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Title: Spanish Vistas
Author: Lathrop, George Parsons, 1851-1898
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: A MANDURRA SOLO.]



SPANISH VISTAS


BY

GEORGE PARSONS LATHROP


_ILLUSTRATED_

BY

CHARLES S. REINHART


NEW YORK

HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE

1883

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by

HARPER & BROTHERS,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

       *       *       *       *       *

_All rights reserved._

TO

FRANCES M. LATHROP

WHOSE TASTE FOR TRAVEL AND OBSERVATION EARLY PROMPTED HIS OWN

These Sketches are Dedicated

BY HER SON

THE AUTHOR



PREFACE.


The two great Mediterranean peninsulas which, in opposite quarters, jut
southward where--as George Eliot says, in her "Spanish Gypsy"--

                 "Europe spreads her lands
    Like fretted leaflets, breathing on the deep,"

may not inaptly be likened to a brother and sister, instead of taking
their places under the usual similitude of "sister countries." They have
points of marked resemblance, in their picturesqueness, their treasures
of art, their associations of history and romance; but, just as the
physical aspect of Spain and its shape upon the map are broader, more
thick-set and rugged than the slender form and flowing curves of Italy,
so the Spanish language--with its Arabic gutturals interspersed among
melodious linguals and vowel sounds--has been called the masculine
development of that Southern speech of which the Italian presents the
feminine side. The people of both countries exhibit a similar excitable,
ardent quality in their characters; but the national temperament of the
Spaniards is, perhaps, somewhat hardier, more virile, and sturdier in
its passionateness.

It seems to be true that, while the Greek spirit transferred itself to
Italy in the days of Augustus, renewing its influence at the period of
the Renaissance, and leaving upon people and manners an impress never
since quite effaced--an influence tending toward a certain feminine
refinement--the spirit of Rome also transferred itself to the subject
country, Hispania, and imbued that region with the strong, austere, or
wilful characteristics of purely Latin civilization, which are still
traceable there.

But, however we may account for the phenomena, it is likely that the
mingled contrasts and resemblances of Italy and Spain will more and more
induce travellers to visit the Iberian Peninsula. Italy has now been so
thoroughly depicted in all its larger phases, from the foreigner's point
of view, that investigation must hereafter chiefly be concerned with the
study of special and local features. Spain, on the other hand, offers
itself to the general observer and to the tourist as a field scarcely
more explored than Italy was forty or fifty years ago; and the evidence
is abundant that the current of travel is setting vigorously in this
direction. With the extension of a railroad system and the incursion of
sight-seeing strangers in larger number, we must of course expect that
many of the most interesting peculiarities of the people will undergo
modification and at length disappear. This, however, cannot be helped;
and the following chapters, at the same time that they may encourage and
aid those who are destined to bring about such changes, may also serve
to arrest and preserve for future reference the actual appearance of
Spain to-day.

Much might be written, with the certainty of an eager audience,
concerning the present political condition of the country, by any one
who had had opportunities for examining it; and Mr. John Hay, a few
years ago, gave some glimpses of it in his charming volume, "Castilian
Days." My own brief sojourn afforded no adequate opportunity for such
observation. But it may be not inadmissible to record here one of the
casual remarks which came to my notice in this connection. On a
Mediterranean steamer I met with an exceedingly bright and healthy man
of the middle class, fairly well educated--one of those specimens of
solid, temperate, active manhood fortunately very common in Spain, on
whom the future of the country really depends--and, noticing from my
lame speech that I was not a native, he asked me, guardedly, if I was an
Englishman.

"No," I said; "I am an American of the North, of the United States."

His manner changed at once; he thawed: more than that, his face lighted
with hope, as if he had found a powerful friend, and he gazed at me with
a certain delighted awe, attributing to my humble person a glory for
which I was in no way responsible. "You are a republican, then!" he
exclaimed.

"Yes."

He gave me another long, silent look, and then confessed that he, too,
was a firm believer in republicanism.

"Are there many Spaniards now of that party?" I inquired.

His reply showed that he appreciated the difficulties of the national
problem. "Party!" he cried. "Listen: in Spain there is a separate
political party for every man." After a slight pause he added, bitterly,
"Sometimes, _two_!"

It may still be said with a good deal of accuracy, though not of course
with the literalness and the sweeping application that Paul de Saint
Victor gave the words, in speaking of the French Charles II.'s reign,
that "Spain no more changes than the arid zone that encircles a volcano.
Kings pass, dynasties are renewed, events succeed each other, but the
foundation remains immobile, and Philip II. still rules."

I have not attempted to review political matters; and neither have I
tried to give an exhaustive account of the country in any other respect.
The pictures which I have given I have endeavored to make vivid and
faithful; and, if I have succeeded, they will present the essential
characteristics of Spain. What has thus been the object of the text has
certainly been attained in the drawings by Mr. Reinhart, which supply
much the greater part of the illustrations in this volume. Made after
sketches from life, which were prepared with unflagging zeal, and often
under great difficulties, they frequently tell more than language can
convey. Their graphic touch, their variety and humor, their technical
merit, give them the best of recommendations; but a word of distinct
recognition is due here to the artist for the fidelity and spirit with
which he has reproduced so many scenes peculiar to the country.

It is hoped that the concluding chapter of "Hints to Travellers" will
prove useful, as supplying certain information not always accessible in
guide-books, and also as condensing the practical particulars of the
subject in a convenient form.

THE WAYSIDE, _Concord_, _April 1, 1883._



CONTENTS.

                                         PAGE

_FROM BURGOS TO THE GATE OF THE SUN_        1

_THE LOST CITY_                            34

_CORDOVAN PILGRIMS_                        70

_ANDALUSIA AND THE ALHAMBRA_              103

_MEDITERRANEAN PORTS AND GARDENS_         152

_HINTS TO TRAVELLERS_                     186



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                     PAGE

A MANDURRA SOLO                             _Frontispiece_

INITIAL LETTER                                          1

TWO ASSASSINS IN LONG CLOAKS                            2

THE NIGHT-WATCH                                         4

DANCING BOYS                                            6

THE ARCH OF ST. MARY                                    8

PEASANTS IN THE MARKET-PLACE                           11

IN THE MIRADOR                                         13

LANDSCAPE BETWEEN BURGOS AND MADRID                    17

THE PLAZA MAYOR                                        21

WATER-DEALER                                           23

OLD ARTILLERY PARK                                     24

THE ESCORIAL                                           25

ON THE ROAD TO THE BULL-FIGHT                          27

PLAN OF THE BULL-RING                                  28

A STREET SCENE                                         32

TAIL-PIECE                                             33

INITIAL LETTER                                         34

ENTRANCE TO TOLEDO                                     35

THE NARROW WAY                                         36

SPANISH PEASANT (from a Drawing By William M. Chase)   37

SINGING GIRL                                           41

CLOISTER OF ST. JOHN OF THE KINGS                      42

A BIT OF CHARACTER                                     43

SPANISH SOLDIERS PLAYING DOMINOS                       44

A NARROW STREET                                        45

WOMAN WITH BUNDLE                                      46

THE SERENADERS                                         47

A PLENTIFUL SUPPLY OF PLATES                           50

THE TOILET--A SUNDAY SCENE                             51

A TOLEDO PRIEST                                        53

TOLEDO SERVITORS AT THE FOUNTAIN                       55

A PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR                                  57

A GROUP OF MENDICANTS                                  58

A PATIO IN TOLEDO                                      59

THE HOME OF "SOLITUDE"                                 61

"MEN AND BOYS SLUMBER OUT-OF-DOORS EVEN IN THE HOT SUN"67

A STRANGE FUNERAL                                      68

TAIL-PIECE                                             69

INITIAL LETTER                                         70

WHETSTONE                                              71

COFFEE AT CASTILLEJO                                   72

PRIMITIVE THRASHING                                    74

WHILE THE WOMEN ARE AT MASS                            75

WATER-STAND IN CORDOVA                                 77

THE GAY COSTER-MONGERS OF ANDALUSIA                    79

THE MEZQUITA                                           80

RELIC PEDDLERS                                         81

THE GARDEN OF THE ALCAZAR                              83

PRIEST AND PURVEYOR                                    85

FLOWERS FOR THE MARKET                                 85

TRAVELLERS TO CORDOVA                                  87

"ARRÉ, BURR-R-RICO!"                                   89

THE FRUIT OF THE DESIERTA                              94

MEMENTO MORI                                           97

DIFFICULT FOR FOREIGNERS                              101

THE JASMINE GIRL                                      101

INITIAL LETTER                                        103

MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE CATHEDRAL, SEVILLA
(from a Photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)       105

THE GIRALDA TOWER
(from a Photograph By J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)       107

THE "UNDERGROUND" MAIL                                109

A STREET CORNER                                       115

FIGARO                                                118

"STONE WALLS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE"                    121

IN "THE SERPENT"                                      123

"ALL THE DAY I AM HAPPY"                              127

GRANADA UNDERTAKER                                    130

THE MOORISH GATE, SEVILLA                             131

A WATER-CARRIER                                       133

BIT OF ARCH IN A COURT OF THE ALHAMBRA
(from a Photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)       137

THE TOILET TOWER
(from a Photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)       139

BOUDOIR OF LINDARAXA                                  141

GYPSIES                                               150

INITIAL LETTER                                        152

GYPSY DANCE                                           154

A SPANISH MONK                                        158

TRANSPORTATION OF POTTERY                             160

GARLIC VENDER                                         161

DIVING FOR COPPERS                                    164

A MODERN SANCHO PANZA                                 167

STREET BARBER                                         168

BIBLES _VERSUS_ MELONS                                169

CUSTOMS OFFICERS                                      171

POST INN, ALICANTE                                    172

ALICANTE FRUIT-SELLER                                 173

METHOD OF IRRIGATION NEAR VALENCIA                    175

CHURCH OF SANTA CATALINA, VALENCIA                    176

A VALENCIA CAB                                        178

BARCELONA FISHERMEN                                   180

TAIL-PIECE                                            185

INITIAL LETTER                                        186

ST. JOHN AT BURGOS--CHERUBS IN ADORATION              210



SPANISH VISTAS.


_FROM BURGOS TO THE GATE OF THE SUN._

I.


[Illustration: W]

We took our places, for the performance was about to begin. The scene
represented a street in Burgos, the long-dead capital of old Castile.
Time: night.

Ancient houses on either side the stage narrow back to an archway in the
centre, opening through to a pillared walk and a dimly moonlit space
beyond. Muffled figures occasionally pass the aperture.

Suddenly enters Don Ramiro--or Alvar Nuñez, I really don't know
which--and advances toward the front. To our surprise he does not open
the play with a set speech or any explanation, but continues to advance
until he disappears somewhere under our private box, as if he were going
from this street of the play into some other adjoining street, just as
in actual life. A singular freak of realism! He is closely pursued,
however, by two assassins in long cloaks, who, like all the other
figures we have seen, move noiselessly in soft shoes or canvas sandals.
Presently a shriek resounds from the quarter toward which Don Ramiro
betook himself. Have they succeeded in catching him, and is that the
sound of his mortal agony? We have just concluded that this is the
meaning of the clamor, when, after a second or two, the shriek resolves
itself into laughter. Then we begin to recall that we didn't pay
anything on entering; and, as we glance up toward the folded curtain
above the scene, discover that its place is occupied by the starry sky.
The houses, too, have a singularly solid look, and do not appear to be
painted. While all this has been dawning upon us, we become conscious
that the mixed sound of agony or mirth just heard was merely the signal
of amusement caused to certain wandering Spaniards by some convulsingly
funny episode; and the next moment their party comes upon the scene at
about the point where the foot-lights ought to be. They exchange a
good-night; some go off, and others thunder at sundry doors with ancient
knockers, awaking mediæval echoes in the dingy thoroughfares, without
causing any great surprise to the neighborhood.

[Illustration: TWO ASSASSINS IN LONG CLOAKS.]

In truth, we had simply been looking from the window of an inn at which
we had just arrived; but everything had grouped itself in such a way
that it was hard to comprehend that we were not at the theatre. That day
we had been hurled over the Pyrenees, and landed in the dark at our
first Peninsular station; then, facing a crowd of fierce, uncouth faces
at the depôt door, we had somehow got conveyed to the Inn of the North
through narrow, cavernous streets, brightened only by the feeble light
of a few lost lanterns, and so found ourselves staring out upon our
first picturesque night in Spain. The street or plazuela below us,
though now deserted, went on conducting itself in a most melodramatic
manner. Big white curtains hung in front of the iron balconies, flapping
voluminously, or were drawn back to admit the cool night air. Crickets
chirped loudly from hidden crevices of masonry, and a well-contrived bat
sailed blindly over the roofs in the penumbral air, through which the
moon was slowly rising. Lights went in and out; some one was seen
cooking a late supper in one dwelling; windows were opened and shut, and
a general appearance of haunting ghosts was kept up. Now and then a
woman came to the balcony and chatted with unseen neighbors across the
way about the festival of the morrow. By-and-by one side of the street
blew its lamps out and prepared for bed; but the wakeful side insisted
on talking to the sleepy one for some time longer, until warned by the
cry of the night-watch that midnight had come. Anything more desolate
and peculiar than this cry I have never heard. It was a long-drawn,
melancholy sounding of the hour, with a final "All's well!" terminating
in a minor cadence which seemed to drop the voice back at once into the
Middle Ages. This same chant may have resounded from the days of Lain
Calvo and the old judges of Castile unaltered, and for a time it made me
fancy that the little Gothic town had returned to its musty youth. We
were walled into a sleepy feudal stronghold once more, and perhaps at
that very moment the Cid was celebrating his nuptials with Ximena,
daughter of the count he had murdered for an insult, in the old ruined
citadel up there on the hill, above the cathedral spires. But the
watchman came and went, and the present resumed its sway. He passed
with slow step, in a big cloak and queer cap, carrying a long bladed
staff, and a lantern which cast swaying squares of light around his
feet; silent as a black ghost, and seeming to have been called into life
only with the lighting of his lamp-wick. But, after he had disappeared,
the lonely quaver of his cry returned to us from farther and farther
away, penetrating into the comfortless apartment to which we now retired
for sleep.

[Illustration: THE NIGHT-WATCH.]

The Inn of the North was dirty and unkempt; a frightful odor from the
donkey-stable and other sources streamed up into our window between
shutters heavy as church doors; and the descant of the watch, relieved
by violent cock-crows, disturbed us all night. Nevertheless, we awoke
with a good deal of eagerness when the alert young woman with dark pink
cheeks and snapping eyes who served us came to the door with chocolate
and bread, water and _azucarillos_, betimes next morning. It was the
festival of Corpus Christi; but although every one was going to see the
procession, no one could tell us anything about it. Unless he be
extraordinarily shrewd, a foreigner can hardly help arriving in Spain on
some kind of a feast-day. When the people cannot get up a whole holiday,
they will have a fractional one. You go about the streets cheerfully,
thinking you will buy something at leisure in the afternoon; but when
you approach the shop commerce has vanished, and is out taking a walk,
or drinking barley-water in honor of some obscure saint. You engage a
guide and carriage to visit some public building, and both guide and
carriage are silent as to the religious character of the day until you
arrive and find the place shut, when full price, or at least half, is
confidently demanded. Church feasts are a matter of course, but you are
expected to know about them, and questions are considered out of place.
In this case we had kept Corpus Christi in mind, and as Burgos is a
small place, the "function" could not by any possibility escape us.

The garrison turned out, and military music played in the procession,
but otherwise it was a quaint reproduction of the antique. The quiet
streets, innocent of traffic, were filled with peasants whose garments,
odoriferous with age and dirt, made a dazzle of color, especially the
bright yellow flannel skirts of the women, and the gay handkerchief
which men and women alike employ here. Sometimes it is worn around the
shoulders, sometimes around the head, and sometimes both: but everywhere
and always handkerchiefs are brought into play as essentials. From
almost every balcony, too, hung bedquilts, or sheets scalloped with red
and blue, in emulation of the tapestries and banners that once graced
these occasions. Amid a tumultuous tumbling of bells up amid the carven
gray stone-work of the cathedral, the candles and images and tonsured
priests, clad in resplendent copes, moved forth, attended by civil
functionaries in swallow-tailed coats or old crimson robes of the
twelfth century. But the prettiest sight, and a much more striking one
than the gilt effigies of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen and the rest,
under toy canopies and wreathed with false flowers, was that of two
little boys, nude except for the snowy lamb-skins they wore, who
personated Christ and St. John. The Christ rode on a lamb, and kept his
head very steady under a big curled wig made after the old masters. We
saw him afterward in his father's arms, still holding his hands
prayerfully, as he had been drilled, with a look of sweet, childish awe
in his face.

[Illustration: DANCING BOYS.]

When the procession was about to return, we were amazed, in gazing at
the small street from which it should emerge, to behold eight huge
figures, looking half as high as the houses, in long robes, and with
placidly unreal expressions on their gigantic faces, advancing with that
peculiar unconscious gait due to human leg-power when concealed under
papier-maché monsters. It took but a glance, as they filed out and
aligned themselves on the small sunny square, to recognize in them the
Kings of the Earth, come in person to do homage before the Christ. One
bore a crown and ermine as insignia of the Castilian line; others were
Moors; and even China was represented. After them danced a dozen boys,
in pink tunics and bell-crowned hats of drab felt quaintly beribboned,
throwing themselves about fantastically, with snapping fingers and
castanets. They formed in two ranks, just under the grand shadowy
entrance arch, to receive the pageant. A drummer and two _flautistas_ in
festive attire accompanied them; and whenever a monstrance or holy image
was borne past, the flutes mingled with the drum eccentric bagpipe
discords, at which the boys broke into a prancing jig and rattled their
castanets to express their devout joy. Two other men in harlequin dress,
wearing tall, pointed hats, stood on the edge of the eager crowd, and
belabored those who pressed too close with horse-hair switches attached
by a long cord to slender sticks. This part of the performance was
conducted with great energy and seriousness, and seemed to be received
with due reverence by the thick heads which got hit. A more heathenish
rite than this jig at the sanctuary gate could hardly be imagined.

"Are these things possible, and is this the nineteenth century?"
exclaimed my friend and companion, who, however, had been guilty of an
indigestion that day.

I confess that for myself I enjoyed the dance, and could not help being
struck by the contrast of this boyish gayety with the heavy gorgeousness
of the priests and the immobile frown of the sculptured figures on the
massive ogee arch.[1] Then when the Host was carried by in the
_custodia_, and the motley crowd kneeled and bared their heads, we sunk
to the pavement with them, our knees being assisted possibly by the
statement we had heard that, a few years since, blows or knives were the
prompt reward of non-conformity. Afterward, when secular amusements
ensued, our boys went about, stopping now and then in open places to
execute strange dances, with hoops and ribbons and wooden swords, for
the general enjoyment. A gleeful sight they made against backgrounds of
old archways, or perhaps the mighty Arch of Santa Maria, one of the
local glories, peopled with statues of ancient counts and knights and
rulers.

[Illustration: THE ARCH OF ST. MARY.]

No Spanish town is without its paseo--its public promenade; and in
Burgos this is supplied by The Spur--a broad esplanade skirting the
shrunken river, with borders of chubby shade trees and shrubbery. On
Corpus Christi the citizens also turned out in the arcades of the Main
Plaza. Here, and later in the dusty dusk of The Spur, they crowded and
chatted, in accordance with native ideas of enjoyment; and except that
their mantillas and shoulder-veils[2] made a difference, the señoras and
señoritas might have passed for Americans, so delicate were their
features, so trim their daintily-attired figures, though perhaps they
hadn't a coin in their pockets. The men had the universal Iberian habit
of carrying their light overcoats folded over the left shoulder; but
their quick nervous expression and spare faces would have been quite in
place on Wall Street. Spanish ladies are allowed far more liberty than
the French or English in public; but though they walked without male
escort, they showed remarkable skill in avoiding any direct look at men
from their own lustrous eyes. During the accredited hours of the paseo,
however, gallants and friends are suffered to walk close behind them--so
close that the entire procession often comes to a stand-still--and to
whisper complimentary speeches into their ears; no one, not even
relatives of the damsels, resenting this freedom.

At Las Huelgas, a famous convent near the town, much resorted to by nuns
of aristocratic family (even the Empress Eugénie it was thought would
retire thither after her son's death), the fête was renewed next day;
and it was here that we saw beggars in perfection. A huge stork's nest
was perched high on one end of the chapel, as on many churches of Spain.
Bombs were fired above the crowd from the high square tower that rose
into the hot air not far from the inner shrine; and in the chapel below
the nuns were at their devotions, caged behind heavy iron lattices that
barely disclosed their picturesque head-dress. Meanwhile peasants and
burghers wandered aimlessly about, looking at pictures, relics, and
inscriptions in an outer arcade; after which the holiday of the people
began. Holiday here means either walking or sleeping. In a sultry, dusty
little square by the convent, covered with trees, the people went to
sleep, or sat talking, and occasionally eating or drinking with much
frugality. The first object that had greeted us by daylight in Burgos
was a marvellous mendicant clad in an immense cloak, one mass of
patches--in fact, a monument of indigence--carrying on his head a mangy
fur cap, with a wallet at his waist to contain alms. The beggars
assembled at Las Huelgas were quite as bad, except that they mostly had
the good taste to remain asleep. In any attitude, face down or up, on
stone benches or on the grass, they dozed at a moment's notice, reposing
piously. One sat for a long time torpid near us, but finally mustered
energy to come and entreat us. He received a copper, whereupon he kissed
the coin, murmured a blessing, and again retreated to his shadow.
Another, having acquired something from some other source, halted near
us to find his pocket. He searched long among his rags, and plunged
fiercely into a big cavity which exposed his dirty linen; but this
proved to be only a tear in his trousers, and he was at last obliged to
tie his treasure to a voluminous string around his waist, letting it
hang down thence into some interior vacancy of rags.

It may not be generally known that beggars are licensed in Spain.
Veteran soldiers, instead of receiving a pension, are generously endowed
with official permission to seek charity; the Church gives doles to the
poor, and citizens consider it a virtue to relieve the miserable objects
who petition for pence at every turn. As we came from Las Huelgas we saw
the maimed and blind and certain more robust paupers creeping up to the
door of a church, where priests were giving out food. A little farther
on an emaciated crone at a bridge-head, with eyes shut fast in sleep,
lifted her hand mechanically and repeated her formula. We were convinced
that, since she could do this in her slumbers, she must have been
satisfied with merely dreaming of that charity we did not bestow.

It was a favorable season for the beggars, and many of them sunned their
bodies, warped and scarred by hereditary disease, on the cathedral
steps. But professional enterprise with them was constantly hindered by
the tendency to nap. One old fellow I saw who, feeling a brotherhood
between himself and the broken-nosed statues, had mounted into a
beautiful niche there and coiled himself in sleep, first hauling his
wooden leg up after him like a drawbridge.

Meanwhile the peasants kept on swarming into the town, decorating it
with their blue and red and yellow kerchiefs and kirtles, as with a mass
of small moving banners. The men wore vivid sashes, leather leggings,
and laced sandals. It was partly for enjoyment they came, and partly to
sell produce. All alike were to be met with at noon, squatting down in
any sheltered coigne of street or square, every group with a bowl in its
midst containing the common dinner. There were also little
eating-houses, in which they regaled themselves on bread and sardines,
with a special cupful of oil thrown in, or on salt meat. A lively trade
in various small articles was carried on in the Main Plaza; among them
loaves of tasteless white bread, hard as tiles, and delicious cherries,
recalling the farms of New York. Another product was offered, the
presence of which in large quantity was like a sarcasm. This was Castile
soap. It must have taken an immense effort of imagination on the part of
these people to think of manufacturing an article for which they have so
little use. I am bound to add that I did not see an ounce of it sold;
and I have my suspicions that the business is merely a traditional
one--the same big cheese-like chunks being probably brought out at every
fair and fête, as a time-honored symbol of Castilian prosperity. But,
after all, so devout a community must be convinced that it possesses
godliness; and having that, what do they need of the proximate virtue?
This is the region where the inhabitants refer to themselves as "old and
rancid Castilians;" and the expression is appropriate.

[Illustration: PEASANTS IN THE MARKET-PLACE.]

The most intolerable odor pervaded the whole place. It was a singular
mixture, arising from the trustful local habit of allowing every kind
of garbage and ordure to disperse itself without drainage, and
complicated with fumes of oil, garlic, general mustiness, and a whiff or
two of old incense. The potency of olive-oil, especially when somewhat
rank, none can know who have not been in Spain. That first steak--how
tempting it looked among its potatoes, but how abominably it tasted! We
never approached meat with the same courage afterward, until our senses
were subdued to the level of fried oil. Combine this with the odor of
corruption, and you have the insinuating quality which we soon noticed
even in the wine--perhaps from the custom of transporting it in badly
dressed pig-skins, which impart an animal flavor. This astonishing local
atmosphere saluted us everywhere; it was in our food and drink; we
breathed it and dreamed of it. Yet the Burgalese flourished in calm
unconsciousness thereof. The splendidly blooming peasant women showed
their perfect teeth at us; and the men, in broad-brimmed, pointed caps
and embroidered jackets, whose feet were brown and earthy as tree-roots,
laughed outright, strong in the knowledge of their traditionary soap, at
our ignorant foreign clothes and over-washed hands! Among the humbler
class were some who were prepared to sell labor--an article not much in
demand--and they were even more calmly squalid than the beggars. They
sat in ranks on the curb-stones of the plaza, a matchless array of
tatters; and if they could have been conveyed without alteration to
Paris or New York, there would have been sharp competition for them
between the artists and paper-makers.

So my companion, the artist, assured me--whom, by-the-way, in order to
give him local color, I had rechristened Velazquez. But as he shrank
from the large implication of this name, I softened him down to
Velveteen.

We had been twenty-four hours in Burgos before we saw a carriage,
excepting only the hotel coach, which stood most of the time without
horses in front of the door, and was used by the porter as a private
gambling den and loafing place for himself and his friends. When wheels
did roll along the pavements they awoke a roar as of musketry. Perhaps
the most important event which took place during our stay--it was
certainly regarded with a more feverish interest by the inhabitants than
the Corpus Christi ceremonies--was the bold act of our landlady, who
went out to drive in a barouche, while her less daring spouse hung out
of the window weakly staring at her. The house-fronts were filled with
well-dressed feminine heads, witnessing the departure; a grave old
gentleman opposite left his book and glared out intently. When the
wheels could no longer even be heard, he turned to gaze wistfully in the
opposite direction, dimly hoping that life might vouchsafe him a
carriage.

[Illustration: IN THE MIRADOR.]

Although, as I have said, women avoid meeting male glances when on the
sidewalk, they enjoy full license to stand at their high windows, which
are called _miradores_, or "lookers," and contemplate with entire
freedom all things or persons that pass; which, in view of the complete
listlessness of their lives, is a fortunate dispensation. Existence in
Burgos is essentially life from the window point of view. It proceeds
idly, and as a sort of accidental spectacle. Yet there is for strangers
a dull fascination in wandering about the narrow, silent streets, and
contemplating ancient buildings, the chiselled ornaments and armorial
bearings of which recall the wealth and nobility that once inhabited
them during the great days of the town. Where have all the dominant
families gone? Are they keeping store, or tending the railroad station?
Their descendants are sometimes only too happy if they can get some
petty government office at five hundred dollars a year. I strolled one
afternoon into the Calle de la Calera, and through a shabby archway
penetrated to a stately old ruined court, around which ran an
inscription in stone, declaring this palace to have been reared by an
abbot of aristocratic line a century or two since. It is used now as an
oil factory. A pretty girl was looking out over a flower-pot in an upper
window, and, as I strayed up the noble staircase, I met a sad-looking
gentleman coming down, who I afterward learned was a widower, formerly
resident in Paris, but now returned with his daughter to this strange
domicile in his native place. Some of the lower rooms, again, were
devoted to plebeians and donkeys.

The humble ass, by-the-way, begins to thrust himself meekly upon you as
soon as you set foot in the Peninsula, and you must look sharp if you
wish to keep out of his way. His cheap labor has ruined and driven out
the haughtier equine stock of Arabia that once pawed this devoted soil.
Even the Cid, however, did not boast a barb of the desert in the earlier
days of his prowess; for when King Alfonso bade him quit the land, "then
the Cid clapped spurs to the mule upon which he rode, and vaulted into a
piece of ground which was his own inheritance, and answered, 'Sire, I am
not in your land, but in my own.'" This little incident occurred near
Burgos, and the drowsy city still keeps some dim memory of that great
Warrior Lord the Cid Campeador, Rodrigo de Bivar, whose quaint story,
full of hardihood, robbery, and cruelty, gallant deeds and grim pathos,
trails along the track of his adventures through half of Spain. But
there is a curious cheapness and indifference in the memorials of him
preserved. In the Town-hall, for the sum of ten cents, you are admitted
to view the modern walnut receptacle wherein all that is left of him is
economically stored. Those puissant bones, which went through so many
hard fights against the Moors, are seen lying here, dusty and loose,
with those of Ximena, under the glass cover. Among them reposes a portly
corked bottle, in which minor fragments of the warrior lord were placed
after the moving of his remains from the Convent of San Pedro in chains,
where for many years he occupied a more seemly tomb. Imagine George
Washington, partially bottled and wholly disjointed, on exhibition under
glass! The Spaniards, in no way disconcerted by the incongruity, have
graven on the brass plate of the case a high-sounding inscription; but
a tribute as genuine and not less valuable, though humbler, was the big,
spruce-looking modern wagon I saw in the market-place one day, driven by
an energetic farmer, and bearing on its side the title _El Cid_.

One would look to see the conqueror's dust richly inurned within the
cathedral--a noble outgrowth of the thirteenth century, enriched by
accretions of later work until its whitish stone and wrought marble
connect the Early Pointed style with that of the Renaissance in its
flower. But perhaps this temple has enough without the Cid. Strangely
placed on the side of a hill, with houses attached to one corner, as if
it had sprung from the homes and hearts of the people, it seems to hold
down the swelling ground with its massive weight; yet the spires,
through the open-work of which the stars may be seen at night, rise with
such lightness you would think the heavy bells might make them tremble
and fall. I passed an hour of peace and fresh air above the fetid
streets, looking down from the citadel hill on these pinnacles, while
around and below them lay the town--an irregular mass of gray and mauve
pierced with deep shadows--in the midst of bare, rolling uplands. Before
the fair high altar hangs the victorious banner of Ferdinand VII.,
recalling to the people the great battle of Tolosa Plains. And when one
sees peasants--rough spots of color in the sombre choir--studying the
dark, fruit-like wood-carvings through which the Bible story wreathes
itself in panel after panel, one feels the teaching power of these old
churches for the unlettered. In one of the corner chapels appears
another less favorable phase of such teaching, in the shape of a
miracle-working Christ, amid deep shadows and dim lantern-light,
stretched on the cross, and draped with a satin crinoline. This doubtful
reverence of putting a short skirt on the figure of the Saviour, often
practiced in Spain, may perhaps mark an influence unconsciously received
from the Moorish dislike for nudity. The cathedral bells were
continually clanging the summons to mass or vespers, and their loud
voices, though cracked and inharmonious, seemed still to assert the
supremacy of ecclesiastical power. But while a priest occasionally
darkened the sidewalks, many others, on account of the growing prejudice
against them, went about in frock-coats and ordinary tall hats. And
under all its crowning beauty the old minster, motionless in the centre
of the stagnant town--its chief entrance walled up, and a notice painted
on its Late Roman façade warning boys not to play ball against the
tempting masonry--wore the look of some neglected and half-blind thing,
once glorious, symbol of a power abruptly stayed in its prodigious
career.

Meanwhile the daily history of Burgos went on its wonted way, sleepy but
picturesque--a sort of illuminated prose. Women chaffered in the
blue-tiled fish-market; the _bourgeoisie_ patronized the sweetmeat
shops, of which there were ten on the limited chief square; the
tambourine-maker varied this ornamental industry with the construction
of the more practical sieve; a peasant passed with a bundle of
purple-flowering vetches on his head for fodder, and another drove six
milch goats through the streets, seeking a purchaser. To this last one
the proprietor of the principal book-store came running out to see if he
could strike a bargain. One morning I met an uncouth countryman and his
stout wife on the red-tiled landing of the inn stairs (they bowed and
courtesied to me) with chickens and eggs for sale. In this simple manner
our hotel was supplied. All the bread was got, a few pieces at a time,
from a small bakery across the plazuela, in a dark cellar just under the
niche of a neglected stone saint--a new arrival causing our maid to run
hurriedly thither for a couple of rolls; and the water also came from
some neighbor's well in earthen jars. The barber even exercises his
primitive function in Burgos: he is called a "bleeder," and announces on
his shop sign that "teeth and molars" are extracted there. Democratic
and provincial the atmosphere was, and not unpleasantly so; yet during
our stay Italian opera from Madrid was performing in the theatre, and
large yellow posters promised "Bulls in Burgos" at an early date.


II.

To pass from this ancient city to Madrid is to experience one of those
astonishing contrasts in which the country abounds.

We dropped asleep in the rough, time-worn regions of Old Castile, and in
the morning found ourselves amid the glare and bustle of reconstructed
Spain, as it displays itself on the great square called the Gate of the
Sun--a spot with no hint of poetry about it other than its name. Madrid
adopts largely the Parisian style of street architecture, and has in
portions a resemblance to Boston. The sense of remoteness aroused in the
north here suddenly fades, though the traits that mark a foreign land
soon re-assemble and take shape in a new framework. Perhaps, too, our
first rather flat impression was due to an exhausting night journey and
some accompanying incidents.

[Illustration: LANDSCAPE BETWEEN BURGOS AND MADRID.]


"The Spaniards are a nation of robbers!" a cheerful French gentleman of
Bordeaux had told us;[3] and he threw out warnings of certain little
coin tricks in which they were adepts. When two Civil Guards, armed with
swords and guns, inspected our train at the frontier, we recalled his
statement. These guards persistently popped up at every succeeding
station. No matter how fast the train went, there they were always
waiting; always two of them, always with the same mustached faces, and
the same white havelocks fluttering on their bunchy cocked hats of the
French Revolution, and making their swarthy cheeks and black eyes
fiercer by contrast. In fact, they were obviously the same men. Every
time they marched up and down the platform, scanning the cars in a
determined manner, and scowling at our compartment in a way that fully
persuaded us some one must be guilty. Indeed, before long we became
convinced that we ourselves were suspicious; but it would have been a
relief if they had taken us in hand at once. Why should they go on
glaring at us and swinging their guns, as if it were a good deal easier
to shoot us than not, unless it was that we were too rich a "find" to be
disposed of immediately--squandered, as it were? Perhaps the torture of
suspense suited the enormity of our case, but it was certainly cruel.
There was some satisfaction, however, in finding that when we left the
depôt they allowed us a restricted liberty, and kept out of our way. If
it had been otherwise, I don't know what they would have done to us at
Burgos, for it was there that the landlady forced upon us a gold piece
that would not pass, in exchange for a good one which we had given her.
This very simple device was one of which the French gentleman had told
us. But we were too confiding. The money to pay the bill was sent away
by a servant, and once out of sight was easily replaced with inferior
coin. Disturbed by this episode, we went to our train, which started
with the watchman's first hail at eleven, and stumbled hastily into an
empty compartment, which we soon converted into a sleeping-carriage by
making our bundles pillows, drawing curtains, and pulling the silk
screen over the lamp. Our nap was broken only by a halt at the next
station. There was a long, drowsy pause, during which the train seemed
to be pretending it hadn't been asleep. It was nearly time to go on,
when feminine voices drew near our carriage; the door was thrown open,
and two ladies quickly entered. There was no time for retreat; the usual
fish-horn and dinner-bell accompaniment announced our departure, and the
wheels moved. Then it was that one of the new-comers uttered a half
scream, and we saw that she was a nun!

Had it been a cooler night our blood might have frozen; but as it failed
us, we did what we could by feeling greatly embarrassed. The nun and her
travelling companion had been speaking Spanish as they approached, and
we tried in that language to impress on them our harmless devotion to
their convenience.

"But he said it was reserved for ladies," murmured the sister, in good
English.

The terrible truth was now clear. My eye caught, at the same instant, a
card in the window which proved beyond question that we had got into the
carriage for señoras.

The result of this adventure was that we found the nun to be an English
Catholic, employed in teaching at a religious establishment, and her
friend another Englishwoman protecting her on her journey. Pleasant
conversation ensued, and we had almost forgotten that we were criminals,
when the speed of the engine slackened again, and the thought of the
Civil Guards returned to haunt us. We did not dare remain, yet we were
sure that our military pursuers would confront us again on the platform.
There indeed they were, when we tumbled out into the obscurity, with
their white-hooded heads looming above their muskets in startling
disconnectedness. Telling Velazquez, with all the firmness I possessed,
to bare his breast to the avenging sword, I hastened to get into a
coupé, preferring to die comfortably. He, however, ignominiously
followed me. It is true, we were not molested; but the shock of that
narrow escape kept us wakeful.

Not even our own prairies, I think, could present so dreary and
monotonous an outlook as the wide, endless, treeless Castilian plains
while morning slowly felt its way across them. Brown and cold they were,
skirted by white roads, and all shorn of their barley crops, though it
was but middle June. Now and then a village was seen huddled against
some low slope--a church lifting its tall, square campanario above the
humble roofs against the pearling sky. Interior Spain is a desolate
land, but the Church thrives there and draws its tax from the
poverty-stricken inhabitants--a crowned beggar ruling over beggars.

If the first man were now to be created from the clay of this region, he
would doubtless turn out the very type of a lean hidalgo. The human
product of such soil must perforce be meagre and melancholy; and the
pensiveness which we see in most Spanish faces seems a reflection of the
landscape which surrounds them.

The Madrileños offer not a flat, but rather an extremely round
contradiction to this general and accepted idea of the national
appearance. Slenderness is the exception with them. Their city is a
forced flower in the midst of mountain lands, and the men themselves
rejoice in a rotund and puffy look of success, which also partakes of
the hot-house character. They are people of leisure, and, after their
manner, of pleasure. How they swarm in the cafés in the Gate of the
Sun--where they keep up the Moorish custom of calling waiters by two
claps of the hands--or on the one great thoroughfare, Calle de Alcalá,
or in the bull-ring of a Sunday! They are never at rest, yet never
altogether active. They never sleep, or, if they do, others take their
places in the public resorts. The clamor of the streets, and even the
snarling cry of the news-venders--"_La Correspondencia_," or "_El
Demó-crata-a_"--is kept up until the small hours; and at five or six the
restless stir begins again with the silver tinkling of fleet mule-bells.
There are no night-howling watchmen in Madrid; but the custom of
street-hawking is rampant in Spain; and here, in addition to the
newsmen, we have the wail of the water-criers, ministering to an
unquenchable popular thirst, the lottery-ticket sellers, the wax-match
peddlers, and a dozen others. The favorite bird of the country is a kind
of lark called _alondra_, much hung in cages outside the windows, whence
they utter--with that monotonous recurrence which seems a fixed
principle of all things Spanish--a hard, piercing triple note impossible
to ignore. This loud, persistent "twit, twit-twit," resembling at a
distance the click of castanets, begins with daybreak, and gives a most
discouraging notion of the Spanish musical ear.

But the watchmen are merciful. They are called, as elsewhere,
_serenos_, which may mean either "quiet," or "night-dews," but their
function in Madrid is peculiar. Early in the evening they come out by
squads, with staves of office, and at their girdles bright lanterns and
an immense bunch of keys. These are the night-keys of all the houses on
each man's beat, the residents not being allowed to have any. When a
person returns home late--and who does not, in Madrid--he is obliged to
find his sereno, and if that officer is not in sight, calls him by
name--"Frascuelo," or "Pepino." Whereupon Frascuelo, or Pepino, or
Santiago, if he hears, will come along and unlock the door. This curious
system should at least encourage good habits; for, unless a man be
sober, his watchman may have unpleasant tales to tell of him.

The feline race being too often homeless, and having a proverbial taste
for nocturnal wanderings, the average male citizen of the capital
feelingly nicknames himself a "Madrid cat." This shows a frankness of
self-characterization, to say the least, unusual. Of course there is
home life, and there is family affection, in Madrid, but the stranger
naturally does not see a great deal of these; and then it may be doubted
whether they really exist to the same extent as in most other civilized
capitals. It becomes wearisome to make sallies upon the town, and day
after day find so much of the population trying to divert itself, or
killing time in the cafés and clubs. The feeling deepens that they
resort to these for want of a sufficiently close interest in their
homes. More than that, they do not seem really to be amused. Even their
language fails to express the amusement idea; the most that anything can
be for them, in the vernacular, is "entertaining." Still the choice of
light diversion is varied enough. Opera flourishes in winter; in spring
and summer the bull-fight; theatres are always in blast; cocking-mains
are kept up. Hitherto gambling has been another favorite pastime until
checked by the authorities. Not content with all this, the Madrileños
seek in lottery shops that excitement which Americans derive from
drinking-saloons. The brightly lighted lottery agency occurs as
frequently as that other indication of disease, the apothecary's window,
or the stock-market "ticker," in American cities. People of all classes
hover about them both by day and by night. Posters confront you with
announcements of the Child Jesus Lottery, the lottery to aid the Asylum
of Our Lady of the Assumption, or the National, which is drawn thrice a
month, with a chief prize of thirty-two thousand dollars, and some four
hundred other premiums. There are many small drawings besides constantly
going on: not a day passes, in fact, without your being solicited by
wandering dealers in these alluring chances at least half a dozen times.

[Illustration: THE PLAZA MAYOR.]

Altogether, looking from my balcony upon the characteristic crowd in the
great square, leading this life so busy yet so apathetic, as if in a
slow fever, Madrid struck me as only one more great human ant-hill,
where the ants were trying to believe themselves in Paris. The Parisian
resemblance, however, is confined to strips through the middle and on
the edges of the city, and as soon as one's steps are bent away from
those, the narrow ways and older architecture of Spain re-appear. Only a
few rods from the Puerta del Sol lies the Plaza Mayor, which once
enjoyed all the honors of bull-fights and heretic burnings--occasions on
which householders were obliged by their leases to give up all the front
rooms and balconies to be used as boxes for the audience. From the Plaza
Mayor again an arch leads into Toledo Street--old meandering mart full
of mantles and sashes, blankets and guitars, flannel dyed in the
national colors of red and yellow, basket-work and wood-work, including
the carved sticks known as _molinillos_ (little mills), with which
chocolate is mixed by a dexterous spinning motion. The donkey feels
himself at home once more in these narrow thoroughfares; the evil sewage
smell, which oozes through even the most pretentious edifices in the new
quarters, diffuses itself again in full vigor, and the cafés become
dingy and unconventional. On the Alcalá, or San Geronimo, the
carefully-dressed men sip beer and cordials, or possibly indulge in
sparkling sherry--a new and expensive wine like dry champagne; but here
the rougher element is satisfied with _aguardiente_ (the liquor
distilled from anise-seed), and quite as often confines itself to water.
The lower orders are temperate. Peasants and porters and petty traders
will sit down contentedly for a whole evening to a glass of water in
which is dissolved a long meringue (called _asucarillo_, literally
"sugarette"), or to a snow lemonade. Another esteemed cooling beverage
is the _horchata de chufas_, a kind of cream made from pounded cypress
root and then half frozen. The height of luxury is to order with this,
at an added cost of some two cents, a few tubular wafers, fancifully
named _barquillos_ (or little boats), through which the semi-liquid may
be sucked. This barquillo is considered so desirable that boys carry it
on the street in large metal cylinders, the top of which is a disk
inscribed with numbers. You pay a fee, and he revolves on the disk a
pivotal needle, the number at which it stops deciding how many wafers
fall to your lot. In this way the excruciating pleasure of barquillos to
eat is combined with the national delight in gaming.

European costume has fallen on the Madrid people like a pall, blotting
out picturesqueness; but peasants of all provinces are still seen, and
now and then a turbaned figure from Barbary moves across the street. Nor
is the fascinating mantilla quite extinct among women, in spite of their
more than Parisian grace and splendor of modern robing. There are humble
old women squatted on the sidewalk at street corners, who sell water and
liquors and shrub from bottles kept in a singular little stand with
brass knobs like an exaggerated pair of casters; and when one sees the
varied types of peasant, soldier, citizen, or priest, with perhaps a
veiled woman of the middle class, gathered around one of these, the
Spanish quality of the town re-asserts itself distinctly. So it does,
too, when a carriage containing the princesses of the royal household
rattles down the Prado Park, drawn by mules in barbaric red-tasselled
harness, and preceded by a courier who wears a sort of gold-braided
nightcap.

[Illustration: WATER-DEALER.]

[Illustration: OLD ARTILLERY PARK.]

There is no cathedral at Madrid, but the churches, smeared as usual with
gold and stucco and paint in tasteless extravagance, are numerous
enough; and on many a balcony I saw withered straw-like plumes, long as
a man, hung up in commemoration of the last Palm-Sunday. The morning
papers have a "religious bulletin" in the amusement column, giving the
saints and services of the day; besides which special masses for the
souls of departed capitalists are constantly announced, with a request
that friends shall attend. These paid rites doubtless offer a pleasant
exception to the routine of commonplace church-going. Thus, while the
men are absorbed by their cafés and politics, their countless cigarettes
and lottery tickets, with a minimum of business and a maximum of
dominoes, the women fill up their time with matins and vespers,
confessions and intrigues. It would be merely repeating the frank
assertion of the Spanish men themselves to say that feminine morals here
are in a lamentable state; but at least appearances are always carefully
guarded, and if judged by externals only, Madrid is far more virtuous
than London or Paris. As for local society, it exists so much on
appearances that the substance suffers. It is true, the ladies are
beautiful and of noble stature; and their costumes, governed by the
happiest taste, surpass in luxury those seen in public in almost any
other city. The cavaliers are, without exception, the best-dressed
gentlemen in the world; and the mass of sumptuous equipages, with
polished grooms and surpassingly fine horses, which crowds the broad
Castilian Fountain drive, or the Park road on the east of the Buen
Retiro gardens, during fashionable hours, is amazing. Great wealth is
gathered in the hands of a few nobles, who often draw heavy salaries
from government for long-obsolete services; but the most of this
costuming and grooming is attained by semi-starvation at home. By
consequence, dinners and dancing-parties are rarely given even in the
season, and royalty itself provides no more than a couple of balls, with
two or three state dinners, a year.

[Illustration: THE ESCORIAL.]

To be sure, no capital is better provided with sundry of the higher
means to cultivation, as its Royal Armory, its Archæological Museum, and
its glorious Picture-gallery--in some respects the noblest of
Europe--remind one. Moreover, in the neighboring Escorial, that dark
jewel in the head of Philip II., travellers find a rich monument of art,
albeit to many eyes unseen inscriptions perhaps record there more than
enough of Spain's misfortunes. In the Madrid gallery the stately,
severe, and robust royal portraits by Velazquez, or his magnificently
healthy "Drunkards," reveal in their way, as do the Virgins of Murillo,
floating divinely in translucent air, that deep and deathless power of
Spanish temperament and genius over which slumber has reigned so long.
The pictures of Ribera, hanging together, are like loose pages torn from
Spanish ecclesiastical history and legend: a collection of monks,
ascetics, martyrs--scenes of torture depicted with relentless and savage
vigor. Goya, again, scarcely known out of Spain, left at the beginning
of this century portraits of wonderful vitality and finish, fresh
glimpses of popular life, and wild figure compositions marked by the
fierce, half insane energy of a Latinized William Blake. His imagination
and manner were both original. Though falling short, like all other
Spanish painters, in ideality, he had that faculty of fertile
improvisation so refreshing in Murillo's naturalistic "Madonna of the
Birdling," or in his "St. Elizabeth," and "Roman Patrician's Dream," at
the Academy of Fine Arts. But it is not with these past splendors, still
full of hopes for new futures, that the Castilian gentlemen and ladies
of our varnished period concern themselves. The opera, the circus, and
the _Corrida de Toros_--the irrepressible bull-fight--are to them of far
more consequence.

In every crowd and café you see the tall, shapely, dark-faced, silent
men, with a cool, professionally murderous look like that of our border
desperadoes, whose enormously wide black hats, short jackets, tight
trousers, and pigtails of braided hair proclaim them _chulos_, or
members of the noble ring. Intrepid, with muscles of steel, and finely
formed, they are very illiterate: we saw one of them gently taking his
brandy at the Café de Paris after a hard combat, while his friend read
from an evening paper a report of the games in which he had just
fought--the man's own education not enabling him to decipher print. But
the higher class of these professionals are the idols, the demi-gods, of
the people. Songs are made about them, their deeds are painted on fans,
and popular chromos illustrate their loves and woes; people crowd around
to see them in hotels or on the street as if they were heroes or star
tragedians. Pet dogs are named for the well-known ones; and it was even
rumored that one of the chief swordsmen had secured the affections of a
patrician lady, and would have married her but for the interference of
her friends. Certain it is that a whole class of young bucks of the
lower order--"'Arrys" is the British term--get themselves up in the
closest allowable imitation of bull-fighters, down to the tuft of hair
left growing in front of the ear. The _espadas_ or _matadores_
(killers), who give the mortal blow, hire each one his _cuadrilla_--a
corps of assistants, including _picadores_, _banderilleros_, and
_punterillo_. For every fight they receive five hundred dollars, and
sometimes they lay up large fortunes. To see the sport well from a seat
in the shade, one must pay well. Tickets are monopolized by speculators,
who, no less than the fighters, have their "ring," and gore buyers as
the bull does horses. We gave two dollars apiece for places. The route
to the Place of Bulls is lined for a mile with omnibuses, tartanas,
broken-down diligences, and wheezy cabs, to convey intending spectators
to the fight on Sunday afternoons. A stream of pedestrians file in the
same direction, and the showy turnouts of the rich add dignity to what
soon becomes a wild rush for the scene of action. The mule-bells ring
like a rain of metal, whips crack, the drivers shout wildly, and at full
gallop we dash by windows full of on-lookers, by the foaming fountains
of the Prado, and up the road to the grim Colosseum of stone and brick,
in the midst of scorched and arid fields, with the faint peaks of the
snow-capped Guadarrama range seen, miles to the north, through dazzling
white sunshine.

[Illustration: ON THE ROAD TO THE BULL-FIGHT.]

[Illustration: PLAN OF THE BULL-RING.]

Within is the wide ring, sunk in a circular pit of terraced granite
crowned by galleries. The whole great round, peopled by at least ten
thousand beings, is divided exactly by the sun and the shadow--_sol y
sombra_; and from our cool place we look at the vivid orange sand of the
half arena in sunlight, and the tiers of seats beyond, where swarms of
paper fans (red, yellow, purple, and green) are wielded to shelter the
eyes of those in the cheaper section, or bring air to their lungs. No
connected account of a bull tourney can impart the vividness, the rapid
changes, the suspense, the skill, the picturesqueness, or horror of the
actual thing. All occurs in rapid glimpses, in fierce, dramatic,
brilliant, and often ghastly pictures, which fade and re-form in new
phases on the instant. The music is sounding, the fans are fluttering,
amateurs strolling between the wooden barriers of the ring and the
lowest seats, hatless men are hawking fruit and aguardiente, when
trumpets announce the grand entry. It is a superb sight: the picadores
with gorgeous jackets and long lances on horseback, in wide Mexican
hats, their armor-cased legs in buckskin trousers; the swordsmen and
others on foot, shining with gold and silver embroidery on scarlet and
blue, bright green, saffron, or puce-colored garments, carrying cloaks
of crimson, violet, and canary. At the head is the mounted _alguazil_ in
ominous black, who carries the key of the bull-gate. Everything is
punctual, orderly, ceremonious.

Then the white handkerchief, as signal, from the president of the games
in his box; the trumpet-blare again; and the bull rushing from his lair!
There is a wild moment when, if he be of good breed, he launches himself
impetuous as the ball from a thousand-ton gun directly upon his foes,
and sweeping around half the circle, puts them to flight over the
barrier or into mid-ring, leaving a horse or two felled in his track. I
have seen one fierce Andalusian bull within ten minutes kill five horses
while making two circuits of the ring. The first onset against a horse
is horrible to witness. The poor steed, usually lean and decrepit, is
halted until the bull will charge him, when instantly the picador in the
saddle aims a well-poised blow with his lance, driving the point into
the bull's back only about an inch, as an irritant. You hear the horns
tear through the horse's hide; you _feel_ them go through _yourself_.
Ribs crack; there's a clatter of hoofs, harness, and the rider's armor;
a sudden heave and fall--disaster!--and then the bull rushes away in
pursuit of a yellow mantle flourished to distract him.

The banderilleros come, each holding two ornamental barbed sticks, which
he waves to attract the bull. At the brute's advance he runs to meet
him, and in the moment when the huge head is lowered for a lunge, he
plants them deftly, one on each shoulder, and springs aside. Perhaps,
getting too near, he fails, and turns to fly; the bull after, within a
few inches. He flees to the barrier, drops his cloak on the sand, and
vaults over; the bull springs over too into the narrow alley; whereupon
the fighter, being close pressed, leaps back into the ring light as a
bird, but saved by a mere hair's-breadth from a tossing or a trampling
to death. The crowd follow every turn with shouts and loud comments and
cheers: "Go, bad little bull!" "Let the picadores charge!" "More horses!
more horses!" "Well done, Gallito!" "Time for the death!--the
matadores!" and so on. Humor mingles with some of their remarks, and
there is generally one volunteer buffoon who, choosing a lull in the
combat, shrieks out rude witticisms that bring the laugh from a thousand
throats.

But if the management of the sport be not to their liking, then the
multitude grow instantly stormy: rising on the benches, they bellow
their opinions to the president, whistle, stamp, scream, gesticulate.
It is the tumult of a mob, appeasable only by speedier bloodshed. And
what bloodshed they get! A horse or two, say, lies lifeless and crumpled
on the earth; the others, with bandaged eyes, and sides hideously
pierced and red-splashed, are spurred and whacked with long sticks to
make them go. But it is time for the banderilleros, and after that for
the swordsman. He advances, glittering, with a proud, athletic step, the
traditional chignon fastened to his pigtail, and holding out his bare
sword, makes a brief speech to the president: "I go to slay this bull
for the honor of the people of Madrid and the most excellent president
of this tourney." Then throwing his hat away, he proceeds to his task of
skill and danger. It is here that the chief gallantry of the sport
begins. With a scarlet cloak in one hand he attracts the bull, waves him
to one side or the other, baffles him, re-invites him--in fine, plays
with and controls him as if he were a kitten, though always with eye
alert and often in peril. At last, having got him "in position," he
lifts the blade, aims, and with a forward spring plunges it to the hilt
at a point near the top of the spine. Perhaps the bull recoils, reels,
and dies with that thrust; but more often he is infuriated, and several
strokes are required to finish him. Always, however, the blood gushes
freely, the sand is stained with it, and the serried crowd, intoxicated
by it, roar savagely. Still, the "many-headed beast" is fastidious. If
the bull be struck in such a way as to make him spout his life out at
the nostrils, becoming a trifle _too_ sanguinary, marks of disapproval
are freely bestowed. One bull done for, the music recommences, and mules
in showy trappings are driven in. They are harnessed to the carcasses,
and the dead bulks of the victims are hauled bravely off at a gallop,
furrowing the dirt. The grooms run at topmost speed, snapping their long
whips; the dust rises in a cloud, enveloping the strange cavalcade. They
disappear through the gate flying, and you wake from a dream of ancient
Rome and her barbarous games come true again. But soon the trumpets
flourish; another bull comes; the same finished science and sure death
ensue, varied by ever-new chances and escapes, until afternoon wanes,
the sun becomes shadow, and ten thousand satisfied people--mostly men in
felt sombreros, with some women, fewer ladies, and a sprinkling of
children and babies--throng homeward.

What impresses is the cold blood of the thing. People bring their
goat-skins of wine, called "little drunkards," and pass them around to
friends, between bulls; others pop off lemonade bottles, and nearly all
smoke. Even a combatant sometimes lights a cigar while the bull is
occupied at the other side of the ring. During the hottest encounters
grooms come in to strip the harness from dying horses or stab an
incapacitated one; to carry off baskets of entrails, and rake fresh sand
over the blood-pools, quite calmly, at the risk of sharp interruption
from the vagarious horned enemy. In the midst of a dangerous flurry,
while performers are escaping, an orange-vender in the lane outside the
barrier pitches some fruit to a buyer half-way up the _gradas_, counting
aloud, "One, two, three," to twenty-four. All are caught, and he neatly
catches his money in return. Afterward, when a bull leaps the barrier,
this intrepid merchant has to fly for life, leaving his basket on the
ground, where the bewildered animal upsets it, rolling the contents
everywhere in golden confusion. Another time we saw a horse and rider
lifted bodily on the horns, and so tossed that the horseman flew out of
his saddle, hurtled through the air directly over the bull, and landed
solidly on his back, senseless. Six grooms bore him off, white and
rigid. But the populace never heeded him; they were madly cheering the
bull's prowess. A surgeon, by-the-way, always attends in an anteroom;
prayers are said before the fight; and a priest is in readiness with the
consecrated wafer to give the last sacrament in case of any fatal
accident. The utter simple-mindedness with which Spaniards regard the
brutalities of the sport may be judged from the fact that a bull-fight
was once given to benefit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals!

On occasion, the drawing of a charitable lottery is held at the _Corrida
de Toros_, and then there are gala features. The Queen and various
high-born ladies present magnificent rosettes of silk or satin and gold
and silver tinsel, with long streamers, to be attached by little barbs
to the bulls before their entrance, each having his colors indicated in
this way; and these ornaments are displayed in shop windows for days
before the event. The language of the ring is another peculiarity. There
are many fine points of merit, distinguished by as many canting terms.
There is the "pair regular," the "relance," the "cuartos," and the darts
are playfully termed "shuttlecocks;" the swordsman deals in "pinches"
and "thrusts," and so on--all of which is recorded in press reports,
amusing enough in their airy and supercilious half-literary treatment.
These are among the most polished products of Spanish journalism. Fines
are imposed on the performers for any achievement not "regular;" and, on
the other hand, good strokes are rewarded by the public with cigars, or,
as the dainty reporters say, they "merit palms." The three chief
swordsmen are Lagartijo, Frascuelo, and Currito; "Broad Face," "Little
Fatty," and the like, being lesser lights. Frascuelo is so renowned for
hardihood that I once saw him receive, in obedience to popular will, the
ear of the bull he had just slain--a supreme mark of favor.[4]

[Illustration: A STREET SCENE.]

Madrid is now the head-quarters of the national game, as it is of
everything else. It is outwardly flourishing, it is adorned with
statues, its parks are green, and its fountains spout gayly.
Nevertheless, the impression it makes is melancholy. Beggary is
importunate on its public ways. Palaces and poverty, great wealth and
wretched penury, are huddled close together. Its assumption of splendor
is in startling contrast with the desolate and uncared-for districts
that surround it from the very edge of the city outward. The natural
result of extremes in the distribution of property, with a country
impoverished, is public bankruptcy; and public bankruptcy stares surely
enough through the city's gay mask. There is another unhappy result from
the undue concentration of resources at this artificial capital. Madrid
prides itself on being the spot at which all the avenues of the land
converge equally, the exact centre of Spain being close beyond the
city's confines, and marked--how appropriately--by a church! But Madrid
is, notwithstanding, a national centre only in name. It enjoys a false
luxury, while too many outlying provinces sustain a starveling
existence. And, seeing the alien, imitative manners adopted here, one
feels sharply the difficult contrasts that exist between the metropolis
and the provinces: no hearty bond of national unity appears. We looked
back over the ground we had traversed, and thought of the gray bones of
Burgos cathedral, lying like some stranded mammoth of another age, far
in the north. Oh, bells of Burgos, mumbling in your towers, what message
have you for these sophisticated ears? And what intelligible response
does the heart of the country send back to you?

"Come," said I to Velveteen. "It is useless to resist longer. Let's
surrender to these two white-capped guards who have dogged us so, and be
carried away."

[Illustration]



THE LOST CITY.

I.


[Illustration: I]

It was of Spain's past and present that we were speaking, and "What," I
asked, "have we given her in return for her discovery of our New World?"

"The sleeping-car and the street tramway," answered Velveteen, with
justifiable pride.

He was right; for we had seen the first on the railroad, and the second
skimming the streets of Madrid. Still, the reward did not appear great,
measured by the much that Spain's ventures in the Western hemisphere had
cost her, and by the comparative desolation of her present. The devoted
labors of Irving and Prescott, which Spaniards warmly appreciate, are
more in the nature of an adequate return.

"It strikes me, also," I ventured to add, "that we are rendering a
service in kind. She discovered us, and now we are discovering her."

If one reflects how some of the once great and powerful places of the
Peninsula, such as Toledo and Cordova, have sunk out of sight and
perished to the modern world, this fancy applies with some truth to
every sympathetic explorer of them. It had been all very well to
imagine ourselves conversant with the country when we were in Madrid,
and even an occasional slip in the language did not disturb that
supposition. When I accidentally asked the chamber-maid to swallow a cup
of chocolate instead of "bringing" it, owing to an unnecessary
resemblance of two distinct words, and when my comrade, in attending to
details of the laundry, was led by an imperfect dictionary to describe
one article of wear as a _pintura de noche_, or "night scene," our
confidence suffered only a momentary shock. But, after all, it was not
until we reached Toledo that we really passed into a kind of forgotten
existence, and knew what it was to be far beyond reach of any familiar
word.

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO TOLEDO.]

With the first plunge southward from the capital the reign of ruin
begins--ruin and flies. The heat becomes intense; the air itself seems
to be cooked through and through; the flies rejoice with a malicious
joy, and the dry sandy hills, bearing nothing but tufts of blackened
weeds, resemble large mounds of pepper and salt. Here and there in the
valley is the skeleton of a stone or brick farm-house withering away,
and perhaps near by a small round defensive hut, recalling times of
disorder. Between the hills, however, are fields still prolific in rye,
though wholly destitute of trees. Verdure re-asserts itself wherever
there is the smallest water-course; and a curve of the river Tagus is
sure to infold fruit orchards and melon vines, while the parched soil
briefly revives and puts forth delightful shade-trees. But although the
river-fed lands around Toledo are rich in vegetation, the ancient city
itself, with the Tagus slung around its base like a loop, rises on a
sterile rock, and amid hills of bronze. So much are the brown and
sun-imbued houses and the old fortified walls in keeping with the massy
natural foundation that all seem reared together, the huge form of the
Alcazar, or castle--where the Spanish national military academy is
housed--towering like a second cliff in one corner of the round,
irregularly clustered city. Our omnibus scaled the height by a road
perfectly adapted for conducting to some dragon stronghold of misty
fable, and landed us in the Zocodover, the sole open space of any
magnitude in that tangle of thread-like streetlets, along which the
houses range themselves with a semblance of order purely superficial.
Most of Toledo is traversable only for pedestrians and donkeys. These
latter carry immense double baskets across their backs, in which are
transported provisions, bricks, coal, fowls, water, bread,
crockery--everything, in short, down to the dirt occasionally scraped
from the thoroughfares. I saw one peasant, rather advanced in years,
helping himself up the steep rise of a street on the hill-side by means
of a stout cane in one hand and the tail of his heavy-laden donkey
grasped in the other. To make room for these useful beasts and their
broad panniers, some of the houses are hollowed out at the corners; in
one case the side wall being actually grooved a foot deep for a number
of yards along an anxious turning. Otherwise the panniers would touch
both sides of the way, and cause a blockade as obstinate as the animal
itself.

[Illustration: THE NARROW WAY.]

[Illustration: SPANISH PEASANT.

From a Drawing by William M. Chase.]

Coming from the outer world into so strange a labyrinth, where there is
no echo of rolling wheels, no rumble of traffic or manufacture, you
find yourself in a city which may be said to be without a voice. Through
a hush like this, history and tradition speak all the more powerfully.
Toledo has been a favorite with the novelists. The Zocodover was the
haunt of that typical rogue Lazarillo de Tormes; and Cervantes, oddly as
it happens, connects the scene of _La ilustre Fregonde_ with a shattered
castle across the river, which by a coincidence has had its original
name of San Servando corrupted into San Cervantes.

Never shall I forget our walk around the city walls that first afternoon
in Toledo. A broad thoroughfare skirts the disused defences on the south
and west, running at first along the sheer descent to the river, and a
beetling height against which houses, shops, and churches are crammed
confusedly. I noticed one smithy with a wide dark mouth revealing the
naked rock on which walls and roof abutted, and other houses into the
faces of which had been wrought large granite projections of the hill.
After this the way led through a gate of peculiar strength and
shapeliness, carrying up arches of granite and red brick to a
considerable height--a stout relic of the proud Moorish dominion so long
maintained here; and then, when we had rambled about a church of
Santiago lower down, passing through some streets irregular as
foot-paths, where over a neglected door stood a unique announcement of
the owner's name--"I am Don Sanchez. 1792"--we came to the Visagra, the
country gate. This menacing, double-towered portal is mediæval; so that
a few steps had carried us from Mohammedan Alimaymon to the Emperor
Charles V. Just outside of it again is the Alameda, the modern garden
promenade, where the beauty and idleness of Toledo congregate on Sunday
evenings to the soft compulsion of strains from the military academical
band. Thin runnels of water murmur along through the hedges and
embowered trees, explaining by their presence how this refreshing
pleasure-ground was conjured into being; for on the slope, a few feet
below the green hedges, you still see the sun-parched soil just as it
once spread over the whole area. The contrast suggests Eden blossoming
on a crater-side.

At the open-air soirées of the Alameda may be seen excellent examples of
Spanish beauty. The national type of woman appears here in good
preservation, and not too much hampered by foreign airs. Doubtless one
finds it too in Burgos and Madrid, and in fact everywhere; and the grace
of the women in other places is rather fonder of setting itself off by a
fan used for parasol purposes in the street than in Toledo. But on the
_pasco_ and _alameda_ all Spanish ladies carry fans, and it is
something marvellous to see how they manage them. Not for a moment is
the subtle instrument at rest: it flutters, wavers idly, is opened and
shut in the space of a second, falls to the side, and again rises to
take its part in the conversation almost like a third person--all
without effort--with merely a turn of the supple fingers or wrist, and
contributing an added charm to the bearer. The type of face which beams
with more or less similarity above every fan in Spain is difficult to
describe, and at first difficult even to apprehend. One has heard so
much about its beauty that in the beginning it seems to fall short; but
gradually its spell seizes on the mind, becoming stronger and stronger.
The tint varies from tawny rose or olive to white: ladies of higher
caste, from their night life and rare exposure to the sun, acquire a
deathly pallor, which is unfortunately too often imitated with powder.
Chestnut or lighter hair is seen a good deal in the south and east, but
deep black is the prevalent hue. And the eyes!--it is impossible to more
than suggest the luminous, dreamy medium in which they swim, so large,
dark, and vivid. But, above all, there is combined with a certain
child-like frankness a freedom and force, a quick mobility in the lines
of the face, equalled only in American women. To these elements you must
add a strong arching eyebrow and a pervading richness and fire of nature
in the features, which it would be hard to parallel at all, especially
when the whole is framed in the seductive folds of the black mantilla,
like a drifting night-cloud enhancing the sparkle of a star.

As we continued along the Camin de Marchan we looked down on one side
over the fertile plain. The pale tones of the ripe harvest and dense
green of trees contrasted with the rich brown and gray of the city, and
dashes of red clay here and there. In a long field rose detached
fragments of masonry, showing at different points the vast ground-plan
of the Roman Circus Maximus, with a burst of bright ochre sand in the
midst of the stubble, while on the left hand we had an old Arab gate
pierced with slits for arrows, and on the crest above that a
nunnery--St. Sunday the Royal--followed by a line of palaces and
convents half ruined in the Napoleonic campaign of 1812. Out in the
plain was the roof of the sword factory where "Toledo blades" are still
forged and tempered for the Spanish army; although in the finer details
of damascening and design nothing is produced beyond a small stock of
show weapons and tiny ornamental trinkets for sale to tourists. Nor was
this all; for a little farther on, at the edge of the river, close to
the Bridge of St. Martin and the Gate of Twelve Stones, the broken
remains of an old Gothic palace sprawled the steep, lying open to heaven
and vacant as the dull eye-socket in some unsepulchred skull. Our stroll
of a mile had carried us back to the second century before Christ, the
path being strewn with relics of the Roman conquest, the Visigothic
inroad, the Moorish ascendency, and the returning tide of Christian
power. But the Jews, seeking refuge after the fall of Jerusalem,
preceded all these, making a still deeper substratum in the marvellous
chronicles of Toledo; and some of their later synagogues, exquisitely
wrought in the Moorish manner, still stand in the Jewish quarter for the
wonderment of pilgrim connoisseurs.

[Illustration: SINGING GIRL.]

It was from a terrace of this old Gothic palace near the bridge that,
according to legend, Don Roderick, the last of the Goths in Spain, saw
Florinda, daughter of one Count Julian, bathing in the yellow Tagus
under a four-arched tower which still invades the flood, and goes by the
name of the Bath of Florinda. From his passion for her, and their mutual
error, the popular tale, with vigorous disregard of chronology, deduces
the fall of Spain before the Berber armies; and as most old stories here
receive an ecclesiastical tinge, this one relates how Florinda's sinful
ghost continued to haunt the spot where we now stood, until laid by a
good friar with cross and benediction. The sharp fall of the bank at
first glance looked to consist of ordinary earth and stones, but on
closer scrutiny turned out to contain quantities of brick bits from the
old forts and towers which one generation after another had built on the
heights, and which had slowly mouldered into nullity. Even so the firm
lines of history have fallen away and crumbled into romance, which sifts
through the crannies of the whole withered old city. As a lady of my
acquaintance graphically said, it seems as if ashes had been thrown over
this ancient capital, covering it with a film of oblivion. The rocks,
towers, churches, ruins, are just so much corporeal mythology--object,
lessons in fable. A little girl, becomingly neckerchiefed, wandered by
us while we leaned dreaming above the river; and she was singing one of
the wild little songs of the country, full of melancholy melody:

    "Fair Malaga, adios!
     Ah, land where I was born,
     Thou hadst mother-love for all,
     But for me step-mother's scorn!"

[Illustration: CLOISTER OF ST. JOHN OF THE KINGS.]

All unconscious of the monuments around her, she stopped when she saw
that we had turned and were listening. Then we resumed our way, passing,
I may literally say, as if in a trance up into the town again, where we
presently found ourselves in front of St. John of the Kings, a venerable
church, formerly connected with a Franciscan monastery which the French
burnt. On the outer wall high up hangs a stern fringe of chains, placed
there as votive tokens by released Christian captives from Granada, in
1492; and there they have remained since America was discovered!

To this church is attached a most beautiful cloister, calm with the
solitude of nearly four hundred years. Around three sides the rich
clustered columns, each with its figures of holy men supported under
pointed canopies, mark the delicate Gothic arches, through which the
sunlight slants upon the pavement, falling between the leaves of
aspiring vines that twine upward from the garden in the middle. There
the rose-laurel blooms, and a rude fountain perpetually gurgles, hidden
in thick greenery; and on the fourth side the wall is dismantled as the
French bombardment left it. Seventy years have passed, and though the
sculptured blocks for restoration have been got together, the vines grow
over them, and no work has been done. We mounted the bell-tower part way
with the custodian, and gained a gallery looking into the chapel,
strangely adorned with regal shields and huge eagles in stone. On our
way, under one part of the tower roof, we found a hen calmly strutting
with her brood. "It was meant for celibacy," said the custodian, "but
times change, and you see that family life has established itself here
after all."

[Illustration: A BIT OF CHARACTER.]

I don't know whether there is anything particularly sacred about the
hens of this district, but after seeing this one in the church-tower I
began to think there might be, especially as on the way home we
discovered another imprisoned fowl disconsolately looking down at us
from the topmost window of a venerable patrician residence.

II.

[Illustration: SPANISH SOLDIERS PLAYING DOMINOS.]

Its antiquities are not the queerest thing about Toledo. The sights of
the day, the isolated existence of the inhabitants, are things peculiar.
The very sports of the children reflect the prevailing influences. A
favorite diversion with them is to parade in some dark hall-way with
slow step and droning chants, in imitation of church festivals; and in
the street we found boys playing at _toros_. Some took off their coats
to wave as mantles before the bull, who hid around the corner until the
proper time for his entry. The bull in this game, I noticed, had a nice
sense of fair play, and would stop to argue points with his
antagonists--something I should have been glad to see in the real arena.
Once the old rock town accommodated two hundred thousand residents. Its
contingent has now shrunk to twenty thousand, yet it swarms with
citizens, cadets, loafers, and beggars. Its tortuous wynds are full of
wine-shops, vegetables, and children, all mixed up together. Superb old
palaces, nevertheless, open off from them, frequently with spacious
courts inside, shaded by trellised vines, and with pillars at the
entrance topped by heavy stone balls, or doors studded with nails and
moulded in rectangular patterns like inlay-work. One day we wandered
through a sculptured gate-way and entered a paved opening with a carved
wood gallery running around the walls above. Orange-trees in tubs stood
about, and a brewery was established in these palatial quarters. We
ordered a bottle, but I noticed that the brewer stood regarding us
anxiously. At last he drew nearer, and asked, "Do you come from Madrid?"

"Yes."

"Ah, then," said he, in a disheartened tone, "you won't like our beer."

[Illustration: A NARROW STREET.]

We encouraged him, however, and at last he disappeared, sending us the
beverage diplomatically by another hand. He was too faint-spirited to
witness the trial himself. Though called "The Delicious," the thin,
sweet, gaseous liquid was certainly detestable; but in deference to the
brewer's delicate conscientiousness we drank as much as possible, and
then left with his wife some money and a weakly complimentary remark
about the beer, which evidently came just in time to convince her that
we were, after all, discriminating judges.

[Illustration: WOMAN WITH BUNDLE.]

The people generally were very simple and good-natured, and in
particular a young commercial traveller from Barcelona whom we met
exerted himself to entertain us. The chief street was lined with awnings
reaching to the curb-stone in front of the shops, and every public
door-way was screened by a striped curtain. Pushing aside one of these,
our new acquaintance introduced us to what seemed a dingy bar, but, by a
series of turnings, opened out into a spacious concealed café--that of
the Two Brothers--where we frequently repaired with him to sip chiccory
and cognac or play dominos. On these occasions he kept the tally in
pencil on the marble table, marking the side of himself and a friend
with their initials, and heading ours "The Strangers." All travellers in
Spain are described by natives as "Strangers" or "French," and the
reputation for a pure Parisian accent which we acquired under these
circumstances, though brief, was glorious. To the Two Brothers resorted
many soldiers, shop-keepers, and well-to-do housewives during fixed
hours of the afternoon and evening, but at other times it was as
forsaken as Don Roderick's palace. Another place of amusement was the
Grand Summer Theatre, lodged within the ragged walls of a large building
which had been half torn down. Here we sat under the stars, luxuriating
in the most expensive seats (at eight cents per head), surrounded by a
full audience of exceedingly good aspect, including some Toledan ladies
of great beauty, and listened to a _zarzuela_, or popular comic opera,
in which the prompter took an almost too energetic part. The ticket
collector came in among the chairs to receive everybody's coupons with
very much the air of being one of the family; for while performing
his stern duty he smoked a short brier pipe, giving to the act an
indescribable dignity which threw the whole business of the tickets into
a proper subordination. In returning to our inn about midnight we were
attracted by the free cool sound of a guitar duet issuing from a dark
street that rambled off somewhere like a worm track in old wood, and,
pursuing the sound, we discovered by the aid of a match lighted for a
cigarette two men standing in the obscure alley, and serenading a couple
of ladies in a balcony, who positively laughed with pride at the
attention. The men, it proved, had been hired by some admirer, and so
our friend engaged them to perform for us at the hotel the following
night.

[Illustration: THE SERENADERS.]

The skill these thrummers of the guitar display is delicious, especially
in the treble part, which is executed on a smaller species of the
instrument, called a _mandura_. Our treble-player was blind in one eye,
and with the carelessness of genius allowed his mouth to stay open, but
managed always to keep a cigarette miraculously hanging in it; while his
comrade, with a disconsolate expression, disdained to look at the
strings on which his proud Castilian fingers were condemned to play a
mere accompaniment. For two or three hours they rippled out those
peculiar native airs which go so well with the muffled vibrations and
mournful Oriental monotony of the guitar; but the bagman varied the
concert by executing operatic pieces on a hair-comb covered with thin
paper--a contrivance in which he took unfeigned delight. Some
remonstrance against this uproar being made by other inmates of the
hotel, our host silenced the complainants by cordially inviting them in.
One large black-bearded guest, the exact reproduction of a stately
ancient Roman, accepted the hospitality, and listened to that ridiculous
piping of the comb with profound gravity and unmoved muscles, expressing
neither approval nor dissatisfaction. But the white-aproned waiter, who,
though unasked, hung spellbound on the threshold, was, beyond question,
deeply impressed. The relations of servants with employers are on a very
democratic footing in Spain. We had an admirable butler at Madrid who
used to join in the conversation at table whenever it interested him,
and was always answered with good grace by the conversationists, who
admitted him to their intellectual repast at the same moment that he was
proffering them physical nutriment. These Toledan servitors of the Fonda
de Lino were still more informal. They used to take naps regularly twice
a day in the hall, and could not get through serving dinner without an
occasional cigarette between the courses. To save labor, they would
place a pile of plates in front of each person, enough to hold the
entire list of viands. That last phrase is a euphemism, however, for the
meal each day consisted of the same meat served in three separate relays
without vegetables, followed by fowl, an allowance of beans, and
dessert. Even this they were not particular to give us on the hour.
Famished beyond endurance, one evening at eight o'clock, we went
down-stairs and found that not the first movement toward dinner had been
made. The _mozos_ (waiters) were smoking and gossiping in the street,
and rather frowned upon our vulgar desire for food, but we finally
persuaded them to yield to it. After we had bought some tomatoes, and
made a salad at dinner, the management was put on its mettle, and
improved slightly. Fish in this country is always brought on somewhere
in the middle of dinner, like the German pudding, and our landlord
astonished us by following the three courses of stewed veal with
sardines, fried in oil and ambuscaded in a mass of boiled green peppers.
After that we forbore to stimulate his ambition any farther.

[Illustration: A PLENTIFUL SUPPLY OF PLATES.]

The hotel guest, however, is on the whole regarded as a necessary
evil--a nuisance tolerated only because some few of the finest race in
the world can make money out of him. The landlord lived with his family
on the ground-floor, and furnished little domestic tableaux as we passed
in and out; but he never paid any attention to us, and even looked
rather hurt at the intrusion of so many strangers into his hostelry. Nor
did the high-born sewing-women who sat on the public stairs, and left
only a narrow space for other people to ascend or descend by, consider
it necessary to stir in the least for our convenience. The fonda had
more of the old tavern or posada style about it than most hotels
patronized by foreigners. The entrance door led immediately into a
double court, where two or three yellow equipages stood; and from this
the kitchen, storerooms, and stable all branched off in some clandestine
way. Above, at the eaves, these courts were covered with canvas awnings
wrinkled in regular folds on iron rods--sheltering covers which remained
drawn from the first flood of the morning sun until after five in the
afternoon. Early and late I used to look down into the inner court,
observing the men and women of the household as they dressed fish and
silently wrung the necks of chickens, or sat talking a running stream of
nothingness by the hour, for love of their own glib but uncouth voices.
People of this province intone rather than talk: their sentences are set
to distinct drawling tunes, such as I never before encountered in
ordinary speech, and their thick lisping of all sibilants, combined with
the usual contralto of their voices, gives the language a sonorous burr,
for which one soon acquires a liking. Sunday is the great hair-combing
day in Toledo, if I may judge from the manner in which women carried on
that soothing operation in their door-ways and _patios_; and in this
inner court below my window one of the servants, sitting on a stone
slab, enjoyed the double profit of sewing and of letting a companion
manipulate her yard-long locks of jet, while others sat near, fanning
themselves and chattering. Another time a little girl, dark as an
Indian, came there in the morning to wash a kerchief at the stone tank,
always brimming with dirty water; after which she executed, unsuspicious
of my gaze, a singularly weird _pas seul_, a sort of shadow dance, on
the pavement, and then vanished.

[Illustration: THE TOILET--A SUNDAY SCENE.]

All the houses are roofed with heavy curved tiles, which fit together so
as to let the air circulate under their hollow grooves; and a species of
many-seeded grass sprouts out of these baked earth coverings, out of the
ledges of old towers and belfries, and from the crevices of the great
cathedral itself, like the downy hair on an old woman's cheek.

The view along almost any one of the ancient streets, which are always
tilted by the hilly site, is wonderfully quaint in its irregularities.
Every window is heavily grated with iron, from the top to the bottom
story, even the openings high up in the cathedral spire being similarly
guarded, until the whole place looks like a metropolis of prisons. In
the stout doors, too, there are small openings or peep-holes, such as we
had seen still in actual use at Madrid--the relics of an epoch when even
to open to an unknown visitor might be dangerous. White, white, white
the sunshine!--and the walls of pink or yellow-brown, of pale green and
blue, are sown with deep shadows and broken by big archways, often
surmounted by rich knightly escutcheons. Balconies with tiled floors
turning their colors down toward the sidewalk stud the fronts, and long
curtains stream over them like cloaks fluttering in the breeze. At one
point a peak-roofed tower rises above the rest of its house with sides
open to the air and cool shadow within, where perhaps a woman sits and
works behind a row of bright flowering plants. Doves inhabited the fonda
roof unmolested by the spiritless cats that, flat as paper, slept in the
undulations of the tiles; for the Toledan cats and dogs are the most
wretched of their kind. They get even less to eat than their human
neighbors, which is saying a great deal. And beyond the territory of the
doves my view extended to a slender bell-spire at the end of the
cathedral, poised in the bright air like a flower-stalk, with one bell
seen through an interstice as if it were a blossom. At another point the
main spire rose out of what might be called a rich thicket of Gothic
work. Its tall thin shaft is encircled near the point with sharp
radiating spikes of iron, doubtless intended to recall the crown of
thorns: in this sign of the Passion, held forever aloft, three hundred
feet above the ground, there is a penetrating pathos, a solemn beauty.


III.

The cathedral of Toledo, long the seat of the Spanish primate, stands in
the first rank of cathedrals, and is invested with a ponderous gloom
that has something almost savage about it. For six centuries art,
ecclesiasticism, and royal power lavished their resources upon it; and
its dusky chapels are loaded with precious gems and metals, tawdry
though the style of their ornamentation often is. The huge pillars that
divide its five naves rise with a peculiar inward curve, which gives
them an elastic look of growth. They are the giant roots from which the
rest has spread. Under the golden gratings and jasper steps of the high
altar Cardinal Mendoza lies buried, with a number of the older kings of
Spain, in a grewsome sunless vault; but at the back of the altar there
is contrived with theatrical effect a burst of white light from a window
in the arched ceiling, around the pale radiance of which are assembled
painted figures, gradually giving place to others in veritable
relief--all sprawling, flying, falling down the wall enclosing the
altar, as if one were suddenly permitted to see a swarm of saints and
angels careering in a beam of real supernatural illumination. A private
covered gallery leads above the street from the archbishop's palace into
one side of the mighty edifice; and this, with the rambling, varied
aspect of the exterior, in portions resembling a fortress, with a stone
sentry-box on the roof, recalls the days of prelates who put themselves
at the head of armies, leading in war as in everything else. A spacious
adjoining cloister, full of climbing ivy and figs, Spanish cypress, the
smooth-trunked laurel-tree, and many other growths, all bathed in
opulent sunshine, marks the site of an old Jewish market, which
Archbishop Tenorio in 1389 incited a mob to burn in order that he might
have room for this sacred garden. But the voices of children now ring
out from the upper rooms of the cloister building, where the widows and
orphans of cathedral servants are given free homes. Through this
"cloister of the great church" it was that Cervantes says he hurried
with the MS. of Cid Hamete Benengeli, containing Don Quixote's history,
after he had bought it for half a real--just two cents and a half.

[Illustration: A TOLEDO PRIEST.]

A temple of the barbaric and the barbarous, the cathedral dates from the
thirteenth century: but it was preceded by one which was built to the
Virgin in her lifetime, tradition says, and she came down from heaven to
visit her shrine. The identical slab on which she alighted is still
preserved in one of the chapels. A former inscription said to believers,
"Use yourselves to kiss it for your much consolation," and their
obedient lips have in time greatly worn down the stone. Later on, the
church was used as a mosque by the infidel conquerors, and when they
were driven out it was pulled down to be replaced by the present huge
and solemn structure. But, by a compromise with the subjugated Moors, a
Muzarabic mass (a seeming mixture of Mohammedan ritual with Christian
worship) was ordained to be said in a particular chapel; and there it is
recited still, every morning in the year. I attended this weird,
half-Eastern ceremony, which was conducted with an extraordinary
incessant babble of rapid prayer from the priests in the stalls,
precisely like the inarticulate hum one imagines in a mosque. On the
floor below and in front of the altar-steps was placed a richly-draped
chest, perhaps meant to represent the tomb of Mohammed in the Caaba, and
around it stood lighted candles. During the long and involved mass one
of the younger priests, in appearance almost an imbecile, had the prayer
he was to read pointed out for him by an altar-boy with what looked like
a long knife-blade, used for the purpose. Soon after an incense-bearing
acolyte nudged him energetically to let him know that his turn had now
come. This was the only evidence I could discover of any progress in
knowledge or goodness resulting from the Muzarabic mass.

At one time Toledo had, besides the cathedral, a hundred and ten
churches. Traces of many of them are still seen in small arches rising
from the midst of house-tops, with a bell swung in the opening; but the
most have fallen into disuse, and the greatest era of the hierarchy has
passed. The great priests have also passed, and those who now dwell here
offer to the most unprejudiced eye a dreary succession of bloated bodies
and brutish faces. Sermons are never read in the gorgeous cathedral
pulpits, and the Church, as even an ardent Catholic assured me, seems,
at least locally, dead. The priests and the prosperous shop-keepers are
almost the only beings in Toledo who look portly; the rest are thin,
brown, wiry, and tall, with fine creases in their hard faces that appear
to have been drilled there by the sand-blast process.

The women, however, even in the humbler class, preserve a fine, fresh
animal health, which makes you wonder how they ever grow old, until you
see some tottering creature who is little more than a mass of sinews and
wrinkles held together by a skirt and a neckerchief--the _pañuclo_
universal with her sex. At noon and evening the serving-women came out
to the fountains, distributed here and there under groups of miniature
locust-trees, to fetch water for their houses. They carried huge earthen
jars, or _cantarones_, which they would lug off easily under one arm, in
attitudes of inimitable grace.

[Illustration: TOLEDO SERVITORS AT THE FOUNTAIN.]

[Illustration: A PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR.]

If religious sway over temporal things has declined, Toledo still
impresses one as little more than a big church founded on the rock, with
room made for the money-changers' benches, and an unimaginable jumble of
palaces once thronged with powerful courtiers and abundant in wealth,
but at this day chiefly inhabited by persons of humble quality. Nightly
there glows in the second story of a building on the Zocodover, where
_autos-da-fé_ used to be held, a large arched shrine of the Virgin hung
with mellow lamps, so that not even with departing daylight shall
religious duty be put aside by the commonplace crowd shuffling through
the plaza beneath. Everywhere in angles and turnings and archways one
comes upon images and pictures fixed to the wall under a pointed roof
made with two short boards, to draw a passing genuflection or incidental
_ave_ from any one who may be going by on an errand of business or--as
more often occurs--laziness. Feast-days, too, are still ardently
observed. With all this, somehow, the fact connects itself that the
populace are instinctive, free-born, insatiable beggars. The
magnificently chased door-ways of the cathedral festered with revolting
specimens of human disease and degeneration, appealing for alms. Other
more prosperous mendicants were regularly on hand for business every day
at the "old stand" in some particular thoroughfare. I remember one,
especially, whose whole capital was invested in a superior article of
nervous complaint, which enabled him to balance himself between the
wall and a crutch, and there oscillate spasmodically by the hour. In
this he was entirely beyond competition, and cast into the shade those
merely routine professionals who took the common line of bad eyes or
uninterestingly motionless deformities. It used to depress them when he
came on to the ground. Bright little children, even, in perfect health,
would desist from their amusements and assail us, struck with the happy
thought that they might possibly wheedle the "strangers" into some
untimely generosity. There was one pretty girl of about ten years, who
laughed outright at the thought of her own impudence, but stopped none
the less for half an hour on her way to market (carrying a basket on her
arm) in order to pester poor Velveteen while he was sketching, and
begged him for money, first to get bread, and then shoes, and then
anything she could think of.

[Illustration: A GROUP OF MENDICANTS.]

A hand opened to receive money would be a highly suitable device for the
municipal coat of arms.

[Illustration: A PATIO IN TOLEDO.]

My friend's irrepressible pencil, by-the-way, made him the centre of a
crowd wherever he went. Grave business men came out of their shops to
see what he was drawing; loungers made long and ingenious detours in
order to obtain a good view of his labors; ragamuffins elbowed him,
undismayed by energetic remarks in several languages, until finally he
was moved to get up and display the contents of his pockets, inviting
them even to read some letters he had with him. To this gentle satire
they would sometimes yield. We fell a prey, however, to one silent youth
of whom we once unguardedly asked a question. After that he considered
himself permanently engaged to pilot us about. He would linger for hours
near the fonda dinnerless, and, what was even more terrible, sleepless,
so that he might fasten upon us the moment we should emerge. If he
discovered our destination, he would stride off mutely in advance, to
impress on us the fact that we were under obligation to him; and when we
found the place we wanted, he waited patiently until we had rewarded him
with a half-cent. If we gratified him by asking him the way, he
responded by silently stretching forth his arm and one long forefinger
with a lordly gesture, still striding on; and he had a very superior
Castilian sneering smile, which he put on when he looked around to see
if we were following. He gradually became for us a sort of symbolic
shadow of the town's vanished greatness; and from his mysterious way of
coming into sight, and haunting us in the most unexpected places, we
gave him the name of "Ghost." Nevertheless, we baffled him at last. In
the Street of the Christ of Light there is a small but exceedingly
curious mosque, now converted into a church, so ancient in origin that
some of the capitals in it are thought to show Visigothic work, so that
it must have been a Christian church even before the Moorish invasion.
Close by this we chanced upon a charming old _patio_, or court-yard,
entered through a wooden gate, and by dexterously gliding in here and
shutting the gate we exorcised "Ghost" for some time.

The broad red tiles of this _patio_ contrasted well with its
white-washed arcade pillars, on which were embossed the royal arms of
Castile; and the jutting roof of the house was supported on elaborate
beams of old Spanish cedar cracked with age. It was sadly neglected.
Flowers bloomed in the centre, but a pile of lumber littered one side;
and the house was occupied by an old woman who was washing in the
arcade, her tub being the half of a big terra-cotta jar laid on its
side. She spread her linen out on the hot pavement to dry; and a
sprightly neighbor coming in with a basket of clothes and a "Health to
thee!" was invited to dry _her_ wash on a low tile roof adjoining.

"Solitude" served at once as her name and to describe her surroundings.
We made friends with her, the more easily because she was much
interested in the sketch momently growing under my companion's touch.

"And _you_ don't draw?" she inquired of me.

I answered, apologetically, "No."

Having seen me glancing over a book, she added, as if to console me, and
with emphasis, "But you can read!" To her mind that was a sister art and
an equal one.

She went on to tell how her granddaughter had spent ten years in school,
and at the end of that time was able to read. "But now she is forgetting
it all. She goes out and plays too much with the _muchachas_" (young
girls).

[Illustration: THE HOME OF "SOLITUDE."]

This amiable grandmother also took us in to see her domicile, which
proved to be a part of the old city wall, and had a fine view from
its iron-barred window. She declared vaguely that "a count" had
formerly lived there; but it had more probably been the gate-captain's
house, for close by was one of the fortified ports of the inner
defences. A store-room, in fact, which she kept full of pigeons and
incredibly miscellaneous old iron, stood directly over the arched
entrance, and there we saw the heavy beam and windlass which in by-gone
ages had hoisted or let fall the spiked portcullis. I induced "Solitude"
to tell me a legend about one of the churches; for there is generally
some story to every square rod of ground hereabout, and indeed a little
basilica below the town sustains four different narratives all
explaining a single miracle. Serving as an appropriate foundation for
local wonder-mongering, a great cave in the rock underlies some portion
of the city, and is said to have been hollowed out by Hercules, who, in
addition to his other labors, has received the credit of founding
Toledo. I am convinced that no muscles but his could ever have stood the
strain of first climbing its site. The cave I refer to has been for the
most part of the last two hundred years closed and walled up. About
thirty years since it was timidly explored by a society formed for the
purpose, and some Roman remains were found in it; but after that, terror
fell upon the explorers, and the cavern was again closed, remaining even
yet a reservoir of mystery. There are equally mysterious things above
ground, however, as will shortly be demonstrated by the tale of the
"Christ of Compassion." Let me, before giving that, recall here a more
poetic tradition, preserved by Señor Eugenio Olavarria, a young author
of Madrid. We saw just outside the mosque-church of the Christ of Light
an old Moorish well, of a kind common in Spain, with a low thick wall
surrounding the deep sunken shaft, to rest the bucket-chain on when it
is let down and drawn up by sheer muscular force. The edges were worn
into one continuous pattern of grooves by the incessant chafing of the
chains for ages, and we conjured up a dozen romances about the people
who of old slaked their thirst there. It is about another water-source
of the same kind, on a small street still called Descent to the Bitter
Well, that the story here outlined is told:

     THE WELL OF BITTERNESS.

     "In the time of one of the Moorish kings there lived at Toledo,
     under the mild toleration of that epoch, a rich Jew, strictly and
     passionately devoted to the laws of his religion and to one only
     other object: that one was his daughter Raquel, motherless, but
     able to solace his widowed heart with her devoted affection.
     Sixteen Aprils had wrought their beautiful changes into her
     exquisite form and lovely mind, till at last, of all things which
     they had waked to life, she appeared the fairest.

     "Reuben had gradually made her the chief end of his existence, and
     she certainly merited this absolute concentration of her father's
     love. But, notwithstanding that at this time Jews and Christians
     dwelt together unmolested by the Mohammedan rule, the inborn
     hostility between these two orders underwent no abatement.
     Intercourse between them was sedulously avoided by each, and the
     springing up of any shy flower of love between man and maid of such
     hostile races was sure to be followed by deadly blight and ruin.
     Nevertheless--and how it happened who can say?--Raquel, already
     ripened by the rich sun of her native land into a perfected
     womanhood, fell in love with a young Christian cavalier, who had
     himself surrendered to her silent and distant beauty as it shone
     upon him, while passing, from her grated window in Reuben's stately
     mansion. He learned her name, and spoke it to her from the
     street--'Raquel!'--at twilight. So trembling and brimming with
     mutual love were they, that this one word, like the last
     o'erflowing drop of precious liquid from a vase, was enough to
     reveal to her what filled his heart. As she heard it she blushed as
     though it had been a kiss that he had reverently impressed upon her
     cheek; and this was answer enough--their secret and perilous
     courtship had begun. Thereafter they met often at night in the
     great garden attached to the house, making their rendezvous at the
     low-walled well that stood in a thicket of fragrant greenery. At
     last, through the prying of an aged friend, his daughter's passion
     came to the knowledge of old Reuben, who had never till then even
     conceived of such disgrace as her being enamoured of a Christian.
     His course was prompt and terrible. Concealing himself one evening
     behind a tree-trunk close to the well, he awaited the coming of the
     daring cavalier, sprung upon him, and after a short, noiseless
     struggle bore him down with a poniard in his breast!

     "The stealthy opening of a door into the garden warned him of
     Raquel's approach. He hastened again into concealment. She arrived,
     saw her fallen lover, dropped at his side in agonies of terror, and
     sought to revive him. Then she saw and by the moonlight recognized
     her father's dagger in the breathless bosom of the young man, and
     knew what had happened. Moved by sudden remorse, Reuben came out
     with words of consolation ready. But she knew him not, she heard
     him not; from that instant madness was in her eyes and brain. Many
     months she haunted the spot at night, calm but hopelessly insane,
     and weeping silently at the margin of the well, into whose waters
     her salt tears descended. At length there came a night when she did
     not return to the house. She had thrown herself into the well and
     was found there--dead!

     "Never again could any one drink its waters, which had been famous
     for their quality. Raquel's tears of sorrow had turned them
     bitter."

The other legend is still more marvellous: "In the reign of Enrique IV.
of Spain there was fierce rivalry between two Toledan families, the
Silvas and the Ayalas, which in 1467 led to open warfare. The Silvas
threw themselves into the castle, and the Ayalas held the cathedral--the
blood shed in their combats staining the very feet of its altars. During
this struggle of hatred there was also a struggle of love going on
between two younger members of the embroiled families. Diego de Ayala,
setting at naught the pride of his house, had given his heart to Isabel,
the daughter of a poor hidalgo; but it so happened that his enemy, Don
Lope de Silva, had resolved to win the same maiden, though receiving no
encouragement from her. One night when the combatants were resting on
their arms, and the whole city was in disorder, Don Lope succeeded in
entering Isabel's house with several of his followers and carried her
off--trusting to the general confusion to prevent interruption. As they
were bearing her away across a little square in front of the Church of
San Justo, Don Diego, on his way to see Isabel, encountered them.

"'Leave that woman, ye cowards, and go your way!' he commanded, with
drawn sword. And at that instant, by the light of the lamp which burned
before the pictured Christ of Compassion on the church wall, he
recognized Isabel and Don Lope.

"Making a bold dash, he succeeded in freeing Isabel and getting her into
the shelter of an angle in the wall, just below the holy figure. But
being there hemmed in by his adversaries, he felt himself, after a sharp
fight in which he dealt numerous wounds, fainting from the severe
thrusts he had himself received. Fearing that he was mortally hurt, he
raised his eyes to the shrine and prayed: 'O God, not for me, but for
her, manifest thy pity! I am willing to die, but save her!'

"Then a marvellous brilliance streamed out from the thorn-crowned head,
and instantly, propelled by some unseen force, Diego found himself and
Isabel pushed through the solid wall behind them, which opened to
receive them into the sanctuary, and closed again to keep out the
assassins. Don Lope rushed forward in pursuit, and in his rage hacked
the stones with his sword as if to cut his way through. The marks made
in the stone by his weapon are still to be seen there." The
compassionate face still looks down from the shrine, and little
sign-boards announce indulgences to those who pray there: "Señor Don
Luis Maria de Borbon, most Illustrious Señor Bishop of Carista, grants
forty days' indulgence to all who with grief for their sins say, 'Lord
have mercy on me!' or make the acts of Faith, Charity, and Hope before
this image, praying for the necessities of the Church."

Altogether I computed that a good Catholic could by a half-hour's
industry secure immunity for two hundred and twenty days, or nearly
two-thirds of a year. It is to be feared that the Toledans are too lazy
to profit even by this splendid chance.

The majority of people here who can command a daily income of ten cents
will do no work. Numbers of the inhabitants are always standing or
leaning around drowsily, like animals who have been hired to personate
men, and are getting tired of the job. Every act approaching labor must
be done with long-drawn leisure. Men and boys slumber out-of-doors even
in the hot sun, like dogs; after sitting meditatively against a wall for
a while, one of them will tumble over on his nose--as if he were a
statue undermined by time--and remain in motionless repose wherever he
happens to strike. Business with the trading class itself is an
incident, and resting is the essence of the mundane career.

Nevertheless, the place has fits of activity. When the mid-day siesta is
over there is a sudden show of doing something. Men begin to trot about
with a springy, cat-like motion, acquired from always walking up and
down hill, which, taken with their short loose blouses, dark skins, and
roomy canvas slippers, gives them an astonishing likeness to
Chinamen.[5] The slip and scramble of mule hoofs and donkey hoofs are
heard on the steep pavements, and two or three loud-voiced, lusty men,
with bare arms, carrying a capacious tin can and a dipper, go roaring
through the torrid streets, "Hor-cha-ta!" Then the cathedral begins
wildly pounding its bells, all out of tune, for vespers. The energy
which has broken loose for a couple of hours is discovered to be a
mistake, and another interval of relaxation sets in, lasting through the
night, and until the glare of fiery daybreak, greeted by the shrill
whistling of the remorseless pet quail, sets the insect-like stir going
again for a short time in the forenoon. Because of such apathy, and of a
more than the usual Latin disregard for public decency, the streets and
houses are allowed to become pestilential, and drainage is unknown.
Enervating luxury of that sort did well enough for the Romans and Moors,
but is literally below the level of Castilian ideas. In the midst of the
most sublime emotion aroused by the associations or grim beauty of
Toledo, you are sure to be stopped short by some intolerable odor.

[Illustration: "MEN AND BOYS SLUMBER OUT-OF-DOORS EVEN IN THE HOT SUN."]

The primate city was endowed with enough of color and quaintness almost
to compensate for this. We never tired of the graceful women walking the
streets vestured in garments of barbaric tint and endlessly varied
ornamentation, nor of the men in short breeches split at the bottom,
who seemed to have splashed pots of vari-colored paint at hap-hazard
over their clothes, and insisted upon balancing on their heads
broad-brimmed, pointed hats, like a combination of sieve and inverted
funnel. There was a spark of excitement, again, in the random entry of a
"guard of the country," mounted on his emblazoned donkey-saddle, with a
small arsenal in his waist sash, and a couple of guns slung behind on
the beast's flanks, ready for marauders. Even now in remembrance the
blots on Toledo fade, and I see its walls and towers throned grandly
amid those hills that were mingled of white powder and fire at
noon-tide, but near evening cooled themselves down to olive and russet
citron, with burning rosy shadows resting in the depressions.

[Illustration: A STRANGE FUNERAL.]

One of the first spectacles that presented itself to us will remain also
one of the latest recollections. Between San Juan de los Reyes and the
palace of Roderick we met unexpectedly a crowd of boys and girls,
followed by a few men, all carrying lighted candles that glowed
spectrally, for the sun was still half an hour high in the west. A
stout priest, with white hair and a vinous complexion, had just gone
down the street, and this motley group was following the same direction.
Somewhat in advance walked a boy with a small black and white coffin,
held in place on his head by his upraised arm, as if it were a toy; and
in the midst of the candle-bearers moved a light bier like a
basket-cradle, carried by girls, and containing the small waxen form of
a dead child three or four years old, on whose impassive, colorless face
the orange glow of approaching sunset fell, producing an effect natural
yet incongruous. A scampering dog accompanied the mourners, if one may
call them such, for they gave no token of being more impressed, more
touched by emotion, than he. The cradle-bier swayed from side to side as
if with a futile rockaby motion, until the bearers noticed how
carelessly they were conveying it down the paved slope; and the members
of the procession talked to each other with a singular indifference, or
looked at anything which caught their random attention. As the little
rabble disappeared through the Puerta del Cambron, with their long
candles dimly flaming, and the solemn, childish face in their midst,
followed by the poor unconscious dog, it seemed to me that I beheld in
allegory the departure from Toledo of that spirit of youth whose absence
leaves it so old and worn.

[Illustration]



_CORDOVAN PILGRIMS._

I.


[Illustration: T]

The House of Purification, as the great mosque at Cordova was called,
used to be a goal of pilgrimage for the Moors in Spain, as Mecca was for
Mohammedans elsewhere. Their shoes no longer repose at its doors, but
other less devout pilgrims now come in a straggling procession from all
quarters of the globe to rest a while within its fair demesne--hallowed,
perhaps, as much by the unique flowering of a whole people's genius in
shapes of singular loveliness as by the more direct religious service to
which it has been dedicated and re-dedicated under conflicting beliefs.

It was with peculiar eagerness, therefore, that we set out on our way.
An American who was following the same route had joined us--a man with
ruddy, bronzed cheeks and iron-gray hair, whom I at first should have
taken for the great-grandson of a Spanish Inquisitor, if such a thing
were possible. His iron persistence and the intensity of his prejudices
were in keeping with that character--the only trouble being that the
prejudices were all on the wrong side. Whetstone (as he was called)
shared our eagerness in respect of Cordova, though from different
motives. He hailed each new point in his journey with satisfaction,
because it would get him so much nearer the end; for the reason he had
come to Spain was, apparently, to get out of it again. "I don't see what
I came to Spain for," Whetstone would observe to us, dismally; and, for
that matter, we could not see either. "If there ever _was_ a
God-forsaken country--Why, look at the way a whole parcel of these men
at the dinner-table get out their cigarettes and smoke right there,
without ever asking a lady's leave! I'd like to see 'em try it on at
home! Wouldn't they be just snaked out of that room pretty quick?" He
had under his care a young lady of great sensibility, a relative by
marriage, accompanied by her maid; and the maid was a colored woman of
the most pronounced pattern. Altogether our pilgrim party embraced a
good deal of variety. The young American girl, being a Catholic, was
really a palmer faring from shrine to shrine. Rarely a convent or a
chapel escaped her; she sipped them all as if they had been flower-cups
and she a humming-bird, and managed to extract some unknown honey of
comfort from their bitterness. It was like having a novice with us.

[Illustration: WHETSTONE.]

The night journeys by rail, so much in vogue in Spain, have their
advantages and their drawbacks. At Castillejo, a junction on the way to
Cordova, we had to wait four hours in the evening at a distance of
twenty miles from the nearest restaurant. The country around was
absolutely desolate except for tufts of the _retamé_--a sort of broom
with slim green and silvered leaves, which grows wild, and, after
drying, is used by the peasants as a substitute for rye or wheat flour.
Only two or three houses were in sight. The tracks with cars standing on
them, and the unfinished look of the whole place, made us feel as if we
had by mistake been carried off to some insignificant railroad station
in Illinois or Missouri. The only resource available for dinner was a
_cantineria_, or drinking-room, where a few blocks of tough bread lent
respectability to a lot of loaferish wine-bottles, and some uninviting
sausages were hung in gloomy festoons, with a suspicious air of being a
permanent architectural fixture intended as a perch for flies. The
Spaniards invent little rhymed proverbs about many of their villages,
and of one insignificant Andalusian hamlet, Brenes, the saying is,

    "If to Brenes thou goest,
     Take with thee thy roast."

But Castillejo seems to be an equally good subject for this warning. We
recalled how lavishly, on the way to Toledo, we had presented bread,
meat, and strawberries to some country folk who were not in the habit of
eating, and how ardently they had thanked us. As we passed their house
in returning it was closed and lifeless, and we were convinced that they
had died of a surfeit. How willingly would we now have undone that deed!
However, after making some purchases from an extremely deaf old woman
who presided over such poor supplies as the place afforded, we asked her
if she could have coffee prepared. "If there is enough in the house,"
she replied to our interrogatory shrieks. Accordingly, we carried a
table out under some trees on the gravel platform, to eat _al fresco_.

[Illustration: COFFEE AT CASTILLEJO.]

When we found ourselves in this way for the first time thrown back on
the Spanish sausage, we resisted that unsympathetic substance with all
the vigor of despair. But, aided by some bad wine, an interesting
conversation with the Novice, and the glow of a sunset sky that looked
as if strewn with fading peony petals, we recovered from the shock
caused in the beginning by a mingled flavor of garlic, raisins, and
pork. In truth, there was something enjoyable about this wild supper
around which our quartette gathered in the dry, dewless twilight. An
ancient female, resembling a broken-down Medea, came out and kindled a
fire of brushwood beyond the track, swung a kettle there, and cooked our
coffee, bending over the flame-light the while with her scattered gray
tresses, and wailing out doleful _peteneras_, the popular songs of
Spain. The songs, the fire, the wine, the strange scene, were so
stimulating that we were surprised to find all at once the dark vault
overhead full of stars, the comet staring at us in its flight above the
hills, and our ten-o'clock train nearly due.

The next morning we were in a region totally unlike anything we had seen
before, excepting for the ever-present mountain ranges wild as the
Pyrenees or Guadaramas. The light of dawn on these barren Spanish
mountain-sides, drawn up into peaks as sharp as the points of a
looped-up curtain, produces effects indescribable except on canvas and
by a subtle colorist. The bare surfaces of rock or dry grass and moss,
and the newly reaped harvest fields lower down, blend the tints of air
and earth in a velvet-smooth succession of madder and faint yellow,
olive and rose and gray, fading off into a reddish-violet at greater
distances.

These eminences are a part of the Sierra Morena, where Don Quixote
achieved some of his most noteworthy feats--the liberation of the
galley-slaves, the descent into the Cave of Montesinos, the capture of
Mambrino's helmet, and the famous penance. So weird is the aspect of
these desolate hills, enclosing silent valleys in which narrow tracts of
woods are harbored, that I suspected it would be easy to breed a few Don
Quixotes of reality there. Craziness would become a necessary diversion
to relieve the monotony of existence.

[Illustration: PRIMITIVE THRASHING.]

A winding river-bed near by was bordered by tufted copses of oleander in
full flower, and hedges of huge serrated aloe guarded the roads. On the
hill-sides a round corral for herds would occasionally be seen. In the
fields the time-honored method of threshing out grain by driving a sort
of heavy board sledge in a circle over the cut crop, and of winnowing by
tossing up shovelfuls of the grain-dust into the breezy air, was in
active operation. By-and-by the olive orchards began. As far as we could
see they stretched on either side their ranks of round dusty green
tree-heads. Thousands of acres of them--one grove after another: we
travelled through fifty miles of almost unbroken olive plantations,
until we fancied we could even smell the fruit on the boughs, and our
eyes were sick and weary with the sameness of the sight. Then the river,
which from time to time had shown its muddy current in curves and
sweeps, moving through the land at the bottom of what might have been an
enormous drain, turned out to be the famous Guadalquivir, which, as Ford
vividly puts it, "eats its dull way through loamy banks." At last
Cordova, seated in an ample plain--Cordova, in vanished ages the home of
Seneca, Lucan, Averroës, and the poet Juan de Mena--Cordova, white in
the dry and gritty sun-dazzled air, with square, unshadowed two-story
houses, overlooked by the bell-tower of its incomparable Mezquita
Cathedral: a cheerful Southern city, maintaining large gardens,
abounding in palms and myrtles and orange and lemon trees; possessing,
moreover, clean streets of perceptible width.

[Illustration: WHILE THE WOMEN ARE AT MASS.]

After the "interpreter," or hotel guide, the beggar: such is the order
in these Spanish towns, and not seldom the guide is merely a bolder kind
of beggar. Two or three of the most frantically miserable and loathsome
charity-seekers I ever saw surrounded our omnibus as we awaited our
baggage, and stuffed their hideous heads in at the windows and door,
concentrating on us their fire of appeals. Velveteen had heard that the
sovereign remedy for these pests was to treat them with consummate
politeness and piety. "Pardon me, brother, for God's sake!" was the
deprecatory formula which had been recommended, and he now proceeded to
recite this, book in hand. Unfortunately it took him about five minutes
to get it launched in good style and pure Spanish, during which time the
beggars had an opportunity entirely to miss the sense. A few grains of
tobacco dropped into the hat of one of them were more efficacious, for
they had the result of mystifying him and hopelessly paralyzing his
analytical powers. Finally the guide, coming with the baggage,
recognized his rivals, and drove them off.

At several places on the way we had seen our twin military persecutors
waiting for us, sometimes with white havelocks, and again in glazed
hat-covers and capes. "Are they disguising themselves, so as to fall
upon us unawares?" I asked my friend. We determined not to be deceived,
however, by the subtle device. These Spanish police-soldiers go through
more metamorphoses in the linen and water-proof line than any troops I
know. It must be excessively inconvenient to run home and make the
change every time a slight shower threatens; and invariably, as soon as
they get on their storm-cover, the sun begins to shine again. On our
arrival they seemed to have made up their minds to arrest us at once;
they came striding along toward us in duplicate, one the fac-simile of
the other, and we gave ourselves up for lost. But just as they were
within a few paces, their unaccountable policy of delay caused them to
deviate suddenly, and march on as if they hadn't seen us. "One more
escape!" sighed Velveteen, fervently.

Strangely enough, the languor which we had left in the middle of the
kingdom, at Toledo, was replaced in this more tropical latitude by great
activity. The shop streets presented a series of rooms entirely open to
the view, where men and women were busily engaged in all sorts of small
manufacture--shoes, garments, tin-work, carpentering. They were happy
and diligent, as if they had been animated writing-book maxims, and sung
or whistled at their tasks in a most exemplary manner.

[Illustration: WATER-STAND IN CORDOVA.]

"Cordovan leather" still holds it own, on a petty scale, and the small
cups hammered out of old silver dollars constitute, with filigree
silver-work, a characteristic local product. The faces of the people
betrayed their gypsy blood oftentimes, and there was one street chiefly
occupied by the Romany folk. Traces of blond or light chestnut hair
showed that the Moorish stock had likewise left some offshoots that do
not die out. The whole aspect of Cordova presents at once a reflex of
the refined and enlightened spirit of the ancient caliphate. Everybody,
including most of the beggars, has a fresh and cleanly appearance; the
very priests undergo a change, being frequently more refined in feature
and of a more tolerant expression than those of the North. The women set
off their rosy brown complexions and black hair with clusters of rayed
jasmine blossoms, flattened and ingeniously fixed in rosette form on
long pins. The men, discarding those hot felt hats so obstinately worn
in the central provinces, make a comfortable and festive appearance
in their curling Panamas. On the Street of the Great Captain--the chief
open-air resort, commemorating Gonsalvo of Cordova, who led so ably in
the triumphant Christian campaigns--the people laugh and chat as if they
really enjoyed life. There is a great deal of wealth in the place, and
the lingering atmosphere of its past greatness is not depressing, as
that of Toledo is, for it was never the home of bigotry and ignorance.
Its prosperous epoch under Abdur-rahman and his Ommeyad successors was
one of brilliant civilization. It was then a nursery of science and the
arts; its inhabitants numbered a million. It had mosques by the hundred,
and nearly a thousand baths--for the Spanish Moors well knew the
civilizing virtue of water, and kept life-giving streams of it running
at the roots of their institutions. The houses of the modern city are
very plain on the exterior, and their common coat of whitewash imparts
to them a democratic equality, though aristocracy is still a living
thing there, instead of having sunk into pitfalls of squalor and
idleness, as in the sombre city by the Tagus.

    "But now the Cross is sparkling on the mosque,
     And bells make Catholic the trembling air."

[Illustration: THE GAY COSTER-MONGERS OF ANDALUSIA.]

Gloomy little churches crop out in every quarter, and a few convents of
nuns remain, where you may hear the faint, sad litany of the unseen
sisters murmured behind the grating, while a priest chants service for
them in the lonely chapel. The bells of these churches and of the
mosque-cathedral are hardly ever silent; the brazen jargon of their
tongues echoes over the roofs at all hours, and the hollow, metallic
tinkle of mule-bells from the otherwise silent streets at times strikes
one as making response to them. The beauty of the cathedral--still
called the Mezquita (mosque)--lies almost solely in the preservation of
its original Moorish architecture.

[Illustration: THE MEZQUITA.]

The site was first occupied as a place of worship by the Roman Temple of
Janus, and this in turn became a basilica of the Gothic Christians.
Abdur-rahman, after the Christians had long been allowed by the caliphs
to continue their worship in one half of the basilica, reared the
supremely wonderful House of Purification as it now stands; and then,
after the conquest by Ferdinand and Isabella, in the reign of Charles
V., the cumbrous high altar and choir, which choke up so much of the
interior, transformed it once more into a stronghold of Christian
ceremonial. But when you enter at the Gate of Pardon the long, wide
Court of Oranges, you find yourself transported instantly to Mohammedan
surroundings; you are under the dominion of the Ommeyades.

[Illustration: RELIC PEDDLERS.]

High walls hem in this open-air vestibule, where rows of orange-trees
rustle their dense foliage in the warm wind. Their trunks are corpulent
with age, for some of them date back to the last Moorish dynasty, and at
one end stands the tank where followers of the Prophet washed themselves
before entering in to pray. The Gate of Pardon, under the high-spired
bell-tower, takes its name from the custom which obtained of giving
criminals refuge by its portal. The murderer who could fly hither and
gain the central aisle of the temple, directly opposite the gate across
the court, was safe for shelter by the Mihrab, or inner shrine, at the
farther end of the aisle. All the nineteen aisles formerly opened from
the fragrant garden, though Catholic rule gives access by only three;
but inside one sees at a glance the vast consecrated space which was so
freely open to the Mussulmans--an interior covering several acres, not
very lofty, yet imposing from its exquisite proportions. A wilderness, a
cool, dark labyrinth of pillars from which light horseshoe arches rise,
broken midway for the curve of another arch surmounting each of these,
spreads itself out under the roof on every hand--grove of stone in a
cave of stone stretching so far that the eye cannot follow its intricate
regularity, its rare harmony of confusion. The rash Christian renovators
who, overruling the protest of the city, undertook to remodel so
exceptional a monument, covered the arches with whitewash; but many of
them have been restored to the natural hues of their red and white
marble. Imagine below them the pillars, smooth-shafted and with fretted
capitals. Of old there were _twelve hundred_ of them supporting the
gilded beams and incorruptible larch of the roof, and a thousand still
stand. Each is shaped from a single block, and many quarries contributed
them. Jasper and porphyry, black, white, and red, emerald and rose
marble, are all represented among them; though with their diversity they
have this in common, that from the pavement up to about the average
human height they have been worn dark, and even smoother than the
workmen left them, by the constant touching and rubbing and leaning of
generations who have loitered and worshipped in the solemn twilight that
broods around them. A large number were appropriated from the old Roman
temple which stood on the spot; others were plundered from temples at
ancient Carthage; still others were brought entire from Constantinople.
They typify the different powers that have been concerned in the making
and unmaking of Spain, and one could almost imagine that in every column
is concealed some petrified warrior of those conflicting races, waiting
for the spell that shall bring him to life again.

[Illustration: THE GARDEN OF THE ALCAZAR.]

On the surface of one of these marble cylinders is scratched a rude and
feeble image of Christ on the cross, hardly noticeable until pointed
out. It is said to have been traced there by the finger-nail of a
Christian captive who was chained to the pillar when it formed part of a
dungeon somewhere else. He had ten years for the work, and enjoyed the
advantage of a tool that would renew itself without expense whenever it
began to wear out. I must say that we were touched by this dim record of
the dead-and-gone prisoner's silent suffering and faith. The shock of
doubt struck us only when, in another part of the mosque, we came upon
another pillar against the wall, bearing an exact reproduction of the
finger-nail sculpture, and furthermore provided with a holy-water basin
and a lamp burning under the effigy of the captive, who appears to have
been canonized. "How is this?" I asked the guide. "Here is the same
thing over again!" He scrutinized me carefully, taking an exact measure
of my credulousness, before he replied, "Ah, but the other is the real
one!" It all seems to depend on which pillar gets the start.

[Illustration: PRIEST AND PURVEYOR.]

[Illustration: FLOWERS FOR THE MARKET.]

But there is no deception whatever connected with the inner Mihrab,
where there is a marvellous alcove marking the direction of Mecca, on
the east. Its ceiling, in the shape of a quarter-globe, is cut from a
single great piece of marble, which is grooved like a shell. And when
the light from candles is thrown into this Arab chapel it glances upon
elaborate enamelling on the surface, the vitreous glaze of minute and
almost miraculous mosaic making it flash and sparkle with rays of the
ruby, the emerald, the topaz, and diamond. There in the dusk the
glittering splendor scintillates as brilliantly as it did eight hundred
years ago, and shoots its beams upon the unwary eye as if it were a
cimeter of the defeated race suddenly unsheathed for vengeance. In this
place was kept the wondrous Koran stand of Al-Hakem II., which cost a
sum equal now to about five million dollars. It disappeared a while
ago--mislaid, it should seem, by some sacristan of orderly habits who
was clearing up the rubbish, for no one appears to know where it went
to. The sacred book within it was incased in gold tissue embroidered
with pearls and rubies, and around the spot where it was enshrined the
solid white marble floor is unevenly worn into a circular hollow, where
the servants of the Prophet used to crawl seven times in succession on
their hands and knees. This homage was paid by the brother of the
Emperor of Morocco only a few years since, when he visited Spain, and
indulged the luxurious woe of weeping over the fair empire his people
had lost. The bewildering arabesques, the lines of which pursue and lose
each other so mysteriously about the shrine, managing to form pious
inscriptions in their intricate convolutions--by an exception to all
other Hispano-Arabic decoration, which employs only stucco--are wrought
in marble, frigid and stern as death, but embossed into a living grace
as of vine tendrils.

Whetstone had been remarkably silent after entering the Mezquita. I
fancied that he did not wholly approve of it. But after we had looked
long at this epitome of the beautiful which I have just tried to sketch,
he observed, impartially, in turning away, "I tell you, those fellows
knew how to chisel some!" He had merely been trying to reduce the facts
to their lowest terms.

Priests and boys were marching with crucifixes from the choir as we came
away: the incense rolled up against the lofty smoke-dimmed altar; and
the mild-faced celibate who played the organ sent harmonies of unusually
rich music (performed at our guide's special request) reverberating
among the thousand-columned maze of low arches. But my fancy went back
to the time when gold and silver lamps had shed from their perfumed oils
the only illumination there, and when the jewelled walls, smouldering in
the faint light, had looked down upon the prostrate forms of robed and
turbaned zealots. Then we passed out through the Court of Oranges into
the street, with those forty towers of the cathedral wall again seen
standing guard around it, and found ourselves once more in modern
Cordova.

[Illustration: TRAVELLERS TO CORDOVA.]

The breath of the South, the meridional aroma, welcomed us. The scent of
the air in the neighboring Alcazar garden would of itself have been
enough to tell us, in the dark, that we had entered Andalusia. That was
beyond question a most delectable spot. A sort of fortress-prison
bordered it, and immediately on the other side of the prison-wall
blossomed the garden, where lemons and oranges and bergamot clambered
rankly against the bricks, perfuming the whole atmosphere, and overblown
roses dropped from their vines on to the paths. There were hedges of
rosemary, and trees of pimento, and angular ribs of prickly cactus,
carefully trained. From a balustraded terrace higher up descended a
stone flight of steps, the massive stone guard of which on each side was
scooped out so as to make a mossy bed for two streams of water
perpetually flowing down and losing themselves in the secret courses
that ministered to little scattered fountains, or laved the roots of the
verdant tangle. Now and again a lizard darted from point to point, like
an evil thought surprised in the heart of so much sweetness and
freshness. Everywhere there was a cool gush and ripple of water, and
some wide-spreading fig-trees made a pleasant bower in a bastion of the
low garden-wall overlooking the famous river. From this post of vantage
one can see the thick brown current slowly oozing by, and the ancient
bridge which spans it, fortified at both ends, connecting the Cordova of
to-day with the opposite bank, where the ancient city extended for two
or three miles. With its great arched gate, Roman made and finely
sculptured, this mellow light brown structure forms an effective link in
the landscape, and below its piers stand several Moorish mills, disused,
but as yet unbroken by age or floods.

We drove across the venerable viaduct afterward, and found that by an
extraordinary dispensation some very fresh and shining silver coins of
ancient Rome had lately been dug up from one of the shoals in the river
(a peculiar place, by-the-way, to bury them in), and that our guide had
some in his pocket. We forbore to deprive him of such treasures,
however, even at the very trifling price which he put upon them, and
contented ourselves with being swindled by him in a subsequent purchase
of some other articles.


II.

FROM Cordova may be made, by those who are especially favored, one of
the most interesting expeditions possible to the Hermitage, or, as the
Church authorities name it, the _Desierta_ (desert) of solitary monks,
genuine anchorites, a few miles distant in the Sierra Morena. There are
obstacles more formidable than the purely physical ones in the way of
this excursion, the bishop of the diocese being averse to granting
permission for the visit to any one who is not a good Catholic. Two
Englishmen who came before us, relying on the potent gold piece, had
made the toilsome ascent only to find that their sterling sovereigns
were of no avail. I think the presence of the Novice helped our party;
but it would be unwise to reveal the stratagem by which we all gained
admittance. Let it be enough to say that we went to the bishop's palace
after the usual hours of business, and by humble apologies obtained an
audience with the secretary. While we were waiting we sat down under a
frivolously gorgeous rococo ceiling, on a great double staircase of
marble leading up from the _patio_, which was well planted with shrubs,
and had walks paved with smooth round stones of various hue, set
edgewise in extensive patterns. The vaulted ceiling resounded powerfully
with every remark we made, which had the result of subduing our
conversation to whispers, for an attendant soon came to warn us that the
bishop was asleep, and that we must not speak loud on account of the
echo. Profiting by the great man's siesta, we extracted the desired
permission from his severe-faced but courteous secretary, who marked the
document "Especial."

[Illustration: "ARRÉ, BURR-R-RICO!"]

Our brief cavalcade of donkeys started the next morning at five, after
we had taken a preternaturally early cup of chocolate. The donkeys
appeared to know just where we were going, and would not obey the rein:
the driver, walking behind, governed them by a system of negatives,
informing them with a casual exclamation when they showed signs of
turning where he didn't want them to. "Advance there, Baker!" he would
cry. "Don't you know better than that? What a wretched little beast! Do
as I tell you." The animal in question was named Bread-dealer, or Baker,
and the one that I rode rejoiced in the eccentric though eminently
literary appellation of "College."

"To the right, College!" our muleteer would shout, exercising a despotic
power over my four-footed institution of learning. "Get up, little mule.
_Arré burr-r-rico!_" Firing off a volley of _r_'s with a tremendous
rising and falling intonation, which invariably moved the brute to take
one or two rapid steps before dropping back into his customary slow
walk. As the heat increased, and the way grew steeper, he sighed out his
"arré"--gee up--in a long, melancholy drawl, which seemed to express
profound despair concerning the mulish race generally. Muleteers in
Spain are termed generically, from this surviving Arabic word,
_arrieros_, or, as we may translate it, "gee-uppers."

In this manner we made our way along the dusty road among olive
orchards, and a sort of oak called _japarros_, until we began to mount
by a rough, stony path which sometimes divided itself like the branches
of a torrent, though we more than once succeeded in prodding the donkeys
into a lively canter. The white façades of villas--_quintas_ or
_carmens_ they are denominated hereabout--twinkled out from nooks of the
hills; but at that early hour everything was very still. We could almost
_see_ the silence around us. Higher up, unknown birds began to sing in
the sparse boscage that clothed the mountain flank or clustered in its
narrow dells. Midway of the ascent, furthermore, Baker, on whom
Velveteen was seated in solemn stride, with a blanket in place of
saddle, paused ominously, and then began a nasal performance which shook
our very souls. Why a donkey should bray in such a place it is hard to
determine, but _how_ he did it will forever remain impressed on our
tympana. There was something peculiarly terrible and unnerving in the
sound; and just as it ceased, our guide, Manuel, observed that this had
once been a great place for robbers. "A few years ago," said he, "no one
would have dared to come up along this road as we are doing." He added
that the marauders used to conceal themselves in the numerous caves in
the region, and pointed out one fissure in the rocks which his liberal
imagination converted into the entrance of a subterranean retreat
running for several miles into the heart of the mountains. At the same
instant, looking down across a gorge below our track, I saw a man with a
gun moving through a patch of steep olives, as if to head us off at a
point farther along; and on a jutting rock-rib above us a memorial cross
rose warningly. Crosses were formerly put up in the most impossible
places among these hills, to mark the spot where anybody fell a victim
to bandits or assassins; a fact of which the elder Dumas makes telling
use in one of his short stories.[6] Brigands were themselves punctilious
in setting up these reminders, which were held to exert an expiatory
influence. If any one would understand how hopelessly the Spanish mind
at one time perverted the relations of crime and religion, he may read
Calderon's "Devotion of the Cross," wherein the hero, Eusebio, a
terrible renegade who murders right and left, born at the foot of one of
these way-side crosses, is saved by his reverence for the holy symbol.
He is enabled, by virtue of this pious sentiment, to rise up after he is
dead, walk about, and confess his sins to a friar; after which he is
caught up into heaven!

The whole conjunction was somewhat alarming, but Manuel explained away
our man with a gun by saying that he was merely one of the armed
watchmen usually attached to country estates to protect crops and stock
from depreciation. As for the bandits, they had now been quite
dispersed, he declared, by the Civil Guard. That name, it is true,
called up new fears for Velveteen and myself as we thought of the two
relentless men who were on our trail: but we knew that for the moment,
at least, we were beyond their reach.

At last we gained the very summit, and drew up under a porch at the
walled gate of the Desert, while a shower began to fall in large
scattered drops, like the lingering contents of some gigantic
watering-pot, but soon spent itself. Our second pull at the
mournful-sounding bell was answered by a sad young monk, who opened a
square loop-hole in the wall, and asked our errand in a voice enfeebled
by voluntary privations. After inspecting our pass, he told us, with a
wan but friendly smile, that we must wait a little. It was Friday, and
we had to wait rather long, for the hermits were just at that time
undergoing the weekly flagellation to which they subject themselves. But
finally we were let in--donkeys, guide, _arriero_, and the colored maid
"Fan" sharing the hospitality. An avenue of tall, sombre, cypresses
opened before us, leading to the main building and offices. The Desert,
in fact, was green enough; well supplied with olives and pomegranates;
and hedges of the prickly-pear, with its thick, stiff leaves shaped like
a fire-shovel, and heavy as wax-work, cinctured the isolated huts in
which the brothers dwell each by himself. Precisely as we came to a
triangular plot in front of the entrance we were confronted by a skull
set up prominently in a sort of pyramidal monument, giving force by its
dusty grin to an inscription in Spanish, which read:

       "AS THOU LOOKEST, SO ONCE LOOKED I:
    AS I LOOK NOW, SO WILT THOU APPEAR HEREAFTER.
         PONDER UPON THIS, AND SIN NOT."

Shortly beyond stood a catacomb above-ground, in which a number of
defunct hermits had been sealed up. It also bore a legend, but in Latin:

    "THE DAY OF DEATH IS BETTER THAN THAT OF BIRTH."

In the vestibule of the house these drastic reminders of mortality were
supplemented by two allegorical pictures--hanging among some portraits
of evanished worthies who had ended their penitential days there--two
crude paintings which exhibited "The Soul Tortured by Doubt," and "The
Soul Blessed by Faith." It was not altogether in keeping with the
unworldly and ascetic atmosphere of this spiritual refuge, that a tablet
in the wall should record, with fulsome abasement of phrase, how her
most Gracious Majesty Isabella II. had, some few years ago, deigned to
visit the Desert, and how this stone had been placed there as a humble
monument of her condescension. Certainly, considering the ex-Queen's
character (if it may claim consideration), it is hard to see what honor
the anchorites should find in her visiting their abode.

A gray-haired brother, robed in the coarse and weighty brown serge which
he is obliged to wear in winter and summer alike, received us kindly and
showed us the expensively adorned plateresque chapel. He knelt and bowed
nearly to the threshold before unlocking the door, crossed himself, and
knelt again on the pavement within; then, advancing farther, he dropped
down once more on both knees, and bent over as if he had some intention
of using his good-natured, simple old head as a mop to polish the black
and white marble squares, but ended by another cross, and moving his
lips in noiseless prayer. The national manner of making the cross is
peculiar: after the usual touching of forehead and breast, the Spanish
Catholic concludes by suddenly attempting to swallow his thumb, and then
as hastily pulling it out of his mouth again, to save it up for some
other time. This movement, I suppose, emblemizes the eating of the
consecrated wafer, but it makes a grotesque impression that is anything
but solemn. At times you will also see him execute a unique triple
cross, with strange passes and dabs in the air which might easily be
mistaken for preliminary strategy directed against some erring mosquito
engaged in guerilla warfare on his eyebrow. We were obliged, in
conformity, to do as our Catholic companions did--receiving the
holy-water and making a simple cross--an act which, without being of
their faith, one may perform with unsectarian reverence. Brother Esteban
was on the watch to see that proper devotion was shown in this
peculiarly sacred chapel, and in the midst of his adoration he turned
quickly upon Manuel, asking, "Why don't you go down on _both_ your knees
in the accustomed manner?"

[Illustration: THE FRUIT OF THE DESIERTA.]

Manuel, being a master of ready deception, answered, without an
instant's delay, "Ah, that is my misfortune! I lately had an accident to
that leg" (indicating the one which had not sunk far enough), "and that
is why it is not easy to get down on both knees." However, he spread his
handkerchief wider, and painfully brought the offending member into
place.

Esteban frankly apologized, and then the praying went on again.

When we got out into the corridor, and our monkish friend was well in
advance, black Fan's repressed heresy broke into a startling reaction.
She dipped her hand again and again into the basin of holy-water,
wastefully dropping some of it on the floor, and began outlining
unlimited crosses from her sable forehead downward--covering her breast
with an imaginary armor of them--enough to keep her supplied for a
month, and proof against every possible misfortune. Her broad grin of
delight, exposing her vermilion lips and white teeth like a slice of
unripe watermelon, added to the horror of the situation, and I protested
against such uncouth profanity.

"Might's well keep goin' now I begun," she chuckled in reply. "I's
'fraid I'll forgit how!" She was making another plunge for the font,
when our pale, gentle-featured Novice stopped her in mid-career.

Fortunately good Esteban had not observed this small orgy going on. He
was as pleasant as ever when we went with him into a little room to buy
rosaries and deposit some silver pieces for charity; and there he made
farther and profuse apologies to Manuel. "Of course you see it was
impossible I should know there was anything the matter with your leg,"
he said, quite plaintively. And Manuel accepted his contrition with
double pleasure because he knew it to be wholly undeserved.

The hermits, as I have said, have their separate cottages scattered
about the grounds, each with a small patch of land to be cultivated.
There they raise fruit, which their rules forbid them to eat, and so it
is carried down as a present to some wealthy Cordovan families who
support the hermitage by their largesses. Every day poor folk toil up
from the plain, some five miles, to this airy perch, and are fed by the
monks; but they themselves eat little, abstaining from meat, wine,
coffee, tea--everything, indeed, except some few ounces of daily bread,
a pint of _garbanzos_ (the tasteless, round yellow bean which is the
universal food of the poor in Spain), and a soup made of bread, water,
oil, and garlic. They live on nothing and prayer. They rise at three in
the morning, and thrice a week they fast from that hour until noon.
Their step is slow, and their voices have a strange, inert, sickly
sound; but they appeared cheerful enough, and joked with each other. I
asked Esteban the name of a tiny yellow flower growing by the path, and
he couldn't tell me; but he plucked it tenderly, and began discoursing
to Manuel on its beauty. "_Tan chiquita_," he said, in his poor soft
voice. "So _little, little_, and yet so precious and so finely made!"
Another brother was deeply absorbed in snipping off bits of coiled brass
wire with a pair of pincers. "These are for the 'Our Fathers,'" he
explained, meaning the large beads in the rosary, separated from the
smaller "Ave Maria" ones by links of wire. The cottages or huts,
surrounded by an outer wall, contain a cell, sometimes cut out of a
bowlder lying on the spot, where there is a rude cot, a shelf for holy
books and the crucifix, and a grated window, across which waves,
perhaps, the broad-leaved bough of a fig-tree. An anteroom, provided
with a few utensils and the disciplinary scourge hanging mildly against
the wall, completes the strange interior. The lives of the hermits of
the Sierra are reduced to the ghastly simplicity of a skeleton; a part
of their time is spent in contemplating skulls, and they have a habit of
digging their own graves, in order to keep more plainly before their
minds the end of all earthly careers. Mistaken as all this seems to many
of us, there was a peacefulness about the Hermitage for which many a
storm-tossed soul sighs in vain; and I am glad that some few creatures
can find here the repose they desire while waiting for death. Some of
the hermits are men of rank, who have retired hither disheartened with
the world; others are low-born--men afflicted by some form of misfortune
or misdemeanor of their own, who wish to hide from life; but all
assemble in a pure democracy of sorrow and penitential piety, apparently
contented.

We breakfasted at ten in a room hospitably put at our disposal, the
windows of which admitted a delicious breeze and opened upon a
magnificent view of the plain far below, where the distant city rested
like a white mist--an impalpable thing. Brother José brought some
olives, to add to the refection which our sumpter-mule had carried to
this height. They had a ripe, acid, oily flavor, which made one think of
homely things and of patient housewives in remote American hills, who
lead lives as monotonous, as self-denying and unnoticed as those which
pass on this ridge of the Sierra in Andalusia. Our Novice thought the
olives had "a holy flavor;" and I could understand her feeling. Find me
a site more fitted for meditation on the volatility of mundane things
than this eyry on the mountain-head overlooking the historic valley!
There lies Cordova, a mere spot in the reach of soft citron and
straw-tinted fields; and the Guadalquivir, winding like a neglected
skein of tawny silk thrown down on the mapped landscape. The plain is
calm as oblivion. It is oblivion's self; for there the earth has
absorbed Cordova the Old, so that not a vestige remains where compressed
masses of human dwellings once stood. They are crumbled to an
indistinguishable powder. That soft autumnal soil has swallowed up the
bones of unnumbered generations, and no trace of them is left. We
imagined the glittering legions of Cæsar as they moved slowly through
the country, flashing the sun from their compact steel, at that time
when they put to the sword twenty-five thousand inhabitants of the city,
which had sided with Pompey. We saw the Moors once more envelop it with
arms and banners and the fluttering of snowy garments. But all these
vanished again like a moving cloud, or a smoke from burning stubble; and
the sun still pours its uninterrupted flood of splendor over the land,
bringing life and bringing death, with impartial ray.

[Illustration: MEMENTO MORI.]

The Spanish word for "crowded" or "populated" is still used to signify
"dense" in any ordinary connection, as the phrase _barba poblada_, for a
thick beard, testifies. The implication is that, when there is any
population at all, it must be crowded; a direct transmission,
apparently, from periods when inhabitants clustered in immense numbers
around the centres of civil power for safety. And the word holds good
to-day; for one finds, in the present shrunken human force of the
Peninsula, closely packed assemblages of people in the towns and cities,
with wide domains of comparatively untenanted country around.

When night closed above us again in the city; when mellow lamps glowed,
and a tropical fragrance flowed in from the gardens; when in the long
dusky pauses of warm nocturnal silence the watchman's weary and pathetic
cry resounded, or hollow-toned church-bells rung the hour, the romance
of Cordova seemed to concentrate itself, and fell upon me, as I
listened, in chords that took this form:

         FLOWER OF SPAIN.

    Like a throb of the heart of midnight
      I hear a guitar faintly humming,
    And through the Alcazar garden
      A wandering footstep coming.

    A shape by the orange bower's shadow--
      Whose shape? Is it mine in a dream?
    For my senses are lost in the perfumes
      That out of the dark thicket stream.

    'Mid the tinkle of Moorish waters,
      And the rush of the Guadalquivir,
    The rosemary breathes to the jasmine,
      That trembles with joyous fear.

    And their breath goes silently upward,
      Far up to the white burning stars,
    With a message of sweetness, half sorrow,
      Unknown but to souls that bear scars.

    Here, midway between stars and flowers,
      I know not which draw me the most:
    Shall my years yield earthly sweetness?
      Shall I shine from the sky like a ghost?

    A spirit I cannot quiet
      Bids me bow to the unseen rod;
    I dream of a lily transplanted,
      To bloom in the garden of God.

    Yet the footsteps come nearer and nearer;
      Still moans the soft-troubled strain
    Of the strings in the dusk. Well I know it:
      'Twas called for me "Flower of Spain."

    Ah, yes! my lover he made it,
      And called it by my pet name:
    I hear it, and--I'm but a woman--
      It sweeps through my heart like a flame.

    The night's heart and mine flow together;
      The music is beating for each.
    The moon's gone, the nightingale silent;
      Light and song are both in his speech.

    As the musky shadows that mingle,
    As star-shine and flower-scent made one,
    Our spirits in gladness and anguish
    Have met: their waiting is done.

    But over the leaves and the waters
    What echoes the strange clanging bells
    Send afloat from the dim-arched Mezquita!
    How mournful the cadence that swells

    From the lonely roof of the convent
    Where pale nuns rest! On the hill,
    Far off, the hermits in vigil
    Are bowed at the crucifix still;

    And the brown plain slumbers around us....
    O land of remembrance and grief,
    If I am truly the flower,
    How withered are you, the leaf!

[Illustration: DIFFICULT FOR FOREIGNERS.]

[Illustration: THE JASMINE GIRL.]

There was a good deal of discussion among our group of pilgrims as to
the propriety of a foundation like the Hermitage of the Sierra
continuing to exist in an age like the present one. Whetstone, who had
declined to visit it, was of opinion that men who led such idle lives
should be suppressed by law, and even went so far as to talk about
hanging them. So singular a theory, emanating from a citizen of a free
republic, met with some opposition; but this was not pushed too far,
because we understood that Whetstone kept a hotel at home, and dreaded
lest some day we should be at his mercy. As for the rest of us, it was
not easy to pronounce that we were of much more value than the hermits;
and assuredly those earnest ascetics compared favorably with our
mule-driver, who was remarkable only for an expression of incipient
humor that was never able to attain the height of actual expression. I
was sure that, as he sighed out his final "Arré" in this world, he would
pass into the next with that vacant smile on his face, and the joke
which he might have perpetrated under fortunate circumstances still
unuttered. Nor did the average life of Cordova strike us as signally
indispensable to the world's progress. It was doubtless a very pleasant,
lazy life so far as it went, and we did not decide to hang the
inhabitants! They have a charming fashion there of building houses with
pleasant interior courts, in which the _sclinda_, a vine with pale
lavender clusters of blossoms suggesting the wistaria, droops amid
matted foliage, and lends its grace alike to crumbling architecture or
modern masonry. In these courts, separated from the street by gates of
iron grating beautifully designed, you will see pleasant little domestic
groups, and possibly a whole dinner-party going on in the fresh air. It
was likewise agreeable to repair to a certain restaurant--restored in
the Moorish manner--and there, while clapping hands echoed through the
light arcades, drink iced beer and lemon--a refreshing beverage, which
might reasonably take the place of fiery punches (in America) for hot
weather. "Neither will I deny," said Velveteen, "that it is a wonderful
sensation to stray into the Plaza de Geron Paez and come up suddenly
against that glorious old Roman gate--growing up as naturally as the
trees in front of it, but so much more wonderful than they--with its
fine crumbling yellow traceries. How nicely it would tell in a sketch,
eh, with some of the royal grooms--the _remontistas_--walking through
the foreground in their quaint costumes!"

The men to whom he referred wear, in the best sense, a thoroughly
theatrical garb of scarlet and black, finished off by boots of Cordovan
leather in the style of sixteenth-century Spain, turned down at the top,
laced, tasselled, and slashed open by a curve that runs from the side
down to the back of the heel. This shows the white stocking under short
trousers, giving to the masculine calf and ankle a grace for which they
are usually denied all credit.

For the rest, dwellers in modern Cordova attend mass and vespers, stroll
around to the confectioners' of an afternoon to eat sweetmeats,
especially sugared _higochumbos_ (the unripe prickly-pear boiled in
syrup), or the famed and fragrant preserve of budding orange-blossoms
known as _dulces de alzahar_; and the remainder of the time they while
away pleasantly in loitering on the Street of the Great Captain, or in
peering from their windows at whatever passes beneath. Throughout the
kingdom, it should be said, a most extraordinary persistence will be
observed in dawdling, strolling, and general contemplation. The Spaniard
appears to be born with his legs in a walking position, and with loaded
eyes that compel him to look out of the window whether he wants to or
not.

One of the more remarkable observations, finally, that I collected in
Cordova came from Manuel. It was his reflection as he gazed down from
the Desierta into the plain: "Ah, that was where John Dove (Juan Palom)
did such splendid things!" he sighed. "You don't know about John Dove?
Well, he was one of the _very greatest_ men Spain ever had; he was a
robber--and oh, what a beautiful robber!"



_ANDALUSIA AND THE ALHAMBRA._

I.


[Illustration: S]

Seville--why should we not keep the proper and more euphonious form,
Sevilla?--the home of that Don Juan on whom Byron and Mozart have shed a
lustre more enviable than his reputation, has been made familiar to
every one by melodious Figaro as well; and more lately Mérimée's Carmen,
veiled in the music of Bizet, has brought it into the foreign
consciousness again.

To me it is memorable as the place where I saw the jars in which the
Forty Thieves were smothered. Worried by a painfully profuse odor that
filled the whole street, one day I sought the cause, and found it in an
olive-oil merchant's _tienda_, where there were some terra-cotta jars of
the exact form given in the story-books, and afflicted with
elephantiasis to such a degree that one or two men could easily have
hidden in each. I am sure they were the same into which Morgiana poured
the boiling oil, though why it should have been heated is inexplicable:
the smell alone ought to have been fatal.

A prouder distinction is that Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia, that
gayest and most diversified province of Spain; the native ground of the
bull-fight and breeder of the best bulls; a region abounding in racy
customs and characteristics. The sea-going Phoenicians, who bear down on
us from so many points of the historical compass, found in Andalusia an
important trading field. Its mountains are still stored with silver,
copper, gold, lead, which have yielded steady tribute for thousands of
years. In its breadths of sun-bathed plain and orange-mantled slope the
ancients placed their Elysian Fields. Goth and Roman, Moor and Spaniard,
struggled for the mastery of so rich a possession; and meanwhile
Sevilla, the favorite of Cæsar--his "little Rome"--lay at the core of
the fruitful land, herself careless in the main as to everything except
an easy life, with plenty of singing and love-making. From climate and
history, nevertheless, from art and the mingling of antipodal races,
Sevilla received those influences which have shaped her into the bizarre
and eminently Spanish creation that she is--a visible memory of the
past, and a sparkling embodiment of the present. Society, amusement, and
religious awe are the controlling aims of the people, blended with
revolutionary politics, and great liveliness in their increasing
commerce. The songs of Andalusia pervade the whole kingdom; its
dances--_cidarillos_, _manchegas_, _boleros_, the _cachuca_, and the
wildly graceful _Sevillanas_--enjoy an equal renown.

To accept Sevilla without disappointment, however, a robust appreciation
is needed. Its squalors and splendors are impartially distributed.
Luxurious mansions are dropped down indiscriminately among mean abodes
and the homes of dirt. Poverty and showiness, supreme beauty and
grotesque ugliness, jostle each other at close quarters. It is a sort of
_olla podrida_ among cities; but the total result is exceedingly
curious, and piques the observation.

[Illustration: MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE CATHEDRAL, SEVILLA

From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.]

[Illustration: THE GIRALDA TOWER.

From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.]

The first of it that met our eyes was the Giralda tower of the
cathedral, rising in unique majesty above the unseen town, and as if
inspired with a fresher grace by its own fame. If the bronze female
figure of Faith on the summit could have spoken, it might have said: "In
all the range of view from this pinnacle there is nothing so fair as
Sevilla." The very next object of notice was a woman in the street, who
began begging from below the instant we set foot on the balcony for a
general survey. She gave us our money's worth of misery, but the supply
afterward proved too great for our demand. The mendicants of Sevilla are
much more daring and pertinacious than their craft elsewhere. They
call your attention with a sharp "tst, tst," as if you were hired to go
through life casually, stopping the instant they summon you. There was
in particular one energetic man who never failed to pounce upon us from
his lair, and place some few inches in front of us the red and twisted
stump from which his hand had been severed. He had seemingly persuaded
himself that our journey of several thousand miles was undertaken
principally to inspect this anatomical specimen. The amount of execution
he did with that mutilated member was enough to shame any able-bodied,
self-supporting person. With a single wave of it he could put us to
flight. The effect would not have been more instantaneous if he had
suddenly unmasked a mitrailleuse a yard from our noses. To assume
unconsciousness was futile, for, whichever way we turned, he was always
(it would hardly be correct to say "on hand," but) on time with his
fingerless deformity--he always placed it, with the instinct of a
finished artist, in the best light and most effective pose--getting it
adroitly between us and anything we pretended to look at.

I imagined the noble cathedral might afford a refuge from such attacks,
but every door was guarded by a squad of the decrepit army, so that
entrance there became a horror. These sanctuary beggars serve a double
purpose, however. The black-garbed Sevillan ladies, who are perpetually
stealing in and out noiselessly under cover of their archly draped lace
veils--losing themselves in the dark, incense-laden interior, or
emerging from confession into the daylight glare again--are careful to
drop some slight conscience-money into the palms that wait.
Occasionally, by pre-arrangement, one of these beggars will convey into
the hand that passes him a silver piece a tightly-folded note from some
clandestine lover. It is a convenient underground mail, and I am afraid
the venerable church innocently shelters a good many little transactions
of this kind.

[Illustration: THE "UNDERGROUND" MAIL.]

Nothing can surpass in grandeur, in solemn and restful beauty, the
hollow mountain of embellished stone which constitutes this cathedral.
It does not present the usual cross shape, but is based upon the oblong
form of an old mosque, originally formed somewhat like that at Cordova,
but now wholly gone, excepting for the unequalled Giralda, and a few
other minor muezzin towers. The Court of Oranges is another relic of the
mosque-builders, where clumps of polished leafage contrast their own
vivid strength with the energetic lines of flying-buttresses in the
background--a florid yet melancholy height of trellised stone. The
enclosing walls of the Orange Court, made of firmly cohering mud, or
_tapia_, are tipped with flame-pointed battlements. At their eastern end
rises the tall, square Giralda, with a serenity in its simple lines
expressing, like Greek temples, the satisfied senses controlled by an
elevated mind. The lower portion bears other impress of its Moorish
origin in variously patterned courses of sunken brick; but the whole
tower terminates in a filigree Christian spire of the sixteenth century,
with a row of queer rusty iron ornaments, imitating vases filled with
flowers, placed on the ledge above the belfry at the spire's base. Then,
as you continue the circuit on the east, you arrive opposite the apse
curve marking the chancel of the Chapel Royal; and here the wall is
moulded to the taste of Charles V.'s time, which affected Roman
simplicity and weight, adding to it a trace of feudal pomp in
high-relief coats of arms. On the third and south side a crumbling
frieze of deer's heads and flower garlands skirts the cornice above a
long plain front, the straight-ness of which our friend Whetstone,
clambering up on a low coping so as to squint along the side, and see if
the lines were perfectly true, admired more than anything else.
Afterward one reaches a corner where the work remains unfinished, and
the blackened trunks of incomplete pinnacles in graded ranks suggest the
charred fragments of a faith once all afire, now darkened and cold.
There is no all-dominating dome; but there are two or three bulbous
upheavals in the roof, some spindling turrets on the north, and a square
elevation in the middle revealing the form of the transept. The whole
top is ribbed with stone, serrated with ornate crockets, crowded with
bosses and small spires, or edged with a double balustrade mimicking in
its flame-points a thousand altar lights. Petrified rosettes and spiral
wreathings project from the sides in unchangeable efflorescence, and
great arches, furrowed around by concentric ripples of carving, and
sometimes overpeered by quaint terra-cotta heads, give entrance to the
interior of the gigantic marvel. And over all towers the Giralda to a
height of three hundred and fifty feet, surmounted by the Giraldillo
vane--a woman's form, which turns its twenty-five hundred-weight of
bronze from point to point at the slightest veering of the wind. But the
consummate wonder of this great fabric, under which prostrate ages seem
to crouch while lifting it to heaven, is the union of diverse styles and
spirits in its construction. The different schools conglomerated in such
an exterior give the cathedral a great and mysterious power of variety;
yet, decided though their contrasts are, the effect is not harsh. It
bears witness to the truth that the spirit of man when attuned to the
mood of sincere worship, however unlike its expression may be at
different epochs and through different races, will always make a certain
grand inclusive harmony with itself.

The coolness of the lofty and umbrageous aisles within is not penetrated
by the fiercest summer heats; but their religious twilight, though
inciting to a devout and prayerful sentiment, wraps in obscurity the
crowded works of art, the emblazoned _retablos_, the paintings of
Murillo, Campaña, and Morales, and the costly ornaments bestowed upon
the high altar, as well as those of some thirty side-chapels. In the
central nave, before a shrine at the choir-back, lies the tomb of
Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus. The colossal form of another
Christopher, the saint, lifts itself up the wall to a height of
thirty-two feet, near the Gate of the Exchange. Whoever looks upon St.
Christopher, to him no harm shall come during that day; hence this
worthy is a common object in Spanish cathedrals, and always painted so
large that no one who diligently attends mass can possibly miss seeing
him. A curious relic on the Chapel Royal altar is the Battle Virgin, a
small ivory image which King Ferdinand the Sainted always carried in war
firmly fixed on his saddle-bow. There, too, the King himself, embalmed,
is preserved in a chiselled silver case, to be uncovered and shown three
times a year with great pomp of military music. A life-size Virgin with
movable joints and spun-gold hair watches over him, but did not prevent
his crown from being stolen a few years ago. Not far away Murillo's San
Antonio hangs, the chief figure in which was also stolen, being cut out
in 1874, as many who read this will remember, and carried to New York,
where it was recovered. Innumerable other works and wonders there are,
and the sacristies contain great value of goldsmiths' products; but,
unless it be made a subject of long artistic study, the fundamental
charm of the cathedral consists in its general aspects, its mysterious
perspectives, its proportions so simple and grandiose; the isolated
pictures formed at almost any point by jewelled and candle-lit chapels
sparkling dimly through a permanent dusk, rainbowed here and there by
the light from old stained windows.

From the Giralda, which is mounted by inclined planes in place of
stairs, one looks down upon the glorious building as if it were
something belonging to a lower and different world. All around, beyond,
the mazy city flattens itself out in a confusion of white walls and
tiled roofs, that look like the armored backs of scaly monsters huddled
sluggishly in the powerful sunshine, with impossible streets among them
reduced to mere thin lines of shadow. The tawny river touches it;
palaces and gardens and abandoned monasteries fringe it. Quite near you
see the Tower of Gold--a surviving outwork of the Moorish
defences--which was formerly coated with orange-colored tiles on the
outside, while the inside furnished a repository for treasure brought
from the New World. A crenellated Moorish fortification rises up
dreamily at one point, but finding itself out of date, abruptly subsides
again. Farther out are the seven suburbs, including the gypsy and sailor
quarter, the Triana; and then the plains stretch into an immense area of
olive, gold, and white, reaching to mountains on the north and east. A
multitude of doves inhabit the spire, and there is almost always a hawk
sailing above it, higher than anything else under the cloudless sky. At
the base lives the bell-ringer, through whose stone-paved dining-room
and nursery, filled with his family, we had to pass in order to ascend.
Once, as we stood toward sunset in the high gallery where the bells are
hung in rectangular or arched apertures, we heard the _repique_ sounding
the Angelus. It was a furious explosion of metallic resonance.

Twenty bells on swinging beams, that throw the echoing mouths outward
through the openings, and two fixed in place within, of which Santa
Maria--profanely called The Fat One--is the largest: such is the battery
at command. They are not all used at once, however, for the Angelus. The
ringer and his two sons were satisfied with touching up Santa Catalina
(of a tone peculiarly deep and acceptable), St. John the Baptist, San
José, and one or two others. The whole brazen family have been duly
baptized, among them being San Laureano and San Isidoro, named after the
special patrons of Sevilla. One after another their tongues rolled forth
a deafening roar, in a systematic disorder of thunderous tones, while
the chief ringer went about unconcernedly with a smouldering cigarette
in his lips. One of his sons, after uncoiling the twisted rope around
the beam of San Laureano, thus getting it into violent motion, watched
his chance, sprung on to the beam, agile as a cat, and stood there while
it rocked, the bell under him swinging out at each turn, over the open
square below. It was three hundred feet, down to the pavement, and the
least slip would have sent him down to it like a handful of dirt. His
conception of what would please us, nevertheless, led him thoroughly to
unnerve us by repeating the performance several times.

"Why don't the high-priest, or whatever he is, go on and finish up this
church?" asked Whetstone of the guide. "Seems to me it's about time."

"The priest? He don't want to," was Vincent's answer, given with a
movement of the fingers meant to imply the receiving of money. "It make
too good excuse."

Our conductor, who I am sure was a sceptic, went on to declare that
within the last ten years ninety thousand dollars had been left by will
for carrying on the unfinished portion of the cathedral, but as yet no
movement to begin the work had been made. "Where all that money go?" he
asked, innocent curiosity overspreading his features, while his eye
gleamed with hidden intelligence.

"What do the people think of the priests?" one of us asked.

"The chimneys[7] will find out some time," he replied; adding, in the
proverbial strain common with Spaniards: "When the river comes down from
the mountains, it brings stones."

"By the river, you mean revolution? But you've had that before."

The conclusive answer to this was a maxim borrowed from the ring: "The
fifth bull is never a bad one" (meaning, "Success comes to those who
wait").

Our guide's English was put to a severe strain in the Alcazar, a palace
largely Oriental, with interiors that outshine the Alhambra in
resplendent color and gilding. There is, in particular, one round-domed
ceiling constructed with an intricacy of interdependent supports, cones,
truncations, dropping cusps, which is counterpoint made plastic; and in
its inverted cup-like cysts the burnished gold glows like clotted honey.
But, for all that, it does not equal the matchless Alhambra in
arrangement, variety, or poetic surroundings. The memory of King Pedro
the Cruel is closely connected with this Alcazar. From it he used to
make night sallies into the town, by means of what Vincent termed a
"soup-tureen passage," which brought him up through a trap-door
somewhere in the thick of his subjects. Pedro, who lived in the
fourteenth century, was a monarch of a severely playful disposition. He
used to have the heads of people that were obnoxious to him cut off, and
hung up over the lintel of his dressing-room door, where he could look
at them while he was putting in his shirt-studs, or whenever he felt
bored. In the extensive gardens, half Eastern and half mediæval, behind
the palace, among the box and myrtle planted in forms of heraldic
devices, among the palms and terraces and fountains, there run long
paths, secretly perforated in places for fine jets of water. These are
the traces of a still more ingenious amusement invented by Pedro. From a
place of concealment he would watch until the ladies of the court, when
promenading, had got directly over one of his underground--I mean
"soup-tureen"--fountains, then he would turn a faucet, and drench them
with a shower-bath from below.

There are other palaces in Sevilla, of which the Duke of Montpensier's
San Telmo is the chief, and a model of uninteresting magnificence, aside
from the valuable collection of old Spanish masters which it contains.
These pictures were sent to Boston for a loan exhibition during the last
revolution in Spain, in 1874; and although their aggregate worth is
easily surpassed by the pictures preserved at the public gallery of
Sevilla and at the Caridad Hospital, the Duke of Montpensier's
possessions embrace a masterly portrait of Velazquez, by himself
(repeated in the Museo at Valencia), and a charming "Madonna of the
Swaddling Clothes," by Murillo. San Telmo was formerly a nautical
college, having been founded by the son of Christopher Columbus.

[Illustration: A STREET CORNER.]

But the long succession of apartments through which the visitor is
ushered suggests no association with the former maritime prowess of
Spain; it is haunted rather by the failures and disappointments of its
owner, who, missing the throne on which his foot had almost rested,
lived to see his daughter, Queen Mercedes, die, and another daughter
mysteriously follow Mercedes into the grave after being plighted to the
reigning King. The grounds attached to the palace are very large, and
filled with palms, orange-trees, and other less tropical growths; and
they may be inspected, under the guidance of a forester armed with an
innocuous gun, by anybody who, after getting permission, is willing to
pay a small fee and tire himself out by an aimless ramble.

Sevilla, where Murillo was born and spent so many years of artistic
activity in the height of his powers, is the next best place after
Madrid for a study of the sweetest among Spanish painters. His house
still stands in the Jews' Quarter, and a few of his best works are kept
in the picture-gallery; among them the one which he was wont to call "my
picture"--"St. Thomas of Villanueva Giving Alms." Like the "Saint
Elizabeth" at Madrid, it is a grand study of beggary--vagabondism as you
may see it to-day throughout Spain, but here elevated by excellent
design, charming sympathy with nature, and the resources of a delightful
colorist, into something possessing dignity and permanent
interest--qualities which the original phenomenon lacks. Murillo is
pure, sincere, simple, but never profound; though to this he perhaps
approaches more nearly in his "St. Francis Embracing the Crucified
Saviour" than in any other of his productions. Like others of his
pictures in Sevilla, however, it is painted in his latest style, called
"vaporoso," which, to my thinking, marks by its meretricious softness of
hazy atmosphere, and its too free coloring, a distinct decadence. In the
church connected with the Caridad are hung two colossal canvases, one
depicting the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the other, Moses
striking the rock. This last is better known by its popular title, "The
Thirst," which pays tribute to its masterly portrayal of that animal
desire. In the suffering revealed by the faces of the Israelites, as
well as the eager joy of the crowd (and even of their beasts of burden)
on receiving relief, there is a dramatic contention of pain and
pleasure, for the rendering of which the naturalistic genius of the
artist was eminently suited--and he has made the most of his
opportunity. The representation is terribly true; and its range of
observation culminates in the figure of the mother drinking first,
though her babe begs for water; for this is exactly what one would
expect in Spanish mothers of her class, whose faces are lined with a
sombre harshness, a want of human kindness singularly repellent. Such a
picture is hardly agreeable; and it must be owned that, excepting in his
gentle, honest "Conceptions," and a few other pieces, Murillo shares the
earthiness of his national school, the effect of which, despite much
magnificence in treatment, is on the whole depressing.

[Illustration: FIGARO.]

The House of Pilate, owned by the Duke of Medina Celi, is quite another
sort of thing from San Telmo; a roomy, irregular edifice, dating from
the sixteenth century, but almost wholly Saracenic. The walls are
_repoussés_ in fine arabesques, and sheathed at the base with old
color-veined tiles that throw back the light in flashes from their
surface. These also enamel the grand staircase, which makes a square
turn beneath a roof described as a _media naranja_--natural Spanish
music for our plain "half-orange"--the vault of which is fretted cedar
cased in stucco. At the top landing is posted a cock in effigy,
representing the one that crowed witness to Peter's denial. Again, a
balcony is shown which stands for that at which Pilate washed his hands
before the people; and in fine, the whole place is net-worked with
fancies of this kind, identifying it with the scene of Christ's trial.
For it was the whim of the lordly founder to make his house the
starting-point for a Via Crucis, marking the path of Jesus on his way to
crucifixion, and these devices were adopted to heighten the
verisimilitude of the scene. In Passion-week pilgrims come to pray at
the several "stations" along the route to the figurative Calvary at the
end of the Via.

Into the Duke of Montpensier's garden stare the plebeian,
commercial--let us hope unenvious--windows of the government tobacco
factory; an enormous building, guarded like a fort to prevent the
smuggling out of tobacco. Indeed, every one of the three thousand women
employed is carefully watched for the same purpose as she passes forth
at the general evening dismissal. Mounting the broad stairs of stone, I
heard a peculiar medley of light sounds in the distance. If a lot of
steam-looms were endowed with the faculty of throwing out falsetto and
soprano notes instead of their usual inhuman click, the effect could not
be more uninterrupted than this subdued merry buzzing. It was the
chatter of the working-girls in the cigarette room. As we stepped over
the threshold these sounds continued with _crescendo_ effect, ourselves
being taken for the theme. At least one hundred girls fixed their
attention on us, delivering a volley of salutations, jokes, and general
remarks.

"What do you seek, little señor? You will get no _papelitos_ here!"
exclaimed one, pretty enough to venture on sauciness.

"French, French! don't you see?" another said; and her companions, in
airy tones, begged us to disburse a few _cuartos_, which are
cent-and-a-quarter pieces.

There was one young person of a satirical turn who affected to approve a
very small beard which one of us had raised incidentally in travelling.
She stroked her own smooth cheek, and carolled out, "What a pretty
barbule!"

They certainly were not enslaved to conventionality, though they may be
to necessity. They seemed to enjoy themselves, too. Their eyes flashed;
they broke into laughter; they bent their heads to give effect to the
regulation flat curls on their temples, and all the time their nimble
fingers never stopped filling cigarettes, rolling the papers, whisking
them into bundles, and seizing fresh pinches of tobacco. In all there
were three or four hundred of them, and some of them had a spendthrift,
common sort of beauty, which, owing to their Southern vivacity and fine
physique, had the air of being more than it really was. At first glance
there appeared to be a couple of hundred other girls hung up against the
walls and pillars; but these turned out to be only the skirts and boots
of the workers, which are kept carefully away from the smouch of the
cigarette trays, so as to maintain the proverbially neat appearance of
their wearers on the street. Some of the women, however, were scornful
and morose, and others pale and sad. It was easy to guess why, when we
saw their babies lying in improvised box-cradles or staggering about
naked, as if intoxicated with extreme youth and premature misery, or as
if blindly beginning a search for their fathers--something none of them
will ever find. We laid a few coppers in the cradles, and went on to the
cigar-room.

It was much the same, excepting that the soberness of experience there
partially took the place of the giddiness rampant among the cigarette
girls. There were some appalling old crones among the thousand
individuals who rolled, chopped, gummed, and tied cigars at the low
tables distributed through a heavily groined stone hall choked with
thick pillars, and some six hundred or seven hundred yards in length.
Others, on the contrary, looked blooming and coquettish. Many were in
startling deshabille, resorted to on account of the intense July heat,
and hastened to draw pretty _pañuelos_ of variegated dye over their bare
shoulders when they saw us coming. Here, too, there was a large nursery
business being carried on, with a very damaged article of child, smeary,
sprawling, and crying. Nor was it altogether cheering to observe now and
then a woman who, having dissipated too late the night before, sat fast
asleep with her head in the cigar dust of the table.

"_Ojala!_ May God do her work!" cried one of her friends. If he did not,
it was not because there was any lack of shrines in the factory. They
were erected here and there against the wall, with gilt images and
candles arrayed in front of a white sheet, and occasionally the older
women knelt at their devotions before them. I don't object to the
shrines, but it struck me that a good _crèche_ system for the children
might not come amiss.

As to the factory-girls smoking cigarettes in public, it is an operatic
fiction: no such practice is common in Spain. And the beauty of these
Carmens has certainly been exaggerated. It may be remarked here that, as
an offset to occasional disappointment arising from such exaggerations,
all Spanish women walk with astonishing gracefulness, a natural and
elastic step; and that is their chief advantage over women of other
nations. Even the chamber-maids of Sevilla were modelled on a heroic,
ancient-history plan, with big, supple necks, and showed such easy power
in their movements that we half feared they might, in tidying the rooms,
pick us up by mistake and throw us away somewhere to perish miserably in
a dust-heap. Why there should be so much inborn ease and freedom
expressed in the manner of women who are guarded with Oriental
precautions, I don't know. Andalusian fathers have, no doubt, the utmost
confidence in their daughters, but at the same time they save them the
trouble of taking care of themselves by putting iron gratings on the
windows. The _reja_, the domestic gittern, is very common in Sevilla.
The betrothed suitor, if he is quite correct, must hold his tender
interviews with his mistress through its forbidding bars. My companion
actually saw a handsome young fellow standing on the sidewalk, and
conducting one of these peculiar _tête-à-têtes_.

[Illustration: "Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a
cage."]

Every house is, furthermore, provided with a _patio_. The façades, as a
rule, are monotonous and unspeakably plain, but the poorest dwelling
always has its airy court set with shrubs, and perhaps provided with
water. They are tiled, as most rooms are in Spain--a good precaution
against vermin, which unluckily is not infallible as regards fleas,
which search the traveller in Spain even more rigorously than the
customs officers or the Civil Guards. The flea is still and small, like
the voice of conscience, but that is the only moral thing about him. In
the Peninsula I found him peculiarly unregenerate. As to these patios,
the well-to-do protect them from the open vestibule leading to the
street by gates of ornamental open iron, letting the air-currents play
through the unroofed court, and sometimes with movable screens behind
the gate. Chess-tables and coffee are carried out there in the evening,
and the music-room gives conveniently upon the cool central space.

In Sevilla, if you hear a shrill little bell tinkling in the street, do
not imagine that a bicycle is coming. One day a slight tintinnabulation
announced the approach of a funeral procession, headed by two gentlemen
wearing round caps and blue gowns, on which were sewed flaming red
hearts. One bore a small alms-basket; the other rung the bell to attract
contributions. It appears that this is the manner appointed for sundry
brothers who maintain the Caridad, a hospital for indigent old men. The
members, though pursuing their ordinary mode of life, are banded for the
support of the institution. Necessarily rich and aristocrats, it matters
not: when one of them dies, he must be buried by means of offerings
collected on the way to his grave. This Caridad, let me add, was founded
by Don Miguel de Manera, a friend of Don Juan, and a reformed rake. His
epitaph reads: "Here lie the ashes of the worst man that ever was." I
suspect a lingering vanity in that assertion, but at any rate the
tombstone tries hard _not_ to lie.

Fashionable society, after recovering from its mid-day siesta, and
before going to the theatre or ball, turns itself out for an airing on
Las Delicias--"The Delights"--an arbored road running two or three miles
along the river-side. Nowhere can you see more magnificent horses than
there. Their race was formerly crossed with the finest mettle of Barbary
studs, and their blood, carried into Kentucky through Mexico, may have
had its share in the victories of Parole, Iroquois, and Foxhall. A more
strictly popular resort is the New Plaza, where citizens attend a
concert and fireworks twice a week in summer, and keep their distressed
babies up till midnight to see the fun. They are less demonstrative than
one would expect. An American reserve hangs over them. Perfect
informality reigns; they saunter, chat, and laugh without constraint,
yet their enjoyment is taken in a languid, half-pensive way. In the
various foot-streets where carriages do not appear--the most notable of
which is the winding one called simply Sierpes, "The Serpents"--the same
quietude prevails. Lined with attractive bazar-like shops, and overhung
by "sails" drawn from roof to roof, which make them look like
telescopic booths, these streets form shady avenues down which figures
glide unobtrusively: sometimes a cigarette girl in a pale geranium
skirt, with a crimson shawl; sometimes a lady in black, with lace-draped
head; and perhaps an erroneous man in a heavy blue cloak, saving up
warmth for next winter; or a peasant re-arranging his scarlet
waist-cloth by tucking one end into his trousers, then turning round and
round till he is wound up like a watch-spring, and finally putting his
needle-pointed knife into the folds, ready for the next quarrel.

[Illustration: IN "THE SERPENT."]

Once we caught sight of two belted forms with carbines stealing across
the alley, far down, as if for a flank movement against us. Oh, horror!
they were the Civil Guards, who were always blighting us at the happiest
moment. As they did not succeed in capturing us, we believed they must
have lost themselves in one of the _calles_ that squirm through the
houses with no visible intention of ever coming out anywhere. Velveteen
wanted to go and look for their bones, thinking they had perished of
starvation, but I opportunely reflected that we might ourselves be lost
in the attempt. No wonder assassination has been frequent in these
narrow windings! Once astray in them, that would be the easiest way out.

Shall we go to the Thursday-morning fair, which begins, in order to
avoid the great heats, at 6 A.M.? Come, then; and if we are up early, we
may pass on the way through the low-walled market, gay with fruits,
flowers, vegetables, where bread from Alcalá in the exact pattern of
buttercup blossoms is sold, and where, at a particularly bloody and
ferocious stall, butchers are dispensing the meat of bulls slaughtered
at the fights. The fair is held in Fair Street. A frantic miscellany of
old iron, of clothing, crockery, mat baskets, and large green pine-cones
full of plump seeds, which, when ripened, taste like butternuts, is set
forth. Full on the pavement is spread an array of second-hand shoes--the
proverbial dead men's, perhaps--temptingly blacked. Pale cinereous
earthen vessels, all becurled with raised patterns like intelligent
wax-drippings, but exceedingly well shaped, likewise monopolize the
thoroughfare, put in peril only by random dogs, which, having quarrelled
over the offal freely thrown into the street for them, sometimes race
disreputably through the brittle ware. At apt corners old women have set
up their frying-pans under Bedouin tents, and are cooking
_calentitos_--long coils of dough browned in hot olive oil--which are
much sought as a relish for the matutinal chocolate. Omnipresent, of
course, are those water stalls that, in Sevilla especially, acquire
eminent dignity by their row of stout jars, and their complicated
cordage rigged across from one house-top to another, so as to sustain
shadowing canvas canopies. There is a great crowd, but even the fair is
comparatively quiet, like the other phases of local life.

The absence of wagon-traffic in the town creates, notwithstanding its
reposeful character, a new relative scale of noises, and there is
consequently good store of fretting attacks on the hearing in Sevilla.
With very early morning begins the deep clank of bells, under the chins
of asses that go the rounds to deliver domestic milk from their own
udders. There is no end of noise. Even in the elegant dining-room where
we ate, lottery-dealers would howl at us through the barred windows, or
a donkey outside would rasp our ears with his intolerable braying. Then
the street cries are incessant. At night the crowds chafe and jabber
till the latest hours, and after eleven the watchmen begin their drawl
of unearthly sadness, alternating with the occult and remorseless
industry of the mosquito; until, somewhere about dawn, you drop
perspiring into an oppressively tropical dream-land, with the _sereno's_
last cry ringing in your ears: "Hail, Mary, most pure! Three o'clock has
struck."

This is the weird tune to which he chants it:

[Illustration: Musical notation: _A--ve Ma--ri--a pur--is--si--ma! Las
tré--es han toc--ca--do._]


II.

An English lady, conversing with a Sevillan gentleman who had been
making some rather tall statements, asked him: "Are you telling me the
truth?"

"Madam," he replied, gravely, but with a twinkle in his eye, "I am an
Andalusian!" At which the surrounding listeners, his fellow-countrymen,
broke into an appreciative laugh.

So proverbial is the want of veracity, or, to put it more genially, the
imagination, of these Southerners. Their imagination will explain also
the vogue of their brief, sometimes pathetic, yet never more than
half-expressed, scraps of song, which are sung with so much feeling
throughout the kingdom to crude barbaric airs, and loved alike by gentle
and simple. I mean the _Peteneras_ and _Malagueñas_. There are others of
the same general kind, sung to a variety of dances; but the ruling tunes
are alike--usually pitched in a minor key, and interspersed with
passionate trills, long quavers, unexpected ups and downs, which it
requires no little skill to render. I have seen gypsy singers grow
apoplectic with the long breath and volume of sound which they threw
into these eccentric melodies amid thunders of applause. It is not a
high nor a cultivated order of music, but there lurks in it something
consonant with the broad, stimulating shine of the sun, the deep red
earth, the thick, strange-flavored wine of the Peninsula; its
constellated nights, and clear daylight gleamed with flying gold from
the winnowing-field. The quirks of the melody are not unlike those of
very old English ballads, and some native composer with originality
should be able to expand their deep, bold, primitive ululations into
richer, lasting forms. The fantastic picking of the _mandurra_
accompaniment reminds me of Chinese music with which I have been
familiar. Endless preludes and interminable windings-up enclose the
minute kernel of actual song; but to both words and music is lent a
repressed touching power and suggestiveness by repeating, as is always
done, the opening bars and first words at the end, and then breaking off
in mid-strain. For instance:

    "All the day I am happy,
     But at evening orison
     Like a millstone grows my heart.
     All the day I am happy." [_Limitless Guitar Solo._]

It is like the never-ended strain of Schumann's "Warum?" The words are
always simple and few--often bald. One of the most popular pieces
amounts simply to this:

    "Both Lagartijo and Frascuelo
     Swordsmen are of quality,
     Since when they the bulls are slaying--
     O damsel of my heart!
     They do it with serenity.
     Both Lagartijo and Frascuelo
     Swordsmen are of quality."

But such evident ardor of feeling and such wealth of voice are breathed
into these fragments that they become sufficient. The people supply from
their imagination what is barely hinted in the lines. Under their
impassive exteriors they preserve memories, associations, emotions of
burning intensity, which throng to aid their enjoyment, as soon as the
muffled strings begin to vibrate and syllables of love or sorrow are
chanted. I recalled to a young and pretty Spanish lady one line,

    "Pajarito, tu que vuelas."

She flushed, fire came to her eyes, and with clasped hands she murmured,
"Oh, what a beautiful song it is!" Yet it contains only four lines. Here
is a translation:

    "Bird, little bird that wheelest
     Through God's fair worlds in the sky,

[Illustration: "ALL THE DAY I AM HAPPY."]

    Say if thou anywhere seest
    A being more sad than I.
    Bird, little bird that wheelest."

Some of these little compositions are roughly humorous, and others very
grotesque, appearing to foreigners empty and ridiculous.

The following one has something of the odd imagery and clever
inconsequence of our negro improvisations:

    "As I was gathering pine-cones
     In the sweet pine woods of love,
     My heart was cracked by a splinter
     That flew from the tree above.
     I'm dead: pray for me, sweethearts!"

There was one evening in Granada when we sat in a company of some two
dozen people, and one after another of the ladies took her turn in
singing to the guitar of a little girl, a musical prodigy. But they were
all outdone by Cándida, the brisk, naïve, handsome serving-girl, who was
invited in, but preferred to stand outside the grated window, near the
lemon-trees and pomegranates, looking in, with a flower in her hair, and
pouring into the room her warm contralto--that voice so common among
Spanish peasant-women--which seemed to have absorbed the clear dark of
Andalusian nights when the stars glitter like lance-points aimed at the
earth. Through the twanging of the strings we could hear the rush of
water that gurgles all about the Alhambra; and, just above the trees
that stirred in the perfumed air without, we knew the unsentinelled
walls of the ancient fortress were frowning. The most elaborate piece
was one meant to accompany a dance called the _Zapateado_, or
"kick-dance." It begins:

    "Tie me, with my fiery charger,
     To your window's iron lattice.
     Though _he_ break loose, my fiery charger,
     Me he cannot tear away;"

and then passes into rhyme:

    "Much I ask of San Francisco,
     Much St. Thomas I implore;
     But of thee, my little brown girl,
     Ah, of thee I ask much more!"

The singing went on:

    "In Triana there are rogues,
     And there are stars in heaven.
     Four and one rods away
     There lives, there lives a woman.
     Flowers there are in gardens,
     And beautiful girls in Sevilla."

Nevertheless, we had been glad to leave Sevilla, especially since during
our stay an epidemic was in progress, graphically called "the minute,"
from its supposed characteristic of finishing off a victim ready for the
undertaker in exactly sixty seconds after attacking him.

The inhabitants of Granada likewise seemed to be a good deal occupied in
burying themselves--a habit which became confirmed, no doubt, during the
wars and insurrections of their ancestors, and is aided to-day by bad
sanitary arrangements. We saw a dead man being carried in the old
Moorish way, with his forehead bared to the sky, a green wreath on his
head, his cold hands emerging from the shroud in their last
prayer-clasp, and quite indifferent to the pitiless sun that beat down
on them. But, perched as we were on the Alhambra Hill, high above the
baking city, such spectacles were transient specks in the world of
fascination that infolded us.

[Illustration: GRANADA UNDERTAKER.]

[Illustration: THE MOORISH GATE, SEVILLA.]

Granada rests in what might pass for the Happy Valley of Rasselas, a
deep stretch of thirty miles, called simply the Vega, and tilled from
end to end on a system of irrigation established by the Moslem
conquerors. Rugged mountains, bastions of a more than Cyclopean
earthwork, girdle and defend it. To penetrate them you must leave the
hot rolling lands of the west, and confront steep heights niched here
and there for creamy-hued villages or deserted castles, and sentried by
small Moorish watch-towers rising like chessmen on the highest crests.
The olive-trees spread on wide slopes of tanned earth were like thick
dots of black connected in one design, and seemed to suggest the
possible origin of Spanish lace. The shapes of the mountains, too, were
extravagant. One of the most singular, the _Peñon de los Enamorados_,
near Antequera, showed us by accident at a distance the exact profile of
George Washington, with every detail after Stuart, hewn out in mountain
size and looking directly up into the heavens from a position of supine
rigidity. Our first intimation of a near approach to Granada was a long
stretch of blanched folds showing through evening mistiness in the
southern sky, like the drapings of some celestial tabernacle, so high up
that they might have been clouds but for a certain persistent, awful
immobility that controlled them. Their spectral whiteness, detached from
the earth, hung, it is true, ten thousand feet above the sea-level; but
they were not clouds. They were the summits of the Sierra Nevada, the
great Snowy Range.

Twenty miles to the north of these frosty heights stands the Alhambra
Hill, shrouded in dark trees, and dominated by the Mountain of the Sun.
The names are significant--Snowy Range and Mountain of the Sun--for the
landscape that unrolls itself between these ridges is a mixture of
torrid glow and Alpine coldness. I stood in a hanging garden delicious
with aromatic growths, on the ramparts beside the great Lookout Tower,
the city lying like a calcareous deposit packed in the gorge of the
Darro's stream below. Across the Vega I beheld that sandy pass of the
hills through which Boabdil withdrew after his surrender--the Last Sigh
of the Moor. Fierce sunlight smote upon me, spattering the leaves like
metal in flux; but the snow-fields mantling the blue wall of the Sierra
loomed over the landscape so distinct as to seem within easy hail, and I
felt their breath in a sweet coolness that drifted by from time to time.
The other mountains were bare and golden brown. But in their midst the
mild Vega, inlaid with curves of the River Genil, receded in breadths of
alternate green orchard and mellow rye, where distant villages are
scattered "like white antelopes at pasture," says Señor Don Contreras,
the accomplished curator of the Alhambra. It was not like a dream, for
dreams are imitative; nor like reality, for that is too unstable. It was
blended of both these, with a purely ideal strand. As I looked at the
rusty red walls and abraded towers palisading the hill, the surroundings
became like some miraculous web, and these ruins, concentring the
threads, were the shattered cocoon from which it had been spun.

The Alhambra was originally a village on the height, perhaps the first
local settlement, surrounded by a wall for defensive purposes.

[Illustration: A WATER-CARRIER.]

The wall, which once united a system of thirty-seven towers, fringes the
irregular edges of the hill-top plateau, describing an enclosure like a
rude crescent lying east and west. At the west end the hill contracts to
an anvil point, and on this are grouped the works of the citadel
Alcazaba, governed by the huge square Lookout Tower. On a ridge close to
the south stand the Vermilion Towers, suspected of having been mixed up
with the Phoenicians at an early epoch, but not yet fully convicted by
the antiquarians. The intervening glade receives a steep road from the
city, and is arcaded with elms and cherries of prodigious size, sent
over as saplings by the Duke of Wellington half a century ago. There the
nightingales sing in spring-time, and in summer the boughs give perch to
other songsters. Ramps lead up to the top of the hill, and on the
northern edge of its crescent, at the brink of the Darro Valley, the
Alhambra Palace proper is lodged.

We shall go in by the Gate of Justice, through a door-way running up
two-thirds of its tower's height, and culminating in a little horseshoe
arch, whereon a rude hand is incised--a favorite Mohammedan symbol of
doctrine. We pass a poor pictured oratory of the Virgin, and some
lance-rests of Ferdinand V., to worm our way through the grim passage
that cautiously turns twice before emerging through an arch of pointed
brick with enamellings on argil, into the open gravelled Place of the
Reservoirs. This is undermined by a fettered lake, generally attributed
to the Moors, but more probably made after Isabella's conquest. On the
right side, behind hedges and low trees, is reared that gray rectangular
Græco-Roman pile which Charles V. had the audacity to begin. His palace
is deservedly unfinished, yet its intrusion is effective. It makes you
think of the terror-striking helmet of unearthly size in the Castle of
Otranto, and looks indeed like a piece of mediæval armor flung down here
to challenge vainly the wise Arabian beauty of the older edifice. To the
Place of Reservoirs come in uninterrupted course all day the tinkling
and tasselled mules that carry back to the city jars of fresh water,
kept cool in baskets filled with leaves. And hither walk toward sunset
the _majos_ and _majas_--dandies and coquettes--to stroll and gossip for
an hour, even as we saw them when we were lingering at the northern
parapet one evening and looking off through the clear air, in which a
million rose-leaves seemed to have dipped and left their faint color.


III.

The veritable entrance to the Alhambra is now buried within some later
buildings added to the original. But it never, though Irving naturally
supposed the contrary, had a grand portal in the middle. Gorgeous and
showy means of ingress would not have suited the Oriental mind. The
exterior of the palace and all the towers is dull, blank,
uncommunicative. Their coating of muddy or ferruginous cement, marked
here and there by slim upright oblongs of black window spaces, was not
meant to reveal the luxury of loveliness concealed within. The Moslem
idea was to secrete the abodes of earthly bliss, nor even to hint at
them by outward signs of ostentation.

So the petty modern door cut for convenience is not wholly out of
keeping. It ushers one with a sudden surprise into the presence of those
marvels which have been for years a distant enticing vision. You find
yourself, in fact, wandering into the Alhambra courts as if by accident.
The first one--the Court of the Pond, or of the Myrtles--arrays before
us beauty enough and to spare. But it is only the beginning. A long tank
occupies the centre, brimmed with water from a rill that gurgles, by day
and night forever, with a low, half-laughing sob. Around it level plates
of white marble are riveted to the ground, and two hedges of clipped
myrtle border the placid surface. At the nearest end a double gallery
closes the court, imposed on seven arches so evenly rounded as to
emulate the Roman, but upheld by columns of amazing slenderness; and in
the spandrels are translucent arabesques inlaced with fillets, radiating
leaf-points, and loose knots. Above these blink some square windows,
shut as with frozen gauze by minute stone lattice-work, over fifteen
hundred twisted or cubed pieces being combined in each. From there the
women of the harem used to witness pageantries and ceremonies that took
place in the court; and over the veiled windows is a roofed balcony
repeating the lower arches, which would serve for spectators not under
ban of invisibility.

[Illustration: BIT OF ARCH IN A COURT OF THE ALHAMBRA.

From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.]

Various low doors lead from this Court of the Pond, giving sealed
intimation of what may lie beyond, but disclosing little. One turns
naturally, however, to the Hall of Ambassadors at the other end, in the
mighty Tower of Comares. The transverse arcade at the entrance is roofed
with shining vitreous-faced tiles of blue and white that also carry
their stripes over the little cupola, to which many similar ones
doubtless formerly surrounded the court, and in the cloister underneath
the inmates reclined on divans glinting with rippled gold-thread and
embroidered with colored silks. Then comes the anteroom, the Chamber of
Benediction (usually called of the Boat, on account of its long, scooped
ceiling), which is like the hollow of a capsized boat suspended over us,
and darkened with deep lapis lazuli. There are some low doors in the
wall, meant for the humble approach of slaves when serving their
masters, or leading to lost inner corridors and stairways now fallen
into dust. But the large central arch conducts at once into the Hall of
the Ambassadors, after we have passed some niches in which of old were
set encarmined water-jars of sweet-scented clay. Beside these may have
stood the carven racks for weapons of jewelled hilt and tempered blade.

In the Chamber of Benediction begin those multitudinous arabesques by
which the Alhambra is most widely known. In the hall beyond they flow
out with unimpeded grace and variety over the walls of an immensely high
and nobly spacious apartment, pierced on three sides at the floor level
with arched _ajimez_[8] windows halved by a thin, flower-headed column,
in the embrasures of which, enchased with cement, are mouldings that
overrun the groundwork in bands, curves, diamonds, scrolls, delicate as
the ribs of leaves or as vine tendrils. Within these soft convolved
lines, arranged to make the most florid detail tributary to the general
effect, Arabic characters twisted into the design contain outbursts of
poetry celebrating the edifice, the room itself. "As if I were the arc
of the rainbow," says one inscription in the hooped door-way, "and the
sun were Lord Abul Hachach." The windows look forth upon the sheer
northern fall of the hill; the waving tree-tops scarcely rising to the
balcony under the sills. They look upon old Granada dozing below in the
unmitigated sunlight, with here and there the sculptured columns of a
_patio_ visible among the houses on the opposite slope; and farther away
the Sesame doors of gypsy habitations cut into the solid mountain above
the Darro. One of the most beautiful of glimpses about the Alhambra is
that through the east window, looking along the parapet gallery to the
Toilet Tower. Precipitous masonry plunges down among trees that shoot
incredibly high, as if incited by the lines of the building; and on the
Mountain of the Sun the irregular lint-white buildings of the
Generalife--an old retreat of Moorish sovereigns and nobles--are lodged
among cypresses and orange thickets. Within the hall itself all is cool,
subdued, and breezy, and the smooth vault of the larch-wood ceiling,
still dimly rich with azure and gold, spans the area high overhead like
a solemn twilight sky at night.

It was in this Tower of Comares that the last King of Granada, Boabdil,
was imprisoned with his mother, Ayeshah, by his stormy and fatuous
father, Muley Abul Hassan, owing to the rival influence of the Morning
Star, Zoraya, Hassan's favorite wife. Boabdil escaped, being let down to
the ground by the scarfs of his mother and her female attendants. Years
after, when he had succeeded to the throne for a brief and hapless
reign, _El Rey Chico_ (The Little King), as the Spaniards called him,
was led by his mother into the Hall of Ambassadors after he had
capitulated to Ferdinand and Isabella. Silently she made its circuit
with him, and then, overcome with the bitterness of loss, she cried:
"Behold what thou art giving up, and remember that all thy forefathers
died kings of Granada, but in thee the kingdom dies!"

[Illustration: THE TOILET TOWER.

From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.]

The Hall of Ambassadors is assigned to the epoch of the caliphate.
Certainly the Court of Lions is invested with a somewhat different
character. Its arches are more pointed, more nearly Gothic, and are
hung upon a maze of exquisitely slight columns, presenting, as you look
in, an opulent confusion of crinkled curves and wavering ellipses,
bordered with dropping points and brief undulations that look like
festoons of heavy petrified lace: as lace, heavy; but as architecture,
light. There is incalculable diversity in the proportions, unevenness in
the grouping of the pillars, irregularity in the cupolas; yet through
all persists an unsurpassable harmony, a sensitive equilibrium. The Hall
of Justice, which opens from it, and contains--contrary to Mohammedan
principles--some mysterious early Italian frescoes depicting Moorish and
Christian combats, is a grotto of stalactites. All this part of the
palace, one would say, might have sprung from the spray of those hidden
canals which brought the snow-water hither, spouting up, then falling
and crystallizing in shapes of arrested motion; so perfect is the
geometrical balance, so suave are the flowing lines. The un-Moorish
lions sustaining the central basin are meagre and crude, and the size of
the court is disappointing; but it is a miniature labyrinth of beauty.
From one side you may pass into the Hall of the Abencerages, under the
fine star-shaped roof of which a number of those purely Arab-blooded
knights are said to have been, at the instigation of their
half-Christian rivals, the Zegris, assembled at a banquet and then
murdered. An invitation to dinner in those days was a doubtful
compliment, which a gentleman had to think twice about before accepting.

On the other side lies the access to the Chamber of the Two Sisters, a
lovely apartment, having a grooved bed in the marble floor for a current
of water to course through and run out under the zigzag-carven cedar
door. Everything is exactly as you would have it, and you seem to be
straying through embodied reveries of Bagdad and Damascus. But it would
be futile to describe the myriad traceries of these rooms; the bevelled
entablatures, the elastic ceilings, displaying an order and multiplicity
of tiny relief as systematic as the cells and tissues in a cut
pomegranate; or the dadoes of colored tiles, still dimly glistening with
glaze, and chameleonizing the base of the partitions. The culmination of
microscopic refinement comes, with a sigh of relief from such an
overplus of sensuous delight, in the boudoir of Lindaraxa, which
overlooks from a superb embayed window a little oasis of fountained
court, blooming with citrons and lemons, and bedded with violets. That
small garden, green and laughing, and interspersed with dark
flower-mould, lies clasped in the branching wings of masonry, as simple
and refreshing as a dew-drop. It is shut in on the other side by some
mediæval rooms fitted up in heavy oak panelling for Philip V. and his
second bride, Elisabetta, when with rare judgment they chose this
Islamitic spot for their honey-moon--a crescent, I suppose. It was in
one of these rooms--the Room of the Fruits--that, to quote Señor
Contreras again, "the celebrated poet Washington Irving harbored,
composing there his best works." From which it will be inferred that the
gallant Spaniard has not probed deeply the "Knickerbocker History of New
York," the "Sketch-book," and the "Life of Washington."[9]

[Illustration: BOUDOIR OF LINDARAXA]

One may prolong one's explorations to the Queen's Toilet Tower--who "the
queen" was remains decidedly vague--poised like a lofty palm on the
verge commanding the Darro gorge. In one corner of its engirdling
colonnade are some round punctures, through which perfume was wafted to
saturate the queen's garments while she was dressing. Or one may descend
to the Baths, vaulted in below the general level. Their antechamber is
the only portion which has been completely restored to its pristine
magnificence of blue and gold, vermilion-flecked and overspreading the
polygonal facets of stucco-work. I could imagine the Sultan coming there
with stately step to be robed for the bath by female slaves, then
passing on wooden clogs into the inner chamber of heated marble, and at
a due interval emerging to take his place on one of the inclined slabs
in an outer alcove, enveloped in a _tcherchef_--his head bound with a
soft silk muffler--there to devote himself to rest, sweetmeats, and lazy
conversation.

The Alhambra Palace is remarkable as being more Persian than Turkish,
and reproducing many features that crop up in the architecture of India,
Syria, Arabia, and Turkey, yet incorporating them in an independent
total. The horseshoe arch is not the prevailing one, though it occurs
often enough to renew and deepen the impression of its unique effect.
What makes this arch so adroitly significant of the East? Possibly the
fact that it suggests a bow bent to the extremest convexity. It is easy
to imagine stretched between the opposite sides a bow-string--that handy
implement of conjugal strangulation which no Sultan's family should be
without.

Part of the populous ancient settlement on the hill still exists in a
single street outside of the palace, now inhabited by a more respectable
population than that riffraff of silk-weavers, vagabonds, potters,
smugglers, and broken-down soldiers who flourished there half a century
since. A church stands among the dwellings. Strolling up the street one
moonlit night, we bought some blue and white wine-pitchers of
Granada-ware at a little drinking-shop, and saw farther on a big circle
of some twenty people sitting together in the open air--one of those
informal social clubs called _tertulias_, common among neighbors and
intimate friends in all ranks of Spanish society. At another spot a man
was sleeping in the moonlight on a cot beside the parapet, with his two
little Indian-looking boys dreaming on a sheet laid over the ground.
Mateo Ximenes, the son of Irving's "Son of the Alhambra," lives in this
quarter, officiating as a guide. Thanks to "Geoffrey Crayon" he is
prosperous, and has accordingly built a new square house which is the
acme of commonplace. Beyond the street, across some open ground where
figs and prickly-pears are growing, stands the Tower of the Captive,
where Isabella de Solis, a Christian princess, being captured, was
imprisoned, and became the wife of Abul Hassan. She was, in fact, the
Zoraya who became Ayeshah's rival. Dense ivy mats the wall between this
and the Tower of the Princesses--a structure utilized by Irving in one
of his prettiest tales. Both towers are incrusted interiorly with a
perfection rivalling the palace chambers, and perhaps even more
enchanting, but no vestige of coloring is left in them. To me this wan
aspect of the walls is more poetic than any restoration of the original
emblazonments. The pale white-brown surface seems compounded of historic
ashes, and is imbued with a pathos,

    "Like a picture when the pride
     Of its coloring hath died,"

which one would be loath to lose.

The sunlit and vine-clad decrepitude that sits so lightly on this magic
stronghold--this "fortress and mansion of joy," as one of the mural
mottoes calls it--is among its main charms. The most bitter opponent of
any Moorish return to power in Granada would, I think, be the modern
æsthetic tourist. I rambled frequently close under the old
rufous-mottled walls, from which young trees sprout up lustily, and
enjoyed their decay almost as much as I did the palace. At one point
near the Tower of Seven Stories (which has never quite recovered from
being blown up by the French) there was a long stretch of garden where
phlox and larkspur and chrysanthemums, that would not wait for autumn,
grew rank among the fruit-trees. A Moorish water-pipe near the top of
the wall had broken, and, bursting through the brick-work, its current
had formed a narrow cascade that tumbled into the garden through
wavering loops of maiden-hair, and over mosses or water-plants which it
had brought into life on the escarpment. Grapes and figs rose
luxuriantly about rings of box enclosing fountains, and at sunset some
shaft of fire would level itself into the greenery, striking the
gorgeous pomegranate blossoms into prominence, like scarlet-tufted
birds' heads. All day there was a loud chir of cicadas, and a rain of
white-hot light sifted through the leaves. But at night everything died
away except the rush of water, which grew louder and louder till it
filled the whole air like a ghostly warning. I used to wake long after
midnight, and hear nothing but this chilling whisper, unless by chance
some gypsies squatted on the road were singing _Malagueñas_, or the
strange, piercing note of the tree-toad that haunts the hill rung out in
elfin and inhuman pipings of woe. For the builders who laid them here
these running streams make a fit memorial--unstable as their power that
has slipped away, yet surviving them, and remaining here as an echo of
their voices, a reminder of the absent race which not for an hour can
one forget in Granada.

But the supreme spell of the Alhambra reserves itself for moonlight.
When the Madonna's lamp shone bright amid the ingulfing shadows of the
Tower of Justice, while its upper half was cased in steely radiance, we
passed in by Charles's Palace, where the moon, shining through the
roofless top, made a row of smaller moons in the circular upper windows
of the dark gray wall. In the Court of the Pond a low gourd-like
umbellation at the north end sparkled in diamond lustre beneath the
quivering rays; while the whole Tower of Comares behind it repeated
itself in the gray-green water at our feet, with a twinkle of stars
around its reversed summit. This image, dropped into the liquid depth,
has dwelt there ever since its original was reared, and it somehow
idealized itself into a picture of the tower's primitive perfection. The
coldness of the moonlight on the soft cream-colored plaster, in this
warm, stilly air, is peculiarly impressive. As for sound, absolutely
none is heard but that of dripping water; nor did I ever walk through a
profounder, more ghost-like silence than that which eddied in
Lindaraxa's garden around the fountain, as it mourned in silvery
monotones of neglected grief. The moon-glare, coming through the lonely
arches, shaped gleaming cuirasses on the ground, or struck the
out-thrust branches of citron-trees, and seemed to drip from them again
in a dazzle of snowy fire; and when I discovered my two companions
looking out unexpectedly from a pointed window, they were so pale in the
brilliance which played over them that for a moment I easily fancied
them white-stoled apparitions from the past. As we glanced from the
Queen's Peinador, where the black trees of the shaggy ascent sprung
toward us in swift lines or serpentine coilings as if to grasp at us, we
saw long shadows from the towers thrown out over the sleeping city,
which, far below, caked together its squares of hammered silver, dusked
over by the dead gray of roofs that did not reflect the light. But
within the Hall of Ambassadors reigned a gloom like that of the grave.
Gleams of sharp radiance lay in the deep embrasures without penetrating;
and, at one, the intricacies of open-work above the arch were mapped in
clear figures of light on a space of jet-black floor. Another was filled
nearly to the top by the blue, weirdly luminous image of a mountain
across the valley. Through all these openings, I thought, the spirits of
the departed could find entrance as easily as the footless night breeze.
I wonder if the people who lived in this labyrinth of art ever smiled?
In the palpitating dusk, robed men and veiled women seemed to steal by
with a rustle no louder than that of their actual movement in life; silk
hangings hung floating from the walls; scented lamps shed their beams at
moments through the obscurity, and I saw the gleam of enamelled swords,
the shine of bronze candlesticks, the blur of colored vases in the
corners; the _kasidas_ of which poetry-loving monarchs turned the pages.
But in such a place I could not imagine laughter. I felt inclined to
prostrate myself in the darkness before I know not what power of by-gone
yet ever-present things--a half tangible essence that expressed only the
solemnity of life and the presentiment of change.



IV.


It is not surprising that Isabella the Catholic, who had so completely
thrown her heart into the conquest of Granada, should have wished to be
buried in that city, though dying far away. Her marble semblance rests
beside that of Ferdinand in the Royal Chapel, which serves as vestibule
to the ugly Renaissance cathedral. The statues are peculiarly
impressive, and sleep on high sepulchres of alabaster, beautifully
chased. Both of them are placed with their heads where, if sentient,
they might contemplate the astonishing reredos of the altar--a wooden
mass piled to the roof, and containing many niches filled by figures
carved, gilded, and painted with flesh-color. Among them is John the
Baptist standing upright, with blood gushing from his severed neck,
while the head which has just quitted it is being presented on a charger
to Herodias's daughter. There are other hideous things in this strange
and brutal church ornament, which is a museum of monstrosities; but
parts of it depict the triumphs of the royal pair, and it was no doubt
accordant with their taste. Their bodies lie in a black vault under the
floor, which we visited by the light of a single candle. Two long bulks
of lead, with a simple letter F. on one and an I. on the other; that was
all that marked the presence of two great monarchs' earthly part. Juana
the Mad, Charles V.'s mother, rests in another leaden casket--the poor
Queen, whom her famous son probably reported crazy for his own political
purposes, but whose supposed mania of watching her dead husband's body,
in jealous fear that he could still be loved by other women, has been
effectively treated in Padilla's picture. Her husband, Philip the Fair,
lies on the opposite side. Hardly could there be a more impressive
contrast than that between this tomb under the soft, musty shadows of
the chapel--all that is left of the conqueror--and that glorious
sun-imbued ruin on the hill--all that is left of the conquered. Two
mighty forces met and clashed around Granada in 1492; and, when the
victory was won, both receded like spent waves, leaving the Alhambra to
slow burial in rubbish and oblivion, under which Washington Irving
literally rediscovered it. How fine a coincidence that the very spot
from which Isabella finally despatched Columbus on his great quest
should owe so much to a son of the new continent which Columbus
discovered!

Another edifice of no small interest, although seldom heard of at a
distance, is La Cartuja, the Carthusian church and monastery, lying upon
a hill-slope called Hinadamar, across the city and on its outskirts, due
west from the Alhambra. The monks who formerly occupied it have, in
common with those of other orders, been driven out of Spain; so that we
approached the church-steps through an old arched gate-way, no longer
guarded, and by way of a grass-grown enclosure that bore the appearance
of complete neglect. The interior, however, is very well preserved. It
was curious to walk through it, under the guidance of a pursy old woman,
and, afterward, of the lame sacristan, who did his best with chattering
gossip to rob the place of whatever sanctity remained to it. The
refectory (fitly inhabited by an echo) stands bare and empty, save for
the reading-desk, from which the monks used to be refreshed with
Scripture while at their meals; and on the wall at one end of this long,
high hall hangs apparently a wooden cross, which at first it is
impossible to believe is only painted there. The barren, round-arched
cloisters are frescoed with an interminable series of scenes by Cotan,
the same artist who painted the cross; and in this case he was given a
free commission, of which he availed himself to the utmost in depicting
the most distressing incidents of Carthusian martyrology. Especially
does he seem to have delighted in the persecutions inflicted by English
Protestants under Henry VIII. on San Bruno, the founder of this order.
How strange the conception of a holy and exalted life which led men in
religious retirement to keep before their eyes, in these corridors meant
for mild exercise and recreation, representations so full of blood and
horror! In fact, one cannot escape the impression, stamped more vividly
on the mind here in Granada than anywhere else, except perhaps in
Toledo, that Christianity in Spain meant barbarism. But where it was
released from the immediate purposes of ecclesiastic dogma, Christian
art showed a taste not so much barbarous as barbaric, and the results of
its activity were often beautiful. In this same monastery is a splendid
example of that tendency. The church is not remarkably fine or
impressive; but the sacristy is a marvel of sumptuous decoration, and
decoration very peculiar in kind. Its walls are wholly incased in a most
effective species of green and white marble, cut in smooth, polished
slabs, the natural veinings of which present grotesque resemblances to
human and other forms, which are somewhat trivially insisted upon by the
custodian and guide, and should be allowed to lose themselves in the
general richness of aspect. The great doors of this sacristy are inlaid
with ebony, silver, mother-of-pearl, and tortoise-shell, in designs of
much intricacy and richness; and all around the room (which is provided
with an altar, so that it becomes a sort of sub-church or chapel,
adjoining the main church) are low closets fitted into the wall. These
were originally used for holding the vestments of the brotherhood. Made
of sweet-scented cedar, they are adorned on the outside with the same
inlaid work that appears on the doors. The dim, veiled shimmer of the
mother-of-pearl, the delicate, translucent browns of the tortoise-shell,
and the wandering threads of silver, form a decorative surface wonderful
in its refinement, its perfection of elegance. I scarcely know how to
give an idea of its appearance, unless I say that it was somewhat as if
layers of spider-webs had been spread, with all their mystery of exact
curves and angles, over the wood-work, and then had had their fibres
changed by some magic into precious and enduring materials. The frail
but well-adjusted fabric has outlasted the dominion of those for whose
selfish and secluded pride of worship it was made; and, seeing it, one
may pardon them some of their mistakes. It is pleasant also to find that
the art of making this inlay, after having long fallen out of use, has
been revived in Granada; for in these days of enlightened adaptation and
artistic education there seems to be no reason why such a handicraft
should be lost or even confined to Spain.

The gypsies of Granada are disappointing, apart from their peculiar
quivering dance, performed by _gitanas_ in all Spanish cities under the
name of _flamenco_.[10] Their hill-caves, so operative with one's
curiosity when regarded from across the valley, gape open in such dingy,
sour, degraded foulness on a nearer view, that I found no amount of
theory would avail to restore their interest. Yet some of the
fortune-telling women are spirited enough, and the inextinguishable
Romany spark smoulders in their black eyes. Perhaps it was an
interloping drop of Celtic blood that made one of them say to me,
"Señorito, listen. I will tell you your fortune. But I speak French--_I
come from Africa!_" And to clinch the matter she added, "You needn't pay
me if every word of the prediction isn't true!" Much as I had heard of
the Spanish bull, I never knew until then how closely it resembled the
Irish breed.

Fortuny's model, Marinero, who lives in a burrow on the Alhambra side,
occasionally starts up out of the earth in a superb and expensive
costume, due to the dignity of his having been painted by Fortuny. Dark
as a negro, with a degree of luminous brown in his skin, and very
handsome, he plants himself immovably in one spot to sell photographs of
himself. His nostrils visibly dilate with pride, but he makes no other
bid for custom. He expands his haughty nose, and you immediately buy a
picture. Velveteen chanced upon Marinero's daughter, and got her to
pose. When he engaged her she was so delighted that she took a rose from
her hair and presented it to him, with a charming, unaffected air of
gratitude, came an hour before the time, and waited impatiently. She
wore a wine-colored skirt, if I remember, a violet jacket braided with
black, and a silk neckerchief of dull purple-pink silk. But that was not
enough: a blue silk kerchief also was wound about her waist, and in
among her smooth jet locks she had tucked a vivid scarlet flower. The
result was perfect, for the rich pale-brown of her complexion could
harmonize anything; and in Spain, moreover, combinations of color that
appear too harsh elsewhere are paled and softened by the overpowering
light.

[Illustration: GYPSIES.]

Episodes like these tinged our dreams of the Alhambra with novel dashes
of living reality. Even the tedious bustle of a Spanish town, too, has
its attractions. The moving figures on the steep Albaycin streets, that
perpetually break into flights of steps; the blocks of pressed snow
brought in mule panniers every night from the Sierra to cool sugar-water
and risadas of orange at the cafés; peasants coming in to the beautiful
old grain market with gaudy mantles over their shoulders, stuffing into
their sashes a variety of purchases, and becoming corpulent with a day's
transactions; the patient efforts of shop-keepers to water the main
street, Zacatin, with a pailful at a time--all this was amusing to
watch. The Generalife was another source of pleasure, for in its topmost
loggia one may sit like a bird, with the Alhambra spread out below in
all the distinctness of a raised map. In the saloons of the Generalife
hang the portraits of the Moorish and the Christian ancestors of the
present owner. Their direct descendant is a woman; therefore she has
married an Italian count, and flitted from this ideal, quite
unparalleled eyry, returning to her ancestral home only at rare
intervals.

There came an hour when we too flitted. To oblige an eccentric
time-table we had to get up at dawn; but the last glimpse of the
Alhambra at that early hour was a compensation. The dim red towers
already began to soften into a reminiscence under this tender blending
of moonlight and morning; but a small constellation in the east sparkled
on the blue like a necklace of diamonds, and Saturn still flamed above
the mountains, growing momently larger, as if it were a huge topaz in
the turban of some giant Moor advancing in the early stillness to
reclaim the Alhambra throne.



_MEDITERRANEAN PORTS AND GARDENS._

I.

[Illustration: A]

A gypsy dance! What does one naturally imagine it to be like? For my
part, I had expected something wild, free, and fantastic; something in
harmony with moonlight, the ragged shadows of trees, and the flicker of
a rude camp-fire. Nothing could have been wider of the mark. The
_flamenco_--that dance of the gypsies, in its way as peculiarly Spanish
as the church and the bull-ring, and hardly less important--is of
Oriental origin, and preserves the impassive quality, the suppressed,
tantalized sensuousness belonging to Eastern performances in the
saltatory line. It forms a popular entertainment in cafés of the lower
order throughout the southern provinces, from Madrid all the way around
to Valencia, in Sevilla and Malaga, and is gotten up as a select and
expensive treat for travellers at Granada. But we saw it at its best in
Malaga.

We were conducted, about eleven o'clock in the evening, to a roomy,
rambling, dingy apartment in the crook of an obscure and dirty street,
where we found a large number of sailors, peasants, and _chulos_ seated
drinking at small tables, with a very occasional well-dressed citizen
or two here and there. In one corner was a stage rising to the level of
our chins when we were seated, which had two fronts, like the
Shakspearian stage in pictures, so that spectators on the side might
have a fair chance, and be danced to from time to time. On this sat
about a dozen men and women, the latter quite as much Spanish as gypsy,
and some of them dressed partially in tights, with an affectation of
sailors' or pages' costume in addition. At Madrid and Sevilla their
sisters in the craft wore ordinary feminine dresses, and looked the
possessors of more genuine Romany blood.

But here, too, the star _danseuse_, the chief mistress of the art
_flamenco_, was habited in the voluminous calico skirt which Peninsular
propriety prescribes for this particular exhibition, thereby doing all
it can to conceal and detract from the amazing skill of muscular
movement involved. A variety of songs and dances with guitar
accompaniments, some effective and others tedious, preceded the gypsy
performance. I think we listened nearly half an hour to certain
disconsolate barytone wailings, which were supposed to interpret the
loves, anxieties, and other emotions of a _contrabandista_, or smuggler,
hiding from pursuit in the mountains. Judging from the time at his
disposal for this lament, the smuggling business must indeed be sadly on
the decline. The whole entertainment was supervised by a man precisely
like all the chiefs of these troupes in Spain. Their similarity is
astounding; even their features are almost identical: when you have seen
one, you have seen all his fellows, and know exactly what they will do.
He may be a little older or younger, a little more gross or less so, but
he is always clean-shaven like the other two sacred types--the
bull-fighter and the priest--and his face is in every case weakly but
good-humoredly sensual. But what does he _do_? Well, nothing. He is the
most important personage on the platform, but he does not pretend to
contribute to the programme beyond an exclamation of encouragement to
the performers at intervals. He is a Turveydrop in deportment at
moments, and always a Crummles in self-esteem. A few highly favored
individuals as they come into the café salute him, and receive a
condescending nod in return. Then some friend in the audience sends up
to him a glass of chamomile wine, or comes close and offers it with his
own hand. The leader invariably makes excuses, and without exception
ends by taking the wine, swallowing a portion, and gracefully spitting
out the rest at the side of the platform. He smokes the cigars of
admiring acquaintances, and throws the stumps on the stage. All the
while he carries in his hand a smooth, plain walking-stick, with which
he thumps time to the music when inclined.

[Illustration: GYPSY DANCE.]

At last the moment for the _flamenco_ arrives. The leader begins to beat
monotonously on the boards, just as our Indians do with their tomahawks,
to set the rhythm; the guitars strike into their rising and falling
melancholy strain. Two or three women chant a weird song, and all clap
their hands in a peculiar measure, now louder, now fainter, and with
pauses of varying length between the emphatic reports. The dancer has
not yet risen from her seat; she seems to demand encouragement. The
others call out, "Ollé!"--a gypsy word for "bravo!"--and smile and nod
their heads at her to draw her on. All this excites in you a livelier
curiosity, a sort of suspense. "What can be coming now?" you ask.
Finally she gets up, smiling half scornfully; a light comes into her
eyes; she throws her head back, and her face is suffused with an
expression of daring, of energy, and strange pride. Perhaps it is only
my fancy, but there seems to creep over the woman at that instant a
reminiscence of far-off and mysterious things; her face, partially
lifted, seems to catch the light of old traditions, and to be imbued
with the spirit of something belonging to the past, which she is about
to revive. Her arms are thrown upward, she snaps her fingers, and draws
them down slowly close before her face as far as the waist, when, with
an easy waving sideward, the "pass" is ended, and the arms go up again
to repeat the movement. Her body too is in motion now, only slightly,
with a kind of vibration; and her feet, unseen beneath the flowing
skirt, have begun an easy, quiet, repressed rhythmical figure. So she
advances, her face always forward, and goes swiftly around a circle,
coming back to the point where she began, without appearing to step. The
music goes on steadily, the cries of her companions become more
animated, and she continues to execute that queer, aimless, yet dimly
beckoning gesture with both arms--never remitting it nor the snapping of
her fingers, in fact, until she has finished the whole affair. Her feet
go a little faster; you can hear them tapping the floor as they weave
upon it some more complicated measure; but there is not the slightest
approach to a springing tendency. Her progress is sinuous; she glides
and shuffles, her soles quitting the boards as little as
possible--something between a clog dance and a walk, perfect in time,
with a complexity in the exercise of the feet demanding much skill. She
treats the performance with great dignity; the intensity of her
absorption invests it with a something almost solemn.

Forward again! She gazes intently in front as she proceeds, and again as
she floats backward, looking triumphant, perhaps with a spark of latent
mischief in her eyes. She stamps harder upon the floor; the sounds
follow like pistol reports. The regular _clack_, _clack-clack_ of the
smitten hands goes on about her, and the cries of the rest increase in
zest and loudness.

"Ollé! ollé!"

"Bravo, my gracious one!"

"Muy bien! muy bien!"

"Hurrah! Live the queen of the ants!" shouts the leader. And the
audience roars at his eccentric phrase.

The dancer becomes more impassioned, but in no way more violent. Her
body does not move above the hips. It is only the legs that twist and
turn and bend and stamp, as if one electric shock after another were
being sent downward through them. Every few minutes her activity passes
by some scarcely noted gradation into a subtly new phase, but all these
phases are bound together by a certain uniformity of restraint and fixed
law. Now she almost comes to a stand-still, and then we notice a
quivering, snaky, shuddering motion, beginning at the shoulders and
_flowing_ down through her whole body, wave upon wave, the dress drawn
tighter with one hand showing that this continues downward to her feet.
Is she a Lamia in the act of undergoing metamorphosis, a serpent, or a
woman? The next moment she is dancing, receding--this time with smiles,
and with an indescribable air of invitation in the tossing of her arms.
But the crowning achievement is when the hips begin to sway too, and,
while she is going back and forward, execute a rotary movement like that
of the bent part of an auger. In fact, you expect her to bore herself
into the floor and disappear. Then all at once the stamping and clapping
and the twanging strings are stopped, as she ceases her formal
gyrations: she walks back to her seat like one liberated from a spell,
and the whole thing is over.

Velveteen and I came to Malaga direct from the Alhambra. The transition
was one from the land of the olive to that of the palm. When we left
Granada, an hour after daybreak, the slopes of the Sierra Nevada below
the snow-line were softly overspread with rose and gold upon the blue,
and the unmatchably pale bright yellow-white of the grain fields along
the valley was spotted with the dark clumps of olive-trees, at a
distance no bigger than cabbages. The last thing we saw was a sturdy
peasant in knee-breeches and laced legs, with a tattered cloak flung
around his chest and brought over the left shoulder in stately folds,
that gave him the mien of a Roman senator, and put to shame our vulgar
railroad plans. As the day grew, the hills in shadow melted into a warm
citron hue, and those lifting their faces to the light were white as
chalk, with faint blue shadows down in the clefts.

It was in this same neighborhood that we saw peasant women in trousers
doing harvest-work. To the enormity of donning the male garb they added
the hardihood of choosing for the color of their trousers a bright
sulphur-yellow. My friend the artist, I believe, secretly envied them
this splendor denied to men; and in truth they would make spirited and
effective material for a painter. Their yellow legs descended from a
very short skirt of blue or vermilion, a mere concession to prejudice,
for it was mostly caught up and pinned in folds to keep it out of the
way. Above that the dress and figure were feminine; the colored kerchief
around the throat, and the gay bandanna twisted around the dark loose
hair under a big straw hat, finishing off the whole person as something
dashing, free, novel, and yet quite natural and not unwomanly.

An old man at Bobadilla offered us some _palmitos_--pieces of pith from
the palm-trees, tufted with a few feathery young leaves, and considered
a delicacy when fresh. It had a bitter-sweet, rather vapid taste, but I
hailed it as a friendly token from the semi-tropical region we were
approaching. So I bought one, and my companion presented the old man
with some of the lunch we had brought; whereupon the shrivelled
merchant, with a courtesy often met with in Spain, insisted upon his
taking a _palmito_ as a present. Thus, bearing our victorious palm
leaves, we moved forward to meet the palms themselves. The train rumbled
swiftly through twelve successive tunnels, giving, between them,
magnificent glimpses of deep wild gorges; fantastic rocks piled up in
all conceivable shapes, like a collection of giant crystals arranged by
a mad-man, amid mounds of gray and slate-colored clay pulverized by the
heat, and reduced absolutely to ashes. The last barrier of the
Alpujarras was passed, and we rushed out upon lower levels, immense and
fertile vales, dense with plantations of orange and lemon, interspersed
with high-necked, musing palms and brilliant thickets of pomegranate.
Through the hot earth in which these plantations were placed ran the
narrow canals, not more than two feet wide, containing those streams of
milky water from the snow-fields on which all the vegetation of the
region depends.

It is of this and the neighboring portions of Spain that Castelar, in
one of his recent writings, says: "The wildest coasts of our
peninsula--those coasts of Almeria, Alicante, Murcia, where the fruits
of various zones are yielded--compensate for their great plenty by years
of desolation comparable only to those described in the chronicles of
the Middle Ages, and suffered in the crowded lands of the Orient.... The
mountains of those districts, which breathe the incense of thyme and
lavender, are carpeted with silky grasses, and full of mines, and
intersected by quarries. The _honduras_, or valleys, present the palm
beside the pomegranate, the vine next to the olive, barley and
sugar-cane in abundance, orange orchards and fields of maize; in fine,
all the fruits of the best zones, incomparable both as to quantity and
quality. The azure waves of their sea, resembling Venetian crystals,
contain store of savory fish; and the equality of the temperature, the
purity of the air, the splendor of the days, and the freshness, the
soothing calm of the nights, impart such enchantment that, once
habituated to them, in whatever other part of the world you may be, you
feel yourself, alas! overcome by irremediable nostalgia." The eloquent
statesman has something to say, likewise, of the people. "Nowhere does
there exist in such vitality," he declares, "the love of family and the
love of labor.... Property is very much divided; the customs are
exceedingly democratic; there exist few proprietors who are not workers,
and few workers who are not proprietors." Democratic the country is, no
doubt; too much so, perhaps, for peace under monarchical rule. These
fervid, fertile coast lands, containing the gardens of Spain, are also
the home of revolution.

[Illustration: A SPANISH MONK.]

The north was the Carlist stronghold; the south furnished in every city
a little Republican volcano. Nor is the simple, patriarchal state of
society which Castelar indicates quite universal. Here, as in other
provinces, we found luxurious wealth flourishing in the heart of
pitiable poverty. The Governor of Malaga was on our train, and a
delightfully honest and amiable old gentleman in our compartment, seeing
him on the platform surrounded by a ring of dapper sycophants, who
laughed unreasonably at his mild jokes, began to exclaim, in great
wrath, "So many cabals! so many cabals! Unfortunate nation! there is
nothing but cabal and intrigue all the time. Those men have got some
sugar they want to dispose of to advantage, and so they fawn on the
Governor. It is dirty; it is foul," etc.

At Malaga there was a coast-guard steamer lying in the harbor, and, as
we were looking at it, I asked our companion, a resident, whether they
caught many smugglers.

"Oh, sometimes," was the answer. "Just enough to cover it."

"Cover what?"

"Oh, the fraud. Out of twenty smuggling vessels they will take perhaps
one, to keep up appearances." And he made the usual significant movement
of the fingers denoting the acceptance of bribes.

The heat at Malaga surpassed anything we had encountered before. The
horses of the cabs had gay-colored awnings stretched over them on little
poles fixed to the shafts, so that when they moved along the street they
looked like holiday boats on four legs. The river that runs through the
city was completely dry, and, as if to complete the boat similitude, the
cabs drove wantonly across its bed instead of using the bridges. These
equipages, however, are commonplace compared with the wagons used for
the transportation of oil and water jars (_tinajas_) in the adjoining
province of Murcia. A delightful coolness was diffused from the sea at
evening, when the fashionable drive--the half-moon mole stretching out
to the light-house--was crowded with stylish vehicles, and the sea-wall
all along the street was lined with citizens, soldiers, priests, and
pretty women, who dangled their feet from the low parapet in blissful
indolence. Then, too, the lamps were lighted in the floating bath-houses
moored in the harbor, and one of them close to the mouth of a city drain
seemed to be particularly well patronized. The streets, almost forsaken
by day, were crowded after nightfall. The shops were open late. By eight
or nine o'clock life began.

The Café de la Loba (the Wolf)--an immense building, where there is a
court entirely roofed over by a single grape-vine, spreading from a stem
fifteen inches in diameter, and rivalling the famous vines of Hampton
Court and Windsor--was well filled, and in many small _tiendas de vino_
heavy drinking seemed to be going on. But the Malaguenese do not imbibe
the rich sweet wines manufactured in their vicinity. These are too
heating to be taken in such a climate, as we were able to convince
ourselves on tasting some fine vintages at one of the _bodegas_ the next
day. Nevertheless, the lower class of the inhabitants find no difficulty
in attaining to a maximum of drunkenness on milder beverages. Even the
respectable idlers in the café under our hotel drank a great deal too
much beer, if I may judge from their prolonging their obstreperous
discussion of politics into the small hours, while we lay feverish in a
room above listening to their voices, blended with the whistle of a
boatswain on some ship at the neighboring quay; ourselves meanwhile
enduring with Anglo-Saxon reserve the too effusive attentions offered by
mosquitoes of the Latin race.

[Illustration: TRANSPORTATION OF POTTERY.]

In justice to the Spaniards it should be said that excessive drinking
is a rare fault among them. As a nation they surpass all other civilized
peoples in setting an example of temperance as to potations (excepting
water), and of remarkable frugality in eating. The Mediterranean ports,
through their commerce with the outside world, are tinged by foreign
elements; license creeps in with notions of liberty; the sailors, and
that whilom powerful fraternity the smugglers, have likewise assisted in
fostering turbulent characteristics.

[Illustration: GARLIC VENDER.]

To me the best part of Malaga was the view of it from the deck of a
Segovia steamer, on the eve of a cruise along the coast. Behind the
plain sandy-colored houses rose a background of mountains fantastic in
outline as flames; the cathedral, in no way striking, towered up above
the roofs, and was in turn overshadowed by an ancient fortress on the
eastern height, which was one of the last to fall before the returning
tide of Spanish arms, and still claws the precipitous ridge with
innumerable towers and bastions, as if to keep from slipping off its
honorable eminence in the drowsy lapses of old age. Below this, close to
the water, stood the inevitable Plaza de Toros--an immense cheese-shaped
structure of stone, where a friend of mine, Spanish by birth, tells me
he was once watching the game of bulls, when part of the crowd were
struck by the happy thought of starting a revolution. They acted at once
on this bright idea; they "pronounced" in favor of something, and
attacked the military guard. In an instant a battle had begun; the place
resounded with musketry, and the populace tore away pieces of the
masonry to hurl at the troops below. But that was in the good old days,
and such things do not happen now, though there is always a strong
detachment of soldiers on hand at the arena, ready for any sudden
revival of these freaks. The water around us shone with a lustre like
satin; and, fluttering over the bright green surface, played incredibly
vivid reflections of blue and red from the steamers; while the pure
white light, striking back from the edges of the undulations, quivered
and shimmered along the black hulk of a vessel, and looked like steam or
mist in constant motion.

Highly effective, too, was the carbineer (all custom-house officers in
Spain, whether armed or not, are called _carabineros_) who stood on deck
with a musket at rest, a living monument to the majesty of the revenue
laws. We had been solemnly warned beforehand of the risk we ran in
carrying a basket of ale on board in the face of this functionary, and
the importance of giving him a _peseta_ (twenty cents) had been urged
upon us; but we at first looked for him in vain, and when we found him
he appeared so harmless that we kept the _peseta_. I noticed that he
laid his gun aside as much as possible. Part of the time he smoked a
short pipe under cover of his huge mustache, and eyed people sternly, as
if suspecting that they might take advantage of this temporary relaxing
of vigilance; but he studiously avoided seeing any merchandise of any
description.

The steamer was to start at four in the afternoon, and we made great
haste to get on board in time; but there had evidently never been the
smallest intention of despatching her until an hour and a half later.
This was in accord with the national trait of distrust. No one was
expected to believe the announcement as to the time, and if the real
hour had been named, no one _would_ have believed it. Aware of this, the
more experienced natives did not even begin to come aboard until toward
five o'clock. Spanish clocks are the most accommodating kind of
mechanism I have ever had the fortune to encounter. They appear to exist
rather as an ornamental feature than as articles of use. You order a
carriage, and it is promised at a certain time; you are told that
something is to be accomplished at a fixed hour; but this is only done
out of deference to your outlandish prejudices. The hour strikes, and
the thing is not done. You begin to doubt whether the hour itself has
arrived. Is it not a vulgar illusion to suppose so? Your Spaniard
certainly thinks it is. He knows that time is an arbitrary distinction,
and prefers to adopt the scale of eternity. The one exception is the
bull-fight. That is recognized as a purely mundane and temporal
institution; it must not be delayed a moment; and to make sure of
punctuality, it is begun almost before the time announced. But anything
like a sea-voyage, though it be only along the shore, comes under a
different heading, and must be undertaken with as much mystery and
caution as if it were a conspiracy to erect a new government.

To tell the truth, we were glad to get away from the tyranny of the
minute-hand, and were not displeased at the lazy freedom of the steamer.
The stewards came up and shut the skylights, spread a table-cloth over
them, laid plates, and formed a hollow square of fruits and olives in
the centre. Those of the passengers that listed took their places at
this improvised banqueting board, and by the time the _puchero_ was
served--a savory stew composed of chopped meat, beans, carrots, spices,
and any little thing the cook's fancy may suggest--we were moving out of
the basin, past the curved mole and the light-house, and toy battery at
its end. The sunset had thrown its glow over sky and mountains, as if it
were an after-thought, to make the surroundings perfect. We glided
smoothly over a floor of blue--deep, solid-looking, and veined with
white--a pale golden dome above us, and a delicious wind playing round
us, like the exhalation of some balmy sub-tropical dream. On these coast
steamers one buys a ticket for the transport, and then pays for what he
eats. This rule reduced the company at our deck table to a choice and
pleasant circle, the head of which was Señor Segovia, one of the owners
of the line, a benignant, comfortable Spaniard--"an Andalusian to the
core," as he proudly said. We had, as usual, early chocolate at six or
seven; breakfast not so near eleven as to admit any suspicion of
subserviency to the base time-keeping clock; and dinner--a second but
ampler breakfast--between five and six. Some of the first-cabin
passengers brought their own provision, or purchased it at the towns
where we touched every day, and fed secretly in out-of-the-way places.
As for the second-class, consisting mainly of peasants swathed in
strange garments edged and spotted with fantastic color, they were never
seen to eat; but I think that privately they gnawed the pride of ancient
race in their hearts, and found it sufficient provender. We would come
upon them, when we went forward in our night patrol, lying on the deck
in magnificent unconcern, enveloped by stately rags wound round and
round their bodies, and lifting toward us a stern, reproachful gaze at
our interruption of their tranquillity.

The Mediterranean was calm as a pond, and we roused ourselves to a
serene morning, under which the hills gleamed pale and clear along the
margin of the waves, the huge sides seamed with dry water-courses, like
the creases in a human palm. Beyond the first line of peaks we could
descry for a while the soft ghostly whiteness of an inland snow range
glimmering above the faded green, the violet shadows, the hard streaks
of white and powderings of red earth in the lower series. No sign of
life was seen upon the puckered, savage coast. It was the bulwark of
that Tarshish to which Solomon sent his ships for gold; new to us as it
was new to him, yet now unutterably old; silent, yet speaking;
uncommunicative, yet vaguely predicting a future vast and unknown as the
vanished ages. It would be hard to tell how awful in its unchanged
grandeur was the face of those mighty hills, so unexpectedly eloquent.

[Illustration: DIVING FOR COPPERS.]

It was a relief to find that we were approaching Almeria. A road cut in
the rock; a stout arched bridge carrying it over an indentation of the
sea; a small square edifice on a rock to guard the road; then the
distant jumble of low houses along a sheltered bay, and an empty
fortress on the sharp hillcrest over it--these were the tokens of our
progress toward another inhabited spot. We had on board a two-legged
enigma in a white helmet-hat, who wrote with ostentatious industry in a
note-book, played fluently on the cabin piano, and now emerged upon the
quarterdeck in a pair of bulging canary leather slippers which gave his
feet the appearance of overgrown lemons. He afterward proved to be an
English colporteur. We also had a handsome, gay, talkative, and witty
Frenchman, who, with a morbid conscientiousness as to what was fitting,
insisted on being sea-sick, although the sea was hardly ruffled; and him
we succeeded in resuscitating, after the boat had come quietly to anchor
in the harbor, so far that he began to long audibly for Paris and the
café on the boulevard, "_et mon absinthe_." We watched with these
companions the naked boys who surrounded the vessel in a flotilla of
row-boats, offering to dive for coppers thrown into the water, precisely
as I have seen young Mexican Indians do at Acapulco. Near by lay another
steamer just in from Africa, disembarking a mass of returned Spanish
settlers, fugitives from the atrocities of the Arabs at Oran: a pathetic
sight as they dropped silently into the barges that bore them to
shore--some utterly destitute, with only the clothes in which they had
fled before the fanatic murderers, and others accompanied by a few
meagre household goods. Did they feel that "irremediable nostalgia," I
wonder, of which Señor Castelar speaks? The sun was as hot as that which
had shone upon them just across the strait, on the edge of the Dark
Continent; and the low-roofed glaring houses huddled at the feet of the
Moorish stronghold, the Alcasaba, were so Oriental that I should think
they must have found it hard to believe they had left Africa at all.

Almeria, like other towns of this southern shore-line, is more Eastern
than Spanish in appearance--only the long winding or zigzag covered
ways, traced on the steep hills like swollen veins, indicated the
presence of the lead-mines which give it an existence in commerce. These
conduct the poisonous smoke to a point above the air inhaled by the
townsfolk, and it is seen puffing from tall chimneys at the crest of the
steep, as if the mountain were alive and gasping for breath. The town,
faintly relieved against its pale, dusty background as we first saw it,
almost disappeared in the blinding blaze of light that swept it when we
got closer. We landed, and attempted to walk, but the dry, burning heat
made us shrink for shelter into any narrow thread of shadow that the
houses presented. Even the shadows looked whitish. It was impossible to
get as far as the weed-grown cathedral, which, as we could see from the
water, had been provided in former times with fortified turrets for
defence against piratical incursions. So we sunk gratefully into a
restaurant kiosk at the head of the _alameda_, where we could look down
the hot, yellow street to a square of cerulean sea; and there we sipped
lemonade while tattered, crimson-sashed peasants moved about us, some of
them occasionally dashing the road with water dipped from a
gutter-rivulet at the side. We had barely become reconciled to the
Granadan women in trousers, when we were obliged to notice that the men
in this vicinity wore short white skirts in place of the usual nether
garment. How is Spain ever to be unified on such a basis as this? The
local patriots had seemingly wrestled with the problem and been
defeated, for a dreary memorial column in front of the kiosk recorded
how they had fallen in some futile revolutionary struggle.

On a promontory, passed as we sailed away, the drought and dust of the
town yielded suddenly to luxurious greenness of sugar-cane and other
growths. Almeria was once surrounded by similar fertility, but the land
has been so wastefully denuded of forest that all through this
region--the old kingdoms of Murcia and Valencia--only certain favorable
spots retain their earlier plenty by means of constant care and
assiduous watering. Cartagena, one of the chief naval stations of the
country, cannot exhibit even such an oasis. It is unmitigated desert.
Not a tree or shrub shows itself amid the baked and calcined stone-work
and blistering pavements of the city; and the landscape without looks
almost as arid. The place is considered impregnable to a foreign foe,
and I can't imagine that foe wanting it to be otherwise, if conquest
involves residence. Entered by a narrow gap commanded by batteries, the
harbor is a round and spacious one, scooped out of frowning highlands
that bear on the apex of their cones unattainable forts, thrown up like
the rim around volcanic craters. There is but one level access to the
city on the land side, and that is blockaded by a stout wall with a
single gate. Such was our next goal, reached after a quiet night, which
Velveteen and I spent in the open air, having carried our rugs and
pillows up from the state-room on its invasion by new passengers. At two
o'clock in the morning our vessel stole into the port. There was one
pale amber streak in the east, over the gloomy, indistinct heights
studded with embrasured walls and mine chimneys. By-and-by a brightness
grew out of it. Then the amber was reflected in the glassy harbor. An
arch of rose cloud sprung up after this, and was also reflected, the
hills lightening to a faded gray and brown. All this time the stars
continued sparkling, and one of them threw rings of dancing diamond on
the broken wave. Suddenly the diamond flash and the rose tint vanished,
and it was broad golden-white day, with calorific beams beating strongly
upon us, instead of the crepuscular chill of dawn that had just been
searching our veins.

Cartagena has its war history, of course. A Commune was established
there by Roque Barcia in 1873, which declined allegiance to the
republican government at Madrid, and the city was accordingly besieged.
Barcia had been living on forced loans from the inhabitants, and was
loath to go; but the army of the republic made a few dents in the stone
wall with twenty-pounders, and that decided him. He got on board the
Spanish navy in the harbor, and ran away with it to Africa. Perhaps
that accounts for the slimness of the naval contingent now. There is an
academy for cadets in the place, but only two small ships-of-war were
anchored in the noble bay. The town of Cartagena is remarkable for big
men and very minute donkeys. The men ride on the donkeys with incredible
hardihood. You see a burly Sancho Panza flying along the main street at
a rapid pace, with his sandalled feet some three inches from the ground,
and wonder what new kind of motor he has discovered, until you perceive
beneath his ponderous body a nervous, vaguely ecstatic quivering of four
black legs, attached to a small spot of head from which two mulish ears
project.

[Illustration: A MODERN SANCHO PANZA.]

There is not much to see in Cartagena. Blind people seem to be numerous
there--a fact which may be owing to the excessive dazzle of the sunlight
and absence of verdure. But I couldn't help thinking some of them must
have gone blind from sheer _ennui_, because there was nothing around
them worth looking at. Our visit, however, was in one respect a success:
we found a broad strip of shade there. It was caused by the high city
wall intercepting the forenoon light. Out of the shadow some
enterprising men had constructed, with the aid of two or three chairs
and several pairs of shears, a barber's shop _al fresco_; and asses and
peasants, as they travelled in and out through the city gate, stopped at
this establishment to be shaved. For it is an important item in the care
of Spanish donkeys that they should be sheared as to the back, in order
to make a smoother resting-place for man or pannier. So while the master
held his animal one of the barbers plied some enormous clacking shears,
and littered the ground with mouse-colored hair, leaving the beast's
belly fur-covered below a fixed line, and for a small additional price
executing a raised pattern of starpoints around the neck. The tonsorial
profession is an indispensable one in a country where shaving the whole
face is so generally practised among all the humbler orders, not to
mention _toreros_ and ecclesiastics; but the discomfort to which the
barber's customers submit is astonishing. Instead of being pampered,
soothed, labored at with confidential respectfulness, and lulled into
luxurious harmony with himself, as happens in America, a man who courts
the razor in Spain has to sit upright in a stiff chair, and meekly hold
under his chin a brass basin full of suds, and fitting his throat by
means of a curved nick at one side. One individual we saw seated by the
dusty road at the gate, with a towel around his shoulders and another in
his hands to catch his own falling locks. He looked submissive and
miserable, as if assisting at his own degradation, while the barber was
magnified into a tyrant exercising sovereign pleasure, and might have
been expected, should the whim cross him, to strike off his victim's
head instead of his hair.

[Illustration: STREET BARBER.]

[Illustration: BIBLES _VERSUS_ MELONS.]

The voyage continued as charmingly as it began. Quiet transitions from
the deep blue outside to the pronounced green within the harbors were
its most startling incidents. The colporteur gave tracts to the sailors,
or traded Bibles for melons with the fruit boys; the Frenchman, who was
making a commercial tour through the provinces, bestowed a liberal and
cheerful disparagement on the nation which afforded him a business. We
continued to eat meals in holiday fashion on the skylight hatches, and
slept there through the balmy night, occasionally seeing the sailors
clambering on the taffrail or in the rigging, always with cigarettes,
the glowing points of which shone in the darkness like fire-flies. The
gravity with which they stuck to these _papelitos_ while knotting ropes
or lowering a boat was fascinating in its inappropriateness. The
headlands grew less bold before we tied to the dock at Alicante in the
hush of a sultry night. We could see nothing of the town except a bright
twinkle of lamps along the quay, contrasting gayly with the blood-red
light on a felucca in the harbor, its long vivid stain trickling away
through the water like the current from a wound; and the rules of the
customs would not admit of our landing till morning.


II.

Our trunks had been on the dock two or three hours when we debarked in a
small boat, and some fifteen men had gathered around them, waiting for
the owners, like sharks attracted by floating fragments from a ship and
wondering what manner of prey is coming to them. They all touched their
caps to us as we bumped the shore. These cap-touches are worth in the
abstract about one real--five cents. The grand total of speculative
politeness laid out upon us was therefore more than half a dollar; but,
on our selecting two porters, values rapidly declined, and the market
"closed in a depressed condition." The customs officers wore a wild,
freebooters' sort of uniform--blue trousers with a red stripe, blue
jeans blouses with a belt and long sword, and straw hats. They were also
very lazy; and while we were awaiting their attentions we had time to
observe the manner of unloading merchandise in these latitudes. Every
box, barrel, or bale hoisted out of a lighter was swung by a rope to
which twenty men lent their strength; there were three more men in the
lighter, and three others arranged the hoisting tackle; in all,
twenty-six persons were occupied with a task for which two or three
ought to suffice. Each time, the crowd of haulers fastened on the cable,
ran off frantically with it, and then, in a simultaneous fit of
paralysis, dropped it as the burden was landed.

These laborers wore huge straw hats, on the crown of which was fitted a
_birreta_, the small ordinary blue cap of the country. They had a queer
air of carrying this superfluous cap around on top of the head as a sort
of solemn ceremony. The wharf was alive, too, with small wagons, roofed
over by a cover of heavy matting made of _esparto_ grass, and furnished
with a long, rough-barked pole at the side, to be used as a brake. Above
this busy scene towered a luminous sienna-tinted cliff, sustaining the
castle of Santa Barbara poised in the white air like a dream-edifice;
though a rift high up in the hill marks the spot where the French
exploded a mine during the Peninsular war. All these Mediterranean towns
are guarded by some such eagle's eyry overlooking the sea, and the old
monarchs showed a fine poetic sense in granting them for municipal arms
their local castle resting on a wave. Close to the lapping waters lay
the serried houses, bordered by an esplanade planted with rows of short
palms. When the carbineers had looked vaguely into our trunks, and shut
them again, the porters tossed them into a little cart, and plunged into
the town at a pace with which we could compete only so far as to keep
them in sight while they twisted first around one corner and then
another, and then up a long chalky street to the Fonda Bossio, which has
the name of being the best hotel in Spain. It has excellent cookery, and
some furlongs of tile-floored corridor, which the servants apparently
believe to be streets, for they water them every day, just as the
thoroughfares are watered, out of tin basins. We were overwhelmed with
courtesy. For instance, I would call the waiter.

[Illustration: CUSTOMS OFFICERS.]

"Command me, your grace," was his reply.

"Can you bring me some fresh water?" ("Fresh" always means cold.)

[Illustration: POST INN, ALICANTE.]

"With all the will in the world."

When he came with it I tried to rise to his standard by saying,
"Thanks--a thousand thanks."

"They do not merit themselves, señor," said he, not to be outdone.

I asked if I could have a _garspacho_ for breakfast. The _garspacho_ is
an Andalusian soup-salad, very cooling, made of stewed and strained
tomato, water, vinegar, sliced cucumber, boiled green peppers, a dash of
garlic, and some bits of bread; the whole served frost-cold.

"I don't know--it is not in the list. I feel it, señor. It weighs upon
my soul. But I will see, and will return in an Ave Maria to let you
know."

He never left me without asking, "Is there anything wanting still?"

[Illustration: ALICANTE FRUIT-SELLER.]

The waiters and chamber-maids ate their meals at little tables in the
hall, and whenever I passed them, if they were eating, they made a
gracious gesture toward their _pillau_ of rice. "Would your grace like
to eat?"

This offer to share their food with any one who goes by is a simple and
kindly inheritance from the East; but it becomes a little embarrassing,
and I longed for a pair of back stairs to slink away by, without having
to decline their hospitality every time I went out.

To go out in the middle of the day was like looking into the sun itself.
Everybody stayed in-doors behind thick curtains of matting, and dozed or
dripped away the time in idle perspiration; but hearing unaccountable
blasts of orchestral music during this forced retirement, I inquired,
and found them to proceed from the rehearsal of a Madrid opera company
then in Alicante. Our attendant at table proved to be a duplex
character--a serving-man by day and a fourteenth lord in the chorus by
night, with black and yellow stockings, and a number of gestures
indicating astonishment, indignation, or, in fact, anything that the
emergency required. We had the pleasure of seeing him on the stage that
very evening, and of listening to an extravagant performance of "La
Favorita," between two acts of which an usher came in and collected the
tickets of the whole audience. The theatre was remarkably spacious for a
town of thirty thousand inhabitants; but Alicante is a favorite winter
resort, and even maintains a "Gallistic Circus;" that is, a place for
cock-fights.

The Garden of Alicante is a luscious spot, hidden away some two or three
miles from the town, and owned by the Marques de Venalua, a young man of
large wealth, who spends all his time at Alicante, and is a public
benefactor, having introduced water in pipes at his own expense. The
carriage and consumption of water, indeed, seemed to be the chief
business of the population. They have a system of fountains for
distributing sea-water from which the salt has been extracted, and women
and children are kept going to these with huge jars, to satisfy the
local thirst. To be born thirsty, live thirsty, and die so, is a
privilege enjoyable only in countries like Southern Spain. One can form
there, too, a vivid idea of the desert, from the delight with which he
hails the green _Huerta_, or garden. The road and fields on the way
thither were like a waste of cinders and ashes. The almond and fig
trees, the pomegranates and algarrobas beside the way, were coated with
dust that lay upon them like thin snow; and the almond-nuts, where they
hung in sight, resembled plaster casts, so pervasive was the white
deposit. But all at once we mounted a low rise, and the wide stretch of
verdant plantations lay before us, thick-foliaged, cool, sweet, and
refreshing, with villas embowered among the oranges and palms, a screen
of dim mountains beyond, and the silent blue sea brimming the horizon on
the right. It was a spectacle delicious as sleep to tired eyes; it
brought a cry of pleasure to my lips and grateful life to the heart.

But this spot, lovely as it is, becomes insignificant beside the
glorious Huerta of Valencia, stretching for more than thirty miles from
the olive-clad hills around Jativa to that city, which is the
pleasantest in Mediterranean Spain, and the most characteristic of all,
after Toledo, Granada, and Sevilla. There one travels through an
unbroken tract of superb cultivation--a garden in exact literalness, yet
a territory in size.

[Illustration: METHOD OF IRRIGATION NEAR VALENCIA.]

[Illustration: CHURCH OF SANTA CATALINA, VALENCIA.]

We took the rail from Alicante in the evening; but a mass of Oran
fugitives, escorted by a company of soldiers (for the most part drunk),
encumbered our train, and delayed its starting for an hour or two. Then
followed a slow, wearisome ride through the black night, with a change
at the junction of La Encina about twelve o'clock, involving much
tribulation in the re-weighing and renewed registering of baggage;
after which we were stowed into a totally dark compartment of the other
train, and made to wait three hours longer. With the first rays of dawn
our locomotive began to creep, and we fell into a doze, from which I was
awakened after a while by the loud irruption of somebody into our
carriage, accompanied by a jangle like that of sleigh-bells. It turned
out to be a peasant, who, in consequence of the general over-crowding,
had been ushered into the first-class carriage, bringing with him a
couple of children and some mule-harness provided with bells. I was
inclined to be indignant with him for his disturbing intrusion; but, as
it was now broad daylight, I began to look out of the window, and soon
had cause to consider the peasant a benefactor; for we were just leaving
Jativa, a most picturesque old town, with a castle famous even in Roman
times; the native place, also, of the Borgias (Pope Calixtus III., and
Rodrigro, the father of Cæsar Borgia). Immediately afterward we entered
the garden region. Miles of carefully-tended growth, thousands of
orchards linked together in one series, acres upon acres of fields where
every square inch is made to yield abundantly--such is the Huerta of
Valencia. We passed endless orange-groves, each single tree in which had
its circle of banked earth to hold the water when let on from the canals
of tile that coursed everywhere like veins of silver, carrying life to
the harvests. Then came vast fields dotted with the yellow blossom of
the pea-nut, on low vine-like plants. Again, breadths of citron and
lemon, followed by extensive rice farms, where the cultivators stood
dressing the unripe plantations, up to their ankles in the water of a
feathery green swamp. Not a rood of earth is unimproved, excepting where
some thriving red-roofed village is hemmed in by the fragrant paradise.
In one place you will see, perhaps, a mouldering red tower like those of
the Alhambra, or a church spire lifted amid the trees, and, high above
the other greenery, clusters of date-palms leaning together, as if
they whispered among themselves of other days. Near by is the Lake
of Albufera, close to the sea and twenty-seven miles in
circumference--nourished both from the sea and from the river Turia, so
that it becomes an immense reservoir of fish and game. Its marshy edges
once offered shelter to numerous smugglers, and it is said that General
Prim, who was on good terms with them, found a hiding-place there while
in danger and before he came to power. No wonder that the Cid fought
gallantly to win this land from the infidel, and when he had gained it
sent for his wife and daughter from distant Burgos to come and see the
prize! Its fertility to-day, however, is due to the irrigation
introduced by the Moors, and since maintained. The same thing could be
done with the Tagus and Ebro rivers, but the Spaniard having had the
example before him for only about six centuries, has not yet found time
to follow it. The water supply is so precious that proprietors are
allowed to use it for their own crops only on fixed days, and for so
many hours at a time. Disputes of course arise, but they are settled by
the Water Court--a tribunal without appeal, consisting of twelve peasant
proprietors, who meet once a week in Valencia; and I saw them there
holding their session in very primitive style, on a long pink sofa set
in an arched door-way of the cathedral.

[Illustration: A VALENCIA CAB.]

Valencia was in the midst of its annual festival when we arrived; a
bright, gay, spirited, and busy town, more cheerful than ever just then.
There were to be three days of bull-fighting--"bulls to the
death!"--with eight taurian victims each day; the best swordsmen in
Spain; and horses and mules displaying gilded and silvered hoofs. The
theatres were perfumed. There were match games of _pelota_--rackets--the
national substitute for cricket or base-ball; and a week's fair was in
progress on the other side of the river Turia, with bannered pavilions,
thousands of painted lanterns; lotteries, concerts, and booth shows, to
which the admission was "half price for children and soldiers." Trade
was brisk also in the city; brisk in the Mercado, that quaint business
street crowded with little stalls, and with peasants in blue, red,
yellow, mantled and cothurned, their heads topped with pointed hats or
wrapped with variegated handkerchiefs deftly knotted into a high crown;
brisk, likewise, in those peculiar shops behind the antique Silk
Exchange, which are named from the signs they hang out, representing the
Blessed Virgin, Christ, John the Baptist, or the Bleeding Heart. One had
for its device a rose, and another, distinguished by two large toy lambs
placed at its door, was known without other distinction as the Lamb of
God. But in the more modern quarter the shop-keepers ventured on a
Parisian brilliancy which we did not encounter anywhere else. Their
arrangement of wares was prettily effective, and the fashion prevailed
of having curtains for the show-windows painted with figures in modern
dress, done in exceedingly clever, artistic style, well drawn, full of
humor and fine realistic characterization.

Altogether, Valencia is the cheeriest of Spanish cities, unless one
excepts Barcelona, which is half French, and in its present estate
wholly modern. Moreover, Valencia abounds in racy and local traits, both
of architecture and humanity. The Street of the Cavaliers is lined with
sombre, strange, shabbily elegant old mansions of the nobility, with
Gothic windows and open arcades in the top story; the new houses are
gayly tinted in blue and rose and cream-color; and the gourd-like domes
of the cathedral and other large buildings glisten with blue tiles and
white, set in stripes. You find yourself continually, as you come from
various quarters, bringing up in sight of the octagonal tower of Santa
Catalina, strangely suggestive of a pagoda, without in the least being
one. The Silk Exchange, from which the shining web that wealth is woven
out of has long since vanished, contains one of the most beautiful of
existing Gothic halls under a roof sustained by fluted and twisted
pillars, themselves light as knotted skeins; while from the outer
cornice grotesque shapes peer out over the life of to-day; a grinning
monk, an imp playing a guitar, a crumbling buzzard, serving as
gargoyles. Just opposite is the market, where you may buy enormous
bunches of luscious white grapes for a penny, or pry into second-hand
shops rich in those brilliant mantles with the "cat" fringe of balls,
for which the town is as noted as for its export of oranges. The old
battlemented walls of the city, it is true, have been torn down: it was
done simply to give employment to the poor a few years since. But there
are some fine old gates remaining--those of Serranos and Del Cuarte. We
drove out of one and came in by the other, about half a mile away--a
diversion that brought us under a rigid examination from the customs
guard, which levies a tax on every basket of produce brought in from the
country, and was inclined to regard us as a dutiable importation.

[Illustration: BARCELONA FISHERMEN.]

One may go quite freely to the port, however--the Grao--which is two
miles distant. A broad boulevard hedged with sycamores leads thither,
which in summer is crowded by _tartanas_--bouncing little covered wagons
lined with crimson curtains, and usually carrying a load of pretty
señoritas--and by more imposing equipages adorned with footmen in the
English style. Everybody goes to the shore to bathe toward evening, for
Valencia is the Brighton of the Madrileños. The little bathing
establishments extend for a long distance on the sands, and are very
neat. Each has its fanciful name, as "The Pearl," or "The Madrid Girl,"
and the proprietors stand in front vociferously soliciting your custom.
Between these and the water are refreshment sheds with tables, and every
one eats or drinks on coming out of the sea. Farther down the shore the
women have their own houses, and a fence of reeds protects them from
intrusion while they are running to or from the surf; but it is my duty
to record that the men formed a line at this fence, and systematically
gazed through the breaks in it, which was the more embarrassing,
perhaps, because the fair Valencians bathe in very plain, baggy, and
ugly gowns. On the streets or in the Glorieta Garden, and in their
proper habiliments, they are the noblest looking and most beautiful of
Spanish women, often possessing flaxen hair and dark-blue eyes which
recall a Gothic ancestry, together with something simple and regular
about the features that is perhaps due to the ancient Greek
colonization. At still another part of the beach horses were allowed to
go into the waves; and this was a sight also eminently Greek in its
suggestion. Naked boys bestrode the animals, and urged them forward into
the spray-fringed tide. The arched necks, the prancing movement of the
horses, the sportive shock of foam against their broad chests, and the
pressing knees of the nude riders in full play of muscle to keep their
seats, were like a breathing and stirring relief on some temple frieze,
clear-cut in the pure and sparkling sunlight. There was once a Valencian
school of painters, but we saw nothing of this in their work. The museum
offers what our newspapers would call a "carnival" of rubbish, but it
also contains some striking, shadowy, startlingly lighted canvases of
Ribalta--saints and martyrs and ascetics vividly but not joyously
portrayed; a few wonderful portraits by Goya, fresh as if only just
completed; and one of Velasquez's three portraits of himself.

From Valencia to Barcelona the valleys along the coast are fertile.
Vineyards, spreading their long files of green over a warm red soil that
seems tinged with the blood of the grape, vie with the olive in that
picturesque, productive belt between the hills and the blue, swelling
sweep of the Mediterranean. Here is Murviedro, the old Saguntum, once
the scene of a fierce siege and horrible sufferings, now basking quietly
in the hot light--a time-worn, sun-tanned, beggared old city, which is
not ashamed to make a show of its decayed Roman theatre; and farther on
Tarragona, which professes to have had at one time a million
inhabitants, and is now a little wine-producing town. Churches and
castles, rich in delicate workmanship and all manner of historic
association, crop up everywhere. The very shards in the fields, you
fancy, may suddenly unfold something of that full and varied past which
was once as real as to-day's meridian glow. Yet at any moment you may
lose sight of all this in the brilliant, stimulating, yet softly
modified beauty of the landscape's colors, and your whole mind is
absorbed by the vague neutral hues of a treeless hill-side, or the rich,
positive blue of the sea, in which the white sail of a _chalupa_ seems
to be inlaid like a bit of ivory.

All the while, as you go northward, Spain--the real Spain--is slipping
from you. The palms disappear as if a noiseless earthquake had swallowed
them up; even the olive becomes less frequent, and by-and-by you are in
piny Catalonia. You reach Barcelona, the greatest commercial city of the
kingdom, and you find it the boast of the citizens that they are not
Spaniards. They are Spanish mainly in their love of revolt. So prompt
are they to join in every uprising, that the garrison quartered there
has to be kept as high as ten thousand men; but for the most part it is
rather a French maritime dépot than a thing of ancient or peculiar
Spain. There is a large and artificial park on one side, and the fort
of Monjuich on the other, and a lot of shipping in the harbor; and a
glorious embowered avenue, called the Rambla, where pale-faced,
long-lashed, coquettishly smiling women walk in great numbers, carrying
out the usual national custom of a peripatetic reception and
conversation party. It was the feast of Santiago when we came--it is
always a feast of something everywhere in that pious country--and the
theatres were doing a great business with trifling plays and charming
ballets. Barcelona is not only the industrious city, it is also the
cultivated one of the Peninsula. The opera there is one of the best in
the world, and was once carried off bodily to Madrid by an ardent
manager, who for his pains received the scorn of the envious Madrid
people: they would not come to his performances, and he was almost
ruined in consequence.

The old cathedral of the city is a temple singularly impressive by
simple means--a sober Spanish-Gothic structure bathed in a perpetual
gloom, through which the stained windows show with a jewelled splendor
almost supernatural. The weirdness of the interior effect is farther
intensified by the dark pit of Santa Eulalia's shrine opening under the
altar, and set with a row of burning lamps, on which the darkness seems
to hang like a cloak depending from a chain of gold. The invariable rule
in Spanish cathedrals is that the choir should be placed in the central
nave, like that at Westminster Abbey, and elaborated into a complete
enclosure by itself--which, although it interferes with the total effect
of the interior, is frequently very striking in its lavish agglomeration
of carved wood and stone, metal railings, gilding, and similar details.
It was in the peculiarly picturesque choir of this cathedral of Santa
Eulalia that the order of the Golden Fleece was once convened by Charles
V., and the panels over the stalls are blazoned with the bearings of the
various nations and nobles represented in that body. Being discovered
only after one has grown accustomed to the dark, these fading glories of
heraldry steal gradually upon the eye, as if through the obscuring night
of time. I found the ancient cloister, without, on the south-west side,
a delightful, shadowy, suggestive place: there, too, may be seen a
fountain surmounted by a small equestrian statue of St. George, which
reminds one of a fabulous story in Münchausen; for the tail of the horse
is formed by a jet of water flowing out of the body at the rear. Inside
the church again hangs, under the organ-loft, an enormous wooden and
painted Saracen's head--a species of relic not uncommon, I believe, in
Catalonian temples. It may be added here that the custom of the
"historical giants" at Corpus Christi is maintained in Barcelona as we
had seen it at Burgos, and those effigies are stowed away somewhere in
the sacred precincts. There is a curious mingling of the naïve and the
sophisticated in the fact that some of the giants, wearing female
attire, have new dresses for each year, and thereby set the fashions for
the ensuing twelvemonth for all the womankind of the city. And however
advanced the urban society may be, with its trade, its opera, its books,
gilded cafés and superb clubs, the spirit of progress does not spread
very far into the country. When a piece of railroad was built, not very
long ago, opening up a new rural section in the neighborhood, the
peasants watched the advance of the locomotive along the rails with
profound interest. Finally, one old man asked, "But where is the _mule_
kept?--inside?"

He was willing to admit that the engine worked finely, but no power
could convince him that it was possible for it to go by other impulsion
than that of a mule's legs.

Another relic of by-gone times is the cap universally worn in this
region by the longshoremen, the fishers, and the male portion of the
lower orders generally; for it is nothing less than the old Phrygian
liberty cap, imported hither by the Paul Pry Phoenicians ages ago. Woven
in a single piece, it appears at first sight to be a long, soft,
commodious bag, tinted with vermilion or violet or brown as the case may
be. Into the aperture the native inserts his head and then pulls the
rest of the flapping contrivance down as far as he pleases, letting the
end float loose in the wind, or more commonly bringing it round to the
front, curling it over and tucking it in upon itself in such a way as to
make an overhanging protection for the eyes, and to give the whole a
look that recalls the top of an Oxford student's cap. With this
head-gear, and wearing sandals made of fine hempen cord tied by long
black tapes, the men presented a free, half barbarous and sufficiently
picturesque appearance. I don't know how long we might have continued to
roam the streets of Barcelona, listening to the uncouth _patois_ of the
locality, in which French and Spanish words are so outlandishly mingled,
nor how long we should have clung to the remnants of architecture and
history that jutted seductively above the surface of the modern here and
there, if it had not been that cold necessity limited our time and
propelled us relentlessly northward. Even now I find that my pen is
reluctant to leave the tracing of those vanished scenes, and hesitates
to write the last word as much as if it were an enchanter's wand,
instead of a plain, business-like little instrument.

With its usual fatuity the railroad obliged us to start so early that
at the first dusky gray streak of dawn we were dismally taking our
coffee in the _patio_ of the hotel. The _dueño_ was sleeping by sections
on two hard chairs, considerately screened from us by a clump of orange
shrubs, and murmuring now and then some direction to the half-invisible
waiter floating about in a dark arcade; but he roused himself, and woke
up wholly for a minute or two while perpetrating a final extortion.
Otherwise the silence was profound. It was the silence of the past, the
unseen current of oblivion that sets in and begins to eddy round the
facts of to-day, in such a country, the moment human activity is
suspended or the reality of the present is at all dimmed. Silence here
leads at once to retrospection; differing in this from the mute solitude
of American places, which somehow always tingles with anticipation. And
the _dueño_, in overcharging us, became only the type of a long line of
historic plunderers that have infested the Peninsula from the date of
the Roman rule down to the incursion of Napoleon and the most recent
period. His little game was invested with all the dignity of history and
tradition. The sickly light of day above the court struggled feebly and
dividedly with the waning yellow of the candle-flame on our table.

"After all," said Velveteen, "I'm glad to be going, for this is no
longer Spain."

And yet, at the instant of leaving, we discovered that it was indeed
Spain, and a pang of regret followed those words.

As we issued from the hotel we saw, crossing the street in the increased
dawn-light, and striding toward the dépot, the two Civil Guards. It
looked as if we should be captured on the very threshold of liberty. The
thought lent wings to our haste.... Some hours afterward, when we were
passing through the tunnels of the Pyrenees, we congratulated ourselves
on our escape; and, indeed, as we looked back to the mountain-wall from
France, we could fancy we saw two specks on the summit which might have
been our pursuers. They were too late! Their own excess of mystery had
baffled them. They had dogged us every league of the way, and yet we had
traversed Spain without being detected as--what? I really don't know,
but I'm sure those Civil Guards must. If not, their military glare,
their guns, and their secrecy are the merest mockeries.

How softly the waves broke along the Mediterranean sands that morning,
close to the rails over which we were flying! Green and white, or
violet, and shimmered over by the crimson splendor of the illumined
East, they surged one after another upon the golden shore and spent
themselves like wasted treasure. There was something mournful in their
movement--something very sad in the presence of this beauty which I was
never to see again. Did I not hear mingled with the sparkling flash and
murmur of those waves a long-drawn "_A-a-ay!_"--the most pathetic of
Spanish syllables, which had thrown its shadow across the fervid little
songs heard so often by the way?

    "Bird, little bird that wheelest
     Through God's fair worlds in the sky"--

the strain came back again, with the memory of a low-tuned guitar; and
the waves went on, arriving and departing; and the land of our
pilgrimage steadily receded. The waves are breaking yet on that windless
coast; but, for us, Spain--brilliant, tawny, bright-vestured Spain, with
all its ruins and poetry, its desolation and beauty and gaudy
semi-barbarism--has been rapt away once more into the atmosphere of
distance and of dreams!

[Illustration]



HINTS TO TRAVELLERS.


Spain is by no means so difficult a country to reach, nor so
inconvenient to travel in after one has got there, as is generally
supposed. Doubtless the obstacles which it presented to the tourist
until within a few years were great; and much that is disagreeable still
remains to vex those who are accustomed to the smoother ways, and
carefully-oiled machinery for travel, of regions more civilized. But the
establishment of a system of railroads, describing an outline that
passes through nearly all the places which it is desirable to visit, has
supplied a means of transit sufficient, safe, and passably comfortable.
The other disadvantages formerly opposed to the inquiring stranger are
likewise in process of diminution. In order to make clear the exact
state of things likely to be encountered by those who, having followed
the present writer in his account of a rapid journey, may determine to
take a similar direction themselves, this chapter of suggestion is
added, which it is hoped will have value in the way of a practical
equipment for the voyage.

_Patience_.--The first requisite, it should be said, in one about to
visit Spain, is a reasonable amount of good-humored patience, with
which to meet discomforts and provoking delays. The customs of that
country are not to be reversed by fuming at them; anger will not aid the
digestion which finds itself annoyed by a peculiar cookery; and no
amount of irritation will suffice to make Spanish officials and keepers
of hostelries one whit more obliging than they are at present--their
regard for the convenience of the public being just about equal to that
of the average American hotel clerk or railroad employé.

_Passports_.--Next to patience may be placed a passport; though it
differs from the former article in being of no particular use. I observe
that guide-books lay stress upon the passport as something very
important; and, no doubt, it is gratifying to possess one. There is a
subtle flattery in the personal relation, approaching familiarity, which
an instrument of this kind seems to set up on the part of government
toward the individual; there is a charming unreality, moreover, in the
description it gives of your personal appearance and the color of your
eyes, making you feel, when you read it, as if you were a character in
fiction. Following the rules, I procured a passport and put it into a
stout envelope, ready for much use and constant wear; but all that it
accomplished for me was to add a few ounces of weight to my
_impedimenta_. No one ever asked for it, and I doubt whether the
military police would have understood what it was, had they seen it. My
experience on first crossing the frontier taught me never to volunteer
useless information. Our trunks had been passed after a mere opening of
the lids and lifting of the trays, and an officer was listlessly
examining the contents of my shoulder-bag. Thinking that he was troubled
by the enigmatic nature of a few harmless opened letters which it
contained, I said, re-assuringly, as he was dropping them back into
their place, "They are only letters."

"Letters!" he repeated, with rekindled vigilance. And, taking up the
sheets again, of which he could not understand a word, he squandered
several minutes in gazing at them in an absurd pretence of profundity.

If I had insisted on unfurling my country's passport, I should probably
have been taken into custody at once, as a person innocent enough to
deserve thorough investigation. Nevertheless, a passport may be a good
thing to hold in reserve for possible contingencies. It is said also to
be of use, now and then, in securing admission to galleries and museums
on days or at hours when they are generally closed to the public; but of
this I cannot speak from experience.

_Custom-house_.--We had no great difficulty with examinations by
custom-house officers, except at Barcelona, where we arrived about one
o'clock in the morning and had to undergo a scene excessively annoying
at the time, but comical enough in the retrospect. Being desirous to
embark on the hotel omnibus in search of quarters, we hastened to the
baggage-room to claim our trunks by the registry receipt given us at
Valencia; but the "carbineer" explained that we could not have them just
then. After waiting a little, we took out keys and politely proposed to
open them for examination. This, also, he declined. I then offered him a
cigar, which he accepted in a very gracious way, giving it a slight
flourish and shake in his hand (after the usual manner), to indicate his
appreciation of the courtesy; but still he made no motion to accommodate
us in the matter we had most at heart. Some agreeable young Scotchmen,
who had joined our party, urged me to make farther demonstrations, and I
conferred with the omnibus-driver, who explained that we must wait for
some other parcels to be collected from the train before anything could
be done; accordingly, we waited. The other parcels arrived; the policy
of inaction continued. Meanwhile, several French commercial travellers,
who had journeyed hither by the same train in all the splendor of a
spurious parlor-car, chartered for their sole use, had proceeded around
the station, and now attacked the bolted doors at the front of the
baggage-room with furious poundings and loud bi-lingual ejaculations.
But even this had no effect. I therefore concluded that the object of
the "carbineer's" strategy was a bribe; and, for the first and only time
in our journey, I administered one. Getting him aside, I told him
confidentially, with all the animation proper to an entirely new idea,
that we were anxious to get our belongings examined and passed promptly,
so as to secure a resting-place some time before day, and that we should
be greatly obliged if he would assist us. At the same time I slipped two
or three _pesetas_ into his hand, which he took with the same
magnanimous tolerance he had shown on receiving the cigar. This done, he
once more relapsed into apathy. All known resources had now been
exhausted, and there was nothing to do but wait. With dismay I stood by
and saw my silver follow the cigar, swallowed up in the abyss of
official indifference that yawned before us; and to my companions, who
had just been envying me my slight knowledge of Spanish, and admiring my
tact, I became all at once a perfectly useless object, a specimen of
misguided imbecility--all owing to the dense unresponsiveness of the
inspector, whose incapacity to act assumed, by contrast with my own
fruitless energy, a resemblance to genius. The oaths and poundings of
the French battalion at the door went on gallantly all the time, but
were quite as ineffectual as my movement on the rear.

Finally, just when we were reduced to despair, the guard roused himself
from his meditations, rushed to the door, unbolted it to the impatient
assailants, and passed everything in the room without the slightest
examination.

The whole affair remains to this day an enigma; and, as such, one is
forced to accept every trouble of this kind in the Peninsula. But, as I
have said, matters went smoothly enough in other places. Every important
town, I believe, collects its imposts even on articles brought into
market from the surrounding country; and at Seville we paid the hotel
interpreter twenty cents as the nominal duty on our personal belongings.
I have not the slightest doubt that this sum went to swell his own
private revenue; at all events, no such tariff was insisted upon, or
even suggested, elsewhere. The only rule that can be given is to await
the action of customs officials without heat, and, while avoiding undue
eagerness to show that you carry nothing dutiable, hold yourself in
readiness to unlock and exhibit whatever you have. In case a fine should
be exacted, ask for a receipt for the amount; and, if it seems to be
excessive, the American or British consul or commercial agent may
afterward be appealed to.

_Extra Baggage_.--One point of importance in this connection is
generally overlooked. Only about sixty pounds' weight of luggage is
allowed to each traveller; all trunks are carefully weighed at every
station of departure, and every pound over the above amount is charged
for. Hence, unless a light trunk is selected, and the quantity of
personal effects carefully reduced to the least that is practicable, the
expense of a tour in Spain will be appreciably increased by the item of
extra baggage alone. Baggage of all kinds is registered, and a receipt
given by which it may be identified at the point of destination. It is
important, however, to get to the station at least half an hour before
the time for leaving, since this process of weighing and registering,
like that of selling or stamping tickets, is conducted with extreme
deliberation, and cannot be hastened in any way. On diligence routes the
allowance for baggage is only forty-four pounds (twenty kilograms). A
good precaution, in order to guard against unfair weighing, is to get
one's trunk or trunks properly weighed before starting, and keep a
memorandum of the result.

_Tickets, etc_.--It is unadvisable to travel in any but first-class
carriages on the Spanish railroads; and the fare for these is somewhat
high. But a very great saving may be made, if the journey be begun from
Paris, by purchasing _billets circulaires_ (circular or round-trip
tickets), which--with a limitation of two months, as to time--enable the
tourist to go from Paris either to San Sebastian, on the Bay of Biscay,
or Barcelona, on the Mediterranean, and from either of those points to
take in succession all the cities and towns which it is worth while to
visit. A ticket of this kind costs only about ninety dollars, whereas
the usual fare from Paris to Madrid alone is nearly or quite forty
dollars. The _billets circulaires_ may be obtained at a certain central
ticket-office in the Rue St. Honoré, at Paris, to which the inquirer at
either of the great Southern railroads--that is, the Paris-Lyons and the
Orleans lines--will be directed. The list of places at which one is
permitted to stop, on this round-trip system, is very extensive, and a
coupon for each part of the route is provided. It must be observed,
however, that when once the trip is begun the holder cannot return upon
his traces, unless a coupon for that purpose be included, without paying
the regular fare. He must continue in the general direction taken at the
start--entering Spain at one of its northern corners, and coming out at
the opposite northern corner, after having described a sort of
elliptical course through the various points to be visited. And this is,
in fact, the most convenient course to take. It is also prescribed that
at the first frontier station, and at every station from which the
holder afterward starts, he shall show the ticket and have it stamped.
Occasionally, conductors on the trains displayed a tendency to make us
pay something additional; but this was merely an attempt at imposition,
and we always refused to comply. Should the holder of one of these
tickets have a similar experience, and be unable to make the conductor
comprehend, the best thing to do is quietly to persist in not paying,
and, if necessary, have the proper explanation made at the end of the
day's trip.

Journeys by steamer are not included in this arrangement; but we got our
steamer tickets at Malaga remarkably cheap, and in the following manner:
Two boats of rival lines were to start in the same direction on the same
day, and the interpreter, or _valet de place_, attached to our _fonda_,
volunteered to take advantage of this circumstance by playing one
company off against the other, and thus beating them down from the
regular price. So he summoned a dim-eyed and dilapidated man, whilom of
the mariners' calling, to act as an intermediary. This personage was to
go to the office of the boat on which we wanted to embark, and tell them
that we thought of sailing by the other line (which had, in fact, been
the case), but that if we could obtain passage at a price that he named,
we would take their steamer; in short, that here was a fine chance of
capturing two passengers from the opposition. The sum which we handed to
our dim-eyed emissary was seventy-five francs; but, while he was absent
upon his errand of diplomacy, the interpreter figured out that we ought
to have given him eighteen more, and we quite commiserated the poor
negotiator for having gone off with an insufficient supply of cash.
Imagine our astonishment when he returned and, instead of asking for the
additional amount which we had counted out all ready for him, laid
before us a shining gold piece of twenty-five francs which he had not
expended! Deciding to improve upon his instructions, he had paid only
fifty francs for the two passages. We certainly were amazed, but the
interpreter was still more so; for he had evidently expected his
colleague to say nothing about having saved the twenty-five francs, but
to pocket that and eighteen besides for their joint credit (or
_dis_credit) account. He controlled his emotions by a heroic effort; but
the complicated play of stupefaction at his agent's honesty, of bitter
chagrin at the loss involved, and of pretended delight at our remarkable
success, was highly interesting to witness. I have always regretted that
some old Italian medallist could not have been at hand to mould the
exquisite conflict of expression which his face presented at that
moment, and render it permanent in a bronze bass-relief. As it was, we
gave each man a bonus of five francs, and then had paid for our tickets
only about half the established rate.

_Personal Safety_.--Risk of bodily peril from the attacks of bandits, on
the accustomed lines of travel in Spain, need no longer be feared. The
formidable pillagers who once gathered toll along all the highways and
by-ways have been suppressed by the Civil Guards, or military police, a
very trustworthy and thorough organization, which really seems to be the
most (and is, perhaps, the sole) efficient thing about the government of
the kingdom. Of these Guards there are now twenty thousand foot and five
thousand horse distributed throughout the country, keeping it constantly
under patrol, in companies, squads and pairs, never appearing singly;
and where there are only two of them, they walk twelve paces apart on
lonely roads, to avoid simultaneous surprise. They are armed with
rifles, swords, and revolvers, and are drawn from the pick of the royal
army. Some time since there occurred a case in which two of these men
murdered a traveller in a solitary place for the sake of a few thousand
francs he was known to have with him; but the crime was witnessed by a
shepherd lad in concealment, and they were swiftly brought to trial and
executed. This instance is so exceptional as to make it almost an
injustice even to mention it; for, as a rule, perfect dependence may be
placed on the Guards, who are governed by military law and possess a
great _esprit de corps_. A strong group of them is posted in every city;
at every railroad station, no matter how small, there are two members of
the force on duty, and two more usually accompany each train. The result
of all these precautions is that one may take his seat in a Spanish
railroad-carriage absolutely with less fear of robbery or violence than
he might reasonably feel in England or America. The only instance of
banditti pillaging a railroad-train that is known to have occurred while
I was in Spain, was that of the James brothers in Missouri, whose
outrages upon travellers, in our peaceful and fortunate Republic, were
reported to us by cable, while we were struggling through the imaginary
perils of a perfect police system in a country that knows not the
subtleties of American institutions. And, while we were thus proceeding
upon our way, an atrocious murder was committed in a carriage of the
London and Brighton Railway, which was not the first of its kind to set
the English public shivering with dread and horror.

Even the diligence now appears to be as safe as the rail-carriage. But
it should be clearly understood that, when one goes off the beaten track
and attempts horseback journeys, he exposes himself to quite other
conditions, which it is absurd to expect the police to control. An
acquaintance tells me that he has made excursions of some length in the
saddle, in Spain, meeting nothing but courtesy and good-will; but he
took care to have his pistol-holsters well filled and in plain sight. To
travel on horseback without an armed and trusty native guide (who should
be well paid, and treated with tact and cordiality) is certainly not the
most prudent thing that can be done; but solitary pedestrianism is mere
foolhardiness. A young French journalist of promise, known to be of good
habits, had been loitering alone about Pamplona a short time before the
date of my trip, and was one morning found murdered outside of the
walls. While I was in the South, too, as I afterward learned, an
Englishman, who was concluding a brief foot-tour in the North, attempted
to make his way in the evening from San Sebastian to Irun, on the
frontier: he was captured by bandits, kept imprisoned for a week in a
lonely hut, and doubtless narrowly missed coming to his death. His own
account of his escape gives a vivid idea of the treatment that may be
expected from the rural population by anybody who gets into a similar
predicament.

"I resolved," he says, "to strive for liberty. Having worked out a
stone, which I found rather loose in the wall near me, and having taken
advantage of the darkness of my corner, I gnawed asunder the cord that
bound me. I made for the door, which opened into the other apartment,
and there being but one guard left over me--the others being off on some
expedition--I watched for an opportunity. Presently it was afforded me.
As the fellow sat with his back toward me, resting his head upon his
hands, I stole forward, holding my stone in readiness, and with one blow
laid him on the floor. Then, snatching up a knife from the table, I ran
out, and after wandering among the mountains most of the night found
myself at daybreak on the high-way, my feet cut with the stones and my
strength gone. I fainted. On coming round I attempted in vain to rise,
when, two men coming along with a bullock-cart, I asked for help. All
they did was to prod me with their goads and march on. The laborers were
now returning to their work in the fields, and seeing my attempt to
regain my feet, several of them pelted me with clods. I had little
strength left, but at last I managed to get on my feet, and having
rested a while to regain my strength, I staggered along to the town and
waited upon the English vice-consul, who kindly provided me with food
and clothes, after which I accompanied him before the governor of the
province, to make my statement." The Spanish Government do not
acknowledge responsibility for proceedings of this kind on the part of
their people; hence it is doubtful whether in such a case the victim,
after all his peril and suffering, can even recover the value of what
has been stolen from him. But it is perfectly, easy to keep out of the
way of such adventures.

In the Hotel de los Siete Suelos, at Granada, it is true that the
night-porter used to strap around his meagre waist, when he went on
duty, a great swashbuckler's sword, as if some bloody nocturnal
incursion were impending. But whatever the danger was that threatened,
it never befell: the door of the hotel always remained wide open, and
our bellicose porter regularly went to sleep soundly on a bench beside
it, with his weapon dangling ingloriously over his legs. No one ever
seemed to think of using keys for their hotel rooms except in Madrid;
and so far as any likelihood of theft was concerned, this confidence
seemed to be well justified. Many articles that might have roused the
cupidity of unambitious thieves, and could easily have been taken, were
left by my companion and myself lying about our unlocked apartments, but
we sustained no loss.

_Language_.--One cannot travel to the best advantage in Spain without
having at least a moderate knowledge of French; or, still better, of
Spanish. Railroad employés, customs officers, guards, and inn-keepers
there, as a rule, understand only their native tongue. Now and then one
will be found who has command of a very few French words; but this is
quite the exception, and even when it occurs, is not of much use. At the
hotels in all places frequented by foreigners there are interpreters,
who conduct transactions between traveller and landlord, and act as
guides to places of public interest. For services of this kind they must
be paid seven or eight francs a day, certainly not more, and in the
smaller towns less will suffice. These interpreters always speak a
little French; but their English is a decidedly variable quantity. Of
course, people constantly make their way through the kingdom on the
resources of English alone; but it is obvious that in so doing they must
miss a great many opportunities for curious or instructive observation;
and even in viewing the regulation sights the want of an easy medium of
communication will often cause interesting details to be omitted. The
possibility of employing a courier for the whole journey remains open;
but that is a very expensive expedient, and greatly hampers one's
freedom. Enough Spanish for the ordinary needs of the way can be learned
in a month's study, by any one who has an aptitude for languages.
Italian will by no means take the place of it, although some
acquaintance with that language may facilitate the study of Spanish; the
fact being kept in mind, however, that the guttural character of Spanish
is quite alien to the genius of Italian speech, and comes more naturally
to one who knows German. If the tourist have time enough at his
disposal, it is well to take quarters somewhere in a _casa de
huespedes_, or boarding-house, for two or three weeks, in order to
become familiar with the vernacular.

_Manners_.--There is a superstition that, if you will only keep taking
off your hat and presenting complimentary cigars, you will meet with
marvels of courteous response, and accomplish nearly everything you want
to, in Spain. But the voyager who relies implicitly on this attractive
theory will often suffer disappointment. It will do no harm for him to
cool his brow by a free indulgence in cap-doffing; and to make presents
of the wretched government cigars commonly in use will be found a
pleasanter task than smoking them. In fact, a failure to observe these
solemn ceremonies places him in the position of a churlish and
disfavored person. But, on the other hand, polite attentions of this
kind are often enough met by a lethargic dignity and inertia that are
far from gratifying. Under such circumstances, let the tourist remember
and apply that prerequisite which I began with mentioning--good-humored
patience. I found my companions by the rail or at _tables d'hóte_
sometimes considerate and agreeable, at others quite the reverse, and
disposed to ignore the existence of foreigners as something beneath
notice. I remember once, when Velveteen and I, obliged to change cars,
had barely time, before the train was to move again, to spring into a
compartment pointed out by the conductor, we found there a well-dressed
but gross Spaniard, of the wealthy or noble class, who had had the
section marked _reservado_, and the curtains carefully drawn. He sprang
up from his nap with a snort, and glared angrily at the intruders, then
burst into a storm of rage and expostulation, most of which he
discharged out of window at the conductor: but, finding that he could
get no satisfaction in that way, he subsided into sullen disdain, paying
no attention to my "_Buenas dias_" ("Good-day"), and making his
dissatisfaction prominent by impatient gestures and mutterings from time
to time. Owing to the cost of baggage transport, too, the natives
generally carry a large number of bundles, bags, and miniature trunks in
the first-class as well as other carriages--thus avoiding any fee--so
that it is often difficult to find a place for packages, or to pass in
and out; and those who thus usurp the room are apt to look with cynical
indifference at the perplexities of the latest comer, whom they leave to
shift for himself as well as he can. Nevertheless, it is an almost
universal custom that any one who produces a lunch during the ride,
offers it to all the chance company in the compartment before partaking
of it himself. It is a point of politeness not to accept such an
invitation, but it must be extended just the same as if this were not
the case. In one respect the Spaniards are extremely polite--that is, in
showing strangers the way from point to point. Frequently, the first man
of whom you inquire how to get back to your hotel, or elsewhere, will
insist upon accompanying you the whole distance, in order to make sure
that you do not go wrong; and this although it may lie entirely out of
his own direction. Such a favor becomes a very important and desirable
one in the tortuous streets of most Spanish towns.

Among themselves the rule is that all ranks and classes should treat
each other with respect, meeting on terms of a grave but not familiar
equality: hence they expect a similar mode of address from strangers.
When all the conditions are fulfilled, their courtesy is of the
magnificent order--it is serious, composed, and dignified. Each
individual seems to be living on a pedestal; he bows, or makes a
flowing gesture, and you get an exact idea what it would be like to have
the Apollo Belvedere receive you as a host, or a Jupiter Tonans give you
an amicable salutation.

As in America, however, it is usually not easy to get information from
those who are especially hired or appointed to give it. The personal
service of the railroads, with rare exceptions, is ungracious and
careless. One must be sure to ask about all the details he wants to
know, for these are seldom volunteered. There is a main office (called
Despacho Central) in each city, where you may buy tickets, order an
omnibus for the station, make inquiries, etc. At the one in Toledo I
presented our circular tickets for stamping, on departure, and asked
several questions about the train, which showed the agent plainly what
line we were going to take. When we reached Castillejo, I found that, in
spite of all this, he had allowed us to take a road on which the tickets
he had stamped were not valid, and we were forced to pay the whole fare.
Neither will conductors be at the pains to shut the doors on the sides
of the cars; passengers must do this for themselves. I had travelled all
night in a compartment, and in the morning, wishing to look out, I
leaned against the door, and it instantly flew open. As it was on the
off-side when I got in, it was at that time already closed; but I now
discovered that the handle had not even been turned to secure it. The
superficial way in which people do things over there is seen in the
curious little fact that, from the time of leaving France until that of
our return, we could nowhere get the backs of our boots blacked, though
repeatedly insisting on it; the national belief being that trousers
conceal that part of the shoe, and labor given to improving its
appearance would therefore be thrown away.

The demand for fees is in general not so systematic or impudent as in
England; but when one intends to stay more than a day in a place, better
attendance will be obtained by bestowing a present of a franc or two,
although service is included in the regular daily rate of the hotel.
Finally, the Spaniard with whom one comes most in contact as a tourist
is peculiarly averse to being scolded; so that, whatever the
provocation, it is better to deal with him softly.

_Hotels, Diet, etc_.--The Spanish hotels are conducted on the American
plan; so much a day being paid for room, fare, light, heat, and service.
This sum ranges commonly from $1 50 to $2 00 a head, except where the
very best rooms are supplied. The foreigner, of course, pays a good deal
more than the native, but it is impossible for him to avoid that.
Sometimes coffee after dinner is included in this price, but coffee
after the mid-day breakfast is charged as an extra; and so are all wines
except the ordinary red or white Val de Peñas, which are supplied with
both meals. Nothing is furnished before the breakfast hour excepting a
cup of chocolate, some bread, and, possibly, butter. One should always
see his rooms before engaging them, and also be particular to ask
whether the price named includes everything, otherwise additional items
will be foisted upon him when the bill is settled. Confusion in the
account may be avoided by paying for all extras at the moment of
obtaining them.

Those who are unaccustomed to the light provend furnished for the
morning will do well to carry a stock of beef-extract, or something of
the kind. Cow's milk is difficult to get, and such a thing as a boiled
egg with the chocolate is well-nigh unheard of. The national beverage is
the safest: warm chocolate, not very sweet, and so thick that it will
almost hold the spoon upright. Coffee in the morning does not have the
same nutritive force; indeed, quite otherwise than in France and
Germany, it appears to exert in this climate an injurious effect if
drunk early in the day--at least, a comparison of notes shows it to be
so in summer. Rather more attention should be given to diet in Spain
than in the countries above named, or in England and Italy, owing to
peculiarities of the climate and the cookery. Whoever has not a hardy
digestion runs some danger of disturbance from the all but universal use
of olive-oil in cooking; but, with this exception, the tendency is more
and more toward the adoption of a French _cuisine_ in the best hotels of
the larger cities, and various good, palatable dishes are to be had in
them. The native wines are unadulterated, but strong and heavy. Owing to
something in their composition, or to the unpleasant taste imparted by
the pig-skins, they are to some persons almost poisonous; so that a
degree of caution is necessary in using them. Water has the reputation
of being especially pure in all parts of the kingdom, and of exercising
a beneficial influence on some forms of malady. It certainly is
delicious to drink.

There is much greater cleanliness in the hotels, taking them all in all,
than I had expected; but the want of proper sanitary provision, omitting
the solitary case of the Fonda Suizo at Cordova, where everything was
perfect in this respect, leads to a state of things which may be
described in a word as Oriental--that is, barbarous in the extreme, and
scarcely endurable. On this point professional guide-writers are
strangely silent. A wise precaution is to carry disinfectants. A small
medicine-case, by-the-way, might with advantage be included in the
equipment proper for travel in the Peninsula.

We touched the nadir of dirt and unsavoriness, as you may say, in our
first night at the Fonda del Norte, in Burgos; and there the maid who
ushered me to my room warned me, as she retreated, to be careful about
keeping the doors of the anteroom closed because, as she said, "There
are many rats, and if the doors are open they run in here." But luckily
the rest of our experience was an agreeable decline from this early
climax. There is another hotel at Burgos, the Raffaele, which, as we
learned too late, is--in complete contradiction of the guide-books--clean
and pleasant. On the practical side, that voyager will achieve success
who plans his route in Spain so as to evade the Fonda del Norte at
Burgos, which is the stronghold of dirt, and the Hotel de Paris at
Madrid, which takes the palm for extortion. Naturally, in exploring
minor towns or villages, one must be prepared to face a good deal of
discomfort, since he must seek shelter at a _posada_ or _venta_, where
donkeys and other domestic beasts are kept under one roof with the
wayfarer, and perhaps in close proximity to his bed and board. But among
the inns of modern type he will get on fairly well without having to
call out any very great fortitude.

_Expense of Travel_.--From what has been said about circular tickets and
hotel prices, some notion can be formed as to the general cost of a
Spanish expedition. Housing and transportation should not be reckoned at
less than six dollars a day; and allowance must next be made for guides,
carriages, admission fees, and so on. Altogether, ten dollars a day may
be considered sufficient to cover the strictly necessary outlay, if the
journey be conducted in a comfortable manner; but it is safer to assume
one hundred dollars a week as the probable expense for one person, and
this will leave a margin for the purchase of characteristic articles
here and there--a piece of lace, a little pottery, knives, cheap fans,
and so on. This estimate is made on the basis of first-class places _en
route_, and of stops at the best hotels. It could be materially reduced
by choosing second-class hotels, which is by no means advisable when
ladies are of the party; and, even with the better accommodation, if
small rooms be selected and a careful economy exercised in other
directions, sixty dollars a week might be made to do. To dispense with
the aid of the local guides is no saving, if the design be to move
rapidly; because, without such assistance, more time has to be spent in
getting at a given number of objects.

_Mail-service, Telegrams, Books, etc_.--The mails are conveyed with
promptness and safety, it appears; although at Malaga I observed a large
padlocked and green-painted chest with a narrow aperture in it, lying on
the sidewalk in no particular custody, and learned that it was a
convenient movable post-office. Furthermore, it is bewildering to find,
after painfully travelling to the genuine post-office (the _Corréo_),
that you cannot buy any stamps there. These are kept on sale only at the
shops of tobacconists, whose trade likewise makes them agents of the
governmental monopoly in cigars, cigarettes, etc. The tobacconists'
stores bear the sign _Estanco_ (stamp-shop); and, after one is
accustomed to the plan, it becomes really more convenient to obtain
one's postage from them. To weigh large envelopes or packages, however,
the sender must resort to the _Corréo_. International postal cards may
be had, which are good between Spain and France, and other rates are not
high. Those who intend to pass rapidly from point to point will do well
to have all correspondence directed to the care of the American consul
or vice-consul--or, if in Madrid, to the legation there. There is no
difficulty about letters addressed in English, provided the writing be
plain. At the first city which he touches the tourist should ascertain
from the representative of his nationality the names of all
representatives in the other places he expects to go to, so that he can
forward the precise address for each place, and himself be informed just
where to apply for letters or counsel. In cases where there is no time
to take these measures, the plan may be followed of having letters
addressed _poste restante_ at the various points; but they must then be
called for at the post-office, and at each town orders should be left
with the postmaster to forward to some farther objective point any
mail-matter expected at that town, but not received there. In requesting
any service of this kind from consuls, do not forget to leave with them
a proper amount of postage.

Telegrams may be sent from all large places, in English, at rates about
the same as those which prevail elsewhere; but if it is intended to send
many messages by wire, a simple code ought to be arranged with
correspondents beforehand, to save expense. Telegrams have to be written
very carefully, too; I attempted to send one from Granada, but made a
slight correction in one word--a fact which caused it to be brought all
the way back from the city to my hotel on the Alhambra hill, with an
imperative request that it should be rewritten and returned free from
the least scratch or blot.

Whatever books you may wish to consult on the journey should be provided
at the very start, in America, London, or Paris: ten to one you will
not find them in Spain. It is pleasant, for example, to refer on the
spot to an English version of "Don Quixote," or the French "Gil Blas;"
or Prescott's "Ferdinand and Isabella," and the "Columbus," the
"Conquest of Granada," and "Tales of the Alhambra," by Irving. Théophile
Gautier's "Voyage en Espagne" is another very delightful hand-mirror in
which to see your own observations reflected. But none of these are
obtainable except, possibly, in Madrid and Barcelona; and even there it
is not certain that they will be found. These two cities are the
head-quarters, however, for such Spanish books as may be required.

_Bankers and Money_.--Little need be said on this point, beyond
suggesting the usual circular letter of credit, except to forewarn all
persons concerned that they will be charged and must submit to very
heavy commissions and exchange at the houses where their letters entitle
them to draw. Another particular which it is essential to note is the
uncertain currency of certain silver coinage in Spain, and the
prevalence of counterfeit pieces. Strangers must fight shy of any kind
of _peseta_ (equivalent to a franc) except the recent and regulation
ones, though there are many dating from earlier reigns than Alfonso's,
which will pass anywhere. The small money of one province frequently
will not be received in another; and it happened to me to preserve with
great care a Barcelona _peseta_, which I found unavailable everywhere
else, and had accepted by an oversight in Sevilla, in the confident hope
that I could get rid of it at Barcelona itself; but I discovered that
that was exactly the place where they treated it with the most contempt.
Hence it is best, before leaving one province for another, to convert
your change into gold pieces of twenty-five _pesetas_ worth, or into
silver dollars (which are called _duros_), worth five _pesetas_ each.

Here, however, let it be noted that the one infallible course to prevent
deception is to ring on some solid surface of wood or stone every gold
or silver coin you receive at the hotel, the banker's, or anywhere else.
If it give a flat sound, no matter what its real value may be, great
trouble will be had in passing it; hence, you must in that case refuse
to take it. For example, a five-dollar piece was given me which failed
to yield the true sound; and though it was perfectly good, having merely
become cracked, I could do nothing with it, even at the Madrid banker's;
finally getting its value in silver, by a mere chance, from a
professional money-changer of more than common enlightenment.

Never give a gold piece to a waiter or any one else to be changed,
unless the transaction is effected under your own eye; for, if he
carries the coin away out of your sight, a substitution will very likely
be made, and you cannot then get rid of the uncurrent money which will
be forced upon you. The precaution of ringing or sounding money, on
receipt, is so general that no one need feel any hesitation at
practising it, however it may seem to reflect upon the person who has
proffered the coin. Spanish gold pieces in small quantity may with
advantage be bought in Paris. On the other hand, it is well to carry
more or less Napoleons with you, because French gold is trusted, and
passes with slight discount. The traveller should be provided with both
kinds. Always and persistently refuse Spanish paper.

_Buying Bric-à-brac, Lace, etc_.--Those who wish to purchase
characteristic products of the country, ancient or modern, need not fear
that opportunity will be wanting; but the most obvious means are not
always the best. The interpreters or guides attached to hotels are in
most places only too anxious to aid in this sort of enterprise; but it
is because they wish to dispose of some private stock of their own, for
which they will surely demand double price. By courteous but decided
treatment they may be led to make most astonishing reductions from their
first demand; and this channel is accordingly, if properly handled,
often as good as any other. Guides in Cordova will offer an assortment
of old hand-made lace, and introduce you to the silversmiths who there
manufacture a peculiarly effective sort of filigree in ear-rings,
shawl-pins, brooches, and other forms. Cordova is the best place in
which to get this kind of ware; but if lace be the object sought,
Sevilla or Barcelona is a much more advantageous market. Machine-made
lace, which is now the favorite kind among Spanish ladies, and has been
brought to a high degree of delicacy, can be obtained in the greatest
variety and on the best terms at Barcelona, where it is made. Many
foreigners, however, prefer the hand-made kind; and these should explore
Sevilla in search of what they wish, for they can there get it at
reasonable prices. In this connection it is to be premised that the
assistance of some personal acquaintance among the Spaniards themselves,
if it can be had, will always effect a considerable saving; and, when
time can be allowed, the best way always is to make inquiry and prowl
around among the stores for one's self. There are few professed
antiquarian and bric-à-brac salesrooms out of Madrid; but one can often
pick up what he wants in out-of-the-way places. Perhaps the best towns
in which to buy the peculiar gay-colored and ball-fringed _mantas_, or
mantles of the country, and the equally curious _alforjas_ used by the
peasantry, are Granada and Valencia. In Toledo there is a very peculiar
and effective sort of black-and-gray felt blanket, with brilliant
embroideries; that city, like the two just mentioned, being a centre of
textile industry. The purchase of costumes in actual use, from the
peasants themselves, which is something that artists may find useful,
can be accomplished after due bargaining, and by the intervention of the
professional interpreter.

The pottery and porcelain of Spain exhibit a great variety of beautiful
shapes, many of them doubtless Moorish in their origin; and some kinds
are invested with a bold, peculiar coloring, dashed on somewhat in the
Limoges style, but very characteristic of the climate and landscape in
which they are produced. The abundance of unusual and graceful forms
constantly suggests the idea of making a collection. I shall not attempt
to specify the localities most favorable for the carrying out of this
idea; because, so far as my own observation went, there seemed to be
material worth investigating almost everywhere. The common unglazed
bottles and jars made and used by the peasantry in the South, however,
are especially attractive, and are met with only in that part of the
country. They are likewise nearly as cheap as the substance from which
they are made. At Granada, too, there is manufactured a heavy
blue-and-white glazed ware, turned with refined and simple contours, of
honest elegance. Formerly barbers' basins moulded on the Spanish
plan--that is, with a curved piece cut out at one side--were made of
porcelain; and these may still sometimes be picked up in Madrid
junk-shops or antiquarian lairs. They are not always good specimens of
decorative art, but they are curious and effective. Part of an extensive
collection I saw, which had recently been made by an American gentleman;
and I could imagine that, when hung upon the wall by his distant
fireside across the Atlantic, they would form an interesting series of
trophies--a row of ceramic scalps, one might say, marking the fate of so
many vanquished dealers.

Old furniture, heavy with carving or marvellously inlaid according to
traditions of the Moors--monumental pieces, such as were to be seen in
the loan collection of Spanish Art at the South Kensington in 1881, and
are sparsely imported into the United States--offers larger prizes to
those who search and pay. Many relics of ancient costume, dating from
the period of courtly splendor; rich fabrics; embroideries; sacerdotal
robes and disused altar-cloths; and occasional precious metal-work, may
farther be unearthed in the bric-à-brac shops. With due care such
objects will often be obtained at moderate cost. But it is to be
remembered that the price paid on the spot forms only one item.
Transportation to the final shipping-point and the ocean freightage are
very high; amounting in the case of cheap articles to far more than the
original outlay for their purchase.

_Seasons for Travel_.--A question of very great moment is, what time of
year should be chosen for a sojourn in Spain? The answer to it depends
entirely upon the organization of the person asking, and his object in
going. For a simple trip in search of novelty, the voyager being of good
constitution, it makes little difference. From the first of June until
the first of October the heat, in almost any spot south of the Pyrenees,
will be found severe. From the first of October until the first of June,
severe, cold, treacherous changing winds, snow, and ice will be
encountered, save in a few favored localities hereinafter to be named,
under the head of "Climate for Health." Of the two extremes, summer is
perhaps to be preferred; because the voyager at that time knows
precisely what he has got to prepare for and can meet it, whereas winter
is a more variable emergency. A person of good constitution,
understanding how to take care of himself in either case, and with an
eye to local habits as adapted to the season, may go at any time. Autumn
and spring, however, are obviously the ideal seasons for a visit. From a
comparison of authorities, and from my own observation of a part of the
summer, I should advise going during the period from October 1 to
December 1, or from April 1 to June 1. A tour involving more than two
months' time, of course, must pass these limits. For hardy and judicious
travellers there is no objection to a sojourn including June and July;
although it must be said that sight-seeing at the South during these
months is more in the nature of endurance than of recreation. I
encountered no serious local fever or other ailment due to hot weather,
excepting a kind of cholera referred to in one of the preceding
chapters, called _el minuto_ (the minute), at Sevilla. By beginning a
trip at the southern end of the Peninsula and gradually working along
northward toward France, four months from March 1 or April 1 could be
utilized without any unusual discomfort.

_Routes_.--The topic just discussed necessarily has a good deal to do
with the selection of a route, which, from the position of the country,
must be made to begin from the North or from the South.

Let us notice, first, the general lines of approach from different
quarters.

From New York direct, for example, one may sail for Cadiz in steamers of
the Anchor and Guion lines, or in the Florio (Spanish) steamers, which
last I have heard spoken of in favorable terms by authority presumably
good. From London there are two lines of steamers: one, Messrs. Hall's,
leaving weekly for Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malaga, and Cadiz; the other,
Messrs. MacAndrew's, leaving London three times a week for Bilbao and
the principal ports on the Mediterranean. For any one wishing to visit
Spain alone, these form the cheapest and nearest means of reaching the
country. To go by steamer from London is, however, very obviously a
slower way than to take the rail from the English capital to Paris and
thence to the frontier, either at Irun and San Sebastian, or at
Barcelona by way of Marseilles and Perpignan. So that, where speed alone
is the object, one may take a fast steamer from New York to Liverpool,
use the rail thence to London, and arrive in Burgos, for instance, about
fifty hours after leaving London. The through train from Paris for Spain
leaves in the evening. Voyagers from the East and Italy, designing to
pass through Spain on their return westward, can embark on the
Peninsular and Oriental steamers, or those of the Messageries
Imperiales.

When one passes through France, on the way, it is possible to buy a
Continental railroad guide, which gives all the trains in Spain and
France, and the connection of one system with the other across the
boundary. This is to be recommended as an exceedingly useful document.

It may as well be remarked here that the information ordinarily given in
books about the coasting steamers from one port to another along the
Mediterranean coast of Spain is as untrustworthy as it is vague. The
precise date of departure from any given town on the coast for the other
ports to the north-east or south-west is not very easy to ascertain,
except in the town itself. One or another steamer, however, is pretty
sure to sail from Cadiz, Malaga, Valencia, and Barcelona two or three
times a week; so that one can scarcely fail of what the Germans call an
"opportunity." There is undoubtedly a difference in the various lines,
as regards comfort and swiftness of progress; but it is not true, as the
guide-books assert, that the French steamers alone are good, and that
the Spanish are dirty and comfortless. We personally inspected two boats
in the harbor of Malaga before making choice; one was French and the
other Spanish, and we found the latter much the more commodious and
cleanly. But, then, it is possible that some other Spanish line than
the one we selected may be inferior to some still other French line
which we did not see. Everybody can satisfy himself, by simply viewing
whatever steamers happen to be on hand for the trip, before engaging
passage. The accommodations on all of them seem to be of a kind that
would not be tolerated for a day in America; but they compare well with
those of the best boats on the English Channel, being fairly on a level
with the incomplete civilization of Europe in respect of convenience,
privacy, and hygiene. The cabins become close and unwholesome at night,
and few staterooms are provided. These last are built to receive from
four to six persons, who may be total strangers to each other; hence,
any one who wishes to be independent of chance comers must betake
himself to the deck at night, or else make special arrangements to
secure an entire room before starting.

Again, on the railroads, many journeys have to be made at night; and it
is seldom that one can secure a sleeping-coach. On much-travelled lines
these are usually bespoken a week in advance. Failing to get the
_wagon-lit_, as the sleeping-car is called, after the French fashion,
one may sometimes engage a _berlina_, which is simply the _coupé_ or end
compartment of a car. This, being made to seat three persons instead of
six, is allowed to be reserved. It costs about two dollars for a
distance of one hundred miles.

The route to be followed in any particular case has, in the nature of
things, to be determined by the purpose and circumstances of the
tourist. One may make a geological and mineralogical tour, inspecting
the mountains and the mines of Spain, and find his hands tolerably full
at that; or, one may wend his way to the Peninsula solely to study the
achievements of the former national schools of painting there, in which
case Sevilla and the picture-gallery at Madrid will be his only
objective points--the latter chief and almost inexhaustible. The
architectural treasures of Spain constitute another source of interest
sufficient in itself for a whole journey and months of study. But those
who go with aims of this sort will find all the advice they need in
guides and special works. What will more probably be sought here is
merely an outline for the wanderer who sets out to obtain general views
and impressions in a brief space of time. Him, then, I advise, if the
season be propitious, to enter Spain from the north, pursue in the main
a straight line to the southern extremity; and then, having made the
excursion to Granada--which in the present state of the railways must be
a digression from the general circuit--proceed along the shores of the
Mediterranean toward France again. In this case his trip will arrange
itself in the following order:

                                          DAYS

Paris to San Sebastian                       2


Thence to Pamplona. Back to main line.
  Burgos                                     3

Valladolid                                   1

Thence to Salamanca                          2

Back to main line. Avila                     1

Escorial, and drive to Segovia               2

Madrid                                       8
  Or, from Avila go direct to Madrid, and
    then to Escorial, Segovia, and return.

Alcalá de Henáres (birthplace of Cervantes)
  may be reached by a short railtrip from
  Madrid eastward                            1

Aranjuez                                     1

Toledo                                       2

Cordova                                      2

Sevilla                                      5

Cadiz                                        2

Gibraltar (by steamer)                       2

Malaga                                       1

Ronda (by rail and diligence)                2

Granada                                      4

Return to Malaga                             1

Cartagena (steamer)                          2

Murcia (rail)                                1

Elche palmgroves (diligence)                 1

Alicante (diligence)                         1

Or, diligence and rail direct to Valencia    1

Valencia (drive in the Huerta)               2

Zaragoza                                     2

Manresa, and monastery of Monserrat          3

Barcelona                                    3

Gerona                                       1

To Marseilles                                1
                                            --
                                            60

The preceding estimate includes the time to be allowed for going from
place to place; but, as will be seen, the total includes some extra days
occurring in the count where an option is suggested. To accomplish all
that is laid down here in two months, however, would be very close and
hard work; in order to go over the ground comfortably, an extra week or
two should be allowed. The great advantage of entering the kingdom by
way of San Sebastian is that the first impression of the Pyrenees is
much finer there than by way of Perpignan to Gerona and Barcelona. One
also plunges immediately into the heart of ancient Spain on touching
Pamplona and Burgos; and these lead in the most natural and direct way
to Valladolid (the old capital and the place where "Don Quixote" was
written), to Salamanca, Avila, Segovia, and the Escorial. Furthermore,
after Madrid has intervened between North and South with its mingling of
past and present, the succession of interest follows an ascending scale
through Toledo, Cordova, and Sevilla, culminating at Granada. Next, the
Mediterranean route presents itself as something having a special unity
of its own, with a recurrence to special phases of antiquity again in
Zaragoza, Monserrat, and Gerona. If, on the other hand, we begin with
Barcelona and go southward before coming up to Madrid, we receive a
first impression less striking and characteristic, and also pluck the
most ideal flowers--Granada, Sevilla, Cordova--before coming to Madrid.
Taken in the light of such a contrast, Toledo, Avila, Burgos, and the
rest of the northern places will seem less attractive than when grouped
together in an introductory glimpse, as a prelude to the more poetic
South.

Supposing, however, that the traveller lands at once in Cadiz, from the
deck of a steamer, he must put all this fine theory aside, and make the
best of the case. His programme will then depend on whether he proposes
to end by going into France, or to return without crossing the Pyrenees.
In the latter event, he might do well to follow the rail to Sevilla,
Cordova, Toledo, and Madrid; then visit the Escorial, Avila, Segovia,
and afterward strike off abruptly to the north-east, through Zaragoza
and Monserrat to Barcelona, coming down the coast again either by rail
or steamer to Valencia, and reserving Granada until near the end. After
Granada, a return to Malaga and a touch at Gibraltar would deposit him
exactly where he started from, at Cadiz.

Should he wish to wind up in France, the situation is more complicated.
He must then take Gibraltar first, come back to Sevilla, go to Granada,
thence to Cordova and Toledo--omitting Valencia wholly, unless he be
willing to double interminably on his tracks--pass from Toledo to
Madrid, and then decide whether he will go north-westward through Avila
and Burgos, north-eastward through Zaragoza and Barcelona, or attempt to
embrace both routes by zigzagging across the widest part of the kingdom.

There remains, finally, the alternative of starting from Cadiz, visiting
Sevilla and Granada, and then, by way of Cordova, Toledo and Madrid,
continuing north to Valladolid, Burgos, and the French frontier, without
troubling the eastern half of the country at all. This route, after all,
includes the most that is best worth seeing, if we leave out Zaragoza
and Monserrat.

Let me add only that nobody should be deterred, by the schedule given on
the preceding page, from making a shorter visit to the Peninsula, if it
come within his range, when circumstances grant him less time than is
there allotted. Even in _three_ weeks a general tour could be
accomplished, allowing several days at Madrid and very brief pauses at
Avila, the Escorial, Toledo, Cordova, Sevilla, Granada, and Barcelona.
So rapid a flight, nevertheless, the voyager must be prepared to find,
will induce a harassing sense that at every point much that it would be
desirable to see has been passed over. But even an outline of actual
experience is sometimes more prized than a complete set of second-hand
impressions.

Furthermore, a _single week_ would suffice the traveller who found
himself on the borders of Spain, to make an excursion which he could
hardly regret. Thus from Biarritz one can, in that space of time, cross
the border and run down to Madrid, glance rapidly at the gallery there,
and take the Escorial, Avila, or Burgos--or possibly two of these--on
the return. From Marseilles he can visit Gerona, Barcelona, and
Monserrat. Similarly, touching at Cadiz, he can go to Sevilla, Cordova,
and Granada, get a general survey of those places, including the
Alhambra and two of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, and
return to Cadiz or Malaga, all in seven or eight days. Indeed, one who
has it in his power to reach Granada and spend a day or two there,
without attempting to see anything else, ought not to forego the
opportunity. The sight of the Alhambra alone, and of the enchanting
landscape that surrounds it, may well repay the loss incurred by an
inability to make farther explorations.

All these details in regard to flying trips I submit with due knowledge
that whoever profits by them, at the same time that he admits himself
under obligation for the counsel, will perhaps never forgive himself for
seeing thus much and no more, and may even include in this unrelenting
mood his benevolent adviser.

Enough, I think, has now been said to furnish a basis for all manner of
individual modification. The large anatomical lines, as it were, have
been indicated; and on these each tourist may construct his own ideal,
with any desired curtailment or extension of time to be consumed.

_Climate for Health_--The resources of Spain as a health resort are, in
general, hardly suspected, much less widely known; and a great deal has
doubtless yet to be done before they can be rendered available. Still,
the existing conditions and favorable circumstances are worth
summarizing in this place. In a singularly careful work on the winter
and spring climates of the Mediterranean shores, Dr. J. H. Bennett, of
England, arrives at some important conclusions respecting the localities
of the Spanish coast. To begin with, the vital distinction has to be
noted that the Peninsula (leaving out the corner abutting on the
Atlantic) possesses two distinct climates: _first_, that of the central
raised plains stretching from range to range of its several
mountain-ribs; and, _second_, that of the sea-level and the latitude in
which the country lies. The former is perforce much the colder, and is
subject to raw winds; the latter is mild and uncommonly dry. The health
regions of Spain are confined to the east and south-east coasts, where
the land subsides nearly to the sea-level, and is open to the balmy
influences natural to the latitude. Dr. Bennett observes that the north
and north-west winds precipitate their moisture in the mountains of the
central regions of Spain, and that the north-east winds are drawn down
to Algeria by the Desert of Sahara, which creates a sort of vacuum
compelling them southward. As a matter of fact, they do not molest the
eastern coast. Hence, in the words of this physician, "the eastern coast
of Spain is probably the driest region of Europe, drier even than the
Genoese Riviera." Accordingly, Murcia, Alicante, Valencia, Tarragona,
and even Barcelona--far north though the last-mentioned is--all offer
extraordinary advantages of climate to the average run of patients
afflicted with chronic chest disease, pulmonary consumption, chronic
bronchitis, bronchitic asthma, chronic diseases of the kidney, debility
and anæmia from any cause, and the failing vitality of old age. Cadiz,
too, possesses a most equable temperature. It is noted, however, by the
writer whom I follow, that the dry air of these places is injurious in
those exceptional cases of chest disease, of nervous asthma and
neuralgia, which are found to be aggravated by a stimulating atmosphere.
Dr. Bennett's theory is that the towns just referred to lie under a
qualifying disadvantage, inasmuch as they stand at some distance from
the mountains, thus permitting the cold winds from the latter to fall
into the plain and sweep the towns to a certain extent. But in this
connection he seems not to remember that in Nice, at least, the invalid
population are now and then scourged by the cold northern bise rushing
down the Rhone to the sea. The most serious objection to these Spanish
towns is the want of comfortable and airy quarters for invalids. Again,
at Malaga, which has been so highly recommended, the sanitary conditions
are such that any benefit from the climate is likely to be nullified by
the evil influences of a want of drainage, and of latent pestilence.

Here it may be mentioned that the Alhambra hill, at Granada, is much
resorted to by Spaniards in summer as a cool, airy, and healthful spot;
and truly there is none more lovely in its surroundings on the globe, so
far as it is usually permitted man to see. In and about the Alhambra,
too, small cottages may be hired, where the sick and weary may rest
after their own fashion, and keep house for themselves, with docile
native servants. But, whosoever fares to Spain in search of bettered
health, let him not mount the Alhambra hill save in spring, nor enter
the Mediterranean towns until after September. And, above all, let him
avoid the fatal error of supposing that the high regions of the interior
will offer any influences more soothing than those of harsh-tempered New
England.

This consideration remains, that whatever obstacles to complete comfort
may exist, the perfection of the coast climate, the stimulus of scenery
and surroundings so unique and picturesque, and the resources of
observation or of historic association opened to the sojourner in Spain
are likely to have a good effect, both mental and spiritual.

[Illustration]



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[Illustration: pointing hand] HARPER & BROTHERS _will send any of the
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on receipt of the price_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Boudoir of Lindarana=> Boudoir of Lindaraxa {pg 12}

azucarilios=> azucarillos {pg 5}

encouragment=> encouragement {pg 65}

intrepreter=> interpreter {pg 190}

in in the South=> in the South {pg 202}

       *       *       *       *       *

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The dancing boys still officiate at Seville, also, in Holy-week,
where they leap merrily before the high altar, and do not even take off
their hats to the Host. The story runs that, years ago, a visiting
bishop from Rome found fault with this as being unorthodox, and
threatened to put a stop to it. He complained to the Pope, and a lenient
order issued from the Vatican that the observance should be discontinued
when the boys' clothes should be worn out. Up to the present day,
curiously enough, the clothes have not been worn out.

[2] These last are called _tocas_, and are rapidly superseding the long
mantilla.

[3] This characterization, our own experience led us to conclude, was
exceedingly unjust.

[4] Some time before this he had, by too adventurous play, received a
tossing which laid him up for eight months, and his death in the ring
has since been reported.

[5] In this connection it is curious to observe that the Toledan
peasants, like the Chinese, confound the letters _r_ and _l_--as when
they say _flol_ for _flor_, "flower."

[6] Contained in the series called "The Man with Five Wives."

[7] A nickname alluding to the sooty black of the clerical costume.

[8] Literally, "sun-trap."

[9] Irving's name heads the ponderous register in which visitors,
embracing some of the most distinguished of the earth, have recorded
themselves for fifty years past; and though it is not generally known,
his signature may also be found pencilled on the inner wall of the
little mosque near the Comares Tower, just under the interpolated
Spanish choir gallery. Yet there seems to be a degree of mistiness in
the Granadian mind respecting the author of "Tales of the Alhambra." I
think the people sometimes confounded him with the Father of his
Country. At all events, the Hotel Washington Irving is labelled, at one
of its entrances, "Hotel Washington," as if that were the same thing.

[10] "Fleming," a name commonly applied to Spanish gypsies; whence it
has been inferred that the first of them came from the Netherlands.





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