand, the
water-sellers had to fill their jars again and again, and the
multitude of smokers, puffing at their paper cigarettes to cool
themselves, really brought on a premature twilight.

It was nearly seven before a score of gendarmes, marching abreast,
cleared the way for the procession. Then appeared, in the usual guise,
some twenty feet apart, two files of those strange shapes, with high,
peaked caps, whose visors descended to the breast, slowly advancing,
with an interval of about six feet from man to man. Their caps and
frocks were black, but the long capes glowed a vivid red. They carried
the customary lighted tapers, so tall that, when rested on the ground,
they reach to the shoulder. Midway between the files walked a
cross-bearer, followed by a Nazarene, who uplifted the standard of
St. Andrew's Cross in red on a black ground. Bearers of other insignia
of the order preceded the great litter, on which, under a golden palm
tree, was represented by life-size effigies the arrest of Christ among
His Disciples, St. Andrew having the foremost place. The second
pageant presented by this brotherhood was accompanied by bevies of
white-robed boys swinging censers and chanting anthems. Then came, in
effulgence of light, the Most Holy Virgin, escorted, as if she were
the earthly Queen of Spain, by a detachment of the Civil Guard, whose
white trimmings and gold belts gleamed in the candle rays.

The remaining three _cofradias_ that had part in the Wednesday
ceremonies exhibited but one pageant each. A troop in black and gold
conducted a Calvary, with Mary Mother and Mary Magdalene both kneeling
at the foot of the cross, robed in the richest velvet. Figures in
white, with stripes of red, came after, with a yet more costly
Calvary. The well-carved crucifix rose from a gilded mound, and Our
Mother of Healing wore a gold crown of exceeding price. But the third
Calvary, all wrought in black and gold, the colors of the brotherhood,
which were repeated in standard and costume, won the plaudits of the
evening. Here Longinus, the Roman centurion, mounted on a spirited
horse, was in the act of piercing with his lance the Saviour's side.
Amid _vivas_ and _bravos_ this Passion picture passed, like its
predecessors, in clouds of incense and peals of solemn music.

On Thursday the wearing of black was almost universal. We rummaged our
shawl straps for some poor equivalent of the Spanish black silks and
black mantillas. The Civil Guard was more superb than ever in
full-dress uniform, with red vests and white trousers. No sound of
wheels was suffered within the city limits, and late arrivals had to
commit their luggage to a porter and follow him on foot.

At three o'clock, in the Sagrario of the cathedral, the archbishop
washed the feet of thirteen old paupers, who sat in two confronting
rows, looking neat as wax and happy as honey, each dressed in a
brand-new suit, with a long-fringed damask towel over his shoulder.
Their old blood had been warmed by the archbishop's own wine, for they
had just come from luncheon in the ecclesiastical palace, where they
had been served by the highest dignitaries of the church and the
proudest nobles of the city. The function of foot washing was not
taken too seriously. The fat canons smiled good-humoredly on their
archbishop, as his group of attendants lowered him to his knees and
lifted him again before every old man in turn, and the acolytes nudged
one another with boyish mirth over the rheumatic, embarrassed efforts
of the beneficiaries to put on their stockings.

A Franciscan friar mounted the pulpit, however, and turned the
congregation, thickly sprinkled with English visitors, serious enough
by a succinct and fiery sermon, saying, in a nutshell, that love is
the glory of the religious life, but is the fruit only of Catholicism,
for nowhere, though one searches the world over, can there be found a
work of mercy--hospital, asylum, endowed school, charity of any sort
or kind--due to Protestantism. And the old paupers, glancing down at
their new suits and feeling the glow of their banquet, were glad to
the tips of their purified toes that their lots had been cast in
Catholic Spain.

By six o'clock the squares and streets along the processional route
were thronged again, although our Spanish friends assured us that the
numbers were less than usual. The war feeling kept the Americans and,
to some extent, the English away, while many of the Spanish of the
provinces, who were accustomed to take their annual outing in Seville
during the _Semana Santa_, were held at home this year by poverty or
mourning.

The first two pageants of the afternoon, those of the bull-fighters
and the cigarette-makers, were awaited with especial eagerness. For
these Seville brotherhoods, more than thirty in all, still maintain
something of the mediæval structure of the guilds. Just as in England
and France, from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, or
thereabouts, organized companies of craftsmen used to present in
Passion Week successive scenes from the life of Christ, these Spanish
_cofradias_ to-day maintain such general lines of division in
performing a similar function. Yet any Catholic Sevillian may, if he
chooses, secure admission to any of these societies, irrespective of
his occupation. The young _caballero_ who chanced to be our prime
source of information this Thursday afternoon was himself of a
prominent family, a protégé of the archbishop, and a student of law,
yet he belonged to the brotherhood of Fruit Venders, although his
devotion seemed a little languid, and he had excused himself on this
occasion from the long march in the breathless Nazarene garb.

Not all the brothers feel bound to perform this penitential service
every Passion Week, and, indeed, not all the brotherhoods. Several of
the most elaborate pageants were missing from the ranks this year.
Such omissions are not as disastrous to the processional effect as
they would have been in England, for example, some six centuries ago.
Then the gilded and tapestried platforms, set on wheels, which the
processions conducted through the streets, were really stages, and at
the halting places the best actors of each guild played upon its
particular platform an appointed scene from the sacred drama. The
sequence of events was duly observed, and the spectator, standing in
market-place or at street corner, while one theatre after another
rolled by him, saw acted out with much finery of wardrobe and
ingenuity of machinery, with tragic dialogue and declamation, relieved
by comic interludes, all the Bible story, from the revolt of Lucifer
to the Day of Judgment. But modern Spain, abandoning the acting and
recitation and substituting puppets for living men, has let slip the
dramatic sequence, so that a few pageants less means only so much
abatement in the general splendor of the spectacle.

The bull-fighters of Andalusia are eminently religious and are said,
likewise, to be remarkable for their domestic virtues. All their manly
fury is launched against the bull, and they have only gentleness left
for wives and children. I have heard no better argument for the bull
ring. At all events, these _toreros_, marching soberly in black, with
yellow belts, escorted with well-ordered solemnity an image of the
crucified Christ, followed by a queenly effigy of Our Lady of Refuge,
erect behind terraced ranks of candles on a flower-strewn litter,
under a costly canopy of black velvet embroidered with gold. The
cigarette-makers came after with their two pageants, Christ fastened
to the pillar, and Our Lady of Victory.

It was, as usual, the second upon which the main expense had been
lavished. A great company of acolytes, richly clad and swinging
censers of pure silver, went in advance of the Virgin, and three bands
of music followed her with continuous acclaim, while a regiment of
soldiers attended as a guard of honor. Immediately in front of the
_paso_ went, surrounded by officers and aides, General Ochando, his
head uncovered and his breast glittering with decorations, for the
young king of Spain is a member of this _cofradia_, and had sent the
distinguished military governor of the Provinces, who has a palace in
Seville, to represent him. Especial enthusiasm was called out by this
image of Mary, for the cigarette-makers had just presented her with a
new mantle at a cost of nine thousand dollars. The brothers were
willingly aided by the seven thousand women who work in the immense
tobacco factory, the average contribution of each donor being two
_centimos_ (two-fifths of a cent) a week during the preceding year. No
wonder that the Virgin seemed to stand proudly upon her silvered
pedestal, her gorgeous new mantle streaming out until it almost
touched the head of a white-vested girl who walked barefoot close
behind the litter, so fulfilling a vow made in extremity of illness.

Black and white were the banners and costumes of the third procession,
very effective through the deepening dusk. Their leading pageant was a
Gethsemane, famous for the beauty of the carving. Christ is
represented in prayer before an angel, who bears in one hand the cross
and in the other the cup of bitterness, while Peter, James, and John
are sleeping near their Master. These Passion groups are, with a few
exceptions of still earlier date, works of the seventeenth century,
the glorious period of Spanish art, the day of Murillo and Velázquez.
The most and best are from the hand of the Sevillian Montañés, of
chief repute in the Spanish school of polychrome sculpture, but this
Gethsemane was carved by his imitator, Roldan, whose daughter, La
Roldana, is accredited with the figure of the angel and with the
reliefs that adorn the pedestal.

Another Virgin, who, like all the rest, seemed a scintillation of gold
and jewels, swept by, and a new troop of Nazarenes, this time in
purple and white, passed with two august pageants,--the Descent from
the Cross and the Fifth Anguish of Mary. Then came two files of
ash-colored figures, who marshalled, between their rows of starry
tapers, each taper bending toward its opposite, a vivid presentation
of the Crowning with Thorns; and, after this, their Mary of the
Valley, noted for the gracious sweetness of her countenance. This
image is held to be one of Montañés's masterpieces in wood-carving.

Five processions had now passed, with their two pageants each, and the
hour was late, but we could not leave the balcony for anything so
commonplace as dinner. Far down the street of _Las Sierpes_ waved a
river of lights, announcing the advent of the most ancient of all the
Sevillian brotherhoods, Jesus of the Passion. The crowded _plaza_ rose
in reverence as the Crucifixion _paso_ was borne by, and Our Lady of
Mercy, too magnificent for her name, was greeted with rapturous
outcries.

  [Illustration: OFF FOR THE WAR]

Just how and when and where something in the way of food was taken, I
hardly know, but as this, the last of the Thursday evening
processions, passed in music out of the _plaza_, a few of us made
speed by a deserted side street to the cathedral. We were too late for
the _Miserere_, which was just closing in that surprising hubbub,
the stamping of feet and beating of canes and chairs against the
floor, by which Spanish piety is wont to "punish Judas." But we took
our station near by the entrance to the Royal Chapel, wherein had been
erected the grand Holy Week monument, in white and gold, shaped like a
temple, and shining with innumerable silver lamps and taper lights.
Within this monument the Host, commonly spoken of in Spain as _Su
Majestad_, had been solemnly placed the night before, much as the
mediæval church used to lay the crucifix, with requiems, under the
High Altar on Good Friday, and joyously bring it forth again Easter
morning. But Spanish Catholicism is strangely indifferent to dates,
burying the Host on Wednesday and celebrating the Resurrection
Saturday.

All day long the Royal Chapel had been filled with relays upon relays
of kneeling worshippers, and the hush there had been so profound that
the hum of the tourist-haunted nave and the tumult of the streets
seemed faint and foreign to the hearing, like sounds a universe away.
Before this chapel entrance all the pageants, as they were borne in
silence through the cathedral, paused and did homage to the Host.
Having outstripped the procession, we had arrived in season to witness
three of these salutations. The Nazarenes, in passing, fell upon their
knees in the light of the great, gleaming monument, and each of the
heavy platforms was slowly swung about so that it faced this symbol of
Christ's sepulchre.

Yet there was something besides devotion in the cathedral. As the
crowd pressed close, we felt, more than once, a fumbling at our
pockets, and the little artist lost her purse. The rest of us
comforted her by saying over and over that she ought to have known
better than to bring it, and by severally relating how cautious we had
been on our own accounts.

It was hard upon eleven when we returned to the house, but the streets
were all alive with people. I went to the balcony at midnight, and
again at the stroke of one, and both times looked down upon a _plaza_
crossed and recrossed in all directions by talkative, eager groups.
Many of these restless promenaders had been able to get no lodgings,
and were walking to keep warm. The pressure upon the hotels was so
great that one desperate stranger this Thursday night paid twenty
dollars for a cot from ten o'clock till two, and private hospitality
was taxed to a degree that nothing but Spanish courtesy and
good-nature could ever have endured. In the house which harbored us,
for instance, we were all fitted in as compactly as the pieces of a
puzzle, when the unexpected friends began to arrive.

On Wednesday there appeared from the far north a man and wife,
acquaintances of ten years back. Our host and hostess greeted this
surprise party with Andalusian sunshine in their faces, and yielded up
their own room. Thursday morning there walked gayly in one of the
son's university classmates from Madrid. Don Pepe embraced him like a
brother, and surrendered the sofa, which was all he had left to give.
And this Thursday midnight, as a crowning touch, three more chums of
college days came clattering at the bell. Their welcome was as cordial
as if the household were pining for society. The tired maids, laughing
gleefully over the predicament, contributed their own mattresses and
pillows, and made up beds on the study floor, where Don Pepe camped
out with his comrades, to rise with a headache that lasted for days
after.

By two o'clock I had taken my station on the balcony for an all-night
vigil. The most of the family bore me company for the cogent reason
that they had nowhere to sleep, but the other guests of the house held
out for only an hour or two, and then went blinking to their repose.
My memory of the night is strangely divided between the dreamlike,
unearthly pomps and splendors streaming through the square below and
the kindly, cheery people who came and went about me. The señora,
still fresh and charming, although she has wept the deaths of fourteen
out of her nineteen children, was merrily relating, with weary head
against her husband's shoulder, her almost insuperable difficulties in
the way of furnishing her table. The milkman roundly declared that if
she wanted a double quantity of the precious fluid (and goat's milk at
that), she must make it up with water. There was no meat to be had in
the Catholic city during these holy days, and even her baker had
forsaken his oven and gone off to see the sights. And the
black-bearded señor, who, like his wife, had not been in bed for forty
odd hours, laughed at her and comforted her, puffed harder than ever
at his cigarette, and roguishly quoted the saying, "He whom God loves
has a house in Seville."

By two o'clock the seats on the grand stand were filling fast, the
_plaza_ hummed with excitement, the balconies resounded with song and
laughter, and the strong electric lights in front of the city hall
cast a hard, white brilliance over all the scene. The frying of
_calientes_, an Andalusian version of twisted doughnuts, was in savory
progress here and there on the outskirts of the throng, and our ever
thoughtful hostess did not fail to keep her balcony well supplied
with these crisp dainties.

The twinkling of taper lights, so warm and yellow under those pallid
globes of electric glare, appeared while people were still hurrying to
their places; but hundreds upon hundreds of black and gold figures had
paced by before the first of their _pasos_ came into view. For these
processions of the dawn, _de madrugada_, call out great numbers of the
devout, who would thus keep the last watch with their Lord. The clocks
struck three as the leading pageant, a very ancient image of Christ,
bearing a silver-mounted cross of tortoise-shell, halted before the
Alcalde. A white banner wrought with gold heralded the Virgin, who
rose, in glistening attire, from a golden lake of lights.

The wealthy _cofradia_ of San Lorenzo followed in their costly habits
of black velvet. They, too, conducted a pageant of Christ bearing His
cross, one of the most beautiful groups of Montañés, the pedestal
adorned with angels in relief. To the Christ, falling on the Via
Dolorosa, the brotherhood, with the usual disregard of historic
propriety, had given a royal mantle of ermine, embroidered with gold
and pearls. A large company of black-clad women, carrying candles,
walked behind the _paso_, on their penitential march of some eight
hours. Many of them were ladies delicately bred, whose diamonds
sparkled on the breast of the approaching Mary. For the Sevillian
señoras are accustomed to lend their most valuable gems to their
favorite Virgins for the _Semana Santa_, and San Lorenzo's Lady of
Grief is said to have worn this night the worth of millions. She
passed amid a great attendant throng, in such clouds of incense that
the eye could barely catch the shimmer of her silver pedestal, the
gleam of the golden broideries that almost hid the velvet of her
mantle, and the flashes and jets of light that shot from the
incredible treasure of jewels that she wore.

The third troop of Nazarenes, robed in white and violet, bore for
banner a white cross upon a violet ground. Their Christ-pageant
pictured Pilate in his judgment seat in the act of condemning the Son
of God to death. Jesus, guarded by armed soldiers, calmly confronts
the troubled judge, at whose knee wait two little pages with a basin
of water and towels.

And now came one of the most gorgeous features of the Holy Week
processions--a legion of Roman soldiers, attired as never Roman
soldiers were, in gold greaves and crimson tunics, with towering
snow-white plumes. But a splendid show they made as, marching to drum
and fife, they filed down _Las Sierpes_ and stretched "in never ending
line" across the _plaza_. Our most Holy Mary of Hope, who followed,
wearing a fair white tunic and a gold-embroidered mantle of green, the
color of the hopeful season, drowned the memory of that stern military
music in a silver concert of flutes.

After this sumptuous display, the fourth band of Nazarenes, gliding
through the _plaza_ between night and day in their garb of black and
white, could arouse but little enthusiasm, although their Crucifixion
was one of the most artistic, and their Lady of the Presentation had
her poorest garment of fine satin.

A pearly lustre was stealing through the sky, and the chill in the air
was thinning the rows of spectators on the grand stand, when
mysterious, dim-white shapes, like ghosts, bore by in utter silence a
pageant of Christ fainting beneath the burden of the cross. But soon
the clamor of drums and fifes ushered in another long array of Roman
soldiers, a rainbow host in red and pink and blue, crimson plumes
alternating with white, and golden shields with silver. The electric
lights, globed high overhead, took one look at this fantastic
cavalcade and went out with a gasp.

It was now clear day. Canaries began to sing in their cages, and
parrots to scream for chocolate. Sleepy-eyed servant-maids appeared on
the balconies, and market women, leading green-laden donkeys, peered
forth from the side streets into the square. The morning light made
havoc with the glamour of the pageants. Something frank and practical
in the sunshine stripped those candle-lighted litters of their
dignity. Busy people dodged through the procession lines, and one
Nazarene after another might be seen slipping out of the ranks and
hurrying awkwardly, in his cumbersome dress, with the half-burned
taper under his arm, to the refuge of his own mosquito-netting and
orange tree. The tired crowd grew critical and irreverent, and openly
railed upon the Virgin of this ghostly _cofradia_ because her velvet
mantle was comparatively plain. "Bah! how poor it is! Are we to sit
here all the night for such stingy shows as that?"

But the last brotherhood in the _madrugada_ processions had, with
their white frocks and blue caps and capes, suited themselves to the
colors of the day. The stumbling children, blind with sleep, whom
fathers were already leading off the square, turned back for a drowsy
gaze at the resplendent tunic of the Christ in the Via Dolorosa
_paso_, a tunic claimed to be the richest of all the garments worn by
the effigies of Jesus. So lovely was this trooping company in their
tints of sky and cloud, bearing a great blue banner and a shining
ivory cross, that they brought order and decorum with them.

The division that escorted the Virgin marched on with especial
steadiness, not a peaked cap drooping, nor a boyish acolyte faltering
under the weight of his tall gilded censer. This most Holy Mary of
Anguish, whose litter and canopy were all of white and gold, swept by
in triumphal peals of music while the clocks were striking six. In
some mental confusion, I said good night to the people I left on the
balcony, and good morning to the people I met on the stairs, and ate
my breakfast before I went to bed.

It seemed as if human nature could bear no more; the eyes ached with
seeing, and phantasmal processions went sweeping through our dreams;
yet Friday afternoon at five o'clock found our balcony, like all the
rest, full to overflowing. Some twenty thousand people were massed in
the _plaza_, and it was estimated that over one hundred thousand
waited along the line of march. Our Spanish entertainers, still
unrefreshed by any chance for sleep, were as gayly and punctiliously
attentive to their guests as ever, from our gallant host, who
presented the ladies with fragrant bouquets of roses and orange
blossoms, to the little pet of the household, who at the most
engrossing moments in the ceremonial would slip away from her
privileged stand on a footstool against the railing to summon any
member of the party who might be missing the spectacle.

The Spanish colors floated out from city hall and court-house, but the
great concourse below was all in hues of mourning, the black mantillas
often falling over dresses of plain purple. The señoritas in the
balconies had substituted knots of black ribbon for the customary
flowers in the hair. Jet trimmings abounded, and the waving fans were
black.

The coming procession, we were assured on every hand, would be the
most solemn of all and the most sumptuous. The habits of the Nazarenes
would be of satin, silk, and velvet. The images of Christ and the
Virgin would be attired with all possible magnificence of damask and
ermine, gold and jewels. Brotherhood would vie with brotherhood in
splendor, and one prodigy of luxury would succeed another.

The leading company, whose far-trailing robes carpeted the street with
fine black velvet, stood for the olive industry. This _cofradia_ had
been poor and unimportant for generations, but in recent years a
devoted brother, a manufacturer of olive packing-barrels, had poured
forth his accumulated fortune upon the society, with the result that
their _pasos_ are now second in ostentation and expense to none. The
donor, long since too feeble to bear his taper in the line, lives in
humble obscurity, but his old heart swells with joy this great day of
the year when he sees, following the elaborate carving of the
Crucifixion, the dazzling chariot of Our Lady of Solitude. Upon her
mantle, which enjoys the proud distinction of being the very costliest
of all, he has lavished twenty thousand dollars. Longer by a yard than
any of the others, it was yet unable to find place for all the gold
which the zealous Nazarene had given for it, and the residue was
bestowed about the pedestal and canopy. The _paso_ is so heavy with
gold that it requires a double force of men to carry it; but each of
these hidden bearers, getting air as best he can through a silver
breathing-tube, is sure of a dollar for his recompense as well as two
glasses of good wine.

  [Illustration: GRANADA. LOOKING TOWARD THE DARRO]

All the adornment of the litter is of pure gold, and such wealth of
jewels glinted from the Virgin's glorious raiment that a triple force
of Civil Guards was detailed for her protection. Her ardent worshipper
has denied her nothing. The very columns that uphold her canopy are
exquisite in carving, and it is his yearly pride to see that her
clouds of incense are the thickest, and her train of musicians the
most extended, in all that glittering line.

The second _cofradia_ exhibited but a single pageant, relying for
effect upon the beauty of the sculpture. The Mater Dolorosa was bowed
in her desolation at the foot of the Holy Rood, from which hung only
the white folds of the winding-sheet.

But the third brotherhood had bethought themselves to introduce,
between their austere Crucifixion and their shining image of Mary,
another preposterous parade of Roman soldiers--flower-colored,
plume-tossing, butterfly creatures far too bright, if not too good,
"for human nature's daily food." One whiff from Cæsar's iron breast
would have blown them away like soap bubbles.

The silversmiths trooped by in graver, more majestic state, their
purple velvet habits girded with gold cords. Upon a gilded pedestal,
wrought with high relief, was seen their Christ, bowed beneath a
precious cross of tortoise-shell and silver. Our Lady of Expectation
gleamed with gold and gems, and this haughty brotherhood received a
full meed of applause.

Black from top to toe was the fifth procession. Their Jesus of the Via
Dolorosa bent beneath a sombre cross of ebony embossed with gold, but
the blithe young voices of the countless choir-boys, singing like
birds before the dawn, ushered in a sun-bright image of Mary.

But something was amiss with the processional order. Where were the
stately ranks of Montserrat? Alas and alas! Scarcely had this
aristocratic _cofradia_ gone a hundred paces from their chapel when,
in the narrow street of Murillo, a leaning candle touched the lace
skirt of the Virgin and instantly all the front of the litter was in
flames. It was hardly a matter of minutes. From the balconies above
were dashed down pailfuls and pitcherfuls of water. The Nazarenes,
wrenching away the blue velvet mantle wondrously embroidered in gold
with castles, lions, and _fleurs de lis_, succeeded in rescuing a
ragged half of it, and the Civil Guards, drawing their swords and
forming a circle about the smoking litter, saved the jewels from
robbery. Perhaps the other _paso_, too, Christ of the Conversion of
the Penitent Thief, had some protecting influence. But in all this ado
about her finery, the poor Virgin's face, beloved for its winsome
look, was completely burned away. In sorry plight Our Lady of
Montserrat was hurried back to her chapel, and the swift rumor of the
disaster sent a superstitious trouble through the city.

But more and more solemnly the taper-bearing troops of Nazarenes
poured by with the culminating pictures of the Passion. These last
three _cofradias_ presented each a single pageant. An escort in dark
purple conducted an impressive Descent from the Cross. The Virgin, her
crowned head bowed in anguish, clasps the drooping body of Christ to
her heart, while John and Mary Magdalene look on in hopeless sorrow.
Figures in black and white came after, with their sixteenth-century
carving, Christ of the Dying Breath, beneath the cross standing Our
Lady of Tears. And last of all, in slow, sad movement, their white
trains streaming like a line of light along the stone-paved way,
passed the second brotherhood of San Lorenzo, bearing the Most Blessed
Virgin in her Solitude. The gold of her mantle seemed one with the
gold of the candle rays, and, for many a silent watcher, those
gliding, gleaming, spiritlike forms will move forever down a shining
path in memory. So closed the Holy Week processions.

"How sorry I am," said our host, with the Andalusian twinkle in his
eye. "It is almost eleven o'clock. Ladies and gentlemen, will you
please walk out to dinner?"

On Saturday morning we went early to the cathedral for the closing
rite. The Sagrario was thronged. Some of the señoras had brought low
folding chairs with them, others sat upon the floor, but most of that
innumerable congregation knelt or stood. We were all facing the great
purple veil which concealed the high altar, with Roldan's retablo of
the Descent from the Cross. There was an hour or more of expectation,
during which rosaries slipped through the fingers of many a veiled
nun, and the soft murmur of prayer came from strong men as well as
from pale-faced women. Suddenly, while a shock of thunder crashed from
the organ, hidden ministrants sharply drew on hidden cords, the purple
curtain parted in the midst, and the two folds rolled asunder,
revealing the high altar, with its carving of the accomplished
Passion. The organ poured forth jubilees of victory, all the bells of
the cathedral pealed together, _Gloria in Excelsis_ soared in choral
chant, and amid the awe-stricken multitudes fallen to their knees, _Su
Majestad_ was borne in priestly procession from the tomb in the Royal
Chapel to the candles and incense which awaited at the high altar that
triumphal coming.

Easter Sunday was celebrated by a bull-fight.



VII

TRACES OF THE INQUISITION

     "I live a life more great than I.
     The life I hope is life so high,
     I die because I cannot die."
                                --_Santa Teresa de Jesús._


All Spaniards venerate the name of _Isabel la Católica_, nor is the
impressionable De Amicis the only foreigner who has trembled and wept
at Granada before the enshrined memorials, jewel box, mirror, missal,
and crown, of her royal womanhood. She is a precious figure in Spain's
sunset revery--a saint beneath a conquering standard, a silken lady in
a soldier's tent. Yet this peerless queen, merciful, magnanimous,
devout, "the shield of the innocent," caring supremely for the glory
of God and the good of her country, gave consent, albeit reluctant, to
the establishment of the Inquisition, Christianity's chief scandal and
Spain's most fatal blight. So ironic were the stars of Isabel.

The Inquisition, it is true, originated in Italy early in the
thirteenth century and followed the flight of some of the Albigenses
into Aragon, but its work in Spain had been comparatively slight and
merciful until the "Catholic Kings," in the interests of religious
reform, for the purification of the national faith, let its horrors
loose. Wherever one moves in Spain the sickening breath of the _auto
de fe_ lingers in the air. In such a square, we read, was once a
mighty bonfire of Jews; beneath our feet, we are told, is a mass of
human bones and cinders. This sunshiny Seville, with her parks and
patios, her palms and orange groves, a city seemingly fashioned only
for love and song, had her army of nearly twoscore thousand martyrs,
who, dressed in the hateful _San Benitos_, yellow coats painted with
flames and devils, were burned to death here in our gay _Plaza de la
Constitución_, then known as the _Plaza de San Francisco_, and in the
_Quemadero_ beyond the walls. As one mingles with some outdoor throng,
all intent on pageant, dance, or other spectacle, one shudders to
remember that just such dark, eager faces were ringed about the
agonies of those heroic victims. For there are two sides to the
Spanish Inquisition. If Spaniards were the inquisitors, Spaniards,
too, were the dauntless sufferers. The sombre gaze of the torturer was
met, as steel meets iron, by the unflinching eye of the tortured. But
"the unimaginable touch of Time" transforms all tragedy to beauty, and
red poppies, blowing on the grassy plain of the _Quemadero_, translate
into poetry to-day that tale of blazing fagots.

Sometimes the victims were of foreign blood. Hakluyt has preserved the
simple narratives of two English sailors, who were brought by their
Spanish captors from the Indies as a sacrifice to the Holy House of
Seville. One, a happy-go-lucky fellow, Miles Phillips, who had been
too well acquainted in Mexico with the dungeons of the Inquisition,
slipped over the ship's side at San Lúcar, made his way to shore, and
boldly went to Seville, where he lived a hidden life as a silk-weaver,
until he found his chance to steal away and board a Devon
merchantman. The other, Job Hortop, added to his two years of Mexican
imprisonment two more years in Seville. Then "they brought us out in
procession, every one of us having a candle in his hand, and the coat
with S. Andrew's cross on our backs; they brought us up on an high
scaffold, that was set up in the place of S. Francis, which is in the
chief street of Seville; there they set us down upon benches, every
one in his degree, and against us on another scaffold sate all the
Judges and the Clergy on their benches. The people wondered, and gazed
on us, some pitying our case, others said, burn those heretics. When
we had sat there two hours, we had a sermon made to us, after which
one called Bresinia, secretary to the Inquisition, went up into the
pulpit with the process, and called Robert Barret, ship-master, and
John Gilbert, whom two Familiars of the Inquisition brought from the
scaffold before the Judges, where the secretary read the sentence,
which was that they should be burnt, and so they returned to the
scaffold, and were burnt.

"Then I, Job Hortop, and John Bone, were called, and brought to the
place, as before, when we heard our sentence, which was, that we
should go to the Galleys, and there to row at the oar's end ten years,
and then to be brought back to the Inquisition House, to have the coat
with S. Andrew's cross put on our backs, and from thence to go to the
everlasting prison remediless.

"I with the rest were sent to the Galleys, where we were chained four
and four together.... Hunger, thirst, cold, and stripes we lacked
none, till our several times expired, and after the time of twelve
years, for I served two years above my sentence, I was sent back to
the Inquisition House in Seville, and there having put on the coat
with S. Andrew's cross, I was sent to the everlasting prison
remediless, where I wore the coat four years, and then upon great suit
I had it taken off for fifty duckets, which Hernando de Soria,
treasurer of the king's mint, lent me, whom I was to serve for it as a
drudge seven years."

But this victim, too, escaped in a fly-boat at last, and on a certain
Christmas Eve, about the time when people in London were beginning to
like the comedies of a certain poor player, one Will Shakespeare, did
Job Hortop, Powder-maker and Gunner, walk quietly, after twenty-three
years of martyrdom, into the village of Redcliffe, where he had been a
ruddy English boy with no dream of the day when he should be "prest
forth" by Sir John Hawkins and compelled, sore against his will, to
embark for the West Indian adventure.

Religious liberty now exists under the laws of Spain, although the
administration of those laws leaves much to be desired. In three old
conventual churches of Seville gather her three Protestant
congregations. Beneath the pavements of two of these heretic
strongholds old inquisitors sleep what uneasy sleep they may, while
one of the Protestant pastors, formerly a Catholic priest, has quietly
collected and stored in his church-study numerous mementos of the Holy
Office. Here may be seen two of those rare copies of the 1602 revision
of the Spanish Bible, by Cipriano de Valera, whom the Inquisition
could burn only in effigy, since the translator, who had printed his
book in Amsterdam, did not return to accompany the Familiars to the
_Quemadero_. Here are old books with horrible woodcuts of the
torments, and time-stained manuscripts, several bearing the seal and
signatures of the "Catholic Kings," these last so ill written that it
is hard to tell the name of Ferdinand from that of Isabella. Among
these are royal commissions, or licenses, granted to individual
inquisitors, records of _autos de fe_, and wills of rich inquisitors,
the sources of whose wealth would hardly court a strict examination.
Here, too, is the standard of the Holy Office, the very banner borne
through Seville in those grim processions. Its white silk is saffroned
now, but the strange seal of the Inquisition, a bleeding Christ upon
the cross, is clearly blazoned in the centre, while the four corners
show the seal of San Domingo.

The Inquisition prison, the dreaded Holy House of Seville, is used as
a factory at present, and heresy no longer secures admission there;
but I looked up at its grated windows, and then, with a secret shiver,
down on the ground, where the Spanish pastor of antiquarian tastes was
marking out with his cane the directions of the far-branching
subterranean cells. We slipped into an outer court of the _fabrica_,
where the two gentlemen, effectively aided by a couple of sturdy lads,
pried up and flung back a sullen door in the pavement and invited me
to grope my darkling way down some twenty crumbling steps, overgrown
with a treacherous green mould. There was no refusing, in face of the
cloud of witnesses whose groans these stones had heard, and I took a
heart-breaking plunge into the honeycomb of chill, foul-smelling,
horror-haunted dungeons, whose roofs let fall a constant drip of water
and from whose black recesses I was the unwilling means of liberating
a choice variety of insects.

"But even yet one cannot call one's self a Protestant in Spain, you
know," said an English diplomat to us in another city of Andalusia.
"It's not socially respectable. Spanish Protestants are the very scum
of the earth--illiterate, dirty, boorish. You couldn't associate with
them for a minute."

"But that Spanish pastor who called on us yesterday was entirely a
gentleman," we remonstrated. "He has studied for seven years in
Switzerland and Scotland, seems more open-minded and intelligent than
most Spaniards we have met, and was so courteous and graceful in his
bearing--not to mention the whiteness of his linen--and so
entertaining in his talk, that the Spanish ladies in the room
chorussed his praises, after he had bowed himself out, and declared
him most delightful company."

The diplomat twirled his mustache and smiled, as only diplomats can.
"And you owned up that he was a Protestant? And their faces darkened
as if a storm-cloud had blown over from the Sierras?"

"Precisely so," we admitted, "and after that the best they could say
for him was that they never would have thought it."

The diplomat claimed that he had made his point, while we protested
that the incident only went to show how unreasonable was the prejudice
of whose existence throughout Spain there can be no manner of doubt.

Perez Galdós, for instance, the most popular novelist of the day,
stated to an American friend, who repeated it to us, that he frankly
could not afford to introduce the figure of a Protestant into one of
his stories. "It would not only kill that book," he said, "but it
would hurt the sale of everything I have in the market and embarrass
all my future undertakings. I should simply be risking the loss of my
reading public." And yet Señor Galdós is the author of "Doña
Perfecta," that artistic study of the conflict between new ideas and
old in Spain. In this significant novel, a civil engineer, a man of
thirty, whose scientific education in the large cities of Seville and
Madrid has been supplemented by study in Germany and England, comes to
one of those mediæval towns, or corpses of towns, that rise so
spectre-like from the ash-colored plains of Old Castile. Crumbling
walls and blackened towers jealously guard the life of ages since,
that feudal life of high and low, pride of station, pride of animal
prowess, pride of holiness, pride of idleness, pride of ignorance; the
life of superstition, of family exclusiveness resulting in
intermarriage to the point of insanity; of that fierce local bigotry,
peculiarly Spanish, which dreads and hates all foreign intrusion. The
streets, devoid of business activity, swarm with vigorous mendicants,
who have no better shift, when times grow hard, than to deform the
children who are born to them like kittens in their mud-walled hovels.
The casino, where half the town smokes half its time away, hums with
malicious gossip. The university languidly pursues the studies of
Latin, scholastic divinity, Church history, and all that savors of the
past. Under the gray vault of the cathedral women kneel before the
image of the Christ Child, bringing Him a new pair of embroidered
pantalets and entreating of His rosy simplicity what they would not
dare ask from the "Ecce Homo"; or they kiss the satin-slippered feet
of the miracle-working Virgin and vow her, if their prayer is granted,
seven bright new swords of the finest Toledo workmanship to pierce her
patient heart. The man of scientific training, fresh from the modern
world, is brought into sharp collision with this dim old town. High
principles and essential, spiritual Christianity count him for
nothing; he is speedily denounced as no better than "a murderer, an
atheist, or a Protestant," and his strong young life is actually
beaten out by that blind, terrible force of Spanish fanaticism. So far
the novelist can go; such a hero he dares paint; but not a Protestant.

The notions of Protestantism prevalent among the people, not the
peasants only, but the gentry, are little short of ludicrous. A
black-eyed lady of Cadiz was amazed at our assertion that Protestants
prayed. A Madrid señorita asked us, in friendly confidence, if it were
true that Protestants "denied Christ and spat on the Virgin." The
popular identification of Protestantism with all that is impious and
criminal we encountered as early as our second afternoon in Spain. We
were visiting, in the picturesque fishing-hamlet of Pasajes, a gaunt
Basque church, where the old dame who served as caretaker showed us a
waxen image of a sleeping girl, said, not without probability, to have
been brought from Rome. Beneath the figure is a burial stone, whose
inscription would locate it in the Catacombs. When friends of ours
were at Pasajes some three years before, the grandam's story ran that
the image was the likeness of a Christian martyr, slain by her pagan
father at Rome in the time of the Imperial persecutions; but the tale
glibly recited to us was this: "_Ay de mi!_ The poor young lady! Her
father was a Protestant, and, of course, hated religion, and when his
daughter, so beautiful, was on her way to her first communion, he hid
behind a corner, with an axe, and of a sudden jumped out on her and
struck her dead."

It is such prejudice that goes far toward justifying the maintenance
by foreign societies of Protestant churches in Spain. They cannot
stand alone, in face of all this hostility, and yet the country has
need of them. No European nation can nowadays be shut in to any single
channel of religious life, and doubtless, apart from all questions of
creed, there are Spanish temperaments to which the simpler _culto_ is
more natural than the elaborate ritual of Rome; but, waiving
discussion as to the relative gifts and graces of these two great
divisions of Christ's fellowship, the new seems essential, not for
itself alone, but as a stimulus and corrective to the old. Time may
make it clear that a purified Roman Catholicism is better suited to
the Latin races in general than plainer rites and less symbolic
worship, but there are heavy counts against the Roman Catholic Church
as it exists in Spain. The private lives of the clergy, as a class,
have been so open to reproach that even the finger-games and nonsense
songs of the little children, learned with their baby lispings, mock
priestly immorality. The Church, steward of untold wealth, has endowed
many charities, but the fundamental trust of knowledge it has most
sluggishly and inadequately dispensed. Santiago de Compostela, for
example, is a very nest of religious foundations. Thirty-six Christian
fraternities are gathered there, yet we were told on good authority
that not one peasant in a hundred of those within hearing of
Santiago's fivescore and fourteen holy bells can read and write. In
matters of State, the Church has utterly lost the allegiance of the
progressive party and, to a large extent, the political confidence of
the nation. As Spaniards study the history of their country, they
realize more and more that her colossal mistakes and misfortunes have
been due in large measure to Jesuit and Dominical policy--to the
father confessor in the royal chamber, the inquisitor in shadow of
the throne. With reference to the success of the Church in promoting
spiritual life, a beautiful young nun, her eyes glistening like happy
stars, assured us that there was more devotion in Catholic Spain than
in all the rest of Christendom. A scientist of repute, his voice
choking with grief and wrath, declared to us that the fetters of
superstition had become hopelessly riveted, during these ages of
Church control, on the Spanish mind. But call it what you will,
devotion or superstition, and admitting, as the tourist must, that it
is a most conspicuous and impressive feature of Spanish life, there
are nevertheless thousands of Spaniards, especially the younger men,
over whom it has lost sway. These are the _indiferentes_, many of whom
might find, as some have found, in a fresh presentation of
Christianity, the Godward impetus which they no longer gain from the
Church of Rome.

The most cheerful _indiferente_ I encountered in Spain was a whimsical
old philosopher, well on his way to the nineties, yet so brisk and
hardy as almost to vie with Borrow's Portuguese dame whose hair "was
becoming gray" after a life of one hundred and ten years. His hair,
indeed, is white, and extreme age has written its deforming marks on
face and figure, yet he runs up the steepest stairs, reads the finest
print, fills his days with a close succession of labors and
amusements, and scoffs at religion as airily as if Death had passed
him on the crowded way and would never turn back to look for him
again.

At our first meeting he offered, with characteristic kindness, to come
and read Spanish with me. As I had invaded Spain for the express
purpose of studying the Spanish drama, I took a volume of Calderon
from my trunk and hopefully awaited his visit. But it was a matter of
several visits before I could open my Calderon. The jaunty old
cavalier arrived, brimming over with chat and anecdote, and when at
last I hinted at the reading, produced with pride from his inner coat
pocket a little, paper-bound _geografia_ that he had written himself
for use in the Spanish schools, and proceeded to regale me with
extracts from its pages. I looked severely at the little artist, whose
eyes were dancing in a demure face, and endeavored to profit by this
unexpected course of instruction. The author chuckled much over his
sagacity in having arranged the subject-matter of his book in
paragraphs and not by question and answer. In the latter case, he
explained, the children would learn the answers without reading the
questions, a process bound to result in geographical confusion. The
little volume, as is the wont of school books in other lands, tended
to give to its students a disproportionate idea of the importance of
their own country. Spain and her colonies were treated in seventy
pages, Great Britain and her colonies in three, France in four, while
America, from Greenland to Patagonia, was handled as a single entity,
one figure each, and those absurdly small, being set for "her
population, army, and navy." The _Confederación de los Estados Unidos_
was barely mentioned as one of the five "States" of North America.

But the only feature of his book for which the author felt called upon
to apologize, was the catering to popular superstition, as in stating,
for instance, that in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is
adored the veritable body of St. James. He cast a quizzical glance at
me in reading this, and then laughed himself purple in the face. "One
has to say these things in this country," he gasped, still breathless
from his mirth. "Drops of water must run with the stream. If only
there were a shrine where people might be cured of being fools!"

Quick-witted as the old gentleman was, he presently detected a lack of
geographical enthusiasm in his audience. His literary vanity smarted
for a moment and then he fell to laughing, declaring that ladies
always had a distaste for useful information. "That old wife of mine"
could not abide arithmetic. He digressed into an explanation of the
Roman notation, making it quite clear to us wherein IX differs from
XI, and with antiquated courtliness of phrase, even for Spain, asked
our gracious permission to cause himself the pain of departure.

He often reappeared. His wiry arm, reached through the Moorish bars of
the outer door, would give its own peculiarly energetic twitch to the
bell chain looped within. A maid, leaning over the railing of an upper
story, would call down the challenge inherited from good old fighting
times, "Who comes here?" And his thin voice would chirp the Andalusian
answer, "Peace."

On his second visit he fairly gurgled with pleasure as he placed
another volume with his name on the title-page before me. Since I did
not incline to solid reading, behold him equally ready to supply me
with the sweets of literature! This, too, was a school book, a
somewhat haphazard collection of Castilian poems, with brief
biographies of the authors represented. Its novel educational feature
was the printing of each poem in a different type. The result was a
little startling to the eye, but the editor was doubtless right in
claiming that it made the reading harder for the children, and so
developed their powers through exercise. Here, again, he was ashamed
of the fact that fully two-thirds of the poems were religious.

"But what can one do in this country?" he asked testily. "All the
reading books have to be like that. Bah! But we will not read these
pious verses. The others are much more entertaining."

Determined not to wound him again by any lack of interest in books of
his own shaping, we sat patiently through page after page of that
juvenile school reader; but when, with a pamphlet on spelling and
punctuation, we had completed the list of his works, I once more
called his attention to Calderon.

This struck him as a capital joke. He had never read Calderon himself,
he had hardly heard of Calderon, and that a foreigner, a woman at
that, should insist on reading Calderon, was funny enough to make his
old sides ache. There were modern authors in plenty who must certainly
write much better than an out-of-date fellow like that. He had books
that he could lend me. He had friends from whom he could borrow. But
nothing would please me but Calderon! Why under the fanciful moon
should I set my heart on Calderon?

"_Bueno!_" he cried at last, whisking the mirthful tears from his
eyes. "_Vamos á ver!_ Let us go on and see!"

We opened the classic volume at the Catholic Faust-drama, _El Mágico
Prodigioso_, and began to read, soon passing into the great argument
between Cipriano and Lucifer as to the nature of God. Our guest,
sensitive to all impressions as he was, became immediately amazed and
delighted.

"But this is lofty!" he exclaimed. "This is sublime! Good, Cipriano,
good! Now you have him! What will the devil say to that? _Vamos á
ver!_"

At the close of that tremendous scene he shut the book, fairly panting
with excitement. But nevertheless there was a twinkle in his eye. He
knew now why I craved this Calderon. He was evidently a religious
writer, and women were all religious. It was an amiable feminine
weakness, like the aversion to geography and arithmetic. But his
indulgent chivalry rose to the occasion. Having learned my taste, such
as it was, he would gratify it to the utmost.

"If you would only come and see my library!" he proposed. "I have
exactly the book there that will please you. I have not read it
myself, but it is very large, with most beautiful pictures, and it
tells these old stories about Lucifer and all that. I am sure it is
just what you would like. Will you not do your humble servant the
honor of coming to-morrow afternoon?"

I ran over in my mind our engagements for the morrow. He mistook the
cause of my hesitation.

"Indeed you need not be afraid to come," he urged. "My house is as
safe as a convent. That old wife of mine, too, will be sure to be
somewhere about. And you can bring the silent señorita with you."

I was aware of a slight convulsion in "the silent señorita." She could
speak all the Spanish she chose, but she found the eccentricities of
this visitor so disconcerting that she affected ignorance, and he
supposed her mute presence at our interviews to be purely in deference
to the Spanish proprieties.

My youthful chaperon, much elated by this reversal of our natural
positions, duly attended me the next day to our friend's surprisingly
elegant home. He was forever crying poverty and telling us, with the
tears that came to his old age as easily as the laughter, how the
hardships of life had beaten out of him every ambition save hope to
"gain the bread" until his death, but we found him luxuriously housed,
and I was afterward informed that he was one of the richest men in the
city.

He ran with that wonderful sprightliness of his across the marbled
court to meet us, and ceremoniously conducted us up the handsome
staircase. He led us through all "our house," typically Andalusian,
with statues and urns of blossoming trees set in the open patios, with
Moorish arches and bright-hued tiles, shaded balconies, tapestried and
curtained beds, _braseros_, and rocking-chairs, and in every room
images and paintings of the saints, at which he made irreverent
grimaces.

There were family portraits, too, before three of which he broke down
into weeping--the son who had died in the prime of manhood, the
daughter lost in her fair maidenhood, and, where the stormy sobs shook
him from head to foot, the Benjamin of his heart, a clear-eyed young
officer who had fallen in the Cuban war. The tears were still
streaming down the quivering old face when we turned silently
away--for what word of comfort would Americans dare to speak?--and
followed him to his study.

He was of extravagant repute in his locality as a scholar and a man of
letters, and his study was what a study ought to be,--well furnished
with desk, pigeon-holes, all the tools of literary labor, and walled
with books. Among these was an encyclopædia in which, to his frank
astonishment, he found an article of fifteen pages on Calderon. The
great volume we had come to see lay open on a reading stand. It was a
Spanish Bible, with the Doré illustrations. I wanted to look at the
title-page, but our eager host, proud to exhibit and explain, tossed
over the leaves so fast that I had no opportunity.

As he was racing through the Psalms, impatient because of their dearth
of pictures, my eye was caught by the familiar passage, "As the hart
panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God."

With prompt curiosity, he popped down his white head, in its
close-fitting skullcap, to see what I was noting, and instantly went
off into an immoderate gust of laughter.

"_Muy bien!_" he wheezed, as soon as he could recover anything like a
voice. "But that is very cleverly put. He was a witty fellow who wrote
that. Just so! Just so! The deer goes to the water because he means to
get something for himself, and that is why the young men go into the
priesthood, and why the women go to mass. It's all selfishness, is
religion. But how well he says it!"

"No, no!" I exclaimed, for once startled into protest. "He is saying
that religion is the impulse of thirst."

The incorrigible old worldling took this for another jest, and, as in
gallantry bound, laughed harder at my sally than at poor King David's.

"Excellent! Perfect! So it is! So it is! Religion is the impulse to
fill one's own stomach. Just what I have always said! 'As the hart
panteth after the water brooks'--ho, ho! I must try to remember that."

His enthusiasm for Calderon soon kindled to a flame. As the plot
thickened he ceased to be of the slightest help in any difficulties
that the text might offer. In vain I would beseech him to clear up
some troublesome passage.

"Oh, never mind!" he would say, vexed at the interruption. "They
didn't write very well in those old days. And I want to know which of
her three suitors Justina took. Three at once! What a situation!
_Vamos á ver!_ I hope it will be Cipriano."

As the spell of Calderon's imagination passed more and more strongly
upon him, this most sympathetic of readers quite accepted, for the
time being, the poet's Catholic point of view, trembling for Cipriano
and almost choking with agitated joy when Justina, calling in her
extremity upon the name of God, put Lucifer to flight. But after we
had read the drama to the end, through its final scene of triumphant
martyrdom, he sat silent for several minutes, and then shook his head.

"Not true; it is not true. There is no devil but the evil passions of
humanity. And as for Cipriano's definition of God--it is good, yes; it
is great, yes; but who can shut God into a definition? One might as
well try to scoop up the ocean in a cocoanut shell. No! All religions
are human fictions. We have come, nobody knows whence or why, into
this paltry, foolish, sordid life, for most of us only a fight to gain
the bread, and afterward--_Bueno!_ I am on the brink of the jump, and
the priests have not frightened me yet. Afterward? _Vamos á ver!_"

This man had heard of Protestantism simply as an ignorant notion of
the lower classes. For the typical Spanish Protestant of to-day
presents a striking contrast to the typical Spanish Protestant of the
Reformation. When heresy first entered the Peninsula, it gained almost
no footing among the common people, who supposed Luther to be another
sort of devil and the Protestants a new variety of Jews or Moors; but
the rank and learning of Spain, the youthful nobility, illustrious
preachers and writers, officers and favorites of the Court, even men
and women in whose veins flowed the blood royal, welcomed with ardor
the wave that was surging over Europe. The very eminence of these
heretics sealed their doom. The Inquisition could not miss such
shining marks. The Holy Office did its work with abominable
thoroughness. Apart from the countless multitudes whom it did to death
in dungeon and torture-chamber, it burned more than thirty thousand of
the most valuable citizens of Spain and drove forth from the Peninsula
some three millions of Jews and Moors. The _autos de fe_ were
festivals. Among the wedding pomps for the French bride of Philip II,
a girl thirteen years old, was one of these horrible spectacles at
Toledo. The holiday fires of Seville and Valladolid drank the most
precious blood of Andalusia and Castile. Though Saragossa had a mind
to Huguenot fuel; though Pamplona, on one festal day, heaped up a
holocaust of ten thousand Jews; though Granada, Murcia, and Valencia
whetted their cruel piety on the Moors who had made the southern
provinces a garden of delight; yet in all these cities, as in Toledo,
Logroño, and the rest, the Spanish stock itself was drained of its
finest and most highly cultivated intelligence, its sincerest
conscience, purest valor, its most original and independent thought.
Spain has been paying the penalty ever since. Her history from Philip
II has been a judgment day.

No root of the Lutheran heresy survived in the Peninsula. The new
Protestantism does not spring from the old. The blood of the Spanish
martyrs was not the seed of the Spanish church. The Protestant of
to-day is far removed, socially and politically, from the courtiers,
marquises, knights of Santiago--those gallant cavaliers who were
stripped upon the scaffold of their honorable decorations and clad in
the yellow robe of infamy. This nineteenth-century Protestant may be a
lawyer or a journalist, but by exception. Ordinarily he is a petty
farmer, a small shop-keeper, mechanic, miner, day-laborer, of humble
calling and of lowly life. In politics he is almost surely a
republican. When the monarchy was overthrown, in '68, Protestantism
was, for the moment, in favor, and hundreds of the triumphant party
hastened to profess the reformed faith. With the return of a Roman
Catholic court and perhaps upon the discovery that the new
Christianity, too, has its burden and its yoke, many fell away.

Yet Protestantism has now an assured footing in Spain. Protestant
churches may be found in most of the important cities. There are some
fifty foreign preachers and teachers in the field, aided by nearly
eighty Spanish pastors and colporteurs. The number of Spanish
communicants is between three and four thousand, the church attendance
is reckoned at nine thousand, and there are five thousand Spanish
children in the Protestant schools. Several centres have been
established for the sale of Bibles and Protestant books, and six or
seven Protestant periodicals are published and circulated. In answer
to the continual Romish taunt that Protestantism is a war of sects, a
house divided against itself, a Protestant Union was organized at
Madrid in the spring of 1899. All, save two, of the fifteen missions,
supported by various societies of Great Britain, Germany,
Switzerland, and America, joined hands in this. Only the Plymouth
Brethren and the Church of England held aloof.

  [Illustration: A MILKMAN OF GRANADA]

The Inquisition exists no longer. Religious liberty, even in Spain,
has the support of law. Yet still the Spanish Protestant, this poor,
plain Protestant of to-day, as obscure as those Galilean fishermen
whom the Master called, is harassed by petty persecutions. Children
sing insulting verses after him in the street, especially that pious
ditty:--

     "Get away with you, Protestants,
         Out of our Catholic Spain,
     That the Sacred Heart, the Sacred Heart,
         May love our land again."

He is jealously watched on the passing of "His Majesty the Wafer" and
pursued with mud and spittings if he fails to do it homage. College
boys rub charcoal over the front of his chapel and stone his
schoolroom windows; work is refused him; promotion denied him; his
rent is higher than his neighbor's, yet not his neighbor's family nor
his landlord's cross his threshold. If scorn can burn, he feels the
_auto de fe_.



VIII

AN ANDALUSIAN TYPE

     "'True,' quoth Sancho: 'but I have heard say there are more
     friars in heaven than knights-errant.' 'It may be so,' replied
     Don Quixote, 'because their number is much greater than that
     of knights-errant.' 'And yet,' quoth Sancho, 'there are
     abundance of the errant sort.' 'Abundance indeed,' answered
     Don Quixote, 'but few who deserve the name of
     knights.'"--CERVANTES: _Don Quixote_.


It might have been in Seville, though it was not, that I met my most
_simpático_ example of the Andalusian. He was of old Sierra stock,
merry as the sunshine and gracious as the shadows. Huge of build and
black as the blackest, he was as gentle as a great Newfoundland dog,
until some flying spark of a word set the dark fires blazing in his
eyes. This was no infrequent occurrence, for the travelling
Englishman, as frank as he is patriotic, cannot comprehend the zest
with which well-to-do Spaniards, even in time of war, escape military
service by a money payment. Not the height and girth of our young
giant, nor his cordial courtesy and winning playfulness, shielded him
from the blunt question, "Why didn't you go over to Cuba, a great
fellow like you, and fight for your flag?" His usual rejoinder was the
eloquent Southern shrug of the shoulder, twist of the eyebrow, and
waving lift of the hand, with the not easily answerable words, "And to
what good?" But now and then the query came from such a source or was
delivered with so keen a thrust that his guarded feeling outleaped
reserve. The sarcasms and mockeries that then surged from him in a
bitter torrent were directed chiefly against Spain, although the
American eagle rarely went scot-free. "Ah, yes, it is a fine fowl,
that! He has the far-seeing eye; he has the philanthropic beak and
claw!" But it was the golden lion of Spain against which his harshest
gibes were hurled--"_un animal doméstico_, that does not bite."

No one of the party was a tithe as outspoken as our Spaniard himself
in condemning the errors of the Spanish campaign or censuring the
methods of the Spanish Government. If he turned angrily toward a
criticism from a foreigner, it was only, in the second instant, to
catch it up like a ball and toss it himself from one hand to the
other--like a ball that burns the fingers.

Such wrath can easily be the seamy side of love, and, in a way, the
man's national pride was measured by his national shame; but always
over these outbursts there brooded that something hopelessly resigned,
drearily fatalistic, which seems to vitiate the Spanish indignation
for any purposes of practical reform. To suggestions of sympathy he
responded with a pathetic weariness of manner, this handsome young
Hercules, so radiant with the joy of life, who, in his normal mood,
sprinkled mirth and mischief from him as a big dog shakes off water
drops.

"What can one do? I am a Spaniard. I say it to myself a hundred times
a day. I am a Spaniard, and I wish my country were worth the fighting
for, worth the dying for. But is it? Is it worth the toothache? God
knows the truth, and let it rest there. Oh, you need not tell me of
its past. It was once the most glorious of nations. Spaniards were
lords of the West. But--ah, I know, I know--Spain has never learned
how to rule her colonies. He who sows brambles reaps thorns. The
Church, too, has done much harm in Spain--not more harm than another.
I am a Catholic, but as I see it, priests differ from other men only
in this--in the café sit some bad men and many good, and in the choir
kneel some good priests and many bad. The devil lurks behind the
cross. But Spain will never give up her Church. It is burned in. You
are a heretic, and like my figure, do you not? It is burned in. There
is no hope for Spain but to sink her deep under the earth, and build a
new Spain on top. And why do I not work for that new Spain? How may a
man work? There is talk enough in Spain as it is. Most Spaniards talk
and do no more. They go to the cafés and, when they have emptied their
cups, they draw figures on the tables and they talk. That is all. The
new Spain will never come. What should it be? Oh, I know better what
it should not be. It should have no king. A republic--that is right.
Perhaps not a republic precisely like America. It may be," and the
melancholy sarcasm of the tone deepened, "there could be found
something even better. But Spain will not find it. Spain will find
nothing.

"What can one do? I know Spain too well. Now, hear! I am acquainted
with a _caballero_. I have been his friend ten years and more. But he
has had the luck, not I. For, first, when we were at the university,
he had a fortune left to him. He became betrothed to a señorita whom
he loved better than his eyelashes. He travelled for his pleasure to
Monte Carlo, and played his fortune all away in one week. He came back
to Madrid, and went to one of the Ministers, to whom his father had in
former days done a great service. My friend said: 'I am to marry. The
lady expects to share the fortune which I have lost. My position is
not honorable. I must have an opening, a chance to redeem myself, or I
shall stand disgraced before her.' The Minister sent him to one of the
Cuban custom-houses, and in two years he returned with great wealth.
On his wedding journey he spent a night at Monte Carlo and gambled it
away to the last _peseta_. A stranger had to lend him money to get
home with his bride. Was he not ashamed and troubled? Ashamed? I do
not know. But troubled? Yes, for he wanted to play longer. Every one
is as God has made him, and very often worse. Again he went to the
Minister, whose heart was softer than a ripe fig and who found him a
post in the Philippines. This time he made a fortune much quicker than
before, knowing better how to do unjustly, but a few weeks before the
war he came home and lost it all again at Monte Carlo. And now he is
horribly vexed, for it is another Minister, and, besides, there are no
colonies to enrich him any more.

"What use to care for Spain? No, no, no, no, no! Spain is a good
country to leave--that is all. And you do well to travel in Spain.
American ladies like change, and Spain is not America. Here you are
not only in a different land, but in a different century. You can say,
when you come out, that you have been journeying a hundred years ago."

On another occasion one of those pleasant individuals who would, as
the Spaniards say, "talk of a rope in the house of one who had been
hanged," saw fit to entertain the dinner-table with anecdotes of
Spanish cruelty.

"But Spaniards are not cruel," protested our young blackamoor in his
softest voice an hour later, stroking with one great hand the head of
a child who nestled against his knee. "What did that English fellow
mean? Why should any one think that Spaniards are cruel?"

I ran over in mind a few of the frightful stories of Las Casas, that
good Dominican friar who would not hold his peace when he saw the
braining of Indian babies and roasting of Indian chiefs. I remembered
how De Soto tossed his captives to the bloodhounds, and what
atrocities were wrought in the tranquil realm of the Incas; I recalled
the horrors of the Inquisition, but these things were of the past. So
I answered, "Perhaps the bull-fights have done something to give
foreigners that impression."

Unlike many educated Spaniards who would rather attend the bull-fights
than defend them, he squared his shoulders for an oration.

"The bull-fights? But why? Bull-fights are not cruel--not more cruel
than other sports in other countries. I have been told of prize-fights
in America. I beg your pardon. I see by your look that you do not like
them. And, in truth, I do not altogether like the bull-fights. The
horses! They are blindfolded, and it is short, but I have seen--ah,
yes! You would not wish to hear what I have seen. I have been often
sorry for the horses. Yet some pain is necessary in everything, is it
not? In nature, perhaps? In society, perhaps? Even, if you will pardon
the illustration, in the deliverance of the Filipinos from Spanish
tyranny?"

I briefly suggested that there was no element of necessity in
bull-fights.

The waving hand apologized gently for dissent.

"But, yes! The bulls are killed for food. That is what foreigners do
not seem to understand. It may be ugly, but it is universal. To supply
men with meat, to feed great cities with the flesh of beasts--it is
not pleasant to think of that too closely. But how to help it? Do you
not have slaughter-houses in America? These also we have in Spain. I
have visited one. It seemed to me much worse than the bull-ring.
Faugh! I did not like it. The cattle stood trembling, one behind
another, waiting for the blow. I should not like to die like that. I
would rather die in the wrath of battle like a _toro bravo_. Oh, it is
not cruel. Do not think it. For these bulls feel no fear. It is fear
that degrades. They may feel pain, but I doubt--I doubt. They feel the
wildness of anger, and they charge and charge again until the
_estocada_, the death stab. That is not so bad a way to die, is it?
Any man would choose it rather than to stand in terror, bound and
helpless, hearing the others fall under the axe and seeing his turn
draw near. Yes, yes! The bull-ring rather than the slaughter-house for
me!"

This was a novel view of the case to the auditor, who ignominiously
shifted her ground.

"But what country uses the slaughter-house as a spectacle and a sport?
It is one thing to take life for food, and another to make a holiday
of the death struggle."

Again that deprecatory waving of the hands.

"I beg your pardon. I do not know how it is in America. Perhaps"
[circumflex accent] "all is merciful and noble there. But when I was
in England I saw something of the chase and of the autumn shooting. I
saw a poor little fox hunted to the death. It was not for food. The
dogs tore him. I saw wounded birds left in the cover to die. It was
too much trouble to gather them all up. And the deer? Does not the
stag suffer more in his flight than the bull in his struggle? I
believe it. To run and run and run, always growing weaker, while the
chase comes nearer--that is an agony. The rage of combat has no terror
in it. I would not die like the deer, hunted down by packs of dogs and
men--and ladies. I would die like the bull, hearing the cheers of the
multitude."

The big fellow bent over the baby that was dropping to sleep against
his knee, and slipped the drowsy little body, deftly and tenderly, to
a sofa. Such sweetness flooded the soft black eyes, as they were
lifted from the child, that it was hard to imagine them sparkling with
savage delight over the bloody scenes of the _corrida de toros_. I
asked impulsively how long it was since he had seen a bull-fight.
Brows and hands and shoulders were swift to express their appreciation
of the bearings of the question, and the voice became very music in
courteous acquiescence.

"Ah, it is four years. Of course, I was much younger then. Yes, yes!
It might not please me now. _Quien sabe?_ And yet--I beg your
pardon--I think I shall go next Sunday in Madrid, on my way to Paris.
It is so weary in London on the Sundays. It was always colder Sunday,
and there was not even a café. There was nowhere to go. There was
nothing to do. Why is that good? At the bull-fight one feels the joy
of life. Is it more religious to sit dull and dismal by the fire? I
had no use for the churches. Walking is not amusing, unless the sun
shines and there is something gay to see. I do not like tea, and I do
not care for reading. Spaniards like to laugh and be merry, and when
there is nothing to laugh for, life is a heaviness. There is no
laughter in a London Sunday. I hope Paris will be better, though I
believe there are no bull-fights there as yet. You are not pleased
with me, but let me tell you why I love the _corrida_. It is not for
the horses, you remember. I have sometimes looked away. But why should
I pity the bulls, when they are mad with battle? They do not pity
themselves. They are glad in their fury, and I am glad in seeing it.
But I am more glad in the activity and daring of the men. When they
run risks, that is what makes me cheer. It is not that I would have
them hurt. I am proud to find men brave. And I am excited and eager to
see if they escape. Do you not understand? If you would go
yourself--just once--no? Is it always no? Then let me tell you what is
the best of all. It is to stand near the entrance and watch the people
pass in, all dressed in their holiday clothes, and all with holiday
faces. It is good and beautiful to see them--especially the ladies."

The most attractive qualities of our young Spaniard were his mirth and
courtesy. His merriment was so spontaneous and so buoyant that his
grace of manner, always tempered to time and place and person, became
the more apparent. His humor dwelt, nevertheless, in the borderlands
of irony, and it was conceivable that the rubs of later life might
enrich its pungency at the cost of its kindliness. He was excellent at
games (not sports), especially the game of courtliness (not
helpfulness). The letter was not posted, the message slipped his
memory, the errand was done amiss, but his apologies were poetry. He
made a pretty play of the slightest social intercourse. We would open
our Baedeker at the map which we had already, in crossing Spain,
unfolded some hundred times. He would spring as lightly to his feet as
if his mighty bulk were made of feathers, and stand, half bowing,
arching his eyebrows in appeal, spreading out his hands in offer of
assistance, but not venturing to approach them toward the book until
it was definitely tendered him. Then he would receive it with
elaborate delicacy of touch, unfold the creased sheet with a score of
varied little flourishes, and restore the volume with a whole fresh
series of gesticulatory airs and graces. The next instant he would
peep up from under his black lashes to detect the alloy of amusement
in our gratitude, and drop his face flat upon the table in a boyish
bubble of laughter, saying:--

"Ah! But you think we Spaniards make much of little things. It is
true. We are best at what is least useful."

Light-hearted Andalusian though he was, he had full share of the
energy and enterprise of young manhood. Like the dons of long ago, he
was equipping himself for the great Western adventure. Despite his
Spanish wrath against America, she had for him a persistent
fascination. All his ambitions were bent on a business career in New
York, the El Dorado of his imagination. But it was no longer, at the
end of the nineteenth century, a case of leaping aboard a galleon and
waving a Toledo blade in air. The commercial career demands, so he
fancied, that its knight go forth armed cap-a-pie in the commercial
tongues. Thus he had spent four years of his youth and half of his
patrimony in London and Berlin, and now, after this hasty visit home,
purposed to go to Paris, for a year or two of French. This unsettled
life was little to his liking, but beyond gleamed the vision of a Wall
Street fortune.

Yet even now, at the outset of his task, a frequent lethargy would
steal over his young vigor. It was curious to see, when the March wind
blew chill or the French verbs waxed crabbed, how all his bearing lost
its beauty. There was a central dignity that did not lapse, but the
brightness and effectiveness were gone. His big body drooped and
looked lumpish. His comely face was clouded by an animal sluggishness
of expression. Foreign grimaces twisted across it, and something very
like a grunt issued from beneath his cherished first mustache. His
sarcasm became a little savage. He would sit for hours in a brooding
fit, and, when an inexorable call to action came, obey it with a look
of dreary patience older than his years. It was as if something
inherent in his nature, independent of his will, weighed upon him and
dragged him down. The Spain at which he gibed and from which he would
have cut himself away was yet a millstone about his neck. He was in
the heyday of his youth, progressive and determined, but the torpid
blood of an aged people clogged his veins. Spain will never lose her
hold on him, despite his strongest efforts. His children may be
citizens of the great Republic, but he must be a foreigner to the end.
He must wander a stranger in strange cities, puzzling his Spanish wits
over alien phrases and fashions and ideals, unless, indeed, his spirit
loses edge, and he drifts into chill apathy of disappointment on
finding that his golden castles in America are wrought of that same
old dream-stuff which used to be the monopoly of castles in Spain.

But it is best to leave ill-boding to the gypsies. Good luck may take
a liking to him, if only for the music of his laugh. For even if
blithe heart and courtly bearing bring no high cash value in the
modern business market, they may smooth the road to simple happiness.
Moreover, a Spaniard dearly loves a game of chance, and at the worst,
our fortune-seeker will have thrown his dice. His may seem to the
Yankee onlooker but a losing play, and yet--who knows? "He who sings
frightens away his ills." God's blessing sails in summer clouds as
lightly as in costly pleasure yachts. Out of a shaft of sunshine, a
cup of chocolate, and a cigarette, this Andalusian immigrant, though
stranded in an East Side tenement, may get more luxury than can be
purchased by a multi-millionaire.

  [Illustration: A ROMAN WELL IN RONDA]



IX

A BULL-FIGHT

     "I wish no living thing to suffer pain."--SHELLEY: _Prometheus
       Unbound_.


From our first crossing of the Pyrenees we were impressed, even beyond
our expectation, with the Spanish passion for the bull-fight. The more
cultivated Spaniards, to be sure, are usually unwilling to admit to a
foreigner their pleasure in the pastime. "It is brutal," said a young
physician of Madrid, as we discussed it. "It is a very painful thing
to see, certainly. I go, myself, only two or three times a year, when
the proceeds are to be devoted to some religious object--a charity or
other holy work."

No sight is more common in streets and parks than that of a group of
boys playing _al toro_--one urchin charging about with sticks fastened
to his shoulders for horns, or with a pasteboard bull's head pulled
over his ears, and others waving scarlet cloths and brandishing
improvised swords and lances. It is said that in fierce Valencia
youths have sometimes carried on this sport with knives for horns and
swords, the spectators relishing the bloodshed too well to interfere.
Not easily do such lads as these forgive the little king for crying,
like the sensitive child he is, the first time he was taken to the
bull-ring.

The _corridas de toros_, although denounced by some of the chief
voices in Spain, are held almost a national shibboleth. Loyal
supporters of the queen regent will add to their praises the sigh, "If
only she loved the bull-fight!" Cavaliers and ladies fair reserve
their choicest attire to grace these barbarities. It is a common
saying that a Spaniard will sell his shirt to buy a ticket to the
bull-ring, but whatever the deficiencies of the inner costume, the
dress that meets the eye is brave in the extreme. It is recently
becoming the fashion for _caballeros_, especially in the north of
Spain, to discard those very fetching cloaks with the vivid
linings--cloaks in which Spaniards muffle their faces to the eyebrows
as they tread the echoing streets of cities founded some thousand or
fifteen hundred years ago. But for a good old Spanish bull-fight, the
good old Spanish costumes are out in force, the bright-hued _capas_
and broad _sombreros_, and for the ladies, who also are beginning to
discard the customary black mantilla for Parisian headgear, the
exquisite white mantillas of early times and the largest and most
richly decorated fans.

It is in such places as the grim Roman amphitheatre of Italica, whose
grass-grown arena has flowed so red with martyrdoms of men and beasts,
that one despairs most of Spanish ability to give up the bull-fight.
It is in the air, in the soil, in the blood; a national institution,
an hereditary rage. "But it is the link that holds your country bound
to barbarism. The rest of the world is on the forward move. I tell
you, the continuance of the bull-fight means the ruin of Spain," urged
a gigantic young German, in our hearing, on his Spanish friend. The
slight figure of the Madrileño shook with anger. "And I tell _you_" he
choked, "that Spain would rather perish with the bull-fight than
survive without it." _Isabel la Católica_, who earnestly strove to
put down these savage contests, wrote at last to her Father Confessor
that the task was too hard for her. The "Catholic Kings" could take
Granada, unify Spain, establish the Inquisition, expel Moors and Jews,
and open the Americas; but they could not abolish bull-fighting. Nor
was Pius V, with his denial of Christian burial to all who fell in the
arena, and his excommunication for princes who permitted _corridas de
toros_ in their dominions, more successful. The papal bull, like the
bulls of flesh and blood, was inevitably overthrown.

Spanish legend likes to name the Cid as the first _torero_.

     "Troth it goodly was and pleasant
       To behold him at their head,
     All in mail on Bavieca,
       And to hear the words he said."

In mediæval times the sport was not without chivalric features.
Knights fought for honor, where professionals now fight for _pesetas_.
When the great Charles killed a bull with his own lance in honor of
the birth of Philip II, the favor of the Austrian dynasty was secured.
The Bourbons looked on the sport more coldly, but as royalty and
nobility withdrew, the people pressed to the fore. Out of the hardy
Spanish multitude rose a series of masters,--Romero the shoemaker,
who, in general, gave to the art its modern form; Martincho the
shepherd, who, seated in a chair with his feet bound, would await the
charging brute; Cándido, who would face the bull in full career and
escape by leaping to its forehead and over its back; Costillares, who
invented an ingenious way of getting in the death-stroke; the famous
Pepe Hillo, who, like Cándido, perished in the ring; a second Romero,
said to have killed five thousand six hundred bulls; Montés the
brick-layer, and a bloody band of followers. Andalusia is--alas!--the
classic soil of the bull-fight, as every peasant knows, and Seville
the top of Andalusia.

     "I have a handsome lover,
         Too bold to fear the Devil,
     And he's the best _torero_
         In all the town of Seville."

The extravagance of the popular enthusiasm for these _fiestas de
toros_ is often ridiculed on the stage, where dramas dealing with
bull-fighting, especially if they bring in the heroes of the arena,
Pepe Hillo, Romero, Costillares, are sure to take. One _zarzuela_
represents a rheumatic old _aficionado_, or devotee of the sport,
trying, with ludicrous results, to screw his courage to the point of
facing the bull. Another spends its fun on a Madrid barber, who is
likewise a brain-turned patron of the ring. Disregarding the shrill
protests of his wife, he lavishes all his time, love, and money on the
_corridas_ and encourages his daughter's _novio_, an honest young
paper-hanger, to throw over his trade and learn to _torear_. After two
years of the provincial arenas, the aspirant, nicknamed in the ring
The Baby, has nothing but torn clothes and bruises to show for his
career, and his sweetheart, eager to recall him from the hazardous
profession, vows a waxen bull, large as life, to the Virgin, in case
he returns to papering, with its humble security and its regularity of
wages. Mary hears. On that great occasion, The Baby's début at Madrid,
the barber, who has just been lucky in the lottery, rents for him a
gorgeous suit of second-hand finery, but in the _Plaza de Toros_ not
even a rose-and-silver jacket can shield a quaking heart. The Baby is
a coward born, and from the first rush of the first bull comes off
with a bloody coxcomb, crying out his shame on the shoulder of his
Pilar, who shall henceforth have him all her own.

The little artist and I went into Spain with the firm determination
not to patronize the bull-fight. Half our resolution we kept,--her
half. Wherever we turned we encountered suggestions of the _corrida_.
Spanish newspapers, even the most serious, devote columns to _Los
Toros_. Bull-fighting has its special publications, as _El Toril_ and
_El Toreo Cómico_, and its special dialect. On the morning after a
holy day the newspapers seem actually smeared with the blood of
beasts. In the bull-fight season, from Easter to All Saints,
_corridas_ are held every Sunday in all the cities of southern and
central Spain, while the smaller towns and villages butcher as many
bulls as they can possibly afford. The May and June that I passed in
the capital gave me a peculiar abhorrence of the Madrid Sunday,--that
feverish excitement everywhere; the rattle of all those extra
omnibuses and cars with their red-tasselled mules in full gallop for
the _Plaza de Toros_; that sense of furious struggle and mortal agony
hanging over the city all through the slow, hot afternoon; those
gaping crowds pressing to greet the _toreros_, a gaudy-suited company,
on their triumphal return in open carriages; that eager discussion of
the day's tragedy at every street-corner and from seat to seat along
the _paseos_, even at our own dainty dinner table and on our own
balconies under the rebuking stars. At this strange Sabbath service
the Infanta Isabel, whose mother's birth was celebrated by the
slaying of ninety-nine bulls, is a regular attendant, occupying the
royal box and wearing the national colors. A French bull-fighter,
visiting the Spanish capital, was invited by the Infanta to an
audience and presented with a diamond pin. Not even the public
mourning for Castelar could induce Madrid to forego the _corrida_ on
that Sunday just before his burial. Past the very senate-house where
his body lay in state rolled the aristocratic landaus, whose ladies
displayed the gala-wear of white mantillas.

But the Sundays were not enough. Every Catholic feast-day called for
its sacrifice. Granada could not do fitting honor to Corpus Christi
with less than three "_magnificas corridas_." The royal saint of
Aranjuez, Fernando, must have his pious birthday kept by an orgy of
blood. At the _fiesta_ of Christ's Ascension all Spain was busy
staining his earth with the life-stream of His creatures. Valladolid
was, indeed, ashamed to have torn to death only seven horses, but
Segovia rejoiced in an expert who sat at his work and killed his bulls
with drawing-room ease. Bordeaux improved the occasion, with aid of
two celebrated Spanish _espadas_, by opening a French _Plaza de
Toros_, and Valencia had the excitement of sending to the infirmary
one _torero_ with a broken leg and another with a crushed foot. Such
accidents are by no means uncommon. A _matador_ was mortally wounded
in the Valencia ring that summer, a _banderillero_ was trampled at the
Escorial, and those favorite stabbers, Reverte and Bombita, were
themselves stabbed by avenging horns.

If there is a temporary dearth of saint days, Spanish ingenuity will
nevertheless find excuse for _corridas_. Bulls must bleed for holy
charity,--for hospitals, foundling asylums, the families of workmen
out on strike. If the French squadron is at Cadiz, hospitality demands
a bull-fight. In the interests of popular education, an historical
_corrida_ was arranged, with instructed _toreros_ to display the
special styles of bull-killing that have prevailed from the Cid to
Guerrita. Again, as a zoölogical by-play, an elephant was pitted
against the bulls. This, too, had precedent, for did not Philip IV
once keep his birthday by turning in among the horned herd a lion, a
tiger, a camel, and a bear, "all Noah's ark and Æsop's fables"? A bull
of Xarama vanquished them every one and received the gracious reward
of being shot dead by Philip himself.

It was on a Wednesday afternoon, at one of the three grand _corridas_
of the Seville _Feria_, that I became an accomplice in this Spanish
crime. Our friends in Seville, people of cultivation and liberal
views, had declared from the first that we could have no conception of
Spanish life and character without sharing in the national _fiesta_.
"We ourselves are not enthusiasts," they said. "In fact, we disapprove
the bull-fight. We regard it as demoralizing to the community at
large. It is, nevertheless, a thing scientific, artistic, heroic,
_Spanish_. Besides, a large portion of the proceeds goes to charity.
We do not attend the _corridas_, except now and then, especially when
we have foreign guests who wish to see them. Before going they all
regard bull-fighting as you do, as an atrocity, a barbarity, but
invariably they return from the _Plaza de Toros_ filled with delight
and admiration. They say their previous ideas were all wrong, that it
is a noble and splendid spectacle, that they want to see it again and
again, that they cannot be too grateful to us for having delivered
them from prejudice."

I winced at the word. I have a prejudice against being prejudiced, and
to the bull-fight I went.

My yielding came too late for securing places in a box or in any part
of the house from which one can make exit during the performance. Our
gory-looking tickets admitted us to the uppermost row of high,
whitewashed, stone seats of the circus proper, where we were soon
inextricably wedged in by the human mass that formed around and below
us. The hour of waiting passed merrily enough. The open amphitheatre,
jammed to its full capacity of fourteen thousand, lay half in
brilliant sunlight and half in creeping shadow. Above us arched the
glowing blue sky of Seville, pricked by the rosy Giralda, and from
time to time a strong-winged bird flew over. The great arena, strewn
with yellow sand, was enclosed by a dark red barrier of wood, about
the height of a man. This was encircled, at a little distance, by a
more secure and higher wall of stone. The concourse was largely
composed of men, both roughs and gentles, but there was no lack of
ladies, elegantly dressed, nor of children. Two sweet little girls in
white-feathered hats were just in front of us, dancing up and down to
relieve the thrills of expectancy. White mantillas, pinned with
jewels, bent from the boxes, while the daughters of the people dazzled
the eye with their festival display of Manila shawls, some pure white,
some with colored figures on a white ground or a black, and some a
rainbow maze of capricious needle-work. The rich-hued blossoms of
Andalusia were worn in the hair and on the breast. The sunny side of
the circus was brightly dotted by parasols, orange, green, vermilion,
and fans in all the cardinal colors twinkled like a shivered
kaleidoscope. The men's black eyes glittered under those broad
_sombreros_, white or drab, while they puffed their cigarettes with
unwonted energy, scattering the ashes in soft gray showers over their
neighbors on the seats below. The tumult of voices had a keener note
of excitement than I had yet heard in Spain, and was so loud and
insistent as often to drown the clashing music of the band. The cries
of various venders swelled the mighty volume of noise. Water-sellers
in vivid blouses and sashes, a red handkerchief twisted around the
neck, on the left shoulder a cushion of folded carpeting for the
shapely, yellow-brown jar, and a smart tin tray, holding two glasses,
corded to the belt, went pushing through the throng. Criers of
oranges, newspapers, crabs, and cockles, almond cakes, fans, and
photographs of the _toreros_, strove with all the might of their lungs
against the universal uproar.

     "Crece el entusiasmo;
     Crece la alegría;
     Todo es algazara;
     Todo es confusión."

A tempest of applause marked the entrance in a box above of a popular
_prima donna_, who draped a resplendent carmine scarf over the railing
before her seat. Immediately the complete circuit of the rail was
ablaze with color, cloaks and shawls instantly converting themselves
into tapestry.

At last two attendants entered the arena, walked up to a hydrant in
the centre, fastened on a hose, and watered the great circle. They
pulled out the hydrant and raked sand over the hole. Simple as these
actions were, a dreadful quiet fell on all the circus.

A trumpet blared. Mounted _alguaciles_, or police, tricked out in
ancient Spanish costume, on blue saddles, and with tall blue plumes in
their hats, rode in and cleared the arena of all stragglers. A door
opened, and forth issued the full circus troupe, making a fine show of
filigree, and urging their wretched old nags to a last moment of
equine pride and spirit. Amid roars of welcome, they flaunted across
the sanded enclosure and saluted the presiding officer. He dropped the
key of the _toril_, that dark series of cells into which the bulls had
been driven some hours before. An _alguacil_ caught the key and handed
it to the _torilero_, who ran with it toward a second door, ominously
surmounted by a great bull's head. Then there was a twinkling of the
pink stockings and black sandals. Most of the gay company leaped the
barrier, and even the _chulos_ who remained in the ring placed
themselves within convenient distance of the rail. Some of the
_picadores_ galloped out, but a few awaited the coming charge, their
long pikes in rest. The door on which all eyes were bent flew open,
and a bellowing red bull rushed in. The fierce, bloodthirsty, horrible
yell that greeted him checked his impetuous onset. For a few seconds
the creature stood stock-still, glaring at the scene. Heaven knows
what he thought of us. He had had five perfect years of life on the
banks of the Guadalquivír,--one baby year by his mother's side, one
year of sportive roving with his mates, and then had come the trial of
his valor. He had found all the herdsmen gathered at the ranch one
morning, and, nevertheless, flattered himself that he had evaded those
hateful pikes, _garrochas_, that were always goading him back when he
would sally out to explore the great green world. At all events, here
he was scampering alone across the plain. But promptly two horsemen
were at his heels, and one of these, planting a blunt _garrocha_ on
his flank, rolled the youngster over. Up again, panting with surprise
and indignation, he felt a homesick impulse to get back to the herd,
but the second horseman was full in his path. So much the worse for
the horseman! The mettlesome young bull lowered his horns and charged
the obstacle, only to be thrown back with a smarting shoulder. If he
had yielded then, his would have been the quiet yoke and the long,
dull life of labor, but he justified his breed; he charged anew, and
so proved himself worthy of the arena. Three more years of the deep,
green river-reeds and the sweet Andalusian sunshine, three years of
free, far range and glad companionship, and then the end. His days had
been exempt from burden only to save his wild young strength for the
final tragedy. One summer morning those traitors known as decoy-oxen,
with bells about the neck, came trotting into the herd. The noble
bulls, now at their best hour of life, the glory of their kind,
welcomed these cunning guests with frank delight and interest, and
were easily induced to follow them and their tinkling bells across the
rich pastures, along rough country roads, even to the city itself and
the fatal _Plaza de Toros_. The herdsmen with their ready pikes
galloped behind the drove, and everywhere along the way peasants and
townsfolk would fall in for a mile or two to help in urging the
excited animals onward to their cruel doom.

In that strange, maddening sea of faces, that hubbub of hostile
voices, the bull, as soon as his blinking eyes had effected the change
from the darkness of the _toril_ to the glaring light and gaudy
colors of the coliseum, caught sight of a horseman with the familiar
pike. Here was something that he recognized and hated. Lowering his
head, the fiery brute dashed with a bellow at that tinselled figure.
Ah, the pike had never been so sharp before! It went deep into his
shoulder, but could not hold him back. He plunged his horns, those
mighty spears, into the body of the helpless, blindfolded horse, which
the _picador_, whose jacket was well padded and whose legs were cased
in iron, deliberately offered to his wrath. The poor horse shrieked,
plunged, reeled, and fell, the _chulos_ deftly dragging away the
armored rider, while the bull ripped and trampled that quivering
carcass, for whose torment no man cared, until it was a crimson,
formless heap.

Such sickness swept over me that I did not know what followed. When I
looked again, two bloody masses that had once been horses disfigured
the arena, and the bull, stuck all over like a hedge-hog with
derisive, many-colored darts, had gone down under Guerrita's steel.

My friends, observing with concern that I was not enjoying myself as
much as they had promised, tried to divert my attention to the
technical features of their ghastly game. It was really, they
explained, a drama in three acts. It is the part of the mounted
_picador_ to draw off the first rage and vigor of the bull, weakening
him, but not slaying him, by successive wounds. Then the jaunty
_banderilleros_, the streamers of whose darts must correspond in color
with their costumes, supply a picturesque and amusing element, a comic
interlude. Finally an _espada_, or _matador_, advances alone to
despatch the tortured creature. The death-blow can be dealt only in
one of several fashions, established by rule and precedent, and the
_espada_ who is startled into an unprofessional thrust reaps a bitter
harvest of scoffs and hisses.

A team of gayly-caparisoned mules with jingling bells had meanwhile
trundled away the mangled bodies of the slaughtered animals, fresh
sand had been thrown over the places slippery with blood, and the band
pealed the entrance of the second bull. This was a demon, black as a
coal, with a marvellous pride and spirit that availed him nothing.
Horse after horse crashed down before his furious rushes, while the
circus, drunk with glee, shouted for more victims and more and more.
It was a massacre. At last our hideous greed was glutted, and the
_banderilleros_ took their turn in baiting the now enfeebled but
undaunted bull. Wildly he shook himself, the fore half of his body
already a flood of crimson, to throw off the ignominy of those
stinging darts. The _chulos_ fretted and fooled him with their waving
cloaks of red and yellow, till at last the creature grew hushed and
sullen. A strain of music announced that the _matador_ Fuentes was
asking beneath the president's box permission to kill the bull. For my
part, I gave the bull permission to kill the man. Fuentes, all pranked
out in gray and gold, holding his keen blade behind him and
flourishing a scarlet square of cloth, swinging from a rod, the
_muleta_, advanced upon the brute. That bleeding body shook with a new
access of rage, and the other _espadas_ drew near and stood at watch.
But even before a blow was struck the splendid, murdered creature sank
to his knees, staggered up once more, sank again with crimson foam
upon his mouth, and the music clashed jubilantly while Fuentes drove
the weapon home. And again the team of mules, with foolish tossing of
their bright-ribboned heads, jerked and jolted their dead kindred off
the scene.

The third bull galloped in with a roar that was heard far beyond the
_Plaza_ and gored his first two horses so promptly and so frightfully
that, while the hapless beasts still struggled in their agony, the
amphitheatre howled with delirious joy. Several _capas_ were caught
away on those swift, effective horns, and one _picador_ was hurt. But
the rain of darts teased and bewildered the bull to the point of
stupidity, although he was dangerous yet.

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

It was the turn of Bombita, a dandy in dark-green suit with silver
trimmings; but his comrades, pale and intent, stood not far off and
from time to time, by irritating passes, drew the bull's wrath upon
themselves, wearying him ever more and more, until at last Bombita had
his chance to plant a telling blow.

Would it never end? Again the fatal door swung open, and the fourth
bull bounded in to play his tragic rôle. He was of choicest pedigree,
but the utter strangeness of the scene turned his taurine wits. He
made distracted and aimless rushes hither and thither, unheeding the
provocations of the horsemen, until he came upon the spot drenched
with his predecessor's life-blood. He pawed away the hasty covering of
sand, sniffed at that ominous stain, and then, throwing up his head
with a strange bellow, bolted back to the door by which he had
entered, and turned tail to the arena. The fourteen thousand, crazy
with rage, sprang to their feet, shook their fists, called him _cow_.
The _chulos_ brandished their cloaks about his horns; men leaned over
from the barrier and prodded him with staffs. Finally, in desperation,
he turned on the nearest horse, rent it and bore it down. The
_picador_, once set up by the _chulos_ upon his stiff, iron-cased
legs, his yellow finery streaked with red from his lacerated horse,
tugged savagely at the bridle to force that dying creature to a second
stand. One attendant wrenched it by the tail, another beat it
viciously over the face; the all-enduring beast, his entrails swinging
from a crimson gash, struggled to his feet. The _picador_ mounted,
drove in the spurs, and the horse, rocking and pitching, accomplished
a few blind paces toward those dripping horns that horribly awaited
him. But to the amazement and scandal of the _aficionados_, the circus
raised a cry of protest, and the discomfited rider sprang down in the
very moment when his horse fell to rise no more. A _chulo_, at his
leisurely convenience, quieted those kicking hoofs by a stab,--the one
drop of mercy in that ocean of human outrage.

Straw-colored darts, wine-colored darts, sky-colored darts, were
pricking the bull to frenzy. I wished he had any half-dozen of his
enemies in a clear pasture. Those glittering dragon-flies were always
just out of reach, but he stumbled on the sodden shape of the unhappy
horse and tossed it again and again, making the poor carcass fling up
its head and arch its neck in ghastly mockery of life. Cowardice
avails a bull as little as courage. This sorry fighter had been deeply
pierced by the _garrochas_, and now, as he galloped clumsily about
the arena, in unavailing efforts to escape from his tormentors, his
violent, foolish plunges made the dark blood flow the faster. It was
Guerrita, Guerrita the adored, Guerrita in gold-laced jacket and
violet trousers, who struck the ultimate blow, and so cleverly that
_sombreros_ and cigarettes, oranges and pocket-flasks, came raining,
amid furies of applause, into the arena. This was such a proud moment
as he had dreamed of long ago in the Cordova slaughter-house, when,
the little son of the slaughter-house porter, he had stolen from his
bed at midnight to play _al toro_ with the calves, and then and there
had solemnly dedicated himself to the glorious profession. Now the
master of his art and the idol of all Spain, easily making his
seventy-five thousand dollars a year, earning, in fact, three thousand
on that single afternoon, Guerrita little foresaw that with the coming
autumn he should go on pilgrimage to _La Virgen del Pilar_, and before
her beloved shrine at Saragossa cut off his bull-fighter's pigtail and
renounce the ring.

The fifth bull was black as ebony. He dashed fearlessly into the
arena, charged and wheeled and tossed his horns in the splendor of his
strength, sending every red-vested _chulo_ scrambling over the wall.
Then he backed to the middle of the sanded circle, snorting and pawing
the earth. Another instant, and the nearest horse and rider went
crashing against the barrier. The _picador_, with a bruised face,
forced up the gasping horse, mounted and rode it, the beast treading
out its entrails as it went, to meet a second charge. But the swaying
horse fell dead before it reached those lowered horns again. The next
_picador_, too, went down heavily under his jade and received an
awkward sprain. He mounted once more, to show that he could, and the
circus cheered him, but his horse, torn to death, could not bear his
weight. He gave it an angry push with the foot as he left it writhing
in its life-blood. This whirlwind of a bull, who shook off all but one
of the _banderillas_, mortified even the _matadores_. Disregarding the
red rag, he rushed at Fuentes himself. The nimble _torero_ leapt
aside, but the bull's horn struck his sword and sent it spinning half
across the arena. His comrades immediately ran, with waving _capas_
and bright steel, to his aid, but that too intelligent bull, fighting
for his life, kept his foes at bay until the circus hissed with
impatience. The _toreros_, visibly nettled, gathered closer and
closer, but had to play that death-game cautiously. This bull was
dangerous. The coliseum found him tedious. He took too long in dying.
Stabbed again and again and again, he yet agonized to his feet and
shook those crimsoned horns at his tormentors, who still hung back. It
really was dull. The _matadores_ buzzed about him, worrying his dying
sight, but he stood sullen in their midst, refusing the charges to
which they tempted him, guarding his last drops of strength, and,
cardinal offence in a _toro_, holding his head too high for the
professional stroke. His vital force was ebbing. Red foam dripped from
his mouth. That weary hoof no longer pawed the earth. The people
shouted insults even to their pet Guerrita, but Guerrita, like the
rest, stood baffled. At last that formidable figure, no longer black,
but a red glaze of blood and sweat and foam, fell in a sudden
convulsion. Then his valiant murderers sprang upon him, the stabs came
thick and fast, and the jingling mule-team pranced in to form his
funeral cortège.

One more,--the sixth. I was long past indignation, past any acuteness
of pain, simply sickened through body and soul and unutterably
wearied with this hideous monotony of slaughter. The last bull, a
white star shining on his black forehead, tore into the arena, raced
all about the circle, and struck with amazing rapidity wherever he saw
a foe. Three horses were down, were up again, and were forced, all
with trailing intestines, to a second charge. The bull flashed like a
thunderbolt from one to another, rending and digging with his savage
horns, until three mangled bodies writhed on the reddened sand, and
stabbers watched their chances to run forward and quiet with the knife
the horrible beating of those hoofs in air. The circus yelled delight.
It had all been the work of a moment,--a brave bull, a great
sensation! For the performers it was rather too much of a good thing.
Those disembowelled carcasses cluttered up the arena. The scattered
entrails were slippery under foot. The dart-throwers hastened to the
next act of the tragedy. Theirs was a subtlety too much for the
fury-fuddled wits of that mighty, blundering brute. He galloped to and
fro, spending his strength in useless charges and, a score of times,
ignoring the men to hook wildly at their brandished strips of colored
cloth. The darts had been planted and he was losing blood. The
_matador_ went to his work, but the uncivil bull did not make it easy
for him. Bombita could not get in a handsome blow. The house began to
hoot and taunt. A stentorian voice called to him to "kill that bull
to-morrow." Exasperated by the laughter that greeted this sally,
Bombita drove his Toledo blade to its mark. While the final scene of
general stabbing was going on, boys, men, even women vaulted into the
arena, played over again with one another the more memorable
incidents, ran to inspect those shapeless carcasses of what God
created horses, and escorted the funeral train of the bull, one
small boy riding in gleeful triumph on top of the great black body,
harmless and still at last. As we passed out by a hallway where the
dead animals had been dragged, we had to pick our way through pools of
blood and clots of entrails. Thus by the road of the shambles we came
forth from hell.

  [Illustration: THE GIRALDA]

"I do not understand at all," sincerely protested my Spanish host,
disconcerted by the continued nausea and horror of red dreams which,
justly enough, pursued me for weeks after. "It was a very favorable
_corrida_ for a beginner,--no serious accident, no use of the
fire-darts, no houghing of the bull with the demi-lune, nothing
objectionable. And, after all, animals are only animals; they are not
Christians."

"Who were the Christians in that circus?" I asked. "How could devils
have been worse than we?"

He half glanced toward the morning paper but was too kindly to speak
his thought. It was not necessary. I had read the paper, which gave
half a column to a detailed account of a recent lynching, with
torture, in the United States.



X

GYPSIES

     "'Life is sweet, brother.'

     "'Do you think so?'

     "'Think so!--There's night and day, brother, both sweet
     things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things;
     there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet,
     brother; who would wish to die?'

     "'I would wish to die.'

     "'You talk like a gorgio--which is the same as talking like a
     fool--were you a Rommany Chal you would talk wiser. Wish to
     die, indeed!--A Rommany Chal would wish to live forever!'

     "'In sickness, Jasper?'

     "'There's the sun and stars, brother.'

     "'In blindness, Jasper?'

     "'There's the wind on the heath, brother; if I could only feel
     that, I would gladly live forever. _Dosta_, we'll now go to
     the tents and put on the gloves; and I'll try to make you feel
     what a sweet thing it is to be alive, brother!'"
                                                --GEORGE BORROW.


No foreigner has known the Zingali better than George Borrow, the
linguistic Englishman, who could speak Rommany so well that gypsies
all over Europe took him for a brother. In the employ of the English
Bible Society, he spent some five adventurous years in Spain,
wandering through the wilds and sharing the life of shepherds,
muleteers, even the fierce _gitanos_. As he found the Spanish gypsies
half a century ago, so, in essentials, are they still--the men
jockeys, tinkers, and blacksmiths, the women fortune tellers and
dancers, the children the most shameless little beggars of all the
Peninsula. Yet there has been an improvement.

The _gitanos_ are not such ruffians as of old, nor even such arrant
thieves, although it would still be unwise to trust them within call
of temptation.

     "There runs a swine down yonder hill,
       As fast as e'er he can,
     And as he runs he crieth still,
       'Come, steal me, Gypsyman.'"

Still more compromising is the Christmas carol:--

     "Into the porch of Bethlehem
         Have crept the gypsies wild,
     And they have stolen the swaddling clothes
         Of the new-born Holy Child.

     "Oh, those swarthy gypsies!
         What won't the rascals dare?
     They have not left the Christ Child
         A single shred to wear."

There are wealthy gypsies, whose wives and daughters go arrayed with
the utmost elegance of fashion, in several Spanish cities. Seville has
her gypsy lawyer, but her gypsy bull-fighter, who died two years ago,
was held to reflect even greater credit on the parent stock.

By law the gypsies are now established as Spaniards, with full claim
to Spanish rights and privileges--_Nuevos Castellanos_, as they have
been called since the day when Spain bethought her of these Ishmaels
as "food for powder" and subjected them to the regular military
draft. Even in Granada, where the gypsy community still lives in
semi-barbarism, there are hopeful signs. The _gitanos_ drive a sharp
trade in donkeys, but their forge fires, gleaming far up the Albaicín
in the evening, testify to their industry. The recent opening by the
municipality of schools for the gypsy children has already wrought a
marked change for the better. Some half-dozen dirty little palms,
outstretched for _cinco centimos_, pester the stranger to-day where
scores used to torment him, and the mothers take pride in the literary
accomplishments of their tawny broods. On one occasion, when, having,
as the Spanish say, "clean pockets," I firmly declined to see a small
gypsy girl dance or hear her sing, the mother assured me, as a last
greedy expedient, that "the child could pray."

On the Alhambra hill the gypsies, who scent tourists from afar and
troop thither, on the track of newly arrived parties, like wolves to
their banquet, are picturesque figures enough, the men in peaked hats,
spangled jackets, and sashes of red silk, the women with bright
handkerchiefs bound over their raven hair, large silver earrings, gay
bodices, and short, flounced petticoats.

There is one old _gitano_, in resplendent attire, who haunts the
Alhambra doors and introduces himself to visitors, with bows queerly
compounded of condescension and supplication, as the King of the
Gypsies, modestly offering his photograph for a _peseta_. If you turn
to your attendant Spaniard and ask, _sotto voce_, "But is this truly
the Gypsy King?" you will receive a prompt affirmative, while the
quick-witted old masquerader strikes a royal attitude, rolls his eyes
prodigiously, and twirls his three-cornered hat at arm's length above
his head, until its tinsel ornaments sparkle like crown jewels. But no
sooner is his Majesty well out of hearing than your guide hastens to
eat his own words. "No, no, no! He is not the King of the Gypsies, but
he is a gypsy, yes, and it is better not to have his ill will."

Whether this hardened pretender could cast the evil eye or not, we
never knew, for having bought two of his pictures at the first onset,
we suffered ever afterward the sunshine of his favor. In fact we often
made a wide detour rather than pass him on the hill, for he would
spring to his feet at our remotest approach and stand bowing like an
image of perpetual motion, his hat brandished high in air, until our
utmost in the way of answering nods and smiles seemed by contrast
sheer democratic incivility.

The swarthy faces and glittering eyes of the gypsies meet one
everywhere in the Granada streets, but to see them in their own
precinct it is necessary to take off your watch, empty your pockets of
all but small silver and coppers, and go to the Albaicín. This hill,
parted from the Alhambra by the deep ravine of the gold-bearing Darro,
was in Moorish times the chosen residence of the aristocracy. Still
Arabian arches span the gorge, and many of the toppling old houses
that lean over the swift, mountain-born current, shabby as they look
to the passer-by, are beautiful within with arabesque and fretwork,
carven niches, delicate columns and open patios, where fountains still
gush and orange blossoms still shed fragrance. Such degenerate palaces
are often occupied by the better class of gypsies, those who traffic
in horses, as well as in donkeys, while their women, grouped in the
courts and doorways, embroider with rainbow wools, in all fantastic
patterns, the stout mantles of the Andalusian mountaineers.

As we climbed the Albaicín, fronting as it does the hill of the
Alhambra, the exceeding beauty of the view at first claimed all our
power of seeing. Below was the gray sweep of the city and beyond the
fruitful plain of Granada, its vivid green shading into a far-off
dimness like the sea. Just opposite us rose the fortress of the
Alhambra, a proud though broken girdle of walls and towers, while in
the background soared the dazzling snow peaks of the Sierra Nevada,
glistening with unbearable splendor under the intense blue of the
Andalusian sky.

In the midst of our rhapsodies I became aware of a shrill voice at my
feet, a persistent tug at my skirts, and reluctantly dropped my eyes
on a comely little gypsy lass lying along a sunny ledge and
imperiously demanding _cinco centimos_.

"Now what would you do with _cinco centimos_ if you had them?"

With the universal beggar gesture she pointed to her mouth. "Buy a
rusk. I am starving. I am already dead of hunger."

Crossing her hands upon her breast, she closed her eyes in token of
her mortal extremity, but instantly flashed them open again to note
the effect.

"Your cheeks are not the cheeks of famine."

At a breath the young sorceress sucked them in and succeeded, plump
little person though she was, in looking so haggard and so woe-begone
that our political economy broke down in laughter, and we gave her the
coveted cent in return for her transformation act.

Off she darted, with her wild locks flying in the wind, and was back
in a twinkling, a circlet of bread suspended from her arm. She tripped
along beside us for the rest of the afternoon, using the rusk
sometimes as a hoop, sometimes as a crown, sometimes as a peephole.
She tossed it, sang through it, dandled it, stroked it, and
occasionally, while the bread approximated more and more in hue to her
own gypsy complexion, took an artistic nibble, dotting the surface
with a symmetrical curve of bites. It was not mere food to her; it was
luxury, it was mirth--like a Lord Mayor's feast or a Delmonico
breakfast.

Following the _Camino del Sacro Monte_, marked by many crosses, our
attention was more and more withdrawn from the majestic views spread
out before us to the gypsies, whose cave dwellings lined the way.
Burrowing into the earth, from the midst of thickets of prickly pear,
are these strange abodes, whose chimneys rise abruptly out of the
green surface of the hillside. Dens as they are, the best of them
possess some decencies. Flaps of cloth serve them for doors, their
peering fronts are whitewashed, they are furnished with a stool or
two, a box of tools or clothing, a few water-jars, a guitar, and, in
the farther end of the lair, a family bedstead, or more often a heap
of dirty sheepskins. Cooking tins, bottles, saddles, and coils of rope
hang on the rough walls; there may be a shelf of amulets and toys for
sale, and the indispensable pot of _puchero_ simmers over a handful of
fire.

Out from these savage homes swarmed a whining, coaxing, importunate
horde of sly-eyed women and an impish rabble of children. Young and
old clutched at us with unclean hands, clung to us with sinewy brown
arms, begged, flattered, demanded, and dragged us bodily into their
hill. We felt as if we had gone back to German fairy tales and had
fallen into the evil grip of the gnomes. Hardly could escort,
carriage, and a reckless rain of coppers break the spell. We were
forced to taste their repulsive messes, to cross witch palms with
silver, to buy even the roadside weeds the urchins gathered before our
eyes. We were birds for the plucking, sheep for the shearing. Only
when we had turned our pockets inside out to show that we had not a
"little dog" left, were we suffered to go free, followed, doubtless,
by the curses of Egypt, because we had yielded such poor picking.

In Seville, too, the gypsies have their own quarter, but in proportion
as Seville is a gentler city than Granada, so are the looks and
manners of her gypsy population more attractive. Crossing the yellow
Guadalquivír by the bridge of Isabel Segunda, we come immediately on
the picturesque, dark-visaged figures, with their uneffaced suggestion
of wildness, of freedom, of traditions apart from the common humdrum
of humanity. The boy, clad in one fluttering garment, who is
perilously balancing his slender brown body on the iron rail; the
bright-kerchiefed young mother, thrusting her tiny black bantling into
our faces; the silent, swarthy men who lean along the bridge side,
lithe even in their lounging;--all have a latent fierceness in their
look. Their eyes are keen as knives--strange eyes, whose glitter masks
the depth. But as we go on into the potter's suburb of Triana, into
the thick of the gypsy life, we are not more seriously molested than
by the continual begging, nor is this the rough, imperious begging of
Granada; a flavor of Sevillian grace and fun has passed upon it. Offer
this bush-headed lad, pleading starvation, the orange he has just
tossed away, and he will double up over the joke and take to his
little bare heels. Give to the fawning sibyl who insists on telling
your fortune a red rose for her hair, and the chances are that she
will rest content. But the time to see the gypsies in their glory is
during the three days and nights of the _Feria_.

On the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth of April Seville annually
keeps, on the _Prado de San Sebastian_, where the Inquisition used to
light its fires, the blithest of spring festivals. The _Feria_ is a
fair, but much more than a fair. There are droves upon droves of
horses, donkeys, cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs. There are rows upon
rows of booths with toys, booths with nuts and candies, booths with
the gay-handled Albacete knives and daggers. There are baskets upon
baskets of rainbow fans, mimic fighting cocks, oranges, and other
cheap Sevillian specialties. Cooling drinks are on sale at every turn,
but there is no drunkenness. There are thousands and tens of thousands
of people in motion, but there is no bustling, no elbowing, no
rudeness of pressure. Dainty little children wander alone in that
tremendous throng. The order and tranquillity that prevail by day and
night in this multitude of merrymakers render it possible for the
_Feria_ to be what it is. For during these enchanted April hours even
the noblest families of Seville come forth from the proud seclusion of
their patios and live in _casetas_, little rustic houses that are
scarcely more than open tents, exposed to the gaze of every passer-by.

A lofty bridge, crossed by two broad flights of stairs and tapering to
a tower, stands at the intersection of the three chief _Feria_
avenues. The bridge is brilliantly illuminated by night, and
close-set globes of gas, looped on running tubes along both sides of
these three festal streets, pour floods of light into the _casetas_.
Chinese lanterns in red and yellow abound, and lines of banner-staffs
flaunt the Spanish colors. The _casetas_ are usually constructed of
white canvas on a framework of light-brown fretwood, though the
materials are sometimes more durable.

Clubhouses are large and elaborate, and individual taste varies the
aspect of the private tents. The more important families of Seville
own their _casetas_, but in general these airy abodes are rented from
year to year, the price for the three days of the _Feria_ ranging from
twenty-five dollars on the central avenue to five dollars for the more
remote houselets on the two streets that branch off at right angles.
The numerous byways are occupied by cafés, booths, penny shows, and
the like, the gypsies having one side of a lane to themselves. The
other side is given over to circus-rings, merry-go-rounds,
cradle-swings marked "For Havana," "For Manila," "For Madrid," dancing
dwarfs, braying bands, caged bulls, and tents provided with peepholes
through which one may see "The Glorious Victory of the Spanish Troops
at Santiago," and other surprising panoramas of the recent war. These
are in high favor with soldiers and small boys, whose black heads bump
together at every aperture.

Such attractions are especially potent over the country folk, who come
jogging into Seville during fair time, mounted two or three together
on jaded horses, sorry mules, and even on indignant little donkeys.
Their peasant costumes add richly to the charm of the spectacle, and
their simplicity makes them an easy spoil for the canny folk of Egypt.
You see them especially in the cool of the early morning, when trade
in cattle is at its liveliest. Ten to one they have been fleeced
already by the _gitanos_, who, out in the great meadow where the
live-stock is exposed for sale, have their own corner for "dead
donkeys," as the Sevillians term the decrepit old beasts that have
been magically spruced up for the occasion. Cervantes has his jest at
"a gypsy's ass, with quicksilver in its ears."

Then comes the turn of the _gitanas_, looking their prettiest, with
roses in hair, and over the shoulders those captivating black silk
shawls embroidered in many-colored patterns of birds and flowers. The
younger enchantresses keep watch, each in front of her family tent,
before whose parted curtains the more ill-favored women of the
household are busy frying the crisp brown _buñuelos_, a species of
doughnut dear to the Spanish tooth.

As you loiter down the lane, be you wide-eyed shepherd from the
provinces, or elegant grandee from Madrid, or haughty foreigner from
London or Vienna, the sturdy sirens rush upon you, seize you by arm or
neck, and by main force tug you into their tented prisons, from which
you must gnaw your way out through a heap of hot _buñuelos_. Or you
may compromise on a cup of Spanish chocolate, flavored with cinnamon
and thick as flannel, or perhaps win your liberty by gulping down a
cupful of warm goat's milk. The prices shock the portliest purses, but
at your first faint sign of protest a gathering mob of gypsies presses
close with jeers and hisses, and even the frying-pan sputters
contempt.

The _Feria_ presents its most quiet aspect during the afternoon. Some
twenty or thirty thousand of the promenaders have been drawn off by
the superior attraction of the bull-fight, and others have retired for
their siestas. Yet there are thousands left. This is a grand time for
the children, who disport themselves in the avenues with whistles,
swords, balls, kites, and other trophies from the toy booths. These
little people are exquisitely dressed, often in the old Andalusian
costumes, and tiny lad and tiny lass, of aristocratic look and
bearing, may be seen tripping together through one of the graceful
national dances in the midst of a sidewalk throng. The toddlers, too,
are out, under charge of happy nursemaids.

Even the babies have been brought to the fair, and lie, contentedly
sucking their rosy thumbs, in the doorways of the _casetas_. The lords
of these doll-houses are enjoying peaceful smokes together in the
background of the open parlors, which are furnished with as many
chairs as possible, a piano, and a central stand of flowers; while
semicircles of silent ladies, languidly waving the most exquisite of
fans, sit nearer the front, watching the ceaseless stream of
pedestrians, and beyond these the double procession of carriages,
which keep close rank as they advance on one side of the avenue and
return on the other. It is bad form not to go to the _Feria_ once at
least in a carriage. Large families of limited means hire spacious
vehicles resembling omnibuses, and, squeezed together in two opposite
rows, drive up and down the three chief streets for hours.

There are crested landaus, with handsome horses, gay donkey-carts,
decked out with wreaths and tassels, shabby cabs, sporting red and
yellow ribbons on their whips, tooting coaches--every sort and kind of
contrivance for relieving humanity of its own weight. There are
mounted cavaliers in plenty, and occasionally, under due masculine
escort, a fair-haired English girl rides by, or a group of Spanish
señoras, who have come into Seville on horseback from their country
homes. But all this movement is slow and dreamy, the play of the
children being as gentle as the waving of the fans.

Even Gypsy Lane shares in the tranquillity of the drowsy afternoon. We
were captured there almost without violence, and, while we trifled
with the slightest refreshment we could find, a juvenile entertainment
beguiled us of our coppers with pleasurable ease. A coquettish midget
of four summers innocently danced for us the dances that are not
innocent, and a wee goblin of seven, who could not be induced to
perform without a cap, that he might pull it down over his bashful
eyes, stamped and kicked, made stealthy approaches and fierce starts
of attack through the savage hunting jigs inherited from the ancient
life of the wilderness. The women swung their arms and shrilled wild
tunes to urge the children on, but a second youngster who attempted
one of these barbaric dances for us broke down in mid career, and,
amid a chorus of screaming laughter, buried his blushes in his
mother's lap. The tent had become crowded with stalwart, black
_gitanos_, but they were in a domestic mood, smiled on the children's
antics, and eyed us with grim amusement as the women caught up from
rough cradles and thrust into our arms those elfish babies of theirs.
Even the infant of five days winked at us with trickery in its jet
beads of vision. But so inert was gypsy enterprise that we were
suffered to depart with a few _pesetas_ yet in our possession.

In the evening, from eight till one, the _Feria_ is perfect Fairyland.
Under the light of those clustered gas globes and butterfly-colored
lanterns pass and repass the loveliest women of the world. Beautifully
clad as the señoritas have been during morning and afternoon, their
evening toilets excel and crown the rest. White-robed, white-sandalled,
their brown, bewitching faces peeping out from the lace folds of white
mantillas, with white shawls, embroidered in glowing hues, folded over
the arm, and delicate white fans in hand, they look the very poetry of
maidenhood. Months of saving, weeks of stitching, these costumes may
have cost, but the _Feria_ is, above all, a marriage mart, and the
Andalusian girl, usually so strictly guarded, so jealously secluded,
never allowed to walk or shop alone, is now on exhibition. As these
radiant forms glide along the avenues, the men who meet them coolly
bend and look full into their faces, scanning line and feature with
the critical air of connoisseurs. But well these cavaliers illustrate
the Andalusian catch:--

     "Because I look thee in the face,
       Set not for this thy hopes too high,
     For many go to the market-place
       To see and not to buy."

The girl's opportunity is in her dancing. Every Andalusian woman, high
or low, knows the _Sevillana_. Some have been trained in it by
accredited teachers of the art, but the most learn the dance in
childhood, as naturally as they learn to speak and sing. They are
never weary of dancing it, morning, noon, and night, two girls
together, or a girl and a lad, but such dancing is confined to the
Moorish privacy of the Spanish home--except in Fair time. Then the
whole world may stand before the _casetas_ and see the choicest
daughters of Seville dancing the dance that is very coquetry in
motion. Rows of girls awaiting their turn, and of matrons who are
chaperoning the spectacle, sit about the three sides of the mimic
drawing-room. A dense crowd of men, crying "_Ole! Ole!_" and
commenting as freely on the figures and postures of the dancers as if
they were ballet artistes in a café chantant, is gathered close in
front. For their view these rhythmic maidens dance on, hour after
hour, until their great, dusky eyes are dim with sleep. The tassels of
curly ribbon, tinted to match the dainty touches of color in their
costumes, seem to droop in exhaustion from the tossing castanets. What
matter? For a Spanish girl to reach her twenty-fifth birthday without
a _novio_ is a tragedy of failure, and these tired dancers are well
aware that _caballeros_ are making the rounds from _caseta_ to
_caseta_, on purpose to select a wife.

In Gypsy Lane there is no sugar coating. The Flamenco dances are
directly seductive. The life of the forest animal seems reproduced in
the fierceness, the fitfulness, the abandon, of each strange series of
abrupt gesticulations. Yet these gypsy women, boldly as they play on
the passions of the spectators, care only for Gentile money, and fling
off with fiery scorn the addresses that their songs and dances court.
Many a flouted gallant could tell the tale of one who

     "Like a right gypsy, hath, at fast and loose,
     Beguiled me to the very heart of loss."

Husbands and lovers look on at the dancers' most extreme poses, even
caresses, in nonchalant security. While one _gitana_ after another
takes the stage, a crescent of men and women, seated behind, cheer her
on with cries and clappings, strummings of the guitar, and frenzied
beatings of the floor with staff and stool. Yet their excitement, even
at its apparent height, never sweeps them out of their crafty selves.
Beyond the dancer they see the audience. Disdain and dislike are in
the atmosphere, and never more than when the rain of silver is at its
richest. Still they follow the gypsy law, "To cheat and rob the
stranger always and ever, and be true only to our own blood."

  [Illustration: THE PASSING OF THE PAGEANTS]



XI

THE ROUTE OF THE SILVER FLEETS

     "Paul, the Physician, to Cristobal Colombo, greeting. I
     perceive your magnificent and great desire to find a way to
     where the spices grow."

     "And thus leade they their lyves in fullfilling the holy
     hunger of golde. But the more they fill their handes with
     finding, the more increaseth their covetous desire."
                                    --_Decades in the New Worlde._


I wanted to go from Seville to Cadiz by water. I longed to sail by the
"Silver Road" in the wake of the silver fleets. The little artist, as
befitted her youth, preferred a Manila shawl to that historic
pilgrimage. So I proposed to make this trifling trip alone.

Don José was shocked. Merriest and most indulgent of hosts, he was
inclined at this point to play the tyrant. If I must see Cadiz, well
and good. He would take me to the morning express and put me under
charge of the conductor. At Utrera, an hour farther on, his son would
come to the train and see that all was well. At _Puerto de Santa
Maria_, another hour distant, I should be met by a trusted friend of
the family, who would transfer me to another train and another
conductor, and so speed me for my third hour to Cadiz, where I should
be greeted by a relative of mine hostess and conveyed in safety to his
home.

I appreciated the kindness involved in this very Andalusian
programme, but otherwise it did not appeal to me. That was not the way
Columbus went, nor Cortés. And much as I delighted in the Alhambra,
and the Mosque of Cordova, and the Alcázar of Seville, I did not feel
called upon to bow a New England bonnet beneath the Moorish yoke.

Thus Don José and I found ourselves quietly engaged in an
Hispano-American contest. He heartily disapproved of my going, even by
train. "_Una señora sola!_ It is not the custom in Andalusia." His
plan of campaign consisted in deferring the arrangements from day to
day. "_Mañana!_" Whenever I attempted to set a time for departure he
blandly assented, and presently projected some irresistibly attractive
excursion for that very date. His household were all with him. His
wife had not been able to procure the particular _dulces_
indispensable to a traveller's luncheon. Even my faithless comrade,
draped in her flower-garden shawl, practised the steps of a
_seguidilla_ to the rattle of the castanets and laughed at my defeats.

At last, grown desperate, I suavely announced at the Sunday dinner
table that I was going to Cadiz that week. My host said, "_Bueno!_"
and my hostess, "_Muy bien!_" But there was no surrender in their
tones. On Monday, instead of writing the requisite notes to these
relays of protectors along the route, Don José took us himself, on a
mimic steamboat, for a judicious distance down the Guadalquivír.
Tuesday he put me off with Roman ruins, and Wednesday with a private
gallery of Murillos. By Thursday I grew insistent, and, with shrug and
sigh, he finally consented to my going by train on Friday. I still
urged the boat, but he heaped up a thousand difficulties. There wasn't
any; it would be overcrowded; I should be seasick; the boat would
arrive, wherever it might arrive, too late for my train, whatever my
train might be. Compromise is always becoming, and I agreed to take
the nine o'clock express in the morning.

After the extended Spanish farewells, for to kiss on both cheeks and
be kissed on both cheeks down a long feminine line, mother, daughters,
and maid-servants, is no hasty ceremony, I sallied forth at half-past
eight with Don José in attendance. He called a cab, but in Spain the
cabbies are men and brothers, and this one, on learning our
destination, declared that the train did not start until half-past
nine and it was much better for a lady to wait _en casa_ than at the
depot. This additional guardianship goaded me to active remonstrance.
Why not take the cab for the hour and look up a procession on our way
to the station? There are always processions in Seville. This appealed
to both the pleasure-loving Spaniards, and we drove into the palmy
_Plaza de San Fernando_, where an array of military bands was
serenading some civic dignitary.

The music was of the best, and we fell in with the large and varied
retinue that escorted the musicians to the palace of the archbishop.
As they were rousing him from his reverend slumbers with _La Marcha de
Cadiz_, I caught a twinkle in Don José's eye. Did he hope to keep me
chasing after those bands all the forenoon? I awakened the cabman,
whom the music had lulled into the easy Andalusian doze, and we
clattered off to the station. Of all silent and forsaken places! I
looked suspiciously at Don José, whose swarthy countenance wore an
overdone expression of innocent surprise. A solitary official
sauntered out.

"Good morning, señor! Is the express gone?" asked the driver.

"Good morning, señor! There isn't any express to-day," was the reply.
"The express runs only Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays."

"What a pity," cooed Don José, contentedly. "You will have to wait
till to-morrow."

"Yes, you can go to-morrow," indulgently added the driver, and the
official chimed sweetly in, "_Mañana por la mañana!_"

"But is there no other train to-day?" I asked.

The official admitted that there was one at three o'clock. Don José
gave him a reproachful glance.

"But you do not want to go by train," said my ingenious host. "Perhaps
to-morrow you can go by steamboat."

"Perhaps I can go by steamboat now," I returned, seizing my
opportunity. "When does that boat start?"

Nobody knew. I asked the cabman to drive us to the Golden Tower, off
which sea-going vessels usually anchor. Don José fell back in his
seat, exhausted.

The cabman drove so fast, for Seville, that we ran into a donkey and
made a paralyzed beggar jump, but we reached the river in time to see
a small steamer just in the act of swinging loose from the pier. In
the excitement of the moment Don José forgot everything save the
necessity of properly presenting me to the captain, and I, for my
part, was absorbed in the ecstasy of sailing from the foot of the
Golden Tower along the Silver Road.

It was not until a rod of water lay between boat and wharf that the
captain shouted to Don José, who struck an attitude of utter
consternation, that this craft went only to Bonanza, and no
connection could be made from there to Cadiz until the following
afternoon. And I, mindful of the austere dignity that befitted these
critical circumstances, could not even laugh.

It was a dirty little boat, with a malodorous cargo of fish, and for
passengers two soldiers, two peasants, and a commercial traveller. But
what of that? I was sailing on a treasure ship of the Indies, one of
those lofty galleons of Spain, "rowed by thrice one hundred slaves and
gay with streamers, banners, music," that had delivered at the Golden
Tower her tribute from the hoard of the Incas, and was proudly bearing
back to the open roads of Cadiz.

We dropped down past a noble line of deep-sea merchantmen, from
Marseilles, Hamburg, and far-away ports of Norway and Sweden. We
passed fishing boats casting their nets, and met a stately Spanish
bark, the _Calderon_. On the shores we caught glimpses of orange grove
and olive orchard, lines of osiers and white poplars, and we paused at
the little town of Coria, famous for its earthen jars, to land one of
our peasants, while a jolly priest, whose plain black garb was
relieved by a vermilion parasol, tossed down cigars to his friends
among the sailors.

Then our galleon pursued her course into the flat and desolate regions
of the _marismas_. These great salt marshes of the Guadalquivír,
scarcely more than a bog in winter, serve as pasture for herds of
hardy sheep and for those droves of mighty bulls bred in Andalusia to
die in the arenas of all Spain. For long stretches the green bank
would be lined with the glorious creatures, standing like ebony
statues deep amid the reeds, some entirely black, and many black with
slight markings of white. The Guadalquivír intersects in triple
channel this unpeopled waste, concerning whose profusion of plant life
and animal life English hunters tell strange tales. They report flocks
of rosy flamingoes, three hundred or five hundred in a column,
"glinting in the sunshine like a pink cloud," and muddy islets studded
thick with colonies of flamingo nests. Most wonderful of all, the
camel, that ancient and serious beast of burden, a figure pertaining
in all imaginations to the arid, sandy desert, keeps holiday in these
huge swamps. It seems that, in 1829, a herd of camels was brought into
the province of Cadiz, from the Canaries, for transport service in
road-building and the like, and for trial in agriculture. But the
peculiar distaste of horses for these humpy monsters spoiled the
scheme, and the camels, increased to some eighty in number, took
merrily to the marshes, where, in defiance of all caravan tradition,
they thrive in aquatic liberty. The fascination of this wilderness
reached even the dingy steamer deck. Gulls, ducks, and all manner of
wild fowl flashed in the sunshine, which often made the winding river,
as tawny as our James, sparkle like liquid gold.

If only it had been gold indeed, and had kept the traceries of the
Roman keels that have traversed it, the Vandal swords whose red it has
washed away, the Moorish faces it has mirrored, the Spanish--

"_Usted come?_"

It might have been Cortes who was offering that bowl of _puchero_, but
no! Cortes would have mixed it in his plumy helmet and stirred it with
that thin, keen sword one may see in the Madrid _Armería_. This was a
barefooted cabin boy, in blue linen blouse and patched blue trousers,
with a scarlet cloth cap tied over his head by means of an
orange-colored handkerchief. The dancing eyes that lit his shy brown
face had sea blues in them. He was a winsome little fellow enough, but
I did not incline to his cookery. While I was watching river, shores,
and herds and chatting with the _simpático_ sailor, who, taking his
cue from my look, expressed the deepest abhorrence of the bull-fights,
which, I make no doubt, he would sell his dinner, jacket, bed, even
his guitar, to see, I had taken secret note of the cuisine. This
child, who could not have counted his twelfth birthday, kindled the
fire in a flimsy tin pail, lined with broken bricks. He cracked over
his knee a few pieces of driftwood, mixed the fragments with bits of
coal which he shook out of a sheepskin bottle, doused oil over the
whole, and cheerfully applied the match, while the commercial
traveller hastily drew up a bucket of water to have on hand for
emergencies. Then the boy, with excellent intentions in the way of
neatness, whisked his blackened hands across the rough end of a rope
and plunged them into the pot of _garbanzos_, to which he added beans,
cabbage, remnants of fried fish, and other sundries at his young
discretion. And while the mess was simmering, he squatted down on the
deck, with his grimy little feet in his fists, rocking himself back
and forth to his own wild Malaga songs, and occasionally disengaging
one hand or the other to plunge it into the pot after a tasty morsel.

"Will you eat?" he repeated manfully, reddening under the scrutiny of
stranger eyes.

"Many thanks! May it profit yourself!"

I opened my luncheon, and again we exchanged these fixed phrases of
Spanish etiquette, although after the refusals enjoined by code of
courtesy, the boy was finally induced to relieve me of my more
indigestible goodies.

"Did you ever hear of Columbus?" I asked, as we munched chestnut cakes
together, leaning on the rail.

"No, señora," he replied, with another blush, "I have heard of
nothing. I know little. I am of very small account. I cook and sing. I
am good for nothing more."

And is it to this those arrogant Spanish boasts, which rang like
trumpets up and down the Guadalquivír, have come at last!

We were in the heart of a perfect sapphire day. The river, often
turbulent and unruly, was on this April afternoon, the sailors said,
_buen muchacho_, a good boy. The boat appeared to navigate herself.
The captain nodded on his lofty perch, and the engineer was curled up
in his own tiny hatchway, trying to read a newspaper, which the fresh
breeze blew into horns and balloons. The rough cabin bunks were full
of sleeping forms, and the leather wine-bottles, flung down carelessly
in the stern, had cuddled each to each in cozy shapes, and seemed to
be sleeping, too. The two soldiers, who had been gambling with coppers
over innumerable games of dominos, were listening grimly to the
oratory of the commercial traveller.

"No fighting for me!" this hero was declaiming. "In strenuous times
like these a man ought to cherish his life for the sake of his
country. Spain needs her sons right here at home. It is sweet, as the
poet says, to die for the _patria_, but to live for the _patria_ is,
in my opinion, just as glorious."

"And more comfortable," grunted one of the soldiers, while the other
gave a hitch to those red infantry trousers which look as if they had
been wading in blood, and walked forward to view from the bows the
little white port of Bonanza.

As the boat went no farther, I had to stain my silver route by a
prosaic parenthesis of land. It was some comfort to remember that
Magellan waited here for that expedition from Seville which was the
first to sail around the globe. I think I travelled the three miles
from Bonanza, Good Weather, to San Lúcar de Barrameda in Magellan's
own carriage. It was certainly old enough. As I sat on a tipsy chair
in the middle of a rude wagon frame mounted on two shrieking wooden
wheels, and hooded with broken arches of bamboo, from which flapped
shreds of russet oilcloth, I entered into poignant sympathy with
Magellan's ups and downs of hope and fear. The jolting was such a
torture that, to divert my attention, I questioned the driver as to
the uses of this and that appliance in his rickety ark.

"And what are those ropes for, there in the corner?" was my final
query.

"Those are to tie the coffins down when I have a fare for the
cemetery," he replied, cracking his whip over the incredibly lean mule
that was sulkily jerking us along.

"Please let me get out and walk," I entreated. "You may keep the
valise and show me the way to the inn, and I can go quite as fast as
that mule."

"Now, don't!" he begged, with even intenser pathos. "Strangers always
want to walk before they get to the inn, and then the people laugh at
me. I know my carriage isn't very handsome, but it's the only one in
Bonanza. Just do me the favor to keep your seat a little longer."

I had been lurched out of it only a minute before, but I could not
refuse to sacrifice mere bodily ease to the pride of Spanish spirit.

Notwithstanding Don José's dark predictions, this was the only trial
of the trip. To realize to the full the honesty, kindliness, and
dignity of the everyday Spaniard, one needs to turn off from the
sight-seer's route. On the beaten tourist track are exorbitant hotels,
greedy guides, cheating merchants, troops of beggars--everywhere "the
itching palm." But here in San Lúcar, for instance, where I had to
spend twenty-four hours at a genuine Spanish _fonda_, the proprietor
took no advantage of the facts that I was a foreigner, a woman, and
practically a prisoner in the place until the Saturday afternoon train
went out, but gave me excellent accommodations, most respectful and
considerate treatment, and the lowest hotel bill that I had seen in
Spain.

San Lúcar has, in early Spanish literature, a very ill name for
roguery, but, so far as my brief experience went, Boston could not
have been safer and would not have been so genial. I strayed, for
instance, into a modest little shop to buy a cake of soap, which its
owner declined to sell, insisting that I ought to have a choicer
variety than his, and sending his son, a lad of sixteen, to point me
out more fashionable counters. This youth showed me the sights of the
pleasant seashore town, with its tiers of closely grated windows
standing out from the white fronts of the houses, and its sturdy
packhorses and orange-laden donkeys streaming along the rough stone
streets, and when, at the inn door, I hesitatingly offered him a piece
of silver, doffed his cap with smiling ease, and said he did not take
pay for a pleasure.

Once off the regular lines of travel, however, speed is out of the
question. I might have gone from Seville to Cadiz in three hours;
thanks to historic enthusiasms, it took me nearer three days. After
escaping from San Lúcar, I had to pass four hours in Jerez, another
whitewashed, palm-planted town, whose famous sherry has made it the
third city in Spain for wealth. The thing to do at Jerez is to visit
the great _bodegas_ and taste the rich white liquors treasured in
those monster casks, which bear all manner of names, from Christ and
His twelve disciples to Napoleon the Great; but mindful, in the light
of Don José's admonitions, that the weak feminine estate is "as water
unto wine," I contented myself with seeing the strange storage basin
of the mountain aqueduct--an immense, immaculate cellar, where endless
vistas of low stone arches stretch away in the silent dusk above the
glimmer of a ghostly lake.

The train for Cadiz must needs be two hours late this particular
evening, but my cabman drove me to approved shops for the purchase of
bread and fruit, and then, of his own motion, drew up our modest
equipage in a shady nook opposite the villa of the English consul,
that I might enjoy my Arcadian repast with a secure mind. Jehu
accepted, after due protestations, a share of the viands, and
reciprocated the attention by buying me a glass of water at the
nearest stand, much amused at my continued preference for Jerez water
over Jerez wine.

One of the Jerez wine merchants, German by birth, shared the railway
carriage with me for a while, and after the social wont of Continental
travel fell to discussing the war. "The Spaniards deserved to be
beaten," he declared, "but the Yankees didn't deserve to beat. They
were conceited enough before, heaven knows, and now they expect all
Europe to black their shoddy shoes. Your own country was a bit to
blame in blocking every effort to keep them in their place."

I felt it time to explain that I was not English, but American. Much
disconcerted, he did his best to make amends.

"I wouldn't have said that for the world if I had known you were an
American--but it's every syllable true."

He thought over this remark in silence for a moment, his Teutonic
spirit sorely strained between kindliness and honesty, and tried
again.

"I would like to say something good about the United States, I would
indeed,--if there was anything to say."

It seemed to occur to him, after a little, that even this apology left
something to be desired, and he brightened up.

"Wouldn't you like some roses? They sell them here at this station.
There comes a boy now with a nice, big bunch. One _peseta_! I think
that's too dear, don't you?"

I hastened to assent.

"The lady says that's too dear. Seventy-five _centimos_? No. The lady
can't pay that. Sixty _centimos_? No. The lady can't afford sixty
_centimos_. Fifty _centimos_? No. The lady says fifty _centimos_ is
too much. She will take them at forty _centimos_. Here's a half
_peseta_. And you must give me back a fat dog."

The boy held back the penny and tried to substitute a cent.

"Oh, sir, please, sir, forty-five _centimos_! There are two dozen
roses here, and all fresh as the dawn. Give me the puppy-dog over."

But the German, who knew how to put even a sharper edge on the
inveterate Spanish bargaining, secured for the value of eight cents,
instead of twenty, his great bouquet of really beautiful roses, and
presented it with as much of a bow as the carriage limits permitted.

"I meant to pay all the time, you know; but one can always make a
better trade, in Spain, if it is done in the name of a lady." And he
added, with that sudden tact which innate goodness and delicacy give
to the most blundering of us mortals, "If you don't like to take them
from a stranger for yourself, you will take them as my peace-offering
to your country."

I was reminded again of my native land by another fellow-traveller--a
Spaniard of the Spaniards, this time, one of the Conservative and
Catholic leaders, greeted at the various stations by priests and monks
and friars, whose hands he solemnly kissed. This distinguished
personage was absorbed in a voluminous type-written manuscript, from
which he occasionally read aloud to the band of political confidants
who accompanied him. It was an arraignment of the Liberal Party, and,
by way of exposing the errors of the Sagasta government, included a
merciless résumé of the Spanish naval and military disasters, with
elaborate comparisons of the American and Spanish equipments. He was
then on his way to join in a consoling pilgrimage to a certain image
of Christ, which had been cudgelled by a grief-maddened priest whose
dying mother the image had failed to heal.

These surroundings more or less jostled my sixteenth-century dream,
but I held to it so stubbornly that, when pyramids of salt began to
glimmer like ghosts along the way, and a sweeping curve of lights
warned me of our approach to Cadiz, I made a point of seeing as little
as possible. It was midnight, but Spanish hours are luckily so late
that Don José's friends were still at the height of evening
sociability and regaled me with alternate showers of sweetmeats and
questions. Finally, after many exclamations of horror at the audacity
of the trip, all the feminine hospitality of the household lighted me
to a chamber whose walls were hung with pictures of martyrs and
agonizing saints. Among these I counted five colored representations
of Christ opening his breast to display the bleeding heart.

The next morning I promptly took boat to _Puerto de Santa Maria_,
embarked on the return steamer, and so at last found myself once more
on the Silver Road, entering Cadiz harbor from the sea.

To be sure, the _Montserrat_ was riding proudly in my view, although
the warships to which she had been used to curtsy in the open roads of
Cadiz would never cut those shining waves again. The waters were as
turquoise blue as if they had just come from the brush of an old
master, and the towered city rose before us like a crystal castle in
the air. Its limited space, built as it is within great sea walls on
an outlying rock, which only a rope of sand moors to the mainland, has
necessitated narrow streets and high houses, whose _miradores_,
lookouts that everywhere crown the terraced roofs, give this
battlemented aspect to the town. One of the most ancient and tragic
cities known to time, claiming Hercules for its founder, in turn
Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Gothic, Moorish, Spanish, it yet
looks fresh as a water-lily. I could have spent another three days in
gazing. And this sparkling vision was Spain's _Copa de Plata_, the
Silver Cup which has brimmed with the gold and pearls of America, with
blood and flame and glory. Its riches have taken to themselves wings,
but its high, free spirit and frank gayety abide. Still the
Andalusians sing:--

     "_Viva_ Cadiz, Silver Cadiz,
       Whose walls defy the sea,
     Cadiz of the pretty girls,
       Of courtesy and glee!

     "Good luck to merry Cadiz,
       As white as ocean spray,
     And her five and twenty cannon
       That point Gibraltar way!"

But I am bound to add that the cannon do not look dangerous.



XII

MURILLO'S CHERUBS

     "Angels o'er the palm trees flying,
       Touch their waving fronds to rest.
     Bid them give no wind replying.
       Jesus sleeps on Mary's breast.
     Blesséd angels, hold the peeping
       Branches still as altar-place,
     For the Holy Child is sleeping
       Close beneath His Mother's face."
                                        --LOPE DE VEGA.


Spanish love for childhood, and the precocity and winsomeness of
Spanish children, impressed me from my first hour in the Peninsula.
"There is no road so level as to be without rough places," and the
initial days of my Madrid residence, after my artist comrade had gone
back to Paris and the spring salons, might have been a trifle lonely
save for baby society. I was living in a delightful Spanish household,
but the very excess of courtesy reminded me continually that I was a
Yankee and a heretic. As time passed, friendship ripened, and it is
to-day no empty form of words when I am assured that I have "my house
in Madrid." But at the outset I felt myself not only an American
alien, but an Andalusian exile. The "only Court" is such a prosaic
contrast to Seville that my impulse was to betake myself with books
to the great park of the Buen Retiro, the magnificent gift of Olivares
to his royal master, and let the Madrid world, at least the adult
portion of it, go by. For while the larger Madrileños were busy with
their own plays of politics, bull-fights, and flirtation, the little
ones had happy afternoons in that historic park of many a tragedy,
where convents, palaces, and fortifications have all made way for the
children's romping ground. Resting on a rustic seat in the leafy
shade, with the rich, thrilling notes of the nightingale answering the
bell call of the cuckoo from the deeper groves beyond, I could watch
these budding Spaniards to heart's content.

It was well to observe them from a distance, however, for their young
voices were of the shrillest. Among the boys, an energetic few were
developing muscle by tag and leap-frog; more were flying kites,
cracking whips, twirling slings, and brandishing the terrors of pewter
swords; while at every turn, beside some flashing fountain or beneath
some spreading oak, I would come upon a group of urchins playing _al
toro_ with the cheap, gaudy capes of red and yellow manufactured for
the children's sport. The girls were skipping rope, rolling hoop,
teaching one another the steps of endless dances, and whispering
momentous secrets in statue-guarded grottos, or thickets of flowering
shrubs, or whatsoever safe, mysterious nook their fluttering search
could find.

Here was a school out for its daily airing, a pretty procession of
rainbow-clad little damsels, marshalled by the black-veiled figures of
graceful nuns, and pacing with all decorum down a crowded avenue; but
the moment the troop turned into some sequestered by-path, how it
would break into a shimmering confusion of butterflies, darting
hither and thither in those jewel-green lights and sea-green shadows,
the nuns casting their dignity to the winds and scampering with the
swiftest! Wandering after I would come, perhaps, upon an open space
where the smaller boys were gathered, delicate little lads riding
horse-headed sticks, digging with mimic spades, and tossing big, soft,
red and yellow balls, while mothers and nurses sat about in circle on
the stone benches, calling out sharp-toned cautions to their
respective charges.

And everywhere in the park were toddling babies, clasping dolls,
tugging at gay balloons, dragging wooden donkeys on wheels, and
tumbling over live puppies. They were pale, engaging, persistent
little creatures, with a true Spanish inability to learn from
experience. I saw one aristocratic cherub, white as snow from
feathered cap to ribboned shoes, take ten successive slappings because
he muddied his hands. The angry nurse would make a snatch for the
naughty fingers, roughly beat off the dirt, and cuff the culprit
soundly. His proud little mouth would tremble; he would wink hard and
fast, but there was not a tear to be seen, not a cry to be heard, and
no sooner had her peasant clutch released him than back went the baby
hands, grubbing deep into the mire. A gorgeous civil guard finally
distracted her attention, and the last view I had of the child showed
him blissfully squatted in the very middle of a puddle, splashing with
arms and legs.

White is almost the universal wear of the prattling age in the Buen
Retiro, although now and then some lily fairy would flit by with
saffron sash and harmonious saffron stockings, or costume similarly
touched by pink or blue. The Scotch plaids, too, were in favor as
sashes, and at rare intervals I encountered a tot sensibly attired in
stout plaid frock. But the white of this childish multitude was
thickly flecked with mourning suits, complete to bits of black gloves
and even to jet studs in the collars. Among the sad sights of the
Retiro was an epileptic boy, led and half supported between two
sweet-faced, youthful ladies, both in widow's crêpe, who screened him
with caresses as his fit took him and he foamed and screamed in
piteous helplessness. This pathetic trio, ever seeking seclusion, was
ever followed by a retinue of idlers, who, for all their intrusive
staring, were silent and sympathetic.

The nursemaids formed not the least attractive feature of the
kaleidoscopic picture. Most wore white caps, fastened with gilded pins
or knots of rose or russet; but the nurses counted the best, from the
mountain province of Santander, were distinguished by bright-colored
handkerchiefs twisted about the head. Here, as in the _Élysées_,
baby-wagons are seldom seen. The nurses carry in arms the black-eyed
infants, who bite away at their coral necklaces quite like little
Yankees.

But Spanish traits soon declare themselves. In the centre of the park
is an artificial pond, where lads in their first teens, too old for
play, lean languidly over the iron railings, and, while they throw
crumbs to the flock of forlorn-looking ducks or watch the dip of the
red oar-blades that impel the pleasure boats, brag of their amorous
adventures and exchange the scandal of the _Prado_. Sometimes their
love chat is of sweeter tenor, for many of these schoolboys have
already spoken their betrothal vows, which the Church will not let
them lightly break. Spaniards often marry under twenty-one, and even a
recent wedding in Madrid, where neither bride nor bridegroom had
reached the fifteenth year, was hardly thought amiss, in view of the
fact that there was parental money to maintain them.

And why had the stately city of Valladolid been under a reign of
terror for half the week just past, with shutters up, doors barred,
and women and children kept at home for safety, while bands of young
men swayed in bloody struggle through her famous squares and streets,
but because a cadet and a student must needs lose heart to the same
maid? Cupid, not Santiago, is the patron saint of Spain. And Cupid,
for all his mischief, has some very winning ways. Our boyish
sentimentalists of the Buen Retiro, for instance, easily fall into
song, and the native melodies, always with something wild and Oriental
in their beat, ring across the little lake into the woods beyond till
the birds take up the challenge and every tree grows vocal.

One afternoon, on my way to the park, I bought from a roadside vender
a handful of small, gaudily bound children's books, and had no sooner
found what I fondly supposed was a sequestered seat than a tumult of
little folks surrounded me, coaxing to hear the stories. These tales,
so taken at random, may throw a little light on the literature of
Spanish nurseries. There was the life of the Madonna, which we passed
over, as the children said they had read it in school and knew it,
every word, already. So we turned to the astonishing career of the
great soldier, Kill-Bullet, who could easily stop a cannon-ball
against his palm, and to an account of that far-off land where it
rained gold in such profusion that nobody would work, until finally
all the people, weary of a wealth which induced no tailor to stitch
and no shoemaker to cobble, no baker to bake and no dairy-maid to
churn, rose by common consent and shovelled the gold into the river.
We read of hot-tempered little Ambrose, who left the gate of his
garden open, so that a hen cackled in and began to scratch under a
rose bush, whereupon the angry boy chased her furiously all over the
garden-beds until his summer's work was trampled into ruin, and his
papa came and explained to him how disastrous a thing is wrath. There
was a companion moral tale for little girls, telling how Inez used to
make faces until her mamma told her that she would grow up with a
twisted mouth and nobody would marry her, whereat did little Inez
promptly reform her manners. One favorite volume, with a cover which
displayed a wild-whiskered old ogre in a fiery skullcap gloating over
a platterful of very pink baby, told how good little Violet saved her
bad sisters, Rose and Daisy, from his dreadful gullet, by aid of an
ugly monkey, whom her promised kiss transformed into a fairy prince. I
was glad to find, in that country where so little is done to train
children in the love of animals, the ancient tale of the four
musicians, the donkey, the dog, the cat, and the cock, who escaped in
their old age from the death that threatened them at the hands of
ungrateful masters and, by a free exercise of their musical talents,
captured the house of a robber-band, putting its inmates to confusion
and flight. Many of the stories, indeed, would have been recognized by
young Americans, but the proportion of saint-lore was larger than that
of fairy-lore, and, now and then, some familiar property had suffered
a Spanish change, as the invisible cap which had become an invisible
cape of the sort used for playing bull-fight.

  [Illustration: THE PAGEANT OF GETHSEMANE]

The nursery rhymes, too, so far as I chanced upon them, were of the
universal type with Spanish variations. A Castilian mother plays
Peek-a-boo with her baby quite as an English mother does, except that
the syllables are _Cú? Trás!_ The father's foot trots the child to a
Catholic market.

     "Trot, little donkey! Donkey, trot!
       We must buy honey to please the pet.
     If San Francisco has it not,
       We'll go to San Benet."

Baby's toes are counted as the eternal five little pigs, and also
thus, with a preliminary tickling of the rosy sole:--

"Here passed a little dove. This one caught it. This one killed it.
This one put it on to roast. This one took it off again. And this
teeny-teeny-teeny scamp ate it all up!"

Spanish patty-cakes are followed by a Spanish grace.

     "Patty-cakes, oh! Patty-cakes, ah!
       The sweetest cakes are for dear mama.
     Patty-cakes, oh! Patty-cakes, ah!
       The hardest pats are for poor papa,

     "Bread, O God! Bread, dear God,
       For this little child to-day!
     Because he's such a baby
       He cannot pay his way."

The Spanish nursery seems richer in rhymes than ours. Nurse bends
Baby's left hand into a rose-leaf purse, for example, and gives it
little taps with one finger after another of Baby's right hand,
singing:--

     "A penny for Baby's purse
       From papa, mama, and nurse.
     A penny, a penny to pay!
       Let no thief steal it away!"

And then the tiny fist is doubled tight.

When the child, again, is first dressed in short clothes, he is
propped up in a corner and coaxed to take his first step with the
rhyme:--

     "One little step, Baby-boy mine!
       Come, Little Man, step up!
     And thou shalt have a taste of wine
       From Godfather's silver cup."

This rhyming fashion the little ones take with them out of babyhood
into their later childhood. The urchin admonishes his whistle:--

     "Whistle, whistle, Margarita,
       And you'll get a crust of bread,
     But if you do not whistle
       I'll cut off your little head."

The little girl learns the scales in process of rocking her doll to
sleep:--

     Don't pin-prick my poor old dolly, _Do_
     Respect my domestic matters. _Re_
     Methinks she grows melancholy, _Mi_
     Fast as her sawdust scatters. _Fa_
     Sole rose of your mama's posy, _Sol_
     Laugh at your mama, so! _La_
     Seal up your eyes all cozy. _Si_
     _La Sol Fa Mi Re Do._

With Spanish children, as with ours, Christmas Eve, or _Noche Buena_,
is a season of gleeful excitement. They do not hang up stockings for
Santa Claus, but they put out their shoes on the balcony for the Kings
of the East, riding high on camel-back, to fill with sweets and
playthings. Considerate children, too, put out a handful of straw for
the tired beasts who have journeyed so far over the Milky Way. On some
balconies the morning sun beholds rocking-horses and rocking-donkeys,
make-believe theatres and bull-rings, with toy images of soldiers,
bulls and Holy Families; but if the child has been naughty and
displeased the Magi, his poor little shoes will stand empty and
ashamed.

The dramatic instinct, so strong in Spaniards, is strikingly
manifested in the children's games. These little people are devoted to
the theatre, too, and may be seen in force at the matinées in the
Apolo, Lara, and Zarzuela. Afternoon performances are given only on
Sundays and the other Catholic _fiestas_, which last, numerous enough,
are well within reach of the Puritan conscience. At these matinées
more than half the seats in the house are occupied by juvenile
ticket-holders, from rows of vociferous urchins in the galleries, to
round-eyed babies cooing over their nurses' shoulders. If the play is
an extravaganza, abounding in magic and misadventure, the rapture of
the childish audience is at its height.

The close attention with which mere three-year-olds follow the action
is astonishing. "_Bonito!_" lisping voices cry after each fantastic
ballet, and wee white hands twinkle up and down in time with the merry
music. When the clown divests himself, one by one, of a score of
waistcoats, or successively pulls thirty or forty smiling dairy-maids
out of a churn, little arithmeticians all over the house call out the
count and dispute his numbers with him. When the dragon spits his
shower of sparks, when chairs sidle away from beneath the unfortunates
who would sit down or suddenly rise with them toward the ceiling, when
signboards whirl, and dinners frisk up chimney, cigars puff out into
tall hats, and umbrellas fire off bullets, the hubbub of wonder and
delight drowns the voices of the actors.

The house is never still for one single instant. Babies cry wearily,
nurses murmur soothingly, mystified innocents pipe out questions,
papas rebuke and explain, exasperated old bachelors hiss for silence,
saucy boys hiss back for fun--all together the Madrid matinée affords
a far better opportunity to study child life than to hear the comedy
upon the boards.

The boy king of Spain is, of course, a fascinating figure to his child
subjects. We were told at San Sebastian, where the Queen Regent has a
summer palace, that on those red-letter days when the king takes a sea
dip, children come running from far and near to see him step into the
surf, with two stalwart soldiers gripping the royal little fists. And
no sooner has the Court returned to the sumptuous, anxious palace of
Madrid, than the boy bathers of San Sebastian delight themselves in
playing king, mincing down the beach under the pompous military escort
that they take turns in furnishing one another.

In Madrid, too, the sightseeing crowds that gather before the royal
palace or at the doors of the _Iglesia del Buen Suceso_, where the
Queen Regent, with her "august children," sometimes attends the
_Salve_ on Saturday afternoons, are thickly peppered with little
folks, eager to "see the king." They are often disappointed, for the
precious life is jealously guarded, especially while the Carlist cloud
still broods above the throne. During my stay in Madrid, a man with a
revolver under his coat was arrested on suspicion in the vestibule of
the theatre known as _La Comédia_, where the queen was passing the
evening. Sceptical Madrid shrugged its shoulders and said: "Stuff and
nonsense! When the Ministers want the queen to sign a paper that isn't
to her liking, they make a great show of devotion and pounce down on
some poor devil as an anarchist, to frighten her into being meek and
grateful." And, in fact, the prisoner was almost immediately released
for lack of any incriminating evidence. For weeks after, nevertheless,
the royal movements were more difficult to forecast, and on the daily
drives the kinglet was often missing from the family group.

But, undiscouraged, every afternoon the children would fringe the
palace side of the _Plaza de Oriente_, hoping to see the royal
carriage go or come with their young sovereign, whose portrait, a
wistful, boyish face above a broad lace collar, is printed in one of
their school reading books over the inscription, "To the Head of the
State honor and obedience are due." Expectant youngsters, in the
all-enveloping black pinafores that remind the eye of Paris, with book
satchels made of gay carpeting over the shoulder, would shake out
their smudgy handkerchiefs, often stamped with the likenesses of
famous _toreros_, and help themselves to one another's hats in
readiness to salute; but the elegant landau, preceded by an escort of
two horsemen, dashes by so swiftly that their long waiting would be
rewarded only by the briefest glimpse of bowing bonnets and of a
small gloved hand touching the military cap that shades a childish
face.

It is a pale and sober little face as I have seen it, but Madrileños
resent this impression and insist that his youthful Majesty is "sturdy
enough," and as merry as need be. They say that the buoyancy which he
inherits from his father is crossed by strange fits of brooding, due
to his mother's blood, but that he is, in the main, a merry-hearted
child. Although he has masters for his studies now, his affection
still clings to his Austrian governess, whom, none the less, he dearly
loves to tease. When she is honored by an invitation to drive with the
Queen Regent, for example, Alphonsito hastens to hide her hat and then
joins most solicitously in her fluttered search, until her suspicion
darts upon him, and his prank breaks down in peals of laughter. Madrid
was especially sensitive about him last year, for he, Alfonso XIII,
godson of Pope Leo XIII, was thirteen years of age--an iteration of
the unlucky omen that really ought to be satisfied with the loss of
the Spanish colonies. His mother, in honor of his birthday, May
seventeenth, distributed five thousand dollars among orphan asylums
and other charities, and held a grand reception in the Hall of the
Ambassadors, where the slight lad in cadet uniform, enthroned beside
the Queen Regent between the two great lions of gilded bronze,
received the congratulations of a long procession of bowing ministers,
admirals, captain generals, prelates, and those haughty grandees of
Spain whose ancient privilege it is to wear their hats in the royal
presence; but the shrinkage of his realm since his last birthday must
have been uppermost in the mind of even the young lord of the
festival. _Pobrecito!_ one wonders what thoughts go on behind those
serious brows of his, when, for instance, he looks down from his
palace windows at the daily ceremony of guard-mounting in the
courtyard. It is such a gallant sight; the martial music is so
stirring; the cavalry in blue and silver sit their white steeds so
proudly, with the sun glistening on their drawn swords and the wind
tossing their long, white, horsehair plumes, that all these tales of
defeat and loss must puzzle the sore boy heart and cast confusing
shadows down the path before him.

Little as the Spaniards love the Queen Regent, to whom they cannot
pardon her two cardinal offences of being a "foreigner" and of
disliking the bull-fight, they have a certain affection for Alfonso
XIII, "the only child born a king since Christ." Indeed, Spain seems
to have been always sympathetic toward childhood in palaces. Enter
this wonderful _Armería_ of Madrid, where those plumed and armored
kings, on richly caparisoned chargers, whom we have come to know in
the paintings of the _Museo del Prado_, seem to have leapt from the
canvases to greet us here in still more lifelike guise, albeit not
over graciously, with horse reined back and mighty lance at poise. Any
fine morning they may all come clattering out into the _Plaza de
Armas_--and where will the United States be then? Here stands a
majestic row of them--Philip II, in a resplendent suit of gold-inlaid
plate-armor; Maximilian, whose visor gives him the fierce hooked beak
of an eagle; Sebastian of Portugal, with nymphs embossed in cunning
work on his rich breastplate; and Charles V, three times over, in
varieties of imperial magnificence.

  [Illustration: "JESUS OF THE PASSION"]

But opposite these stern warriors is a hollow square of boy princes,
and of noble _niños_ whose visors hide their identities in long
oblivion. The armor of these childish figures is daintily wrought,
with tender touches of ruffs and cuffs, scallops and flutings and
rosettes. Often only the upper half of the body is incased in steel,
the slender legs playing the dandy in puffed trousers of striped
velvet--scarlet, green, and buff--silk hose, and satin slippers.
Little Philip III proudly displays a diminutive round shield, with a
relief of battle scenes in gold. The plate armor of little Philip IV
is stamped with lions and castles, eagles and spears. And his little
son, Don Baltasar Carlos, bestrides a spirited pony and wears at the
back of his helmet a tuft of garnet feathers.

The _Prado_ galleries abound in royal children. This same _infante_,
Don Baltasar, is seen here in the foreground of a lonely landscape,
with desolate blue hills beyond and driving clouds above. But all the
more bright and winsome glows the form of the six-year-old horseman,
the gold-fringed, pink sash that crosses his breast streaming out far
behind with the speed of his fearless gallop. Supreme among the
_Prado_ children, of course, is the little daughter of Philip IV, the
central figure of the world-renowned _Las Meninas_. All in vain does
her charming maid of honor kneel to her with the golden cup; all in
vain does the dwarf tease the drowsy dog. The solemn puss, undiverted,
will not stir from her pose nor alter the set of her small features
until the artist, standing half disdainfully before his easel, gives
the word. She has waited for it now hard upon two hundred and fifty
years, but the centuries beat in vain against that inflexible bit of
propriety.

Even the royal burial vaults beneath the grim Escorial have in their
chill grandeur of marble halls an especial Panteon for babies,
princely innocents whose lives are reckoned in months more often than
in years. Gold and blue and red brighten their great white sepulchre,
and above the altar smiles the Christ Child, with the graven words,
"Suffer the children to come unto me." But for Alfonso XIII a sombre
sarcophagus waits in the haughtiest and gloomiest of all the Panteons,
where only kings, and queens who were mothers of kings, may lie.

It is not royal childhood alone that is dear to this strange,
romantic, monstrously inconsistent heart of Spain. The cruelty of
Spaniards to horses and donkeys sickens even the roughest Englishman,
yet almost every voice softens in speaking to a child, and during my
six months in Spanish cities I saw nothing of that street brutality
toward the little ones which forces itself upon daily notice in
Liverpool and London. Spanish children are too often ill-cared for,
but despite the abuses of ignorant motherhood and fatherhood, such
vivid, vivacious, bewitching little people as they are! Enter a
Spanish schoolroom and see how vehemently the small brown hands are
wagged in air, how the black eyes dance and the dimples play, what a
stir and bustle, what a young exuberance of energy! They race to the
blackboards like colts out at pasture. They laugh at everything, these
sons of "the grave Spaniard," and even the teacher will duck his head
behind the desk for a half-hidden ecstasy over some dunce's blunder or
some rogue's detected trick.

But their high spirits never make them unmindful of those courtesies
of life in which they have been so carefully trained. There is an
old-fashioned exaggeration about their set phrases of politeness. Just
as the casual caller kisses the lady's feet, in words, and she
reciprocates by a verbal kissing of his hand, so the school children
respond to the roll call with a glib: "Your servant, sir." Ask a
well-bred boy his name, and he rattles back, "Jesus Herrera y
La-Chica, at the service of God and yourself." They learn these
amenities of speech with their first lispings. I was much taken aback
one day in Seville by a child of eighteen months. Not in the least
expecting this infant, whose rosy face was bashfully snuggled into his
young aunt's neck, to understand, I said to her, "What a fine little
fellow!" Whereupon Master Roly-poly suddenly sat up straight on her
arm, ducked his head in my direction, and gravely enunciated, "_Es
favor que Usted me hace_"--"It is a compliment you pay me." I could
hardly recover from the shock in time to make the stereotyped
rejoinder, "_No es favor, es justicia_"--"No compliment, but the
truth." To this Don Chubbykins sweetly returned, "_Mil gracias_"--"A
thousand thanks," and I closed this uncanny dialogue with the due
response, "_No las merece_"--"It does not merit them."

Servants, neighbors, passers-by, beggars, all prompt the children in
these shibboleths of good manners, adorning the precept with example.
"Would you like to go with us to the picture gallery this afternoon?"
I once asked a laddie of artistic tastes at a boarding-house table.
"_Si, señora_," he replied, whereupon several of the boarders, greatly
scandalized, hastened to remind him, but in the gentlest of tones, of
the essential addition, "_con mucho gusto_" to which we were bound to
reply, "The pleasure will be ours." The girls, even more than the
boys, are bred in these formal fashions of intercourse. Every morning
they ask if you have rested well, and express grief or gratification,
according to your response. In Mrs. Gulick's school, mere midgets of
six and eight, returning from class, will not close the doors of their
rooms if you are in sight, though perhaps seated at a reading table in
the farther end of the corridor, lest they should appear inhospitable.
On our return from Italica, a thirsty child of seven, heated to
exhaustion with the sun and fun of that Andalusian picnic, refused to
touch the anise-seed water which some good Samaritan had handed up to
the dusty carriage, until the glass had been offered to every one
else, driver included, leaving, in the sequel, little enough for her.
On our midnight return from the _Feria_, this same _niña_ of gentle
memory, staggering and half crying with sleepiness, would nevertheless
not precede any of her elders in entering the home door. "After you,"
she sobbed, with hardly voice enough to add, "And may you all rest
well!" "The same to you," chorussed the adults, trooping by, and her
faint murmur followed, "Many thanks."

"Shall I give you this fan when I go away," I asked her once, "or
would you rather have it now to take to the party?" She wanted it then
and there, but what she answered was, "I shall be best pleased to take
it when you like best to give it."

You must beware of saying to a little Spanish maid, "What a beautiful
rosebud in your hair!" Instantly the hand is busy with the pins. "It
is at your disposal." You hastily protest, "A thousand thanks, but no,
no, no! It is very well placed where it is." Off comes the flower,
notwithstanding, and is fastened into your belt. For when the elder
sister has insisted on giving you (until the next ball) those dancing
slippers which you so rashly admired, and the sister's _novio_ went
home the night before without his cloak, because you had approved its
colors (although he sent his man around for it before breakfast), what
can the children do but follow suit? Even their form of "Now I Lay Me"
is touched with their quaint politeness:--

     "Jesus, Joseph, Mary,
       Your little servant keep,
     While, with your kind permission,
       I lay me down to sleep."

The precocity of Spanish children is a recognized fact. An educational
expert, a Frenchman who holds a chair in an English university,
assured us that beyond a doubt Spanish children, for the first dozen
years of life, develop more rapidly than any other children of Europe.
Yet, although these clever little Spaniards are so punctiliously
taught to put the pleasure of others before their own, they are
treated with universal indulgence. Soldiers lining the curbstones on
occasion of a royal progress will let the children press in beside
them and cling to their valorous legs, until the military array seems
variegated with a Kindergarten. My farewell glimpse of Toledo, on
Corpus Christi Day, makes a pretty picture in memory. The red-robed
cardinal, who had come to the station to take his train, was fairly
stormed by all the children within sight, clamoring for his blessing.
In vain the attendant priests tried to scatter the throng, and ladies
of high degree, planting their chairs in a circle about the prelate,
acted as a laughing body-guard. It was all of no avail. The little
people danced up and down with eagerness, dodged under arms, and
slipped between elbows. They knelt upon the cardinal's very feet,
rapturously kissing his red-gloved hand and clasping to their
pinafores and blouses the sacred trinkets he distributed. And he,
patting the bobbing black pates, wherever he could get a chance,
smiled on the little ones and forbade them not.

The affection lavished on children in the household circle is often
poetic and passionate. I observed one day a brusque young fellow of
twenty-four, whom we had thought rather a hard, catch-penny sort of
person, suddenly gather a four-year-old nephew to his heart and cover
the dimpled face with kisses, while the look in his own black eyes was
the look of a St. Anthony. I stood once in a crowded cathedral and
lost all sense of the service in contemplation of an ugly manikin,
with coarse features and receding forehead, who held a frail baby boy
tight against his breast. This was a blue-eyed, fair-haired wean, with
a serious, far-away expression, and from time to time, attracted by
the gilt of the ceiling, he raised a tiny pink fore-finger and pointed
upward, while the father's animal face, never turned away from the
child, became transfigured with love and worship. He took the baby
out, when it had fallen asleep upon his shoulder, and it was good to
see that dense throng open and make a lane for him, every man, however
brutal or frivolous his aspect, being careful not to jostle the
drooping, golden head.

But Spanish children, so caressed and so adored, are nevertheless
modest in their bearing, and fall shyly back before a stranger. I
remember a beaming grandfather displaying to us two blushing little
men, bidding them open their eyes wide that we might contrast colors,
turn back to back that we might measure heights, and in various ways
put their small selves on show, all which they did in mute obedience,
but at the word of release flew together, flung their arms about each
other's necks, rolled under the nearest table, and curled up into the
least possible bunch of bashful agony.

The pictures, frescos, and carvings of Spanish churches often reflect
the looks of Spanish childhood. The Holy Family gives a wide range of
opportunity, especially in the ministering cherubs. There is a
crucifix in one of the twenty-two aisle chapels of Toledo cathedral,
where three broken-hearted mites of angels, just three crying babies,
are piteously striving to draw out the nails from the Sufferer's hands
and feet. Many of the saint-groups admit of child figures, too, as the
St. Christopher, which almost invariably appears as a colossal nave
painting, "the Goliath of frescos."

It would be strange, indeed, if children were not beloved in the
country of Murillo. Spain has let the most of his beggar-boy pictures
go to foreign collections, but she has cherished his Holy Families and
cherub-peopled Annunciations. Such ecstatic rogues as those Andalusian
cherubs are! Their restless ringlets catch azure shadows from the
Virgin's mantle; they perch tiptoe on the edges of her crescent moon;
they hold up a mirror to her glory and peep over the frame to see
themselves; they pelt St. Francis with roses; they play bo-beep from
behind the fleecy folds of cloud; they try all manner of aerial
gymnastics. But a charm transcending even theirs dwells in those baby
Christs that almost spring from the Madonna's arms to ours, in those
boy Christs that touch all boyhood with divinity. The son of the
Jewish carpenter, happy in his father's workshop with bird and dog;
the shepherd lad whose earnest eyes look toward his waiting flock;
the lovely playmates, radiant with innocent beauty, who bend together
above the water of life--from these alone might Catholic Spain have
learned the sacredness of childhood. But Spain first showed Murillo
the vision that he rendered back to her.



XIII

THE YOLK OF THE SPANISH EGG

     "From Madrid to Heaven, and in Heaven a little window for
     looking back to Madrid."--_Popular Saying._


Few foreigners can understand the sentiment of Spaniards for their
capital. Madrid is the crown city of Spain, not by manifest destiny,
but by decree of Philip II, who, as his nature was, better loved the
harsh Castilian steppe, baked by summer suns and chilled by
treacherous winds, than the romantic sierras and gracious river
valleys where earlier royal seats had been established. If in Madrid
the desert blossoms like the rose, it is a leafless rose, for the city
has no suburbs. It lacks both the charm of environment so potent in
Granada and Seville and the charm of ancient story, which these share
with those other bygone courts--Toledo, Valladolid, Valencia,
Saragossa. It is not a vital organ of modern European civilization,
like artistic Paris or strenuous London. And yet it is more
cosmopolitan, and hence less distinctively Spanish than other cities
of the Peninsula. It is devoted to the bull-fight and the lottery,
abounds in beggars and prostitutes, does not take naturally to
commerce, and is sadly behindhand with popular education. Yet
Madrileños cannot be persuaded that the skies behold its equal, and
even over the Anglo-Saxon stranger its fascination gradually steals.

In the first place, the mirth of the home life beguiles the serious
foreigner. Spanish households have a pleasantness quite their own. All
the natural vivacity and kindliness of the people find free play at
home, where servants sing and children prattle, ladies chatter and
gentlemen jest, all in an atmosphere of ease, leisure, and spontaneous
sociability. The father is not preoccupied with business, the mother
has never dreamed of belonging to a woman's club, the children have
little taste for reading, and few books to read. So talking is the
order of the day, and, Sancho Panza! how they talk! Lingering half the
morning over the _desayuno_ of thick, cinnamon-flavored chocolate,
into which are dipped strips of bread, two-thirds of the afternoon
over the _almuerzo_, a substantial repast of meat and vegetables,
fruit and _dulces_, and all the evening over the _comida_, where soup
and the national dish of _puchero_ are added to the noontide bill of
fare, they chatter, chatter, chatter, like the teeth of Harry Gill.

Still, as of old, Spaniards are temperate in food and drink. "It's as
rare to see a Spaniard a drunkard as a German sober," wrote Middleton
three centuries ago. They use more water than wine, and although they
have a grand appetite for sweets, they take them in comparatively
simple forms. The national lack of enterprise is conspicuous even
here, for dearly as the Spaniard dotes on chocolate and sugar, Madrid
does not make her own chocolate creams, but imports them from Paris to
sell, when they are too hard to eat, at a price too high to pay.

But smoking and talking are indulgences which Madrileños carry to
excess. Lounging on the balcony, a gayly painted case of paper
cigarettes at hand, they will pass hours in bantering their wives,
whom they worship much as they worship the images of Mary, delighting
to dress them in fine clothes and glittering trinkets, and expecting
in return, it is said, their pardon for a multitude of sins. And when
my lord saunters forth to "rest" in one of the iron chairs that line
the promenades, or in a café window, or at an open-air table before
one of the frequent stalls of cooling beverages, the women of the
house flock together in some airy corner, stitching away on their
endless embroideries, and receiving, with "a million kisses" and a
chorus of shrill welcomes, the mantilla-veiled ladies who come to
call.

If the afternoon is frying hot, it is just possible that the
gallivanting don will bethink himself to send home a tray of
_horchata_, a snowy, chilly, puckery refreshment, eaten by aid of
wafers in the form of little tubes that look and taste much like
wrapping paper. This treat gives fresh animation to the emulous
tongues. The slightest neighborhood incident, as recounted in such a
group, takes on a poetic vividness and a dramatic intensity, and when
it is all told over again at the dinner-table, excitement waxes so
high that long after the dishes and cloth have been removed the family
may still be found seated around the board, flashing a thousand lights
of suggestion and surmise on that dull bit of scandal. The husband
cannot cease from discussion long enough to read the evening paper,
nor the wife to send the little ones to bed, and midnight may find the
three generations, from grandfather to four-year-old, still talking
with might and main.

Accustomed guests come at once to the dining room, ready to contribute
their share to the lively clash of voices, or to take part in one of
the characteristic games of a Spanish family circle, as lottery. In
this favorite pastime, victory, including a goodly handful of coppers,
falls to him whose checked and numbered square of pasteboard is most
quickly filled with beans. These are placed on the squares called by
the bag-holder, who draws numbers haphazard from his sibylline sack.
When the small hours come in, the company may adjourn to the sala for
dancing and music, but conversation under cover of these gushes on
more impetuously than ever--the Castilian art of arts.

One of the chief graces of the _tertulias_ consists in their
informality--their frank simplicity. Even on a saint day--a day
consecrated to the saint whose name some member of the family
bears--while all the nearer friends drop in for congratulation, with
perhaps a gift of flowers, in case of a lady, or sweetmeats for a
child, the _tertulia_ requires no further exercise of hospitality than
an open door and a feast of words. There is more blithesomeness, for
_hay santo en casa_ (there is a saint in the house), but no more
parade, with its preliminary fret and fuss.

The streets of Madrid, too, have a curious fascination. In the morning
hours there is the picturesque confusion of the market. The donkeys
are unladen here, there, and everywhere, and the sidewalks and squares
promptly dotted over with bright little heaps of delicious Toledo
cherries, Valencian apricots, Murcian lemons, and all the greens of
the season. The peasant women, squatted among their lettuces and
cucumbers, seem much more interested in gossiping with their neighbors
than in securing customers. Babies tumble about, crushing the pinks
and roses, and cabmen good-naturedly pick their way as best they can
among these various vegetable and human obstacles. Venders of books,
too, like to pave the street with rows of open volumes, whose pages
are soon dimmed with dust, and artisans, especially cobblers, set up
their benches just outside their doors, and add the click of their
hammers to the general din.

In the early afternoon the shady side of the street is lined with the
outstretched forms of workingmen, taking the indispensable siesta.
Some rest their black pates on arm or folded jacket or bag of tools,
but plenty of bronzed laborers slumber peacefully all prone on the hot
paving, with not so much as a cabbage leaf for a pillow. Beggars lie
along the stone benches of the _paseos_ and parks, cabmen sleep on
their cabs, porters over their thresholds, and I once turned away from
a church I had come far to visit, not having the hardihood to waken
the verger, who, keys in hand, was snoring like an organ, sprawled
across half a dozen granite steps.

As the cool of evening approaches, the overcrowded houses of the poor
pour forth entire families into the street, where supper is cooked and
eaten, and all manner of domestic operations carried on. Before every
door is at least one black-eyed baby, in a little wooden cage
something like a churn, with rim running under the armpits, so that
the child, safe from straying or falling, may be left to his own
devices. As darkness deepens, out come the stars and the _serenos_.
These latter, in Madrid, no longer cry fair weather, but they hold the
keys of the houses--an arrangement that I never learned to take
seriously.

Returning from visit or theatre in the evening, I found it difficult
to say with requisite solemnity to the driver, "Would you be so kind
as to shout for Celestino?" The driver promptly roars, "Celestino!"
and twinkling lights come bobbing toward us from far and near, but no
Celestino. "He's in the wineshop," suggests Isidro, whose charge
begins three houses above. "He's eating iron," asserts Pedro, in the
phrase describing those colloquies which a Spanish suitor carries on
with his divinity through the grating. Then we all chorus,
"Celestino!" and again, "Celestino!" and again, "Celestino!"

At this a cloaked figure comes running across the square, waving a
lantern over his head and vociferating jocund apologies: "I regret it
extremely. I am stricken with sorrow. But at the first call I was
wetting my lips at the fountain, and at the second I was pausing to
exchange four words only with the lady of my soul, and at the third I
said _Vamos!_ and at the fourth--look you, I am here." So he unlocks
the door and lights the stairway with his lantern until I have
ascended the first flight, when he cheerily calls out, "_Adios!_" and
shuts me into darkness which I am expected to illuminate for my
further climb by striking matches.

Madrid streets are by no means altogether delectable. Some are broad
and well kept, but others are narrow, dirty, and malodorous. Worst of
all, to my own thinking, is the Madrid stare, which, hardly less
offensive than the Paris stare, is more universal. It is amusing to
see how fearlessly a matron of eighteen sallies forth alone, while
many Madrid spinsters of fifty would not go a block unattended. Nor
are annoyances confined to staring. Even in reputable shops a woman
soon learns to be on her guard, when her attention is especially
called to book or picture, lest it prove "a silliness."

Madrid is better than the cities of Andalusia, and worse than the
cities of northern Spain, in its treatment of women. A young Spanish
girl cannot walk alone, however sedately, in Seville, without a
running fire of salutations--"Oh, the pretty face!" "What cheeks of
rose!" "Blessed be thy mother!" "Give me a little smile!" And even in
Madrid, Spanish girls of my acquaintance have broken their fans across
the faces of men who tried to catch a kiss in passing.

In Madrid, as almost everywhere in Spain, begging is a leading
industry. So many beg from laziness or greed that it is easy to lose
patience, the most essential part of a traveller's Spanish outfit. The
ear is wearied by the everlasting drone and whine: "Oh, dear lady, for
the love of God! All day my children have had no bread. Give me five
_centimos_, only five _centimos_, and Heaven will pay you back. Lady!
lady! lady! lady! Five _centimos_, in the name of all the saints!" And
the eye is offended by the continual obtrusion of ulcers, cripplings,
and deformities. No less than Seville and Granada, Madrid abounds with
child beggars. There were two jolly little cripples on the Prado, who
used to race, each on his one leg, to overtake me before I should
reach the Museo steps. Another boy, on whose face I never saw a smile,
sat at the corner of a street I daily passed, holding out two
shapeless blocks of hands. By the gate of the Buen Retiro was
stationed a blind man, with a girl wean on his knee. It was pathetic
and amusing to see him feeding her the supper of bread and milk, for
the spoon in his groping hand and the pout of her baby mouth often
failed to make connection.

The prevalence of eye disease in Spain is probably due to sun, to
dust, and to generations of poverty. The pounding of a blind man's
stick upon the pavement is one of the most common city sounds. The
charitable may often be seen leading the blind across the streets. I
tried it myself once with an imperious old woman, who clung to the
curbstone some twenty minutes before she could muster courage for the
plunge, lecturing me fluently all the time on the dangers of a rash
disposition. There are, of course, many cases of fraud--cases where,
when the day's work is over, the blind see and the lame walk. One of
the popular _coplas_ has its fling at these:--

     "The armless man has written a letter;
       The blind man finds the writing clear;
     The mute is reading it aloud,
       And the deaf man runs to hear."

Yet it is certain that among the beggars of Madrid is a heartrending
amount of genuine misery. One day I passed an aged _ciego_, sitting on
a doorstep, in the Alcalá, his white head bowed upon his breast in
such utter weariness of dejection that I paused to find him a copper.
But better charity than mine came to comfort that worn heart. A lame
old peanut woman limped up to him, with the pity of the wretched for
the wretched. She drew from her apron pocket a coin which I had rarely
seen--_dos centimos_, two-fifths of a cent in value. An Austrian, who
had lived in Spain four years, told me he had never once encountered
that paltry piece of money. But she could not spare it all. "Hast thou
one _centimo_ for change, brother mine?" she asked. And the blind
man's sensitive fingers actually found in his lean leather purse that
tiny metal bit, which only the poorest of the poor ever see in
circulation. He gravely kissed the coin she gave and made with it the
sign of the cross on brow and breast, saying, "Blessed be this gift,
my sister, which thy mercy has bestowed on a man of many troubles! May
our Mother Mary keep for thee a thornless rose!"

"And may God, who sends the cold according to our rags, lighten all
thy griefs! Rest thou in peace," she replied.

"Go thou with God," was his answer.

Begging was a recognized and licensed industry in Madrid a year ago,
though a bill of reform, whose fate I have failed to learn, was then
under consideration. A mother would gather her brood about her and go
forth for her day's work. They beg up and down their accustomed beat
during the morning, eat as their gains allow, lie down in the dust
together for the afternoon siesta, and rise to be diligent in business
during the hours of fashionable promenade. They stop pedestrians,
chase carriages, press into shops to torment the customers at the
counter, and reach beseeching palms through the open windows of cafés.
Gentlemen escorting ladies are their peculiar victims, for well they
know that many a man who never gives under other circumstances is
ashamed to seem ungenerous under survey of starry eyes.

There is only one phrase that will shake off the professional beggar,
"May God aid you!" On hearing this he makes it a point of religious
honor to fall back. But as I could not use that formula without
feeling myself something between a shirk and a hypocrite, I had to get
on as best I could with the ineffectual, "Pardon me, my brother," to
which should properly be added _Por Dios_ (for God's sake).

The Spanish mendicant knows nothing of the Anglo-Saxon feeling, "To
beg I am ashamed." No Rare Ben Jonson has thundered in his ears:--

     "Art thou a man? and sham'st thou not to beg?
     To practise such a servile kind of life?
     Why, were thy education ne'er so mean,
     Having thy limbs, a thousand fairer courses
     Offer themselves to thy election.
     Either the wars might still supply thy wants
     Or service of some virtuous gentleman,
     Or honest labor: nay, what can I name,
     But would become thee better than to beg?"

From the Spanish point of view, on the contrary, it is manual labor,
not beggary, that stains the escutcheon. A German lady of my
acquaintance said to a strongly built man who was pleading for alms,
"If you will carry my bag up these stairs, I will gladly pay you."
Deeply insulted, he folded his cloak about him with hidalgo dignity,
saying, "Madame, I am a beggar, not a laborer." Certain monasteries
send out brothers, with plates and bags, on a daily begging
round--brothers who may belong to the first families of Spain. The
Church is often cited as indorsing mendicancy. Extolling almsgiving as
a prime virtue, and itself maintaining a vast number of charitable
institutions, it has not yet assimilated modern methods of relief.

A favorite story for children, used as supplementary reading in the
schools, is called "The Medal of the Virgin." This is, in fact, a
Roman Catholic version of "Fortunatus's Purse." Its small heroine,
Mary of the Angels, is an orphan, defrauded by a miser of her rich
inheritance and treated with barbarity by the uncle and aunt for whom
she is an uncomplaining drudge. But once, in festive hour, they give
her five _centimos_, which this generous innocent promptly bestows on
a beggar woman, who holds a baby in her ragged arms. In return, the
beggar gives the child a queer, old-fashioned mite of a coin, which
turns out to have the Wall Street quality of heaving up a little
mountain of gold above itself every hour or two.

Mary of the Angels sallies forth for a tour of the country, pouring
handfuls of gold into the laps of the beggars who sit at the church
doors and city gates, until she is escorted wherever she goes by an
army of the halt and blind singing her praises. At last, having given
away such Pyrenees of gold that not a beggar could be found in all the
land for a century to come, the footsore little philanthropist begs
the Virgin to relieve her of the coin. The Madonna descends in a beam
of light, the Christ Child smiling from her arms, yet in the radiant
group Mary of the Angels recognizes the objects of her earliest
charity. "For I," explains the Madonna, "am the holy beggar from
heaven. The poor of the earth give me their tears and prayers, and for
such alms do I hold out my hand to all the sorrowful."

Yet the progressive element in Spain is all the more ashamed of the
beggars because they are not ashamed of themselves, and a few years
may see Madrid swept as clear of mendicancy as is San Sebastian
to-day.

Madrid is such an easy-going city that one hardly realizes at first
how well it performs certain of its functions. Its water supply, for
instance, is excellent, although when one sees the picturesque groups,
with those same clay water-jars over which Rebecca smiled on Jacob,
lingering about the gray stone fountains, one expects a patriarchal
flavor in the liquid. The tramway service of Madrid, everything
radiating from the _Puerta del Sol_, is most convenient, although
electricity is a little slow in coming to the relief of horse-flesh.
The shops, fairly well stocked, gild commerce with Spanish graces. You
accept a chair, you pass the courtesies of the day, the gentleman who
serves you, often with cigar in mouth, is seldom sure as to just what
goods he has on hand, and is still more rarely dogmatic as to their
price.

The tug of war, however, comes in getting them delivered. Ten days
before quitting Madrid I bought at one of the best of the _librerias_
a number of books, including several illustrated catalogues of the
Velázquez sala. These last were pretty trifles bound in white
parchment, and as I intended them for gifts, I wanted fresh copies.
"You wish them clean, all of them?" asked the proprietor, with an
accent of surprise. I replied that I did, and would moreover be
obliged if he could fit them with envelopes ready for mailing.
Envelopes he had none, but he promised to tie them up in separate
parcels. "And books and bill will come without fail this afternoon?"
He looked pained to the heart. "This very morning, señora. You will
find them awaiting you on your return." On the third day I sent a
note, and on the fifth a boy arrived with the bulk of my purchase, but
no catalogues nor bill. I explained to the lad, who smilingly besought
me to give myself no concern, that I was on the point of leaving the
city for good, and preferred not to go away in debt; but the days
passed, and my inability to extort that reckoning became the jest of
the household. At last, driven to desperate measures, I went
through noonday heat to the store, and actually found that
procrastinating bookseller scattering cigar ashes over a little heap
of catalogues, while he contemplated the pictures of each copy in
turn. "Behold, señora," he exclaimed, as serenely as if not ten
minutes had elapsed since our parting, "here I have for you immaculate
booklets, stainless, faultless, such as will rejoice those fortunate
friends to whom you have the amiability to send them. And I am this
instant about to prepare them for the post with inviolate security."

  [Illustration: "CHRIST OF THE SEVEN WORDS"]

I expressed my obligations, but entreated him to draw up the account
and let me settle it then and there, as I was within twenty-four hours
of departure. "And in travelling," I added apologetically, "it is
difficult to send back money." At the obnoxious word he flung up hands
and eyebrows. "Señora!" I left the shop, feeling vaguely that I had
been guilty of a flagrant indelicacy, as well as black ingratitude.
The catalogues, very slightly wrapped, arrived on the morrow, just in
time to be thrust into my shawl strap, and I paid the bill amid the
final agitation, so unfavorable to arithmetic, of porters and
farewells.

I had worse fortune in trying to subscribe for a certain popular
periodical. I went to the office in the designated business hours, to
find that, of the three men who should have been there, one had
already gone, one had not arrived, and the third had "stepped out for
a little rest." The janitor left in charge, a sympathetic person who
could not read nor write, thought if I would return on Sunday at my
luncheon hour, there might be somebody there qualified to receive my
subscription and address, but, he sagely added, "in this world we are
sure of nothing."

Madrid possesses the _Biblioteca Nacional_ with valuable manuscripts
and something like one million books, handsomely housed, where
arrangements are made for over three hundred readers, but here, as in
the other Spanish cities, public libraries in the American sense of
libraries largely used by the general public are practically
non-existent. The bookstores, too, except for the latest Spanish
publications, leave much to be desired. As a rule, one can get only
the most meagre information concerning texts and editions of the
national classics, and the supply of new French novels or new German
plays is far less complete than the stock of Paris gloves and German
cutlery. This last, so canny have the honest Teutons grown, is usually
engraved _Toledo_.

In variety of weather, however, Madrid surpasses all expectations,
furnishing the sultriest heat, the chilliest cold, the dustiest dust,
and the most prodigious crashes of thunder and lumps of hail to be
found in the meteorological market, and all these within a few hours
of one another. But what with fans, _braseros_, balconies,
_horchaterias_, an army of street waterers, and, most essential of
all, an inexhaustible fund of good humor, the Madrileño contrives to
live on friendly terms with his climate, although he dares not lay
aside his cloak before "the fortieth of May."

Apart from bull-fights and riots, those rages of excitement that seem
to indicate a periodical fevering of the southern blood, the Madrileño
takes his pleasures with a dignified simplicity. The city is
exceedingly rich in open squares, well-shaded parks, and long reaches
of green promenade, and here, with several dozen cigarettes and a few
coppers for water and _agráz_, he wiles the hours away, chatting with
friends and admiring the ladies who roll past in spruce landaus. Over
the gate of the social paradise of Madrid it must be written, "No
admittance except in coaches," for a carriage seems essential to high
life. Liveried coachman, rather than powdered butler, is the _sine qua
non_. During the hot season this outdoor parade is in gay career at
midnight, and whole families, babies and nurses included, may be seen
gathered in festive knots around small refreshment tables, within
sound of fountain spray and garden music. There are open-air concerts,
and concerts in smoke-beclouded halls, greensward dances, and dances
stepped on café tables among disordered clusters of bottles and
glasses, and there is always the theatre, on which your Spaniard
dotes.

In the winter season there is opportunity to enjoy classic drama at
the _Teatro Español_, where the Bernhardt of Spain, "La Guerrero,"
supported by her grandee husband, Mendoza, holds sway. When I saw them
they were using short farces of Cervantes and Lope de Rueda for
curtain raisers to a romantic drama by Tirso de Molina and a modern
society play by Echegaray. I saw them, too, in Zorrilla's singular
dramatic version of "Don Juan," the only play allowed in Spanish
theatres on the night of All Saints.

From March to November, however, the _Teatro Español_ is closed, and
there is little doing at the _Teatro Real_, an aristocratic temple of
Italian opera. During the summer season the theatrical opportunities
of Madrid are mainly limited to the popular _zarzuelas_, or operettas,
four of which are usually given in an evening. Each theatre offers a
new programme of these every night, but there is little of literary
interest except, now and then, a taking trifle from the pen of
Hartzenbusch or Echegaray.

The Madrid theatre recks naught of early risers. The opening
vaudeville is seldom under way before nine o'clock; the house is
cleared after each performance, and often the encores and repetitions
prolong a popular _zarzuela_ quite beyond the hour limit. On the other
hand, if the audience is small, the opening piece may be cut down to
the merest outline. I remember one such occasion when the boxes were
so empty and the farce so familiar that the orchestra fairly chaffed
the actors off the stage. "Enough, enough! Thou mayst withdraw!"
chanted the lyric lover to an intruding servant. "And so mayst thou,"
called out a voice from among the violins. "I've told my passion to
the stars," continued the actor in his most mellifluous tenor, making
the distant love of the Spanish stage to a lady who was smiling
frankly on the audacious fiddler. "Poor stars!" interpolated this
worthy so sympathetically that everybody laughed, the singer wound up
his transports in the shortest possible order, and the remaining
scenes were hardly more than pantomime. But such was the universal
good nature and indifference to business exactitudes, that neither
artists nor ticket-holders took this curtailment of their rights in
umbrage.

Among the excellences of Madrid must be counted her _museos_. The
_Armería_, with its plumed and steel-clad warriors, all at tourney, is
no mere lumber room of wicked old iron, as might have been expected,
but a new canto of the "Faery Queene." The _Museo Naval_ still smells
of the boundless brine and Isles of Spicery. The _Museo Arqueológico
Nacional_ sweeps one, as on the magic carpet of Alhambra legend,
through the entire tragedy of Spain. Here are the successive leaves of
her strange picture-book--scratched, prehistoric flints, grass-woven
Iberian sandals, rudely sculptured shapes in sandstone grasping wine
cups that suggest whole Rubaiyats, Phoenician anchors, bronze tables
of Roman laws, Moorish arabesques, mediæval altars, modern wares and
fineries, while barbaric spoils of Peruvian idols, Mexican
feather-shields, sacrificial stones, and figures of forest lords speak
to the imagination of that vast colonial empire which rose out of a
dream to melt again like very dreamstuff, leaving "not a rack behind."
These I have seen, but there are twice as many more Madrid museums
which I had not time to see, and which, I am told, are no less rich in
rarities and no less effective in pictorial beauty of arrangement.

Of the art galleries, who can say enough? The supreme _Museo del
Prado_ so magnetizes pilgrim feet that it is hard to spare even a few
hours for the _Académia de Bellas Artes_, with its grand Murillos and
calm Zurbaráns, or the _Museo de Arte Moderno_, with its succession of
canvases depicting scene upon scene of death, decay, murder,
execution, starvation, battle, torture, frenzy. Whatever is most
horrible in the story of the Peninsula--Juana the Mad staring at her
husband's coffin, the bloody fall of the betrayed Torrijos and his
band, the nobles of Portugal doing shuddering homage to the exhumed
corpse of Inez de Castro, all that moves disgust, distress, dismay,
seems flaunted here. The technique is French, but the subjects are
Spanish. Many of the pictures have historical dignity and
faithfulness, a few reproduce the modern national types, with a
preference for bull-fighters and anarchists over fishermen and
peasants, but one misses the spiritual beauty that went hand in hand
with the spiritual terror of the older art. Do the Spanish painters of
to-day derive only from Goya and Ribera?

The old-time popular ceremonies are fast fading out of Europeanized
Madrid. Even the Christmas mirth is waning, though still on _Noche
Buena_ the _Plaza Mayor_ is close set with booths, and the Infanta
Isabel, _muy Madrileña_ that she is, makes a point of driving through
and heaping her carriage with fairings. On Twelfth Night, too, there
are a few small boys to be seen scampering about the streets, looking
for the arrival of the Magi. Every year drops something of the
mediæval heritage, and it has fallen to my lot to chronicle the
passing of one of Madrid's most ancient and comfortable rites. The
principal saint days of June, July, and August are preceded by
_verbenas_, or evening fairs, chief among these being the _Verbena de
San Juan_, on Midsummer Night. Many a baby has a grand frolic this
evening, rocked back and forth on his mamma's knees, laughing eyes to
laughing eyes, while she dips her head to his and tickles his little
neck with kisses in time to the ancient ditty:--

     "Recotín, recotón!
     The bells of St. John!
     There's a festival on.
     Recotín, recotín, recotón!"

Far along the _Prado_ gleam the busy fires over which are merrily
bubbling the oiliest and brownest of _buñuelos_. The rows of lighted
stalls, which have sprung up like mushrooms on either side of the
promenade, present to the revelling, roving, shifting throng an
amazing variety of tawdry knickknacks, ingeniously devised to meet no
human want. As we drove slowly up and down, enjoying the scene, while
beggars ran beside the carriage and hawkers darted out upon us with
shrill cries, the "American girl" of our little group strove earnestly
to find "something to buy."

The most useful and convenient article for a traveller that could be
discovered was a pasteboard bull's head on a long stick, but her
chaperon, mindful of trunk dimensions, discouraged this purchase so
effectively that Little Boston gracefully made herself amends by
presenting us all with images of St. John. These scandalously
represented the Baptist as a ballet girl in short cotton-wool skirts
and gilt ribbons, waving a banner with one hand and leading a
two-legged lamb with the other.

As midnight drew near, carriages and foot-folk all pressed toward the
stately Cybele fountain. It seems that there was once, in the _Puerta
del Sol_, a magic spring whose waters, sprinkled at Midsummer Midnight
on the most unlikely head, insured a wedding within the year. Trams
and cabs, riots and bloodshed, drove the precious charm away to the
_Prado_, even to this same Cybele fountain, which for many generations
has continued to work bridal miracles. So recently as 1898, as soon as
the clock in the tower of the stately Bank of Spain struck midnight,
with wedding cadences lingering in its peal, eager feet went splashing
through the broad marble basin, and the enchanted water, thrown by
handfuls and cupfuls far out over the crowd, sparkled even on bald
pates and wigs.

But alas for Madrid and her Midsummer Night's Dream! Some prosaic
person got wet and tattled to the Alcalde. So when in natural
agitation, on our only Verbena of St. John, we had persuaded the
compassionate coachman to drive as close as close might be to the
fountain, we encountered a bristling, unromantic railing, and outside
of this a grim circle of police, frowning menace on that disconcerted
host. Every moment more carriages, with veiled ladies and rheumatic
gentlemen, dashed up, and the indignant crowd surged forward to the
very buttons of authority. But midnight chimed in vain. One desperate
graybeard vaulted over the railing, only to be hustled back with
contumely. In general, however, that great press of people remained as
meek as the lions of Cybele's chariot--a lack of spirit only to be
accounted for by remembering that this midnight company was made up of
the shamefaced and rejected, such an assemblage of blighted beings as,
now that the last spell is snapped, earth will never see again. Even
the decorous Cybele laughed in her marble sleeve.

So passes the old Madrid; but there is a new Madrid, of which a word
still waits to be said.



XIV

A STUDY IN CONTRASTS

     "Here you have them, the two Spains, unlike, antagonistic,
     squared for conflict."
                                   --_Vida Nueva._


The world-old struggle between conservatism and advance is at its most
dramatic point in Spain. The united forces of clericalism and
militarism work for the continuance of ancient institutions, methods,
ideas, and those leaders who do battle in the name of liberalism are
too often nothing more than selfish politicians. But with all these
odds against progress, it is making way. The mass of the people, kept
so long in the darkness of ignorance and superstition, are looking
toward the light. During my last week in Madrid I chanced upon two
extreme expressions of these warring principles. The first was a royal
and religious ceremony, the second a monster mass meeting,--the one
intent on cherishing the past, the other clamoring at the gates of the
future.

I was looking over the _Imparcial_ as I took my coffee one morning,
when my eye fell on an item to the effect that there would be _capilla
publica en Palacio_ at ten o'clock. A traveller learns to jump at
opportunity. Public service in the royal chapel promised to be of
interest, and half-past nine found me waiting, with a miscellaneous
company of gentles and tatterdemalions, natives and foreigners, on the
palace side of the _Plaza de Armas_, the expectant throng streaming
far down the paved and covered way. We were well marshalled by
soldiers, who kept the crowd in form of a long troop, and banded this
by military lines, with gleaming bayonets. These bands, but a few feet
apart, were effectual in preventing crowding and disorder, and when at
last the doors were thrown open, a double rank of soldiers closed in
before the portal as often as the entering file showed any tendency to
press and hurry, and thus passed us through by small divisions, so
that there was no unseemly struggling on the succession of bare, plain
stairways that led to the upper galleries.

For "public service in the royal chapel," I was now to discover, does
not mean that the public is admitted to the chapel itself. This is
small, but very Spanish, with profusion of gilding, imposing altar,
and frescoed saints, the characteristic splendor being tempered with a
no less characteristic gloom, an effect enhanced by austere columns of
gray marble. On days of public service, which are usually high feast
days, three long galleries, forming three sides of a great quadrangle,
are traversed by the court in passing from the royal rooms to the
chapel door, and it is to these galleries only that the public is
admitted. On such occasions the gallery walls are hung with richly
colored tapestries from the magnificent collection of eight hundred
pieces that enriches the royal _Tapiceria_.

The instant I crossed the threshold these tapestries blazed upon the
eye, so dazzling in their beauty that it was difficult to grasp the
general situation. Civil Guards, in gala uniform, each armed with a
pike taller than himself, were stationed at intervals of about six
feet all along these tapestried walls, holding the carpeted way open
for the passage of the royal and ecclesiastical party. The public
hastened to fill in the spaces left between the guards, so that when
the dignitaries paced the length of the three galleries, they walked
between continuous human lines of mingled soldiery and spectators. We
were of various ages, sizes, colors, and quite as picturesque, take it
all in all, as the slowly stepping group on which our eyes were
focussed.

A division of the royal escort, marching with drawn swords, preceded
the Queen Regent, a slight and elegant figure in white and heliotrope,
her mantilla pinned with diamonds. She walked in royal solitude, with
a bearing of majesty and grace, but her face had a hard and almost
sour look, which of itself might account for her unpopularity. The
King and the younger Infanta did not take part in the day's ceremony,
but the Princess of Asturias followed her mother, a fresh-faced girl,
charmingly dressed in white and blue, with pearls and turquoises. A
respectful step or two in the rear of her niece, yet at her side
rather than behind, came in rich green silk adorned with emeralds the
stout, gray-puffed, easy-going Infanta Isabel, her broad, florid face
beaming with affability. The guards had passed stern word down the
line for all hats to be off, but there was no sign of greeting, so far
as I saw, from the spectators to the royal party, except as now and
then some happy Spaniard bowed him to the dust in acknowledgment of a
nod, as familiar as a wink, from this popular Infanta.

The occasion of this stately function was the elevation of the Papal
Nuncio to the rank of cardinal. He passed in all priestly
magnificence of vestments and jewels, his red hat borne before him on
a cushion. He was attended by the chief clerics of Court and capital,
but even these gorgeous personages were outshone by the military and
naval officers, whose breasts were a mosaic of medals, and whose
headgear such erections of vainglory as to hush the crested cockatoo
with shame. The Gentlemen of the Palace, too, were such peacocks in
their glittering coats of many colors, their plumes and sashes, gold
lace and silver lace, that the plump Ladies in Waiting, for all their
pride of velvet, satin, and brocade, looked like mere hens in the wake
of strutting chanticleers.

The American mind is ill prepared to do homage to the dress parades of
European courts, and I laid by the memory to laugh over when I should
have reached a place and hour where laughter would be inoffensive. As
the Diplomatic Corps, in its varied costumes, came trooping on, twice
a whisper ran along the gazing lines. "The Turk!" and the traditional
enemy of Spain limped smilingly past, a bent, shrewd-faced old
Mussulman, whose Oriental finery was topped by the red fez. "The
Yankee!" and Spain's latest adversary strode by in the person of the
newly arrived United States Minister, decorously arrayed in dress suit
and a Catholic expression.

The chapel doors closed on this haughty train, and we, the invited
public, cheerily proceeded to pass a social hour or two in chat and
promenade and in contemplation of the tapestries. Even the Civil
Guards unbent, dancing their babies, lending their pikes to delighted
urchins, and raising forbidden curtains to give their womenkind
furtive peeps into the royal apartments. Most astonishing was the
maltreatment of those priceless tapestries. Small boys, unrebuked,
played at hide and seek under the heavy folds, old men traced the
patterns with horny fingers, and the roughest fellows from the streets
lounged stupidly against them, rubbing dirty-jacketed shoulders over
the superb coloring. The most splendid series displayed was from a
master-loom of the Netherlands, illustrating the conquest of Tunis by
Charles V--marvellously vivid scenes, where one beholds the spread of
mighty camps, the battle shock of great armies and navies, and, like
shrill chords of pain in some wild harmony, the countless individual
tragedies of war. The scimitar of the Turk flashes down on the Spanish
neck, while the upturned eyes are still too fierce for terror; the
turbaned chief leans from his gold-wrought saddle to scan the severed
heads that two blood-stained sons of the prophet are emulously holding
up to his survey, hoping to recognize in those ghastly faces enemies
of rank; white-robed women on the strand, their little ones clinging
to their knees, reach arms of helpless anguish toward the smitten
galley of their lords, who are leaping into the waves for refuge from
the Christian cannonade.

I wondered how the Turkish Minister liked those tapestries, as his
stooped-back Excellency passed in conference with a Chinese mandarin,
who must have studied his costume from a teacup. For we had all been
hustled into rows again to make that human lane through which the
Royalties and the Reverends returned from their devotions. I was
facing a quaint old tapestry of Christ enthroned in glory, with the
beasts of the Apocalypse climbing over Him like pet kittens, and this
so distracted my attention that I omitted to ask the amiable Infanta
Isabel, who would, I am sure, have told anybody anything, what had
taken place. But I read it all in the _Epocha_ that evening--how her
Majesty with her own august hands had fitted the red hat to the
Nuncio's tonsured head, and how the new-made cardinal had addressed
her in a grateful oration, praising her virtues as manifested in "the
double character of queen and mother, an example rich in those
peculiar gifts by which your Royal Grace has won the veneration and
love of the noble and chivalrous Spanish people, the especial
affection of the Father of the Faithful, and the respect and sympathy
of all the world." For her and for the youthful monarch of Spain he
invoked the favor of Heaven, and uttered a fervent hope that the cup
of bitterness which this most Catholic nation had bowed herself to
drink might be blessed to her in a renewal of strength and a
reconquest of her ancient preëminence among the peoples of the earth.

The most significant expression of "new Spain" that I encountered in
Madrid was a mass meeting--a rare and novel feature in Spanish public
life. I blundered upon it as foolishly as one well could. The second
day of July was the first anniversary of the founding of a daring
Madrid weekly, the _Vida Nueva_, to which, attracted by its literary
values, as well as its political courage, I had subscribed. The sheet
is usually issued Sunday, but as I was on the point of going out one
Saturday afternoon my _Vida Nueva_ arrived, accompanied by two
non-committal tickets. They gave entrance to the _Frontón Central_,
"only that and nothing more." I called one of the pretty señoritas of
the household into council, and she sagely decided that these were
tickets to _pelota_, the Basque ball game, played in one or another of
the various Madrid halls almost every summer afternoon. It seemed a
little too considerate in the _Vida Nueva_ to provide for the
recreation of its subscribers, but I was growing accustomed to
surprises of Spanish courtesy, and tucked the tickets away in a safe
corner. The folded newspaper rustled and whispered, and finally
fluttered to my feet, but I was eager to be off, and, after the blind
fashion of mortals, put it by.

It was my privilege to dine that day with two compatriots, and one of
these, who knows and loves Spain better than many Spaniards do, began
at once to tell me of that most unusual occurrence, a Madrid mass
meeting, to take place this very evening. Of course we resolved to go,
although my friend's husband was not in the city, and no other escort
would countenance so harebrained an expedition. For the street to
which this valiant lady led the way was choked with a flood of men
surging toward an open door. The hall for the "meeting," a word which
the Spanish language has fully adopted, was the _Frontón Central_, and
admission was by ticket. Light dawned on my dim wits, and, while my
two companions, with dignified and tranquil mien, stood themselves up
against the outer wall, I besought a leisurely cabman, who insisted on
waiting to pick up a little ragamuffin clamoring for a ride, to drive
me in hot haste to my domicile. Here I searched out the tickets, put
away only too carefully, and took a fleeting glance at the _Vida
Nueva_, which urged all "men of heart" to celebrate the eve of its
anniversary by their presence at this mass meeting.

I had not realized that there were so many men of heart in Madrid. The
street on my return was worse than before. The cabman objected
strenuously to leaving us in these tempestuous surroundings, and,
since there were only two tickets, we two elders of the trio agreed
that the American girl was all too young for such an escapade, and
forthwith despatched her, under his fatherly care, to the hotel. Then
came the tug of war. We saw men fighting fiercely about the door, we
heard the loud bandying of angry words, we were warned again and again
that we could never get through the jam, we were told that, tickets or
no tickets, ladies would not, could not, and should not be admitted;
it was darkly hinted that, before the evening was over, there would be
wild and bloody work within those walls. But we noticed a few other
women in the throng, and decided, from moment to moment, to wait a
little longer, and see what happened next. Meanwhile, we were almost
unjostled in the midst of that excited, struggling crowd, often
catching the words: "Stand back there! Don't press on the ladies!
Leave room!" And when it came to the final dash we had well-nigh a
clear passage. Our tickets gave access only to the floor of a big,
oblong hall, closely packed with a standing mass of some ten thousand
men; but a debonair personage in authority conducted us, with more
chivalry than justice, to the reserved boxes in the gallery, where we
occupied perfect seats,--for which other people probably held
tickets,--in the front row, overlooking all the house.

  [Illustration: MARIA SANTISIMA]

So much for Spanish indulgence to audacious womenfolk. But as to the
meeting itself, what was it all about? In Spain one word suffices for
an answer. _Montjuich_ has become a Liberal rallying cry, although the
movement is not bound in by party lines. It is the Dreyfus _affaire_
in a Spanish edition. The _Castello de Montjuich_ is a strong
fortress, with large magazines and quarters for ten thousand soldiers.
It is built on a commanding height, the old Mountain of the Jews, just
outside Barcelona, and has again and again suffered bombardment and
storm. But in this latest assault on Montjuich the weapons are words
that burn and pens keener than swords. It was on the seventh of June,
1896, that the famous bomb was exploded in Barcelona. It was taken for
an Anarchist outrage, and over two hundred men, including teachers,
writers, and labor leaders, were arrested on suspicion. Nearly two
months passed, and, despite the offer of tempting rewards, no trace of
the culprits had been found. In the Fortress of Montjuich the guards
deputed to watch the prisoners, acting more or less under superior
authority, which itself may have been influenced by Jesuit suggestion,
began on the fourth of August to inflict tortures upon the accused for
the purpose of extracting evidence. The trials were by military
procedure, power sat in the seat of justice, and innocent men, it is
believed, were condemned on the strength of those forced
confessions--mere assents, wrung from them by bodily agony, to
whatever their guards might dictate. But many persisted in denial, and
in course of time a number were released, maimed, in certain cases,
for life. Others were shot, and a score still lay in prison. The
fortress dungeons are deep and dark, but little by little the cries
and groans of the "martyrs of Montjuich" penetrated the dull stone and
sounded throughout Spain.

On the fourteenth of May, last year, the _Vida Nueva_, this bold young
periodical in the van of the Liberal cause, brought out an illustrated
number devoted to "The Torments of Montjuich." Other periodicals
sprang to its support and kept the Government busy with denunciations,
while they vehemently called for a revision of the judicial process,
with the hope of releasing the men still under sentence and clearing
the names of those who had perished. Mass meetings to urge such
revision, which could be accorded only by vote of the Cortes, were
held in Barcelona, Saragossa, Valencia, Santander, and other principal
cities, all demanding revision in the sacred names of patriotism,
humanity, and justice.

Our Madrid mass meeting was of chief consequence in impressing the
Government with the weight of popular opinion. The swaying multitude
was called to order at quarter of ten by Señor Canalejas, who
introduced a notable array of speakers. There were representatives of
labor, of republicanism, of the press, a Catalan charged with a
greeting from Barcelona, the champion of Spanish Socialism, Pablo
Iglesias by name, and great men of the nation, Azcárate, Moret, and
Salmeron. Spanish eloquence at its best thrills the blood to wine, and
the swift succession of orators, fourteen all told, played on the vast
audience like master artists on a murmurous organ. Yet there was no
disorder. A generous and grateful hearing was accorded the Count of
Las Almenas, who frankly declared himself a conservative in politics
and an apostolic Roman Catholic in religion, but in the name of both
these creeds a lover of justice and humanity. Since for these he ever
held himself ready to do battle in the Cortes, he gave the meeting his
pledge that he would support Azcárate in the motion for revision.

But the wrath and grief of the audience could hardly be controlled
when one of the released prisoners took the platform to recount the
horrors of Montjuich. He told of dungeons with earth floor and one
grated window, of savage guards determined to gain the crosses and
pensions promised to those who should extract evidence. He told how
the helpless captives, weakened by confinement, were tortured with
cords, whips, sleeplessness, hunger, and thirst. Bound as they were,
water was held before their parched mouths, with the sinister words,
"Confess what we bid you, and you shall drink." When the famished men
begged for food, they were answered with the lash, or, more
fiendishly, with shreds of salt codfish, which increased their thirst
a hundred fold. One man in his desperation sprang to the lamp and
quaffed the dirty oil. They licked the moisture from their dungeon
walls. They thrust white tongues through the grating to catch the
drops of rain. Soon the guards proceeded to more violent torments,
wrenching, burning, and probing the quivering flesh with a devilish
ingenuity of torture, making a derisive sport of their atrocious work.
One of the victims went mad while undergoing torture by compression of
the head. Others, on hearing the coming steps of the guards, strove to
escape their cruel hands by suicide. One drank a bowl of disinfectant
found in his cell, one beat his forehead against the wall, one strove
to drive a rusted nail into his heart.

It was a frightful tale to hear. I looked across the hall to where a
Spanish flag was hung. Yellow wax is funeral wax, and Alarcón, who
sees in yellow a symbol of death and of decay, laments that it is the
color of half the Spanish banner. "_Ay de la bandera española!_" But
surely there is hope for Spain, while she has sons who, in grasp of a
military tyranny which has rendered such crimes possible, contend in
open field for the overthrow of the "black Spain" of the Inquisition,
and still bear heart of hope for a white, regenerated Spain, where
religion shall include the love of man.



XV

THE PATRON SAINT OF MADRID

     "Labré, cultivé, cogí
     Con piedad, con fe, con celo,
     Tierras, virtudes y cielo."


Spain seems actually skied over with the wings of guardian angels. The
traditional tutelar of the nation, Santiago, counts for less,
especially in the south and centre of the Peninsula, than might be
expected, and was long since officially superseded by the Virgin; but
cities, hamlets, families, individuals, all have their protecting
saints. Some are martyrs, some bishops, some apostles, while Cordova
rests secure beneath the shining plumes of the angel Raphael. Towns
and townlets hold festivals for their celestial patrons, honoring them
with fairs, horse-races, processions, dances, and whatsoever else may
be appropriate to the season and characteristic of the locality, as
ball games, bull-fights, or even a miracle play. Only Seville,
mirth-loving Seville, who makes holiday on the slightest provocation,
can never invite her two beautiful guardians, Santa Justa and Santa
Rufina, to a jubilee. These holy maidens used to keep a pottery booth
in Triana, now the gypsy quarter of the city, where, refusing to
worship the Roman Venus, they won the crown of martyrdom. But their
industrious habits cling to them still, and, by night and by day,
while the centuries pass, they uphold the Giralda. An anointed vision,
like Murillo's, may see their graceful forms hovering in mid-air on
either side of the famous tower, which their strong brown arms hold
firm even in tempests. If the ladies should let go, the Giralda would
fall, and so the Sevillians are driven to the ungallant course of
ignoring these really useful patrons and gadding off to adjacent towns
whose saints are at leisure to be entertained.

  [Illustration: A SPANISH MONK]

By the eternal contradiction that prevails in all things Spanish, it
has come to pass that Madrid, the elegant capital and royal residence,
is under the guardianship of a peasant saint. Here, in the eleventh
century, Isidro was born, say the priests, of poor but Catholic
parents. If not precisely a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, he
was next door to that humble estate, being a digger of wells and
cellars. He dug with such piety that God aided him by miracles,
causing troublesome rocks to melt like wax at the touch of his spade,
and springs of healing water to leap in the pits of his fashioning. He
was a tiller of the ground, besides, a hireling farm servant, whose
agricultural methods, though seemingly irregular, caused his master's
granaries to overflow. As he went to the fields in the fresh spring
mornings, the young Isidro would scatter handfuls of seed for the
birds, saying, "Eat, God's little birds, for when our Lord looks forth
in dawn, He looks upon us all." And as he dropped the wheat and barley
in the furrows, ever he murmured, "This for God, and this for us; this
for the birds, and this for the ants." "For the ants, too?" mockingly
asked the rustics who planted beside him, but Isidro steadfastly
replied, "For the ants, too, since they are God's ants, and His royal
bounty is for all His household." No wonder that the Almighty had
Isidro's fields in special charge, sending sun and rain in due season
that the harvest might suffice for every claimant. Such divine care
was the more necessary, because this dreamy plough-boy spent most of
his time in the churches, or on his knees in the shadow of the fruit
trees, until his profane companions called him Lazybones.

Isidro was no effective patron of Madrid as yet, but ran away from the
Moors, when they invaded the city, finding farm service in a
neighboring village. Here he married a maiden whose lovely soul,
according to Lope de Vega, shone through her guileless face like a
painting through its glass. She was no less devout than her husband,
and went every evening to trim the altar in a lonely shrine of the
Virgin. There was a stream to be crossed on the way, and in times of
freshet Our Lady would appear in person and lead her by the hand over
the tops of the waves. Such dainty stepping as it must have been! And
once, when Isidro accompanied his wife, they both crossed in a boat
suddenly improvised from her mantilla, which was not a thread the
worse for the experience.

The miracle-working power that developed in San Isidro was first
exercised, as became a farmer, on suffering beasts and bad weather.
His early influence over water grew more and more pronounced, rain
refreshing the thirsty fields at his bidding, and medicinal fountains
gushing from rocks at the stroke of his hoe. And when, one sunshiny
morning, his wife let their baby boy slip from her arms into the
depths of the well and ran in distress to her husband, the saint, who
for once was working on the farm, did not scold her, as the priestly
authors seem to think would have been the natural course, but calmly
said, "My sister, what is there to cry about?" And when, after a
season of prayer, these exemplary parents proceeded to the well, its
waters had risen to the brink, lifting the little John, as on a
silver-tissue cushion, safe to their embrace. Isidro still retained
his youthful peculiarities as a laborer, often praying all day long in
the churches, while his yoke of oxen did the ploughing just as well
without him. On one occasion, when he arrived too late for mass, the
gates of heaven opened to his vision, as he knelt before the closed
church door, and he was permitted to witness a celestial mass, where
Christ was both priest and wafer, with choirs of angels chanting the
holy service. Even his charities cost him little, for when the _olla_
of vegetables and fish, that his wife made every Saturday for the
poor, had all been eaten, a word from Isidro was enough to replenish
the pot. If he emptied his sack of corn on the snow for a flock of
hungry pigeons, the sack was full when he reached the mill; and when
he threshed his master's wheat a second and a third time for the
beggars, the very chaff turned into golden grain.

His best quality, which almost makes his cult desirable in Spain,
continued to be his love for animals, especially for birds. These sang
their sweetest songs as he passed by, and often flew down from the
poplar branches to brush their little wings against his blouse. And
he, who had raised his master's daughter from the dead, did not
disdain to work miracles of healing and of life on maltreated horses.
Madrid would do well to give her guardian saint a season ticket to
the bull-ring. Even the despised and cudgelled ass had a share in his
protection. A sacrilegious wolf that thought to make a meal of
Isidro's donkey, left to graze outside a church where the saint had
gone to pray, was struck dead--perhaps by the donkey's heels. This
kindly rustic, who had separated from his wife for greater sanctity,
died on St. Andrew's Day and was buried in the cemetery of St.
Andrew's Church in Madrid. Such sepulture was not to his liking, and
twice his ghost appeared to ask that the body might be removed to the
church, as was presently done, all the bells of St. Andrew's ringing
of their own accord to give it welcome. The tomb immediately began to
work miracles, and Isidro became such a favorite with the people that
when, in 1212, a shepherd guided Alfonso VIII, lost with his vanguard
in the wild passes of the Sierra Morena, to the great battle of Las
Navas de Tolosa, where the armies of the Holy Cross broke forever the
dominion of the Moors in Central Spain, nothing would do but the story
that this shepherd was Isidro himself. Above the tomb of the saint a
chapel was erected, perhaps by Alfonso, perhaps by _Isabel la
Católica_. There seems to be a conflict of authorities here, but all
testimonies agree that the angels used to come down and sing in the
chapel Saturday afternoons.

Madrid formally accepted Isidro as patron in the summer of 1232, when
the labors of the husbandmen, on the point of perishing from drought,
were saved by the body of the Holy Peasant, which, borne in priestly
procession, called down floods of rain; but it was not until the times
of Philip III, some four centuries later, that the actual canonization
of Isidro was granted by Rome. On May 15, 1620, the _Plaza Mayor_,
that handsome square which has been the theatre of so many
tournaments, executions, and _autos de fe_, the scene, two years
later, of the beatification of Loyola, was inaugurated by a splendid
festival in honor of San Isidro. From that day to this his worship has
not waned. The miracle-working bones, which were carried to the bitter
death-bed of Philip III, and comforted the passing of the great and
generous spirit of Charles III, are still held to be more potent than
physicians. Churches, oratories, and chapels have been built to him
all over the Peninsula, the Franciscan Friars founded a convent of San
Isidro in Rome, and his name is a part of our new geography lesson in
the Antilles and the Philippines. Only four years ago his urn was
borne in penitential procession through Madrid, with double
supplications for rain on the parched country, and for a swift and
happy ending of the Cuban war. All priestly, military, civic, and
governmental pomp went to make up that stately escort, the ladies of
Madrid showering the train as it passed beneath their balconies with
flowers, poems, and _confetti_. The saint did what he could. The
procession had been so skilfully timed that the rains began that very
night, but the Cuban war was a matter out of his province. His
dealings had always been with water, not with blood.

There is significance in this devotion of proud Castile to San Isidro.
Spain is essentially as democratic as America. Her proverbs tell the
story: "Many a man gets to heaven in tow breeches;" "Do what your
master bids you, and sit down with him at table;" "Nobody is born
learned, and even bishops are made of men;" "Since I am a man I may
come to be Pope;" "The corpse of the Pope takes no more ground than
that of the sacristan;" "Every man is the son of his own works."

     "Said the leaf to the flower: 'O fie!
         You put on airs indeed!
     But we sprang, both you and I,
         From the selfsame little brown seed.'"

Pedler, porter, beggar treat you as social equals and expect a full
return of courtesy. It is told in Madrid how a great diplomatic
personage not long ago was eating his picnic luncheon in a hired
carriage. The driver, lunching also, leaned back from his seat,
clinked glasses, and drank the gentleman's health. The dignitary
glared with astonishment and wrath. "Man! I am the Imperial Ambassador
of Nation So-and-So." "What of it?" returned the driver, taking
another bite of his peppery Spanish sausage; "I am the Head Hostler of
Stables Such-and-Such."

Again and again, in recent times as in ancient, have the rank and file
of the Spanish nation asserted their dignity of manhood. An edict of
Charles III, forbidding the Madrileños to muffle themselves in their
beloved long cloaks and hide their faces under their big slouch hats,
raised a furious riot in the capital. Should a king dictate the
fashion of a man's garments? And when the stupid weakness of Charles
IV and the baseness of his son Fernando had delivered Spain over to
Napoleon, when French armies held her fortresses, and Murat, with
twenty-five thousand troops, ruled Madrid by logic of steel and iron,
it was the Spanish people who, from Asturias to Andalusia, sprang to
the defence of a country abandoned by princes, councils, and
grandees. The Spanish people, not the Spanish nobles, preserved the
independence of the nation and actually broke the career of the
Corsican conqueror. The Italian king, Amadeo, so much better than his
fortunes, was welcomed at Valencia in 1871 with simple verses, spoken
by a child, that breathe even from their opening stanza this native
spirit of democracy:--

     "The High Lord of the Heavens
       Created men one day,
     All mortal and all equal,
       All shapen out of clay;
     For God recked not of nations,
       Of white and black and brown,
     But on His human children
       Impartially looked down."

It is not then so strange as it appears at first hearing that a Piers
Plowman should be patron of Madrid.

From Alfonso VIII to Alfonso XIII, a matter of some seven centuries,
Isidro has been in high repute with royalty. The "Catholic Kings" made
him rich gifts; Philip II, bigot of bigots, cherished an especial
veneration for the ghostly protector who had brought his delicate
childhood safely through smallpox and epileptic seizures; the
passion-wasted Philip IV did him public homage; Charles the Bewitched
made a solemn progress to his shrine to thank him for recovery from
illness; even the bright young Bourbon, Philip V, had scarcely arrived
in Madrid before he hastened to worship the efficacious body of San
Isidro. The urn has been opened at intervals to give their successive
Majesties of Spain the grewsome joy of gazing on the bones, and it
has been the peculiar privilege of Spanish queens, on such occasions,
to renew the costly cerements. The devotion of the present regent to
these relics keeps pace with that of her predecessors.

Where royalty leads, aristocracy is swift to follow, and Isidro has a
gorgeous wardrobe of embroidered standards, palls, canopies, burial
cloths, and everything that a skeleton could require, but "for a' that
and a' that" the laboring people of Castile never forget that the
Canonized Farmer especially belongs to them. His fortnight-long
_fiesta_ is the May outing of the rustic population all about Madrid.

We will start on this pilgrimage from the _Puerta del Sol_, because
everything in Madrid starts from the _Puerta del Sol_. From this great
open parallelogram in the centre of the city, surrounded by lofty
hotels and Government buildings, bordered with shops and cafés,
brightened with fountains, thronged with trams, carriages, people,
always humming with voices, always surging with movement, run ten of
the principal streets of the capital. The _Alcalá_, most fashionable
of promenades, and _San Jerónimo_, beloved of wealthy shoppers,
conduct to the noble reaches of parks and _paseos_ in the east; the
handsome _Arenal_ and historic _Calle Mayor_ lead west to the royal
palace, with its extensive gardens known as the _Campo del Moro_;
_Montera_, with two less elegant avenues, points to the north, where
one may find the university, the Protestant churches, and the tragic
site of the _Quemadero_; and three corresponding streets open the way
to the south, with its factories, hospitals, old churches, and
world-famed _Rastro_, or rag fair.

  [Illustration: A SEVILLE STREET]

But during the early days of the _Romeria_, which begins on May 15,
all the throbbing tide of life pours toward the southwest, for the
goal of the pilgrimage, the Hermitage of San Isidro, built over one of
his miraculous wells by the empress of Charles I, in gratitude for a
cure experienced by her august husband after drinking of the waters,
stands on the farther bank of the Manzanares. The trams, literally
heaped with clinging humanity, pass out by the _Calle Mayor_ and cross
the _Plaza Mayor_. The innumerable 'buses and cabs make a shorter cut,
but all varieties of vehicle are soon wedged together in the broad
thoroughfare of Toledo. Here we pass the big granite church of San
Isidro el Real, once in possession of the Jesuits, but on their
expulsion from Spain, in 1767, consecrated to the Santo Labrador. His
body was borne thither, with all solemn ceremonial, from the chapel in
St. Andrew's; and his poor wife, who had also been sainted, by a
courteous Spanish afterthought, under the attractive title of _Maria
de la Cabeza_, Mary of the Head, was allowed to lay her celebrated
skull beneath the same roof,--a greater liberty than he had permitted
her during the latter half of their earthly lives. The Madrid
Cathedral, hard by the royal palace, is still in slow process of
building, the work being hampered and delayed for lack of funds,
although her Majesty sets a devout example by contributing $300 a
month. Meanwhile, San Isidro el Real serves as the cathedral church of
the diocese.

This _Calle de Toledo_, where Isidro dug several of his medicinal
wells, is always gay with arcades and booths and drapers' shops; but
now, during the _Romeria_, it is a veritable curbstone market, where
oranges, sashes, brooms, mantles, picture frames, saucepans, fiddles,
mantillas, china, jackets, umbrellas, fans, dolls, bird-cages,
paintings of saints, and photographs of ballet dancers are all cried
and exhibited, hawked and held under nose, in one continuous tumult.

As we approach the bare mass of masonry known as the Gate of Toledo,
we cast, for all our festival mood, a clouded glance in the direction
of the barbarous slaughter-houses of Madrid. Here the stronger beasts
are blinded by the thrust of darts, and also hamstrung, to render them
helpless under the deliberate butchery of their tormentors, who often
amuse themselves by a little bull-fight practice with the agonized
creatures before striking the final blow--a place of such atrocious
cruelties that even the seasoned nerves of an Austrian surgeon
recently visiting it gave way, and he fainted as he looked. There is
work for San Isidro here.

The jam of equipages on the Bridge of Toledo gives us abundant time to
observe the statue of the Holy Peasant, in a stone niche, lifting his
baby from the well, and the companion statue of Mary of the Skull. And
there is the Manzanares to look at, that sandy channel along which
dribble a few threads of water--threads that the washerwomen of Madrid
seek after like veins of silver. Small boys are wading from one bank
to the other, hardly troubling themselves to roll up their trousers.
It is said that Philip IV, surveying his pompous bridge across the
Manzanares, was wickedly advised by one of his courtiers to sell the
bridge or else buy a river. It is a curious bit of irony to hold the
festival of the Water Saint beside a river bed almost as dry as his
bones.

But the crowd has now become so mad and merry that it distracts
attention alike from architecture and physical geography. Will all the
dexterity of foot-police and mounted guards ever succeed in
disentangling this snarl of equipages? Who cares? Everybody is
laughing. Everybody, too, is helping, so far as lungs can help. A
daring Aragonese, with a blue and white checked handkerchief knotted
about his head and a scarlet blanket over his shoulders, tries to dash
across the bridge and rejoin his screaming children. He stumbles
before a jovial omnibus, whose four horses, adorned with beribboned
straw hats, gaze coyly out from under the torn brims like so many
metamorphosed Maud Mullers. A distant guard roars a warning. The crowd
bellows in sympathy. A liveried coachman rears his spirited pair of
bays. A cock-hatted gypsy, with half his tribe packed into his cart,
tries to follow suit, and tugs savagely at the stubborn mouths of
mules whose heads are liberally festooned with red and green tassels.
In front of these safely passes the Aragonese, only to bring up
against the great wheel of a picnic wagon, whose occupants, mostly
señoritas in the sunrise Philippine shawls, thrust out their pretty
heads, all crowned with flowers instead of hats, and rain down saucy
salutations. The crowd chimes in with every variety of voluble
impudence. He catches at the long gold fringe of the nearest shawl,
saves himself from falling at the price of a shriek of wrath from the
señorita, plunges desperately on, is struck by a cab horse, the poor
beast being half blinded by the tickling plumes that droop over eyes
and nose, and amid volleys of ridicule and encouragement reels to the
shelter of the sidewalk. But a very precarious shelter it is, so
narrow that the lads are positively obliged to fling their arms about
the lasses to hold the fluttering skirts back from peril of wheels and
hoofs. Everywhere what audacity, what fun, what color, and what noise!
Troops on troops of foot travellers, usually in family groups, and
often stained with the dust of an all-day tramp! The wives generally
carry the hampers, and the husbands sometimes shoulder the babies.
Squads of young fellows frolic along, each with his supply of
provisions tied up in a gaudy handkerchief. The closer the nudging the
better they like it; a slap from a girlish hand is almost as good as a
kiss. Isidro knew all about it in his day. But this clownish jollity
grows rougher and rougher, and the crack and sting from a coachman's
whip tempt a reply with the pilgrim's staff. The guards, hoarse and
purple, wipe their dripping brows. It is early afternoon yet, too, and
the larking and license are as nothing to what may be expected before
midnight.

It is a little better when, at last, the bridge is left behind.
Turning to the northwest, the dusty road runs on beside the river and
beneath the bluffs lined with rowdyish folk, who shout down greetings
to their acquaintances and compliments to the ladies, toward the
_ermita_. A certain Juan de Vargas, riding over this same route one
day, lifted his eyes to the uplands to see how his farm-hand, Isidro,
was getting on with the ploughing. Blessed Isidro! Before and after
went two stalwart young angels, still in shining white, each driving a
celestial yoke of oxen.

Times have changed. The sight that greets our eyes is emphatically
human--a great country fair, a pandemonium of rude, good-natured
revelry. The beggars who have been chasing the carriage, the cripples
outstripping the rest, thrust withered arms, ulcerous legs, and all
manner of profitable deformities into our very faces as we alight,
even clutching at the coins with which we pay the coachman. We make
our way, as best we can in the rough press, between two rows of
booths toward the church. There is the usual Spanish variety of penny
toys on sale--balls, baskets, whips, kites, jumping-jacks, balloons,
and every other conceivable trifle admitting of the colors red and
yellow. But the great traffic is in those articles especially
consecrate to San Isidro--frosted cakes, probably made after the
recipe of _Maria de la Cabeza_, clay vessels of every shape and size
for carrying away the healing waters, and, first and foremost,
_pitos_, or whistles. The priests would have us believe that San
Isidro was forever droning psalms, but ploughmen know a ploughman's
music, and the sacred whistles lead the sales in the _Romeria_. It is
impiety not to purchase at least one of these, and the more devout you
are, the more _pitos_ will you buy. The Infanta Isabel, aunt of his
Little Majesty, fills her emblazoned coach every year with these
shrill pipes in all their variety of queer disguises--fans, birds,
puffing grotesques, and, above all, paper flowers. He is no lover
worth the having who does not bring his sweetheart a San Isidro rose
with a _pito_ for a stem. The ear-torture of an immense fair-ground
delighting in an infinity of whistles may be left to the sympathetic
imagination. We cling to the memory of Burns, and bear for his bonny
sake what we could hardly endure for any such sham laborer as Isidro.

The hearing is not the only sense to do penance in this pilgrimage.
The Water Saint has never thought to work a miracle of cleanliness
upon his peasant votaries, and the smell that bursts out upon us from
the opening doors of the church might put us to flight, were flight
still possible. But, caught in the human current, we are swept on into
the gilded, candle-lighted, foul-aired oratory, with its effigies of
Santo Labrador and Santa Labradora. All day long the imperious ringing
of the bell at the shortest of intervals has been calling one company
of the faithful after another up the bare brown hill to that
unventilated temple. When there is no squeezing room left for even a
dwarf from the pygmy show, the doors are closed, the bell is silenced,
and the rustics are marshalled in rapid procession before the altar,
where they pay a penny each, receive a cheap print of San Isidro, and
kiss the mysterious, glass-cased relic which a businesslike young
ecclesiastic touches hastily to their lips. The frank sound of the
kissing within is accompanied by the tooting of _pitos_ without. We
stand at one side, looking at the priests and wondering how their
consciences are put together, but half ashamed to watch with heretic
eyes the tears of joy, the fervors of prayer, the ecstasies of faith,
that are to be seen in many of these simple, passionate faces filing
by. Here comes a little girl treading as if on air and clasping her
picture of the saint to her lips, brows, and heart with such abandon
of delighted adoration as one must go to Spain to see.

Released from the Hermitage, we fill our lungs with sweeter breath,
give skirts a vigorous shake in the vain hope that we may not carry
away too many deserters from the insect retinue of our recent
associates, and turn down toward the river. Our short cut leads us
among heaps and heaps of bales packed with the graceful clay jars. How
many an anxious mother will trudge her weary miles across this dry
Castilian steppe, bearing with all her other burdens a _botija_ of the
healing water to some little sufferer at home! Wonderful water,
warranted to make whole the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, and
put to rout all ills that flesh is heir to, especially fevers, tumors,
erysipelas, paralysis, and consumption! It is as potent to-day as when
it first gushed from the earth at the bidding of the young Isidro, for
did it not work a notable cure, as late as 1884, on the Infanta Doña
Paz de Bourbon, sister of Alphonso XII?

We linger a few minutes at the edge of the bluff, looking down upon
the animated scene below, from which rises the hum as of an
exaggerated beehive. The long green stretch of valley meadow is one
wave of restless color. Thickly dotted with booths for refreshment,
for sale of the San Isidro wares, for penny shows, farces, wax
figures, and all manner of cheap entertainments, it still has space
for dancers, wrestlers, _pelota_ players, for swings, stilts, and
merry-go-rounds, and, above all, for the multitude of promenaders,
sleepers, and feasters. The bright May sunshine gleams and dazzles on
the soldiers' helmets, flashes out all the hues and tints of the
varied costumes, and even lends a grace to the brown patches on the
browner tents. The tossing of limbs in the wild, free dances, the
flutter of the red and yellow flags, the picturesque grouping on the
grass of families, complete to dog and donkey, around the platter of
homely fare and the skin bottle of wine--all this makes a panorama on
which one would gladly gaze for hours.

Going down into the heart of the festivity, the interest still grows.
We enter one of the cleanest _cantinas_ and invest a _peseta_ in a
bottle of sarsaparilla, not for our own drinking, having seen the
water in which the glasses are washed, but as a protection against the
horde of beggars and the gypsy fortune tellers. It works like a charm.
As we respond to the whining appeals with the civilities of social
greeting and an offered glass of our innocent beverage, the ragged
petitioners are straightway transformed into ladies and gentlemen.
They draw themselves erect, quaff the cup to our long life and
happiness, discuss in self-respecting tones the weather and the fête,
and then, without another hint of solicitation, bid us courteous
farewells. We mean to take out a patent on the sarsaparilla treatment
of Spanish mendicancy.

The tent itself is, like the rest, shabby and tumbledown, furnished
with rough tables and benches, where cadets are playing dominos as
they drink, and two country sweethearts are delectably eating what
appears to be a sardine omelette off the same cracked plate. A clumsy
lantern hangs overhead, racks of bottles are fastened up along the
canvas walls, and all about the trampled earth floor stand water jars,
great bowls of greens, and baskets of the crusty Spanish bread. A pale
young Madrileño drops in for a glass of wine, but before indulging has
the shy little rustic who serves him take a sip, languidly begging her,
"Do me the favor to sweeten my drink." The yellow cigarette-stains
show on his white fingers as he pats her plump bare arm. The child,
for she is scarcely more, and as brown as an acorn, responds to these
amenities by giving the smiling exquisite alternate bites of her hunk
of goat's-milk cheese, while her mother keeps a sharp eye on them
both.

Comedy and tragedy are busy all about us. A newly arrived family plods
wearily by in ludicrous procession, headed by a tall father carrying a
baby and closed by a short child carrying a cat. A showy man of middle
age, playing the gallant to an overdressed brunette, is suddenly
confronted by his furious wife in boy's attire, so unluckily well
disguised that, before recognizing her, he has replied to her rush of
invective with a blow which bids fair to make one of her eyes, at
least, blacker than those of her rival. Traditional ballads are
trolled, popular songs are echoed from group to group, and, despite
bad odors, fleas, and whistles, we are reluctant to leave. But the
afternoon grows late, the _Arganda_ and _Valdepeñas_ are beginning to
burn in the southern blood, an occasional flourish of cudgels or of
fists sends the police scurrying across the field, and, being nothing
if not discreet, we pay our parting respects to San Isidro.

Coming home by way of the _Prado_ and passing the proud shaft of
yellow-brown granite that towers far above its enclosing cypress
trees, as glory above death, we are reminded that this gala month has
brought another _fiesta_ to Madrid. Every second of May the capital
commemorates with solemn masses, with stately civic processions, and a
magnificent military review, the patriots who fell fighting in the
streets on that terrible Monday of 1808, _El Dos de Mayo_, which
brought to pass the war of independence. One may read of that fierce
carnage in the vivid pages of Galdós or behold it in the lurid
paintings of Goya. To see once is to see forever that line of French
soldiery, with steady musket at shoulder, but with eyes bent on the
ground, while they shoot down squad after squad of their defenceless
victims. In pools of blood lie the contorted bodies, with heads and
breasts horribly torn by crimson wounds, while of those who wait their
turn to fall beside them some cover the eyes, one stupidly gnaws his
hands, one kneels and wildly peers from under his shaggy hair into
the very muzzle of the gun before him, one flings back his head with a
savage grin, half of fright and half of courage, one desperately
strips bare his breast and in agony of horror glares upon the guns,
but the most are crouching, shuddering, sinking--and all only an item
in the awful cost that the Spanish people have paid for Spanish
liberties. The celebration of 1899 was no less brilliant than usual,
although many of the Madrid papers spoke bitterly of the shadow that
the disastrous first of May must henceforth cast on the glorious
Second. It is indeed gall and wormwood to all Spain that the Manila
defeat so nearly coincides with the proudest day in Spanish annals.

The saint of _El Dos de Mayo_ is Saint Revolution, as democratic in
one way as Saint Agriculture in another. When these two patrons of
Madrid understand how to work in fellowship, when there comes a
Government in Spain that cares chiefly to promote the welfare of the
laboring people, the world may discover anew the vitality and noble
quality of this long-suffering nation.

We saw the _Romeria_ once more, driving through late in the evening,
when the closed booths glimmered white on the silent meadow.

"Yes, it is all a pack of lies," said a thoughtful Catholic, "but what
is one to do? A man cannot believe in religion--and yet how to live
without it? The more I stay away from mass the more I want and need
it. Think of the comfort these peasants take with their San Isidro!"

The moonlight shone serene and beautiful on those patched, shabby
tents, transforming them to silver.



XVI

THE FUNERAL OF CASTELAR

     "The death of the Republic will be, for you, for us, and for
     all, the death of liberty. The death of liberty will be the
     death of the Republic, and as liberty is the only thing in the
     world that rises from the dead, with liberty shall rise again,
     in good time, the Republic."--EMILIO CASTELAR: _Inaugural
     Address_, 1873.


The present state of Spanish politics was amusingly expounded to me by
a spirited young philosopher of Cadiz.

"In the north," he said, "the prevailing sentiment is for Don Carlos.
Nocedal is doing all he can to fan it in Andalusia, but it finds its
natural home in the northern provinces. To be sure, there is San
Sebastian, where the Court summers, which consequently upholds the
Queen, and there are Republican groups; but the north of Spain,
broadly speaking, is Carlist. The centre favors the reigning family.
Possession is a strong argument, and the royal forces hold Madrid.
Barcelona is Republican. Those Catalans are always thirsty for a
fight. But the middle tract of Spain, as a whole, accepts the existing
monarchy. Castilians are too gallant to strike against a woman and a
child. The south is Republican. For the best part of the century Cadiz
and Malaga have stood for revolution. Where was the army of Isabel II
defeated? And why has the Queen never seen the Alhambra?

"But, let me tell you, these Carlists, these Royalists, these
Republicans are all fools. If there is anything hopeless in this
world, it's Spanish politics. All the uproar of the Revolution ended
in murdering our best man and driving out our best king. For myself, I
mean to work hard and marry soon, and have a little Spain in my own
house that shall express my own convictions. My children shall be good
Catholics, but not superstitious bigots. They shall be well educated,
if I have to send them to France or England for it. They shall be
disciplined, but under the law of liberty. And with that I propose to
be content. All my politics are to be kept under my own roof, where I
can work my ideas into permanent form. I am sick of the way in which
Spain boils with ideas that only destroy one another."

This Sir Oracle was two-and-twenty, with the prettiest of girlish
photographs in his vest pocket, and the smallest of savings in the
bank, but I remembered his words in the days of mourning for Emilio
Castelar.

The illustrious tribune, heavy-hearted with the troubles of his
country, had gone to the home of friends, at a village in sunny
Murcia, for the rest and comfort that nature always gave him. His
almost boyish optimism, "_niño grande y grande niño_" that he was, had
kept him assured of peace even after the destruction of the _Maine_,
and assured of victory even after the battle of Manila. Hence the
pressure of fact told on him all the more cruelly. "I die a victim of
Spain's agony," he wrote in a personal letter shortly before the end,
and his last article for publication, finished on the day of his
death, a gloomy discussion of the outlook for the Peace Conference,
contains bitter references to the national disasters and to the
ravages of the "criminal troop of pirates in the Philippines."

He died on Thursday, the twenty-fifth of May, within hearing of the
Mediterranean waves he loved so well, with tender faces bent over him,
and the crucifix at his lips. The news of his death aroused this
grief-weary nation to a fresh outburst of sorrow. Some lamented him as
one of the chief orators of modern Europe, recalling his eloquence in
the tempestuous times of the Revolution, when he "intoned mighty hymns
in praise of liberty, democracy, and the sacred Fatherland!" Some
mourned the patriot, pointing proudly to the honorable poverty in
which this holder of many offices, at one time almost absolute
dictator, had lived and died. Some wept for the cordial, generous,
noble-hearted man, the joy of his friends and idol of his household.
His political sympathizers bewailed the loss of the Spanish apostle of
democracy, the lifelong champion of liberty. And many not of his
following nor of his faith felt that a towering national figure had
disappeared and another glory of Spain vanished away.

The first wreath received was from a Republican club that sent the
pansies of memory. Among the five hundred telegrams and cablegrams
that arrived within a few hours at the country-seat where he had died
was one from over seas, which read: "To Castelar: In thy death it
seems as if we had lost the last treasure left to us, the voice of the
Spanish race. In thy death Spain has become mute. Yet let me believe
that thou respondest, 'She will speak again.'"

The coming of the body to the capital was a triumphal progress. A
large escort of friends, who had made speed to Murcia from all parts
of the Peninsula, accompanied it, and there were crowds at the
stations, even in the mid-hours of the night, with tears, handfuls of
roses, wreaths, and poems of farewell. There was often something very
touching about these offerings. At one of the smaller towns a young
girl hastily gathered flowers from the garden attached to the station,
broke off a spray from a blossoming tree, tied these with the bright
ribbon from her hair, and, clambering up, hung this simple nosegay
among the costly tributes that already nearly covered the outer sides
of the funeral car. In another crowded station the village priest came
hurrying forward, bared his head with deepest reverence before the
garlanded coach, as if before the altar, and chanted the prayers for
the dead. Again, a group of workmen, allowed to enter the car, fell on
their knees before the bier and prayed.

The train was met on its arrival in Madrid by an immense concourse of
people. Señor Silvela and other distinguished representatives of the
Government were there, church dignitaries, presidents of political
societies and literary academies, but, above all, the people. It was
the great, surging multitude that gave the Republican leader his
grandest welcome.

This poor shell of Castelar, the man said to bear "the soul of a Don
Quixote in the body of a Sancho Panza," lay in state through Sunday
and a part of Monday in the _Palacio del Congreso_. The vestibule had
been converted into a _capilla ardiente_. Masses were chanted
ceaselessly at the two candle-laden altars, the perfume from the ever
increasing heaps of flowers was so oppressive that the guards had to
be relieved at short intervals, and the procession of people that
filed rapidly past the bier, often weeping as they went, reached out
from the Morocco lions of the doorway to the _Prado_ and the Fountain
of Neptune. Many of the humblest clad, waiting half the day in line,
held pinks or lilies, fast withering in the sun, to drop at the feet
of the people's friend. Early on Monday afternoon the doors were
closed, and by half-past three the funeral cortège began to form in
the _Prado_ for its four-hour march by way of the _Calle de Alcalá_,
_Puerta del Sol_, _Calle Mayor_, and _Cuesta de la Vega_, to the
cemetery of San Isidro.

By the never failing Spanish courtesy, I was invited to see the
procession from the balcony of a private house in the _Alcalá_. I
found my hostess, a vivacious little old lady, whose daughter had
crowned her with glory and honor by marrying into the nobility, much
perturbed over the failure of the Queen Regent to show sympathy with
the popular grief.

"There were one hundred and forty-nine wreaths sent in. The very
number shows that the royal wreath was lacking. I am a Conservative,
of course. Canovas was my friend, and has dined here often and often.
You see his portrait there beside that of my daughter, _la Marquesa_.
But Canovas loved Castelar, and would not, like Silvela, have grudged
him the military honors of a national funeral. As if the dead were
Republicans! The dead are Spaniards, and Castelar is a great Spaniard,
as this tremendous throng of people proves. There were not nearly so
many for Canovas, though the aristocracy made an elegant display;
there were not so many for Alfonso XII, though all that Court and
State and army could do was done, and the Queen rode in the splendid
ebony coach in which Juana the Mad used to carry about the body of
that handsome husband of hers.

"But the people know their losses. Never in my life have I seen the
_Alcalá_ so full as this. Silvela has had to give way, and the troops
will come--at least a few of them. But not a word, not a flower, from
the Queen! She sent a magnificent wreath for Canovas, and a beautiful
letter to his widow. But for Castelar, her people's hero, nothing. Ah,
she is not _simpática_. She does not know her opportunities. She does
not understand the art of winning love. Only a year ago she sent a
wreath to the funeral of Frascuelo, the _torero_. And everybody knows
how she hates the bull-fight. But if she could drop her prejudices
then to be at one with the feeling of her capital, why not now? They
say she has a neuralgic headache to-day. _Ay, Dios mio!_ I should
think she might."

Listening to this frank chatter and watching that mighty multitude, I
was reminded of one of the Andalusian _coplas_:--

     "The Republic is dead and gone;
       Bury her out of the rain.
     But see! There is never a _Panteón_
       Can hold the funeral train."

And this, in turn, suggested another of those popular refrains:--

     "The moon is a Republican,
       And the sun with open eye;
     The earth she is Republican,
       And Republican am I."

But who can understand this ever baffling Spain? After all, what was
the significance of that assembled host? How far was it drawn by
devotion to the man, and how far by devotion to the idea for which he
stood? How far by idle curiosity, by the Spanish passion for pomps and
shows, and, above all, for a crowd, by that strange Spanish delight
in _mucha gente_? So far as eye could tell, this might have been the
merriest of fêtes. The wide street was a sea of restless color.
Uniforms, liveries, parasols, hats, frocks, pinafores, kerchiefs,
blouses, sashes, fans, flecked the sunshine with a thousand hues. Here
loitered a messenger boy in vivid scarlet; there passed a waiter with
a silver tray gleaming on his head; here a market woman bent beneath
her burden of russet sacks bursting with greens; there stood a priest
in shovel hat and cassock, smelling a great red rose; here a gallant
in violet cape escorted a lady flaming in saffron; there a beaming old
peasant, with an azure scarf tied over his white head, threw an orange
to attract the attention of a plodding porter, whose forehead was
protected from the cords binding the boxes to his back by several
folds of purplish carpeting.

Streets and sidewalks, balconies and windows, all were full, and
everywhere such eagerness, such animation, and such stir! The children
sitting on the curbstone rocked their little bodies back and forth in
excitement. Young mothers danced their crying infants, and young
fathers shifted the babies of a size or two larger from one shoulder
to the other. A boy in a red cap climbed a small locust tree, from
whose foliage his head peeped out like an overgrown cherry. The crowd
indignantly called the attention of authority to this violation of the
city laws. A glittering member of the Civil Guard sonorously ordered
the culprit down. The laughing lad refused to budge, inviting this
embarrassed arm of the law to reach up and get him. The Guard darkly
surveyed the slender stem already swaying with the boy's slight
weight. The fickle crowd, whose every face seemed to be upturned
toward that defiant cherry, cheered the rebel and tossed him
cigarettes and matches, wherewith he proceeded to enjoy a smoke. The
Guard caught a few cigarettes in mid-career, pocketed them, smiled
benevolently, and walked away. The lad saucily saluted, and the
multitude, suddenly impartial, pelted them both with peanuts.

Thus it was that the Madrid populace awaited the last coming of
Castelar. Even when the funeral train was passing, the crowd showed
scant respect. Not half the men uncovered for the bier, although I was
glad to see the cherry cap whisked off. And one picturesque gentleman
stood throughout with his back to the procession, making eyes at his
novia in the gallery above our own.

The Government, which had finally assumed the charges and care of the
obsequies, had been remiss in not providing lines of soldiers to hold
an open way for the cortège. As it was, the procession could hardly
struggle through the mass of humanity that choked the street. A
solitary rider, mounted, like Death, on a white horse, went in
advance, threatening the people with his sword. A division of the
Civil Guard followed, erect and magnificent as ever, their gold bands
glittering across their breasts, but their utmost efforts could not
effectually beat back the crowd. Men scoffed at the drawn blades and
pushed against the horses with both hands. The empty "coach of
respect," black as night, its sable horses tossing high white plumes,
pressed after, and then came some half dozen carriages overflowing
with wreaths and palms, and all that wealth of floral gifts. The crowd
caught at the floating purple ribbons, and called aloud the names
upon the cards; a monster design, with velvet canopy, from the
well-known daily, _El Liberal_, a beautiful crown from the widow of
Canovas, and, later in the procession, alone upon the coffin, a
nosegay of roses and lilies, brought in the morning by a child of
four, a little "daughter of the people," and bearing the roughly
written words, "Glory to Castelar!--A workingman."

The train of mourners, impeded as it was by the multitude, seemed
endless. After the representatives of certain charities there walked,
in gala uniform, white-headed veterans of war. A great company of
students followed, their young faces serious and calm in that tempting
hurly-burly of the street, and after them an overwhelming throng of
delegates from all manner of commercial and craft unions. Even the
press wondered that Castelar's death should move so profoundly the
trading and laboring classes, almost every store and workshop in
Madrid closing for the afternoon. Then came the Republican committees,
and behind them the representatives of countless literary, scientific,
and artistic associations.

At this point in the procession a place had been made for all or any
who might wish, as individuals, to follow Castelar to the tomb. Some
fifteen hundred had availed themselves of the opportunity--a motley
fellowship. The gentlemen preceding, those who had come as delegates
from the industrial and learned bodies of all Spain, wore almost
without exception the correct black coat and tall silk hat, and paced,
when they could, with a steady dignity, or halted, when they must,
with a grave patience, that did more to quiet the unruly host of
spectators than all the angry charges of the police. But the fifteen
hundred showed the popular variety of costume--capes and blouses,
broad white hats and the artisan's colored cap. Some of them were
smoking, an indecorum which, by a self-denial that counts for much
with Spaniards, nowhere else appeared in the long array.

But whatever might be the deficiencies of dress or bearing, here, one
felt, was the genuine sorrow, here were the men who believed in
Castelar and longed to do him honor. The impulsive onlookers responded
to this impression, and more than one rude fellow, who had been
skylarking a minute before, elbowed his way into the troop and fell
soberly into such step as there was. Music would have worked wonders
with that disorderly scene, but the bugles and cornets were all in the
far rear. The representatives of the provinces, as they struggled by,
were hailed with jokes and personalities. The chanting group of
clergy, uplifting the same ebony cross that they had borne for
Canovas, did not entirely hush the crowd, nor did even the
black-plumed hearse itself, with its solemn burden. For close after
came, bearing tapers, a group of political note, closed by Sagasta and
Campos, and then the chiefs of army and navy, including Blanco and
Weyler. Behind these walked the city fathers, the senators, the
diplomats, ex-ministers,--among them Romero, Robledo,--then the
archbishop, and, finally, Silvela, with his colleagues.

The procession was closed by a military display and a line of empty
coaches, sent, according to Spanish custom, as a mark of respect. The
coach sent by Congress, a patriotic blaze of red and yellow, with
coachman and footman in red coats and yellow trousers, and horses
decked with red and yellow plumes, looked as if it had started for the
circus and had missed its way.

  [Illustration: AN OLD-FASHIONED BULL-FIGHT]

The sight of the politicians seemed to serve as spark to the
Republican fuel. Even while the hearse was passing somebody shouted,
"Long live Castelar!" but the crowd corrected the cry to "Long live
the glorious memory of Castelar!" Then came a heterogeneous uproar:
"Death to the friars!" "Long live the Republican Union!" "Down with
Reaction!" "Down with the Jesuits!" "Down with Polavieja!" "Down with
the Government!" "Up with the Republic!" "Long live Spain!" "Long live
the army!" "Long live Weyler!"

A woman was run over in the confusion and a man was trampled, but the
procession, aided as much as possible by the Civil Guards and the
police, slowly worked its way through the _Alcalá_ to the _Puerta del
Sol_, where the people poured upon it like an avalanche, with ever
louder cries against ministry and clergy, until the scene in front of
the Government Building suggested something very like a mob. Silvela
bore his silvered head erect and exerted a prudent forbearance. But
few arrests were made, and the military force that sallied out from
the Government Building merely stood in the gates to awe the rioters.
After an hour and a quarter the transit of the square was effected.
The disturbances were renewed in the _Calle Mayor_ with such violence
that the ministers were advised to withdraw, but they only entered the
funeral coaches, and, the Guards exerting themselves to the utmost, a
degree of order was at last secured. While the cortège was descending
the difficult hill of La Vega, the Queen, standing in one of the
palace balconies, opera glass in hand, sent a messenger for a report
of the state of affairs in her capital, and was visited and reassured
by a member of the Government.

After this stormy journey the cemetery of San Isidro was reached at
nightfall, and the silent orator laid to rest in the patio of _Santa
Maria de la Cabeza_, beside his beloved sister, Concha Castelar. Even
here Republican _vivas_ were raised, and again, later in the evening,
before the house of Weyler, who appeared upon the balcony in answer to
repeated calls. This general, more popular with Spaniards than with
us, discreetly absented himself on Tuesday from the high mass chanted
for Castelar in the Church of _San Francisco el Grande_, where there
was an imposing display of uniforms and decorations.

While the people still talked of their lost leader and proposed
monuments and medals in his honor, the Government held firmly on its
course. The Royal Progress for the opening of the Cortes on the
following Friday was a suggestive contrast to the procession of
Monday. Soldiers lined the curbstones all the way from the Royal
Palace to the Congress Hall, bands were posted at intervals, the royal
escort, splendidly mounted and equipped, was in itself a formidable
force, while additional troops, in gala dress, paraded all the city.
The balconies along the royal route were handsomely draped, but the
people looked on at the gorgeous array of coaches, gilded and
emblazoned, each drawn by six or eight choice horses, with sumptuous
plumes and trappings, and attended by a story-book pomp of quaintly
attired postilions, coachmen, and outriders, in a silence that was
variously explained to me as indicating respect, hostility,
indifference.

I heard no _vivas_ and saw no hats raised even for the affable Infanta
Isabel, riding alone in the tortoise-shell carriage, nor for the
Princess of Asturias, girlishly attractive in rose color and white,
nor for the bright-faced young King, ready with his military salute as
he passed the foreign embassies, nor for the stately Regent, robed as
richly as if she were on her way to read a gladder message than that
which the opposition journals indignantly declared "no message, but a
pious prayer of resignation."

And while Madrid jarred and wrangled, the flowers brought by the
little daughter of the workingman drooped on the marble slab above
Castelar's repose.



XVII

THE IMMEMORIAL FASHION

     "For as many auchours affirme (and mannes accions declare)
     that man is but his mynde; so it is to bee daily tride, that
     the bodie is but a mixture of compoundes, knitte together like
     a fardell of fleashe, and bondell of bones, and united as a
     heavie lumpe of Leade (without the mynde) in the sillie
     substance of a shadowe."--THOMAS CHURCHILL, GENTLEMAN.


My Spanish hostess, brightest and prettiest of little ladies despite
the weight of sorrow upon sorrow, came tripping into my room one
afternoon with her black eyes starry bright under the lace mantilla.

"And where have you been to get so nicely rested?"

"To a _duelo_."

I turned the word over in my mind. _Duelo?_ Surely that must mean the
mourning at a house of death, when the men have gone forth to church
and the burial, and the women remain behind to weep together, or one
of those tearful _At Homes_ kept, day after day, until the mass, by
the ladies of the afflicted household for their condoling friends. But
such a smiling little señora! I hardly knew what degree of sympathy
befitted the occasion.

"Were you acquainted with the--the person?"

"No, I had never seen him. He had been an officer in the Philippines
many years, and came home very ill, fifteen days since. I wept
because I knew his mother, but I wept much. Women, at least here in
Spain, have always cause enough for tears. I thought of my own
matters, and had a long, long cry. That is why I feel better. There is
so little time to cry at home. I must see about the dinner now."

And she rustled out again, leaving me to meditate on Spanish
originality, even in grief.

In any country the usages of death are no less significant than the
usages of life. That grim necropolis of Glasgow, with its few shy
gowans under its lowering sky, those tender, turf-folded,
church-shadowed graveyards of rural England, those trains of mourners,
men by themselves and women by themselves, walking behind the bier in
mid-street through the mud and rain of wintry Paris to the bedizened
Père Lachaise or Montparnasse--such sights interpret a nation as truly
as its art and history; but the burial customs of Spain, especially
distinctive, are, like most things Spanish, contradictory and baffling
to the tourist view. "La Tierra de Vice Versa" is not a country that
he who runs may read.

The popular verses and maxims treat of death with due Castilian
solemnity and an always unflinching, if often ironic, recognition of
the mortal fact. "When the house is finished," says the proverb, "the
hearse is at the door." Yet this Spanish hearse is one of the gayest
vehicles since Cinderella's coach. If the groundwork is black, there
is abundant relief in mountings of brilliant yellow, but the funeral
carriage is often cream-white, flourished over with fantastic designs
in the bluest of blue or the pinkest of pink. Coffins, too, may be
gaudy as candy-boxes. The first coffin we saw in Spain was bright
lilac, a baby's casket, placed on gilt trestles in the centre of a
great chill church, with chanting priests sprinkling holy water about
it to frighten off the demons, and a crowd of black-bearded men
waiting to follow it to the grave. Such a little coffin and not a
woman near! The poor mother was decently at home, weeping in the midst
of a circle of relatives and neighbors, and counting it among her
comforts that the family had so many masculine friends to walk in the
funeral procession and show sympathy with the household grief. There
would be, on the ninth day after and, for several years to come, on
the anniversary of the death, as many masses as could be afforded said
in the parish church, when, again, the friends would make it a point
of duty to attend.

The daily papers abound in these notices, printed in a variety of
types, so as to cover from two to ten square inches, heavily bordered
with black, and surmounted, in case of adults, with crosses, and with
cherubs' heads for children. I take up a copy of _La Epocha_ and read
the following, under a cross: "Third Anniversary. Señorita Doña
Francisca Fulana y Tal died the twenty-sixth of June, 1896, at
twenty-one years of age. R. I. P. Her disconsolate mother and the rest
of the family ask their friends and all pious persons to be so good as
to commend her to God. All the masses celebrated to-morrow morning in
the Church of San Pascual will be applied to the everlasting rest of
the soul of the said señorita. Indulgences are granted in the usual
form." It is the third anniversary, too, of a titled lady, whose
"husband, brothers, brothers-in-law, nephews, uncles, cousins, and all
who inherit under her will" have ordered masses in two churches for
the entire day to-morrow, and announce, moreover, that the
ecclesiastical authorities grant "one hundred and forty days of
indulgence to all the faithful for each mass that they hear, sacred
communion that they devote, or portion of a rosary that they pray for
the soul of this most noble lady."

In the case of another lady of high degree, who died yesterday,
"having received the Blessed Sacraments and the benediction of his
Holiness," the Nuncio concedes one hundred days of indulgence, the
Archbishop of Burgos eighty, and the Bishops of Madrid, Alcalá,
Cartagena, Leon, and Santander forty each; while a marquis who died a
year ago, "Knight of the Illustrious Order of the Golden Fleece," is
to have masses said for his soul in seven churches, not only all
through to-morrow, but for the two days following.

May all these rest in peace, and all who mourn for them be comforted!
Yet thought drifts away to the poor and lowly, whose grief cannot find
solace in procuring this costly intercession of the Church for the
souls they love. It seems hard that the inequalities of life should
thus reach out into death and purgatory. We used, during our sojourn
in Granada, to meet many pathetic little processions on "The Way of
the Dead." Over this hollow road, almost a ravine, the fortress walls,
with their crumbling towers, keep guard on the one side, and the
terraced gardens of the _Generalife_, with their grand old cypresses,
on the other. And here, almost every hour of the day, is climbing a
company of four rough men, carrying on their shoulders a cheap coffin,
which perhaps a husband follows, or a white-haired father, or, hand in
hand, bewildered orphan boys. The road is so steep that often the
bearers set their burden down in the shadow of the bank-side, and
fling themselves at full length on the ground beside it, thriftily
passing from man to man the slow-burning wax match for their paper
cigarettes. I remember more than one such smoking group, with a
solitary mourner, hat in hand and eyes on the coffin, yet he, too,
with cigarette in mouth, standing patiently by. All who pass make the
sign of the cross, and even the rudest peasant uncovers his head. Very
shortly the bearers may be seen again, coming down the hill at a merry
pace, the empty box, with its loose, rattling lid, tilted over the
shoulder now of one, now of another; for the children of poverty, who
had not chambers of their own nor the dignity of solitude in life, lie
huddled in a common pit after death, without coffin-planks to sever
dust from dust.

A century ago it was usual to robe the dead in monastic garb,
especially in the habit of St. Francis or of the Virgin of Carmen, and
within the present generation bodies were borne to the grave on open
biers, the bystanders saluting, and bidding them farewell and quiet
rest:--

     "'Duerme in paz!' dicen los buenos.
     'Adios!' dicen los demás."

But now the closed coffin of many colors is in vogue. In the Santiago
market we met a cheerful dame with one of these balanced on her head,
crying for a purchaser, and up the broad flights of steps to the
Bilbao cemetery we saw a stolid-faced young peasant-woman swinging
along with a child's white coffin, apparently heavy with the weight of
death, poised on the glossy black coils of hair, about which she had
twisted a carmine handkerchief.

Very strange is the look of a Spanish cemetery, with its ranges of
high, deep walls, wherein the coffins are thrust end-wise, each above
each, to the altitude of perhaps a dozen layers. These cells are
sometimes purchased outright, sometimes rented for ten years, or five,
or one. When the friends of the quiet tenant pay his dues no longer,
forth he goes to the general ditch, _osario común_, and leaves his
room for another. Such wall graves are characteristically Spanish,
this mode of burial in the Peninsula being of long antiquity. Yet the
rich prefer their own pantheons, sculptured like little chapels, or
their own vaults, over which rise tall marbles of every device, the
shaft, the pyramid, the broken column; while a poor family, or two or
three neighboring households, often make shift to pay for one large
earth grave, in which their dead may at least find themselves among
kith and kin. Spanish cemeteries are truly silent cities, with streets
upon streets enclosed between these solemn walls, which open out, at
intervals, now for the ornamented patios of the rich, now for the
dreary squares peopled by the poor. Here in a most aristocratic
quarter, shaded by willows, set with marbles, paved with flower beds,
sleeps a duke in stately pantheon, which is carved all over with
angels, texts, and sacred symbols, still leaving room for medallions
boasting his ancestral dignities. A double row of lamps, with gilded,
fantastically moulded stands, and with dangling crystals of all
colors, leads to the massive iron door. What enemy has he now to guard
against with that array of bolts and bars? Here are a poet's palms
petrified to granite, and here a monument all muffled in fresh
flowers. Here the magnificent bronze figure of a knight, with sword
half drawn, keeps watch beside a tomb, while the grave beyond a rose
bush guards as well. And here an imaged Sandalphon holds out open
hands, this legend written across his marble scarf, "The tear falleth;
the flower fadeth; but God treasureth the prayer."

There is a certain high-bred reserve about these costly sepulchres,
but turning to the walls one comes so face to face with grief as to
experience a sense of intrusion. Each cell shows on its sealed door of
slate or other stone the name and age of its occupant, and perhaps a
sentiment, lettered in gilt or black, as these: "We bear our loss--God
knows how heavily." "Son of my soul." "For thee, that land of larger
love; for me, until I find thee there, only the valley of sorrow and
the hard hill of hope."

Most of the cells have, too, a glassed or grated recess in front of
this inscription wall, holding tributes or memorials--dried flowers,
colored images of saints and angels, crucifixes, and the like.
Sometimes the resurrection symbol of the butterfly appears. In the
little cemetery at Vigo we noticed that the flower-vases were in form
of great blue butterflies with scarlet splashes on their wings.
Sometimes there are locks of hair, personal trinkets, and often card
or cabinet photographs, whose living look startles the beholder. Out
from a wreath of yellow immortelles peeps the plump smile of an old
gentleman in modern dress coat; a coquettish lady in tiara and
earrings laughs from behind her fan; and a grove of paper shrubbery,
where tissue fairies dressed in rose petals dance on the blossoms,
half hides the eager face of a Spanish midshipman. Where the
photographs have faded and dimmed with time, the effect is less
incongruous, if not less pathetic.

The niches of children contain the gayest possible little figures.
Here are china angels in blue frocks, with pink sleeves and saffron
pantalets, pink-tipped plumes, and even pink bows in their goldy hair.
Here is a company of tiny Hamlets, quaint dollikins set up in a circle
about a small green grave, each with finger on lip, "The rest is
silence." Here are two elegant and lazy cherubs, their alabaster
chubbiness comfortably bestowed in toy chairs of crimson velvet on
each side of an ivory crucifix. And here is a Bethlehem, and here a
Calvary, and here the Good Shepherd bearing the lamb in His bosom; and
here, in simple, but artistic wood carving, the Christ with open arms,
calling to a child on sick-bed to come unto Him, while the mother,
prostrate before the holy feet, kisses their shadow. One cannot look
for long. It is well to lift the eyes from the niche graves of Granada
to the glory of the Sierra Nevada that soars beyond, and turn from the
patios of San Isidro to the cheerful picture of Madrid across the
Manzanares, even though, prominent in the vista, rises the cupola of
_San Francisco el Grande_. This is the National Pantheon, and within,
beneath the frescoed dome, all aglow with blue and gold, masses are
chanted for the dead whom Spain decrees to honor, as, so recently, for
Castelar.

Near this church a viaduct, seventy-five feet high, crosses the _Calle
de Segovia_; and, despite the tall crooked railings and a constant
police patrol, Madrileños bent on suicide often succeed in leaping
over and bruising out their breath on the stones of the street below.
It is a desperate exit. The Seine and Thames lure their daily victims
with murmuring sound and the soft, enfolding look of water, but
Spaniards who spring from this fatal viaduct see beneath them only the
cruel pavement. That life should be harder than stone! And yet the
best vigilance of Madrid cannot prevent fresh bloodstains on the
_Calle de Segovia_.

Near the cemetery of San Isidro, across the Manzanares, are two other
large Catholic burial grounds, and the _Cementério Inglés_.

"But murderers, atheists, and Protestants are buried way off in the
east," said the pretty Spanish girl beside me.

"Oh, let's go there!" I responded, with heretic enthusiasm; but I had
reckoned without the cabman, who promptly and emphatically protested.

"That's not a pleasant place for ladies to see. You would better drive
in the _Prado_ and _Recoletos_, or in the _Buen Retiro_."

We told him laughingly that he was speaking against his own interests,
for the Civil Cemetery was much farther off than the parks. He
consulted his dignity and decided to laugh in return.

"It is not of the _pesetas_ I think first when I am driving ladies.
But" (with suave indulgence) "you shall go just where you like."

So in kindness he gathered up his reins and away we clattered sheer
across the city. Presently we had left the fountain-cooled squares and
animated streets behind, had passed even the ugly, sinister _Plaza de
Toros_, and outstripped the trolley track; but still the road
stretched on, enlivened only by herds of goats and an occasional
_venta_, where drivers of mule trains were pausing to wet their dusty
throats. We met few vehicles now save the gay-colored hearses, and few
people except groups of returning mourners, walking in bewildered
wise, with stumbling feet.

"The Cemetery of the Poor is opposite the Civil Cemetery," said our
cabman, "and they have from thirty to fifty burials a day. The keeper
is a friend of mine. He shall show you all about."

A bare Castilian ridge rose before us, where a farmer, leaning on his
scythe, was outlined against the sky like a silhouette of Death. And
at last our cheery driver, humming bars from a popular light opera,
checked his mettlesome old mare,--who plunged down hills and scrambled
up as if she were running away from the bull-ring, where she must soon
fulfil her martyrdom,--between two dismal graveyards. From the larger,
on our right, tiptoed out a furtive man and peered into the cab as if
he thought we had a coffin under the seat.

He proved a blood-curdling conductor, always speaking in a hoarse
whisper and glancing over his shoulder in a way to make the stoutest
nerves feel ghosts, but he showed us, under that sunset sky, memorable
sights--ranks upon ranks of gritty mounds marked with black, wooden
crosses, a scanty grace for which the living often pay the price of
their own bread that the dead they love may pass a year or two out of
that hideous general fosse. Then the sexton reluctantly led us to the
unblessed, untended hollow across the way, where rows of brick
sepulchres await the poor babies who die before the holy water touches
them, where recumbent marbles press upon the dead who knew no upward
reach of hope, and where defiant monuments, erected by popular
subscription and often bearing the blazonry of a giant quill, denote
the resting-places of freethinkers and the agitators of new ideas.
There were some Christian inscriptions, whether for Protestants or not
I do not know, but to my two companions there was no distinction of
persons in this unhallowed limbo.

Our dusty guide led us hurriedly from plot to plot.

"They say the mothers cheat the priests, and there are babies over
yonder that ought to be here, for the breath was out of them before
ever they were baptized. They say the priests had this man done to
death one night, because he wrote against religion. He was only
twenty-two. The club he belonged to put up that stone. They say there
are evil words on it. But I don't know myself. I can't read, thanks to
God. They say it was through reading and writing that most of these
came here."

"But those are not evil words," I answered. "They are, 'Believe in
Jesus and thou shalt be saved.'"

He hastily crossed himself, "Do me the favor not to read such words
out loud. Here is another, where they say the words are words of
hell."

I held my peace this time, musing on that broad marble with its one
deep-cut line, "The Death of God."

"And over there," he croaked, pointing with his clay-colored thumb,
"is _Whiskers_."

The señorita, whose black eyes had been getting larger and larger,
gave a little scream and fairly ran for the gate.

Spaniards have usually great sympathy for criminals, newspaper
accounts of executions often closing with an entreaty for God's mercy
on "this poor man's soul," but _Whiskers_, the Madrid sensation of a
fortnight since, was a threefold murderer. Passion-mad, he had shot
dead in the open street a neighbor's youthful wife, held the public at
bay with his revolver, and mortally wounded two Civil Guards, before
he turned the fatal barrel on himself.

"His family wanted him laid over the way," continued that scared
undertone at my ear, "but the bishop said no. A murderer like that was
just as bad as infidels and Protestants, and should be buried out of
grace."

I felt as if Superstition incarnate were walking by my side, and after
one more look at that strangely peopled patch of unconsecrated ground,
with its few untrimmed cypresses and straggling rose bushes, hillside
slopes about and glory-flooded skies above, I gave Superstition a
_peseta_, which he devoutly kissed, and returned to the cab, followed
by the carol of a solitary bird.

I remember a similar experience in Cadiz. I had driven out with one of
my Spanish hostesses to the large seaside cemetery, a mile beyond the
gate. This is arranged in nine successive patios, planted with palms
and cypresses. In the niches, seashells play a prominent part. The
little angel images, as gay as ever, with their pink girdles and their
purple wings, may be seen swinging in shells, sleeping in shells, and
balancing on the edge of shells to play their golden flutes. Near by
is an English and German cemetery, with green-turfed mounds and a
profusion of blossoming shrubs and flower beds. Not sure of the
direction, as we were leaving the Catholic enclosure I asked a
bandy-legged, leather-visaged old sexton, who might have been the very
one that dug Ophelia's grave, if the "Protestant cemetery" was at our
right. He laid down his mattock, peered about among the mausolea to
see if we were quite alone, winked prodigiously, and, drawing a bunch
of keys from the folds of his black sash, started briskly down a
by-path and signed to us to follow. He led us through stony passages
out beyond the sanctified ground into a dreary, oblong space, a patch
of weeds and sand, enclosed by the lofty sepulchral walls, but with a
blessed strip of blue sky overhead.

"Here they are!" he chuckled. "They wouldn't confess, they died
without the sacraments, and here they are."

Some names lettered on the wall seemed to be those of Dutch and
Norwegian sailors, who had perhaps died friendless in this foreign
port. There were pebble-strewn graves of Jews, and upright marbles
from which the dead still seemed to utter voice: "I refuse the prayers
of all the saints, and ask the prayers of honest human souls. I
believe in God." And another, "God is knowledge." And another, "God is
All that works for Wisdom and for Love."

"Are there burial services for these?" I inquired.

If the Church of England could have seen that crooked old sexton go
through his gleeful pantomime!

"There's one that comes with some, and they call him Pastor! And he
scrapes up a handful of dirt--so! And he flings it at the coffin--so!
And then he stands up straight and says, 'Dust to dust!' I've heard
him say it myself."

"God of my soul!" cried the Spanish lady in horror, and to express her
detestation of such a heathenish rite, she spat upon the ground.

The monarchs of Spain do not mingle their ashes. Who knows where
Roderick sleeps? Or does that deathless culprit still lurk in mountain
caverns, as tradition has it, wringing his wasted hands and tearing
his white beard in unavailing penitence? The "Catholic kings,"
Ferdinand and Isabella, lie, not where they had planned, in that
beautiful Gothic church of Toledo, _San Juan de los Reyes_, on whose
outer walls yet hang the Moorish chains struck from the limbs of
Christian captives, but in Granada, the city of their conquest, where
they slumber proudly, although their coffins are of plainest lead and
their last royal chamber a small and dusky vault. Pedro the Cruel is
thrust away in a narrow wall-grave beneath the _Capilla Real_ of
Seville cathedral. His brother, the Master of Santiago, whom he
treacherously slew in one of the loveliest halls of the Alcázar, is
packed closely in on his left, and Maria de Padilla, for whose sake he
cut short the hapless life of Queen Blanche, on his right. Pleasant
family discussions they must have at the witching hour of night, when
they drag their numb bones out of those pigeon-holes for a brief
respite of elbow room! San Fernando, the Castilian conqueror of
Castile, canonized "because he carried fagots with his own hands for
the burning of heretics," is more commodiously accommodated in a
silver sarcophagus in the chapel above, where Alfonso the Learned also
has long leisure for thought. Another Alfonso and another Fernando,
with another wife of Pedro the Cruel, keep their state in Santiago de
Compostela, and still another Alfonso and two Sanchos have their
splendid tombs in the _Capilla Mayor_ of Toledo cathedral, while in
its _Capilla de los Reyes Nuevos_, a line descended from that brother
whom Pedro murdered, sleeps the first John, with the second and third
Henrys.

  [Illustration: BULL-FIGHT OF TO-DAY]

Cordova cathedral, although this lovely mosque recks little of
Christian majesties, has the ordinary equipment of an Alfonso and a
Fernando, and the Royal Monastery of Las Huelgas in Burgos shelters
Alfonso VIII, with his queen, Eleanor of England. In less noted
churches, one continually chances on them, _rey_ or _reina_, _infante_
or _infanta_, dreaming the centuries away in rich recesses of fretted
marble and alabaster, with the shadow of great arches over them and
the deep-voiced chant around.

But since Philip II created, in his own sombre likeness, the monastery
of the Escorial, rising in angular austerity from a spur of the bleak
Guadarrama Mountains, the royal houses of Austria and Bourbon have
sought burial there. The first and chief in the dank series of
sepulchral vaults, the celebrated _Panteón de los Reyes_, is an
octagon of black marble, placed precisely under the high altar, and
gloomily magnificent with jasper, porphyry, and gold. It has an altar
of its own, on whose left are three recesses, each with four long
shelves placed one above another for the sarcophagi of the kings of
Spain, and on whose right are corresponding recesses for the queens.
As the guide holds his torch, we read the successive names of the
great Charles I, founder of the Austrian line; the three Philips, in
whom his genius dwindled more and more; and the half-witted Charles
II, in whom it ignobly perished. The coffin lid of Charles I has twice
been lifted, once as late as 1871, in compliment to the visiting
Emperor of Brazil, and even then that imperial body lay intact, with
blackened face and open, staring eyes. The gilded bronze coffin of
Philip II was brought to his bedside for his inspection in his last
hour of life. After a critical survey he ordered a white satin lining
and more gilt nails--a remarkable sense of detail in a man who had
sent some ten thousand heretics to the torture.

Looking for the Bourbons, we miss the first of them all, the
melancholy Philip V, who would not lay him down among these Austrians,
but sleeps with his second queen, the strong-willed Elizabeth
Farnese, in his cloudy retreat of San Ildefonso, within hearing of the
fountains of La Granja. His eldest son, Luis the Well-Beloved, who
died after a reign of seven months, rests here in the Escorial, but
Fernando VI, also the son of Philip's first queen--that gallant little
Savoyarde who died so young--was buried in Madrid. Charles III, best
and greatest of the Spanish Bourbons, is here, the weak Charles IV,
Fernando VII, "The Desired" and the Disgraceful, and Alfonso XII,
while a stately sarcophagus is already reserved for Alfonso XIII.

To the cold society of these five Austrian and five Bourbon sovereigns
are admitted nine royal ladies. Of these, the first three are in good
and regular standing--the queen of Charles I and mother of Philip II,
the fourth queen of Philip II and mother of Philip III, the queen of
Philip III and mother of Philip IV. But here is an intruder. Philip
IV, who had an especial liking for this grewsome vault, and used often
to clamber into his own niche to hear mass, insisted on having both
his French and Austrian queens interred here, although the first,
Isabel of Bourbon, is not the mother of a Spanish king, the promising
little Baltasar having died in boyhood. The brave girl-queen of Philip
V is here, in double right as mother both of Luis and Fernando VI, and
here is the wife of Charles III and mother of Charles IV. But of sorry
repute are the last two queens, the wife of Charles IV and mother of
Fernando VII, she who came hurrying down those slippery marble stairs
in feverish delirium to scratch _Luisa_ with scissors on her selected
coffin, and this other, Maria Cristina, wife of Fernando VII and
mother of the dethroned Isabel, a daughter who did not mend the story.
It will not be long before she returns from her French exile to enter
into possession of the sarcophagus that expects her here, even as
another sumptuous coffin awaits the present regent. Pity it is for
Isabel, whose name is still a byword in the Madrid cafés! But she
always enjoyed hearing midnight mass in this dim and dreadful crypt,
and will doubtless be glad to come back to her ancestors, such as they
were, and take up her royal residence with them in "dust of human
nullity and ashes of mortality."



XVIII

CORPUS CHRISTI IN TOLEDO

     "A blackened ruin, lonely and forsaken,
     Already wrapt in winding-sheets of sand,
     So lies Toledo till the dead awaken,
     A royal spoil of Time's resistless hand."
                                    --ZORRILLA: _Toledo_.


In the thirteenth century the doctrine of transubstantiation assumed
especial importance. Miracle plays and cathedral glass told thrilling
stories of attacks made by Jews on the sacred Wafer, which bled under
their poniards or sprang from their caldrons and ovens in complete
figure of the Christ. The festival of Corpus Christi, then established
by Rome, was devoutly accepted in Spain and used to be celebrated with
supreme magnificence in Madrid. Early in the reign of Philip IV,
Prince Charles of England, who, with the adventurous Buckingham, had
come in romantic fashion to the Spanish capital, hoping to carry by
storm the heart of the Infanta, stood for hours in a balcony of the
Alcázar, gazing silently on the glittering procession. How they swept
by through the herb-strewn, tapestried streets--musicians,
standard-bearers, cross-bearers, files of orphans from the asylums,
six and thirty religious brotherhoods, monks of all the orders,
barefoot friars, ranks of secular clergy and brothers of charity, the
proud military orders of Alcántara, Calatrava, and Santiago, the
Councils of the Indies, of Aragon, of Portugal, the Supreme Council of
Castile, the City Fathers of Madrid, the Governmental Ministers of
Spain and Spanish Italy, the Tribunal of the Holy Office, preceded by
a long array of cloaked and hooded Familiars, bishops upon bishops in
splendid, gold-enwoven vestments, priests of the royal chapel
displaying the royal banner, bearers of the crosier and the
sacramental vessels, the Archbishop of Santiago, royal chaplains and
royal majordomos, royal pages with tall wax tapers, incense burners,
the canopied mystery of the Eucharist, the king, the prince,
cardinals, nuncio, the inquisitor general, the Catholic ambassadors,
the patriarch of the Indies, the all-powerful Count-Duke Olivares,
grandees, lesser nobility, gentlemen, and a display of Spanish and
German troops, closed by a great company of archers. So overwhelming
was that solemn progress, with its brilliant variety of sacerdotal
vestments, knightly habits, robes of state and military trappings, its
maces, standards, crosses, the flash of steel, gold, jewels, and
finally the sheen of candles, the clouds of incense, the tinkling of
silver bells before the _Santisimo Corpus_, that the heretic prince
and his reckless companion fell to their knees. One Spanish author
pauses to remark that for these, who could even then reject the open
arms of the Mother Church, the assassin's blow and the Whitehall block
were naturally waiting.

Such a pomp would have been worth the seeing, but we had arrived at
Madrid almost three centuries too late. Catholic friends shrugged
shoulder at mention of the Corpus procession, "_Vale poco._" And as
for the famous _autos sacramentales_, which used to be celebrated at
various times during the eight days of the Corpus solemnity, they may
be read in musty volumes, but can be seen in the city squares no more.
Calderon is said to have written the trifling number of seventy-two,
and Lope de Vega, whose fingers must have been tipped with pens, some
four hundred.

If only our train, which then would not have been a train, had brought
us, who then would not have come, to Madrid in season for a Corpus
celebration under the Austrian dynasty, we could have attended an
open-air theatre of a very curious sort. All the way to the _Plaza_,
we would have seen festivity at its height, pantomimic dances, merry
music, struttings of giants and antics of dwarfs, and perhaps groups
of boys insulting cheap effigies of snakes, modelled after the
monstrous _Tarasca_, carried in the Corpus parade in token of Christ's
victory over the Devil. At intervals along the route, adorned with
flowers and draperies, and reserved for the procession and the
dramatic cars, would have been altars hung with rich stuffs from the
Alcázar and the aristocratic palaces; silks and cloth of gold,
brocades, velvets, and shimmering wefts of the Indies. The one-act
play itself might be after the general fashion of the mediæval
Miracles,--verse dialogue, tuned to piety with chords of fun, for the
setting forth of Biblical stories. Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, Moses
feeding the Israelites with manna, the patience of Job, the trials of
Joseph, David, and Daniel, were thus represented.

More frequently, the _auto sacramental_ belonged to the so-called
Morality type of early Christian drama, being an allegorical
presentation of human experience or exposition of church doctrine.
Such were "The Fountain of Grace," "The Journey of the Soul," "The
Dance of Death," "The Pilgrim." Sometimes a Gospel parable, as the
"Lost Sheep" or the "Prodigal Son," gave the dramatic suggestion. But
these Spanish spectacles sought to associate themselves, as closely as
might be, with the Corpus worship, and many of them bear directly, in
one way or another, upon this sacrament.

If, for instance, we had chanced on the Madrid festival in 1681, we
could have witnessed in the decorated _Plaza_, with its thronged
balconies, the entrance of four scenic platforms or cars. The first,
painted over with battles, bears a Gothic castle; the second, with
pictures of the sea, a gallant ship; the third, a starry globe; the
fourth, a grove and garden, whose central fountain is so shaped as to
form, above, the semblance of an altar. In the complicated action of
the play, when the Soul, besieged in her fortress by the Devil, whose
allies are the World and the Flesh, calls upon Christ for succor, the
hollow sphere of the third car opens, revealing the Lord enthroned in
glory amid cherubim and seraphim; but the climax of the triumph is not
yet. That stout old general, the Devil, rallies fresh forces to the
attack, such subtle foes as Atheism, Judaism, and Apostasy, and
whereas, before, the Senses bore the brunt of the conflict, it is the
Understanding that girds on armor now. Yet in the final outcome not
the Understanding, but Faith draws the veil from before the altar of
the fourth car, and there, in the consecrated vessel for the holding
of the Wafer, appears the "Passion Child," the white bread from
Heaven, "very flesh and very blood that are the price of the soul's
salvation."

That is the way Spain kept her Corpus _fiesta_ in the good old times
of Charles the Bewitched; but not now. After the procession, the
bull-fight; and after the bull-fight, the latest vaudeville or ballet.
Last year it rained on Corpus Thursday, which fell on the first of
June, and Madrid gave up the procession altogether. Some of the
Opposition papers started the cry that this was shockingly irreligious
in Silvela, but when the Government organs haughtily explained that it
was the decision of the archbishop and Señor Silvela was not even
consulted, the righteous indignation of the Liberals straightway
subsided. The procession, which was to have been a matter of
kettledrums and clarionets, soldiery, "coaches of respect" from the
palace and the city corporation, and a full showing of the parochial
clergy, did not seem to be missed by the people. Corpus has long
ceased to be a chief event in the Capital.

There are a few cities in Spain, however, where the Corpus fête is
maintained with something of the old gayety and splendor. Bustling
Barcelona, never too busy for a frolic, keeps it merrily with an
elaborate parade from the cathedral all about the city,
and--delightful feature!--the distribution of flowers and sweetmeats
among the ladies. The procession in Valencia resembles those of Holy
Week in Seville. On litters strewn with flowers and thick-set with
candle-lights are borne carved groups of sacred figures and richly
attired images of Christ and the Virgin. But it is in lyric Andalusia
that these pageantries are most at home. Among her popular _coplas_ is
one that runs:--

     "Thursdays three in the year there be,
       That shine more bright than the sun's own ray--
     Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi,
       And our Lord's Ascension Day."

Cadiz, like Valencia, carries the _pasos_ in the Corpus procession. In
Seville, where the street displays of Holy Week are under the charge
of the religious brotherhoods, or _cofradias_, Corpus Christi gives
opportunity for the clergy and aristocracy to present a rival
exhibition of sanctified luxury and magnificence.

But it is in beautiful belated Granada that the Corpus fête is now at
its best. A brilliantly illustrated programme, whose many-hued cover
significantly groups a gamboge cathedral very much in the background,
and a flower-crowned Andalusian maiden, draped in a Manila shawl, with
a prodigious guitar at her feet, very much in the foreground,
announces a medley of festivities extending over eleven days. This
cheerful booklet promises, together with a constant supply of military
music, balcony decorations, and city illuminations, an assortment of
pleasures warranted to suit every taste--infantry reviews, cavalry
reviews, cadet reviews, masses under roof and masses in the open,
claustral processions, parades of giants, dwarfs, and _La Tarasca_, a
charity raffle in the park under the patronage of Granada's most
distinguished ladies, the erection of out-of-door altars, the
dispensing of six thousand loaves of bread among the poor (from my
experience of Granada beggars I should say the supply was
insufficient), a solemn Corpus procession passing along white-canopied
streets under a rain of flowers, three regular bull-fights with the
grand masters Guerrita, Lagartijillo, and Fuentes, followed by a
gloriously brutal _corrida_, with young beasts and inexperienced
fighters, cattle fair, booths, puppet shows, climbing of greased
poles, exhibition of fine arts and industries, horse racing, polo,
pigeon shoot, trapeze, balloon ascensions, gypsy dances, and fireworks
galore.

But even faithful Granada shared in the strange catalogue of
misfortunes which attended Corpus last year. The rains descended on
her Chinese lanterns, and the winds beat against her Arabic arches
with their thousands of gas-lights. On the sacred Thursday itself, the
Andalusian weather made a most unusual demonstration of hurricane and
cloudburst, with interludes of thunder and lightning. Great was the
damage in field, vineyard, and orchard, and as for processions, they
were in many places out of the question. Even Seville and Cordova had
to postpone both parades and bull-fights. But this was not the worst.
In Ecija, one of the quaintest cities of Andalusia, an image of the
Virgin as the Divine Shepherdess, lovingly arrayed and adorned with no
little outlay by the nuns of the Conception, caught fire in the
procession from a taper, like Seville's Virgin of Montserrat in the
last _Semana Santa_. The _Divina Pastora_ barely escaped with her
jewels. Her elaborate garments, the herbage and foliage of her
pasture, and one of her woolly sheep were burned to ashes. In Palma de
Mallorca, a romantic town of the Balearic Isles, a balcony, whose
occupants were leaning out to watch the procession, broke away, and
crashed down into the midst of the throng. A young girl fell upon the
bayonet of a soldier marching beneath, and was grievously hurt. Others
suffered wounds which, in one case at least, proved fatal. The
Opposition journals did not fail to make capital out of these untoward
events, serving them up in satiric verse with the irreverent
suggestion that, if this was all the favor a reactionary and
ultra-Catholic government could secure from Heaven, it was time to go
back to Sagasta.

The ecclesiastical Toledo, seat of the Primate of all Spain, is one
of the Spanish cities which still observe Corpus Christi as a high
solemnity, and Toledo is within easy pilgrimage distance of Madrid. I
had already passed two days in that ancient capital of the Visigoths,
ridding my conscience of the sightseers' burden, and I both longed and
dreaded to return. The longing overcame the dread, and I dropped in at
the _Estacion del Mediodía_ for preliminary inquiries. I could
discover no bureau of information and no official authorized to
instruct the public, but in this lotus-eating land what is nobody's
business is everybody's business. There could not be a better-humored
people. The keeper of the bookstand abandoned his counter, his
would-be customers lighting cigarettes and leaning up against trucks
and stacks of luggage to wait for his return, and escorted me the
length of the station to find a big yellow poster, which gave the
special time-table for Corpus Thursday. The poster was so high upon
the wall that our combined efforts could not make it out; whereupon a
nimble little porter dropped the trunk he was carrying, and climbed on
top of it for a better view. In that commanding position he could see
clearly enough, but just when my hopes were at the brightest, he
regretfully explained that he had never learned to read. As he
clambered down the proprietor of the trunk, who had been looking on
with as much serenity as if trains never went and starting bells never
rang, mounted in turn. This gentleman, all smiles and bows and tobacco
smoke, read off the desired items, which the keeper of the bookstand
copied for me in a leisurely, conversational manner, with a pencil
lent by one bystander on a card donated by another.

There is really something to be said for the Spanish way of doing
business. It takes time, but if time is filled with human kindliness
and social courtesies, why not? What is time for? Whenever I observed
that I was the only person in a hurry on a Madrid street, I revised my
opinion as to the importance of my errand.

As I entered the station again on the first of June at the penitential
hour of quarter past six in the morning, I was reflecting complacently
on my sagacity as a traveller. Had I not bethought me that, even in
the ecclesiastical centre of Spain and on this solemn festival, there
might be peril for a stranger's purse? What financial acumen I had
shown in calculating that, since my round-trip ticket to Toledo before
had cost three dollars, second class, I could probably go first class
on this excursion for the same sum, while two dollars more would be
ample allowance for balcony hire and extras! And yet how prudent in me
to have tucked away a reserve fund in a secret pocket inaccessible
even to myself! But why was the station so jammed and crammed with
broad-hatted Spaniards? And what was the meaning of that long line of
roughs, stretching far out from the third-class ticket office?
Bull-fight explained it all. Even reverend Toledo must keep the Corpus
holy by the public slaughter of six choice bulls and as many hapless
horses as their blind rage might rend. Worse than the pagan altars
that reeked with the blood of beasts, Spain's Christian festivals
demand torture in addition to butchery.

There were no first-class carriages, it appeared, upon the Corpus
train, and my round-trip ticket, second class, cost only a dollar,
leaving me with an embarrassment of riches. Pursing the slip of
pasteboard which, to my disgust, was stamped in vermilion letters
_Corrida de Toros_, I sped me to the train, where every seat appeared
to be taken, although it lacked twenty minutes of the advertised time
for departure; but a bald-headed philanthropist called out from a
carriage window that they still had room for one. Gratefully climbing
up, I found myself in the society of a family party, off for Toledo to
celebrate the saint-day of their hazel-eyed eight-year-old by that
treat of treats, a child's first bull-fight. When they learned that I
was tamely proposing to keep Corpus Christi by seeing the procession
and not by "assisting at the function of bulls," their faces clouded;
but they decided to make allowance for my foreign idiosyncrasies.

The train, besieged by a multitude of ticket-holders for whom there
were no places, was nearly an hour late in getting off. The ladies
dozed and chattered; the gentlemen smoked and dozed; little Hazel-eyes
constantly drew pictures of bulls with a wet finger on the window
glass. Reminded again by my handbag literature that Toledo is a nest
of thieves, I would gladly have put away my extra money, but there was
never a moment when all the gentlemen were asleep at once.

It was after ten when we reached our destination, the boy wild with
rapture because we had actually seen a pasture of grazing bulls. A
swarm of noisy, scrambling, savage-looking humanity hailed the arrival
of the train, and I had hardly made my way even to the platform before
I felt an ominous twitch at my pocket. The light-fingered art must
have degenerated in Toledo since the day of that clever cutpurse of
the "Exemplary Tales." Turning sharply, I confronted a group of my
fellow-worshippers, who, shawled and sashed and daggered, looked as
if they had been expressly gotten up for stage bandits. From the
shaggy pates, topped by gaudy, twisted handkerchiefs--a headdress not
so strange in a city whose stone walls looked for centuries on Moorish
turbans--to the bright-edged, stealthy hemp sandals, these were
pickpockets to rejoice a kodak. Their black eyes twinkled at me with
wicked triumph, while it flashed across my mind that my old hero, the
Cid, was probably much of their aspect, and certainly gained his
living in very similar ways. There were a full score of these
picturesque plunderers, and not a person of the nineteenth century in
sight. Since there was nothing to do, I did it, and giving them a
parting glance of moral disapproval, to which several of the sauciest
responded by blithely touching their forelocks, I pursued my pilgrim
course, purged of vainglory. At all events, I was delivered from
temptation as to a questionable _peseta_ in my purse--my pretty Paris
purse!--and I should not be obliged to travel again on that odious
bull-fight ticket.

We were having "fool weather," blowing now hot, now cold, but as at
this moment the air was cool, and every possible vehicle seemed
packed, thatched, fringed with clinging passengers, I decided, not
seeking further reasons, to walk up to the town. And what a town it
is! Who could remember dollars? So far from being decently depressed,
I was almost glad to have lost something in this colossal monument of
losses. It seemed to make connection.

Between deep, rocky, precipitous banks, strongly flows the golden
"king of rivers, the venerable Tajo," almost encircling the granite
pedestal of the city and spanned by ancient bridges of massy stone,
with battlemented, Virgin-niched, fierce old gates. And above, upon
its rugged height, crumbling hourly into the gritty dust that stings
the eye and scrapes beneath the foot, lies in swirls on floor and
pavement, blows on every breeze and sifts through hair and clothing,
is the proud, sullen, forsaken fortress of "imperial Toledo." Still it
is a vision of turrets, domes, and spires, fretwork, buttresses,
façades, but all so desolate, so dreary, isolated in that parched
landscape as it is isolated in the living world, that one approaches
with strangely blended feelings of awe, repugnance, and delight.

On we go over the Bridge of Alcántara, wrought æons since by a gang of
angry Titans--the guidebooks erroneously attribute it to the Moors and
Alfonso the Learned--with a shuddering glance out toward the ruins of
feudal castles, here a battlemented keep set with mighty towers, there
a great, squat, frowning mass of stone, the very sight of which might
have crushed a prisoner's heart. Up, straight up, into the grim, gray,
labyrinthine city, whose zigzag streets, often narrowing until two
laden donkeys, meeting, cannot pass, so twist and turn that it is
impossible on entering one to guess at what point of the compass we
will come out. These crooked ways, paved with "agony stones," are
lined with tall, dark, inhospitable house fronts, whose few windows
are heavily grated, and whose huge doors, bristling with iron bosses,
are furnished with fantastic knockers and a whole arsenal of bolts and
chains.

  [Illustration: THE KING OF THE GYPSIES]

Gloomy as these ponderous structures are, every step discloses a
novelty of beauty,--a chiselled angel, poised for flight, chased
escutcheons, bas-reliefs, toothed arches, medallions, weather-eaten
groups of saints and apostles gossiping in their scalloped niches
about the degeneracy of the times. The Moors, whose architecture, says
Becquer, seems the dream of a Moslem warrior sleeping after battle in
the shadow of a palm, have left their mark throughout Toledo in the
airy elegance of the traceries magically copied from cobwebs and the
Milky Way. That tragic race, the Jews, have stamped on the walls of
long-desecrated synagogues their own mysterious emblems. And Goths and
Christian knights have wrought their very likenesses into the stern,
helmeted heads that peer out from the capitals of marvellous columns
amid the stone grapes and pomegranates most fit for their heroic
nourishment. But all is in decay. Here stands a broken-sceptred statue
turning its royal back on a ragged vender of toasted _garbanzos_. Even
the image of Wamba has lost its royal nose.

You may traverse whispering cloisters heaped with fallen crosses, with
truant tombstones, and severed heads and limbs of august prophets.
Cast aside in dusky vaults lie broken shafts of rose-tinted marbles
and fragments of rare carving in whose hollows the birds of the air
once built their nests. Through the tangle of flowers and shrubbery
that chokes the patios gleam the rims of alabaster urns and basins of
jasper fountains. Such radiant wings and faces as still flash out from
frieze and arch and column, such laughing looks, fresh with a dewy
brightness, as if youth and springtime were enchanted in the stone!
And what supreme grace and truth of artistry in all this bewildering
detail! On some far-off day of the golden age, when ivory and agate
were as wax, when cedar and larch wood yielded like their own soft
leaves, the magician must have pressed upon them the olive leaf, the
acacia spray, the baby's foot, that have left these perfect traces.
And how did mortal hand ever achieve the intricate, curling,
unfolding, blossoming marvel of those capitals? And who save kings,
Wambas and Rodericks, Sanchos, Alfonsos, and Fernandos, should mount
these magnificent stairways? And what have those staring stone faces
above that antique doorway looked upon to turn them haggard with
horror? City of ghosts! The flesh begins to creep. But here, happily,
we are arrived in the _Plaza de Zocodovér_, where Lazarillo de Tormes
used to display his talents as town crier, and in this long-memoried
market-place, with its arcaded sides and trampled green, may pause to
take our bearings.

Evidently the procession is to pass here, for the balconies, still
displaying the yellow fronds of Palm Sunday, are hung with all manner
of draperies--clear blue, orange with silver fringes, red with violet
bars, white with saffron scallops. Freed from sordid cares about my
pocket, I give myself for a little to the spell of that strange scene.
Beyond rise the rich-hued towers of the Alcázar, on the site where
Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, the Cid, and an illustrious line of Spanish
monarchs have fortified themselves in turn; but Time at last is
conqueror, and one visits the dismantled castle only to forget all
about it in the grandeur of the view. From the east side of the
_Zocodovér_ soars the arch on whose summit used to stand the
_Santisimo Cristo del Sangre_, before whom the Corpus train did
reverence. And here in the centre blazed that momentous bonfire which
was to settle the strife between the old Toledan liturgy and the new
ritual of Rome; but the impartial elements honored both the Prayer
Books placed upon the fagots, the wind wafting to a place of safety
the Roman breviary, while the flames drew back from the other, with
the result that the primitive rite is still preserved in an especial
chapel of the cathedral.

A glorious _plaza_, famed by Cervantes, loved by Lope de Vega, but now
how dim and shabby! On the house-fronts once so gayly colored, the
greens have faded to yellows, the reds to pinks, and the pinks to
browns. The awning spread along the route of the procession is fairly
checkered with a miscellany of patches. I pass the compliments of the
day with a smiling peasant woman, whose husband, a striking
color-scheme in maroon blanket, azure trousers, russet stockings, and
soiled gray sandals, offers me his seat on the stone bench beside her.
But I am bound on my errand, and they bid me "Go with God." I select a
trusty face in a shop doorway and ask if I can rent standing room in
the balcony above. Mine honest friend puts his price a trifle high to
give him a margin for the expected bargaining, but I scorn to haggle
on a day when I am short of money, and merely stipulate, with true
Spanish propriety, that no gentlemen shall be admitted. This makes an
excellent impression on the proprietor, who shows me up a winding
stair with almost oppressive politeness. A little company of ladies,
with lace mantillas drooping from their graceful heads, welcome me
with that courteous cordiality which imparts to the slightest
intercourse with the Spanish people (barring pickpockets) a flavor of
fine pleasure. Because I am the last arrival and have the least claim,
they insist on giving me the best place on the best balcony and are
untiring in their explanations of all there is to be seen.

The procession is already passing--civil guards, buglers, drummers,
flower wreaths borne aloft, crosses of silver and crosses of gold,
silken standards wrought with cunning embroideries. But now there come
a sudden darkness, a gust of wind, and dash of rain. The ranks of
_cofradias_ try in vain to keep their candles burning, the pupils from
the colleges of the friars, with shining medals hung by green cords
about their necks, peep roguishly back at the purple-stoled dignitary
in a white wig, over whom an anxious friend from the street is trying
to hold an umbrella. The Jesuit _seminaristas_ bear themselves more
decorously, the tonsures gleaming like silver coins on their young
heads. The canons lift their red robes from the wet, and even bishops
make some furtive efforts to protect their gold-threaded chasubles.
Meanwhile the people, that spectral throng of witches, serfs, feudal
retainers, and left-overs from the Arabian Nights, press closer and
closer, audaciously wrapping themselves from the rain in the rich old
tapestries of France and Flanders, which have been hung along both
sides of the route from a queer framework of emerald-bright poles and
bars. The dark, wild, superstitious faces, massed and huddled
together, peer out more uncannywise than ever from under these
precious stuffs which brisk soldiers, with green feather brushes in
their caps, as if to enable them to dust themselves off at short
notice, are already taking down.

All the church bells of the city are chiming solemnly, and the
splendid _custodia_, "the most beautiful piece of plate in the world,"
a treasure of filigree gold and jewels, enshrining the Host, draws
near. It is preceded by a bevy of lovely children, not dressed, as at
Granada, to represent angels, but as knights of chivalry. Their dainty
suits of red and blue, slashed and puffed and trimmed with lace, flash
through the silvery mist of rain. Motherly voices from the balconies
call to them to carry their creamy caps upside down to shield the
clustered plumes. Their little white sandals and gaiters splash
merrily through the mud.

A flamingo gleam across the slanting rain announces Cardinal Sancha,
behind whom acolytes uplift a thronelike chair of crimson velvet and
gold. Then follow ranks of taper-bearing soldiers, and my friends in
the balcony call proudly down to different officers, a son, a husband,
a blushing _novio_, whom they present to me then and there. The
officers bow up and I bow down, while at this very moment comes that
tinkling of silver bells which would, I had supposed, strike all
Catholic Spaniards to their knees. It is perhaps too much to expect
the people below to kneel in the puddles, but the vivacious chatter in
the balconies never ceases, and the ladies beside me do not even cross
themselves.

The parade proceeds, a gorgeous group in wine-colored costume carrying
great silver maces before the civic representation. The governor of
the province is pointed out to me as a count of high degree, but in
the instant when my awed glance falls upon him he gives a monstrous
gape unbecoming even to nobility. The last of the spruce cadets, who
close the line, have hardly passed when the thrifty housewife
beseeches our aid in taking in out of the rain her scarlet balcony
hanging, which proves to be the canopy of her best bed. But the sun is
shining forth again when I return to the street to follow the
procession into the cathedral.

Already this gleam of fair weather has filled the _Calle de Comercio_
with festive señoritas, arrayed in white mantillas and Manila shawls
in honor of the bull-fight. Shops have been promptly opened for a
holiday sale of the Toledo specialties--arabesqued swords and daggers,
every variety of Damascened wares, and marchpane in form of mimic
hams, fish, and serpents. The Toledo steel was famous in Shakespeare's
day, even in the mouths of rustic dandies, whose geographical
education had been neglected. When the clever rogue, Brainworm, in one
of Jonson's comedies, would sell Stephen, the "country gull," a cheap
rapier, he urges, "'Tis a most pure Toledo," and Stephen replies
according to his folly, "I had rather it were a Spaniard." But onward
is the glorious church, with its symmetric tower, whose spire wears a
threefold crown of thorns. The exterior walls are hung, on this one
day of the year, with wondrous tapestries that Queen Isabella knew. An
army of beggars obstructs the crowd, which presses in, wave upon wave,
through the deep, rich portals in whose ornamentation whole lifetimes
have carved themselves away.

Within this sublime temple, unsurpassed in Gothic art, where every
pavement slab is worn by knees more than by footsteps, where every
starry window has thrown its jewel lights on generations of believers,
one would almost choose to dwell forever. One looks half enviously at
recumbent alabaster bishops and kneeling marble knights, even at dim
grotesques, who have rested in the heart of that grave beauty, in that
atmosphere of prayer and chant, so long. Let these stone figures troop
out into the troubled streets and toil awhile, and give the rest of us
a chance to dream. But the multitude, which has knelt devoutly while
_Su Majestad_ was being borne into the _Capilla Mayor_, comes pouring
down the nave to salute the stone on which--ah me!--on which the
Virgin set her blessed foot December 18, 666, when she alighted in
Toledo cathedral to present the champion of the Immaculate Conception,
St. Ildefonso, with a chasuble of celestial tissue. The gilded,
turreted shrine containing that consecrated block towers almost to the
height of the nave. A grating guards it from the devout, who can only
touch it with their finger tips, which then they kiss. Hundreds, with
reverend looks, stand waiting their turn--children, peasants,
bull-fighters, decorated officers, refined ladies, men of cultured
faces. The sound of kissing comes thick and fast. Heresy begins to
beat in my blood.

Not all that heavenward reach of columns and arches, not that
multitudinous charm of art, can rid the imagination of a granite
weight. I escape for a while to the purer church without, with its
window-gold of sunshine and lapis-lazuli roof. When the mighty magnet
draws me back again, those majestic aisles are empty, save for a tired
sacristan or two, and the silence is broken only by a monotone of
alternate chanting, from where, in the _Capilla Mayor_, two priests
keep watch with _El Señor_.

"He will be here all the afternoon," says the sacristan, "and nothing
can be shown; but if you will come back to-morrow I will arrange for
you to see even Our Lady's robes and gems."

Come back! I felt myself graying to a shadow already. Of course I
longed to see again that marvellous woodwork of the choir stalls, with
all the conquest of Granada carved amid columns of jasper and under
alabaster canopies, but I was smothered in a multitude of ghosts. They
crowded from every side,--nuns, monks, soldiers, tyrants, magnificent
archbishops, the martyred Leocadia, passionate Roderick, weeping
Florinda, grim Count Julian, "my Cid," Pedro the Cruel, those five
thousand Christian nobles and burghers of Toledo, slain, one by one,
at the treacherous feast of Abderrahman, those hordes of flaming Jews
writhing amid the Inquisition fagots. I had kept my Corpus. I had seen
the greatest of all _autos sacramentales_, Calderon's masterpiece,
"Life is a Dream."

"On a single one of the Virgin's gold-wrought mantles," coaxed the
sacristan, "are eighty-five thousand large pearls and as many
sapphires, amethysts, and diamonds. I will arrange for you to see
everything, when Our Lord is gone away."

But no. I am a little particular about treasures. Since Toledo has
lost the emerald table of King Solomon and that wondrous copy of the
Psalms written upon gold leaf in a fluid made of melted rubies, I will
not trouble the seven canons to unlock the seven doors of the
cathedral sacristy. Let the Madonna enjoy her wealth alone. I have
_pesetas_ enough for my ticket to Madrid.



XIX

THE TERCENTENARY OF VELÁZQUEZ

     "It is a sombre and a weeping sky
         That lowers above thee now, unhappy Spain;
         Thy 'scutcheon proud is dashed with dimming rain;
     Uncertain is thy path and deep thy sigh.
     All that is mortal passes; glories die;
         This hour thy destiny allots thee pain;
         But for the worker of thy woes remain
     Those retributions slowly forged on high.

     "Put thou thy hope in God; what once thou wert
         Thou yet shalt be by labor of thy sons
           Patient and true, with purpose to atone;
         And though the laurels of the loud-voiced guns
     Are not with us to-day, this balms our hurt--
           Cervantes and Velázquez are our own."
                           --DUKE OF RIVAS: _For the Tercentenary_.


The celebration, as planned, was comparatively simple, but enthusiasm
grew with what it fed upon. The Knights of Santiago held the first
place upon the programme, for into that high and exclusive order the
artist had won entry by special grace of Philip IV. Even Spain has
been affected by the modern movement for the destruction of
traditions, and certain erudite meddlers, who have been delving in the
State archives, declare that there is no truth in the following
story, which, nevertheless, everybody has to tell.

The legend runs that Velázquez became a knight of St. James by a royal
compliment to the painter of _Las Meninas_. This picture, which seems
no picture, but life itself, eternizes a single instant of time in the
palace of Philip IV, that one instant before the fingers of the little
Infanta have curved about the cup presented by her kneeling maid,
before the great, tawny, half-awakened hound has decided to growl
remonstrance under the teasing foot of the dwarf, before the reflected
faces of king and queen have glided from the mirror, that fleeting
instant while yet the courtier, passing down the gallery into the
garden, turns on the threshold for a farewell smile, while yet the
green velvet sleeve of the second dwarf, ugliest of all pet monsters,
brushes the fair silken skirts of the daintiest of ladies-in-waiting,
while yet the artist, so much more royal than royalty, flashes his
dark-eyed glance upon the charming group.

But if Velázquez looks prouder than a king, Philip proved himself here
no uninspired painter. Asked if he found the work complete, the
monarch shook his head, and, catching up the brush, marked the red
cross of St. James on the pictured breast of the artist. So says the
old wives' tale. At all events, in this way or another, the honor was
conferred, with the result that on the three hundredth birthday of
Velázquez, June 6, 1899, dukes and counts and marquises flocked to the
Church of _Las Señoras Comendadoras_, where the antique Gregorian mass
was chanted for the repose of their comrade's soul.

By the latest theology, the "Master of all Good Workmen" would not
have waited for this illustrious requiem before admitting the painter
to "an æon or two" of rest, but the Knights of Santiago have not yet
accepted Kipling as their Pope.

On the afternoon of the same day the _Sala de Velázquez_ was
inaugurated in the _Museo del Prado_, taking, with additions, the room
formerly known as the _Sala de la Reina Isabel_, long the _Salon
Carré_ of Madrid, where Raphaels, Titians, Del Sartos, Dürers, Van
Dycks, Correggios, and Rembrandts kept the Spanish Masters company.
Portico and halls were adorned in honor of the occasion; the bust of
Velázquez, embowered in laurels, myrtles, and roses, was placed midway
in the Long Gallery, fronting the door of his own demesne; but the
crown of the _fiesta_ consisted in the new and far superior
arrangement of his pictures. The royal family and chief nobility, the
Ministers of Government, the Diplomatic Corps, and delegations of
foreign artists made a brilliant gathering. The address, pronounced by
an eminent critic, reviewed what are known as the three styles of
Velázquez. Never was art lecture more fortunate, for this _Museo_,
holding as it does more than half the extant works of the great
realist, with nearly all his masterpieces, enabled the speaker to
illustrate every point from the original paintings. A rain of
aristocratic poems followed, for a Spaniard is a lyrist born, and
turns from prose to verse as easily as he changes his cuffs. As
Monipodio says, in one of Cervantes' "Exemplary Tales": "A man has but
to roll up his shirt-sleeves, set well to work, and he may turn off a
couple of thousand verses in the snapping of a pair of scissors."
These Dukes of Parnassus and Counts of Helicon did homage to the
painter in graceful stanzas, not without many an allusion to Spain's
troubled present. If only, as one sonneteer suggested, the soldiers
of _Las Lanzas_ had marched out from their great gilt frame and gone
against the foe! A programme of old-time music was rendered, and
therewith the _Sala de Velázquez_ was declared open.

To this, as to all galleries and monuments under State control, the
public was invited free of charge for the week to come. The response
was appreciative, gentility, soldiery, ragamuffins, bevies of
schoolgirls with notebooks, and families of foreigners with opera
glasses grouping themselves in picturesque variety, day after day,
before the art treasures of Madrid, while beggars sat in joyful squads
on the steps of the museums, collecting the fees which the doorkeepers
refused.

During these seven days, artistic and social festivals in honor of
Velázquez abounded, not only in Madrid, but throughout Spain. Palma
must needs get up, with photographs and the like, a Velázquez
exposition, and Seville, insisting on her mother rights, must arrange
a belated funeral, with mass and sermon and a tomb of laurels and
flowers, surmounted by brushes, palette, and the cloak and helmet of
the Order of Santiago. In the capital the _Circulo de Bellas Artes_
sumptuously breakfasted the artists from abroad. The dainties were
spiced with speeches, guitars, ballet, gypsy songs and dances,
congratulatory telegrams, and a letter posted from Parnassus by Don
Diego himself. Two valuable new books on Velázquez suddenly appeared
in the shop windows, and such periodicals as _La Ilustración_, _Blanco
y Negro_, _La Vida Literaria_, and _El Nuevo Mundo_ vied with one
another in illustrated numbers, while even the one-cent dailies came
out with specials devoted to Velázquez biography and criticism. The
Academy of San Fernando rendered a musical programme of Velázquez
date, the Queen Regent issued five hundred invitations to an
orchestral concert in the Royal Palace, and there was talk, which
failed to fructify, of a grand masquerade ball, where the costumes
should be copied from the Velázquez paintings and the dances should be
those stepped by the court of Philip IV.

The closing ceremony of the week was the unveiling of the new statue
of Velázquez. Paris owes to Fremiot an equestrian statue of the
painter, who, like Shakespeare in his Paris statue, is made to look
very like a Frenchman, but the horse is of the most spirited Spanish
type. A younger Velázquez may be seen in Seville, at home among the
orange trees, and the _Palacio de la Biblioteca y Museos Nacionales_
in Madrid shows a statue from the hand of Garcia. Still another, an
arrogant, striding figure, was standing in the studio of Benlliure,
ready for its journey to the Paris exposition. The tercentenary
statue, by Marinas, is also true to that haughty look of Velázquez. It
represents him seated, brush and palette in hand, the winds lifting
from his ears those long, clustering falls of hair, as if to let him
hear the praises of posterity. Little he cares for praises! That
artist's look sees nothing but his task.

The unveiling took place late on Wednesday afternoon, in front of the
_Museo del Prado_, where the statue stands. A turquoise sky and a
light breeze put all the world in happy humor. The long façade of the
_Museo_ was hung with beautiful tapestries. Handsome medallions bore
the names of painters associated in one way or another with
Velázquez--Herrera el Viejo, his first master in Seville; Pacheco, his
second Sevillian teacher and his father-in-law; Luis Tristan of
Toledo, for whom he had an enthusiastic admiration; El Greco, that
startling mannerist, whose penetrating portraiture of faces, even
whose extraordinary effects in coloring were not without influence on
the younger man; Zurbarán, his almost exact contemporary, enamored no
less than Velázquez himself of the new realism emanating from the
great and terrible Ribera; Murillo, whose developing genius the
favored Court painter, too high-hearted for envy, protected and
encouraged, and Alonzo Cano, the impetuous artist of Granada, to whom,
too, Velázquez was friend and benefactor.

Spanish colors and escutcheons were everywhere. In decorated tribunes
sat the royal family and the choicest of Madrid society, with the
members of the _Circulo de Bellas Artes_, who were the hosts of the
day, and with distinguished guests from the provinces and abroad.
Romero Robledo, as President of the Society of Fine Arts, welcomed the
Queen, closing his brief address with the following words: "Never,
señora, will your exalted sentiments be able to blend with those of
the Spanish people in nobler hour than this, commemorating him who is
forever a living national glory and who receives enthusiastic
testimony of admiration from all the civilized world." Their Majesties
drew upon the cords, the two silken banners parted, and the statue was
revealed to the applauding multitude. While the royal group
congratulated the sculptor, the ambassadors of Austria and Germany
laid magnificent wreaths, fashioned with a due regard to the colors of
their respective nations, at the feet of Velázquez. The eminent French
artists, Carolus Duran and Jean Paul Laurens, bore a crown from France
and delighted the audience by declaring that "the painter of the
Spanish king was himself the king of painters." Nothing since the war
had gladdened Spain more than the presence and praises of these two
famous Parisians; the reverence of Madrid for Paris is profound. The
tributes of Rome and London excited far less enthusiasm. Still more
wreaths, and more and more, were deposited by a procession of
delegates from the art societies of all Spain, headed by Seville, the
bands playing merrily meanwhile, until that stately form of bronze
seemed to rise from out a hill of laurels, ribbons, and flowers.

This is the first Velázquez celebration which has had universal
recognition. The painter was hardly known to Europe at large until the
day of Fernando VII, who was induced by his art-loving wife, Isabel of
Braganza, to send the pictures from the royal palaces, all those
accumulated treasures of the Austrian monarchs, to the empty building,
designed for a natural history museum, in the _Prado_. This long, low
edifice is now one of the most glorious shrines of art in the world.
It is a collection of masterpieces, showing the splendors that are
rather than the processes by which they came to be. There is only one
Fra Angelico, but there are ten Raphaels and four times as many
Titians. In the Netherlands, no less than in Italy, the Spanish sway
gathered rich spoils. There are a score of Van Dycks, threescore of
those precious little canvases by Teniers, while as for Rubens, he
blazes in some sixty-four Christian saints, heathen goddesses, and
human sinners, all with a strong family resemblance. But although the
Italian and Flemish schools are so magnificently represented, the
wealth of Spanish painting is what overwhelms the visitor. Here are
four rooms filled with the works of Goya--whose bones, by the way,
arrived in Madrid from France for final sepulture a few days before
the celebration. Little more heed was paid to this advent than to that
of the United States ambassador, who, it may be noted, was not
presented to the Queen until the Velázquez jubilee was well over. But
as for Goya, this unnoised entry was appropriate enough, for he, whom
De Amicis has called "the last flame-colored flash of Spanish genius,"
used, during his later life, to make the long journey from Bordeaux to
Madrid every week for no other purpose than to gloat upon the Sunday
bull-fight, coming and going without speech or handshake, only a pair
of fierce, bloodthirsty eyes. This fiery Aragonese painted
bull-fights, battles, executions, and Inquisition tortures with blacks
that make one shudder and reds that make one sick. He painted the
brutal side of pleasure as well as of pain, filling broad canvases
with dancing, feasting peasants--canvases that smell of wine and
garlic, and all but send out a roar of drunken song and laughter.

  [Illustration: GYPSY TENANTS OF AN ARAB PALACE]

Goya lived in the day of Charles IV, whose court painter he was, and
against whom this natural caricaturist must have borne a special
grudge, so sarcastic are his portraits of the royal family; but his
genius is allied to that of Velázquez's powerful contemporary, Ribera.
The _Museo del Prado_ has abundant material for a Ribera _sala_, since
it possesses no less than fifty-eight of his works, but the official
put in charge of it would probably go mad. The paintings are mercifully
scattered and, well for such of us as may be disposed to flight, can
be recognized from afar by their dusks and pallors--ascetic faces
gleaming out from sable backgrounds, wasted limbs of naked saints
tracing livid lines in the gloom of caverns, and, against an
atmosphere dark as the frown of God, the ghastly flesh of tortured
martyrs, and dead Christs drooping stiffly to the linen winding-sheet.
One is appalled at the entrance of the Long Gallery by the two vast,
confronting canvases of Prometheus, less a Titan than a convulsion of
Titanic agony, and of Ixion, crushed not only beneath the wheel, but
under that cold, tremendous blackness of hell made actual. Far down
one side of the hall they stretch, those paintings upon paintings of
torment, emaciation, the half-crazed visionary, and the revolting
corpse. But there is no escape from Ribera, he who

                                        "tainted
     His brush with all the blood of all the sainted."

Turning back to the Spanish cabinets that open from the vestibule we
come upon a piteous San Sebastian, the blanched young form bound fast
and already nailed by arrows to the ebon-hued trunk of a leafless
tree. Descending the staircase to the _Sala de Alfonso XII_, we must
pass an attenuated old anchoress, whose sunken face and praying hands
have the very tint of the skulls that form the only ornaments, almost
the only furniture, of her dreary cave. We may as well brave the
terrors of this first half of the Long Gallery, where El Greco's livid
greens will at least divert attention, and where, opposite the
collection of Riberas, wait the gracious Murillos to comfort and
uplift.

Yet Ribera, ruffian though he was, is not solely and exclusively a
nightmare artist. He could give sweetest and most tranquil color when
he chose, as his "Jacob's Dream" here testifies, with the dim gold of
its angel-peopled ladder; and for all the spirit of bigotry that
clouds his work, there is Catholic fervor in these pictures and
masterly truthfulness up to the point where the senses need the
interpretation of the soul. There is more than anatomy, too, in these
starved old saints; there is the dread of judgment. Ribera depicts
supernatural terror, where Goya shows the animal shock of death.

Another Spanish phase appears in Zurbarán. In his most effective work
we have not Goya's blood color, nor Ribera's blacks, nor the celestial
violets of Juan de Joanes, but the grays of the monastic renunciation,
the twilight that is as far from rapture as from anguish. His gowned,
cowled, corded figures pass before the eye in the pale tints of the
cloister. The shadow of cathedral walls is over them. The _Prado_ has
been strangely indifferent to Zurbarán, who is far more fully
represented in the galleries of Andalusia; but it has in its baker's
dozen two important and characteristic works, both visions of San
Pedro Nolasco. In one the entranced saint, whose figure might be
carved in stone,--stone on which ray from stained-glass window never
fell,--gazes upon an angel, whose vesture, crossed by a dark green
scarf, is flushed with the faintest rose. In the second the sombre
cell is illuminated for an instant by the apparition of St. Peter the
Apostle, head downward, as in his crucifixion, his naked form dazzling
against a vague redness of light like a memory of pain.

One glance at a wall aglow with Madonna blues reminds us that Spanish
sacred art does not culminate in Ribera nor in Zurbarán. The Christian
faith has had almost as pure, poetic, and spiritual an utterance in
the land of the Inquisition as in Italy itself. This is not Murillo's
hour; it is the triumph of Velázquez and the realists that Spain is
celebrating to-day; but none the less it is a joy of joys to walk by
the Murillos on the way to the laurelled bust and the crowded _sala_.
These are the pictures that are rather in heaven than earth. Where
Mary, divine in her virginal loveliness, is not upborne among the
golden clouds, the radiant-plumed angel kneels on her cottage floor
and the wings of the descending dove beat whiteness through the air.
Here is realism and more. The Mater Dolorosa has those luminous
sea-blue eyes of Andalusia, but they tell of holy tears. The Crucified
is no mere sufferer, but the suffering Son of God, and the crown of
thorns, while dripping blood, haloes his brows with the redemption of
the world.

The genius of Velázquez dwelt not above the earth, but upon it, in the
heart of its most brilliant life. He was no dreamer of dreams; he
"painted the thing as he saw it," and with what sure eyes he saw, and
with what a firm and glowing brush he painted! His _sala_ surrounds us
at once with an atmosphere of brightness, beauty, elegance, variety,
delight. His work is so superb, so supreme, that, like perfect
manners, it puts even the humblest of us at our ease. We are not
artists, but we seem to understand Velázquez.

Of course we don't. No knight of the palette would admit it for an
instant. What can the rabble know of the mysterious compoundings and
touchings from which sprang these splendors of color that outshine the
centuries? Young men with streaming hair are continually escorting
awed-looking señoras about the room, discoursing with dramatic
vehemence on the "periods" of the Master's work. As a youth at
Seville, they explain, Velázquez had of necessity taken religious
subjects, for the Church was the chief patron of art in Andalusia;
but his natural bent even then displayed itself in tavern studies and
sketches of popular types, as the "Water-seller of Seville" and the
"Old Woman Frying Eggs." Of his early religious pieces the
archbishop's palace of Seville keeps "San Ildefonso Receiving the
Chasuble from the Hands of the Virgin," and the National Gallery of
London secured "Christ in the House of Martha," but "The Adoration of
the Kings" hangs here at our right as we enter the Velázquez _sala_. A
little stiff, say these accomplished critics, with a suggestion of the
dry manner of his master, Pacheco, but bear you in mind that this is
the production of a youth of twenty. It is obvious, too, that
Andalusians, not celestial visions, served him as models.

A longing to see the Tintorets and Titians, those starry treasures of
the dark Escorial, drew him to Madrid at twenty-three. Here he was
fortunate in finding friends, who brought his portraits to the notice
of Philip IV, a dissolute boy ruled by the Count-Duke Olivares. Youth
inclines to youth. Velázquez was appointed painter to the king at the
same salary as that paid to the royal barber, and henceforth he had no
care in life but to paint. And how he painted! His first portraits of
Philip show a blond young face, with high brow, curled mustache, the
long Hapsburg chin, and eyes that hint strange secrets. Again and
again and again Velázquez traced those Austrian features, while the
years stamped them ever more deeply with lines of pride and sin--a
tragic face in the end as it was ill-omened in the beginning. But the
masterpiece of Velázquez's twenties is "The Drunkards," a scene of
peasant revelry where the young are gloriously tipsy and the old are
on the point of maudlin tears. Here it is, _Los Borrachos_, farther
to the right. In looking on it one remembers that a contemporary
realist, in the Protestant island which has often been so sharp a
thorn in Spain's side, likewise crowned the achievement of his
springtime by a group of topers, Prince Hal and Falstaff and their
immortal crew.

Not the influence of Rubens, who spent nine months in Spain in
1628-29, painting like the wind, nor a visit to the Holy Land of
Raphael and Michael Angelo could make Velázquez other than he was.
This "Vulcan's Forge," which we see here, painted in Italy, is
mythological only in the title. Back he came at the royal summons, to
paint more portraits--Philip over and over, on foot, on horseback,
half length, full length, all lengths; the winsome Infante Baltasar,
as a toddling baby with his dwarf, as a gallant little soldier,
hunter, horseman, and in the princely dignity of fourteen, when he had
but three more years to live; the sad French queen, the king's
brother, the magnificent Olivares, the sculptor Montañes, counts,
dukes, buffoons. Within these twenty years Velázquez produced his two
most famous works of religious tenor--"Christ Bound to the Column," a
"captain jewel" of the London National Gallery, and that majestic
"Crucifixion" before which Spaniards in the _Prado_ bare their heads.
But the crown of this period is _Las Lanzas_, or "The Surrender of
Breda," which holds the place of honor on the wall fronting the door.
It is vivid past all praise, and nobler than any battle scene in its
beauty of generosity. The influence of Italy had told especially on
Velázquez's backgrounds. The bright, far landscapes opening out beyond
his portrayed figures, especially those on horseback,--and his horses
are as lifelike as his dogs,--give to the _sala_ an exhilarating
effect of free space and wide horizons.

In 1650 he made his second visit to Rome, where he portrayed Pope
Innocent X. Nine years of glorious work in Spain remained to him.
Still he painted the king, even at his royal prayers, for which there
was full need, and the young Austrian queen, who had succeeded the
dead mother of the dead Baltasar. On that happy left-hand wall of the
_sala_ shines, in all its vigorous grace, the "Mercury and Argos," but
if the hundred eyes of Argos are ready to close, their place is
supplied by the terrible scrutiny of a row of portraits, embarrassing
the boldest of us out of note-taking. How those pairs of pursuing
black eyes, sage and keen and mocking, stare the starers out of
countenance! The series of pet dwarfs is here, old Æsop, and Menippus,
and the sly buffoon, "Don Juan of Austria." Of these two wonder-works,
_Las Meninas_, "The Maids of Honor," has a room to itself, and thus
_Las Hilanderas_, "The Weavers," becomes the central magnet of this
returning wall. A saint picture and even a coronation of the Virgin
cannot draw the crowds from before this ultimate triumph of the
actual--this factory interior, where a group of peasant women fashion
tapestries, while a broad shaft of sunshine works miracles in color.

And this, too, is Spanish. Cervantes is as true a facet of many-sided
Spain as Calderon, and Velázquez as Murillo. With all the national
propensity to emotion and exaggeration, Spaniards are a truth-seeing
people. The popular _coplas_ are more often satiric than sentimental.
They like to bite through to the kernel of fact, even when it is
bitter. Velázquez, with his rich and noble realism, is of legitimate
descent.



XX

CHORAL GAMES OF SPANISH CHILDREN

     "Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
     She turns to favor and to prettiness."
                                    --SHAKESPEARE: _Hamlet_.


On one of my last afternoons in Madrid, I visited again my early
haunts in the _Buen Retiro_, for a farewell sight of the children
there at play. After all, it is one of the prettiest things to be seen
in Spain, these graceful, passionate, dramatic little creatures
dancing in tireless circles, and piping those songs that every _niña_
knows, without being able to tell when or where or from whom she
learned them. Only very small boys, as a rule, join the girls in these
fairy rings, though occasionally I found a troop of urchins marching
to a lusty chorus of their own. One, which I heard in Madrid, but
whose parrots are more suggestive of Seville, runs something like
this:--

     "In the street they call Toledo
         Is a famous school for boys,
     Chundarata, chundarata,
         Chundarata, chún-chún;
     Where all we lads are going
         With a most heroic noise,
     Chundarata, chundarata,
         Chundarata, chún-chún.

     "And the parrots on their perches,
         They mock us as we go,
     Chundarata, chundarata,
         Chundarata, chún-chún.
     'I hate my school,' whines Polly,
         'For my master beats me so,'
     Chundarata, chundarata,
         Chundarata, chún-chún."

Another, which came to me in fragments, is sung in playing soldier.

     "The Catalans are coming,
       Marching two by two.
     All who hear the drumming
       Tiptoe for a view.
           Ay, ay!
       Tiptoe for a view.
     Red and yellow banners,
         Pennies very few.
           Ay, ay!
         Pennies very few.

     "Red and yellow banners!
       The Moon comes out to see.
     If moons had better manners,
       She'd take me on her knee.
           Ay, ay!
       Take me on her knee.
     She peeps through purple shutters,
       Would I were tall as she!
           Ay, ay!
       Would I were tall as she!

     "Soldiers need not learn letters,
       Nor any schooly thing,
     But unless they mind their betters,
       In golden chains they'll swing.
           Ay, ay!
       In golden chains they'll swing.
     Or sit in silver fetters,
       Presents from the King.
           Ay, ay!
       Presents from the King."

This ironic touch, so characteristically Spanish, reappears in many of
the games, as in _A La Limón_, known throughout the Peninsula and the
Antilles. I should expect to find it, too, in corners of Mexico, South
America, the Philippines, wherever the Spanish oppressor has trod and
the oppressor's children have sported in the sun. The little players,
ranged in two rows, each row hand in hand, dance the one toward the
other and retreat, singing responsively. With their last couplet, the
children of the first line raise their arms, forming arches, and the
children of the second line, letting go hands, dance under these
arches as they respond.

     1.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        All broken is our bright fountain.

     2.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        Give orders to have it mended.

     1.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        We haven't a bit of money.

     2.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        But we have money in plenty.

     1.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        What kind of money may yours be?

     2.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        Oh, ours is money of eggshells.

     1.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        An arch for the lords and ladies.

     2.   "_A la limón, á la limón!_
        Right merrily we pass under."

Another lyric dialogue, whose fun is spent on the lean purses of
students and the happy-go-lucky life of Andalusia, must have
originated since the overthrow, in 1892, of the leaning tower of
Saragossa. The stanzas are sung alternately by two rows of children,
advancing toward each other and retreating with a dancing step.

     1.  "In Saragossa
         --Oh, what a pity!--
         Has fallen the tower,
         Pride of the city.

     2.  "Fell it by tempest,
         Fairies or witches,
         The students will raise it,
         For students have riches.

     1.  "Call on the students,
         Call louder and louder!
         They've only two coppers
         To buy them a chowder.

     2.  "Chowder of students
         Is sweeter than honey,
         But the gay Andalusians
         Have plenty of money.

     1.  "The gay Andalusians
         Have fiddle and ballad,
         But only two coppers
         To buy them a salad.

     2.  "In Saragossa
         --Oh, what a pity!--
         Has fallen the tower,
         Pride of the city."

Unchildlike innuendoes pervade that curious game of many variants in
which the priest and abbess play a leading part. Two children are
chosen for these dignitaries, while the others call out the names of
such flowers, fruits, or vegetables as each may decide to personate.
"I'm a cabbage." "I'm a jasmine." "I'm a cherry." Then the little
sinners kneel in a circle, crying:--

     "Through the door, up the stairs,
     On the floor, say your prayers!"

and chant some childish gibberish, during which no one must laugh on
pain of a forfeit. After this, all sing:--

     "The house of the priest it cracked like a cup.
     Half fell down and half stood up.
     Sir Priest, Sir Priest, now tell us aright,
     In whose house did you sleep last night?

     _Priest._ With the rose slept I.

     _Rose._         Fie, O fie!
               I never saw your tonsured head.

     _Priest._ Then with whom did you make your bed?

     _Rose._         With the Pink.

     _Pink._         I should think!
               I never saw your petals red.

     _Rose._   Then with whom did you make your bed?

     _Pink._         With the lily.

     _Lily._         Don't be silly!
               I never heard your fragrant tread.

     _Pink._   Then with whom did you make your bed?

     _Lily._         With the priest.

     _Priest._       Little beast!
               If I went near you, may I fall dead!

     _Lily._   Then with whom did you make your bed?

     _Priest._       With the abbess, I.

     _Abbess._       Oh, you lie!"

But this seems to be the conclusion of the game.

The most of these choral songs, however, are sweet and innocent,
concerned with the natural interests of childhood, as this:--

     "The shepherdess rose lightly
       Larán--larán--larito,
     The shepherdess rose lightly
       From off her heather seat--O.

     "Her goats went leaping homeward,
       Larán--larán--larito,
     Her goats went leaping homeward
       On nimble little feet--O.

     "With strong young hands she milked them,
       Larán--larán--larito,
     With strong young hands she milked them
       And made a cheese for treat--O.

     "The kitty watched and wondered,
       Larán--larán--larito,
     The kitty crept and pondered
       If it were good to eat--O.

     "The kitty sprang upon it,
       Larán--larán--larito,
     The kitty sprang upon it
       And made a wreck complete--O.

     "Scat, scat, you naughty kitty!
       Larán--larán--larito,
     Scat, scat, you naughty kitty!
       Are stolen cheeses sweet--O?"

The baby girls have a song of their own, which, as a blending of
doll-play, gymnastics, music, mathematics, and religion, leaves little
to be desired.

     "Oh, I have a dolly, and she is dressed in blue,
     With a fluff of satin on her white silk shoe,
     And a lace mantilla to make my dolly gay,
     When I take her dancing this way, this way, this way.
                              [_Dances Dolly in time to the music._

     "2 and 2 are 4, 4 and 2 are 6,
     6 and 2 are 8, and 8 is 16,
     And 8 is 24, and 8 is 32!
       Thirty-two! Thirty-two!
     Blesséd souls, I kneel to you.                      [_Kneels._

     "When she goes out walking in her Manila shawl,
     My Andalusian dolly is quite the queen of all.
     Gypsies, dukes, and candy-men bow down in a row,
     While my dolly fans herself so and so and so.
                                [_Fans Dolly in time to the music._

     "2 and 2 are 4, 4 and 2 are 6,
     6 and 2 are 8, and 8 is 16,
     And 8 is 24, and 8 is 24!
       Twenty-four! Twenty-four!
     Blesséd souls, I rise once more."

They have a number of bird-games, through which they flit and flutter
with an airy grace that wings could hardly better. In one, the
children form a circle, with "the little bird Pinta" in the centre.
The chorus, dancing lightly around her, sings the first stanza, and
Pinta, while passing about the circle to make her choice, sings the
rest, with the suggested action. The child chosen becomes Pinta in
turn.

     _Chorus._   "The little bird Pinta was poising
                 On a scented green lemon-tree spray.
                 She picked the leaf and the blossom,
                 And chanted a roundelay.

     _Pinta._      "Song in the land!
                 While April is yet a newcomer,
                   O mate of my summer,
                   Give to me a hand now,
                   Both hands I seek, O!
                   Take a Spanish kiss, now,
                   On the rosy cheek, O!"

Equally pretty and simple is the Andalusian play of "Little White
Pigeons." The children form in two rows, which face each other some
ten or twelve yards apart. One row sings the first stanza, dancing
forward and slipping under the "golden arches" made by the lifted arms
of the second row. The second row sings and dances in turn, passing
under the "silver arches" to Granada.

     1.  "Little white pigeons
           Are dreaming of Seville,
         Sun in the palm tree,
           Roses and revel.
         Lift up the arches,
           Gold as the weather.
         Little white pigeons
           Come flying together.

     2.  "Little white pigeons
           Dream of Granada,
         Glistening snows on
           Sierra Nevada.
         Lift up the arches,
           Silver as fountains.
         Little white pigeons
           Fly to the mountains."

The Spanish form of "Blindman's Buff" begins with "giving the pebble"
to determine who shall be the Blind Hen. A child shuts in one hand the
pebble and then presents both little fists to the other children
passing in file. Each, while all sing the first stanza given below,
softly touches first one of the hands, then the other, and finally
slaps the one chosen. If this is empty, she passes on. If it holds the
pebble, she must take it and be the one to offer the hands. The child
who finally remains with the pebble in her possession, after all have
passed, is the Blind Hen. As the game goes on, the children tease the
Blind Hen, who, of course, is trying to catch them, by singing the
second stanza given below.

             1

     "Pebble, O pebble!
     Where may it be?
     Pebble, O pebble!
     Come not to me!
     Tell me, my mother,
     Which hand to choose.
     This or the other?
     That I refuse,
     This hand I choose."

             2

     "She's lost her thimble,
     Little Blind Hen.
     Better be nimble!
     Try it again!
     Who'll bring a taper
     For the Blind Hen?
     Scamper and caper!
     Try it again!
     Try it again!"

Other games as well known to American children as "Blindman's Buff"
are played by little Spaniards. They understand how to make the
"hand-chair" and "drop the button," only their button is usually a
ring. "Hide the Handkerchief" carries with it the familiar cries of
_hot_ and _cold_, but our "Puss in the Corner" becomes "A Cottage to
Rent."

     "'Cottage to rent?'
       'Try the other side,
     You see that this
       Is occupied.'"

In religious Seville the dialogue runs:--

     "'A candle here?'
       'Over there.'
     'A candle here?'
       'Otherwhere.'

     "'Candle, a candle!'
       'Loss on loss.'
     'Where is light?'
       'In the Holy Cross.'"

For all these games, common to childhood the world over, have a
rhyming element in the Peninsula, where, indeed, the ordinary
intercourse of children often carries verses with it. For instance,
our youngsters are content with cries of "Tell-tale!" and
"Indian-giver!" but under similar provocation the fierce little
nurslings of Catholic Spain will sing:--

       "Tell-tale! Tell-tale!
       In hell you'll be served right,
     All day fed on mouldy bread,
       And pounded all the night!"

The other baby-curse is to the same effect:--

     "He who gives and takes again,
     Long in hell may he remain!
     He who gives and takes once more,
     May we hear him beat on the Devil's door!"

The Spanish form of tag has a touch of mythological grace. One child,
chosen by lot, is the Moon, and must keep within the shadow. The
others, Morning-stars, are safe only in the lighted spaces. The game
is for the Morning-stars to run into the shadow, daring the Moon,
who, if successful in catching one, becomes a Morning-star in turn,
and passes out into the light, leaving the one caught to act the part
of Moon. As the Morning-stars run in and out of the Moon's domain,
they sing over and over the following stanza:--

     "O the Moon and the Morning-stars!
     O the Moon and the Morning-stars!
         Who dares to tread--O
         Within the shadow?"

Even in swinging, the little girls who push carry on a musical
dialogue with the happy holder of the seat.

     "'Say good-day, say good-day
     To Miss Fannie Fly-away!
     At the door the guests are met,
     But the table is not set.
     Put the stew upon the fire.
     Higher, higher, higher, higher!
     Now come down, down, down, down,
     Or the dinner will all burn brown.
     Soup and bread! soup and bread!
     I know a plot of roses red,
     Red as any hero's sword,
     Or the blood of our Holy Lord.
     Where art thou, on the wing?'
     'No, I'm sitting in the swing.'
     'Who're thy playmates way up there?'
     'Swallows skimming through the air.'
     'Down, come down! The stew will burn.
     Let the rest of us have a turn.'"

In playing "Hide and Seek," the seeker must first sit in a drooping
attitude with covered eyes, while the others stand about and threaten
to strike him if he peeps:--

     "Oil-cruet! Don't do it! _Ras con ras!_
     Pepper-pot? Peep not! _Ras con ras!_"

The menacing little fists are then suddenly withdrawn.

         "No, no! Not a blow!
     But a pinch on the arm will do no harm.
         Now let the birdies take alarm!"

And off scamper the hiders to their chosen nooks. When they are safely
tucked away, the indispensable Mother, standing by, sings to the
seeker that stanza which is his signal for the start:--

     "My little birds of the mountain
       Forth from the cage are flown.
     My little birds of the mountain
       Have left me all alone."

Spanish forfeit games are numerous and ingenious. In one of these,
called "The Toilet," the players take the names of Mirror, Brush,
Comb, Towel, Soap, and other essentials, including Jesus, Devil, and
Man Alive, these last for exclamatory purposes. As each is mentioned
by the leader of the game, he must rise instantly, on pain of forfeit,
no matter how fast the speaker may be rattling on: "_Jesus!_ When will
that _devil_ of a _maid_ bring me my _powder_ and _perfumes_?"
Characteristic titles of other forfeit games are, "The Key of Rome,"
"The Fan," "The Fountain," "I Saw my Love Last Night." The sentences
vary from such gentle penalties as "The Caress of Cadiz" to the
predicament of putting three feet on the wall at once.

The choral verses are often mere nonsense.

     "Pipe away! pipe away!
     Let us play a little play!
     What will we play?
     We'll cut our hands away.
     Who cut them, who?
     Rain from out the blue.
     Where is the rain?
     Hens drank it up again.
     Hens? And where are they?
     Gone their eggs to lay.
     Who will eat them up?
     Friars when they sup.
     What do friars do?
     Sing 'gori-gori-goo.'"

Watching Spanish children, one may see two little girls, say White
Rose and Sweetness, fly out into an open space, where White Rose
carefully places the tips of her small shoes in touch with those of
Sweetness. Then they clasp hands, fling their little bodies as far
back as these conditions permit, and whirl round and round, singing
lustily--until they are overcome by giddiness--the following
rigmarole, or one of its variants:--

         "Titirinela, if you please!
         Titirinela, bread and cheese:
     'What is your father's worshipful name?'
     'Sir Red-pepper, who kisses your hands.'
     'And how does he call his beautiful dame?'
     'Lady Cinnamon, at your commands.'
         Titirinela, toe to toe!
         Titirinela, round we go!"

  [Illustration: FROM THE TOWER OF GOLD DOWN THE GUADALQUIVÍR]

Even in some of their prettiest games the verses have a childish
incoherence. Some dozen little girls form a circle, for instance, with
the Butterfly in the centre. They lift her dress-skirt by the border,
and hold it outspread about her. Another child, on the outside, runs
around and around the ring, singing:--

     "Who are these chatterers?
       Oh, such a number!
     Not by day nor by night
       Do they let me slumber.
     They're daughters of the Moorish king,
       Who search the garden-close
     For lovely Lady Ana,
       The sweetest thing that grows.
     She's opening the jasmine
       And shutting up the rose."

Then the children suddenly lift their hands, which are holding
Butterfly's frock, so as to envelop her head in the folds. The little
singer outside continues:--

     "Butterfly, butterfly,
       Dressed in rose-petals!
     Is it on candle-flame
       Butterfly settles?
     How many shirts
       Have you woven of rain?
     Weave me another
       Ere I call you again."

These songs are repeated seven times. Then comes another stanza:--

     "Now that Lady Ana
       Walks in garden sweet,
     Gathering the roses
       Whose dew is on her feet,
     Butterfly, butterfly,
       Can you catch us? Try it, try!"

With this the circle breaks and scatters, while Butterfly, blinded as
she is by the folds of her own skirt wrapped about her head, does her
best to overtake some one, who shall then become her successor.

Many of the games are simplicity itself. Often the play is merely a
circle dance, sometimes ending in a sudden kneeling or sitting on the
ground, One of the songs accompanying this dance runs:--

     "Potatoes and salt must little folks eat,
       While the grown-up people dine
     Off lemons and chestnuts and oranges sweet,
       With cocoanut milk for wine.
     On the ground do we take our seat,
       We're at your feet, we're at your feet."

Sometimes a line of children will form across the street and run, hand
in hand, down its length, singing:--

     "We have closed the street
       And no one may pass,
     Only my grandpa
       Leading his ass
     Laden with oranges
           Fresh from the trees.
         Tilín! Tilín!
           Down on our knees!
     Tilín! Tilín! Tilín! Tilín!
     The holy bell of San Agustín!"

A play for four weans, training them early to the "eternal Spanish
contradiction," consists in holding a handkerchief by its four
corners, while one of them sings:--

         "Pull and slacken!
     I've lost my treasure store.
         Pull and slacken!
     I'm going to earn some more.
         _Slacken!_"

And at this, the other three children must _pull_, on pain of forfeit,
whereas if the word is _pull_, their business is to _slacken_.

They have a grasshopper game, where they jump about with their hands
clasped under their knees, singing:--

     "Grasshopper sent me an invitation
     To come and share his occupation.
     Grasshopper dear, how could I say no?
     Grasshopper, grasshopper, here I go!"

In much the same fashion they play "Turkey," gobbling as they hop.

I never found them "playing house" precisely after the manner of our
own little girls, but there are many variants for the dialogue and
songs in their game of "Washerwoman." The Mother says: "Mariquilla,
I'm going out to the river to wash. While I am gone, you must sweep
and tidy up the house."

"_Bueno, madre._"

But no sooner is the Mother out of sight than naughty Mariquilla
begins to frisk for joy, singing:--

     "Mother has gone to wash.
       Mother'll be gone all day.
     Now can Mariquilla
       Laugh and dance and play."

But the Mother returns so suddenly that Mariquilla sees her barely in
time to begin a vigorous sweeping.

     "'What hast been doing, Mary?'
       'Sweeping with broom of brier.'
     'A friar saw thee playing.'
       'He was a lying friar.'
     'A holy friar tell a lie!'
       'He lied and so do you.'
     'Come hither, Mary of my heart,
       'And I'll beat thee black and blue.'"

After this lively exercise, the washerwoman goes away again, charging
Mariquilla to churn the butter, then to knead the bread, then to set
the table, but always with the same disastrous results. The Mother
finally condemns her to a dinner of bread and bitters, but Mariquilla
makes a point of understanding her to say bread and honey, and shares
this sweetness with her sympathetic mates who form the circle. This
time the beating is so severe that the children of the ring raise
their arms and let Mariquilla dodge freely in and out, while they do
all they can to trip and hinder the irate washerwoman in her pursuit.

There is another washing game of more romantic sort, the chorus
being:--

     "'Bright is the fountain,
       When skies are blue.
     Who washed my handkerchief?
       Tell me true!'
     'Three mountain maidens
       Of laughing look.
     White went their feet
       In the running brook.
     One threw in roses,
       And jasmine one.
     One spread thy handkerchief
       In the sun.'"

Spanish children "play store," of course, but they are such dramatic
little creatures that they need no broken ware for their merchandise.
A row of them will squat down in the middle of the street, clasp their
hands under the hollow of their knees, and crook out their arms for
"handles." Then a customer wanders by, asking, "Who sells honey-jars?"
The merchant disrespectfully replies, "That do I, Uncle of the Torn
Trousers." The shabby customer answers with Castilian dignity, "If my
trousers are torn, my wife will mend them." The merchant then opens
negotiations. "Will you buy a little jar of honey?" "What's your
price?" The merchant is not exorbitant. "A flea and a louse." The
probabilities are, unhappily, that the customer has these commodities
about him, and he inclines, though cautiously, toward the bargain.

"Your little honey-jars are good?"

"Very good."

"Do they weigh much?"

"Let's see."

So they pick up an hilarious little honey-jar by its handles and tug
it away between them, not letting it touch the ground, to the
sidewalk. Here the merchant and customer have designated four spaces
as Heaven, Limbo, Purgatory, and Hell, but on a preliminary
paving-stone--let truth need no apology!--they have done some artistic
spitting, with the result that four different figures in saliva are
presented to the little honey-jar. These four figures bear a secret
relation to the four spaces on the sidewalk, and the prisoner must
make his choice. "This!" he ventures. "Hell!" scream the merchant and
customer, and drag him, shrieking and struggling, to his doom. The
next, perhaps, will have the luck to hit on Heaven, for every little
honey-jar must take his chance in this theological lottery.

Sometimes the market becomes a transformation scene. The children hold
up their forefingers for candles, but embarrass the merchant by
doubling these up whenever the customer is on the point of buying.
Just as the bargain is about to be concluded, the little candles
vanish and the children roll themselves into bunches of grapes, some
proving sweet and others sour. Again, they make themselves over into
pitchers, cushions, and all variety of domestic articles, becoming at
last a pack of barking dogs which rush out on the customer, snap at
his legs, and drive him off the premises.

Again, it is a chicken-market on which the Uncle of the Torn Trousers
chances, where one by one he buys all the hens and chickens, but
forgets to buy the rooster, and when, by and by, this lordly fowl,
waxing lonely, cock-a-doodle-doos, the hens and chickens come
scurrying back to him, more to the profit of the merchant than to the
satisfaction of the customer.

In another of the chicken games, the Mother leaves Mariquilla in
charge of the brood, with directions, if the wolf comes, to fling him
the smallest. But he comes so often that, when the Mother returns,
there are no chickens left. Then she and Little Mary go hunting them,
hop-hop-hop through Flea Street, bow-wow-wow through Dog Street, and
so on without success, until it occurs to them to scatter corn.
Thereupon with peep-peep-peep and flip-flap-flutter all the chickens
appear, but only to fly at the negligent Mother, who left them to the
jaws of the wolf, and assail her with such furious pecks that she must
run for her life, the indignant chicks racing in wild pursuit.

There is a market-garden game, where one acts as gardener, others as
vegetables, and others as customers. Others, still, come creeping up
as thieves, but are opposed by a barking dog, which they kill. The
gardener summons them before the judge. A trial is held, with much
fluent Spanish argument pro and con, and the prisoners are condemned
to execution for the murder of the dog. But at the last thrilling
moment, when they have confessed their sins to the priests, and been
torn from the embraces of their weeping friends, the dog trots
cheerfully in, so very much alive that all the criminals are pardoned
in a general dance of joy.

The little girls have a favorite shopping game. In this the children
are seated, shoulder to shoulder, in two rows that face each other.
Every child takes the name of some cloth, silks and satins being
preferred. The leader of the game runs around the two rows, singing:--

     "Up the counter, down the counter!
       How can I buy enough?
     Down the counter, up the counter!
       I choose this velvet stuff."

Little Velvet immediately jumps to her feet and follows the leader,
who continues choosing and calling, choosing and calling, until the
stock is exhausted and she can go home with all her purchases most
conveniently trooping at her heels.

But the plays dearest to the black-eyed _niñas_ are love plays, of
which they have a countless number. Most of these consist of the
dancing, singing circle, with a child in the centre who chooses a
mate. Some are as simple as this:--

     "Milk and rice!
       I want to marry
     A maiden nice.
       I may not tarry.
     It is not this,
       Nor this, nor this.
     'Tis only this
       Whom I want to marry."

  [Illustration: CADIZ FROM THE SEA]

_Ambó, ató_ is hardly more elaborate. When in the exchange of question
and answer, the child would choose her page and touches one of the
circle, the mercenary mites dance on faster than ever, until she
offers whatever gift she has, a flower, apple, or any trifle at hand.
Then the page runs in and kneels before her. The circle dances about
the two, singing the refrain, until the first child slips out and
joins them, leaving the second in the centre to begin the game over
again.

         "_Ambó, ató, matarile, rile, rile?
         Ambó, ató, matarile, rile, ron?_

     1.  "What do you want, matarile, rile, rile?
         What do you want, matarile, rile, ron?

     2.  "I want a page, matarile, rile, rile.
         I want a page, matarile, rile, ron.

     1.  "Choose whom you will, matarile, rile, rile.
         Choose whom you will, matarile, rile, ron.

     2.  "I choose Pedro, matarile, rile, rile.
         I choose Pedro, matarile, rile, ron.

     1.  "What will you give him, matarile, rile, rile?
         What will you give him, matarile, rile, ron?

     2.  "I'll give him an orange, matarile, rile, rile.
         I'll give him an orange, matarile, rile, ron.

     1.  "He answers yes, matarile, rile, rile.
         He answers yes, matarile, rile, ron."

"The Charcoal Woman" requires an odd number of players. The circle
dances about a little girl who stands all forlorn in the centre. The
chorus sings the first stanza, the child sings the second, which has
reference to the fact that Spanish charcoal is often made from laurel
wood, and the chorus, in a comforting tone, the third. Then, while the
child runs about and about the circle as if seeking, the chorus
angrily sings the fourth stanza, accusing her of ambition, and the
little charcoal woman retorts with the fifth, making her choice as she
sings the last four words. At this the circle breaks, the children
quickly choosing mates and dancing by pairs. The one who is left
without a partner takes her place in the centre as the next Charcoal
Woman.

                             1.

     _Chorus._ "Who would say that the charcoal woman,
               Sooty, sooty charcoal woman,
               In all the city and all the land
               Could find a lover to kiss her hand?

                             2.

     _Charcoal Woman._
               "The little widow of good Count Laurel
               Has no one left her for kiss or quarrel.
               I want a sweetheart and find me none.
               Charcoal women must bide alone.

                             3.

     _Chorus._ "Poor little widow, so sweet thou art,
               If there's no other to claim thy heart,
               Take thy pick of us who stand
               Ready to kiss thy sooty hand.

                             4.

     _Chorus._ "The charcoal woman, the charcoal woman,
               Proud little black little charcoal woman,
               Goes seeking up and seeking down
               To find the Count of Cabratown.

                             5.

     _Charcoal Woman._
               "I would not marry the Count of Cabra.
               Never will marry the Count of Cabra.
               Count of Cabra! Oh, deary me!
               I'll not have him,--_if you're not he!_"

Just such coquettish touches of Spanish spirit and maiden pride appear
in many of the songs, as, for instance, in one of their counting-out
carols, "The Garden."

     "The garden of our house it is
       The funniest garden yet,
     For when it rains and rains and rains,
       The garden it is wet.
           And now we bow,
     Skip back and then advance,
     For who know how to make a bow
           Know how to dance.
           AB--C--AB--C
           DE--FG--HI--J.
     If your worship does not love me,
       Then a better body may.
           AB--C--AB--C,
           KL--MN--OP--Q.
     If you think you do not love me,
       I am sure I don't love you."

Sometimes these dancing midgets lisp a song of worldly wisdom:--

     "If any cadet
       With thee would go,
     Daughter, instantly
       Answer no.
     For how can cadet,
       This side of Heaven,
     Keep a wife
       On his dollars seven?

     "If any lieutenant
       Asks a caress,
     Daughter, instantly
       Answer yes.
     For the lieutenant
       Who kisses thy hand
     May come to be
       A general grand."

And, again, these babies may be heard giving warning that men betray.

     "The daughters of Ceferino
       Went to walk--alas!
     A street above, a street below,
       Street of San Tomás.
     The least of all, they lost her.
       Her father searched--alas!
     A street above, a street below,
       Street of San Tomás.
     And there he found her talking
       With a cavalier, who said,
     'Come home with me, my darling,
       'Tis you that I would wed.'

     "Oh, have you seen the pear tree
       Upon my grandpa's lawn?
     Its pears are sweet as honey,
       But when the pears are gone,
     A turtle-dove sits moaning,
       With blood upon her wings,
     Amid the highest branches,
       And this is what she sings:
     'Ill fares the foolish maiden
       Who trusts a stranger's fibs.
     She'd better take a cudgel
       And break his ugly ribs.'"

The dance for "Elisa of Mambrú" begins merrily, and soon saddens to a
funereal pace.

     "In Madrid was born a maiden--carabí!
     Daughter of a general--carabí, hurí, hurá!"

The song goes on to tell of Elisa's beautiful hair, which her aunt
dressed so gently for her with a golden comb and crystal curling-pins,
and how Elisa died and was carried to church in an elegant coffin, and
how a little bird used to perch upon her grave and chirp, _pio_,
_pio_.

Mambrú himself is the pathetic hero of Spanish childhood. This Mambrú
for whom the little ones from Aragon to Andalusia pipe so many simple
elegies, the Mambrú sung by Trilby, is not the English Marlborough to
them, but, be he lord or peasant, one of their very own.

     "Mambrú is gone to serve the king,
     And comes no more by fall or spring.

     "We've looked until our eyes are dim.
     Will no one give us word of him?

     "You'd know him for his mother's son
     By peasant dress of Aragon.

     "You'd know him for my husband dear
     By broidered kerchief on his spear.

     "The one I broider now is wet.
     Oh, may I see him wear it yet!"

At the end of this song, as of the following, the little dancers throw
themselves on the ground, as if in despair.

     "Mambrú went forth to battle.
         Long live Love!
     I listen still for his coming feet.
     The rose on the rose bush blossoms sweet.

     "He will come back by Easter.
         Long live Love!
     He will come back by Christmas-tide.
     The rose on the bush has drooped and died.

     "Down the road a page is riding.
         Long live Love!
     'Oh, what are the tidings that you bear?'
     The rose on the bush is budding fair.

     "'Woe is me for my tidings!'
         Long live Love!
     'Mambrú lies cold this many a morn.'
     Ay, for a rose bush sharp with thorn!

     "A little bird is chirping.
         Long live Love!
     In the withered bush where no more buds blow,
     The bird is chirping a note of woe."

A game that I often watched blithe young Granadines playing under the
gray shadow of Alhambra walls, seems to be a Spanish version of
"London Bridge is Falling Down." Two children are chosen to be Rose
and Pink. These form an arch with their uplifted arms, through which
run the other children in a line, headed by the Mother. A musical
dialogue is maintained throughout.

     "_Rose and Pink._
        To the viper of love, that hides in flowers,
          The only way lies here.

     _Mother._
        Then here I pass and leave behind
          One little daughter dear.

     _Rose and Pink._
        Shall the first one or the last
          Be captive of our chain?

     _Mother._
        Oh, the first one runs too lightly.
          'Tis the last that shall remain.

     _Chorus._
        Pass on, oho! Pass on, aha!
        By the gate of Alcalá!"

The last child is caught by the falling arms and is asked whether she
will go with Rose or Pink. She shyly whispers her choice, taking her
stand behind her elected leader, whom she clasps about the waist. When
all the children of the line have been successively caught in the
falling arch, and have taken their places behind either Rose or Pink,
the game ends in a grand tugging match. Rose and Pink hold hands as
long as they can, while the two lines try to drag them apart. All the
while, until the very last, the music ripples on:--

     "_Rose and Pink._
        Let the young mind make its choice,
          As young minds chance to think.
        Now is the Rose your leader,
          Or go you with the Pink?
        Let the young heart make its choice
          By laws the young heart knows.
        Now is the Pink your leader,
          Or go you with the Rose?

     _Chorus._
        Pass on, oho! Pass on, aha!
        By the gate of Alcalá!"

Another favorite is "Golden Ear-rings." Here the Mother, this time a
Queen, sits in a chair, supposedly a throne, and close before her, on
the floor, sits the youngest daughter; before this one, the next
youngest, and so on, in order of age. Two other children, holding a
handkerchief by the corners, walk up and down the line, one on one
side and one on the other, so passing the handkerchief above the heads
of the seated princesses. Then ensues the musical dialogue between
these two suitors and the Queen.

     "'We've come from France, my lady,
       And Portugal afar.
     We've heard of your fair daughters,
       And very fair they are.'

     'Be they fair or no, señores,
       It's none of your concern,
     For God has given me bread for all,
       And given me hands to earn.'

     'Then we depart, proud lady,
       To find us brides elsewhere.
     The daughters of the Moorish king
       Our wedding rings shall wear.'

     'Come back, my sweet señores!
       Bear not so high a crest.
     You may take my eldest daughter,
       But leave me all the rest.'"

The dialogue is transferred to one of the suitors and to the princess
at the farther end of the line, on whose head the handkerchief now
rests.

     "'Will you come with me, my Onion?'
       'Fie! that's a kitchen smell.'
     'Will you come with me, my Rosebud?'
       'Ay, gardens please me well.'"

In similar fashion all the daughters are coaxed away until only the
youngest remains, but she proves obdurate. They may call her Parsley
or Pink; it makes no difference. So the suitors resort to bribes, the
last proving irresistible.

     "'We'll buy you a French missal.'
       'I have a book in Latin.'
     'In taffeta we'll dress you.'
       'My clothes are all of satin.'
     'You shall ride upon a donkey.'
       'I ride in coaches here.'
     'We'll give you golden ear-rings.'
       'Farewell, my mother dear.'"

In some of the many variants of this game, the Queen herself, adequate
as she may be to earning her own living, is wooed and won at last.

I have not met with fairy-lore among these children's carols. The only
fairy known to Spain appears to be a sort of spiritualistic brownie,
who tips over tables and rattles chairs in empty rooms by night. The
grown-up men who write of him say he frightens women and children. He
can haunt a house as effectually as an old-time ghost, and a _Casa del
Duende_ may go begging for other tenants. One poor lady, who went to
all the trouble of moving to escape from him, was leaning over the
balcony of her new home,--so the story goes,--to see the last cartful
of furniture drive up, when a tiny man in scarlet waved a feathered
cap to her from the very top of the load and called, "Yes, señora, we
are all here. We have moved."

So the childish imagination of Spain, shut out from fairyland, makes
friends with the saints in such innocent, familiar way as well might
please even Ribera's anchorites. The adventurous small boy about to
take a high jump pauses to pray:--

     "Saint Magdalene,
     Don't let me break my thigh!
     Oh, Saint Thomas,
     Help this birdie fly!"

The little girls express decided preferences for one saint over
another.

           "Old San Antón,
           What has he done?
     Put us in the corner every one.

           "San Sebastián
           Is a nice young man.
     He takes us to walk and gives us a fan."

Santa Rita is best at finding lost needles, and San Pantaleón is a
humorist.

           "San Pantaleón,
           Are twenty and one
     Children enough for an hour of fun
           Slippers of iron
           Donkey must try on.
           Moors with their pages
           Ride in gold stages.
           But if you want a
           Girdle, Infanta,
           Cucurucú,
           'Bout-face with you!"

At this one of the children dancing in circle whirls around, remaining
in her place, but with back turned to the centre and arms crossed over
her breast, although her hands still hold those of her nearest
neighbors. The rhyme is sung over and over, until all the little
figures have thus turned about and the circle is dancing under
laughable difficulties.

But the dearest saint of all is San Serení. Two of the best-known
games are under his peculiar blessing. One of these is of the genuine
Kindergarten type, the children dancing in a circle through the first
two lines of each stanza, but then loosing hands to imitate, in time
to the music, the suggested action.

       "San Serení,
     The holy--holy-hearted!
       Thus for thee
     The shoemakers are cobbling.
       Thus, thus, thus!
       Thus it pleases us."

Even so it pleases seamstresses to stitch, laundresses to wash,
carpenters to saw, silversmiths to tap, ironsmiths to pound, and
little folks to dance, all for "San Serení de la buena, buena vida."
In the second game, a gymnastic exercise, whose four movements are
indicated in the four stanzas, he is apostrophized as "San Serení del
Monte, San Serení cortés."

     "San Serení of the Mountain,
       Our saint of courtesy,
     I, as a good Christian,
       Will fall upon my knee.

     "San Serení of the Mountain,
       Where the strong winds pass,
     I, as a good Christian,
       Will seat me on the grass.

     "San Serení of the Mountain,
       Where the white clouds fly,
     I, as a good Christian,
       Upon the ground will lie.

     "San Serení of the Mountain,
       Where earth and heaven meet,
     I, as a good Christian,
       Will spring upon my feet."

With the legend of St. Katharine and her martyrdom childish fancy has
played queer caprices.

     "In Cadiz was a wean--ah!
     The gentlest ever seen--ah!
     Her name was Catalina.
           Ay, so!
     Her name was Catalina.

     "Her father, Moslem cruel,
     He made her bring in fuel.
     Her mother fed her gruel.
           Ay, so!
     Her mother fed her gruel.

     "They beat her Tuesday, Wednesday,
     They beat her Thursday, Friday,
     They beat her Saturday, Monday.
           Ay, so!
     They beat her hardest Sunday.

     "Once bade her wicked sire
     She make a wheel most dire,
     Of scissors, knives, and fire.
           Ay, so!
     Of scissors, knives, and fire.

     "The noble Christian neighbors,
     In pity of her labors,
     Brought silver swords and sabres.
           Ay, so!
     Brought silver swords and sabres.

     "By noon her task was ended,
     And on that wheel all splendid
     Her little knee she bended.
           Ay, so!
     Her little knee she bended.

     "Then down a stair of amber
     She saw the cherubs clamber:
     'Come rest in our blue chamber.'
           Ay, so!
     She rests in their blue chamber."

Little Spaniards are not too intolerant to make a play-fellow of the
Devil. In one of their pet games, the children form in line, with the
invaluable Mother in charge. To each child she secretly gives the name
of a color. Then an Angel comes in with a flying motion and calls, for
instance, "Purple!" But there is no Purple in the company. It is then
the Devil's turn, who rushes in, usually armed with a table-fork, and
roars for "Green." There is a Green in the line, and she has to follow
the Demon, while the Angel tries again. All right-minded spectators
hope that the Angel will have the longer array at the last.

The Virgin's well-beloved name comes often into the children's songs.

     "For studying my lessons,
       So as not to be a dunce,
     Papa gave me eight dollars,
       That I mean to spend at once.
     Four for my dolly's necklace,
       Two for a collar fine,
     And one to buy a candle
       For Our Lady's shrine."

Even the supreme solemnity of the Wafer borne through the kneeling
streets cannot abash the trustful gaze of childhood.

     "'Where are you going, dear Jesus,
       So gallant and so gay?'
     'I am going to a dying man
       To wash his sins away.
     And if I find him sorry
       For the evil he has done,
     Though his sins are more than the sands of the sea,
       I'll pardon every one.'

     "'Where are you going, dear Jesus,
       So gallant and so gay?'
     'I'm coming back from a dying man
       Whose sins are washed away.
     Because I found him sorry
       For the evil he had done,
     Though his sins were more than the sands of the sea,
       I've pardoned every one.'"

The affairs of State as well as of Church have left their traces on
the children's play. As the little ones dance in circle, their piping
music tells a confused tale of Spanish history within these latter
days.

     "In Madrid there is a palace,
       As bright as polished shell,
     And in it lives a lady
       They call Queen Isabel.
     Not for count nor duke nor marquis
       Her father would she sell,
     For not all the gold in Spain could buy
       The crown of Isabel.

     "One day when she was feasting
       Within this palace grand,
     A lad of Aragon walked in
       And seized her by the hand.
     Through street and square he dragged her
       To a dreary prison cell,
     And all that weary way she wept,
       The lady Isabel.

     "'For whom art weeping, lady?
       What gives thy spirit pain?
     If thou weepest for thy brothers,
       They will not come again.
     If thou weepest for thy father,
       He lies 'neath sheet of stone.'
     'For these I am not weeping,
       But for sorrows of mine own.

     "'I want a golden dagger.'
       'A golden dagger! Why?'
     'To cut this juicy pear in two.
       Of thirst I almost die.'
     We gave the golden dagger.
       She did not use it well.
     Ah, no, it was not pears you cut,
       My lady Isabel."

These dancing circles keep in memory the assassination of Marshal
Prim.

     "As he came from the Cortes,
       Men whispered to Prim,
     'Be wary, be wary,
       For life and for limb.'
     Then answered the General,
       'Come blessing, come bane,
     I live or I die
       In the service of Spain.'

     "In the _Calle del Turco_,
       Where the starlight was dim,
     Nine cowardly bullets
       Gave greeting to Prim.
     The best of the Spaniards
       Lay smitten and slain,
     And the new King he died for
       Came weeping to Spain."

This new king, Amadeo, is funnily commemorated in another dancing
ditty, "Four Sweethearts."

         "Maiden, if they ask thee,
         Maiden, if they ask thee,
     If thou hast a sweetheart--_ha_, _ha_!
         If thou hast a sweetheart,
         Answer without blushing,
         Answer without blushing,
     'Four sweethearts are mine--_ha_, _ha_!
         Four sweethearts are mine.

         "'The first he is the son of--
         The first he is the son of
     A confectioner--_ha_, _ha_!
         A confectioner.
         Sugar-plums he gives me,
         Sugar-plums he gives me,
     Caramels and creams--_ha_, _ha_!
         Caramels and creams.

         "'The second is the son of--
         The second is the son of
     An apothecary--_ha_, _ha_!
         An apothecary.
         Syrups sweet he gives me,
         Syrups sweet he gives me,
     For my little cough--_hack_, _hack_!
       For my little cough.

         "'The third he is the son of--
         The third he is the son of
     The barber to the court--_ha_, _ha_!
         The barber to the court.
         Powders rare he gives me,
         Powders rare he gives me,
     And a yellow wig--_ha_, _ha_!
         And a yellow wig.

         "'The fourth? Oh, 'tis a secret,
         The fourth? Oh, 'tis a secret.
     Our new Italian king--_ha_, _ha_!
         Our new Italian king.
         He gives me silk and satin,
         He gives me silk and satin,
     Velvet, gold, and gems--_ha_, _ha_!
         Velvet, gold, and gems.'"

Strangest of all is the dramatic little dialogue, which one with an
ear for children's voices may hear any day in Madrid, telling of the
death of Queen Mercedes.

     "'Whither away, young King Alfonso?
       (Oh, for pity!) Whither away?'
     'I go seeking my queen Mercedes,
       For I have not seen her since yesterday.'

     "'But we have seen your queen Mercedes,
       Seen the queen, though her eyes were hid,
     While four dukes all gently bore her
       Through the streets of sad Madrid.

     "'Oh, how her face was calm as heaven!
       Oh, how her hands were ivory white!
     Oh, how she wore the satin slippers
       That you kissed on the bridal night!

     "'Dark are the lamps of the lonely palace.
       Black are the suits the nobles don.
     In letters of gold on the wall 'tis written:
       _Her Majesty is dead and gone_.'

     "He fainted to hear us, young Alfonso,
       Drooped like an eagle with broken wing,
     But the cannon thundered: 'Valor, valor!'
       And the people shouted: 'Long live the king!'"

Spanish wiseheads say that the children's choral games are already
perishing, that the blight of schools and books is passing upon the
child-life of the Peninsula, and soon there will be no more time for
play. The complaint of the _niñas_ is much to the same effect, yet
they wear their rue with a difference:--

     "Not even in the _Prado_
       Can little maidens play,
     Because those staring, teasing boys
       Are always in the way.

     "They might be romping with us,
       For they're only children yet,
     But they won't play at anything
       Except a cigarette.

     "Now let me tell you truly:
       If things go on like this,
     And midgets care for nothing
       But to walk and talk and kiss,

     "No plays will cheer the _Prado_
       In future times, for then
     The little boys of seven
       Will all be married men."



XXI

"O LA SEÑORITA!"

     "Since the English education came into fashion, there is not a
     maiden left who can feel true love."--ALARCÓN.


During my stifling night journey from Madrid to the north I had much
chat with Castilian and German ladies in the carriage about Spanish
girls. Our talk turned especially on their reading, so reminding me of
an incident of the past spring. On an Andalusian balcony I once found
a little girl curled up in the coolest corner and poring over a
shabby, paper-bound book. On my expressing interest in the volume, she
presented it at once, according to the code of Spanish manners. "The
book is at the disposal of your worship." But as the bundle of
tattered leaves was not only so precious to her own small worship, but
also greatly in demand among her worshipful young mates, whose
constant borrowing seemed a strain even on Andalusian courtesy, I
retained it merely long enough to note the title and general
character. The next time I entered a book-shop I expended ten cents
for this specimen of juvenile literature--"the best-selling book in
Seville," if the clerk's word may be taken--and have it before me as I
write. On the cover is stamped a picture of two graceful señoritas,
perusing, apparently, this very work, "The Book of the Enamored and
the Secretary of Lovers," and throughout the two hundred pages are
scattered cheap cuts, never indecent, but suggesting violent ardors of
passion--embracings, kissings, gazings, pleadings, with hearts,
arrows, torches, and other ancient and honorable heraldry of Cupid.
The title-page announces that this is a fifth edition of ten thousand
copies.

  [Illustration: THE DIVINE SHEPHERD]

The opening section is on "Love and Beauty," enumerating, by the way,
the "thirty points" essential to a perfect woman. "Three things
white--skin, teeth, and hands. Three black--eyes, eyebrows, and
eyelashes. Three rosy--lips, cheeks, and nails." But warning is duly
given that even the thirty points of beauty do not make up a sum total
of perfection without the mystic, all-harmonizing quality of charm.

Next in order are the several sets of directions for winning the
affections of maid, wife, and widow, with a collection of edifying
sentiments from various saints and wits concerning widows.
Descriptions of wedding festivities follow, with a glowing
dissertation on kisses, "the banquet-cups of love." After this stands
a Castilian translation of an impassioned Arab love-song with the
burden, _Todo es amor_. Maxims on love, culled chiefly from French
authorities, are succeeded by an eighteenth-century love-catechism:--

   "_Question._ Art thou a lover?

   _Answer._ Yes, by the grace of Cupid.

   _Question._ What is a lover?

   _Answer._ A lover is one who, having made true and faithful
   declaration of his passion, seeks the means of gaining the love
   of her whom he adores."

This is the first lesson. The second treats of the five signs of love,
the third of love's duties, the fourth gives the orison of lovers--a
startling adaptation of the Lord's Prayer--and their creed: "I believe
in Cupid, absolute Lord of Love, who gives to lovers all their joys,
and in her whom I love most, for most lovable is she, on whom I think
without ceasing, and for whom I would sacrifice gladly my honor and my
life."

There is nothing here, it will be noticed, of the Englishman's proud
exception:--

     "I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
         Loved I not honor more."

Love has its own beatitudes, too. "Blessed are they who love
sincerely. Blessed are they of merry mood. Blessed are lovers who have
patience. Blessed are the rich, for love delights to spend."

A "Divination of Dreams," "copied from an ancient manuscript found in
the ruins of the convent of San Prudencio, in Clavijo," that famous
battle-ground where St. James first trampled the Moors, next engages
attention. To dream of a fan is sign of a coming flirtation; of a
banner, success in war; of a woman's singing, sorrow and loss; of
stars, fair fortune in love; of fire, good luck at cards; of a black
cat, trouble from the mother-in-law; of closed eyes, your child in
mortal peril; of birds, joy and sweet content; of a ghost, ill health;
of scissors, a lover's quarrel; of wine, a cheating Frenchman; of
shoes, long journeys; of angels, good tidings from far away. Some of
these omens are a surprise to the uninitiated reader. It is bad luck
to behold in a dream images of Christ and the Virgin. A church, seen
from within, denotes alms; from without, death. To dream of the altar
arrayed for high mass betokens grave misfortune. Other omens are
significant of Spanish discontents. To dream of a Jesuit brings
miseries and betrayals; of a military officer, tyranny and brutality;
of a king, danger; of a republic, "abundance, happiness, honors, and
work well recompensed." Often these divinations run into rhyme, as:--

     "Dream of God at midnight dim,
     And by day you'll follow Him."

The next section of this Complete Guide is given over to snatches of
love-song, which Andalusian children know by heart. These five are
fairly representative:--

     "Mine is a lover well worth the loving.
       Under my balcony he cries:
     'You have maddened me with your grace of moving,
       And the beaming of your soft black eyes.'"

     "Though thou go to the highest heaven,
       And God's hand draw thee near,
     The saints will not love thee half so well
       As I have loved thee here."

     "If I had a blossom rare,
     I would twine it in thy hair,
     Though God should stoop and ask for it
     To make His heaven more exquisite."

     "Such love for thee, sent forth from me,
       Bears on such iron gate
     That I, used so, no longer know
       Whether I love or hate."

     "The learnéd are not wise,
       The saints are not in bliss;
     They have not looked into your eyes,
       Nor felt your burning kiss."

Then comes a "New Dictionary of Love," defining some two hundred
doubtful terms in Cupid's lexicon, as _forever_, _no_, _unselfish_.
After this we are treated to the language of fan flirtation, of
handkerchief flirtation, of flower flirtation, and "the clock of
Flora," by which lovers easily make appointments,--one, two, three,
being numbered in rose, pink, tulip, and so on. A cut of a youth
toiling at a manuscript-laden desk introduces some fifty pages of
model love-letters, which seem, to the casual eye, to cover all
contingencies. A selection of verses used for adding a grace to
birthday and saint-day gifts comes after, and this all-sufficient
compendium concludes with a "Lovers' Horoscope."

A single illustration of the sort of reading that Spanish girls find
in their way should not, of course, be pressed too far, and yet any
one who had seen the pretty group of heads clustered for hours over
these very pages on that shaded balcony would not deny the book
significance. A taste for the best reading is not cultivated in
Spanish girls, even where the treasures of that great Castilian
literature are accessible to them. Convent education knows nothing of
Calderon. As for books especially adapted to girlhood, we have just
examined a sample.

Love and religion are the only subjects with which a señorita is
expected to concern herself, and the life of the convent is often a
second choice. Even when a Spanish girl wins her crown of wifehood
and motherhood, her ignorance and poverty of thought tell heavily
against the most essential interests of family life. The Spanish bride
is often a child in years. Pacheco's direction for painting the
Immaculate Conception ran, "Our Lady is to be pictured in the flower
of her age, from twelve to thirteen." This was three centuries ago,
but Spain changes slowly. The girl of to-day, nevertheless, marries
later than her mother married. I remember one weary woman of forty
with eighteen children in their graves and the three who were living
physical and mental weaklings. She told us of a friend who married at
fourteen and used to leave her household affairs in confusion while
she stole away to a corner to play with her dolls. Her husband, a
grave lawyer in middle life, would come home to dinner and find his
helpmeet romping with the other children in the _plaza_.

The Spanish girl is every whit as fascinating as her musical, cloaked
gallant confides to her iron-grated lattice. Indeed, these amorous
serenades hardly do her justice, blending as she does French animation
with Italian fervor. In Andalusia she dances with a grace that makes
every other use of life seem vain. And when she bargains, there is
nothing sordid about it. Her haggling is a social condescension that
at once puts the black-eyed young salesman at her mercy.

"But the fan seems to me the least bit dear, señor."

He shrugs his shoulders and flings out his arm in protest.

"Ah, señorita! You see not how beautiful the work is. I am giving it
away at six _pesetas_."

She lifts her eyebrows half incredulously, all bewitchingly.

"At five _pesetas_, señor."

He runs his hand through his black hair in chivalrous distress.

"But the peerless work, señorita! And this other, too! I sacrifice it
at four _pesetas_."

She touches both fans lightly.

"You will let us have the two at seven _pesetas_, señor?"

Her eyes dance over his confusion. He catches the gleam, laughs back,
throws up his hands.

"_Bueno_, señorita. At what you please."

It takes a Spaniard to depict a throng of Spanish ladies,--"fiery
carnations or starry jasmine in their hair, cheeks like blush roses,
eyes black or blue, with lashes quivering like butterflies; cherry
lips, a glance as fickle as the light nod of a flower in the wind, and
smiles that reveal teeth like pearls; the all-pervading fan with its
wordless telegraphy in a thousand colors." In such a throng one sees
not only the typical "eyes of midnight," but those "emerald eyes"
which Cervantes knew, and veritable pansy-colored eyes dancing with
more than pansy mischief. But the voices! In curious contrast to the
tones of Spanish men, soft, coaxing, caressing, the voices of the
women are too often high and harsh, suggesting, in moments of
excitement, the scream of the Andalusian parrot. "O Jesus, what a
fetching hat! The feather, the feather, see, see, see, _see_ the
feather! Mary Most Pure, but it must have cost four or five _pesetas_!
Ah, my God, don't I wish it were mine!" The speaker who gets the lead
in a chattering knot of Spanish women is a prodigy not only of
volubility, but of general muscular action. She keeps time to her
shrill music with hands, fan, elbows, shoulders, eyebrows, knees. She
dashes her sentences with inarticulate whirs and whistles, and
countless pious interjections: _Gracias á Dios! Santa Maria! O Dios
mio!_ The others, out-screamed and out-gesticulated, clutch at her,
shriek at her, fly at her, and still, by some mysterious genius,
maintain courtesy, grace, and dignity through it all. Yet it is true
that the vulgar-rich variety is especially obnoxious among Spaniards.
An overdressed Spanish woman is frightfully overdressed, her voice is
maddening, her gusts of mirth and anger are painfully uncontrolled.
This, however, is the exception, and refinement the rule.

The legendary Spanish lady is forever sitting at a barred window, or
leaning from a balcony, coquetting with a fan and dropping arch
responses to the "caramel phrases" of her guitar-tinkling cavalier.

     "You're always saying you'd die for me.
       I doubt it nevertheless;
     But prove it true by dying,
       And then I'll answer yes."

For, loving as they are, Spanish sweethearts take naturally to
teasing. "When he calls me his Butterfly, I call him my Elephant. Then
his eyes are like black fire, for he is ashamed to be so big, but in a
twinkling I can make him smile again." The scorn of these dainty
creatures for the graces of the ruling sex is not altogether affected.
I shall not forget the expression with which a Sevillian belle, an
exquisite dancer, watched her _novio_ as, red and perspiring, he flung
his stout legs valiantly through the mazes of the _jota_. "Men are
uglier than ever when they are dancing, aren't they?" she remarked to
me with all the serenity in the world. And a bewitching maiden in
Madrid, as I passed some favorable comment upon the photographs of her
two brothers, gave a deprecatory shrug. "Handsome? _Ca!_" (Which is
_no_ many times intensified.) "But they are not so ugly, either,--_for
men_."

The style of compliment addressed by _caballeros_ to señoritas is not
like "the quality of mercy," but very much strained indeed. "Your eyes
are two runaway stars, that would rather shine in your face than in
heaven, but your heart is harder than the columns of Solomon's temple.
Your father was a confectioner and rubbed your lips with honey-cakes."
Little Consuelo, or Lagrimas, or Milagros, or Dolores, or Peligros
laughs it off, "Ah, now you are throwing flowers."

The _coplas_ of the wooer below the balcony are usually sentimental.

     "By night I go to the patio,
       And my tears in the fountain fall,
     To think that I love you so much,
       And you love me not at all."

     "Sweetheart, little Sweetheart!
       Love, my Love!
     I can't see thy eyes
       For the lashes above.
     Eyes black as midnight,
       Lashes black as grief!
     O, my heart is thirsty
       As a summer leaf."

     "If I could but be buried
       In the dimple of your chin,
     I would wish, Dear, that dying
       Might at once begin."

     "If thou wilt be a white dove,
       I will be a blue.
     We'll put our bills together
       And coo, coo, coo."

Sometimes the sentiment is relieved by a realistic touch.

     "Very anxious is the flea,
       Caught between finger and thumb.
     More anxious I, on watch for thee,
       Lest thou shouldst not come."

And occasionally the lover, flouted overmuch, retorts in kind.

     "Don't blame me that eyes are wet,
       For I only pay my debt.
     I've taught you to cry and fret,
       But first you taught me to forget."

     "I'll not have you, Little Torment,
       I don't want you, Little Witch.
     Let your mother light four candles
       And stand you in a niche."

The average Spaniard is well satisfied with his señora as she is. He
did her extravagant homage as a suitor, he treats her with kindly
indulgence as a husband, but he expects of her a life utterly bounded
by the _casa_. "What is a woman?" we heard one say. "A bottle of
wine." And those few words tell the story why, with all their charm,
home-love, and piety, the Spanish women have not availed to keep the
social life of the Peninsula sound and sweet.

     "But to admire them as our gallants do,
     'Oh, what an eye she hath! Oh, dainty hand!
     Rare foot and leg!' and leave the mind respectless,
     This is a plague that in both men and women
     Makes such pollution of our earthly being."

The life of the convent is attractive to girls of mystic temperament,
like the _Maria_ of Valdés, but many of these lively daughters of the
sun regard it with frank disfavor. One of the songs found in the
mouths of little girls all over the Peninsula is amusingly expressive
of the childish aversion to so dull a destiny.

     "I wanted to be married
       To a sprightly barber-lad,
     But my parents wished to put me
       In the convent dim and sad.

     "One afternoon of summer
       They walked me out in state,
     And as we turned a corner,
       I saw the convent gate.

     "Out poured all the solemn nuns
       In black from toe to chin,
     Each with a lighted candle,
       And made me enter in.

     "The file was like a funeral;
       The door shut out the day;
     They sat me on a marble stool
       And cut my hair away.

     "The pendants from my ears they took,
       And the ring I loved to wear,
     But the hardest loss of all to brook
       Was my mat of raven hair.

     "If I run out to the garden
       And pluck the roses red,
     I have to kneel in church until
       Twice twenty prayers are said.

     "If I steal up to the tower
       And clang the convent bell,
     The holy Abbess utters words
       I do not choose to tell.

     "My parents, O my parents,
       Unkindly have you done,
     For I was never meant to be
       A dismal little nun."

I came but slightly in contact with Spanish nuns. Among the figures
that stand out clear in memory are a kindly old sister, at Seville, in
the _Hospital de la Caridad_, who paused midway in her exhibition of
the famous Murillos there to wipe her eyes and grieve that we were
Protestants, and an austere, beautiful woman in _La Cuna_, or
Foundling Asylum of Seville, who caressed a crying baby with the
passionate tenderness of motherhood denied. The merriest Spanish
_hermana_ of our acquaintance we encountered on the French side of the
Pyrenees. At Anglet, halfway between Biarritz and Bayonne, is the
Convent of the Bernardines, Silent Sisters. The visitor sees them only
from a distance, robed in white flannel, with large white crosses
gleaming on the back of their hooded capes. These, too, were
originally white, and the hoods so deep that not even the profile of
the features could be seen; but the French Government, disturbed by
the excessive death-rate in this order, recently had the audacity to
interfere and give summary orders that the hoods be cut away, so that
the healthful sunshine might visit those pale faces. The mandate was
obeyed, but, perhaps in sign of mournful protest, the new hoods and
capes are black as night. These women Trappists may recite their
prayers aloud, as they work in field or garden, or over their
embroidery frames, but they speak for human hearing only once a year,
when their closest family friends may visit them and listen through a
grating to what their disused voices may yet be able to utter. From
all other contact with the world they are shielded by an outpost guard
of a few of the Servants of Mary, an industrious, self-supporting
sisterhood, whose own convent, half a mile away, is a refuge for
unwedded mothers and a home for unfathered children. Hither the
pitying sisters brought, a few days before our visit, a wild-eyed girl
whom they had found lying on one of the sea rocks, waiting for the
rising tide to cover her and her shame together. The chief treasure of
this nunnery, one regrets to add, is the polished skull of Mary
Magdalene.

That one of the Servants of Mary who showed us over the Trappist
convent was a bright-eyed Spanish dame of many winters, as natural a
chatterbox as ever gossiped with the neighbors in the sun. Her glee in
this little opportunity for conversation was enough to wring the heart
of any lover of old ladies. She walked as slowly as possible and
detained us on every conceivable pretext, reaching up on her rheumatic
tiptoes to pluck us red and white camellias, and pointing out, with a
lingering garrulity, the hardness of the cots in the bare, cold little
cells, the narrowness of the benches in the austere chapel, and, in
the cheerless dining room, the floor of deep sand, in which the
Bernardines kneel throughout their Friday dinner of bread and water.
Longest of all, she kept us in the cemetery, all spick and span, with
close-set rows of nameless graves, each with a cross shaped upon it in
white seashells. The dear old soul, in her coarse blue gown, with tidy
white kerchief and neatly darned black hood and veil, showed us the
grave of her own sister, adding, proudly, that her four remaining
sisters were all cloistered in various convents of Spain.

"All six of us nuns," she said, "but my brother--no! He has the
dowries of us all and lives the life of the world. Just think! I have
two nephews in Toledo. I have never seen them. My sister's grave is
pretty, is it not? They let me put flowers there. Oh, there are many
families in Spain like ours, where all the daughters are put into
convents. Spain is a very religious country. The sons? Not so often.
Sometimes, when there is a conscription, many young men become priests
to escape military service but it is the women who are most devout in
Spain."

And after the rustic gate was shut on the sleeping-place of the
Bernardines, scarcely more silent and more dead beneath the sod than
above it, she still detained us with whispered hints of distinguished
Spanish ladies among those ghostly, far-off figures that, pitchfork or
pruning knife in hand, would fall instantly upon their knees at the
ringing of the frequent bell for prayers. Spanish ladies, too, had
given this French convent many of its most costly treasures. We said
good-by to our guide near an elaborate shrine of the Madonna, which a
bereaved Spanish mother had erected with the graven request that the
nuns pray for the soul of her beloved dead.

"Even we Servants of Mary are not allowed to talk much here," said in
parting this most sociable of saints, clinging to us with a
toil-roughened, brown old hand. "It is a holy life, but quiet--very
quiet. I have been here forty-four years this winter. My name is
Sister Solitude."

The nun whom I knew best was an exquisite little sister just back from
Manila. During several months I went to her, in a Paris convent, twice
or three times a week, for Spanish lessons. The reception room in
which I used to await her coming shone not as with soap and water, but
as with the very essence of purity. The whiteness of the long, fine
curtains had something celestial about it. The only book in sight, a
bundle of well-worn leaves bound in crimson plush and placed with
precision in the centre of the gleaming mahogany table, was a volume
of classic French sermons,--the first two being on Demons, and the
next on Penance. Further than this I never read; for very punctually
the slight figure, in violet skirt and bodice, with a white cross
embroidered upon the breast, swept softly down the hall. A heavy
purple cord and a large-beaded rosary depended from the waist. In
conversation she often raised her hand to press her ring, sign of her
sacred espousals, to her lips. Her type of face I often afterward saw
in Spain, but never again so perfect. Her complexion was the richest
southern brown, the eyes brightening in excitement to vivid, flashing
black. The eyebrows, luxuriant even to heaviness, were nevertheless
delicately outlined, and the straight line of the white band
emphasized their graceful arch. The nose was massive for a woman's
face, and there was a slight shading of hair upon the upper lip. The
mouth and chin, though so daintily moulded, were strong. Not the
meek, religious droop of the eyelids could mask the fire, vigor,
vitality, intensity, that lay stored like so much electricity behind
the tranquil convent look.

We would go for the lesson to a severe little chamber, whose only
ornament was a crucifix of olive wood fastened against the wall. Then
how those velvet eyes would glow and sparkle in the eagerness of
rushing speech! The little sister loved to tell of her Manila
experience, almost a welcome break, I fancied, in the monotonous peace
of cloister life. All that Sunday morning, when the battle was on, the
nuns maintained their customary services, hearing above their prayers
and chants and the solemn diapason of the organ, the boom, boom, boom
of our wicked American cannon. For, according to this naive historian,
Catholic Spain, best beloved of Our Lady among the nations of the
earth, had labored long in the Philippines to Christianize the
heathen, when suddenly, in the midst of those pious labors with which
she was too preoccupied to think of fitting out men-of-war and
drilling gunners, a pirate fleet bore down upon her and overthrew at
once the Spanish banner and the Holy Cross. Tears sparkled through
flame as the _hermanita_ told of her beautiful convent home, now half
demolished. The sisters did not abandon it until six weeks after the
battle, but as the nunnery stood outside the city walls, their
superior judged it no safe abode for Spanish ladies, and ordered them
away. The French consul arranged for their transport to Hongkong on a
dirty little vessel, where they had to stay on deck, the twenty-seven
of them, during their week's voyage, suffering from lack of proper
shelter and especially from thirst, the water supply running short the
second day out. But all this was joy of martyrdom.

"Is not Hongkong a very strange city?" I asked. "Did it seem to you
more like Manila than like Paris and Madrid?"

The little sister's voice was touched with prompt rebuke.

"You speak after the fashion of the world. All cities look alike to
us. Ours is the life of the convent. It matters nothing where the
convent stands."

Stimulated by reproof, I waxed impertinent. "Not even if it stands
within range of the guns? Now, truly, truly, were you not the least
bit frightened that morning of the battle?"

The sunny southern smile was a fleeting one, and left a reminiscent
shadow in the eyes.

"Frightened? Oh, no! There were no guns between us and Paradise. From
early dawn we heard the firing, and hour after hour we knelt before
the altar and prayed to the Mother of God to comfort the souls of the
brave men who were dying for _la patria_; but we were not frightened."

There were strange jostlings of ideas in that cloistered cell,
especially when the dusk had stolen in between our bending faces and
the Spanish page.

Once we talked of suicide. That morning it had been a wealthy young
Parisian who had paid its daily tribute to the Seine.

"What a horror!" gasped the little sister, clasping her slender hands
against her breast. "It is a mortal sin. And how foolish! For if life
is hard to bear, surely perdition is harder."

"It does not seem to me so strange in case of the poor," I responded,
waiving theology. "But a rich man, though his own happiness fails,
has still the power of making others happy."

"Ah, but I understand!" cried Little Manila, her eyes like stars in
the dimness. "The devil does not see truth as the blessed spirits do,
but sees falsehoods even as the world. And so in his blindness he
believes the soul of a rich man more precious than the souls of the
poor, and tempts the rich man more than others. Yet when the devil has
that soul, will he find it made of gold?"

  [Illustration: MADRID ROYAL PALACE]

One chilly November afternoon, gray with a fog that had utterly
swallowed the Eiffel Tower above its first huge uprights, which
straddled disconsolately like legs forsaken of their giant, she
explained in a sudden rush of words why Spain had been worsted in the
war with America.

"Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth. As with persons, so with
nations. Those that are not of His fold He gives over to their fill of
vainglory and greed and power, but the Catholic nations He cleanses
again and again in the bitter waters of defeat--ah, in fire and blood!
Yet the end is not yet. The rod of His correction is upon Spain at
this hour, and the Faithful are glad in the very heart of sorrow, for
even so shall her sins be purged away, even so shall her coldness be
quickened, even so shall she be made ready for her everlasting
recompense."

"And the poor Protestant nations?" I asked, between a smile and a
sigh.

The little sister smiled back, but the Catholic eyes, for all their
courtly graciousness, were implacable.

She was of a titled family and had passed a petted childhood in
Madrid. There she had been taken, on her seventh birthday, to a
_corrida de toros_, but remembered it unpleasantly, not because of the
torture inflicted on the horses and bulls, but because she had been
frightened by the great beasts, with their tossing horns and furious
bellowing. Horns always made her think of the devil, she said. From
her babyhood she had been afraid of horns.

One day a mischievous impulse led me to inquire, in connection with a
chat about the Escorial, "And how do you like Philip II?"

The black eyes shot one ray of sympathetic merriment, but the Spaniard
and the nun were on their guard.

"He was a very good Catholic," she replied demurely.

"So was _Isabel la Católica_," I responded. "But don't you think she
may have been a trifle more agreeable?"

"Perhaps she was a little more _simpática_," admitted the _hermanita_,
but that was her utmost concession. She would not even allow that
Philip had a sorry end.

"If his body groaned, his soul was communing with the Blessed Saints
and paid no heed."

At the corner of the street which led under the great garden wall to
the heavily barred gate of the convent was a flower-stand. The shrewd,
swift-tongued Madame in charge well knew the look of the unwary, and
usually succeeded in selling me a cluster of drooping blossoms at
twice the value of the fresh, throwing in an extra leaf or stem at the
close of the bargain with an air of prodigal benevolence. The handful
of flowers would be smilingly accepted by the little sister, but
instantly laid aside nor favored with glance or touch until the close
of the visit, when they would be lifted again with a winsome word of
acknowledgment and carried away, probably to spend their sweetness at
the marble feet of the Virgin. In vain I tried to coax from this
scorner of God's earth some sign of pleasure in the flowers
themselves.

"Don't you care for tea-roses?" "_Ah, el mundo pasa._ But their color
is exquisite."

Yet her eyes did not turn to the poor posy for the two hours
following.

"This mignonette has only the grace of sweetness."

"It is a delicate scent, but it will not last. _El mundo pasa._"

She held the sprays at arm's length for a moment, and then laid them
down on a mantel at the farther end of the room.

"I am sorry these violets are not fresher."

"But no! The touch of Time has not yet found them. Still, it is only a
question of to-morrow. _El mundo pasa._"

"Yes, the world passes. But is it not good while it lasts?"

"The world good! No, no, and a thousand times no. Behold it now at the
end of the nineteenth century,--wars and sorrows and bitter
discontents, evil deeds and evil passions everywhere. Do you see the
peace of Christ in the faces on the Paris streets? The blossoms of
this earth, the pleasures of this world, the affections of this life,
all have the taste of death. But here in God's own garden we live even
now His everlasting life."

"You are always glad of your choice? You never miss the friends of
your childhood?"

"Glad, glad, glad. Glad of my choice. Glad to see no more the faces of
father and mother. And for them, too, it is great joy. For Catholic
parents it is supreme delight to give up their children to the Holy
Church. The ways of the world are full of slippery places, but when
they leave us here, they know that our feet are set on the very
threshold of heaven."

Sometimes the slight form shivered in the violet habit, and the dark
foreign face looked out with touching weariness from its frame of soft
white folds.

"You are cold? You are tired? Will you take my cloak? Were the
children troublesome to-day?"

It was always the same answer: "_No importa. No importa._ It matters
not. Our life is not the life of flesh and blood."

And indeed, as I saw her in the Christmas service among the other
Spanish sisters, those lovely figures in white and violet making
obeisance before the altar until their veiled foreheads almost touched
the pavement, bowing and rising again with the music like a field of
lilies swaying in the breeze, I felt that she was already a being of
another world, before she had known this. Over her had been chanted
the prayers for the dead. The strange ceremony of taking the veil had
been her burial rite. The convent seemed a ghost land between earth
and heaven.

My _hermanita_ belonged to one of the teaching orders, and despite the
strange blanks in her knowledge, for secular lore had been, so far as
possible, excluded from her education, she was representative of the
finer and more intelligent class of Spanish nuns. In Granada I heard
of the nuns chiefly as the makers of those delicious _dulces_, sugared
fruits, which were indispensable to a child's saint-day, and there I
was taught the scoffing epitaph:--

     "Here lies Sister Claribel,
     Who made sweetmeats very well,
     And passed her life in pious follies,
     Such as dressing waxen dollies."

  [Illustration: THE ROYAL FAMILY]

To the spinster outside the nunnery Spain has little to offer. Small
heed is paid to her except by St. Elias, who, on one day of Holy Week,
walks about all Seville with a pen in his hand, peering up at the
balconies and making note of the old maids. Since Andalusia expresses
the theory of counterparts by saying, "Every one has somewhere in the
world his half orange," the spinster can hardly hope for a
well-rounded life. Careers are not open to her. There are "advanced
women" in Spain, the most eminent being Emelia Pardo Bazan, novelist,
lecturer, editor, who advocates for women equal educational and
political privileges with men, but who has not yet succeeded in
opening the doors. The voice of Spanish women, nevertheless, is
sometimes heard by Spanish statesmen, as when delegation after
delegation of señoras who had relatives held as prisoners by the
Filipinos invaded the senate-house with petitions until they could no
longer be ignored.

A more thorough and liberal education for Spanish women is the
pressing need to-day. There is, of course, great lack of primary
schooling. A girl in her late teens, wearing the prettiest of
embroidered aprons and with the reddest of roses in her hair, once
appealed to me in Toledo for help. She had been sent from a
confectioner's to deliver a tray of wheaten rolls at a given address,
and she could read neither the names of streets nor the numbers of
houses. But the higher education will carry the lower with it. Spain
is degenerate in this regard. The Moors used to have at Cordova an
academy for girls, where science, mathematics, and history were
taught. Schools for Spanish girls at present impart little more than
reading and writing, needle-work, the catechism, the four rules of
arithmetic, and some slight notion of geography. French and music,
recognized accomplishments, are learned by daughters of the privileged
class from their governesses or in the convents. Missionary work in
Spain has largely concerned itself with the educational question, and
Mrs. Gulick's project for the establishment of a woman's college in
Madrid, a college without distinction of creed, is the fruit of long
experience. Little by little she has proven the intellectual ability
of Spanish girls. She established the International Institute at San
Sebastian, secured State examination for her _niñas_ and State
recognition of their eminent success, and even won for a few of them
admission to the University of Madrid, where they maintained the
highest rank throughout the course. All that Spanish girls need is
opportunity.

But if the señoritas are so charming now, with their roses and their
graces and their fans, why not leave them as they are, a page of
mediæval poetry in this strenuous modern world? If only they were
dolls outright and did not suffer so! When life goes hard with these
high-spirited, incapable creatures, it goes terribly hard. I can see
yet the tears scorch in the proud eyes of three undowered sisters,
slaving at their one art of embroidery from early till late for the
miserable pittance that it brought them. "We shall rest when we are
dead," said the youngest. The absolute lack of future for these brave,
sensitive girls, well-born, well-bred, naturally as keen as the
keenest, but more ignorant, in matters of common education, than the
children of our lowest grammar grade, is heart-breaking. If such girls
were stupid, shallow, coarse, it would be easier; but the Spanish type
is finely strung. Once I saw an impulsive beauty fly into that gust of
angry passion which Spaniards term the _rabia española_. A clumsy,
well-intentioned young Austrian had said a teasing word, and in the
fraction of a second the girl, overwrought with secret toils and
anxieties, was in a tempest of tears; but the wrath that blazed across
them burned the offender crimson. The poor fellow sent for his case of
choice Asturian cider, cooling in the balcony, read the evening news
aloud and discoursed on the value of self-control, but not even these
tactful attentions could undo, for that evening at least, the work of
his blundering jest. The girl flashed away to her chamber, her
handkerchief bitten through and through, and the quick fierce sound of
her sobs came to me across the hall deep into the night.

Wandering over Spain I found everywhere these winning, vivid, helpless
girls, versed in needlework and social graces, but knowing next to
nothing of history, literature, science, all that pertains to
intellectual culture. Some were hungry to learn. More did not dream of
the world of thought as a possible world for them. Among these it was
delightful to meet, scattered like precious seed throughout the
Peninsula, the graduates of the International Institute. So far as a
stranger could see, education had enhanced in them the Spanish
radiance and charm, while arming these with wisdom, power, and
resource.



XXII

ACROSS THE BASQUE PROVINCES

     "The Oak Tree of Guernica
       Within its foliage green
     Embraces the bright honor
       Of all the Basque demesne.
     For this we count thee holy,
       Our ancient seal and sign;
     The fibres of our freedom
       Are interlaced with thine.

     "Castile's most haughty tyrants
       Beneath thy solemn shade
     Have sworn to keep the charter
       Our fearless fathers made;
     For noble on our mountains
       Is he who yokes the ox,
     And equal to a monarch
       The shepherd of the flocks."
                           --_National Song of the Basques._


It did not seem to me historically respectful to take leave of Spain
without having made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago. A
dauntless friend crossed the sea to bear me company. Hygienic pilgrim
that she is, she came equipped not with cockle shells and sandal
shoon, but with sleeping bags, coffee, and cereals. Many a morning, in
traversing those northern provinces, where the scenery was better than
the breakfast, we blessed her boxes of "grape nuts," and many a night,
doomed to penitential beds, we were thankful to intrench ourselves
against the stings and arrows of outrageous insects in those spacious
linen bags, that gather close about the neck, or, when dangers
thicken, above the head, leaving only a loophole for the breath.

Our point of departure was that city of nature's fancy-work, San
Sebastian. Then, in the early half of July, it was all alive with
expectancy, looking every day for the coming of the Court. It is
reputed to be the cleanest town of the Peninsula, and is, in truth, as
bright as a wave-washed pebble. Nevertheless, it is a favorite waltz
hall of the fleas, which shamelessly obtrude themselves even into
conversation.

The chief summer industry of San Sebastian is sea-bathing. The
soldiers begin it at six o'clock in the morning, marching by regiments
down to the Concha, clearing for action, and striking out into the
gentle surf, all in simultaneous obedience to successive words of
command. Some two hours later teams of oxen draw scores of jaunty
bathing cars down near the white lip of this opalescent shell of
water, and there the long day through all ages, sizes, and ranks of
humanity sport in the curling foam or swim far out into the sparkling
bay.

San Sebastian is the capital of Guipúzcoa, one of the three Basque
provinces. These lie among the Cantabrian mountains, and are
delightfully picturesque with wheat-growing valleys and well-wooded
heights. As the train wandered on, in its pensive Spanish fashion, we
found ourselves now in Scotland, in a beautiful waste of heather and
gorse, now amid the English ivy and hawthorn, hearing the song of the
English robin, and now in our own New England, with the hilly reaches
of apple orchards and the fields upon fields of tasselled Indian
maize.

The Basques are a thrifty folk, and have cultivated their scant acres
to the utmost. The valleys are planted with corn, the lower hills are
ridged and terraced for a variety of crops. Above are walnuts and
chestnuts, and the flintiest summits serve for pasturage. It was
curious to see men at work on those steep slopes that had been scooped
out into a succession of narrow shelves, and more strange yet to catch
glimpses of peasants ploughing the very mountain top, picturesque
figures against the sky.

The reaping is of the cleanest. The harvest fields have a neat,
scoured look, as if the women had been over them with scrubbing
brushes. Yet this utilitarian soil admits of oaks and beeches, ferns
and clover, morning glories, dandelions, pimpernel, and daisies.

All that sunny morning the train swung us blithely on from one charm
of the eyes to another--from a ruined watch-tower, where red-handed
Carlists had crouched, to a bright-kerchiefed maiden singing amid her
beehives; from a range of abrupt peaks, cleft by deep gorges, to
sycamore-shaded byways and poplar-bordered streams; from a village
graveyard, the pathetic little parallelogram enclosed in high gray
walls and dim with cypress shadows, to a tumbling, madcap torrent
spanned by a time-gnawed Roman arch. Shooting the heart of some black
hill, the train would run out on a mere ledge above a valley hamlet,
and from pure inquisitiveness, apparently, ramble all around the
circle, peering down from every point of view on the cluster of great,
patriarchal houses, sometimes of timber and plaster, more often of
stone, where whole clans dwell together under the same red-tiled roof.
Queer old houses these, occasionally topped with blue chimneys, and
now and then with a fantastic coat of arms sculptured over the door,
or a fresco of saints and devils blazoned all across the front.
Sometimes freshly whitewashed, these Basque houses have more often a
weather-worn, dingy look, but, however black the timbers, lines of
clean linen flutter airily from roofs and balconies.

They are a decent, self-respecting, prosperous people, these Basque
mountaineers, of whose history my companion told me stirring tales.
They are supposed, though not without dispute, to be the oldest race
in Europe, descendants of those original Iberians whom the
westward-trooping Aryans drove into the fastnesses of the Pyrenees.
They have their own language, of Asiatic type. They themselves believe
that it was spoken in the Garden of Eden. There are some twenty-five
dialects of the _Vascuense_, and it is so difficult for foreigners
that even George Borrow spoke it "with considerable hesitation," and
one exhausted student, abandoning the struggle, declared that the
words were all "written Solomon and pronounced Nebuchadnezzar." The
Basques attribute their hardy virtues to the crabbedness of their
speech, telling how the devil, after slaving over their vocabulary for
seven years, had succeeded in learning only three words, and threw up
his lesson in a pet, so that to this day he remains unable to meddle
with their peasant piety. What little literature there is in the
Basque language is naturally of the popular cast--hero songs, dancing
songs, dirges, hymns, and folk-lore.

The Basques are noted for their passionate love of liberty. The sturdy
peasant is lord of his own rugged farm, and insists on tilling it in
his own primitive way, breaking the soil with rude mattock more often
than with plough. An English engineer, laying a railroad through
Alava, tried his best to make his men abandon their slow, laborious
method of carrying the earth in baskets on their heads. He finally had
all the baskets removed by night, and wheelbarrows left in their
places. But the unalterable Basques set the loaded wheelbarrows on
their heads, and staggered about beneath these awkward burdens until,
for very shame, he had to give them back their baskets.

The peasant drives over the mountain roads in a ponderous ox-cart,
with two clumsy disks of wood for wheels. The platform is wrought of
rough-hewn beams, five or seven, the middle one running forward to
serve as pole. All the structure, except the iron tires and nails, is
of wood, and the solid wooden wheels, as the massive axle to which
they are riveted turns over and over, make a most horrible squeaking.
It is a sound dear to the peasantry, for they believe the oxen like
it, and, moreover, that it frightens away the devil; but once upon a
time a town of advanced views voted a fine of five dollars for any man
who should bring this musical abomination within its limits. Thereupon
a freeborn Basque rose with the dawn, selected his best carved oaken
yoke, draped the red-stained sheepskin a trifle more carefully than
usual above the patient eyes of his great smooth oxen, and took his
way, "squeakity-squeak, squeakity-squeak," straight to the door of the
_Ayuntamiento_, city hall, where he paid his twenty-five _pesetas_,
and then devoted the rest of the day to driving all about the streets,
squeaking out his money's worth. This is no servile temper, and it was
not until our own generation that the dearly cherished liberties of
the Basques were wrested away.

  [Illustration: THE MANZANARES]

These warders of the Pyrenees, for the Basques of Navarre and those
now known as French Basques must not be forgotten, did good service in
helping the Visigoths beat back the northward-pressing Moors and the
southward-pressing Franks; but when the Basque provinces of Spain were
incorporated with Leon and Navarre, and later with Castile, the
mountaineers stood stubbornly for their _fuéros_, or peculiar rights.

My comrade's lecture had reached this point, when, finding ourselves
at Amorebieta, in the Province of Vizcaya, or Biscay, we suddenly
descended from the train, and handed our bags to an honest Basque
porter, who deposited them on the floor of an open waiting room, in
full reach of an honest Basque population. For ourselves, we turned
our faces toward the centre of Vizcayan glory, the famous Tree of
Guernica. We entered a rustic train, that seemed entirely undecided
which way to go. The station agent blew a little tin horn, green
meadows and wattled fences began to glide past the car windows, and
the interrupted discourse was resumed.

The lawmakers of Vizcaya were duly chosen by their fellow-nobles, for
every Basque held the rank of _hidalgo_, or "son of somebody." The
deputies met every two years in the village of Guernica, sitting on
stone benches in the open air beneath the sacred oak, and there
elected the _Señores de Vizcaya_. Even the kings of Spain were allowed
no grander title, but had to come to the Tree of Guernica, at first in
person, later by deputy, and there swear to observe the _fuéros_. To
this green shadow came the peasant from his lonely farm-house, high on
the mountainside, to answer before his peers to such charges as might
be brought against him; for within the sanctuary of his home the law
could lay no hand on him or his.

It was the Carlist wars that changed all this. The _fuéros_, of which
a list dating from 1342 is still extant, granted the Basque provinces
a Republican Constitution that almost realized an ideal democracy,
with immunity from taxes save for their own needs, and from military
service beyond their own boundaries. But when the dynastic strife
broke out, the Basques put on the white cap of Don Carlos and bore the
brunt of the conflict. We had already passed through Vergara, where,
in 1839, Espartero ended the first Carlist war by a treaty which
compelled the Basques to lay down their arms. But the cost of this
rebellion was paid in blood. Their political status was practically
unaffected. At the close of the second Carlist war, in 1876, Alfonso
XII signalized his victory by meting out to them a terrible
punishment, abrogating the precious _fuéros_ that the Tree of Guernica
had guarded for so many centuries. The Government imposed, moreover,
its salt and tobacco monopolies, and made the Basques subject to
military conscription. At every station we saw Spain's Vizcayan
soldiers, red-capped and red-trousered, with blue-belted frock coats,
under which beat hearts of doubtful loyalty. The son of Alfonso XII
will have to reckon with the Basques, when the third Carlist war shall
be declared, but it may be doubted whether the _fuéros_, which Don
Carlos, of course, promises to restore, will ever come home to nest
again in the Guernica Oak.

My erudite fellow-vagabond was just pointing out the typical shape of
the Basque head, with its broad forehead, long, narrowing face, curved
nose, and pointed chin, when we reached Guernica. Such a sweet and
tranquil village as it is, set in the beauty of the hills, with the
dignity and pathos of its history pervading every hushed,
old-fashioned street! The guide, whom two affable ladies, sharers of
our carriage in the little picnic train, had taken pains to look up
for us at the station, was not, we judged, a favorable specimen of the
haughty Basque _hidalgo_. He was a dull, mumbling, slouchy lad, who
sunk his voice to an awed whisper as we passed the escutcheon-carved
palace of a count. But he led us by pleasant ways to the modern _Casa
de Juntas_, or Senate House, where we were shown the assembly room,
with its altar for mass, the library and other apartments, together
with the portraits of the twenty-six first _Señores de Vizcaya_, from
Lope the Pirate, who forced back the invading Galicians in 840, to the
Infante Don Juan, under whom the Basque provinces were finally
incorporated with Castile.

Close by the _Casa de Juntas_, which stands in a dreamy bit of park as
fresh and trim as an English cathedral close, rises a pillared
portico. There, where brown-eyed little Basque girls, their brown
braids blowing in the breeze, were dangling green figs above their
laughing mouths, used to sit, on those seven stone seats, the grave
Basque fathers, making laws, meting out judgment, and regulating all
the affairs of this simple mountain republic. The portico, bearing as
joint devices the lion and castle of Spain and the three wolves of
Vizcaya, was formerly enveloped in the leafy shadow of the Sacred
Tree; but what rises behind it now is only the gaunt stem of a
patriarchal oak, a very Abraham of plants, all enclosed in glass, as
if embalmed in its casket. Before the portico, however, grows a lusty
scion, for the Tree of Guernica is of unbroken lineage, shoots being
always cherished to succeed in case the centuried predecessor fail.

In presence of this despoiled old trunk, majestic with memories, we
felt an honest awe and longed to give it adequate salute. My comrade
levelled her kodak and took front views, back views, and side views
with such spendthrift enthusiasm that the custodian, deeply impressed,
presented her with a dried leaf from the junior, cunningly pricked out
so as to suggest the figure of the tree. The national song of the
Basques, a matter of some dozen stanzas, written principally in "j's,"
"rr's," and "tz's," takes its theme, if one may trust the Castilian
translation, from this symbolic oak.

The historian wished to do nothing more in Guernica but sit and gaze
forever on that spectral trunk, but the reminder that piety was a
hardly less marked Basque characteristic than political independence,
finally induced her to follow our guide to the church. A Basque church
has its distinctive features, including a belfry, a lofty, plain
interior, with galleries, and often a votive ship, gayly painted and
fully rigged, suspended from the ceiling. The lad bore himself with
simple-minded devotion, offering us on stubby finger tips the holy
water and making due obeisance before each gilded shrine.

But my attention was soon fascinated by a foot-square relief on a blue
ground of Santiago--

     "Good Saint James upon the milkwhite steed,
     Who leaves his bliss to fight for chosen Spain."

I had hardly anticipated such a stalwart, vigorous, not to say violent
saint, with his white horse galloping, his gold-sandalled feet
gripping the great stirrups, his gold-fringed, crimson robe and azure
mantle streaming on the wind, his terrible sword glittering high in
air. This was clearly not a person to be trifled with, and I looked
about for the historian to tell her that we must be pressing forward
on our pilgrimage. But she had stolen out, every sympathetic Basque
image of the sculptured doorway conspiring to keep a stony silence and
conceal her flight, and had sped back to the Tree of Guernica, from
whose contemplation she was torn away only by a fairy-tale of supper.

Of the several Basque churches which we visited, including the bridal
church of Louis XIV, far-famed San Juan de Luz, whose sides and west
end are portioned off by three tiers of galleries, fairest in memory
is the sixteenth-century church of Begoña in Bilbao. It abounds, as
coast churches should, in suggestions of that mighty, mysterious
neighbor, at once so cruel and so beneficent, the sea. Instead of
votive ships, the walls are hung with paintings of vessels in scenes
of appalling peril. One is scudding madly before a tropical gale; one
has her rigging ragged by hurricane and her decks lashed with tempest;
one, careened upon her side, lies at the mercy of the billows, which
are sweeping over her and tumbling her crew like ninepins into the
deep. But the presence of the pictures, bold dashes of the modern
brush amid dim old paintings of saints and martyrs, tells that Our
Lady of Begoña succored her sailors in distress, who, on their safe
return, came hither to offer thanks for their preservation and to
leave these mementos of their danger and her efficient aid.

"Is your Virgin so very powerful?" we asked of a chorister boy while
he drew the cords to part the curtains that screened the jewelled
image throned in a recess above the high altar.

"I should rather think she was," answered the little fellow in a glow.
"Why, let me tell you! Robbers, the accursed ones, came here on a dark
midnight to steal her precious stones. They entered by a window, those
sons of wretched mothers, and put up a long ladder against the altar
wall. The wickedest of them all, señoras, he climbed the ladder and
raised his hand to take Our Lady's crown. And in that instant the
great bells overhead began to ring, and all the bells of all Bilbao
pealed with them, and the people waked and came running to the rescue
of Our Lady, and the robbers were put to death."

Our expression did not quite satisfy his boyish ardor, and he pointed
convincingly toward a handsome silver plaque. "And this, too,
witnesses Our Lady's power. It was given in memory of the cholera
time, when people were dying like flies in all the towns about. But
after Our Lady was carried in procession through the streets of
Bilbao, not one died here, except a sinful man who would not turn his
head to look upon her."

"That is a painting of the procession, the large picture over there on
the wall?"

"No, no, señoras. That picture commemorates another of Our Lady's
wonderful deeds. The floods were threatening the city, but Our Lady,
with many censers and candles, was borne down to the river bank, and
she ordered the water to go back, and it obeyed her, and all the town
was saved."

We retreated to the cloisters, from which one has a superb view of the
valley of the Nervion, for Our Lady of Begoña dwells high upon a
hilltop. Only the afternoon before we had been in serene Guernica, a
strange contrast to this mining capital of Vizcaya, this bustling,
noisy, iron-grimed Bilbao, in which the Basques take such delight. It
is not a city to gratify the mere tourist, who expects the people of
the lands through which he is pleased to pass to devote themselves to
looking picturesque. But even Spain is something more than food for
the kodak, and this sooty atmosphere of smelting works and factories,
traffic and commerce, means life to Spanish lungs. It is little to my
credit that I took more interest in the fact that Bilbao used to
supply Shakespeare's cronies with rapiers, under the name of
"bilboes," than in statistics regarding those millions of tons of ore
which its iron mines are now annually exporting to Great Britain. The
many English in Bilbao, miners and artisans, with the influence they
shed around them, make the streets rougher and uglier than in purely
Spanish towns. On the other hand, they bring a spirit of religious
independence, so that it is not strange to find the Spanish
Protestants of Bilbao a numerous and vigorous body, counting as a
pronounced element in the community.

From the idle peace of the Begoña cloisters, as from the old-time
world, we looked long on this Spanish city of to-day, seething with
manifold activities. We seemed to understand how, to the middle-class
Spaniard, hemmed in by all this mediæval encumbrance of barracks,
cathedrals, castles, and thrones, such cities as Bilbao and Barcelona,
pulsing with industrial energy and enterprise, are "more beautiful
than Beauty's self." The Basques, like the Catalans, take readily to
business. They set their mountain cascades to turning mill-wheels,
they canal their little Nervion till it can give passage to ships of
four thousand tons burden, they paint the night with the flare of
mighty furnaces. Every year they are building more wharves, more
railroads, more electric tramways, and they are so prodigiously proud
of their new iron bridge, with its flying ferry, which whisks
passengers over from Portugalete to Las Arenas at the rate of two
hundred a minute, that they stamp it on their characteristic jewelry.
That cunning Eibar work of the Basque provinces displays again and
again, on locket, bracelet, brooch, this incongruous design of the
_Puente Vizcaya_ beaten on chased steel in gold.

We looked regretfully out over those significant reaches of land which
we would have liked to explore to the last hearthstone. The Basque
provinces! We had not even set foot in Vitoria, the capital of Alava,
where is preserved the grim old _machete_ by which Basque governors
were sworn into office. "May my head be cut off with this knife," ran
the oath, "if I do not defend the _fuéros_ of my fatherland."

And we longed to attend one of the peasant festivals, to see the lads
play _pelota_ and the lasses step Basque dances to the music of the
village pipers, to hear the wild old marches and battle tunes that
have roused the Roman and the Moor to arms. The mystery plays of the
Basques were famous once, and although these naive dramas are now
mainly confined to Christmas and Easter, who could say that we might
not chance on some saint-day fragment? There was soon to take
place, too, in one of the Vizcayan hamlets a "blessing of the fields,"
a processional harvest rite of pagan antiquity, formerly universal in
Spain, but now confined to a few rural districts. We had a hundred
reasons for lingering--but what are reasons? Pilgrims of St. James
must put fresh peas in their shoes and be off for Compostela.

  [Illustration: SPANISH CEMETERY]



XXIII

IN OLD CASTILE

     "With three thousand men of Leon from the city Bernard goes,
     To protect the soil Hispanian from the spear of Frankish foes;
     From the city which is planted in the midst between the seas,
     To preserve the name and glory of old Pelayo's victories.

     "The peasant hears upon his field the trumpet of the knight,--
     He quits his team for spear and shield and garniture of might;
     The shepherd hears it 'mid the mist,--he flingeth down his crook,
     And rushes from the mountain like a tempest-troubled brook."
                                       --LOCKHART: _Spanish Ballads_.


The journey from Bilbao to Santander is a continuous glory of mountain
views. The train runs saucily along under beetling crags, whence the
gods of the hills may well look down in wonder and displeasure on this
noisy invasion of their solitude. We almost saw those ancient
majesties folding themselves grandly in mantles of purple shadow, but
hardly less royal in bearing were the muffled figures of the lonely
shepherds tending their flocks on the very summits.

The modern Province of Santander is the renowned Montaña, the mountain
lair which nourished the chivalry of Old Castile, and from which they
made wild sallies to the south, troop after troop, generation after
generation, until the Moorish standards were beaten back from the
plains about Toledo to the Sierras of Andalusia. Its capital city,
Santander, named from St. Andrew, was one of the four coast towns
which rendered signal service to Fernando in the conquest of Seville.
These towns, lying as they did over against the Cinque Ports of
England, came into so frequent conflict with British mariners as to be
made in the days of Edward III the subject of a special treaty.

A summer resort, however, is a summer resort the world over, and we
found the historic city, which has gracefully fitted itself to the
curve of its beautiful bay, crowded with idle people, elaborately
dressed, who sat long at the noonday breakfast, and longer yet at the
evening dinner, and then longest of all on the benches in the park,
where bands clashed and fireworks flared, until the very stars began
to blink for sleepiness.

Spaniards have a veritable passion for pyrotechnics, and our dreams
until the dawn would be punctuated by the airy report of rockets, as
if, so Galdós suggests, "the angels were cracking nuts in the sky."
Every now and then in those soft warm nights there rose a shout of
song from the street, and peeping down from the balcony, we would see
half a dozen lads and lasses leaping along through the middle of the
road, all abreast and hand in hand, in one of their boisterous peasant
dances.

There are no fewer dangers and sorrows for girls in Spain than in the
other Latin lands. In the low-vaulted, mighty-pillared, deep-shadowed
crypt under the old cathedral, a crypt that is the very haunt of
religious mystery and dread, we came upon a penitent kneeling before
the altar, a bit of written paper pinned to her back. In a stir of the
chill air this fluttered to the ground, and as she, unconscious of
its loss, bowed herself before another shrine, we picked up the paper
with a half thought of restoring it; but seeing in the first glance
that it was a rudely written prayer, entreating the Virgin's pity and
pardon for her lover and herself, we let it fall again at Mary's feet.
All manner of thank-offerings, waxen limbs, eyes, and ears, were hung
in these candle-lit recesses, little spaces of gold amid the gloom. We
had grown accustomed to such fragments of anatomy in the shop-windows,
where even votive stomachs are displayed for sale.

Although Santander is a dawdler's paradise, the residents of the city
to whom we had letters were no holiday makers, but Spaniards of the
earnest, thoughtful, liberal type, busy with large tasks of their own,
but never too busy, being Spaniards, to show unstinted kindness to the
strangers within their gates. Our brief stay did not admit of a tithe
of the excursions they had in mind for us, but my comrade achieved a
trip to Santillana del Mar, birthplace of the doughty Gil Blas.

In the latest version of her adventures, she set forth from Santander
under the bluest of skies, in company with the most bewitching of
señoritas. They left the train at Torrelavega, where the shade of
Garci Laso, one of King Pedro's victims, would doubtless have welcomed
them, had not their attention been taken up with a picturesque
coachman, who was standing dreamily on the station platform. This
Adonis proved a complete paragon, who, as they took their romantic
course over the hills, delightedly pointed out ivied tower, broken
portcullis, and the like, as tidbits for the kodak.

Santillana is the shrine of Santa Juliana, a Roman martyr, whose body
is said to have been carried thither in the ninth century. Her
devotees among the mountain wilds built her in this green valley,
overhung by a rude old fortress, a precious church, a jewel of the
early Romanesque, about whose walls a thriving community soon
gathered. Santillana was throughout the Middle Ages the most important
place between Burgos and Oviedo, and gave name to all that part of the
Montaña. The successive Marquises of Santillana were then great
personages in Spain, playing a leading part at Court. One of the
proudest families of Old Castile, they claimed descent from the Cid,
and cherished the memory of another heroic ancestor, who, in 1385,
sacrificed his life to save his king.

     "'Your horse is faint, my King, my Lord! your gallant horse is
       sick,--
     His limbs are torn, his breast is gored, on his eye the film is
       thick;
     Mount, mount on mine, O mount apace, I pray thee mount and fly!
     Or in my arms I'll lift your Grace,--their trampling hoofs are
       nigh!

            *       *       *       *       *

     "'Nay, never speak; my sires, Lord King, received their land from
       yours,
     And joyfully their blood shall spring, so be it thine secures;
     If I should fly, and thou, my King, be found among the dead,
     How could I stand 'mong gentlemen, such scorn on my gray head?'

            *       *       *       *       *

     "So spake the brave Montañez, Butrago's lord was he;
     And turned him to the coming host in steadfastness and glee;
     He flung himself among them, as they came down the hill,--
     He died, God wot! but not before his sword had drunk its fill."

The city of Santillana, whose lords once laid claim to the sovereignty
of Santander, has shrunk to a forgotten village, and the neglected
church is dropping into ruins; but the inhabitants have abated not a
jot of that fierce local patriotism which blinds the provincial
Spaniard to all defects of his birthplace and to all excellences of
rival towns. A graybeard told the stranger ladies that Santillana was
the oldest city in Spain and its cathedral the most beautiful. This
latter statement they were almost ready to accept, so richly carven
was the yellow stone and so harmonious the proportions of nave and
aisle. When they arrived at this miniature Durham they found it closed
and silent, with three little boys sleeping on the steps. Through the
benevolence of the ever present Spanish loafers, the sacristan was
sought out and a ragged escort formed for their progress from chapel
to chapel, where rare old pictures and frescos glowed across the dusk.
Best of all were the venerable cloisters, weed-grown and tumble-down,
but lovely as a mediæval dream with mellow-tinted arch and column, and
with capitals of marvellous device. This crumbling church still keeps
a dazzling hoard of treasures. All the front of the high altar is
wrought of solid silver, the reredos is a miracle of art, and the
paintings of old masters that moulder here unseen would long since in
any other land than Catholic Spain have been the spoils of gallery and
museum.

The cathedral stands just outside the town, whose narrow, crooked
streets daunted the carriage; but these enthusiastic sightseers were
all the better pleased to foot the flagging that many a clinking tread
had worn and to touch on either side, with their extended hands, the
fortresslike houses built of heavy stone and dimly emblazoned with
fierce armorial bearings. These grim dwellings were gladdened by the
grace of vine-clad balconies, where children frolicked and women
crooned quaint melodies over their needlework.

     "Will no one tell me what she sings?
       Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
     For old, unhappy, far-off things
       And battles long ago."

The inn was merely the customary Spanish _venta_, rough and poor, the
darkness of whose long, low room clouds of tobacco smoke from clumps
of gambling muleteers were making blacker yet; but lemonade was served
to the ladies in the open porch with a charm of cordial courtesy far
beyond Delmonico's.

As they quaffed this modest refreshment and watched the shifting
groups about the _venta_, which seemed the centre of the social life,
there suddenly appeared upon the scene a ghost from the modern world,
an everyday gentleman in a straw hat, as citified and up to date as if
he had that moment stepped out of a Madrid café. All the loungers
within and without the _venta_ sprang to their feet, bared their
heads, and bowed low to this anachronism with so profound a deference
that the tourists began to wonder if the irrepressible Gil Blas had
come alive again. Not he! This was the Marquis of Santillana, bearing
under his arm instead of a sword a bundle of newspapers. The first
Marquis of Santillana had been a famous warrior and troubadour. This
latest "inheritor of old renown," seating himself in the midst of his
thronging vassals, graciously proceeded, much like a University
Extension lecturer, to read aloud, with simple explanations, the news
of the day. Such is the final form of _noblesse oblige_ in the feudal
valley of Santillana.

We were tempted to hunt out other nooks and eyries in the mountains of
Santander, to see something of the famous sardine fisheries, to drive
along the many-storied coast all the way to Gijon, paying our respects
in passing to a noble oak of Asturias, one of the three largest trees
of Europe; but always the uplifted sword of St. James drove us on. If
we would reach Compostela in season for the annual _fiesta de
Santiago_, there was no time to lose. So, in default of a nearer
railway connection, we started due south for Palencia. Our route ran
at first through a land of hills, maize, and stone walls that might
have been New England, except for the women scratching away in the
hay-fields, and politely saluting the train with a flourish of their
pitchforks.

Then more and more the landscape became Spanish. Little stone hamlets
dozed in ever shallower valleys, mule trains and solitary horsemen
moved slowly down poplar-bordered highways, white as chalk; there was
a slumbering peasant for every speck of shade. But while the men took
their siestas, often sleeping where the drowsiness had befallen them,
with arm thrown about the wooden plough or with head pillowed on the
thrashing roller, there were always women at work--figures clad in the
very colors of the harvest, red and gold and purple, binding sheaves,
sweeping the fields with stout brush brooms, tending flocks and herds
by the rivers, following stray sheep over the hills, with only a
handkerchief at the most to protect their heads from the terrible
noonday sun. As the afternoon wore on, we found ourselves in the
melancholy reaches of brown Castilian plain, with the adobe towns,
the miserable mud villages, open-air threshing floors, and arid,
silent, Oriental look.

  [Illustration: TOLEDO]

The only cloud in sight was that which rested for a moment on my
comrade's face. She had so newly come from our clean and wholesome
fatherland that certain features of the Spanish inns still shook her
high serenity of soul, and she had suddenly discovered that Baedeker
significantly characterized the Palencia hotel as "an indifferent
Spanish house." In the discreet language of our excellent guidebook
this was no less than a note of warning, a signal of alarm. But even
Baedeker is fallible, and on arriving at the _Gran Hotel Continental_,
we were met by all the Castilian dignity and grave kindliness of
greeting, and led to rooms whose floors shone with oil and scrubbing,
whose curtains, towels, and sheeting were white as mountain snow, and
whose furnishings were resplendent with two dozen chairs upholstered
in orange satin. We seated ourselves in rapture on one saffron throne
after another, drank fresh milk from polished glasses, and slept, for
this only night of all our Santiago pilgrimage, the sleep of the
unbitten. A sweet-voiced _sereno_ intoning the hours set our dreams to
music.

The following morning we spent in the cathedral, which, though of
plain exterior, except for the many-imaged "Door of the Bishop," is
all lightness, grace, and symmetry within. The organ was pealing and
women were kneeling for the mass as we went softly down the
high-vaulted nave, our spirits played upon now by the dignity of
pointed arches and of clustered columns and now by delicate beauties
in tracery and carving. Only here and there were we aware of a jarring
note, as in chancing upon a great crucifix whose Christ was decked
out in two elegant lace petticoats and a white silk crinoline
embroidered over with silver thread.

When the chant had died away, an affectionate old sacristan, in a
curious red and black coat, delivered us with sundry farewell pats and
pinches over to the charge of a subordinate, who proceeded to display
the hidden treasures. These are far from overwhelming, after the
glittering hoards of Burgos, Seville, and Toledo, but they are as odd
an assortment as sacristy ever sheltered. There was an absurd portrait
of Charles I, a freak of foreshortening. At first sight it seemed to
be the skeleton of a fish, but on viewing it through a peephole the
creature had become a human face. Even so, it was hardly a flattering
likeness of the founder of the Austrian line; but as it was Charles I
who stripped Palencia of her original powers and dignities, one would
not expect to find him complimented here.

We turned our attention to the vestments, which, though few, are
peculiarly artistic, with devices, stitched in gold thread and in
jewel reds and greens, of pomegranates, roses, ecclesiastical coats of
arms, angels, Maries, Nativities, and Adorations. These were
appropriate enough, but even our reserved conductor, a monastic youth
who wore a white, openwork tunic over his black suit, smiled
disdainfully as he put before us a time-yellowed ivory box arabesqued
with men and lions, the jewel casket of some pet sultana. "But why
should it be here?" He shrugged his shoulders. "In truth, it is not
holy--a woman's thing! Nor do I know how it came to us, but what we
have we keep."

The sacristy certainly seems to have kept more than its share of
_custodias_. Our guide first brought out a dainty structure, where
grieving angels uplift the cross, and the Sufferer's halo is wrought
of pearls and gems. This was replaced by another, a marvel of
goldsmith's craft, turreted and crocketed with fine gold, while all
about the base are figured Annunciations, Visitations, and other
mysteries. Rich as they were, neither of these could compare with that
famous pyx of the Escorial, inlaid with ten thousand precious stones.
Then our conductor took us with a mighty turning of monster keys,
pulling of rusty bolts, and fall of clanging chains, to see the
supreme _custodia_ of all, one great dazzle of silver from fretted
base to dome and pinnacle, save as among the Corinthian columns of the
first stage glisten golden forms of the Apostles, and of the second,
winged shapes of cherubim and seraphim. This shining tower, some three
or four centuries old, is beheld by Palencia only on Corpus Christi
Day, when, holding at its heart the golden monstrance which holds the
Host, it passes as a triumphal car throughout the city. Priests
walking on either side make a feint of drawing it by tasselled cords,
but "little would it budge for that," said our guide, in high disdain,
opening a door in the frame beneath to reveal the benches where strong
men sit concealed and toil at a motor crank. He had much more to show
us, including precious old tapestries of the Netherlands, and a St.
Katharine by Zurbarán, with a light on the kneeling figure as pure and
bright as a moonbeam; but we had to press the fee on his Castilian
pride, when at last the vulgarity of luncheon summoned us away.

For the historian, basking in this last smile of civilization, the
afternoon passed blissfully among the orange chairs, but I sallied
forth once more, attended by our benignant landlady. The rays of the
sun flashed down like deadly arrows and I had pleaded for a carriage,
but longed to beg its pardon when it came, so faded, rheumatic, and
yet august was that fat old chariot, groaning and tottering as it
rolled, but lowering the pomp of a velvet-carpeted staircase whenever
we desired to alight.

Our progress made a grand sensation in those drowsy streets and
squares, a retinue soon gathered, and nobody seemed surprised when,
after a round of Jesuit and Dominican churches, we drew up before the
madhouse. I had wished to look upon this building, because it is
reputed to have been a dwelling of the Cid; but the hero of Castile
was as unknown to my gentle escort as to the medical priest whom she
must needs call forth to meet me, or to the hapless lunatics whom he,
in turn, insisted on my seeing. A town which had forgotten its chief
citizen naturally fails to keep on sale photographs of its cathedral,
so we packed our memories in default of anything more substantial and
took the evening train to the northwest.

Four hours of hushed, moonlit plain, and then Leon! This is a name of
thrilling memories, and we stepped out into the midnight silence of
that once royal capital whose kingdom "stretched from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Rhone," so awed that even a rickety 'bus, and a smuggler
who tried to hide his trunk behind our honest luggage, hardly broke
the spell. My comrade, still new to Spanish ways, had fears that the
illustrated card which I had forgotten to stamp would not have reached
the hotel. She asked me why I did not telegraph; but some days later,
when we sent a telegram at noon, took a way-train at five, and reached
our destination at ten, simultaneously with the telegram which I might
as well have brought in my pocket, she was set free from New World
prejudices. The unstamped card went through without question, a
picture of a pretty mountain maid being quite as acceptable to the
postal clerks as the portrait of their young king.

We were expected at the hotel, the best in town, but so dirty and
malodorous that we would better have camped under the stars. There had
been some attempt to sweep the floor of our dingy chamber, as we could
see by comparing it with stairs and corridors. Sour milk and sour
bread were served with a compensating sweetness of manner, but the
experiences of that night belong to oblivion.

The joy of the morning! Guided by a shy little scullery lad, smooched
of face and ragged of raiment, but with all the instincts of a
cavalier, we stepped out into those stately streets, with their
haughty old houses, balconies, coats of arms, arches, and battlements,
as into an animated picture book. It was Saturday, and the town was
all astir with peasants come to market, every peasant as good as a
romance. Such brightness of figured kerchiefs, homespun petticoats,
trunk hose, jackets, sashes! The little girls were quaintest of all,
dressed precisely like their mammas, even to those brilliant skirts
edged with one color and slashed with another. Many of the women were
carrying loads of greens, others plucked fowls, and some had indignant
chickens, in full possession of chicken faculties, snuggled under the
arm.

As the chief city in a far reach of luxuriant plain, Leon becomes the
focus, every Saturday, of flocks of sheep, droves of pigs, and herds
of cattle, together with innumerable mules and donkeys bringing in
grain, fruit, and all manner of garden produce. We chanced upon the
market itself in the arcaded _Plaza Mayor_, under shadow of the
towered court-house, with the tapering spire of the cathedral
overlooking all. The great square hummed like a beehive and sparkled
with shifting color like a field of butterflies. We found ourselves
first in the bread market. Under wide umbrellas of canvas set on poles
women were perched high on wooden benches, with their gayly shod feet
supported on stools. Beside each woman, on her rude seat, was a
brightly woven basket heaped with the horny Spanish loaves. Close by
was the fruit market, with its piles of red and purple plums, pears,
grapes, green peppers, lemons, and, beyond, patches of melons,
cucumbers, cabbages, potatoes, beans, and that staff of Spanish life,
chick pease, or _garbanzos_.

The meat market appeared to be itinerant. A man in blue blouse, short
brown breeches, and dove-colored hose adorned with green tassels, was
leading a cow by its crumpled horn; an old woman, with giant silver
hoops in her ears, a lavender shawl knotted about her body, her
scarlet skirt well slashed so as to show the gamboge petticoat
beneath, and so short for all its purple frill as to display the
clockwork of her variegated stockings, was carrying a black lamb,
nestled like a baby in her arms; another walking rainbow bore a live
turkey; and a lad, whose rosy-hued kerchief, shawl, and sash floated
like sunrise clouds about him, balanced on his erect young head an
immense basket of eggs. There was a pottery section, too,--square rods
of cups, plates, and jars in all manner of russet tints and graceful
shapes.

The various divisions were intermingled and blent into one great
open-air market, the cheeriest sort of neighborhood picnic, where
gossip, jest, and laughter were accompanied by the cackling of fowls,
braying of donkeys, and cooing of babies. Here fluttered a colony of
bantams cast, their legs well tied, down on the cobble-stones; there
stood carts laden with bunches of the yellowish dried heather; here
two patient oxen had laid themselves out for a snooze; there a wicked
little ass was blinking at the greens; here squatted a damsel in gold
kerchief, garnet bodice, and beryl skirt, weighing out fresh figs;
there sat a cobbler pegging away at his stall, his patrons waiting
with bare feet while he mended their shoes; stands of cheeses, coops
of chickens, children sleeping among the sacks of grain, a boy waving
a rod on which was strung a gorgeous assortment of garters; loitering
soldiers, limping beggars, bargaining ladies attended by their maids,
all gave notes to the harmony. Yet with all that trampling, small
weeds were growing green amid the slippery stones that pave the
square.

The Leon peasantry is said to be the finest in all Spain, and surely
no concourse of people could have been more honest, courteous, and
dignified than this. The women wore ornamented wallets beneath the
skirt, and warned us gravely against carrying money in exposed
pockets; but we moved freely among the press with notebook and kodak,
always the centre of curious groups, and our purses were not touched.
Indeed we found it difficult to spend even a _peseta_, so modest were
the prices. For as large a jar as our little squire could well carry
we paid the value of three cents. The men often rebuked the children
for staring and questioning, but stood themselves at gaze, and asked
us frankly what we were about. When we replied that we had never seen
so beautiful a market, and were taking notes and photographs that we
might not forget, the peasants smilingly passed the word from one side
of the _plaza_ to the other, and all, even to the chief of police, who
was strutting about waving an unnecessary staff, were eager to offer
information and to point out picturesque subjects.

But the morning was slipping away, and we had almost forgotten the
oracle of a Spanish gentleman in Palencia: "Leon has three sights for
the visitor, and only three--the Cathedral, San Isidoro, and San
Marcos." We proceeded to take these illustrious churches in order. The
Leon Cathedral, closely analogous to the Gothic masterpieces of
northern France, is far beyond all poor praises of mine. Now in
process of repair and stripped of the garish shrines of modern
worship, it may be enjoyed purely as architecture--a temple of high
beauty. Let artists tell of its towers and finials, flying buttresses,
gables, cornices, galleries, piers, façades. Yet one need not be an
artist to delight in the glow of its great rose windows, or to spend
fascinated hours poring over the chiselled story book of portals,
stalls, and cloisters. Such inimitable glass, burning still with the
fervors of the mediæval faith! And such a world of divinity and
humanity, even down to childish mischief, in those multitudinous
carvings! The Passion scenes are repeated over and over, creation and
judgment are there, the life, death, and ascension of the Virgin, hero
legends, animal fables, and folk-lore. Gothic energy is abundantly
manifest. St. George smites the dragon, St. Michael tramples the
devil, Samson splits the lion's jaws, and Santiago, carved in ebony on
a door in the mellow-hued old cloisters, is riding down the Moors
with such contagious fury that the very tail of his horse is
twisted into a ferocious quirk. On angel-guarded tombs pictures of
ancient battle, murder, vengeance, are graven in the long-remembering
stone. But marble birds peck at the marble fruit, the ivory peasant
drives his pigs, the alabaster shepherd watches his flock, the lad
leads his donkey, the monk feeds the poor at the abbey gates, and
plump stone priests, stowed away in shadowy niches, make merry over
the wine.

  [Illustration: TOLEDO CATHEDRAL. DOOR OF LIONS]

If we had revelled overmuch in the art values of the cathedral, San
Isidoro administered a prompt corrective. This Romanesque church,
dating from the beginning of the eleventh century and a forerunner of
the Escorial in that it was founded by the first Fernando of Castile
as a royal mausoleum, is excessively holy. Not merely are the bones of
the patron saint kept on the high altar, but the Host is on constant
exhibition there. Unaware of these especial sanctities, we were
quietly walking toward the choir, when an angry clamor from behind
caused us to turn, and there, stretching their heads out over the
railing of an upper gallery, was a line of furious priests. In vain
the sacristan strove to excuse us, "foreigners and ladies," who did
not know that we were expected to fall upon our knees on first
entering the door. We had been guilty of no irreverence beyond this
omission, and even under the hail of priestly wrath did our best to
withdraw correctly without turning our backs to the altar. But nothing
would appease that scandalized row of gargoyles, whose violent
rudeness seemed to us the greater desecration. Thus it was that we did
not enter the frescoed chambers of the actual Panteon, said to be
imposing yet, although the royal tombs were broken up by the French
in 1808. Very wrong in the French, but unless the manners of San
Isidoro's bodyguard have degenerated, the soldiers of Napoleon may
have had their provocation.

It was now high noon, and the market-place had poured all its peasants
out upon the streets. Groups of them were lying at luncheon under the
trees, passing the pigskin bottle of wine from mouth to mouth. Beggars
were standing by and blessing them in return for scraps of the coarse
and scanty fare. "May God repay! May the saints prosper thy harvest!"

A woman riding home, sitting erect on the red-striped donkey-bag,
handed a plum to her husband, who trudged beside her in gray linen
trunks and green velveteen waistcoat, with a white square of cloth
set, for ornament, into the middle of the back. He divided the fruit
with a pleading cripple, who called after them as devoutly as a man
with half a plum in his cheek well could, "May the Blessed Virgin ride
forth with you and gladden all your way!"

We had, because of the increasing heat, conjured up a carriage, a
species of invalid stage-coach, and were therefore the envy of little
schoolboys in blue pinafores. Their straw satchels bobbed on their
backs as they gave chase to our clattering ark and clung to steps and
door. This mode of locomotion did not save us time, for our coachman
had domestic cares on his mind and drew up to bargain for a chicken,
which finally mounted with a squall to the box seat; but in due
Spanish season we stopped before the plateresque façade of San Marcos.

This is a still unfinished convent, rich in artistic beauties and
historic memories. Here, for instance, is a marvellously human head
of St. Francis, a triumph of the polychrome sculpture, and here is the
little cell where the poet Quevedo, "colossal genius of satire," was
imprisoned for over three years by Philip IV, the patron of Velázquez.
It is not so easy to cage a mocking-bird, though the satire-pencilled
walls have been well whitewashed.

But San Marcos was originally a hospital for pilgrims on the road to
Compostela, and conch shells are the central ornamentation of arch and
vault and frieze. We accepted the rebuke; we would loiter no more.
Early that afternoon we took train for Coruña, after which some agency
other than steam must transport us to the mediæval city of St. James.



XXIV

PILGRIMS OF SAINT JAMES

     "In Galice at Seint Jame, and at Coloigne,
     She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye."
                          --CHAUCER: _Canterbury Tales_.

     "Pilgrimes and palmers plihten hem to-gederes
     For to seche Seint Jame."
                          --LANGLAND: _Piers Plowman_.

     "I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone."
                   --SHAKESPEARE: _All's Well that Ends Well_.


From Leon to Coruña is a journey of some eighteen hours by rail.
Degenerate pilgrims that we were, we had taken a first-class carriage
reserved for ladies, not so comfortable as the average third-class
carriage on an English road. We hoped for space, at least, and
solitude, but people who choose to pry into out-of-the-way corners of
Spain need not expect to find any slavish deference to rights of place
and property. The conductor had planned to dine and sleep in this
particular compartment, which was a shade cleaner than the rest, and
removed his kit from the rack with natural disappointment. Why should
ladies be going to Galicia? But the general first-class compartment,
next to ours, was unoccupied, and he resignedly transferred his
belongings thither. The numerous third-class carriages were crowded
with raw recruits, who had all jumped down, boy fashion, on the Leon
platforms, and came scrambling back at the starting bell in noisiest
confusion. Just as the train was puffing out, a station official threw
open our door with a smiling, "Only to the next stop, ladies!" and
precipitated upon us three belated warriors. We groaned inly with dark
foreboding, for third-class occupancy of a first-class carriage is apt
to leave lively souvenirs behind. Our three young soldiers, each with
his personal effects bundled up in an enormous red and yellow
handkerchief, were of the rudest peasant type, hardly lifted above
animal and clod. Only one was able to spell out anything of the
newspaper we offered. He labored over a large-lettered advertisement
with grimy thumb, twisting brows, and muttering lips, but soon gave it
up in sheer exhaustion. The hulking fellow beyond him was continually
on the point of spitting,--a regular Spanish pastime in travel; but,
determined that the carriage should not suffer that offence, I kept
strict watch on this chrysalis hero, and embarrassed him into stark
paralysis with questions on the landscape whenever he was quite
prepared to fire. The third conscript was a ruddy, fair-haired boy of
seventeen, who had in rudimentary form the social instincts of a
Spaniard, and in his intervals of blue-eyed staring at the tawdry
splendors about him hammered our ears with some harsh dialect, his one
theme being the indignities and hardships of a Spanish soldier's lot.
Yet dull as they were, and ignorant of railway customs, they knew
enough to prefer broad cushions, whose variety of stains did not
trouble their enviable simplicity, to the rough and narrow benches of
the overcrowded third-class carriages, and at the "first stop" they
unanimously forgot to change. But they were not unkindly lads, and
after I had explained to them a dozen times or so that my friend was
suffering from a headache and needed to lie down, and had,
furthermore, lawlessly suggested that they could make themselves
equally comfortable in the other first-class carriage, which was not
"reserved for ladies," they promised to leave us at the second
station; but their slow peasant hands fumbled at the door so clumsily
that the train was under way again before the latch had yielded. It
was not until we had been fellow-travellers for two or three hours
that they finally stumbled into the neighboring compartment. From this
the conductor, who had been blind and deaf to past proceedings,
promptly ejected them, having no mind to let them make acquaintance
with his wine bottle, and our poor exiles cast reproachful glances at
us as they were hustled off to their own place.

We have sometimes talked enthusiastically of democracy, but we did not
discuss such exalted subjects then. Indeed, we had enough to do in
guarding our doors, often by frank exercise of muscle, from further
intrusion, and in trying to provide ourselves with food and water. A
struggling mob of soldier boys besieged the refreshment stalls at
every station, and drained the jars of the water-venders long before
these could arrive at the car windows. At last, by a union of silver
and violence, we succeeded in gaining from an astounded little girl,
who was racing after the departing carriages, all her stock in trade,
even the great russet jar itself, with its treasure of cold spring
water. The historian possesses a special genius for cooking over an
alcohol lamp on a rocking mountain train, and having augmented our
knapsack stores with scalded milk and knobby bread from a tavern near
one of the depots, we lived like feudal barons "of our own" for the
rest of that memorable journey.

Reminders of the pilgrims were all along our route. Overflowing as
Santiago's young knights were with martial and romantic spirit, when
the brigands did not give their steel sufficient sport they would
break lances for the love of ladies or on any other conceivable
pretext. We passed the bridge of twenty arches, where ten companions
in arms once posted themselves for ten successive days, and challenged
to the tilt every cavalier who came that way in journey to the
Compostela jubilee.

All the afternoon we were climbing into the hill-country. The waste
slopes were starred with purple clumps of heather, and crossed by
light-footed maids, who balanced great bunches of bracken on their
heads. The patches of green valley, walled in by those barren steeps,
held each a few tumble-down old houses, while elsewhere we noticed
human dwellings that seemed scarcely more than nests of mud plastered
to the stone. Yet the soil appeared to be cultivated with the most
patient thrift,--wheat and potatoes growing wherever wheat and
potatoes might. The view became a bewildering medley of Scottish
hills, Italian skies, and Gothic castles, with occasionally a tawny
and fantastic rock from the Garden of the Gods. The city of Astorga,
whose cathedral was founded, so the pilgrims used to say, by St. James
in his missionary tour, greeted us from the midst of the flinty hills.
These are the home of a singular clan known as the Maragatos. They
wear a distinctive dress, marry only among themselves, and turn a
sullen look upon their neighbors.

As night came on, the road grew so rough that we had to cork our
precious water-jar with a plump lemon. The historian was sleeping off
her headache, except as I woke her at the stations to aid in the
defence of our ignoble luxury. We remembered that queen of Portugal
who made the pilgrimage to Compostela on foot, begging her way. In the
close-packed third-class carriages it must have been a cramped and
weary night, and we did not wonder that young socialists occasionally
tried to raid our fortress. But we clung stoutly to the door-handles,
lustily sounding our war cry of "Ladies only" in lieu of "Santiago,"
and early in the small hours had the shamefaced pleasure of seeing the
herd of drowsy conscripts, with their red and yellow bundles, driven
into another train, where they were tumbled two or three deep, the
under layer struggling and protesting. One little fellow, nearly
smothered in the hurly-burly about the steps, cried out pitifully; but
the conductor silenced him with angry sarcasm: "Dost mean to be a
soldier, thou? Or shall we put thee in a sugar-bowl and send thee back
to mamma?"

There was less need of sentry duty after this, but the night was too
beautiful for sleep. We were crossing the wild Asturian mountains, the
Alps of Spain, and a full moon was pouring down white lustre on crag,
cascade, and gorge. By these perilous ways had streamed the
many-bannered pilgrim hosts,--men and women of all countries and all
tongues seeking the Jerusalem of the West. Each nation had its own
hymn to Santiago, and these, sung to the mingled music of bagpipes,
timbrels, bugles, flutes, and harps, must have pealed out strangely on
many a silver night. The poor went begging of the rich, and often a
mounted crusader cast his purse of broad gold pieces on the heather,
trusting Santiago and his own good sword to see him through. Up and
down these sheer ravines stumbled the blind and lame, sure of
healing if only they could reach the shrine. Deaf and dumb went in the
pilgrim ranks, the mad, the broken-hearted, the sin-oppressed; only
the troop of lepers held apart. Some of those foot-sore wayfarers,
most likely the raggedest of all, carried a secret treasure for the
saint. Some staggered under penitential weights of lead and stone, and
others bore loads of bars and fetters in token of captivity from which
St. James had set them free.

  [Illustration: ST. PAUL, THE FIRST HERMIT]

But these pathetic shapes no longer peopled the moonlight. Since it
was the nineteenth century, a first-class passenger might as well lie
down and watch the gracious progress of the moon across the heavens,--

     "Oft, as if her head she bowed,
     Stooping through a fleecy cloud."

But the clouds perversely made of themselves wayside crosses, urns,
cathedral towers; and just as one sky-creature, "backed like a weasel"
but with the face of Santiago, began to puff a monstrous cigarette, I
roused my dozing senses and discovered that we were entering Lugo, the
capital of Galicia, and once, under Roman rule, of all Spain.

This city of tumultuous history, stormed by one wild race after
another, and twice sacked in our own century, first by the French and
then by the Carlists, lay very peacefully under the white dawn. While
the chivalrous Spanish sun rose unobtrusively, so as not to divert
attention from the fading graces of the moon, the historian made
sustaining coffee, and we tried to look as if we liked Galicia. This
far northwestern province is the Boeotia of Spain; its stupid,
patient peasantry are the butt of all the Peninsula, and to be called
a Gallego is to be called a fool. The country, as we saw it from the
train, was broken and hilly, but the Alpine majesty of Asturias was
gone. In the misty drizzle of rain, which soon hushed the pipings of
the birds, all the region looked wretchedly poor. It was a wooded,
watered, well-tilled land, with tufts of heather brightly fringing
every bank; but the houses were mere cabins, where great, gaunt,
dark-colored pigs pushed in and out among bedraggled hens and
half-clad children. Women were working in the fields by five o'clock
in the morning, their saffron and carmine kerchiefs twisted into horns
above the forehead. Women were serving as porters at the stations,
carrying heavy trunks and loads of valises on their heads. Women were
driving the plough, swinging the pickaxe in the quarries, mending the
railway tracks. Short, stout, vigorous brownies they were, and most of
them looked old.

It was mid-forenoon when we reached Coruña, the seaport whence sailed
the Invincible Armada. We had meant to rest there for the afternoon
and night before undertaking the forty-mile drive to Santiago, but the
hotel was so filthy that, tired as we were, there was nothing for it
but to go on. Tarrying only for bath and breakfast, we took our places
in a carriage which, setting out at one, promised to bring us into
Santiago in time for the eight o'clock dinner.

This conveyance was a species of narrow omnibus, which an Andalusian,
an Englishman, a son of Compostela returning home after a long sojourn
in foreign parts, his young wife of Jewish features, and our weary
selves filled to overflowing. Our Jehu had agreed to transport the six
of us, with our effects, for the sum of sixteen dollars; but deep was
our disgust when he piled our handbags, shawl straps, and all our
lesser properties in upon our wedged and helpless forms, and crammed
six rough Gallegos, with a reeling load of trunks and boxes, on the
roof. Remonstrance would be futile. The places in the regular
diligence were not only taken for the afternoon but engaged for
several days ahead, and carriages are rare birds in Galicia. The
Spanish gentlemen merely shrugged their shoulders, the Englishman had
but that morning landed in Spain and could not speak a word of the
vernacular, and feminine protest was clearly out of order. The four
puny horses took the top-heavy vehicle at a rattling pace down the
granite-paved streets of Coruña, but hardly were we under way when our
griefs began.

On our arrival that forenoon, a fluent porter had over-persuaded us to
leave our trunk at the station, letting him retain the check in order
to have the baggage ready for us when we should pass the depot _en
route_ for Santiago. We had been absent scarcely three hours, but
meanwhile the trunk had disappeared. A dozen tatterdemalions ran
hither and thither, making as much noise as possible, all the top
fares shouted contradictory suggestions, and our porter, heaping
Ossa-Pelions of execration upon the (absent) railroad officials,
declared that they in their most reprobate stupidity had started the
trunk on that eighteen-hour journey back to Leon. They were dolts and
asses, the sons of imbecile mothers; but we had only to leave the
check with him, and in the course of an indefinite number of
"to-morrows" he would recover our property. We had grown sadder and
wiser during the last five minutes, however, and insisted on taking
that soiled inch of paper into our own keeping. At this the porter
flew into a Spanish rage, flung back his fee into my lap, and so
eloquently expressed himself that we left Coruña with stinging ears.

It was the historian's trunk, stored with supplies for the camera, as
well as with sundry alleviations of our pilgrim lot, but she put it in
the category of spilled milk, and turned with heroic cheerfulness to
enjoy the scenery. The horses had now drooped into the snail's pace
which they consistently maintained through the rest of their long,
uphill way, for the city of the Apostle stands on a high plateau. As
we mounted more and more, Coruña, lying between bay and sea, still
shone clear across the widening reach of smiling landscape. Maize and
vines were everywhere. So were peasants, who trudged along in family
troops toward Compostela. But whether afoot or astride donkeys of
antique countenance, they could always outstrip our lumbering coach,
and we were an easy prey for the hordes of childish bandits who chase
vehicles for miles along the pilgrim road, shrieking for pennies in
the name of Santiago.

About two leagues out of Coruña we did pass something,--a group
composed of a young Gallego and the most diminutive of donkeys. The
peasant, walking beside his beast, was trying to balance across its
back an object unwonted to those wilds.

"Strange to see a steamer trunk here!" I remarked, turning to the
historian; but she was already leaning out from the window, inspecting
that label-speckled box with an eagle gaze.

"It's mine!" she exclaimed, and in a twinkling had startled the driver
into pulling up his horses, had leapt from the coach, and was running
after the peasant, who, for his part, swerving abruptly from the main
road, urged his panting donkey up a steep lane. Nobody believed her.
Even I, her fellow-pilgrim, thought her wits were addling with our
penitential fasts and vigils, and did not attempt to join in so mad a
chase. As for the scandalized Spaniards, inside and out, they shouted
angrily that the thing was impossible and the señora was to come back.
The coachman roared loudest of all. But on she dashed, ran down her
man, and bade him, in inspired Galician, bring that trunk to the
omnibus at once. He scratched his head, smiled a child's innocent and
trustful smile, and, like a true Gallego, did as he was told. By this
time masculine curiosity had been too much for the driver and most of
the fares, and they had scrambled after, so that the few of us who
kept guard by the carriage presently beheld an imposing procession
advancing along the road, consisting of a Galician peasant with a
steamer trunk upon his head, a group of crestfallen Spaniards, and a
Yankee lady, slightly flushed, attended by an applauding Englishman.

Beyond a doubt it was her trunk. Her name was there, a New York hotel
mark, which she had tried to obliterate with a blot of Leon ink, and
the number corresponding to the number of our check. "By Jove!" said
the Englishman. As for the peasant, he said even less, but in some way
gave us to understand that he was taking the trunk to a gentleman from
Madrid. Thinking that there might have been a confusion of checks in
the station, we gave this childlike native a _peseta_ and a card with
our Santiago address in case "the Madrid gentleman" should suspect us
of highway robbery. Our fellow-passengers took the tale to Santiago,
however; it made a graphic column in the local paper, and none of the
several Spaniards who spoke to us of the matter there doubted that the
trunk was stolen by collusion between the porter and the peasant.

Our next adventure was more startling yet. The coachman had been
heard, at intervals, vehemently expostulating with a roof passenger
who wanted to get down. "Man alive! By the staff of Santiago! By your
mother's head! By the Virgin of the Pillar!" Whether the malcontent
had taken too much wine, whether he was under legal arrest, whether it
was merely a crossing of whims, we could not learn from any of the
impassioned actors in the drama; but, apparently, he found his
opportunity to slip unnoticed off the coach. For suddenly the driver
screamed to his horses, and, like a bolt from the blue, a handsome,
athletic fellow leapt to the ground and rushed back along the dusty
road, brandishing clenched fists and stamping his feet in frenzy. In
mid-career he paused, struck a stage attitude, tore open his pink
shirt, gasped, and shook with rage. "Irving isn't in it," quoth the
Englishman. Then appeared, lurking by the roadside, a slouchy youth,
on whom our tragic hero sprang like a tiger, threw him down, and stood
panting over him with a gesture as if to stab. An instant later he had
seized his victim by the collar, dragged him up, and was running him
back to the coach. "You hurt me," wailed the truant, "and I don't want
to go." But go he must, being bundled back in short order on the roof,
where harmony seemed to be immediately restored. While the men were
struggling, a lordly old peasant, stalking by, surveyed them with a
peasant's high disdain. We had already noted the Irish look of the
Galicians, but this magnificent patriarch, with dark green waistcoat
over a light green shirt, old gold knickerbockers and crushed
strawberry hose, had as Welsh a face, dark and clean-cut, as Snowdon
ever saw.

Long sunset shadows lay across the hills; we had shared with our
companions our slight stores of sweet chocolate, bread, and wine, and
still we were not halfway to Santiago. It was nine o'clock before our
groaning equipage drew up at a wretched little inn, incredibly foul,
where it was necessary to bait the exhausted horses. Mine host
welcomed the party with pensive dignity, and served us, in the midst
of all that squalor, with the manners of a melancholy count. Shutting
eyes and noses as far as we could, and blessing eggs for shells and
fruit for rind, we ate and gathered strength to bear what St. James
might yet have in store for us.

The diligence had resumed its weary jog; we were all more or less
asleep, unconsciously using, in our crowded estate, one another as
pillows, when an uproar from the box and a wild lurch of the coach
brought us promptly to our waking senses. One of the wheel horses was
down, and the others, frightened by the dragging harness, were rearing
and plunging. Out we tumbled into the misty night, wondering if we
were destined, after all, to foot it to Compostela in proper pilgrim
fashion. The poor beast was mad with terror, and his struggles soon
brought his mate to the ground beside him. The coachman, so pompous
and dictatorial at the outset, stood helplessly in the road, at a safe
distance, wringing his hands and crying like a baby: "Alas, poor me!
Poor little me! O holy Virgin! Santiago!" The top fares, who had made
good speed to _terra firma_, were wailing in unison and shrieking
senseless counsels. "Kill thou the horse! Kill thou the horse!" one of
them chanted like a Keltic dirge. The coachman supplied the antiphon:
"Kill not my horse! Kill not my horse! _Ave Maria!_ Poor little me!"
"Fools! Sit on his head," vociferated the Englishman in his vain
vernacular. The horses seemed to have as many legs as centipedes,
kicking all at once. The coach was toppling, the luggage pitching, and
catastrophe appeared inevitable, when Santiago, such an excellent
horseman himself, inspired one of the roof passengers to unbuckle a
few straps. The effect was magical. First one nag, and then the other,
struggled to its feet; the coachman sobbed anew, this time for joy;
the Spanish gentlemen, who had been watching the scene with
imperturbable passivity, crawled back into the diligence, the silent
wife followed with the heavy bag which her husband had let her carry
all the way, and the Anglo-Saxon contingent walked on ahead for half
an hour to give the spent horses what little relief we might.

The clocks were striking two when we reached the gates of the sacred
city, where fresh hindrance met us. The customs officials were on the
alert. Who were we that would creep into Compostela de Santiago under
cover of night, in an irregular conveyance piled high with trunks and
boxes? Smugglers, beyond a doubt! But they would teach us a thing or
two. We might wait outside till morning.

  [Illustration: MAIDS OF HONOR]

Delighted boys from a peasant camp beyond the walls ran up to jeer at
our predicament. Our coachman, reverting to his dolorous chant,
appealed to all the saints. The top fares shrilled in on the chorus;
the Spanish gentlemen lighted cigarettes, and after some twenty
minutes of dramatic altercation, a soldier sprang on our top step and
mounted guard, while the coach rattled through the gates and on to
the _aduana_. Here we were deposited, bag and baggage, on the
pavement, and a drowsy, half-clad old dignitary was brought forth to
look at us. The coachman, all his social graces restored,
imaginatively presented the three Anglo-Saxons as a French party
travelling for pleasure. "But what am I to do with them?" groaned the
dignitary, and went back to bed. An appalling group of _serenos_, in
slouch hats and long black capes, with lanterns and with staffs topped
by steel axes, escorted us into a sort of luggage room, and told us to
sit down on benches. We sat on them for half an hour, which seemed to
satisfy the ends of justice, for then the _serenos_ gave place to
porters, who said they would bring us our property, which nobody had
examined or noticed in the slightest, after daybreak, and would now
show us the way to our hotel. Our farewell to the coachman, who came
beaming up to shake hands and receive thanks, was cold.

We had engaged rooms by letter a week in advance, but they had been
surrendered to earlier arrivals, and we were conducted to a private
house next door to the hotel. After the delays incident to waking an
entire family, we were taken into a large, untidy room, furnished with
dining table, sewing machine, and a half dozen decrepit chairs. There
was no water and no sign of toilet apparatus, but in an adjoining dark
closet were two narrow cots, from which the four daughters of the
house had just been routed. Of those beds which these sleepy children
were then, with unruffled sweetness and cheeriness, making ready for
us, the less said the better. Our indoor hours in Compostela, an
incessant battle against dirt, bad smells, and a most instructive
variety of vermin, were a penance that must have met all pilgrim
requirements. And yet these people spared no pains to make us
comfortable, so far as they understood comfort. At our slightest call,
were it only for a match, in would troop the mother, four daughters,
maid, dog, and cat, with any of the neighbors who might be visiting,
all eager to be of service. The girls were little models of sunny
courtesy, and would have been as pretty of face as they were charming
in manner, had not skin diseases and eye diseases told the tale of the
hideously unsanitary conditions in which their young lives had been
passed.

But we had come to the festival of Santiago, and it was worth its
price.



XXV

THE BUILDING OF A SHRINE

(A historical chapter, which should be skipped.)


That most Spanish of Spaniards, Alarcón, is pleased in one of his
roguish sketches to depict the waywardness of a certain poetaster.
"Alonso Alonso was happy because he was thinking of many sad
things,--of the past centuries, vanished like smoke, ... of the little
span of life and of the absurdities with which it is filled, of the
folly of wisdom, of the nothingness of ambition, of all this comedy,
in short, which is played upon the earth."

Alonso Alonso would be in his very element in Santiago de Compostela.
The "unsubstantial pageant faded" of the mediæval world is more than
memory there. It is a ghost that walks at certain seasons, notably
from the twentieth to the twenty-eighth of July. The story of the
birth, growth, and passing of that once so potent shrine, the
Jerusalem of the West, is too significant for oblivion.

The corner-stone of the strange history is priestly legend. The
Apostle James the Greater, so runs the tale, after preaching in
Damascus and along the Mediterranean coast, came in a Greek ship to
Galicia, then under Roman rule, and proclaimed the gospel in its
capital city, Iria-Flavia. Here the Virgin appeared to him, veiled,
like the mother of Æneas, in a cloud, and bade him build a church.
This he did, putting a bishop in charge, and then pursued his mission,
not only in the remote parts of Galicia, but in Aragon, Castile, and
Andalusia. At Saragossa the Virgin again flashed upon his sight. She
was poised, this time, on a marble pillar, which she left behind her
to become, what it is to-day, the most sacred object in all Spain. A
chip of this _columna immobilis_ is one of the treasures of Toledo.
The cathedral of the _Virgen del Pilar_,--affectionately known as
Pilarica,--which James then founded at Saragossa, is still a popular
goal of pilgrimage, the marble of the holy column being hollowed, at
one unshielded spot, by countless millions of kisses. The Apostle, on
his return to Jerusalem after seven years in Spain, was beheaded by
Herod. Loyal disciples recovered the body and set sail with it for the
Spanish coast. Off Portugal occurred the pointless "miracle of the
shells." A gentleman was riding on the shore, when all at once his
horse, refusing to obey the bit, leapt into the sea, walking on the
crests of the waves toward the boat. Steed and rider suddenly sank,
but promptly rose again, all crusted over with shells, which have been
ever since regarded as the emblem of St. James in particular, and of
pilgrim folk in general.

     "How should I your true love know
       From another one?
     By his cockle hat and staff
       And his sandal shoon."

The Santiago "cockle," which thus, as a general pilgrim symbol,
outstripped the keys of Rome and the cross of Jerusalem, is otherwise
accounted for by a story that the body of St. James was borne overseas
to Galicia in a shell of miraculous size, but this is not the version
that was told us at the shrine.

The two disciples, Theodore and Athanasius, temporarily interred their
master in Padron, two leagues from Iria, until they should have
obtained permission from the Roman dame who governed that region to
allow St. James the choice of a resting-place. Her pagan heart was
moved to graciousness, and she lent the disciples an ox-cart, in which
they placed the body, leaving the beasts free to take the Apostle's
course. It is hardly miraculous that, under the circumstances, Lady
Lupa's oxen plodded straight back to Iria and came to a stop before
her summer villa. Since this was so clearly indicated as the choice of
the saint, she could do no less than put her house at his disposal. In
the villa was a chapel to the war-god Janus, but when the body of
Santiago was brought within the doors, this heathen image fell with a
crash into a hundred fragments. Here the saint abode, guarded by his
faithful disciples, until, in process of time, they slept beside him.
The villa had been transformed into a little church, so little that,
when the Imperial persecutions stormed over the Spanish provinces, the
worshippers hid it under heaps of turf and tangles of brier bushes.
Those early Christians of Iria were slain or scattered, and the burial
place of St. James was forgotten of all the world.

In the seventh century, a rumor went abroad that the Apostle James had
preached the gospel in Spain. The legend grew until, in the year 813,
a Galician anchorite beheld from the mouth of his cavern a brilliant
star, which shone persistently above a certain bramble-wood in the
outskirts of Iria. Moving lights, as of processional tapers, twinkled
through the matted screen of shrubbery, and solemn chants arose from
the very heart of the boscage. Word of this mystery came to the
bishop, who saw with his own eyes "the glow of many candles through
the shadows of the night." After three days of fasting, he led all the
villagers in procession to the thicket which had grown up, a
protecting hedge, about the ruins of the holy house. The three graves
were found intact, and on opening the chief of these the bishop looked
upon the body of St. James, as was proven not only by severed head and
pilgrim staff, but by a Latin scroll. The swiftest horsemen of Galicia
bore the glorious tidings to the court of the king, that most
Christian monarch, Alfonso II, "very Catholic, a great almsgiver,
defender of the Faith." So loved of heaven was this pious king, that
once, when he had collected a treasure of gold and precious stones for
the making of a cross, two angels, disguised as pilgrims, undertook
the work. When, after a few hours, Alfonso came softly to the forge to
make sure of their honesty and skill, no artisans were there, but from
an exquisitely fashioned cross streamed a celestial glory. So devout a
king, on hearing the great tidings from Galicia, lost no time in
despatching couriers to his bishops and grandees, and all the pomp and
pride of Spain, headed by majesty itself, flocked to the far-off
hamlet beyond the Asturian mountains to adore the relics of Santiago.

Now began grand doings in Iria, known henceforth as the Field of the
Star, _Campus Stellæ_, or Compostela. Alfonso had a church of stone
and clay built above the sepulchre, and endowed it with an estate of
three square miles. The Pope announced the discovery to Christendom. A
community of twelve monks, with a presiding abbot, was installed at
Compostela to say masses before the shrine. For these beginnings of
homage the Apostle made a munificent return. A wild people, living in
a wild land at a wild time, these Spaniards of the Middle Ages were
shaped and swayed by two sovereign impulses, piety and patriotism.
These two were practically one, for patriotism meant the expulsion of
the Moor, and piety, Cross above Koran. It was a life-and-death
struggle. The dispossessed Christians, beaten back from Andalusia and
Castile to the fastnesses of the northern mountains, were fighting
against fearful odds. They felt sore need of a leader, for although,
when their ranks were wavering, the Virgin had sometimes appeared to
cheer them on, hers, after all, was but a woman's arm. It was in the
battle of Clavijo, 846, that Santiago first flashed into view, an
invincible champion of the cross.

Rameiro, successor to Alfonso II, had taken the field against the
terrible Abderrahman of Cordova, who had already overrun Valencia and
Barcelona and was demanding from Galicia a yearly tribute of one
hundred maidens. This exceedingly Moorish tax, which now amuses Madrid
as a rattling farce in the summer theatre of the _Buen Retiro_, was no
jesting matter then. Not only the most famous warriors of the realm,
Bernardo del Carpio in their van, but shepherds and ploughmen,
priests, monks, even bishops, flocked to the royal standard.

     "A cry went through the mountains when the proud Moor drew near,
     And trooping to Rameiro came every Christian spear;
     The blesséd Saint Iago, they called upon his name:--
     That day began our freedom, and wiped away our shame."

The hosts of Cross and Crescent met in battle-shock near Logroño. Only
nightfall saved the Christians from utter rout, but in those dark
hours of their respite the apparition of Santiago bent above their
sleeping king. "Fear not, Rameiro," said the august lips. "The enemy,
master of the field, hems you in on every side, but God fights in your
ranks." At sunrise, in the very moment when the Moslem host was bowed
in prayer, the Christians, scandalized at the spectacle, charged in
orthodox fury. Their onset was led by an unknown knight, gleaming in
splendid panoply of war. Far in advance, his left hand waving a snowy
banner stamped with a crimson cross, he spurred his fierce white horse
full on the infidel army. His brandished sword "hurled lightning
against the half-moon." At his every sweeping stroke, turbaned heads
rolled off by scores to be trampled, as turbaned heads deserve, under
the hoofs of that snorting steed. The Son of Thunder had found his
function, which was nothing less than to inspirit the Reconquest.
Henceforth he could always be counted on to lead a desperate assault,
and "_Santiago y Cierra España!_" was the battle-cry of every
hard-fought field. So late as 1212, at the crucial contest of Las
Navas de Tolosa, the "Captain of the Spaniards" saved the day.

Whatever may be thought of such bloody prowess on the part of Christ's
disciple, the fisherman of Galilee, he could not have taken, in that
stormy age, a surer course to make himself respected. All Europe
sprang to do honor to a saint who could fight like that. Charlemagne,
guided by the Milky Way, visited the shrine, if the famous old Codex
Calixtinus may be believed, with its convincing print of the
Apostle sitting upright in his coffin and pointing the great Karl to
the starry trail. In process of time the Gran Capitan came bustling
from Granada. The king of Jerusalem did not find the road too long,
nor did the Pope of Rome count it too arduous. England sent her first
royal Edward, and France more than one royal Louis. Counts and dukes,
lords and barons, rode hundreds of miles to Compostela, at the head of
feudal bands which sometimes clashed by the way. Saints of every clime
and temper made the glorious pilgrimage,--Gregory, Bridget, Bernard,
Francis of Assisi. To the shrine of St. James came the Cid in radiant
youth to keep the vigil of arms and receive the honors of knighthood,
and again, mounted on his peerless Bavieca, to give thanks for victory
over the five Moorish kings. It was on this second journey that he
succored the leper, inviting him, with heroic disdain of hygiene, to
be his bedfellow "in a great couch with linen very clean and costly."

  [Illustration: DANCING THE SEVILLANA]

Even in the ninth century such multitudes visited the sepulchre that a
society of hidalgos was formed to guard the pilgrims from bandits
along that savage route, serve them as money-changers in Compostela,
and in all possible ways protect them from robbery and ill-usage. This
brotherhood gave birth to the famous Order of Santiago, whose two vows
were to defend the pilgrims and fight the Mussulmans. These red-cross
knights were as devout as they were valiant, "lambs at the sound of
the church-bells and lions at the call of the trumpet." Kings and
popes gave liberally to aid their work. Roads were cut through Spain
and France, even Italy and Germany, "to Santiago." Forests were
cleared, morasses drained, bridges built, and rest-houses instituted,
as San Marcos at Leon and the celebrated hostelry of Roncesvalles.
Compostela had become a populous city, but a city of inns, hospitals,
and all variety of conventual and religious establishments. Even
to-day it can count nearly three hundred altars. In the ninth century
the modest church of Alfonso II was replaced by an ornate edifice rich
in treasures, but in the gloomy tenth century, when Christian energies
were arrested by the dread expectation of the end of the world, the
Moors overran Galicia and laid the holy city waste. The Moslem
general, Almanzor, had meant to shatter the urn of Santiago, but when
he entered Compostela with his triumphant troops, he found only one
defender there, an aged monk sitting silent on the Apostle's tomb. The
magnanimous Moor did not molest him, nor the ashes his feebleness
guarded better than strength, but took abundant booty. When Almanzor
marched to the south again, four thousand Galician captives bore on
their shoulders the treasures of the Apostle, even the church-bells
and sculptured doors, to adorn the mosque of Cordova. The fresh
courage of the eleventh century began the great Romanesque cathedral
of Santiago. Donations poured in from all over Europe. Pilgrims came
bowed under the weight of marble and granite blocks for the fabric.
Young and old, men and women, beggars and peasants, princes and
prelates, had a hand in the building, cutting short their prayers to
mix mortar and hew stone. Artists from far-off lands, who had come on
pilgrimage, lingered for years, often for lifetimes, in Compostela,
making beautiful the dwelling of the saint.

The great epoch of Santiago was the twelfth century, when there
succeeded to the bishopric the able and ambitious Diego Gelmirez, who
resolved that Compostela should be recognized as the religious centre
of Spain, and be joined with Jerusalem and Rome in a trinity of the
supreme shrines of Christendom. He was a man of masterly resource,
persistence, pluck. Not too scrupulous for success, he found all means
good that made toward the accomplishment of his one splendid dream.
The clergy of Santiago, who had hitherto borne but dubious repute, he
subjected to instruction and to discipline, calling learned priests
from France to tutor them, and sending his own, as they developed
promise, to sojourn in foreign monasteries. He zealously promoted the
work on the cathedral, rearing arches proud as his aspiration, and
watch-towers strong as his will. He invested the sacred ceremonies,
especially the ecclesiastical processions, with extraordinary pomp, so
that the figure of Alfonso VI, conqueror of Toledo, advancing through
the basilica in such a solemn progress, appeared less imposing than
the bishop himself, crowned with white mitre, sceptred with ivory
staff, and treading in his gold-embroidered sandals upon the broad
stones that pave the church as if on an imperial palace floor.
Gelmirez was indefatigable, too, in building up the city. Eager to
swell the flood of pilgrimage, he founded in Compostela, already a
cluster of shrines and hostelries, still more churches, inns, asylums,
hospitals, together with convents, libraries, schools, and all other
recognized citadels of culture. He fought pestilence and dirt,
introducing an excellent water supply, and promoting, so far as he
knew how, decent and sanitary living. He was even a patron of
agriculture, bringing home from his foreign journeys, which took him
as far as Rome, packets of new seed slipped in among parcels of jewels
and no less precious budgets of saintly molars and knuckle-bones. But
these missions abroad, having always for chief object the pressing of
his petition upon the Holy See, involved costly presents to
influential prelates, especially the red-capped cardinals. The revenue
for such bribes he wrung from the Galician peasantry, who gave him a
measure of hate with every measure of grain. Gelmirez had so many uses
for money that no wonder his taxes cut down to the quick. The lavish
offerings sent by sea to the shrine of Santiago, ruby-crusted
crucifixes of pure gold, silver reliquaries sparkling with emeralds
and jacinths, pontifical vestments of richest tissue and of rarest
artistry, well-chased vessels of onyx, pearl, and jasper, all that
constant influx of glistening tribute from the length and breadth of
Christendom, had drawn Moorish pirates to the Galician waters. To
guard the treasure-ships, repel the infidels, and, incidentally,
return tit for tat by plundering their galleys, the warrior bishop
equipped a formidable fleet, and kept it on patrol off the coast,--a
strange development from the little fishing-boat whence James and John
trailed nets in the lake of Galilee.

The audacity of Gelmirez reached its height in his struggle with the
Queen Regent, Urraca of unlovely memory, for the control of the child
king, Alfonso VII. This boy was the grandson of Alfonso VI, "Emperor
of Spain," who survived all his legitimate children except Urraca. The
father of the little Alfonso, Count Raymond of Burgundy, was dead, and
Urraca had taken a second husband, Alfonso the Battle-maker. The
situation was complicated. The Battle-maker wore the crowns of Aragon
and Navarre, Urraca was queen of Leon and Castile, while the child, by
his grandfather's will, inherited the lordship of Galicia. The Bishop
of Santiago, who baptized the baby, had strenuously opposed Urraca's
second marriage. As that lady had, nevertheless, gone her own wilful
way, setting at naught the bishop's remonstrance and inciting Galicia
to revolt against his tyranny, Gelmirez had kidnapped the royal child,
a puzzled little majesty of four summers, and solemnly crowned and
anointed him before the High Altar of St. James, declaring himself the
protector of the young sovereign. Urraca soon wearied of her Aragonese
bridegroom, and, casting him off, took up arms to defend her
territories against his invasion. The powerful bishop came to her aid
with men and money, but exacted in exchange an oath of faithful
friendship, which Urraca gave and broke and gave again. Meanwhile the
popular hatred swelled so high against Gelmirez that an open
insurrection, in which many of his own clergy took part, drove him and
the Queen to seek refuge in one of the cathedral towers, while the
rebels burned and pillaged in the church below. The bishop barely
escaped with his life, fleeing in disguise from Compostela; but soon
the baffled conspirators saw him at his post again, punishing,
pardoning, rebuilding--as indomitable as St. James himself. The
election of Diego's friend, Calixtus II, to the papacy, gave him his
supreme opportunity. Money was the prime requisite, and Gelmirez, not
for the first nor second time, borrowed of the Apostle, selling
treasures from the sacristy. The sums so raised were carried to the
Pope, across the bandit-peopled mountains, by a canon of Santiago
masquerading as a beggar, and by a trusty group of particularly ragged
pilgrims. This proof of ecclesiastical ripeness overcame all papal
scruples, and Calixtus, despite the clamor of enemies and rivals,
raised Santiago to the coveted archbishopric.

The first half of his great purpose effected, Gelmirez strove with
renewed energy to wrest from Toledo the primacy of Spain. He fortified
Galicia, hurled his fleet against Moorish and English pirates, built
himself an archiepiscopal palace worthy of his hard-won dignities,
stole from Portugal the skeletons of four saints to enhance the
potency of Santiago, and made much of the skull of the Apostle James
the Less, which Urraca had presented in one of her fits of amity. But
this time the reverend robber was not destined to success. The
Archbishop of Toledo formed a powerful party against him, Calixtus
died, even the king, whom Gelmirez had armed knight in the cathedral
of Santiago and had crowned a second time at Leon, grew restive under
the dictation of his old tutor. The smouldering hatred of Galicia
again flamed out. The aged archbishop once more had to see his church
polluted, its treasures plundered, its marvels of carved work, stained
glass, and gold-threaded vestments spoiled and wasted by that
senseless rabble which had twisted out from under his heavy foot.
Faint and bleeding from a wound in his head, too white a head, for all
its pride, to be battered with stones, Gelmirez had almost fallen a
victim to the mob, when two of his canons snatched him back to the
refuge of the High Altar, barring the iron-latticed doors of the
_Capilla Major_ against those savage sheep of his pasture. The outrage
was so flagrant that, for very shame, pope and king, though both had
accepted the bribes of his enemies, responded to his appeal, and
assisted him to resume that rigorous sway which lasted, all told, for
something like forty years.

Such was the man and such the process that made the shrine of Santiago
the third in rank of mediæval Christendom. Under the rule of Gelmirez
Compostela had become one of the principal cities of the Peninsula, a
seat of arts and sciences where Spanish nobles were proud to build
them palaces and to educate their sons. The mighty influx of pilgrims,
which went on without abatement century after century, nearly
twenty-five hundred licenses being granted, in the single year 1434,
to cockle-hatted visitors from England alone, filled the place with
business. Inn-keepers, physicians, money-changers, merchants were in
flourishing estate, and a number of special industries developed. One
street was taken up by booths for the sale of polished shells. Another
bears still the name of the jet-workers, whose rosaries, crucifixes,
stars, gourds, staffs, and amulets were in high demand. Souvenirs of
Santiago, little crosses delicately cut and chased, mimic churches,
towers, shrines gave employ to scores of artists in silver and
mother-of-pearl. The enormous revenue from the sale of phials of
healing oil and from the consecrated candles must needs go to the
Apostle, but the cunning craftsmen who loaded their stalls with
love-charms had a well-nigh equal patronage.

The finished cathedral was consecrated in 1211, and in 1236 the royal
saint, Fernando III, sent to Compostela a train of Mohammedan
captives, bringing back on their shoulders the bells Almanzor had
taken. These had been hung, inverted, in the beautiful mosque of
Cordova to serve as lamps for the infidel worship, but at last St.
James had his own again. Thus Santiago trampled on the Moors, and his
ashes, or what had passed for his ashes, slept in peace, with nothing
to do but work miracles on blind and crippled pilgrims, until, in
1589, an army of English heretics, led by the horrible Drake, landed
in Galicia. These Lutheran dogs were not worthy of a miracle. The
archbishop and his canons, with the enemy hammering on the gates of
Compostela, hastily took up and reburied the three coffins of the
original shrine, so secretly that they could not be found again. In
1879, however, a miscellany of brittle bits of bone was brought to
light by a party of determined seekers, and these repulsive fragments,
after scientific analysis conducted in an ecclesiastical spirit, were
declared to be portions of three skeletons which might be ages old.
Leo XIII clenched the matter by "authenticating" one of them,
apparently chosen at random, as the body of Santiago. But although for
us of the perverse sects, the contents of that magnificent silver
casket, the centre of the Santiago faith, could arouse no thrill of
worship, the Pilgrim City itself and its storied, strange cathedral
were the most impressive sights of Spain.

  [Illustration: WITHIN THE CLOISTER]



XXVI

THE SON OF THUNDER

     "Thou shield of that faith which in Spain we revere,
     Thou scourge of each foeman who dares to draw near,
     Whom the Son of that God who the elements tames
     Called child of the thunder, immortal Saint James."
                --_Hymn to Santiago_, in George Borrow's translation.


Fatigues of the journey and discomforts of our lodging melted from
memory like shadows of the night when we found ourselves, on the
morning of July twenty-fourth, before that rich, dark mass of fretted
granite, a majestic church standing solitary in the midst of spreading
_plazas_. These are surrounded by stately buildings, the
archiepiscopal palace with its memories of Gelmirez, the royal
hospital founded by Ferdinand and Isabella for the succor of weary
pilgrims, ancient colleges with sculptured façades, marvellous old
convents whose holy fathers were long since driven out by royal decree
into hungry, homesick exile, and the columned city hall with its
frontal relief of the battle of Clavijo and its crowning statue of St.
James. The great, paved squares, the magnificent stairways and deeply
recessed portals were aglow with all Galicia. Peasants in gala dress,
bright as tropic birds, stood in deferential groups about the
pilgrims, for there were actual pilgrims on the scene, men and women
whose broad hats and round capes were sewn over with scallop-shells,
and whose long staffs showed little gourds fastened to the upper end.
They wore rosaries and crucifixes in profusion, and their habit was
spangled with all manner of charms and amulets, especially the tinsel
medals with their favorite device of St. James riding down the Moors.
We bought at one of the stalls set up before the doors for sale of
holy wares a memento of the famous old jet-work, a tiny black hand,
warranted, if hung about the neck, to cure disorders of the eyes. We
fell to chatting with a pilgrim who was shod in genuine sandal shoon.
A large gourd was tied to his belt, the rim of his hat was turned up
at one side and caught there with a rosy-tinted shell, and his long,
black ringlets fell loose upon his shoulders, framing a romantic Dürer
face. He talked with us in German, saying that he was of Wittemberg,
and once a Lutheran, but had been converted to the true faith on a
previous visit to Spain. Since then he had footed his penitential way
to Jerusalem and other distant shrines. As his simple speech ran on,
we seemed to see the mountains round about Santiago crossed by those
converging streams of mediæval pilgrims, all dropping on their knees
at the first glimpse of the cathedral towers. With that sight the
fainting were refreshed, the lame ran, and jubilant songs of praise to
Santiago rolled out in many languages upon the air.

     "Primus ex apostolis,
     Martir Jerusolinus,
     Jacobus egregio,
     Sacer est martirio."

In those Ages of Faith all the gates of the city were choked with the
incoming tide, the hostels and cure-houses overflowed, and the broad
_plazas_ about the cathedral were filled with dense throngs of
pilgrims, massed nation by nation, flying their national colors,
singing their national hymns to the strangely blended music of their
national instruments, and watching for the acolyte who summoned them,
company by company, into the august presence-chamber of St. James. His
shrine they approached only in posture of lowliest reverence. Even
now, at the end of the nineteenth century, our first glance, as we
entered the lofty, dim, and incense-perfumed nave, fell on a
woman-pilgrim dragging herself painfully on her knees up the aisle
toward the High Altar, and often falling prostrate to kiss the
pavement with groans and tears.

Mediæval pilgrims, when they had thus won their way to the entrance of
the _Capilla Mayor_, and there received three light blows from a
priestly rod in token of chastisement, were granted the due
indulgences and, in turn, laid their offerings before the great white
altar. Still there sits, in a niche above, the thirteenth-century
image of St. James, a colossal figure wrought of red granite, with
stiffly flowing vestments of elaborately figured gilt. His left hand
grasps a silver staff, with gilded gourd atop, and his right, whose
index finger points downward to the burial vault, holds a scroll
inscribed, "Hic est corpus divi Jacobi Apostoli ac Hispaniarum
Patroni." Once he wore a broad-brimmed hat all of pure gold, but this
was melted down by Marshal Ney in the French invasion. At that time
the sacred vessels were heaped like market produce into great
ox-carts, until the cathedral had been plundered of ten hundredweight
of treasure. It was "the end of the pilgrimage" to climb the steps
behind this statue and kiss its resplendent silver cape, studded with
cockle-shells and besprinkled with gems. But the pilgrims of the past
had much more to see and worship,--the jewelled crown of the Apostle
set upon the altar, his very hat and staff, the very axe that beheaded
him, and other relics to which the attention of the modern tourist, at
least, is not invited. Yet even we were conducted to the Romanesque
crypt beneath the High Altar, where stands another altar of red
marble, decorated by a relief of two peacocks drinking from a cup.
This altar is surmounted by a bronze pedestal, which bears the
sumptuous ark-shaped casket with its enshrined handfuls of dubious
dust.

Our latter-day pilgrims seemed well content with the measure of wealth
and sanctity which Moorish sack and English piracy, French invasion
and Carlist wars, had spared to the cathedral. In the matter of
general relics, nevertheless, Santiago suffers by comparison with the
neighbor cathedral of Oviedo, which proudly shows a silver-plated old
reliquary, believed by the devout to have been brought in the earliest
Christian times from Rome. This chest contains, in addition to the
usual pieces of the true cross and thorns from the crown, such
remarkable mementos as St. Peter's leathern wallet, crumbs left over
from the Feeding of the Five Thousand, bits of roast fish and
honeycomb from Emmaus, bread from the Last Supper, manna from the
wilderness, a portion of Moses' rod and the mantle of Elijah. Oviedo
possesses, too, that famous cross which the angels made for Alfonso
II, and one of the six water-jars of Cana. But the relic chapel of
Santiago makes up in quantity whatever it may lack in quality, holding
bones, garments, hair-tresses, and like memorials of a veritable army
of martyrs, even to what Ford disrespectfully calls "sundry parcels
of the eleven thousand Virgins." Special stress is laid on a Calvary
thorn which turns blood-red every Good Friday, and a drop, forever
fresh, of the Madonna's milk. If pilgrims are not satisfied with
these, they can walk out to Los Angeles, an adjacent village, whose
church was built by the angels. Eccentric architects they were in
choosing to connect their edifice with the cathedral of Santiago by an
underground beam of pure gold, formerly one of the rafters in God's
own house.

We had speech of several pilgrims that first morning. One was a
middle-aged, sun-browned, stubby little man, whom during the ensuing
week we saw again and again in the cathedral, but never begging, with
the most of the pilgrims, at the portals, nor taking his ease in the
cloisters,--a social promenade where the laity came to gossip and the
clergy to puff their cigarettes. This humble worshipper seemed to pass
all the days of the festival in enraptured adoration, on his knees now
before one shrine, now before another. We found him first facing the
supreme architectural feature of the cathedral, that sublime and yet
most lovely _Portico de la Gloria_. He was gazing up at its paradise
of sculptured saints and angels, whose plumes and flowing robes still
show traces of azure, rose, and gold, with an expression of naive
ecstasy. He told us that he came from Astorga, and had been nine days
on the way. He spent most of his time upon the road, he added,
visiting especially the shrines of the Virgin. "Greatly it pleases me
to worship God," he said, with sparkling eyes, and ran on eagerly, as
long as we would listen, about the riches and splendors of different
cathedrals, and especially the robes and jewels of the _Virgen del
Pilar_. He seemed in his devout affection to make her wealth his own.
One of the most touching effects of the scene was the childlike
simplicity with which the poor of Galicia, coming from such vile
hovels, felt themselves at home in the dwelling of their saint. Not
even their sins marred their sense of welcome. In the cloisters we
encountered an old woman in the pilgrim dress, her staff wound with
gay ribbons, limping from her long jaunt. She told us frankly that she
was "only a beggar" in her own village, and had come for the outing as
well as to please the priest, who, objecting to certain misdemeanors
which she had the discretion not to specify, had prescribed this
excursion as penance. She was a lively old soul, and was amusing
herself mightily with the Goya tapestries, and others, that adorned
the cloisters in honor of the time. "You have a book and can read,"
she said, "and you will understand it all, but what can I understand?
I can see that this is a queen, and she is very fine, and that those
are butchers who are killing a fat pig. But we who are poor may
understand little in this world except the love of God." Others of the
pilgrims were village folk of Portugal, and, taken all together, these
modern wearers of the shell were but a sorry handful as representing
those noble multitudes who came, in ages past, to bow before the
shrine. The fourteen doors of the cathedral then stood open night and
day, and the grotesque lions leaning out over the lintels could boast
that there was no tongue of Europe which their stone ears had not
heard. Three open doors suffice in the feast days now, but with the
new flood of faith that has set toward Lourdes, pilgrimages to
Santiago, as to other Latin shrines, are beginning to revive.

Mass was over at the late hour of our arrival, but nave and aisles,
transepts and cloisters, hummed with greetings of friends, laughter of
children, who sported unrebuked about those stately columns, and the
admiring exclamations of strangers. We were often accosted in Spanish
and in French and asked from what country we came, and if we "loved
the beautiful church of the Apostle." When we were occasionally
cornered, and driven in truthfulness to say that we were Yankees, our
more intelligent interlocutors looked us over with roguish scrutiny,
but increased rather than abated their courtesies. As for the
peasants, their geography is safely limited. Noticing that our Spanish
differed from theirs, they said we must be from Castile, or, at the
most, from Portugal. At all events we were strangers to Santiago, and
they merrily vied with one another in showing us about and giving us
much graphic information not to be found in guide-books.

Much of their lore appears to be of their own invention. The superb
_Puerta de la Gloria_, wrought by a then famous architect sent from
the king of Leon, but known to us to-day only as Master Mateo, was the
fruit of twenty years' labor. This triple porch, which runs across the
west end of the nave, being finally completed, Master Mateo seems to
have symbolized the dedication of his service to the Apostle in a
kneeling statue of himself, facing the east, with back to the richly
sculptured pillar of the chief portal. The head of this figure is worn
almost as round and expressionless as a stone ball by the caresses of
generations of childish hands. The little girls whom we watched that
morning as they patted and smoothed the much-enduring pate told us,
kissing the marble eyes, that this was a statue of St. Lucia, which it
certainly is not. In another moment these restless midgets were
assaulting, with fluent phrases of insult, the carven faces of certain
fantastic images which form the bases of the clustered columns. The
children derisively thrust their feet down the yawning throats, kicked
the grotesque ears and noses, and in general so maltreated their
Gothic victims that we were moved to remonstrate.

"But why should you abuse them? What are these creatures, to be
punished so?"

"_They are Jews_," hissed our little Christians with an emphasis that
threw new light on the Dreyfus _affaire_. But an instant more, and
these vivacious, capricious bits of Spanish womanhood were all
absorbed in aiding a blind old peasant who had groped her way to the
sacred Portico for its especial privilege of prayer. The central
shaft, dividing into two the chief of the three doorways, represents
the Tree of Jesse, the patriarchal figures half-enveloped in
exquisitely sculptured foliage. The chiselled capital shows the
Trinity, Dove and Son and Father, with adoring angels. Above sits a
benignant St. James, whose throne is guarded by lions, and over all,
in the central tympanum of the sublime doorway, is a colossal figure
of our Lord, uplifting His wounded hands. About Him are grouped the
four Evangelists, radiant with eternal youth, and eight angels bearing
the instruments of the Passion, the pillar of the scourging, whips,
the crown of thorns, the nails, the scroll, the sponge, the spear, the
cross. Other angels burn incense before Him, and the archivolt above
is wrought with an ecstatic multitude of elders, martyrs, and saints,
so vivid after all these centuries that one can almost hear the blithe
music of their harps. It is the Christ of Paradise, enthroned amid the
blest, to whom His presence gives fulness of joy forevermore. Above
the lesser doors on either side are figured Purgatory and Hell. The
fresh and glowing beauty, so piquant and yet so spiritual, the truly
celestial charm of this marvellous Portico which Street did not fear
to call "one of the greatest glories of Christian art," was never,
during this festal week, without its throng of reverent beholders, the
most waiting their turn, like our old blind peasant, to fit thumb and
finger into certain curious little hollows on the central shaft, and
thus offer prayer which was sure of answer. Minute after minute for
unbroken hours, the hands succeeded one another there,--old, knotted,
toilworn hands, the small, brown hands of children, jewelled hands of
delicate ladies, and often, as now, the groping hand of blindness,
with childish fingers helping it to find those mystical depressions in
the agate. Some of the bystanders told us that St. James had descended
from his seat above the capital, and laid his hand against the column,
leaving these traces, but more would have it that the Christ Himself
had come down by night from the great tympanum to place His wounded
hand upon the shaft. Street records that he observed several such
petitioners, after removing the hand, spit into the mouths of the
winged dragons that serve as base to the pillar; but that literally
dare-devil form of amen must now have gone out of fashion, for we did
not see it once.

  [Illustration: THE TRAMPLER OF THE MOORS]

Toward noon we strolled out into the grand _plaza_ before the west
façade and found it a multitudinous jam of expectant merrymakers. Even
nuns were peeping down from a leaf-veiled balcony. We seemed to have
been precipitated out of the Middle Ages into an exaggerated Fourth of
July. All the city bells were pealing, rockets and Roman candles were
sputtering, and grotesque fire-balloons, let off from a parapet of
the cathedral, flourished bandy legs and "Sagasta noses" in the
resigned old faces of the carven images. And then, amid the
acclamations of all the small boys in the square, sallied forth the
Santiago giants. These wickerwork monsters, eight all told, are
supposed to represent worshippers from foreign lands. They go by
couples, two being conventional pilgrims with "cockle-shell and sandal
shoon"; two apparently Moors, with black complexions, feather crowns,
and much barbaric finery; two nondescripts, possibly the French of
feudal date; and two, the leaders and prime favorites, regular Punch
caricatures of modern English tourists. John Bull is a stout old
gentleman with gray side-whiskers, a vast expanse of broadcloth back,
and a single eye-glass secured by a lavender ribbon. The British
Matron, in a smart Dolly Varden frock, glares with a shocked
expression from under flaxen puffs and an ostrich-feathered hat. The
popular attitude of mind toward these absurdities is past all finding
out. Not the children alone, but the entire assemblage greeted them
with affectionate hilarity. The giants, propelled by men who walked
inside them and grinned out on the world from a slit in the enormous
waistbands, trundled about the square, followed by the antics of a
rival group of dwarfs from the city hall, and then made the round of
the principal streets, executing clumsy gambols before the public
buildings.

On the morning after, July twenty-fifth, the great day of the feast,
anniversary of the Apostle's martyrdom, these same overgrown dolls
played a prominent part in the solemn cathedral service. The Chapter
passed in stately progress to the archbishop's palace to fetch his
Eminence, and later to the ancient portals where the silver-workers
once displayed their wares, to greet the Royal Delegate. At their head
strutted this absurd array of giants. The High Mass was superb with
orchestral music and the most sumptuous robes of the vestiary. The
"King of Censers," the splendid _botafumeiro_ of fourteenth-century
date, made so large, six feet high, with the view of purifying the
cathedral air vitiated by the hordes of pilgrims who were wont to pass
the night sleeping and praying on the holy pavements, flashed its
majestic curves, a mighty fire bird, from roof to floor and from
transept to transept. It is swung from the ceiling by an ingenious
iron mechanism, and the leaping, roaring flames, as the huge censer
sweeps with ever augmenting speed from vault to vault, tracing its
path by a chain of perfumed wreaths, make the spectacle uniquely
beautiful. Knights of Santiago, their white raiment marked by crimson
sword and dagger, received from the Royal Delegate "a thousand crowns
of gold," the annual state donation, instituted by Rameiro, to the
patron saint. The Delegate, kneeling before the image of Santiago,
prayed fervently that the Apostle would accept this offering of the
regent, a queen no less devout than the famous mother of San Fernando,
and would raise up Alfonso XIII to be another Fernando, winning back
for Spain her ocean isles which the heretics had wrested away, even as
Fernando restored to Compostela the cathedral doors and bell which the
infidel Moors had stolen. His Eminence, who is said to have
accumulated a fortune during his previous archbishopric in Cuba, in
turn besought St. James to protect Catholic Spain against "those who
invoke no right save brute force, and adore no deity except the golden
calf." In most magnificent procession the silver casket was borne
around the nave among the kneeling multitudes. And then, to crown
these august ceremonies, forth trotted our friends, the giants, into
the open space before the _Capilla Mayor_. Here the six subordinate
boobies paused, grouping themselves in a ludicrous semicircle, while
pompous John Bull and his ever scandalized British Matron went up into
the Holy of Holies and danced, to the music of guitars and
tambourines, in front of the High Altar.

Every day of that festal week the cathedral services were attended by
devout throngs, yet there was something blithe and social, well-nigh
domestic, in the atmosphere of the scene even at the most impressive
moments. Kneeling groups of peasant women caught the sunshine on their
orange kerchiefs and scarlet-broidered shawls. Here a praying father
would gather his little boy, sobbing with weariness, up against his
breast; there a tired pilgrim woman slumbered in a corner, her broad
hat with its cockle-shells lying on her knees. Rows of kneeling
figures waited at the wooden confessionals which were thick set along
both aisles and ambulatory. Several times we saw a priest asleep in
the confessional, those who would pour out their hearts to him
kneeling on in humble patience, not venturing to arouse the holy
father. Young officers, leaning against the pillars, smiled upon a
school of Spanish girls, who, guarded by veiled nuns, knelt far along
the transept. Pilgrims, standing outside the door to gather alms, vied
with one another in stories of their travels and the marvels they had
seen.

But at night, walking in the illuminated _alameda_, where thousands of
Japanese lanterns and colored cups of flame made a fantastic
fairyland, or dancing their country dances, singing their country
songs, practising their country sports, and gazing with tireless
delight at the fireworks in the spacious _Plaza de Alfonso Doce_, the
worshippers gave themselves up to frankest merriment. Through the
days, indeed, there was never any lack of noisy jollity. From dawn to
dawn again cannon were booming, drums beating, bagpipes skirling,
tambourines clattering, songs and cries resounding through the
streets. Four patients in the hospital died the year before, we were
told, from the direct effects of this continuous uproar. But the
thunder height of the _fiesta_ is attained toward midnight on the
twenty-fourth, the "Eve of Santiago," when rockets and fire-balloons
are supplemented by such elaborate devices as the burning of
"capricious trees" and the destruction of a Moorish façade built for
the occasion out from the west front of the cathedral. At the first
ignition of the powder there come such terrific crashes and
reverberating detonations, such leaps and bursts of flame, that the
peasant host sways back and the children scream. An Arabic doorway
with ornate columns, flanked on either side by a wall of many arches
and surmounted by a blood-red cross, dazzles out into overwhelming
brilliancy, all in greens and purples, a glowing, scintillating, ever
changing vision. Soon it is lustrous white and then, in perishing,
sends up a swift succession of giant rockets. The façade itself is a
very Alhambra of fret and arabesque. This, too, with thunder bursts
reveals itself as a flame-colored, sky-colored, sea-colored miracle,
which pales to gleaming silver and, while we read above it the
resplendent words "The Patron of Spain," is blown to atoms as a symbol
of Santiago's victory over the Moors. This makes an ideal Spanish
holiday, but the cost, borne by the city, is heavy, there is distinct
and increasing injury to the cathedral fabric, and all this jubilee
for archaic victories over the Moslem seems to be mocked by the hard
facts of to-day.

The Santiago festivities, of which the half has not been told, closed
on Thursday afternoon, July twenty-seventh, with a procession through
the streets. We waited a weary while for it before the doors where the
old jet-workers used to set their booths, amusing ourselves meantime
by watching the house maids drawing water from the fountain in the
square below. These sturdy Galicians were armed with long tin tubes
which they dextrously applied to the spouting mouths of the fountain
griffins, so directing the stream into the straight, iron-bound pails.
Not far away the market women covered the flags with red and golden
fruit. A saucy beggar-wench, with the blackest eyes in Spain, demanded
alms, and when we had yielded up the usual toll of coppers, loudly
prayed to Santiago to pardon us for not having given her more on this
his holy festival. At last out sallied the band, followed by those
inevitable giants, and amid mad ringing of bells and fizzing of
invisible rockets, forth from the venerable portals issued standards,
crosses, tapers, priests in white and gold, and platformed effigies of
pilgrims, saints, and deities. Then came bishops, cardinals, and
archbishop, ranks of military bearing tapers, the alcalde and his
associates in the city government with antique escort of bedizened
mace-bearers, a sparkling statue of St. James on horseback busily
beheading his legions of Moors, a bodyguard of all the pilgrims in
attendance on his saintship, and finally the _Virgen del Pilar_, at
whose passing all the concourse fell upon their knees. Churches in the
line of march had their own images decked and ready, waiting in the
colonnaded porches to fall into the procession. The market women and
the maids at the fountain threw kisses to the Christ Child, leaning in
blue silk frock and white lace tucker against a cross of roses, but
the boys waved their caps for St. Michael, debonair that he was with
blowing crimson robe, real feather wings fluttering in the breeze, and
his gold foot set on the greenest of dragons.

The procession came home by way of the great west doors, opened only
this once in the round year. The setting sun, bringing out all the
carven beauty of that dark gray façade, glittered on the golden balls
and crosses that tip the noble towers, and on the golden staff of St.
James and the golden quill of St. John, where the two sons of thunder
stand colossal in their lofty niches. A baby, in yellow kerchief and
cherry skirt, toddling alone across the centre of the square, pointed
with adoring little hand at the mounted image of Santiago, which
halted at the foot of the grand stairway, his lifted sword a line of
golden light, while the deep-voiced choir chanted his old triumphal
hymn. John Bull and the British Matron, stationing themselves on
either side as a guard of honor, stared at him with insular contempt.
As the chant ceased, St. James chivalrously made way for the _Virgen
del Pilar_, a slender figure of pure gold poised on an azure
tabernacle, to mount the steps before him. The bells pealed out to
welcome her as she neared the portals, and an ear-splitting explosion
of a monster rocket, with a tempest-rain of sparks, announced the
instant of her entrance beneath the chiselled arch. Behind her went
the penitents, arduously climbing the long stone flights of that
quadruple stairway upon their knees. These, too, were but shadows of
those mediæval penitents who of old staggered after this procession,
bowed under the weight of crosses, or scourging themselves until they
fainted in their own trail of blood. Yet it is still strange and
touching to see, long after the inner spaces of the cathedral are dim
with evening, those kneeling figures making their painful progress
about aisles and ambulatory, sobbing as they go, and falling forward
on their faces to kiss the pavement that is bruising them.

  [Illustration: SANTIAGO CATHEDRAL]



XXVII

VIGO AND AWAY

     Hasta la Vista!


Our plan for the summer included a return trip across Spain, _via_
Valladolid, Salamanca, and Saragossa to Barcelona and the Balearic
Isles; but the bad food and worse lodging of Galicia, the blazing heat
and the incessant, exhausting warfare against vermin, had begun to
tell. That Spanish fever with which so many foreigners make too
intimate acquaintance was at our doors, and we found ourselves forced
at last to sacrifice enthusiasm to hygiene. The most eccentric train
which it was ever my fortune to encounter shunted and switched us
across country to Vigo in about the time it would have taken to make
the journey donkeyback. Here we tarried for a week or so, gathering
strength from the Atlantic breezes, and when, one sunny August day, a
stately steamboat called for an hour at Vigo harbor on her way from
Buenos Ayres to Southampton, we went up over the side. Our shock of
astonishment at the cleanliness around us could not, however, divert
our attention long from the receding shores of Spain, toward which one
of us, at least, still felt a stubborn longing.

They lay bright in the midday sunshine, those green uplands of
Galicia, mysterious with that patient peasant life of which we had
caught fleeting, baffling glimpses. Still we seemed to see the
brown-legged women washing in the brook and spreading their
coarse-spun, gay-bordered garments on the heather; children, with the
faces of little Pats and little Biddies, tugging a bleating sheep
across the stepping-stones, or boosting an indignant goat over the
wall; lean pigs poking their noses out of the low, stone doorways,
where babies slept on wisps of hay; girls in cream-colored kerchiefs,
starred with gold, bearing loads of fragrant brush or corded fagots on
their heads. As the evening should come on, and the sea-breeze stir
the tassels of the maize, we knew how the fields would be dotted with
impromptu groups of dancers, leaping higher and higher and waving
their arms in ever wilder merriment,--a scene pastoral down to the
pigs, and poetic up to those gushes of song that delight the listener.

     "I went to the meadow
       Day after day,
     To gather the blossoms
       Of April and May,
     And there was Mercedes,
       Always there,
     Sweetest white lily
       That breathes the air."

     "North-wind, North-wind,
       Strong as wine!
     Blow thou, North-wind,
       Comrade mine!"

     "The Virgin is spreading handkerchiefs
       On the rosemary to dry.
     The little birds are singing,
       And the brook is running by.

     "The Virgin washes handkerchiefs,
       And spreads them in the sun,
     But St. Joseph, out of mischief,
       Has stolen every one."

It was only now and then that we had realized a touch of genuine
fellowship with these Galician peasants. I remember a little
thirteenth-century church, gray crosses topping its low gray towers,
one of which was broken off as if a giant hand had snapped it. In the
porch a white-headed woman, in a gold-edged blue kerchief and
poppy-red skirt, was holding a dame-school. It took her all the
morning session, she told us, to get the fifty faces washed, but in
the afternoon the children learned to read and knit and play the
choral games. She had ten cents a month for every child, when the
parents were able to pay. From a convenient hollow in a pillar of
Arabic tradition she proudly drew her library,--a shabby primer and a
few loose leaves of a book of devotion. As we talked, the midgets grew
so restless and inquisitive that she shook her long rod at them with a
mighty show of fierceness, and shooed them out of the porch like so
many chickens. Then she went on eagerly with the story of her life,
telling how she was married at fifteen, how her husband went "to serve
the king" in the second Carlist war, and never came back, and how her
only daughter had borne nine children, of whom eight died in babyhood,
"_angelitos al cielo_," having known on earth "only the day and the
night." The last and youngest had been very ill with the fever, and
the afflicted grandmother had promised that noble Roman maiden, the
martyr saint of the little gray church, to go around the edifice seven
times upon her knees, if only the child might live. The vow had been
heard, as the presence of a thin-faced, wistful tot by the old woman's
side attested, but so far only three of the seven circuits had been
made. "It tires the knees much." But even with the words she knelt
again, kissing the sacred threshold, and began the painful, heavy,
shuffling journey around the church, while the baby, with wondering
gray eyes, trotted beside her, clinging to the wrinkled hand. When at
last, with puffs and groanings, the old dame had reached the carven
doorway again, she rose wearily, rubbing her knees.

"A sweet saint!" she said, "but _ay de mi!_ such gravel!"

We ought, of course, to have been impressed in Galicia with its
debasing ignorance and superstition, and so, to a certain extent, we
were. We went to see a _romeria_, a pilgrimage to a hilltop shrine, on
one of our last afternoons in Vigo, and found a double line of dirty,
impudent beggars, stripped half naked, and displaying every sort of
hideous deformity,--a line that reached all the way from the
carriage-road up the rugged ascent to the crest. We had to run the
gantlet, and it was like traversing a demoniac sculpture-gallery made
up of human mockeries. We had to push our way, moreover, through scene
after scene of vulgar barter in things divine, and when at last the
summit was achieved, the shrine of the Virgin seemed robbed of its
glory by the ugliness, vice, and misery it overlooked. Spain is
mediæval, and the modern age can teach her much. But with all her
physical foulness and mental folly, there still dwells in her that
mediæval grace for which happier countries may be searched in vain.

Yet Spain is far from unhappy. It is beautiful to see out of what
scant allowance of that which we call well-being, may be evolved
wisdom and joy, poetry and religion. Wearied as we two bookish
travellers were with lectures and libraries, we rejoiced in this wild
Galician lore that lives on the lips of the people. The written
Spanish literature, like other Spanish arts, is of the richest, nor
are its laurels limited to the dates of Cervantes and Calderon. The
modern Spanish novel, for instance, as Mr. Howells so generously
insists, all but leads the line. But Spain herself is poetry. What
does one want of books in presence of her storied, haunted
vistas,--warrior-trod Asturian crags, opalescent reaches of Castilian
plain, orange-scented gardens of Andalusia? A circle of cultivated
Spaniards is one of the most charming groups on earth, but Spaniards
altogether innocent of formal education may be walking anthologies of
old ballads, spicy quatrains, riddles, proverbs, fables, epigrams. The
peasant quotes "Don Quixote" without knowing it; the donkey-boy is as
lyric as Romeo; the devout shepherd tells a legend of the Madonna that
is half the dream of his own lonely days among the hills. Where
Spanish life is most stripped of material prosperity, it seems most to
abound in suggestions of romance. This despised Galicia, the province
of simpletons, is literary in its own way. The hovel has no bookshelf,
but the children's ears drink in the grandmother's croon:--

     "On a morning of St. John
       Fell a sailor into the sea.
     'What wilt thou give me, sailor, sailor,
       If I rescue thee?'

     "'I will give thee all my ships,
       All my silver, every gem,
     All my gold,--yea, wife and daughters,
       I will give thee them.'

     "'What care I for masted ships,
       What care I for gold or gem?
     Keep thy wife and keep thy daughters,
       What care I for them?

     "'On the morning of St. John
       Thou art drowning in the sea.
     Promise me thy soul at dying,
       And I'll rescue thee.'

     "'I commend the sea to God,
       And my body to the sea,
     And my soul, Sweet Mother Mary,
       I commit to thee.'"

And well it was for this bold mariner that he did not take up the
Devil's offer, for everybody knows that those who have signed away
their souls to the Devil turn black in the moment of dying, and are
borne, black and horrible, to the sepulchre.

In this northwestern corner of Spain are many mountain-songs as well
as sea-songs. One of the sweetest tells how the blue-robed Virgin met
a young shepherdess upon the hills and was so pleased with the
maiden's courtesy that she straightway bore her thence to Paradise,
not forgetting, this tender Mary of Bethlehem, to lead the flock
safely back to the sheepfold. The love of the Galician peasantry for
"Our Lady" blends childlike familiarity with impassioned devotion.

     "As I was telling my beads,
       While the dawn was red,
     The Virgin came to greet me
       With her arms outspread."

Her rank in their affections is well suggested by another of the
popular _coplas_.

     "In the porch of Bethlehem,
       Sun, Moon, and Star,
     The Virgin, St. Joseph,
       And the Christ Child are."

With their saints these Spanish peasants seem almost on a household
footing, not afraid of a jest because so sure of the love that
underlies it.

     "St. John and Mary Magdalen
       Played hide and seek, the pair,
     Till St. John threw a shoe at her,
       Because she didn't play fair."

Yet there is no lack of fear in this rustic religion. There is many a
"shalt not" in the Galician decalogue. One must not try to count the
stars, lest he come to have as many wrinkles as the number of stars he
has counted. Never rock an empty cradle, for the next baby who sleeps
in it will die. So often as you name the Devil in life, so often will
he appear to you in the hour of death. If you hear another name him,
call quickly, before the Devil has time to arrive, "Jesus is here." It
is ill to dance alone, casting your shadow on the wall, because that
is dancing with the Devil. But the Prince of Darkness is not the only
supernatural being whom Galicians dread. There is a bleating demon who
makes fun of them, cloudy giants who stir up thunderstorms, and are
afraid only of St. Barbara, witches who cast the evil eye, but most of
all the "souls in pain." For oftentimes the dead come back to earth
for their purgatorial penance. You must never slam a door, nor close a
window roughly, nor kick the smallest pebble from your path, because
in door or stone or window may be a suffering soul. To see one is to
die within the year. If you would not be haunted by your dead, kiss
the shoes which the body wears to the burial.

It is well to go early to bed, for at midnight all manner of evil
beings prowl up and down the streets. Who has not heard of that
unlucky woman, who, after spinning late and long, stepped to the
window for a breath of air exactly at twelve o'clock? Far off across
the open country she saw a strange procession of shining candles
drawing nearer and nearer, although there were no hands to hold them
and no sound of holy song. Straight toward her house came those
uncanny lights, moving silently through the meadow mists, and halted
beneath her window. Then the foremost one of all begged her to take it
in and keep it carefully until the midnight following. Scarcely
knowing what she did, she closed her fingers on the cold wax and,
blowing out the flame, laid away the taper in a trunk, but when, at
daybreak, after a sleepless night, she raised the lid, before her lay
a corpse. Aghast, she fled to the priest, who lent her all the relics
of the sacristy; but their united power only just availed to save her
from the fury of the spirits when they returned at midnight to claim
the taper, expecting, moreover, to seize upon the woman and "turn her
to fire and ashes."

Sometimes a poor soul is permitted to condense the slow ages of
Purgatory into one hour of uttermost torment. Galicians tell how a
young priest brought his serving-maid to sorrow and how, to escape the
latter burning, she shut herself, one day when the priest was engaged
in the ceremonial of High Mass, into the red-hot oven. On his return,
he called her name and sought her high and low, and when, at last, he
opened the oven door, out flew a white dove that soared, a purified
and pardoned soul, into the blue of heaven. The science of this simple
folk is not divorced from poetry and religion. The rainbow drinks,
they say, in the sea and in the rivers. The Milky Way, the Road to
Santiago, is trodden every night by pale, dim multitudes who failed to
make that blessed pilgrimage, from which no one of us will be excused,
in time of life. When the dust stirs in an empty house, good St. Ana
is sweeping there. When babies look upward and laugh, they see the
cherubs at play. Tuesday is the unlucky day in Spain, whereas children
born on Friday receive the gift of second-sight, and those who enter
the world on Good Friday are marked by a cross in the roof of the
mouth and have the holy touch that cures diseases. It is a fortunate
house beneath whose eaves the swallow builds,

     "For swallows on Mount Calvary
       Plucked tenderly away
     From the brows of Christ two thousand thorns,
       Such gracious birds are they."

  [Illustration: ST. JAMES]

The Galicians, butt of all Spain for their dulness, are shrewd enough
in fact. It is said that those arrant knaves, the gypsies, dare not
pass through Galicia for fear of being cheated. Like other unlettered
peasants, Gallegos whet their wits on rhyming riddles.

             "Who is the little pigeon,
               Black and white together,
             That speaks so well without a tongue
               And flies without a feather?"

     "A tree with twelve boughs and four nests on a bough,
     In each nest seven birdlings,--unriddle me now."

In many of their proverbial sayings one gets the Spanish tang at its
best. "A well-filled stomach praises God."

     "Why to Castile
       For your fortune go?
     A man's Castile
       Is under his hoe."

And I fear if my comrade were to speak, in Spanish phrase, of our
return to Galicia, she would bid St. James expect us "on Judgment Day
in the afternoon."



     Works by Alice Morse Earle

     CHILD LIFE IN COLONIAL DAYS

     _Profusely Illustrated_

     Crown 8vo. Cloth. Gilt top. $2.50


Commercial Advertiser:

"Once more Mrs. Earle has drawn on her apparently inexhaustible store
of colonial lore, and has produced another interesting book of the
olden days.... Mrs. Earle's interesting style, the accuracy of her
statements, and the attractive illustrations she always supplies for
her books make the volume one to be highly prized."

Buffalo Express:

"Mrs. Alice Morse Earle performs a real historical service, and writes
an interesting book. It is not a compilation from, or condensation of,
previous books, but the fruit of personal and original investigation
into the conditions of life in the American colonies."


     HOME LIFE IN COLONIAL DAYS

Education:

"Mrs. Earle has made a very careful study of the details of domestic
life from the earliest days of the settlement of the country. The book
is sumptuously illustrated, and every famed article, such as the
spinning-wheel, the foot-stone, the brass knocker on the door, and the
old-time cider mill, is here presented to the eye, and faithfully
pictured in words. The volume is a fascinating one, and the vast army
of admirers and students of the olden days will be grateful to the
author for gathering together and putting into permanent form so much
accurate information concerning the homes of our ancestors."

Literature:

"Mrs. Earle's fidelity in study and her patient research are evident
on every page of this charming book, and her pleasantly colloquial
style is frequently assisted by very beautiful illustrations, both of
the houses of the colonists, from the primitive cave dug out of the
hillside and made to answer for warmth and shelter, to the more
comfortable log cabin, the farmstead with its adjacent buildings, and
the stately mansion abiding to our own day."


     THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
     66 FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK



     AMONG ENGLISH HEDGEROWS

     By CLIFTON JOHNSON

     _With an Introduction by HAMILTON W. MABIE_

     Illustrated. Cr. 8vo. Cloth extra. Gilt top. $2.25


"'Among English Hedgerows' is one of the most beautiful of illustrated
books, containing, as it does, a great number of half-tone
reproductions of Mr. Johnson's admirable photographs.

"The author, as far as possible, lived the life of the people who
figure in these pages, and we have delightful accounts of village
characters, and glimpses of quaint old English homes.

"Hamilton W. Mabie, who furnishes the introduction, well summarizes
Mr. Johnson's merits as 'a friendly eye, a hearty sympathy, and a very
intelligent camera, and that love of his field and of his subject
which is the prime characteristic of the successful painter of rural
life and country folk.'"--_Illustrated Buffalo Express._



     ALONG FRENCH BYWAYS

     By CLIFTON JOHNSON

     Illustrated. Cr. 8vo. Cloth extra. Gilt top. $2.25

"A book of leisurely strolling through one of the most picturesque
countries of Europe, enlivened with description and anecdote, and
profusely illustrated.... Mr. Johnson is not only a delightful writer,
but is one of the best landscape photographers of whom we have
knowledge."--_Boston Transcript._

"This book shares the merits of Mr. Johnson's 'Among English
Hedgerows': simplicity of theme and treatment, sympathy and love of
nature."--_The Mail and Express._

"A book of strolling, a book of nature, a book of humble peasant life
intermingled with the chance experiences of the narrator."--_The
Worcester Spy._


     THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
     66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK





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