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Title: Excursions in the mountains of Ronda and Granada, with characteristic sketches of the inhabitants of southern Spain, vol. 1/2
Author: Scott, Charles Rochfort, 1790-1872
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Excursions in the mountains of Ronda and Granada, with characteristic sketches of the inhabitants of southern Spain, vol. 1/2" ***

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Etext transcriber's note: The footnotes have been located after the
etext. Corrections of some obvious typographical errors have been made
(a list follows the etext); the spellings of several words currently
spelled in a different manner have been left un-touched. (i.e.
chesnut/chestnut; sanatory/sanitary; every thing/everything;
hords/hoards; visiters/visitors; her's/her;s negociation/negotiation.)
The accentuation of words in Spanish has not been corrected or
normalized.



[Illustration:

_On Stone by T. J. Rawlins from a Sketch by Capt C. R. Scott._

_R. Martin lithog., 26, Long Acre._

THE GENERALIFE, PALACE AND VALLEY OF THE DARRO.

FROM A WINDOW IN THE ALHAMBRA.

_Published by Henry Colburn, 13, G.t Marlborough St._]



                               EXCURSIONS
                                 IN THE
                               MOUNTAINS
                                   OF
                           RONDA AND GRANADA,
                      WITH CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES
               OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE SOUTH OF SPAIN.

                                   BY
                       CAPTAIN C. ROCHFORT SCOTT,
                AUTHOR OF "TRAVELS IN EGYPT AND CANDIA."

            "_Aqui hermano Sancho, podemos meter las manos_
           _hasta los codos, en esto que llaman aventuras._"
                                            DON QUIJOTE.

                            IN TWO VOLUMES.

                                VOL. I.

   LONDON: HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.--1838.

                                LONDON:

             F. SHOBERL, JUN. 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET.



                              DEDICATION.

To the Valued Friends who witnessed, and whom a congeniality of taste
led to _enjoy_ with me, the scenes herein described--whose wearied limbs
have sought repose upon the same hard floor--whose spoons have been
dipped in the same _Gazpacho_, I dedicate these pages.

In the course of our perigrinations we have often observed to each
other,

                     "Hæc olim meminisse juvabit."

                               C. ROCHFORT SCOTT.

Woolwich, 26th October.



                                CONTENTS

                                   OF

                           THE FIRST VOLUME.


PREFATORY CHAPTER.

Containing little more than an Invocation--A Dissertation--A Choice of
Miseries--A Bill of Fare--And a Receipt for making a Favourite Spanish
Dish.....1


CHAPTER I.

Gibraltar--Forbidden Ground--Derivation of the Name--Curious
Provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht--Extraction of Saints without a
Miracle--Demoniacal Possessions--Beauty of the Scenery--Agremens of the
Garrison--Its Importance to Great Britain, but Impolicy of making it a
Free Port to all Nations--Lamentable Changes--Sketch of the Character of
the Mountaineers of Ronda--English Quixotism--Political Opinions of the
Different Classes in Spain.....21


CHAPTER II.

San Roque--Singular Title of "the City
Authorities"--Situation--Climate--The late Sir George Don, Lieutenant
Governor of Gibraltar--Anecdote Illustrative of the Character of the
Spanish Government--Society of Spain--The Tertulia--The Various Circles
of Spanish Society Tested by Smoking--Erroneous Notions of English
Liberty and Religion--Startling Lental Ceremonies.....41


CHAPTER III.

Country in the Vicinity of San Roque--Ruins of the Ancient City
of Carteia--Field of Battle of Alphonso the Eleventh--Journey to
Ronda--Forest of Almoraima--Mouth of the Lions--Fine Scenery--Town of
Gaucin--A Spanish Inn--Old Castle at Gaucin--Interior of an Andalusian
Posada--Spanish Humour--Mountain Wine.....59


CHAPTER IV.

Journey to Ronda Continued--A Word on the Passport and Bill of Health
Nuisances, and Spanish Custom-House Officers--Romantic Scenery--Splendid
View--Benadalid--Atajate--First View of the Vale of Ronda--A
Dissertation on Adventures, to make up for their absence--Ludicrous
Instance of the Effects of Putting the Cart before the Horse.....83


CHAPTER V.

The Basin of Ronda--Sources of the River Guadiara--Remarkable Chasm
through which it flows--City of Ronda--Date of its Foundation--Former
Names--General Description--Castle--Bridges--Splendid Scenery--Public
Buildings--Amphitheatre--Population--Trade--Smuggling--Wretched State of
the Commerce, Manufactures, and Internal Communications of Spain, and
Evils and Inconvenience resulting therefrom--Rare Productions of the
Basin of Ronda--Amenity of its Climate--Agremens of the City--Excellent
Society--Character of its Inhabitants.....99


CHAPTER VI.

Ronda Fair--Spanish Peasantry--Various Costumes--Jockeys and
Horses--Lovely view from the New Alameda--Bull Fights--Defence of
the Spanish Ladies--Manner of Driving the Bulls into the Town--First
Entrance of the Bull--The Frightened Waterseller--The Mina, or Excavated
Staircase--Ruins of Acinippo--The Cueva del Gato--The Bridge of the
Fairy.....121


CHAPTER VII.

Legend of the Fairy's bridge.....150


CHAPTER VIII.

Departure for Malaga--Scenery on and Dangers of the Road to El
Burgo--Fine View from Casarabonela--An Independent Innkeeper--A Spanish
Battle, attended with more Decisive Results than usual--Description of
Casarabonela--Comeliness of its Washing Nymphs--Road to Malaga--River
Guadaljorce--Sigila of the Romans--Cartama.....178


CHAPTER IX.

Unprepossessing Appearance of Malaga--Dread of Yellow Fever--The
Alameda--Derivation of the City's Name, and Sketch of its History--The
Gibralfaro and Alcazaba--Cathedral--Cigar Manufactory--Calculation
of the Supply and Consumption of Cigars in Spain--Malaga
Figures--Population--Trade--Wine Harbour--Society--Visit to El
Retiro--The Fandango and Cachuca.....199


CHAPTER X.

Choice of Routes between Malaga and Granada--Road to
Velez--Malaga--Observations on that Town--Continuation of Journey to
Granada--Fertile Valley of the River Velez--Venta of Alcaucin--Zafaraya
Mountains--Alhama--Description of that Place and of its Thermal
Baths--Cacin--Venta of Huelma--Salt-pans of La Mala--First View of
Granada and its Vega--Situation of the City--Its Salubrity--Ancient
Names--Becomes the Capital of the Last Moslem Kingdom of Spain--Fine
Approach to the Modern City--It is the most purely Moorish Town in
Spain--Cause of the Decadence of the Arts under the Moors of Granada,
and of the easy Conquest of the City--Destruction of the Moorish
Literature on the Capture of the City by the Spaniards.....217


CHAPTER XI.

The Alhambra and Generalife--Other Reliques of the Moors contained
within the City--The Cathedral of Granada--Chapel of the Catholic
Kings--Antiquity of the Church of Eliberi--Tomb of Gonzalvo de
Cordoba--Churches of San Juan De Dios and San Domingo--Carthusian
Convent--Hermita De San Anton.....239


CHAPTER XII.

Granada continued--The Zacatin--Market Place--Bazaar--Population--The
Granadinos-Their Predilection for the French Costume--Love of Masked
Balls--Madame Martinez de la Rosa's Tertulia--An English Country
Dance metamorphosed--Specimen of Spanish Taste in fitting up Country
Houses--The Marques de Montijo--Anecdote of the Late King and
the Conde de Teba--Constitutional Enthusiasm of Granada--Ends in
Smoke--Military Schools--Observations on the Spanish Army--Departure
for Cordoba--Pinos de la Puente--Puerto de Lope--Moclin--Alcala la
Real--Spanish Peasants--Manner of computing Distance--Baena--Not
the Roman Town of Ulia--Castro el Rio--Occupied by a Cavalry
Regiment--Valuable Friend--Curiosity of the Spanish Officers--Ditto
of our New Acquaintance--Influence of "Sherris Sack"--He relates his
History--Continuation of our Journey to Cordoba--First View of that
City.....265


CHAPTER XIII.

Blas el Guerrillero.--A Bandit's Story.....300


CHAPTER XIV.

Blas el Guerrillero--_continued_.....333


CHAPTER XV.

Blas el Guerrillero--_continued_.....364


CHAPTER XVI.

Blas el Guerrillero--_continued_.....396


CHAPTER XVII.

Cordoba--Bridge over the Guadalquivir--Mills--Quay--Spanish
Projects--Foundation of the City--Establishment of the Western
Caliphat--Capture of Cordoba by San Fernando--The Mezquita--Bishop's
Palace--Market Place--Grand Religious Procession--Anecdote of the late
Bishop of Malaga and the Tragala.....410

APPENDIX.....431



ILLUSTRATIONS.


VOL. 1.

The Generalife, Palace, and Valley of the Darro. From a window
in the Alhambra                                           _Frontispiece._

VOL. II.

The Castle of Ximena, and distant view of Gibraltar       _Frontispiece._



ERRATA.


VOLUME I.

(corrected by the etext transcriber. On page 433, line 1 emboyó [not
emboyo] was changed to embozó)

  Page  27, line 20, for _far more_, read _few_.
  Page 151, line 18, for _lightly_, read _slightly_.
  Page 161, line 30, for _Aguagils_, read _Aguazils_.
  Page 190, line 28, for _Higa_, read _Hija_.
  Page 213, line  2, for _nuevos_, read _huevos_.
  Page 216, line 14, for _Cachuca_, read _Cachucha_.
  Page 370, line 14, for _Higo_, read _Hijo_.
  Page 402, line 14, for _Valga mi_, read _Valgame_.
  Page 433, line  1, for _emboyo_, read _embozo_.


VOLUME II.

  Page 171, line 26, for _surveyors_, read _purveyors_.
  Page 271, line  8, for _suda_, read _sua_.
  Page 288, line 28, for _provechosos_, read _provechosas_.
  Page 432, line 16, for _hagged_, read _haggard_.



                               EXCURSIONS

                                 IN THE

                               MOUNTAINS

                                   OF

                           RONDA AND GRANADA.



PREFATORY CHAPTER.

     CONTAINING LITTLE MORE THAN AN INVOCATION--A DISSERTATION--A CHOICE
     OF MISERIES--A BILL OF FARE--AND A RECEIPT FOR MAKING A FAVOURITE
     SPANISH DISH.


Spain! region of romance! of snow-capped mountains, dark forests, and
crystal streams!--Land of the olive and the vine--the perfumed orange
and bright pomegranate!--Country of portly priests, fierce bandits, and
dark-eyed donzellas--the lively castañet and gay Fandango! And thou,
fair Boetica! favoured province of a favoured clime, whose purple
grape tempted Hercules to arrest his course--whose waving corn-fields
and embowelled treasures have ever since excited the cupidity of the
various ambitious nations that have in turn disputed the empire of the
world! Is it indeed true that ye are "now chiefly interesting to the
traveller for the monuments which a foreign and odious race of
conquerors have left behind them?"[1] Yes, you might proudly answer, we
admit such is the case. Spain is chiefly interesting to the stranger on
account of the monuments left by her turbaned conquerors; but she is so
simply, because, in no other country, are they to be seen in so perfect
a state; because, in no other part of the world subjected to Moslem
sway, did the arts ever reach to such perfection.

But, whilst Spain lays especial claim to the attention of the stranger
on account of the relics of the Moors that are strewed over her surface,
she possesses, in common with other countries of Southern Europe, the
usual attractions that excite the interest of travellers. Can she not
boast of owning monuments of the demi-god Hercules,[2] and other
conquerors of the most remote antiquity? Are not her shores studded
with ruins of the Phoenicians, Carthagenians, and Romans? Has she not
noble works of art of yet more recent times than her Moorish palaces to
boast of? May she not proudly point to the splendid gothic edifices
raised since her release from the Mussulman yoke? to the incomparable
paintings of the divine Murillo? to the statuary of a Cano? Is not the
Spanish peninsula one of the most beautiful as well as richest countries
in the world?

Such is the answer that Spain and her beauteous daughter, Boetica,
might make to the accusation which the words of the accomplished Author
I have quoted may be construed to bear. I will venture to add further,
that Spain, in her present fallen state, excites, perhaps, yet more
intensely, the curiosity and interest of the Traveller, than she could
have done even in the days of her greatest glory: for, the contemplation
of the wreck of such an Empire--an Empire "on whose wide dominions the
sun never set;" whose resources were deemed inexhaustible--cannot but be
highly interesting and instructive.

At every step the stranger takes whilst wandering over Spain's
neglected though still fertile plains, some trace is observable of her
former wealth and power, some proof is manifest of her present poverty
and impotence. Let him cast a glance at the ruins of the magnificent
arsenals of Cadiz, Vigo, and Barcelona[3]--let him mark the closed door
of the Tower of Gold,[4] at Seville--let him observe the use to which
the sumptuous _Lonja_[5] has been converted--the dilapidated condition
of the gorgeous palace of Charles the Fifth. Let him notice the
crumbling state of all the public buildings throughout the kingdom, even
to the actual residences of its monarch--track the remains of once
magnificent roads--explore the deep recesses of abandoned mines. Let
him, in fine, observe the commerce of the country destroyed, its
manufactures ruined, its Army disorganized, and its Treasury penniless;
and, whilst he learns what Spain _has been_, he will see to what a
lamentable state she is reduced.

Nor to the Traveller alone is the contemplation of Spain, in her fallen
greatness, a source of interest and instruction. The Philosopher, the
Statesman, the Philanthropist, and the _Patriot_, may all draw from it
serious matter for reflection. Who amongst them could have foreseen, but
half a century back, that Spain would, in the course of a few years, be
reduced to her present abject condition? Who can _now_ foresee the day
that, phoenix-like, she may arise from her ashes? Who can fully answer
the yet more simple questions--What _led_ to the downfall of Spain? What
keeps her--gifted as she is by nature with all the germs of
prosperity--in her present state of degradation? Did the extraordinary
influx of the precious ores, consequent on the discovery of America,
occasion her gradual downfall? Did the impolitic expulsion of the Jews
and Moors from her territory lead to it? Does the blighting influence of
Popery reply to the two-fold query? Does the vacillating rule of
Despotism solve the problem?

All, probably, have had a share in effecting this lamentable change. The
great influx of money led to the neglect of the resources of Spain
herself, and induced habits of indolence in all classes of society. The
expulsion of the Jews deprived the country of its principal
capitalists--that of the Moors, of its most industrious inhabitants. The
bigotry and intolerance of its Church have kept its population in
ignorance, whilst most other nations of Europe have become enlightened.
The numerous religious houses, endowed with the richest lands in the
country, and swarming with unprofitable inmates, have preyed upon its
resources. The rule of a weak and bigoted race of sovereigns--themselves
governed in turn by profligate favourites and ambitious priests--has
sapped the monarchy to its foundation; finally, the crude and hasty
innovations of wild theorists are undermining its remaining strength,
and preparing to effect its utter downfall.

But, whilst many of these causes still operate most fatally in keeping
the country in its present state of degradation, the last named is that
which is likely to inflict upon it the greatest amount of _misery_.
Catholicism--such as it is in Spain at least--is incompatible with free
institutions; and Catholicism has too firm a hold of the _mass_ of the
Spanish people to be easily eradicated.

_Atheism_, it is true, has made great progress in some quarters; and
between it and Popery lies the contest now carrying on.

Many persons are apt to think that the struggle is between
_Superstition_ and "_liberal Catholicism_"--between a Despotism and a
limited Monarchy. But those who know Spain intimately, are aware that
such is far from being the case; they know, on the contrary, that the
contest must end (_when_ it would be difficult to say) either in the
restoration of an absolute throne, or the establishment of a Democratic
Republic.

The limited Monarchy Party--or _Moderados_--though the most respectable
in talents, consists but of a few educated Nobles, and a small portion
of the Mercantile and learned Professions--some few even of the clergy;
but amongst the mass of the people it has no supporters whatever; for
amongst the lower orders the term is not understood.

The leaders of this party--like the _Gironde_ in France--were carried
away by the breakers of reform, as they swept onwards with increasing
volume; and the unprincipled men who have since usurped the direction of
affairs,--with all the vanity of a Mirabeau, but without one spark of
his talents,--imagine they shall be listened to, when they bid the
flowing tide to advance no further:--but, though they would not object
to, nay, though they _desire_, the establishment of a Republic, yet they
too will find Spanish Robespierres and Talliens to dispute their power.

To others, however, I abandon the wide field of inquiry these questions
open; the following pages, whatever glimmerings of light they may throw
upon the subject, being devoted to the description of but a small
portion of this ill used, ill governed, but most interesting country.

The part I have selected--namely, Andalusia--whilst it differs very
materially from the rest of the Spanish peninsula, claims in many
respects the first place in the estimation of the traveller, whatever
may be his _taste_ or the direction of his inquiries.

If the Moorish monuments be the object of his research, he will find
they have been scattered with a more profuse hand throughout Andalusia
than in any other part of the peninsula; the lofty mountain chain which
forms the northern boundary of the province[6] having for some
considerable time arrested the Christian arms, after the rest of Spain
had been recovered from the Mohammedans; whilst the yet more rugged belt
that encircles Granada presented an obstacle which retarded the entire
reconquest of the kingdom, for upwards of two centuries and a half.
During that long period, therefore, the Moslems, driven within the
limits of so diminished a circle, were necessarily obliged to enlarge
and multiply their towns, to cultivate with greater care their fields
and orchards, and to strengthen, in every possible way, the natural
defences of their territory; and thus, their remains, besides being more
numerous _there_ than in other parts of Spain, furnish specimens, of the
latest as well as of the earliest date, of their peculiar style of
architecture.

Should matters of more general interest have drawn the Traveller to
Spain, he will still find Andalusia laying especial claim to his
attention; History ascribing to each mountain pass and every crumbling
ruin the fame of having been the scene of some desperate conflict
between the various ambitious nations that, before the Saracenic
invasion, successively sought the possession of this fertile region.

The peculiar manners and character of its dark inhabitants afford yet
another source of interest to the Stranger; although the swarthy race
may almost claim to be classed amongst its _Arabic remains_; for so
deep-rooted was the attachment of the Moors of Granada to the country of
their adoption, that neither the oppressive tyranny of their masters,
nor the sacrifice of their religion, nay, not even the establishment of
the "_holy_" inquisition, (which extirpated them by thousands) could
induce them to abandon it. Broken in spirit, replunged in ignorance,
their industry unavailing, their language corrupted, they bent the knee
to the blood-stained cross presented to them, and assumed the name of
Spaniards: but as a Spanish nobleman once observed to me in speaking of
these wild mountaineers, his dependants, "They are to this day but Moors
who go to Mass."

Again, should the beauties of nature have attracted the Traveller's
footsteps to Spain, he will find the scenery of Andalusia of the most
magnificent and varied kind; presenting alternately ranges of lofty
mountains and broad fertile plains--boundless tracts of forest and
richly cultivated valleys--picturesque towns and mountain
fortresses--winding rivers and impetuous torrents. It may indeed be said
to combine the wild beauties of the Tyrol with the luxuriant vegetation
and delightful climate of Southern Italy.

Well might the last of the Alhamares[7] weep, on taking his final leave
of the lovely Vega,[8] over which it had been his fortune to be born the
ruler, whence it was his "luckless" fate to be driven forth, a wanderer!
Even to this day, the Moors of Barbary preserve the title-deeds and
charters by which their ancestors held their estates in Spain, and
offer up daily prayers to _Allah_, to restore to them their lost
Granada; and one might almost suppose, from the nomadic life still led
by many of their tribes, and the unsettled habits which distinguish them
all, that they consider their actual country as but a temporary abode,
and live in the hope and expectation that their oft-repeated prayer will
eventually be heard.

Nor is the present inhabitant of this fair region less sensible than his
Moorish ancestor of the value of his inheritance. It is not in his
nature to express himself in the passionate language of the
Neapolitan,--whose well known exclamation, _Vedi Napoli e poi mori!_
might be applied with better reason to a hundred other places;--but,
with an equal degree of hyperbole though a somewhat less suicidical
feeling, the _Granadino_ declares with calm dignity, that

      "_Quien no ha visto à Granada_
    _No ha visto nada._"[9]

But, apart from all other considerations, there is a charm in travelling
in Spain, which renders it peculiarly attractive to most persons
possessing the locomotive mania, namely, the charm of _novelty_. Every
thing in that country is different from what is met with in any other;
every thing is proverbially _uncertain_;[10] and the traveller is thus
kept in a constant state of excitement, from his fancy being ever busy
guessing what is to come next.

There can be little doubt but that the uncertainty attendant on all
mundane affairs greatly enhances our enjoyment of life. Take the
duration of our existence itself as an instance: did we know the precise
moment at which it was to terminate, we should be miserable during the
whole period of its continuance. So, in like manner, does the
uncertainty attendant on such trifling matters as getting a bed or a
supper give a peculiar zest to _touring_ in Spain. You have there no
"_Itineraire des Voyageurs_," to mark the spot to a _millimetre_, where
a relay of post-horses is to be found; no "Hand-book for Travellers,"
with a list of the best inns on the road, to spoil your appetite by
anticipation; no dear pains-taking Mrs. Starke,[11] to beat up quarters
and sights for you, and determine beforehand the sum you have (or
rather ought) to pay for bed and "_pasto_." No--you travel with a bad
map of the country in your pocket over a stony track that is _not_
marked upon it--and which you are at times disposed to believe is rather
the bed of a torrent than a road. Before you is the prospect of passing
the night on this villanous king's highway; or, should you be fortunate
enough to reach the shelter of a roof, the doubt, whether a comfortable
bed, a truss of straw, or a hard floor, will receive your wearied limbs;
and whether you will have to go supperless to bed, or find a savoury
_olla_, perfuming the whole establishment.

It must, I think, be admitted, that there is a certain charm in this
independent mode of travelling--this precarious manner of existence. It
carries the wanderer back to the days of chivalry and romance--of the
_Cid Campeador_ and _Bernardo del Carpio_; dropping him at least half a
dozen centuries behind the Liverpool and Manchester Railroad.

Nevertheless,--as the Spaniards say--_Hay gustos que merecen palos_;[12]
and many will perchance think that _mine_ is in that predicament, a
settled order of things being more to their fancy:--_par exemple_, the
five mile an hour clattering _en poste_ over a French _pavé_--all
conversation drowned in the horrible noise made by the heavy horses'
heavy tramp, or the yet more abominable clacking of their monkey
jacketed driver's whips.--Then the certain comforts of a _grand Hotel
meublé_!--the spacious whitewashed room, adorned with prints of Arcola,
Jena, and Friedland! (which I have always thought would look much better
if worked in the pattern of a carpet): the classically canopied
bed!--that certainly would not be less comfortable, if a foot or two
longer.--Others again may be found who would give up the charm of
uncertainty, for the fixed pleasure of sitting behind the pipes and
"_sacraments_" of German postboys, listening to the discordant notes of
their bugles, and looking forward to the sudorific enjoyments (stoves
and duvets) of the _Gasthof_, and the dyspeptic delights (grease and
_sauerkraut_) of its _Speisesaal_!--Some even--but these I trust are
few--may like to listen to the melodiously rounded oaths of an Italian
_vetturino_, addressed to his attenuated horses in all the purity of the
_Lingua Toscana_; by dint of which, and an unceasing accompaniment of
merciless _sferzatone_, he provokes the wretched animals into a
jog-trot, that, with _rinfresco_ and _rinforzo_, kills the whole day and
them by inches, to get over a distance of forty or fifty miles.

For my own part, I freely confess, that not even our English modes of
"getting over the ground" have such charms for me, as the tripping and
stumbling of one's horse over a Spanish _trocha_[13]--I take no delight
in being dragged through the country at the rate of a mile a minute,
powdered with soot, (pardon the bull) suffocated with steam, and
sickened with grease. Neither does our steady ten mile an hour
stage-coach travelling find much favour in mine eyes; though I grant it
is now most admirably conducted, the _comforts_ of the old "slow
coaches" being so happily blended with the accelerated _speed_ called
for in this progressive age, that a change of horses is effected in less
than one minute, and a feed of passengers in something under ten!--But I
always pity the victims of this unwholesome alliance of comfort and
celerity.--Observe that fidgety old gentleman, muzzled in a red worsted
_comforter_, and crowned with a Welsh wig. Having started without
breakfast, or at most with but half of one, he counts impatiently the
minutes and milestones that intervene between him and the dining-place;
arrived there, if five minutes before the appointed time, every thing is
underdone; if five minutes after, a deduction of equal amount is made in
the time allowed for despatching the viands. Swallowing, therefore, in
all haste the indigestible roast pork and parboiled potatoes that are
placed before him, he resumes his seat in or upon the vehicle,
declaring--whilst the unwholesome food sticking in his throat nearly
chokes him--that he "_feels all the better_" for his _dinner!_ soon
after which, with a flushed face and quickened pulse, he drops into a
feverish slumber, dreaming of mad bulls and carniverous swine, sloe
juice and patent brandy.

Towards midnight, the announcement of "a quarter of an hour, gentlemen"
(meaning something less than half that time), relieves him from these
painful reminiscences, affording an opportunity of washing them down
with some scalding liquid, which, though bearing the name of tea or
coffee, is a decoction of some deleterious plant or berry, that
certainly never basked under the sun of China or Arabia Felix.

At last, however, he arrives at the end of his long journey--he has got
over a distance of a hundred and ninety-five miles in nineteen hours and
thirty-five minutes! The hour of arrival is inconveniently early it is
true, but, even at 3 o'clock A.M., he finds a comfortable hotel open to
receive him; an officious "boots" sufficiently master of his drowsy
senses to present the well or rather the ill-used slippers--a smirking
chambermaid sufficiently _awake_ to make him believe that the
_warming_-pan, with which she precedes him up three pair of stairs,
contains _hot_ coals; and impudent enough, whilst presenting him with a
damp, once white, cotton nightcap, to ask at what o'clock he would
_like_ to be awakened--she well knowing, all the time, that the stir of
passengers about to depart by an early coach will to a certainty effect
that object for him in the course of an hour, whether he _likes_ it or
not.

These rapid proceedings have, as I before confessed, no charms for me,
and such as cannot dispense with the comforts I have slightly sketched,
must abstain from travelling in Spain, for very different is the
entertainment they are likely to meet with at an Andalusian
_posada_.[14] _There_, in the matters of "Boots," Hostler, and
Chambermaid, no uncertainty whatever exists, and the traveller must
therefore be prepared to divide with his attendant the several duties of
those useful personages. Nor should he, amidst his multifarious
occupations, neglect the cooking department; for, if he have not an
_arriero_[15] power of consuming oil and garlic, he must watch with
vigilant eye, and restrain with persuasive words, the too bountiful hand
of Our Lady of the _Olla_.[16]

It is to be understood that I speak here of the South of Spain only, and
more especially of the mountainous country encircling the fortress of
Gibraltar,--from whence, in due time, I purpose taking my departure.

I ought here perhaps to give notice, that it is not my intention, in the
following pages, to conduct my reader, town by town, kingdom by kingdom,
through every part of Andalusia; giving him a detailed account of its
statistics, productions, resources, &c.; in fact, spreading before him a
regular three course banquet of travels; but rather to present him with
a light and simple dish of the country, seasoning it with such tales and
anecdotes as were picked up in the course of many excursions, made
during a period of many years; a _Gazpacho_, as it may be called,
whereof the country furnishes the principal part, or bread and water;
and to which the tales--so at least I hope it may be found--give the
_gusto_, imparted to this favourite Andalusian dish, by the addition of
oil, vinegar, and pepper.

I may as well premise, also, that I do not intend to mark with precise
date the time at which any of the incidents about to be narrated
occurred, excepting when the correctness due to matters of history
renders such specification necessary, but to transcribe the notes of my
various rambles as they come most conveniently to hand; stating
generally, however, that they were written during the period comprised
between the years 1822 and 1830, (the greater portion of which I
belonged to the Garrison of Gibraltar) and have been "revised and
corrected, with additions and improvements" from the journal of an
extended tour made several years subsequently.

Considering the small number of my countrymen to whom the Spanish
language is familiar, I may possibly be accused of having unnecessarily
retained many of the proverbs and idioms of the country in their
original garb, referring my readers to an English version of them at the
foot of each page. But as the caustic, and, in general, quaintly rhymed
sayings for which the _Andaluz_ is celebrated cannot but lose much of
their _Bætic salt_ on being translated, I am led to hope that such of my
readers as do _not_ understand Spanish will pardon the trouble I have
thus imposed on them, for the sake of those who do.

In conclusion, I have but to express a hope that the Spanish dish I now
offer to the public may not be displeasing to the English taste, though
I can hardly expect it should be _devoured_ with the relish of the
unsophisticated Sancho; who assigned as one of his principal reasons for
resigning his government of _Barateria_, that he preferred to "_hartarse
de Gazpachos_"[17] than be subjected to a regimen more befitting his
exalted situation.



CHAPTER I.

     GIBRALTAR--FORBIDDEN GROUND--DERIVATION OF THE NAME--CURIOUS
     PROVISIONS OF THE TREATY OF UTRECHT--EXTRACTION OF SAINTS WITHOUT A
     MIRACLE--DEMONIACAL POSSESSIONS--BEAUTY OF THE SCENERY--AGREMENS OF
     THE GARRISON--ITS IMPORTANCE TO GREAT BRITAIN, BUT IMPOLICY OF
     MAKING IT A FREE PORT TO ALL NATIONS--LAMENTABLE CHANGES--SKETCH OF
     THE CHARACTER OF THE MOUNTAINEERS OF RONDA--ENGLISH
     QUIXOTISM--POLITICAL OPINIONS OF THE DIFFERENT CLASSES IN SPAIN.


Before mounting my impatient steed--not Pegasus, but my faithful Barb
"_Almanzor_,"--the companion of most of my wanderings; the partaker of
many of my fastings and perils; and whom--such is the mutability of
horse dealing affairs--I saw for the last time curvetting under a
monstrous weight of whisker and mustaches in Hyde Park;--I will detain
my readers a brief space, to cast a glance at the celebrated place on
which we are about to turn our backs.

Let him not take fright, however, at this announcement. It is not my
purpose to lead him the round of all the _sights_ contained within the
walls of this remarkable fortress; albeit they are well worthy of his
notice. Nor shall I, with professional prolixity, point out to his
wondering eyes its crested batteries where 700 cannon bid defiance to
the enemies of Great Britain; still less expose the _arcana_ of its
famed excavated citadel, its interminable galleries, spacious chambers,
&c. which must be as cautiously approached by the pen and ink of the
discreet traveller, as by the pickaxe and shovel of the wary sapper: a
mysterious veil being drawn over them, which it would ill become any of
her Majesty's loyal subjects to remove.

The attempt at concealment is, to be sure, rather absurd; and, as the
late Earl of Chatham drily observed, (on being informed that the plans
of the Fortress could only be sent to him from the Engineer's Office,
under an escort,) reminded him of the delusion of the ostrich, which,
concealing his head in a bush, fancies his whole body is hid from the
sight of his pursuers--since, though we carefully lock up _our_ plans of
the works in a strong box, others, equally good, may be procured for a
shilling any where.

To return to my premised glance at the famed rock, I will say a few
words of the _unde derivatur_ of the name it now bears--Gibraltar--which
is generally supposed to be a compound of the Arabic words Gibel
(Mountain) and Tarik, the name of the Moslem general, who first landed
in Spain, and with whom originated the idea of making it a place of
arms. For though the mount, under the name of Calpe, held a
distinguished place in ancient history, as one of the pillars of
Hercules, yet it is difficult to imagine that it was ever thought of as
a site for a _town_; otherwise, the city of Carteia would hardly have
been built in its immediate vicinity.

With respect, however, to the origin of its Moorish name, it is but
natural to suppose that this remarkable promontory had some
distinguishing appellation in the Arabic dialect, _before_ it was seized
upon and fortified by _Tarik ben Zaide_; and if therefore it was called
after him, it could only have been as indicative of the spot he had
fixed upon for effecting his descent upon the Spanish shore. But this
can hardly be the case, since he did _not_ land there, but near where
the town of Tarifa now stands (which place he founded and gave his name
to); and the rocky peninsula of Gibraltar was only seized upon by
_Tarik_ on his subsequently becoming aware of its great natural
strength, and the advantages its possession consequently held out, for
keeping up the communication with Barbary, and furthering his ulterior
projects against Spain.

It seems, on the other hand, much more probable, that the victorious
Saracens, arriving at the northern extremity of Africa, and finding how
small a space there separated them from Europe, would, whilst eagerly
examining the whole line of coast presented to their longing eyes, have
naturally given names of their own to the most prominent landmarks
observable along it. Now the remarkable head-land that stretched into
the sea towards them, its bold outline rendering, to all appearance, the
limited space that divided them from their prey yet narrower than it
really is,--could not fail to attract their attention; and it may
reasonably enough be supposed that its singular form and apparent
isolation led to its being designated Gibel-thar--(Gibel--mountain, and
thar, or tar--Sp. tajar--Eng. to cut or sever[18])--the severed
mountain,--in allusion to its actual separation from the mountainous
country behind.

The Spanish historian, Lopez de Ayala, notices this derivation of the
name Gibraltar, but prefers the more improbable one of _Gibel Tarik_--or
even _Gibel Phatah_--_Phatah_ signifying both key and victory; whereas,
the key by which Spain was laid open to the Moors was Tarifa; the
victory that made them masters of the country was gained at _Xeres de la
Frontera_.

The castle of Gibraltar (or _Calahorra_) was not built until thirty
years (A.D. 742) after the mountain had been occupied by Tarik; and the
fortress remained in the undisturbed possession of the Moors for upwards
of five centuries and a half, when it was captured by Don Alonzo Perez
de Guzman; though it was afterwards recovered by the Moslems, and again
remained in their possession upwards of a century.[19]

By the treaty of Utrecht, which confirmed this valuable possession to
Great Britain, it was particularly stipulated that no Turkish vessels
should be allowed to anchor under the protection of the fortress;--so
great even at that late period was the dread the Spaniards entertained
of Mohammedan invasion. It was also stipulated that no _Jews_ should be
permitted to domiciliate themselves within the garrison;--an article of
the treaty which has been most glaringly infringed upon.

The archives, &c. were transported to San Roque, whither also most of
the Spanish inhabitants removed with their goods and chattels. The
church property does not, however, appear to have been suffered to be
carried off; and an old Spanish historian gives with pious exultation a
very amusing account of the contraband extraction of the saints from the
different churches, after the fortress had been finally ceded to
heretical England.

The passage cannot but lose in the translation; as indeed every thing in
the Spanish language must. But, even in an English garb, its ludicrous
seriousness may excite a smile.

"A statue of St. Joseph, which, from its extreme corpulence, could not
be secretly transported, was carried away by a good Catholic--by name
Joseph Martin of Medina--placed on the back of a horse as if _he_ were a
person riding. The Saint having been well balanced, enveloped in a
cloak, and his head covered with a _montera_,[20] a person mounted _en
croupe_ to aid in supporting him, and accompanied by some friends to
create confusion and distract attention, they issued forth by the main
street without being discovered."[21]

The fat Saint was lodged with other valuables at San Roque, where he may
be seen to this day. A thinner Saint Joseph supplies his place in the
"Spanish Church" at Gibraltar, and I dare say Joseph Martin has been
canonized, and may be heard further of at Medina Sidonia.

I entirely forget what Saint in particular--or if any--is now charged
with the protection of the "town and territory" of Gibraltar; but the
intervention of one seems highly necessary, for the devil has obtained a
great footing in the place, claiming as his own a Tower--a
Bowling-green--a Bellows--a Gap, and--last, not least--a tremendous
tongue of fire. Perhaps these offerings have been made to the black
gentleman by some good Catholics,--like Joseph Martin,--on the same
principle that the old Italian lady presented him with a costly pair of
horns,--observing--"_Sta bene far' amicizia, anche col' Signor Santo
Diavolo._"

Most persons who have not visited Gibraltar entertain very curious
notions respecting it; picturing to themselves a mere rock, bristling
with cannon, and crowded with Barracks, Furnaces for Red-hot shot, and
Powder-magazines. But, in reality, there are few places of the same
limited extent that can lay claim to greater and more varied natural
beauties.

The Road which leads from the picturesque old Moorish castle to the
southern extremity of the rocky peninsula (a distance of upwards of two
miles) presents a complete change of objects at every turn,--of hanging
gardens, impending rocks, and distant vistas of the Spanish and African
coasts. On gaining the flats at Europa Point, few views, finer than
that which opens upon you, are any where to be met with; none more grand
than, as inclining to the eastward, the back of the singular mountain
bursts upon your sight, its peaked summits rising precipitously near
1400 feet above the Mediterranean, which, lashing in impotent rage its
rocky base, ofttimes dashes a shower of spray over the cottage of the
Governor, situated under the lofty cliff, but at least 200 feet above
the angry ocean.

Again, ascending to the northernmost peak of the rocky ridge, what can
exceed the beauty of the panoramic view?--a wide expanse of sea, studded
with countless vessels of all kinds and nations, but so penned in by
distant mountains as to assume the appearance of a vast lake, is spread
out beneath you:--its glassy surface reflecting the richly wooded or
vine-clad hills of Spain, on one side, the savage and sterile mountains
of Barbary on the other. Casting the eye beyond the sandy isthmus which
to the north separates the isolated rock from the mountains of Spain, it
rests upon successive ranges of sierras, (marked by a most pleasing
variety of tints,) that seem to convey you into the very heart of the
country; and indeed the view is closed only by the Alpujarra range,
which is upwards of a hundred miles distant from the point of view.

Within the Fortress, the hand of man has not neglected to deck out
nature, where art could effect improvement. The Red Sands, formerly an
unsightly burying ground, have been converted--without disturbing the
dust of the tenants of the soil--into public walks and gardens. The
rugged tracks, which not long since were dangerous for a horse to
travel, have been rendered practicable for carriages, and sheltered from
the sun by avenues of trees. The western side of the Rock, which
formerly presented a bare and rugged limestone surface, is now clothed
with a variety of trees and shrubs, that afford cover to numerous
partridges and rabbits, as well as to the aboriginal apes, which have
obtained, and not undeservedly, no small share of celebrity; and this
belt of verdure, besides being refreshing to the sight, tends probably
to lessen the heat of the place and increase its salubrity.

As a place of residence, I know of no town--being a garrison--that
possesses so many agrémens. The society is composed of persons of all
nations and pursuits, and is varied by the passing visits of numerous
strangers, who willingly devote a few days to the examination of the
wonders of the celebrated "rock," and of the beauties of the
neighbourhood. The resident English merchants were, in my day, a most
hospitable body, whose society afforded a grateful variation to the but
too prevalent "our's" and "your's" conversation of a mess table. The
_table_, by the way, possesses great attractions to the _Bon vivant_;
offering him the enjoyment of most of the gastronomic luxuries of the
world at a very cheap rate, and champagne and claret well iced and free
of duty. Finally, to the Sportsman, the neighbourhood affords the
pleasures of hunting, fishing, shooting, and horse-racing; and to the
studious is presented the resource of an excellent library.

I regret to say, however, that I remained at Gibraltar long enough to
witness lamentable changes in many things;--to see the commerce of the
place gradually decline, first from the jealousy of the Spanish
government at its being made a rendezvous for a worthless and ungrateful
gang of refugees; secondly, from various impolitic acts emanating from
the Colonial office; and lastly, from an awful visitation of the yellow
fever, which swept off a third of its dense population, and, for a time,
(Cadiz having about this epoch been also declared a Free port) directed
the smuggling trade into another channel.

The value of Gibraltar to Great Britain has been questioned by a recent
writer on Spain,[22] who doubts whether it be worth preserving at the
cost of a garrison of 4,000 (3,000 at most) troops, and the stones and
mortar required for keeping its defences in repair.

"The command of the Mediterranean," he observes, "belongs to the
strongest fleet." This--albeit a debateable proposition--I will not stop
to dispute; since what Gibraltar claims is simply the command of the
_entrance_ to the Mediterranean; and that clearly belongs to the power
which can most readily keep a force near at hand to prevent all ingress
and egress. Now, Gibraltar is so situated as to enable Great Britain to
do this, with very small naval means; whereas it would require a fleet
of any other nation to watch the Straits, because that power would have
also to blockade the port of Gibraltar. This any one at all acquainted
with the localities,--the prevailing winds, &c.--will readily admit to
be at times an impossibility; and on every occasion that the blockading
squadron might be driven from its cruising ground, the command of the
Straits would again be possessed by Gibraltar, should its batteries
shelter but a few gunboats.

The importance of Gibraltar will increase tenfold in the event of a
_steam war_, as every thing will then depend upon the vicinity of the
contending parties to their _coal depôts_.

But, besides the advantage Gibraltar gives Great Britain, by the
command of the entrance of the Mediterranean, it affords a secure port
at which her ships can refit, reprovision, &c. without incurring the
expense and loss of time attendant on a long voyage to England. And,
with respect to the expense of its maintenance, the benefit accruing to
the nation at large by the disposal of her manufactured and other
produce to an immense amount, far more than counterbalances the cost of
the few thousand troops required for its defence, and which troops may
also be looked upon as a kind of support to our advanced posts, Malta,
Corfu, &c.

To furnish a proof of the value of Gibraltar to Great Britain, as a
market, it will be only necessary to state, that of British manufactured
_cotton_ goods alone the "barren little rock" takes annually to the
value of nearly half a million sterling;--an amount very nearly equal to
that which is exported from the mother country to _all_ her North
American colonies--whilst the kingdom of Portugal (_favouring_ us in
return for benefits conferred) takes of the same articles to the amount
only of £800,000; and all the other ports of Spain together, but to the
value of £13,000.

Now though the government gains but a trifling increase of revenue by
the vast amount of goods exported to Gibraltar, yet the _good_ that is
effected by thus keeping our manufacturers at work may certainly be put
down as benefiting the country at a cheap rate, when the cost is but of
a few thousand troops;--the civil servants, &c., being paid out of the
crown revenues of the place itself.

On one point, I admit our government appears to be in error; namely, in
making Gibraltar "a free port to _every_ flag;" by which "other nations
enjoy the benefit of the establishment, without paying any portion of
the expense:"[23] and it is more particularly to be blamed, for opening
it to the produce of the _United States of America_, which, unlike
France, Tuscany, Sardinia, and Austria, give our commerce no
reciprocating advantage, and whose _tobacco_, imported in immense
quantities, pays as aforesaid no portion of the expense of the
establishment, but is the article of all others that occasions Spain to
watch the transit trade of Gibraltar with such excessive jealousy.

The Spanish government knows full well, that salt fish, manufactured
goods of all sorts, and indeed most of the productions of Great Britain,
_must_ be introduced into the country, and would take but little trouble
to check the contraband trade of Gibraltar, if it were confined to such
articles; but the introduction of Tobacco, Cocoa, Sugar, Spices, and
other productions of Spain's own colonies, which the British Free port
affords other nations the means of pouring into the country, to the
detriment of her transatlantic possessions, naturally occasions a
greater degree of watchfulness to be adopted, and excites much jealousy
and ill will.

At one time, indeed, the combination of untoward circumstances before
alluded to, added to the loss of our extensive trade with Oran and
Algiers--(occasioned by the imposition of prohibitory duties since the
North of Africa became a French Colony)--and the vigilance of the
_farmer_ who _rented_ the preventive cordon--himself an old
smuggler--threatened annihilation to the trade of Gibraltar. But, at the
present day, it once more "looks up:" smuggling, thanks to the lawless
state of Spain, having again furnished occupation to the hardy
mountaineers of Ronda and Granada, who, careless what may be the _form_
of Government at Madrid provided its authority does not extend to
Andalusia, so as to prevent their having free access to the Calicoes and
Tobacco of "_La Plaza_",[24]--have been alternately crying _Viva la
Constitucion_ and _Viva el Rey absoluto_, for the last eighteen years.

Having now, for the present, concluded my remarks upon Gibraltar, I
will embrace the opportunity,--though "Almanzor" has already been kept
an unconscionable time ready saddled--of saying a few words of these
rude _Serranos_,[25] ere I take my reader amongst them.

Smugglers by birth, education, and inclination, it could hardly be
expected that they should be distinguished by the possession of any very
resplendent virtues. Nevertheless, they are characterized by temperance,
honesty, (apart their profession) hospitality, and noble-mindedness.
Hardy and enduring, though generally averse to the occupation of
husbandry, they can scarcely be termed indolent, since their favourite
pursuit is one which exposes them to great fatigue. Proverbially vain,
and supremely ignorant, they look upon their country as the first in the
world, themselves as its bravest inhabitants: in the latter supposition,
being perhaps nearly as far from the truth as in the former; their
courage, such as it is, being rather of the tiger kind. Superstitious
beyond all belief, and priest-ridden to the last degree, still their
naturally caustic and witty temperament cannot be so bridled as to deter
them from indulging in jokes and pleasantries, even at the expense of
the ceremonies of their church, or the peccadilloes of their ghostly
fathers.

As I have stated before, they concern themselves but little with
politics; but, having a most radical distaste for every species of
taxation, the government that troubles them least in this
particular--that is, which has the _least power_ of levying its dues--is
naturally the most popular.

In the eventful period in Spanish History, during which I mixed
constantly with the natives of all classes, I found the _Serranos_ by
turns _Realistas_,--_Constitucionalistas_,--_Serviles_,--_Liberales_,
--_Moderados_,--and _Exaltados_: their opinions invariably changing for
or against the existing [dis]order of things, according to the strength
of the preventive cordon drawn round Gibraltar, and the support given to
the local authorities in exacting the payment of taxes.

The only change that I ever perceived Liberalism to work in their habits
was, that it induced a freer circulation of the pig-skin; thus leading
to inebriety and its concomitants, brawling, insubordination, and
depravity; and though this departure from the sober dignity that
characterizes the Spaniard was most observable in the troops, yet the
pernicious example set by these lawless bands could not but be of bad
omen.

Of the _Serranos_ I may in conclusion say, that, considering their
ignorance and superstition, and above all the demoralizing nature of
their occupation; considering also the wild impracticable country they
inhabit; the distracted state of the kingdom; the lamentably
ill-enforced condition of the laws, and the sad venality of all Spanish
Authorities; they are a wonderfully moral and well-behaved race.
Assassinations,--when the country is not, as at present, disturbed by
political dissensions--are of very rare occurrence; and the same unhappy
state of things has naturally led to the perpetration of numerous
personal outrages and increased the number of highway robberies: but
larceny and housebreaking are even now rarely heard of; and
Incendiarism, Infanticide, and some other heinous crimes that disgrace
more civilized communities, are unknown.

The condition of this singular race presents, therefore, the anomalous
spectacle of the co-existence of rare moral qualities with ignorance,
lawlessness, and superstition; and, by instituting a comparison between
the condition of the inhabitants of Spain and those of better governed
and more enlightened nations, the Philanthropist cannot but entertain a
doubt whether a very high degree of education is, in all cases,
conducive to the happiness of Mankind.

The experiment now in progress of sending Liberty, armed Cap-a-pee, to
take Spain by storm, ere Truth and Wisdom have battered Bigotry and
Ignorance in breach, is one that cannot fail to entail the utmost misery
upon that unhappy country for a long space of years.

No _class_ of Spaniards is, at the present moment, prepared for the
great organic changes in the government and institutions of their
country that _we_ are pressing upon them. There are doubtless some
enlightened men in the upper ranks, who, with the welfare of their
country at heart, wish for a change; but their previous life has
unfitted them from taking the lead in effecting it. There are also many
learned men with heads full of metaphysicks and moral and political
theories, who fancy they have but to lecture on forms of government to
have their views adopted; and in the mass of the people there is a great
deal of intelligence sparkling through a dense cloud of ignorance and
bigotry; but vanity is the besetting sin of all Spaniards; they cannot
bring themselves to think they are behind the rest of Europe; and
consequently they do not see that the more liberal institutions of other
countries have followed, and not preceded, the "_march of intellect_."

The various Constitution builders, who, set after set, have succeeded to
the direction of affairs, in this luckless country, have invariably
found themselves in the situation of a man who, having pulled down his
old house to erect another on the spot, after the model of one he had
_read_ of, discovered, that though slate, bricks, and mortar, were all
at hand, he could not meet with workmen who understood his plan, so as
to put his projected structure together; and thus he was driven to seek
shelter in an outhouse.

But, besides the absolute want of knowledge of the world that all the
ministers of Spain have evinced, from Manuel Godoy to the present day,
there is yet another want that has been almost equally conspicuous
during the same period--namely, the want of _honesty_. One of the best
patriots that the country has produced, since the light of liberalism
first broke upon it, declared that this want was the source of all
Spain's misfortunes.--"_Somos todos corrompidos_"[26] was his painful
confession; and without going to the _full_ extent of that assertion, it
seems more than probable this rottenness at the core will not be cured,
until Spain produces some great tyrant like Napoleon.

A Despot, though not over-scrupulous himself, generally makes his
subordinates honest;[27] but I doubt the possibility of any _set_ of
men, who have been brought up on plunder, divesting themselves of the
habit of _self-appropriation_ when possessed of the distribution of the
loaves and fishes.

I must no longer, however, delay taking my departure from Gibraltar, or
the gates of the fortress will be closed upon me for the night, and
frustrate my intention of sleeping at San Roque.



CHAPTER II.

     SAN ROQUE--SINGULAR TITLE OF "THE CITY
     AUTHORITIES"--SITUATION--CLIMATE--THE LATE SIR GEORGE DON,
     LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF GIBRALTAR--ANECDOTE ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE
     CHARACTER OF THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT--SOCIETY OF SPAIN--THE
     TERTULIA--THE VARIOUS CIRCLES OF SPANISH SOCIETY TESTED BY
     SMOKING--ERRONEOUS NOTIONS OF ENGLISH LIBERTY AND
     RELIGION--STARTLING LENTAL CEREMONIES.


San Roque is the nearest town to the British fortress, and distant from
it about six English miles. A mere village at the period of the last
siege of Gibraltar, it has gradually increased, so as at the present day
to cover a considerable extent of ground, and to contain a population of
upwards of six thousand souls. The title of _City_ has even been
vicariously bestowed upon it; all public acts, &c., emanating from its
different authorities, being headed in the following singular
manner,--"The President and Individuals of the Board of health of the
_City of Gibraltar_, which, from the material loss of that place, is
established in _this of San Roque_ within its territory, &c."[28]

The Corregidor, Alcalde, and other authorities, are also designated as
of Gibraltar, and not of San Roque.

The town is pleasantly situated on an isolated knoll, the houses
entirely covering its summit, and extending some way down its Northern
and Western slopes; but towards Gibraltar and to the East, the ground
falls very abruptly, so as to form a natural boundary to the town.

Though quite unsheltered by trees, and consequently exposed to the full
power of the sun, San Roque possesses great advantages over Gibraltar in
point of climate; for, whilst its elevation above all the ground in the
immediate vicinity secures to it a freer circulation of air than is
enjoyed by the pent-up fortress, it is sheltered from the damp and
blighting levant wind that blows down the Mediterranean, by a low
mountain range, known as the Sierra Carbonera, or Queen of Spain's
Chair, which is distant about a mile from the town, and stretches in a
North and South direction, between it and the sea.

The baneful _Khamseen_ of the desert is not more dreaded by the nomad
Arab, than is this pestiferous wind by the desk-bound inhabitant of the
Fortress. No sooner does it set in, than a dense cloud gathers round the
isolated mountain, and, clinging with mischievous pertinacity to its
rugged peaks, involves the Town in a damp, unwholesome atmosphere during
the whole period of its continuance. At the same time, the breeze,
repelled by the precipitous cliff that bounds the rock to the Eastward,
sweeps in furious blasts round both its flanks, driving clouds of sand,
flies, and blue devils into every dwelling, and Rheumatism, Asthma, and
Lumbago, into the bones, chests, and backs, of their inmates.

San Roque, being free from this intolerable nuisance, is looked upon as
a sort of Montpelier by the Gibraltarians, and, at the period of which I
write, was very much resorted to by the mercantile classes, who fitted
up comfortable "boxes" there, that afforded them an agreeable retreat
after their daily labours at the desk were concluded.

The late Sir George Don, whilst Lieut. Governor of the Fortress,
invariably passed several months of the year at San Roque; and his noble
hospitality, his ever open purse, and constant employment of the poor in
works of utility, secured to him the love and respect of all classes of
its inhabitants. Indeed, such was the gallant Veteran's influence in the
place, that I may literally say, not a stone could be turned nor a tree
planted without "His Excellency's" being first consulted as to the
propriety of the measure.

My duty requiring me to be in frequent attendance upon the Lieut.
Governor, I generally made one of Sir George's party, whenever he fixed
his Head-quarters at San Roque; and on one of these occasions a
circumstance occurred that throws such a light upon the extraordinary
character of the Spanish Government, that I am tempted to relate it
before proceeding further.

I was seated one morning tête-à-tête with the General, waiting the
arrival of the Messenger with letters, &c. from the Fortress, when we
observed a guard of Spanish soldiers pass by the window, headed by an
officer on horseback, and having a prisoner in charge; and to our
astonishment they stopped at the General's door. We were waiting with
some little curiosity to learn the cause of this extraordinary visit,
and were lost in conjectures as to whom the delinquent could be, when
the door of the apartment was thrown open, and in rushed the prisoner
himself, exclaiming with great excitement and the volubility of his
nation--"General, you doubtless know me--I am Prince Napoleon Lucien
Murat--I throw myself upon and claim your protection--I have been
entrapped by the vile Spanish government" (this was soon after the
restoration of the "_inclito_" Ferdinand). "Invited by the Commandant of
San Roque to pay him a visit, I was seduced to leave Gibraltar, and on
arriving at the Spanish lines was seized upon and hurried off under an
escort, to be imprisoned at Algeciras, where I should have been
murdered, but that fortunately I succeeded in persuading the officer
charged with my safeguard to pass through San Roque on his way and allow
me to speak to you. He unwittingly acceded to my request, and I now
place myself under the protection of the British flag."

"Monsieur," replied the General, with no slight astonishment, "this is
indeed a very extraordinary, and apparently most unjustifiable
proceeding; but I am sorry to inform you that I can afford you no
_protection_. The British flag does not fly at San Roque; and I myself
reside here only by permission of the Spanish government. My good
offices,--as far as they can be of service in liberating you,--shall not
be wanting; but, in the mean time, pray let me hear further particulars
of this plot against your liberty; and Scott,"--turning to me--"have
the goodness to go to the Spanish Commandant, and request he will favour
me with a few minutes' conversation."

I proceeded as directed to the quarters of the Colonel of the Regiment
of Granada, which at that time formed the garrison of San Roque, and was
ushered in to the Commandant, whom I found at his toilet, and not a
little surprised at my early visit.

Now _Don Alonzo del Pulgar Apugal_--for such were the Colonel's
patronymics--was the least likely man in the world to be employed in a
case of abduction. He was a soft, open-hearted, honeycomb-headed, fat,
good-natured man, of about five and forty, without two military ideas,
and not half a dozen on any other subject. What little knowledge he did
possess, was of dogs, guns, charges, and wadding. But, at the same time,
I knew the Don to be a gentleman, and incapable of acting the part with
which he was charged. When, therefore, I explained the circumstances
that had led to my waiting upon him, ere his unnameables were yet
finally braced round his portly person, he was most excessively
astonished, and repelled with indignant warmth the vile accusation of
being the abbettor--indeed, the principal mover--in the infamous
plot that had placed Prince Lucien's body at the tender mercies
of six Spanish bayonets, and his neck in jeopardy of the
_garrote_[29]--"_Valgame Dios!_" he at length exclaimed, "surely the
poor young man cannot have deceived himself by taking _al pié de la
letra_, our usual Spanish compliment;--for now I recollect, when he was
introduced to me at the _dog-meeting_" (he meant at the fox-hunt) "some
time back, we had some conversation about shooting, and I said my dogs
and guns were at his disposition[30] whenever he wished for a day's
sport.--_Pobrecito!_--it is possible I may thus unconsciously have been
the cause of this unfortunate affair."

Such, however, did not turn out to be the case, for the Prince had
presented himself at the Spanish lines, provided with both dogs and gun,
and accompanied by a sportsman to show him the country.

The kind-hearted Colonel hurried down to Sir George, buckling his sword
on as he went, and was immediately on his arrival taken into a private
room to consult as to what could be done in the business, as well as to
hear the officer of the escort's edition of the story. Mons. Murat
meanwhile remained in the study with one of the general's Aides de Camp
(my friend Budgen of the Royal Engineers) and myself, and to us, who
were yet unacquainted with the heinous nature of the crime of which he
was accused by the Spanish government, appeared to be most unnecessarily
alarmed, and to rely but little on the friendly interference of Sir
George; on which indeed he had as little claim as upon the protection of
the British flag, beyond the jurisdiction of which he had voluntarily
placed himself:--for, considering perhaps that such a step would have
been beneath his dignity as an ex-prince of the Two Sicilies, he had
neglected to pay the customary compliment of calling upon the Governor
on arriving at the Fortress, and was consequently unknown.

After sundry exclamations of regret at having suffered himself to be
made a prisoner without a struggle, he asked if there was a door of
communication with the street running at the back of the house; and, on
my replying in the affirmative, he proposed that I should lend him my
military frock coat, and ask an English officer who had accompanied him
and remained outside to meet him there with his horse--"_alors_"--said
he--the reckless valour of the father showing itself--"_avec le sabre de
Tupper[31] je m'en--de ces laches d'Espagnols_." This of course was out
of the question; as however unfairly he might have been kidnapped--and
of which we had yet to be convinced--it was clear that Sir George's
honour, on the faith of which he had been permitted to enter and remain
in the house, would have been compromised by our connivance at his
escape from it.

We did all we could to quiet his apprehensions until the return of Sir
George, who informed him that it appeared from the statement of the
officer of the escort, that orders had been received from the general
officer commanding at Algeciras to arrest him, should he, on any
pretence, again pass the limits of the British garrison.

The kind-hearted old General expressed the utmost regret at his having
been so imprudent as to trust himself a second time in Spain (for only a
month before he had been conducted to Gibraltar under an escort from
Malaga)--and hoping that his own consciousness of innocence would
relieve him from any fear as to the result of the affair, gave him a
letter to General José O'Donnell, who commanded in the _Campo de
Gibraltar_; in which letter he requested, as a favour to himself, that
every respect and attention might be paid to the young Frenchman:--a
favour he had every right to ask, from one who had received so many more
important ones at his hands.--

General O'Donnell, in his reply, stated that he had but acted in
conformity with instructions received from Madrid--that Monsieur Murat
had some months previously landed at Malaga from a vessel which, when on
its passage with him to America, had been obliged to put into that port
to repair some slight damage experienced in a gale of wind--that, during
his stay there, he had publicly expressed his hostility to the king's
government, and, instead of proceeding to his destination when the
vessel again put to sea, he had appeared rather disposed to establish
himself in that (not over-loyal) city.--The Spanish government viewed
these circumstances with a very suspicious eye; particularly as his
elder brother had, but a few years before, been one of the _aspirans_ to
the constitutional crown of Spain;--and he had consequently been sent
with a _guard of honour_ to Gibraltar, from whence opportunities for
America are more frequent than from Malaga.

In compliance with Sir George Don's request, General O'Donnell promised
that every attention should be paid to the youth's comfort, consistent
with his safe custody, until instructions as to his disposal should be
received from the capital.

The cause of the violent proceedings adopted by the Spanish government
turned out eventually to be, that this scion of Despotism had sung
_Riego's hymn_ all the way from Malaga to Gibraltar; some of his _guard
of honour_ even joining in chorus! and that at Estepona he had, through
the influence of a _colonato_,[32] persuaded an old barber who had
shaved him--he being the ex-trumpeter of the _Nacionales_--to play the
forbidden tune to the astonished fishermen of the place!

The sequel of this state affair was, that Monsieur Murat remained in
durance at Algeciras, until a vessel bound to the United States offered
him the means of crossing the Atlantic.

I used to find that an occasional visit to San Roque made a very
agreeable break in the monotony of a garrison life; for what place, let
its attractions be ever so great, does not become dull when one is _per
forza_ obliged to make it a residence? Even London, Paris, or Vienna,
would not stand the test.

The society of San Roque was not of a very _exclusive_ kind; for but
little of the _sangre azul_[33] of Spain flowed in the veins of its
inhabitants. Nevertheless, there, as elsewhere, some families were to be
met with who looked upon themselves as of a superior order to the rest
of the community; condescending, however, to mix with them on the most
friendly footing at their nightly _Tertulia_. This is a kind of "at
home," announced to be held sometimes once or twice a week, sometimes
nightly, at the houses of the leading families of a town; the _reunion_
taking place after the theatre--should there be one.[34]

In large towns it frequently happens that several houses are open to
receive company on the same night. But, although it is considered rather
a slight to neglect showing yourself at those to which you have the
entrée, it is by no means necessary to do more than that; it being
optional with you to pass the evening at whichever house you find most
attractive, after going the round of all. Even the ladies who open their
houses for _Tertulias_ consider it necessary to send some of the members
of their family to the rival assemblies; always with a message of regret
at not being able to go themselves, their own party being _so very
crowded_ that they could not possibly absent themselves from it, without
giving offence to their numerous guests.

It must be confessed that the Tertulia is a very agreeable mode of
associating; that it offers great variety, without being attended with
the least formality, and entails but slight expense on the entertainers;
iced water and _sospiros_[35] being, excepting on gala nights, the only
refreshment offered to the company.

There is very little difference observable in the various grades of
Spanish society. The same incessant loud talking amongst the females
distinguishes the whole; dancing, singing, cards, and games of forfeits,
are the amusements of all. Even dress, until of late years, did not
furnish a distinction, excepting, in a slight degree, by the costliness
of the materials.

But French taste, with its monstrous and ever-varying eccentricities,
has corrupted that of the upper ranks of Spain, and occasioned the
graceful and becoming national costume to be in a great measure laid
aside.

The great distinction that marks the various grades of Spanish society,
is the latitude given to _smoking_. In the first circles, it is
altogether prohibited. In the second, it is confined to a back room, or
suffered in the patio.[36] In all others it is freely permitted.

It is a positive libel on the ladies of Spain to say that they smoke
under any circumstances; though the disgusting habit prevails amongst
the females of Mexico and other transatlantic states that formerly were
included in the empire of _both worlds_.

A good letter of introduction insures a foreigner admission into the
best Spanish society. He is taken the round of all the tertulias, and,
on receiving from the lady of any house the assurance that it is _at his
disposition_, may present himself there as often as he pleases. Should
this form be withheld, he may take it for granted--despite the
whisperings of self-love--that his future attendance is not wished for.

The need of some little acquaintance with the Spanish language caused
but few English officers to enter into the society of San Roque; but
living there as much as I did, and being often placed in communication
with the authorities, I derived from it a source of great amusement.
Indeed, to Lady Viale[37] and her amiable family I am indebted for many
agreeable evenings; her house uniting the pleasing informality of
Spanish with the solid hospitality (I use the term in our eating and
drinking sense of it) of English society.

It would be an error to depict the manners and customs of the
inhabitants of San Roque, as those of the natives of Andalusia
generally; since, in their various pursuits, the former are so
frequently thrown in contact with Englishmen and other foreigners
settled at Gibraltar, that they cannot but have acquired some of their
habits, and imbibed some of their ideas. Nevertheless, there is a
self-conceit about all Spaniards, that makes them particularly slow in
throwing off their nationality; and the difference is consequently not
so great as might naturally be expected. A proof of this is afforded by
the circumstance of the English language not being spoken, nor even
understood, by fifty of the inhabitants of San Roque; although it is
evidently so much their interest to acquire it.

Their intercourse, on the other hand, (and this is observable in all the
sea-port towns of Spain) has given them strangely ill defined notions of
_English liberty_, and equally extraordinary opinions of our religious
tenets; and has filled their minds with highly constitutional ideas of
the iniquity of taxation, and most conscientious scruples as to the
propriety of supporting a national church. I fear, indeed, that
deistical, nay I believe I should say Atheistical, opinions prevail to a
great extent amongst the upper orders of Spaniards, though they still
continue to observe--if not the penances--all the superstitious
ceremonies and absurd fooleries of the Romish church.

One of their extraordinary lental ceremonies I became acquainted with
under very _alarming_ circumstances. I was awaked one fine April
morning, during one of my earliest visits to San Roque, by a most
furious fusillade, which, considering the unsettled state of Spain at
that particular juncture, I naturally enough concluded was occasioned by
some popular commotion. The appearance of my servant in answer to a
hasty summons of the bell immediately quieted my apprehensions on that
score, however; the broad grin that distended his round Kentish
countenance plainly bespeaking the absence of all danger;--though what
occasioned his unwonted merriment puzzled me to divine. In reply to my
inquiries touching the firing, the only answer I could obtain was,
"They're a shooting of Hoodah."--"And who the deuce is Hoodah?" said I,
"and what has he been about?"--But on these points he was quite as
ignorant as myself; so dressing with all possible despatch--the
astounding rolls of musketry, and as it appeared to me of field
artillery also, continuing the whole time I was so occupied, seeming
indeed to spread to all parts of the town--I issued forth, armed up to
the teeth, and on turning the corner of the street saw, to my horror, a
human figure suspended in the air, and reduced almost to a bundle of
rags by the incessant firing of--as I supposed--a party of soldiers
posted in a cross street.

This surely is "making assurance doubly sure," thought I. Why the poor
devil can't have an inch of sound flesh in his body after all this
peppering. The bang, bang continued incessantly, however, accompanied by
roars of laughter, until at length the ill-fated Hoodah was in a blaze.
A crowd of men and boys, armed with guns, pistols, and blunderbusses,
now rushed from the cross street, (where they had been concealed from my
view) rending the air with _vivas_. At this same moment a loud peal of
music burst upon me from a neighbouring church, and from its portal
issued a long train of priests preceded by the Host. With these came the
recollections of its being Easter Sunday, and of the guttural
pronunciation of the Spanish _J_; and quite ashamed of my war-like
demonstration, I retreated to my house yet quicker than I had issued
from it.

The distant firing continued some time longer; and I afterwards learnt
that the effigies of no less than seven _Judases_ had that morning been
severally hanged, shot, and burnt, to satisfy the holy rage of the
devout inhabitants of San Roque.



CHAPTER III.

     COUNTRY IN THE VICINITY OF SAN ROQUE--RUINS OF THE ANCIENT CITY OF
     CARTEIA--FIELD OF BATTLE OF ALPHONSO THE ELEVENTH--JOURNEY TO
     RONDA--FOREST OF ALMORAIMA--MOUTH OF THE LIONS--FINE SCENERY--TOWN
     OF GAUCIN--A SPANISH INN--OLD CASTLE AT GAUCIN--INTERIOR OF AN
     ANDALUSIAN POSADA--SPANISH HUMOUR--MOUNTAIN WINE.


The country in the immediate vicinity of San Roque is tame and
uninteresting; but, within the distance of an hour's ride, in whatever
direction you may turn your horse's head, it becomes agreeably
varied,--presenting wide, cultivated valleys, shady forests of cork,
oak, and pine, and wild and cragged mountains.

In the neighbourhood are many objects well deserving the attention of
the antiquary; amongst others, the ruins of the ancient city of Carteia,
situated on the sea-shore, within the bay of Gibraltar, and near the
mouth of the River Guadaranque. The walls may be traced very distinctly;
they enclose an amphitheatre, in a tolerable state of preservation,
reliques of baths and other edifices, and the remains of a small temple
of Corinthian architecture and most exquisite and elaborate workmanship.

This last has only recently been discovered. It was built of beautiful
white marble, and its columns, though lying prostrate, appeared to have
suffered little by their fall; but such is the want of antiquarian taste
in the Spaniards of the present day, that it is to be feared this fine
specimen of the arts has already disappeared, and is now only to be met
with in detached blocks, scattered throughout the neighbouring
farm-houses and walls.

The learned Mr. Francis Carter, whose interesting "Journey from
Gibraltar to Malaga" has, it is much to be regretted, been long out of
print, states, that Carteia was built on the ruins of a "most antique"
city called Tartessus, or Tarsis, from whence, "once in three years,"
the fleets of King Solomon "brought gold and silver, ivory and _apes_
and peacocks."[38] The Greeks afterwards called this city Heraclea,[39]
and in yet more recent times it received the name of Carteia.

The Carthagenians (on the authority of Justin) made themselves masters
of this place, about 280 years B.C., and retained possession of it
until they were finally expelled from Spain by Scipio Africanus, B.C.
203. It was one of the cities most devoted to the cause of the Pompeys,
and that to which Cneus fled for refuge after his defeat at Munda. On
the margin of the River Guadaranque, at a short distance from the walls
of the city, may be seen some remnants of its ancient quays, and about a
mile higher up the stream, other vestiges of antiquity present
themselves, which are supposed to be the remains of a Dock or Arsenal.
They consist of several moles constructed of stone and brick intermixed,
and held together by a very durable cement.

The Guadaranque (River of Mares) discharges itself into the bay of
Gibraltar, three miles N.W. of the fortress; and some distance further
to the westward, the Palmones, another mountain stream, also empties
itself into the bay. In the bed of this latter river may be seen the
piers of a ruined bridge, said to be a work of the Romans. It is evident
from these remains, that a great change has taken place in the character
of the two rivers: since the first can now be entered only by boats of
the very lightest draught, and the other is fordable immediately above
the ruins of the Roman bridge.

The plain between the two rivers is not devoid of interest, being
celebrated as one of the battle fields of the heroic Alphonso XI. (A.D.
1333) whose exploits, independent of his having been the most chivalric
monarch of the Castillian race, are particularly interesting to
Englishmen, from the circumstance of many of our countrymen having
fought under his banner against the Moslems, and particularly at the
siege of Algeciras: which place, notwithstanding the destructive
weapons[40] there for the first time employed against the Christian
army, was captured after a twenty months' siege, and in spite of the
repeated attempts of the allied kings of Granada and Gibraltar to
relieve it, A.D. 1344. In these various endeavours to raise the siege,
the plain extending between the Guadaranque and Palmones again became
the scene of fierce contention; of which a most interesting account will
be found in Villasan's Chronicles of Alphonso XI.

Numerous other points in the neighbourhood of San Roque are equally
worthy of observation; but these I shall not detain my reader longer to
particularise, as other opportunities will present themselves for doing
so more conveniently, in the course of our travels; it being my purpose
to make San Roque a kind of "base of operations," upon which I shall
from time to time retire, for a fresh supply of notes and sketches. I
shall now therefore direct my steps due north, through the lonely and
almost boundless forest of Almoraima, towards Ximena.

The forest consists principally of cork, oak, and ilex; but, in the
marshy parts of it, (called _sotos_,) ash, willow, and other trees to
which such localities are favourable, grow very luxuriantly.

The owner of this vast domain is the Marquis of Moscoso,--who derives
from it a revenue totally disproportioned to its value and extent; and
what little he does get, he squanders nightly at the gaming-table. The
principal source of revenue arises from the numerous herds of swine and
other cattle, that are driven from all parts of the country to feed upon
the acorns, herbage, and underwood, scattered throughout the forest; the
fine, well grown trees with which it abounds being turned to no better
account than to furnish bark and charcoal.

This is entirely owing to the want of means of conveying the timber to a
market; for not even to Gibraltar--in which direction the country is
level--is there a road capable of bearing the draught of heavy weights.
Of course the ruinous passion that swallows up all the proprietor's
resources prevents any attempt at improvement in the management of the
estate; and thus, whilst huge trees, stript of their bark, lie rotting
in some parts of the forest, in others, the underwood is set on fire by
the peasantry--to the great detriment of the larger trees--to improve
the pasture for their cattle.

The ride through the forest is delightful, even in the most sultry
season, the wide-spreading branches of the gnarled cork-trees screening
the narrow paths most effectually from the sun's rays. The gurgle of the
tortuous Guadaranque,--which, escaped from the mountain ravines that
encircle its sources, here wends its way more leisurely to the sea,--may
be heard distinctly on the left, and now and then a glimpse may even be
caught of its dark blue stream, winding under a perfect arbour of
woodbine, clematis, and other creepers, and spanned here and there by a
rustic bridge. The single stem of a tree of which these bridges usually
consist is readily enough crossed by the practised feet and heads of the
swineherds and foresters; but to strangers unskilled in the art of slack
rope dancing, the passage of the stream, like that of the bridge leading
to the Mohammedan's paradise, is a feat of no very easy achievement.

Occasionally, wide, open glades, carpeted with a rich greensward,
present themselves in the very heart of the forest, to diversify the
scenery--giving it quite the character of an English park; and from
these breaks in the wood a view may generally be obtained of the
far-distant towers of Castellar; the mountain fortress of the master of
this princely domain, now inhabited by his _Administrador_, or Agent,
his gamekeepers, and other dependents.

The forest abounds in deer, wild boars, and wolves; but, excepting the
first named, these animals seldom venture to descend into the level
parts of the forest in open day, but confine themselves to the thickly
wooded glens, that furrow the mountain range bordering the right bank of
the Guadaranque.

Permission to shoot in the forest is never refused to the British
officers and inhabitants of Gibraltar. Indeed, excepting for the _caza
mayor_,[41] the ceremony of asking leave is not considered necessary;
and in the winter season the _sotos_ afford good sport, woodcocks,
ducks, and snipes, being very plentiful.

Turning now away from the Guadaranque, and leaving a spacious convent
that gives its name to the forest, about half a mile on the left, the
road inclines to the eastward, and soon reaches a large solitary
building, the Venta _del Aqua del Quejigo_, but known more commonly
amongst the English by the name of the Long Stables, and distinguished
as the scene of many a festive meeting, and many a bacchanalian orgie,
being a favourite place of rendezvous for a _Batida_.[42] My head aches
at the very recollection of the nights passed within its walls. We will
therefore pass on, and again plunge into the forest.

After proceeding about a mile, the road divides into two branches. That
on the right hand is the most direct way to Gaucin, whither I am bending
my steps; but the other, though little known, is the best, and offers
more attractions to the lover of the picturesque. I will therefore take
it, in the present instance, and advise all who may follow in my wake to
do the like.

Continuing two miles further through the impervious forest, the road at
length arrives at the brink of a deep ravine on the right, when a lovely
view breaks upon the traveller, looking over a rich valley watered by
the river Sogarganta, and towards the mountain fortress of Casares and
lofty Sierra Bermeja. The road, hemmed in by steep banks, and still
overshadowed by the forest, descends rather rapidly towards the before
named river; and this narrow pass, being the only outlet from the forest
in this direction, has, from its celebrity in days past as a place of
danger, received the name of the _Boca de Leones_--mouth of the lions.

On emerging from the pass, a wide and carefully cultivated valley
presents itself. The river which fertilizes it, here makes a
considerable elbow; the chain of hills clothed by the Almoraima forest
checking its southerly course, and directing it nearly due east towards
the Mediterranean. To the north, the valley extends nearly ten miles,
appearing to be closed by a conical mound that is crowned by the old
castle of Ximena; the town itself being piled up on its eastern side.

The road to that place (eight miles) keeps along the right bank of the
Sogarganta, which winds gracefully through the wide, flat-bottomed
valley; but the track to Gaucin crosses by a ford to the opposite side
of the stream, and, after advancing about four miles, inclines to the
right, traverses a low range of hills, and comes down upon the river
Guadiaro. This is crossed by means of a ferryboat, and leaving its bank,
and proceeding in a northerly direction, the road passes over a gently
undulated country for several miles, and then begins to ascend a high
wooded ridge on the right hand.

The ascent is long and tortuous, but tolerably easy, and the view,
looking towards Ximena (distant about five miles) is very grand and
imposing. The castellated crag, so proudly conspicuous an hour before,
is now, however, shorn of all its importance; the superior elevation of
the point from whence it is viewed, as well as the magnificence of the
mountains that rise to the westward of Ximena--which now first burst
upon the sight--making it appear but a pebble at their feet.

But scenery of a more varied and yet more magnificent kind awaits the
traveller, at the pass by which the road traverses the ridge that he has
now been nearly an hour ascending.

The lovely valley of the Genal[43] is there spread out to his enraptured
gaze. On the left, embosomed in groves of orange, citron, and
pomegranate trees, and shadowed with clustering vines, stands the
picturesque town of Gaucin,--its boldly outlined castle perched on the
crest of a rough ledge of rock that rises abruptly behind.

Stretching some way down the eastern side of the cragged mound, the
advanced battlements of the Moorish stronghold terminate at the brink
of a frightful precipice, which not only forbids all approach to the
town in that direction, but threatens even some day to close up the
narrow valley it overhangs.

Of the little stream that flows in the deep and thickly wooded ravine,
an occasional glimpse only can be caught, as it turns coquettishly from
side to side; but its general direction is marked by a succession of
water-mills, as well as by a belt of orange and lemon groves, whose dark
green foliage is easily distinguished from, and offers a pleasing
variety to, the more brilliant tints of the surrounding forest. Beyond,
however, where the valley becomes wider and more open, the stream may be
distinctly traced lingering over its pebbly bed, and finally forming its
junction with the Guadiaro.

The steep but graceful slopes of the mountain ridge that bounds the
valley to the east are thickly clothed with cork, oak, chesnut, and
ilex; whilst the rugged peaks of the Sierra Cristellina, in which it
terminates towards Gibraltar, rise so precipitously as seemingly to defy
even a goat to find footing. Over this chain may be seen the distant
Sierra Bermeja, celebrated in Spanish history as the last refuge of the
persecuted Moslems, and the eastern roots of which are washed by the
Mediterranean.

Half an hour's ride brings the traveller from the pass to Gaucin,--the
descent being but short, and very gradual. Gaucin is a long straggling
town, of semi-circular form, and is built partly under the rocky
eminence occupied by the castle, partly on the southern slope of a
narrow gorge that connects this stronghold with the more elevated
_Sierra del Hacho_. The principal street, which traverses the place from
west to east, is wider than most one is accustomed to see in old Moorish
towns, and cleaner than any I have met with in modern Spanish cities.
But nature has all the merit of endowing it with the latter virtue;
having supplied it with copious springs, which, in their downward
course, carry off all the usual impurities of Andalusian streets. The
houses, though not good, are clean, and are decorated with a profusion
of flowers of all sorts, that give out a delicious perfume; and in
various parts of the town, a vine-clung trelliswork of canes is carried
quite across the street, affording at the same time an agreeable shade
and a pleasing vista. The first impression made by the town is therefore
decidedly favourable.

We--(I ought by the way to have stated before now, that the party with
which I travelled on this occasion consisted of _four_)--we therefore, I
repeat, had to traverse the town from one end to the other, to arrive
at the _posada_; which was indicated only by the short,
inorthographical, but otherwise satisfactory and invigorating
announcement, painted in large black letters on the whitewashed wall of
the building--"_Aqui se bende vuen bino_."[44]

A cockney could not have managed to make more mistakes between his _v's_
and _w's_, than our _Andaluz Posadero_[45] had succeeded in compressing
into this pithy advertisement;--hoping, however, that he held his
plighted word in greater respect than the rules of Castillian
grammar,[46] we spurred our horses through the half-opened _porte
cochère_, and, _à l'Espagnole_, rode at once into the principal
apartment of the hostelry.

The interior was far from giving the same cheering assurance that good
entertainment was to be had for money, as was announced externally of
the sale of good wine. I was as yet (I speak of my first visit to
Gaucin) but a novice in Spanish travelling, and thought I had never seen
a more wretched, uncomfortable, and in every way unpromising, place. But
the day was already far spent, and the chance of our finding better
accommodation by proceeding further on our journey was against
us;--moreover, we had been assured (which by experience I afterwards
learnt to be the case) that this was the only _Parador_ fit for
_Caballeros_ between San Roque and Ronda.

It consisted of one long, windowless apartment, that from the number and
variety of its inmates gave no bad idea of Noah's ark. Three fourths of
the dark smoky space served as a stable, wherein four rows of quadrupeds
were compactly tethered; and, impatient for their evening meal, were
neighing, braying, and bleating, with all the powers of their respective
lungs. Amidst the filth and litter that covered the pavement, lay
numberless pigs of all sizes, and every condition of life; some
squeaking for mere squeaking's sake, others grunting in all the
discomfort of repletion. On the rafters overhead some scores of
gallinaceous animals had congregated for the night; adding,
nevertheless, their quota of noise to that of the lower region, whenever
one of their number was abducted from the roost, to be hurried out of
its peaceful existence, into a greasy olla. The remaining portion of the
apartment served both as a refectory and a dormitory for the
_arrieros_,--owners of the tethered quadrupeds--and also as a kitchen,
where their various odoriferous suppers were preparing.

The mistress of the mansion--as wrinkle-visaged an old harridan as ever
tossed off a bumper of _aguadiente_--assisted by her two daughters, was
busily employed, plucking, drawing, dissecting, and otherwise preparing,
divers rabbits, chickens, and other animals, to satisfy the craving
appetites of her numerous guests; and cats innumerable were in close
attendance, clawing and squabbling for the offal, which, to save all
further trouble, was thrown to them on the floor.

The prospect was any thing but inviting; but, as I have said before,
there was no alternative;--so, begging the _Posadera_ to draw near, we
requested she would inform us whether we could be accommodated with a
lodging for the night. Having deliberately scanned the party, and
ascertained to her satisfaction that it consisted entirely of
Englishmen,--whose pockets Spaniards are apt to consider as
inexhaustible as the mines of Mexico and Peru,--the old beldame, oiling
her iron features into a species of smile, assured us we could be lodged
_con toda comodidad_;[47] and screeching to her daughter _Mariquita_,
she desired her to hand over the rabbit she was skinning to her
_hermanita_[48] _Frasquita_, and show the _Caballeros_[49] to the
_Sala_.[50]

Mariquita led us forthwith up a narrow rickety staircase, which,
situated in a dark corner of the room, had escaped our observation; and
into a small room, or rather loft, where she assured us we should be
very quiet and comfortable; adding that it was always reserved for
_gente de pelo_[51] like ourselves.

The only comfort apparent was the undisturbed possession of a space
twelve feet square, enclosed by four bare walls: for of bedding or
furniture of any sort it was quite destitute. We submitted with as good
a grace as possible, but, after some persuasion, succeeded in procuring
four mattresses to spread on the clay floor; as many pairs of clean
sheets and pillows; and some pie-dishes to serve as wash-hand basins. We
then descended, to have some further conversation with our hostess
concerning supper.

The landlady's reply to our first question, "what can we have?" was
gratifying in the extreme--viz. "_lo que ustedes gusten_"--"just what
you please." But, discovering by our next, more explicit demand, "what
can you give us?" that we depended upon the resources of the _posada_
for our evening meal, her astonishment knew no bounds, and her doubts of
the Potosi state of our purses became very evident. Leaving, therefore,
the delicate affair to be explained and settled by one of our servants,
who, being an old traveller, understood how to negociate these matters,
we proceeded to examine the ruined castle, ere the sun had sunk below
the horizon.

A rugged zig-zag pathway--along which, at stated intervals, are
represented the various sufferings and indignities endured by our
Saviour on his way to Mount Calvary--leads to the summit of the rocky
ledge. The fortress that crowns it must, in the days of the Moors, have
possessed great military importance, as it completely commands the
valley, and consequently all the roads leading through it, towards the
coast. It is now merely a picturesque ruin; its Artillery being
dismounted, its wells choked up, and its battlements overgrown with ivy.
A chapel dedicated to the _Niño Dios_[52] is apparently the only thing
within its precincts deemed worthy of preservation.

The view from this spot is very extensive and beautiful, but hardly so
fine as one (which will be hereafter noticed) that presents itself some
miles higher up the valley, when the castle itself becomes one of the
principal features of the landscape, whilst the distant scenery remains
the same.

Returning to the Posada, we lighted our cigars; and, feeling sensibly
the change in the temperature of this elevated region, we joined the
natives assembled round the fireplace, who, with the courtesy natural to
all Spaniards, immediately rose and offered us the seats of honour.

The portion of the apartment allotted to the human kind had now become
crowded with persons of all sorts and conditions; for the animals being
peacefully engaged at their evening repast, their owners thought it time
to be looking after their's. Some, indeed, had already satisfied the
cravings of nature from their own wallets and _pig_-skins, and, taking
time by the forelock, were stretched full length on the floor; their
_Mantas_ and _Capas_ serving them for mattresses and coverlets, their
saddles and _alforjas_ for bolsters and pillows. Others, seated on low
stools composed of junks of cork, had resolved themselves into
committees, to discuss the merits of a _Gazpacho caliente_,[53] or
direct their inquiries into the hidden treasures of a savoury _olla_.
Some were assisting the hostess and her somewhat pretty daughters, in
their culinary operations; and many were assembled round the wide
chimney piece, drinking, smoking, manufacturing _papelitos_ for the
morrow's consumption, and relating their adventures.

Here also were seated several of the village magnates, who repair
nightly to this convenient rendezvous, as well to indulge a natural
propensity to gossip, as to hear the news from _La Plaza_, and negotiate
with the arrieros for their contraband cottons and tobacco.

The whole presented an interior quite suited to the pencil of a Teniers.
A bright wood fire sparkled on the wide hearth, shedding a brilliant red
light upon the group of animated figures assembled in its immediate
vicinity, and here and there also picking out some conspicuous figure
from the more distant parties. The back ground was in deep Murillo
shade, excepting on one side; where the flickering flame of a solitary
lamp, contrasting its pale light with that of the fire, cast a yellow
tinge on the squalid features of the hostess and her helpmates, round
whom the eyes of some dozen of cats danced like monster fireflies. A
well polished _batterie de cuisine_; sides of bacon; ropes of onions;
platters; goblets and tobacco smoke, were not wanting to fill up the
picture. But it was perfect without the aid of such accessories; the
spirit and expression of each actor in the Spanish scene, and the
diversity of costume, giving it a decided superiority over a picture of
the "_Flemish School_;" in which foaming pots of beer, and a melting
_frau_, must needs be introduced, to extract animation from the stolid
features of the assembled boors.

The lower order of Spaniards have a great deal of racy humour which
renders them admirable _raconteurs_. The _arrieros_ assembled round the
fire on the present occasion were relating some story of the barbarous
treatment received by a good Capuchin friar, at the hands of some wicked
_ladrones_,[54] who, finding he possessed nothing worth being plundered
of, had bastinadoed his feet until he could not walk, tied his hands
together, enveloped him in a goat skin, fastened a pair of ram's horns
on his head, a bell to his rosary, and suspending that from his neck,
had left him to crawl as he best could, to the nearest village.

This tale, though not addressed to him, was evidently intended for the
ears of a monk of the same mendicant order, who, pale and trembling, sat
in one corner of the chimney place, listening, with open-mouthed
attention, to every word the _arrieros_ said; at the same time counting
his beads without intermission, and crossing himself devoutly at the
relation of each fresh act of barbarity practised on his unfortunate
brother.

From the significant glances that from time to time passed between the
narrators,--for several of the assembled group came forward to vouch for
the truth of the story,--and latterly between them and ourselves, when
they saw we were aware of the drift of their joke; it was evidently all
fiction; but the tale was told with such minute details, and its
veracity maintained by so many asseverations, that any one, not seeing
the by-play, might easily, like the unhappy monk, have been made the
victim of the hoax.

"_Caramba!_" at length exclaimed the _Alcalde mayor_[55] of Gaucin, who
occupied one corner of the fireplace--"_Caramba!_ this is a strange
story! and it is most extraordinary, that in my official capacity"--this
was said with a certain magisterial air--"I should not have been made
acquainted with it. Pray tell me; _when_ did this happen? and what
became of the pious man?"--"With respect to the time," said another
muleteer, taking up the story, "I cannot precisely inform you; but that
matters little; be satisfied that, in the narration of the story, _no se
salga un punto de la verdad_.[56] As for the friar, he crawled to the
nearest village, driving before him all the cattle he encountered on
the road, like mad things--asses braying--dogs barking; and cows with
their tails in the air as erect as palm trees. The inhabitants took the
alarm; and, snatching up their _niños_ and _rosarios_, scampered off
without listening to what the _Padre_ was crying:--indeed the louder he
hallooed to them to stop, the faster they ran; for they all thought it
was the devil that was at their heels."--"And I believe think so to this
day," joined in another arriero, taking his cigar from his mouth, and
rolling forth a long cloud of smoke--"for at last, the village priest,
seizing upon a crucifix in one hand, and an _escopeta_[57] in the other,
and repeating a heap of _Ave Marias_, _Pater nostres_, and _credos_,
went out to meet the beast. On getting within gunshot, he presented the
_escopeta_ (for I saw it myself, though he said afterwards it was the
crucifix,) upon which the figure fell prostrate on the ground. So then
the _Cura_ went up to it, and, after a few minutes, beckoned the people
forward, and told them how he had cast a devil out of a good Capuchin,
and showed the skin and horns he had kept as trophies. The skin was cut
up and sold to the bystanders for charms against the evil one; and the
friar was placed on an ass, and conveyed to the _Cura's_ dwelling, where
he remained until his feet were healed. He then returned to his
convent, telling every body that he had been assailed by devils in the
form of contrabandistas, and that a miracle had been wrought in his
favour."

Here all crossed themselves--arrieros inclusive.

Others of the muleteers were bandying compliments with the crabbed old
landlady; one swearing that her wine was as sweet as her face; another
that her breath was more savoury than a _chorizo_;[58] a third that his
chocolate was less clear than her complexion: all which jokes she bore
with stoical indifference, returning generally, however, a Rowland for
an Oliver.

At length our supper was announced, and we betook ourselves to the loft,
where we found four chairs and a low table had been added to the
furniture. Our meal consisted of a stewed fowl, that had been pulled
down from the roost before our eyes, not an hour before; an omelet
abounding in onion and garlic; and, what we found far more palatable,
ham and bread and butter, which we had taken care to come provided with.

I must not, however, omit to do justice to the Gaucin wine, which is
excellent, and has much the flavour of a _sound_ Niersteiner. The best
is grown on the side of the _Hacho_, or peaked mountain above the town.

All the wine of the Serrania is good, when not _flavoured_ with aniseed;
but it must be "drunk on the premises;" for the vile habit of carrying
it in pig-skins is sure to give it some bad taste--either of the skin
itself, if new, or of its preceding contents, (probably aniseed brandy)
if old. I tried in vain to get some pure Guacin wine conveyed to
Gibraltar, but it had always a "smack" of the unclean animal's skin.



CHAPTER IV.

     JOURNEY TO RONDA CONTINUED--A WORD ON THE PASSPORT AND BILL OF
     HEALTH NUISANCES, AND SPANISH CUSTOM-HOUSE OFFICERS--ROMANTIC
     SCENERY--SPLENDID VIEW--BENADALID--ATAJATE--FIRST VIEW OF THE VALE
     OF RONDA--A DISSERTATION ON ADVENTURES, TO MAKE UP FOR THEIR
     ABSENCE--LUDICROUS INSTANCE OF THE EFFECTS OF PUTTING THE CART
     BEFORE THE HORSE.


"_A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda_,"[59] is a common Spanish saying; and
though our hard beds took off much from the merit of our early rising,
it nevertheless brought its reward, by enabling us to witness a sunrise
scene of most surpassing beauty.

Partaking of a cup of chocolate,--a breakfast that every Arriero
indulges in,--a slice of bread fried in hog's lard--which is a much
better thing, and quite as wholesome, as _breakfast bacon_--we lit our
cigars, paid our bill--a little fortune to the lady of the hostel--and
bestrode our horses without more delay.

In this part of Spain passports are not included amongst the drags upon
travelling. You should be provided with one, in case of getting into
trouble of any kind; but, excepting during the prevalence of the
cholera, I never, in any of my numerous peregrinations, was even asked
to produce it. I happened at that particular period (1833) to have
undertaken the journey from Gibraltar to Madrid. The disease was raging
with fatal violence on the banks of the lower Guadalquivir, and,
spreading Eastward, had appeared in various towns and villages at the
foot of the Serranía de Ronda. At the same time, reports were rife of
its existence at Malaga, Estepona, and other places situated on the
shores of the Mediterranean. I had therefore to thread my way to
Cordoba, (where I hoped to fall in with the diligence from Seville to
the capital) through the heart of the Serranía, and was obliged in some
cases to avoid particular towns lying in the direct route,
because--though no suspicion existed of their being infected with the
dreadful disease--they chanced to be within the limits of the kingdom of
Seville, which was placed, _in toto_, under the ban of quarantine.

My passport, or, more properly speaking, my bill of health--for the
political importance of the former yielded to the sanatory consequence
of its more humble-looking adjunct--was then in great request; the
entrance to every little village being interdicted, until the
constituted authority had come forward to see that all was right. On one
of these occasions, I found a beggar officiating as inspector of health
and passports, and I must do him the justice to say, that he performed
his duty in the most honourable manner, not asking for "_una limosnita
par el amor de Dios_"[60] until he had carefully examined every part of
the lengthy document, and pronounced it to be _corriente_.[61]

On another occasion, a swineherd was decorated with the yellow cockade
and sword of office. In this instance, I thought the bill of the inn at
San Roque (which I happened to have in my pocket-book) would answer
every purpose, and save time. He examined it most gravely; turned it
over and over--for it was rather a long and a very illegible MS.--said
it was perfectly correct, (a point on which we differed most materially)
and dismissed me with a _vaya usted con Dios_.[62]

On my present tour, however, we experienced no obstructions of any sort;
for custom-house barriers, though now and then met with at the large
towns, occasion no longer delay than a turnpike in England, and are as
regularly paid; the _Aduanero_[63] holding out his hand as openly and
confidently for the bribe, as the gatekeeper does for his toll.

It is scarcely possible to imagine more romantic and, at the same time,
more varied scenery than that which presents itself between Gaucin and
Ronda. For the greater part of the first three leagues[64] (full
fourteen English miles) to Atajate, the road winds along the summit of a
low mountain chain, (I speak only as compared with the height of the
neighbouring Sierras) the western side of which slopes gracefully to the
clear and tortuous Guadiaro, whilst the eastern falls abruptly to the
dark and rapid Genal.

In some places, the width of the mountain ridge exceeds but little that
of the road itself; enabling the traveller to embrace the two valleys at
one glance, and compare their respective beauties. The difference
between them is very remarkable; for whilst the sides of both are
clothed with the richest vegetation, yet the more gentle character of
the one has encouraged the husbandman to devote his labour principally
to the culture of corn, hemp, and the vine; whereas, the steep and
broken banks of the other, being less accessible to the plough, are
mostly planted with groves of fig, olive, chesnut, and almond trees;
though vineyards are also pretty abundant. For the same reason, though
both valleys are studded with villages, yet those along the sloping
banks of the Guadiaro are large, and distant from each other; whilst, in
the more contracted valley of the Genal, almost every isolated crag is
occupied by a group of houses, or a dilapidated fortilage, mementoes of
the Saracenic occupation; as the names, Benarrabá, Benastépar,
Algatocin, Genalguacil, Benalhauría, Benadalid, &c. sufficiently attest.
Beyond the valleys on either side, rise chains of rugged mountains; some
covered to their very peaks with dark forests of pine and ilex; others
rearing their pointed summits beyond the bounds of vegetation.

The eastern chain is that which borders the Mediterranean shore between
Estepona and Marbella; the western is the yet more lofty Sierra that
divides the waters of the Guadiaro and Guadalete; directing the former
to the Mediterranean, the latter to the Atlantic; and terminating in
the ever-memorable headland of Trafalgar.

Through the passes between the huge peaks that break the summit of this
bold range, an occasional glimpse may be caught of the low and far
distant ground about Cadiz and Chiclana; but the view that most excites
the traveller's admiration is obtained from a knoll on the road side,
about three miles from Gaucin, looking back on that place, and down the
verdant valley of the Genal.

The ruins of the old Moorish fortress occupy the right of the picture,
the cragged ridge on which it is perched jutting boldly into the valley,
and (uncheered by the sun's rays) standing out in fine relief from the
bright, vine-clad slope of the impending _Sierra del Hacho_, and yet
more distant mountains. To the left, the view is bounded by the rugged
peaks of the Sierra Cristellina, from the foot of which a dense but
variegated forest spreads entirely across the valley, wherein may here
and there be traced the snake-like course of the impatient Genal.

Further on, the valley presents a wider opening; but the little stream
still has to struggle for a passage amongst the wide spreading roots of
the retiring mountains, which, overlapping each other in rapid
succession, present, for many miles, a most singularly furrowed
country.

Calpe's fantastic peaks rear themselves above all these intermediate
ridges, marking the boundary of Europe: whilst, to the left of the
celebrated promontory, Ceuta may be seen, stretching far into the glassy
Mediterranean, and to the right, the huge Sierra Bullones, (Apes hill)
falling perpendicularly to the Straits of Gibraltar. In the extreme
distance, the African mountains rise in successive ranges, until closed
by the chain of the lower Atlas, the faint blue outline of which may be
distinctly traced in this transparent atmosphere, although at a distance
of at least one hundred miles.

It is a scene that amply repays the traveller for all the désagrémens of
his night's lodging, and one which, numerous as were my visits to
Gaucin, I always turned my back upon with regret. I do so even now, and
proceed on to Ronda, leaving the villages of Algatocin and Benalhauría,
situated on the side of the mountain, to the right of the road, and
about pistol-shot from it; and in a few miles more, descending by a
rough zig-zag track (something worse than a decayed staircase) towards
the little town of Benidalid; which, with its picturesque castle, stands
also somewhat off the road, and immediately under a lofty tor of
decomposed rock, distinguished by the name of the _Peñon de los
Frailes_,[65] and seems doomed, some day or other, to have the holy
mound upon its shoulders.

The next and last village on the road is Atajate, distant about ten
miles from Ronda. It is nestled in a narrow pass, overhung on one side
by the mountain chain along which the road has hitherto been conducted,
(and which here begins to rise considerably above it) and on the other,
by a conical crag, whose summit is occupied by the picturesque ruins of
a Moorish fortress.

In former ages, the houses of the hardy mountaineers, clustered round
the base of the little fastness, must have been secure from all attack;
and even now the pass, which here cuts the direct communication between
Gibraltar and Ronda, (and consequently Madrid) might be held against a
very superior force.

Immediately after passing Atajate, the character of the scenery
undergoes a complete change. The mountains become more rugged and arid,
rising in huge masses some thousand feet above the road, and are tossed
about in curious confusion. Patches of corn and flax are yet here and
there to be seen, and the valley beneath is still clothed with cork and
ilex; but the vineyards, olive grounds, and chesnut groves, have
altogether disappeared, and the villages are far apart, and distant from
the road.

On advancing some little way further, all traces of cultivation cease.
The road,--if a collection of jagged blocks of granite can be so
called,--traverses a succession of perilous ascents and descents;
sometimes being conducted along the brink of an awful precipice, at
others carried under huge masses of crumbling rock. Here and there may,
nevertheless, be traced the remains of a paved road, that, in the days
of Spain's pride, was made for the express purpose of transporting
artillery and stores to the siege of Gibraltar. It is now--so sadly is
Spain fallen!--purposely suffered to go to decay, lest it should offer
facilities for making irruptions from that same fortress!

On drawing near the head of the valley, several narrow cut-throat passes
present themselves, bringing forcibly to mind Don Quijote's speech to
his faithful squire, on reaching the Puerto Lapice, "_Aqui, hermano
Sancho, podemos meter las manos hasta los codos en esto que llaman
aventuras._"[66] But, on gaining the summit of the chain, the country
becomes more open, and the traveller again breathes freely. A few meagre
crops of corn are scattered here and there between the rocks, and the
bells of the fathers of a herd of goats are heard tinkling amongst the
gorse and palmeta that fringe the feet of the impending tors, bespeaking
the vicinity of fellow man, and giving the traveller a pleasing
consciousness of security, whilst he checks his horse to gaze on the
splendid scene before him: for here the lovely basin of Ronda first
bursts upon his view, rich as Ceres and Pomona can make it.

In the centre of the verdant plain, but crowning the summit of an
isolated rocky eminence, stands the shining city,--its patched and
crumbling walls telling of many a protracted siege and desperate
assault. Beyond, the view is bounded by a range of wooded mountains,
that forms the western barrier of the secluded basin, and up the rough
sides of which, the roads to Cadiz, Seville, and Xeres, may be traced,
winding their tedious way.

The descent to Ronda is long, and, from the badness of the road,
extremely wearying. The whole distance from Gaucin (about 25 miles)
occupied us seven hours.

I regret much that my reader should have had to accompany me over this
savage and romantic country--the reputed _head-quarters_ of
banditti--without encountering a single adventure; but the truth is,
they are by no means so plentiful as people have generally been led to
believe. I may speak with some confidence on this point; since,
independently of my long residence in the immediate vicinity of this
wild tract--during which every well authenticated case of outrage and
robbery came to my knowledge--I have by personal experience been able to
form a pretty correct estimate of the amount of danger incurred by the
traveller. I have traversed the country, however, in all directions, and
at all seasons; in all characters, and in all dresses. I have gone on
foot, on horseback, _en calesa_, (where the roads admitted of my so
doing) alone, attended by a single servant, in parties of four, six, and
eight:--as a sportsman, _en militaire_, as a peasant, as a _Majo_: and
yet I never "met with an adventure."

It is true, I have had many very narrow escapes--that is to say, judging
from the information I invariably received--for never did I leave a
_venta_, that I was not mysteriously told the road I was about to take
was the most dangerous in the whole Serranía; that I should be sure to
encounter _mala gente_; and that it was but a few days before, a
robbery--perhaps murder--had taken place, on that very road, attended
with most heart-rending and appalling circumstances! But a little
cross-questioning soon convinced me that my informant knew nothing of
the who, the when, and the where, to which his tale referred; and the
story was always reduced to a shrug of the shoulders and a _se
dice_.[67]

The plain truth is, that almost every one the traveller comes in contact
with is, in some way or other, interested in spreading these reports to
create alarm. The _Ventero_[68] has a natural disinclination to part
with a good customer, and hopes either to persuade his guest to hire
additional horses and guides, or to detain him whilst he seeks for
further information. The guide finds it his interest to alarm his
employer, if only _pour faire valoir ses services_ in piloting him clear
of these reported Scyllas and Charybdises. The Contrabandista tries to
frighten the stranger, that he may learn which road he is travelling and
what is his business; the Arriero simply for his amusement.

The peasant alone has no purpose to serve in deceiving the traveller,
neither has he any intention of so doing; for he himself implicitly
believes all the stories he hears, and repeats them with the usual notes
and addenda of a second edition. He never stirs out of a circle of a
league and a half from his dwelling--that is, beyond the range of his
herd of goats, or the nearest market town--and he hears these tales
repeated night after night, at the venta chimney-piece--each arriero
trying to outdo his brother in the marvellous and horrible--until he
becomes convinced of their veracity, and repeats them as well
authenticated facts.

The state of the country is also such, that when a robbery actually is
committed--and such crimes will be perpetrated in the best regulated
countries--the traveller hears of it from so many different people, but
related with such various attendant circumstances, and stated to have
occurred in so many different places, that he naturally multiplies it
into a dozen at least. It is in this way that foreigners, who in general
know but little of the language, and still less of the topography, of
the country, become dupes to this system of deception, and adopt in
consequence a most unfavourable opinion of Spanish honesty; regarding
every fierce-looking fellow, with piercing black eyes, a three days'
beard, and a long knife stuck in his sash, as a robber; and every Cross
on the road side as the _memento mori_ of some waylaid traveller.
Whereas, in point of fact, if this mountainous and intricate tract were
peopled by our own more highly educated and civilized countrymen, I
fear--in spite of our vigilant and, it must be confessed, admirable
police--we should be liable to have our pockets picked in a much less
delicate and unobtrusive manner, than is now practised in the streets of
London.

That robberies and murders have taken place in this part of Spain, and
sometimes been attended with most revolting cruelty, is most true; but
they have almost always been perpetrated at a time that some unusual
political excitement agitated the country, unnerving the arm of power,
and even--as has often been the case--placing the civil authorities at
the mercy of a ruffian band of undisciplined soldiers.

I regret, however, as before said, that though I courted adventure in
every possible way, (as I think must be admitted) yet my suit was always
unsuccessful; and since I cannot interest my reader with any account of
my own personal risks, I will endeavour to amuse him, with the imaginary
dangers of some of my countrymen, which at the same time will serve to
show how easily a few simple words may, through ignorance of the
language of the country, be made to tell a tale of direful import.

The occurrence to which I allude took place not many years since, when
the country round Gibraltar was infested by a band of robbers, headed by
a notorious miscreant named _José Maria_. Moving about from place to
place with extraordinary rapidity, these scoundrels completely baffled
all pursuit, but of course gave a wide berth to the garrisons of San
Roque and Algeciras; so that the English officers were not deterred from
sallying forth from Gibraltar with their fox-hounds, and pursuing the
favourite national sport.

On one occasion, however, Renard had led them close upon the border of
the Almoraima forest, and some of the party--perhaps a little "_thrown
out_"--were making a short cut across a field of young barley, when,
the owner of the thriving crop, perceiving the mischief the horses'
hoofs were doing, and unconscious of the value of the words
"_'ware corn_," cried lustily out to the red-coated gentry, in his own
vernacular--"_Fuera!--Jesús! María! Josef! mi cibada! mi cañamo! todo,
se echarà à perder!_"[69]

The wave of the arm that accompanied this exclamatory "_Fuera!_" clearly
implied, _be off_; and the sportsmen, full of the exploits of the dread
bandit, translating the words "_Jesus, Maria José_," "_By the Lord,
here's José Maria_;" naturally concluded that the remainder of the
sentence, (pronounced with much gesticulation) could mean nothing but
save yourselves, or you'll be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Not waiting,
therefore, to lose time in questions, they set spurs to their horses,
and rode _ventre à terre_ into the English garrison.

Now the wonderful echo of Killarney is a joke compared to the
reverberation that a story is sent back with, from the "four corners" in
the High Street of Gibraltar. Accordingly, a report was soon spread,
that _José Maria_ had come down close to the Spanish lines, and made a
capture of the "whole field,"--hounds, huntsmen, and whipper-in
inclusive!

A statement of the case was instantly forwarded by an express boat to
the Spanish General commanding at Algeciras; who, rejoicing at the
opportunity of capturing the miscreant band which had so long eluded his
vigilance, forthwith despatched "horse, foot, and dragoons," to scour
the country in all directions.

Of course their search was fruitless; but the laughable mistake that had
occurred, from simply making José and Maria change places, was
discovered only on the return of the other sportsmen, who, after "a
capital run," had secured Master Renard's services for another
occasion.



CHAPTER V.

     THE BASIN OF RONDA--SOURCES OF THE RIVER GUADIARO--REMARKABLE CHASM
     THROUGH WHICH IT FLOWS--CITY OF RONDA--DATE OF ITS
     FOUNDATION--FORMER NAMES--GENERAL
     DESCRIPTION--CASTLE--BRIDGES--SPLENDID SCENERY--PUBLIC
     BUILDINGS--AMPHITHEATRE--POPULATION--TRADE--SMUGGLING--WRETCHED
     STATE OF THE COMMERCE, MANUFACTURES, AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS OF
     SPAIN, AND EVILS AND INCONVENIENCE RESULTING THEREFROM--RARE
     PRODUCTIONS OF THE BASIN OF RONDA--AMENITY OF ITS CLIMATE--AGREMENS
     OF THE CITY--EXCELLENT SOCIETY--CHARACTER OF ITS INHABITANTS.


The basin of Ronda is situated in the very heart of a labyrinth of rough
and arid sierras, which, distinguished, _par excellence_, by the name of
the _Serranía de Ronda_, may be described as the gnarled and
wide-spreading roots of the great mountain ridge, that, traversing Spain
diagonally, divides the affluents to the Mediterranean from those to the
Atlantic, and finally unites with, and becomes a branch of, the Pyrenean
chain.

This singularly secluded and romantic valley is about eight miles in
length and five wide, and, though sunk deep below the mountain ridges
that girt it in on every side, is at least 1500 feet above the level of
the Mediterranean. Its soil is rich, and is rendered peculiarly fertile
by the numerous sources of the Guadiaro, which traverse it in all
directions. The name of this river--composed of the Arabic words, _Guada
al diar_--signifies, water of the houses; an appellation it probably
obtained, from the number of habitations that are said to have lined its
productive banks in former days.

The principal branch of this mountain stream takes its rise to the
eastward of Ronda, amongst some curiously jagged and fantastic peaks, on
which have most appropriately been bestowed the name of the "Old Woman's
Teeth," (_Dientes de la Vieja._) Escaped from their fangs, the gurgling
rivulet, increased by numerous tributary streams, directs its course
more leisurely through the vale, winding its way amongst luxuriant
vineyards, orchards, olive grounds, and corn-fields, until it reaches
the foot of the crag, on which, as has before been stated, stands the
city of Ronda. Here it would appear that nature had, in early ages,
presented a barrier to the further progress of the stream; as a rocky
ledge stretches quite across the bed of this portion of the valley, and,
most probably, by damming up the waters poured down from the mountain
ravines, formed a lake on its eastern side. But, gathering strength from
resistance, the little mountain torrent eventually worked itself an
outlet, and now rushes foaming through a deep, narrow chasm, leaping
from precipice to precipice, until, the rocky barrier forced, it once
more reaches a level country.

On either side of the fearful chasm--or _Tajo_, as it is called in the
language of the country--which the persevering torrent has thus worked
in the rocky ledge, stands the city of Ronda; one portion of which,
encircled by an old embattled wall, that overhangs the southern cliff of
the fissure, is distinguished as the Old Town, and as the site of a
Roman city; whilst the more widely spread buildings on the opposite bank
bear the name of _El Mercadillo_,[70] or New Town.

The present walls of the old town were evidently raised by the Saracens,
and no traces are perceptible of any others having occupied their place.
Nevertheless, it can hardly be supposed that so eligible a site for a
station would have been overlooked by the Romans; and the Spanish
antiquaries have accordingly determined it to be the position of
_Arunda_ (one of the cities mentioned by Pliny as situated in that part
of Boetica inhabited by the _Celtici_)--a conclusion which both its
present name and the discovery of many ancient Roman inscriptions and
statues in its vicinity tend to confirm. Some, however, maintain that
Ronda is the site of the Munda, under whose walls was sealed the fate of
the sons of Pompey. But the adjacent country ill agrees with the
description of it handed down to us; and the little town of Monda,
situated near the Mediterranean shore, is more generally admitted to
have been the scene of Julius Cæsar's victory[71].

However the case may be, this city, under the domination of the Moors,
became one of their principal strongholds; for having, with various
other cities, been ceded by Ishmael King of Granada to the Emperor of
Fez--whose aid against the storm gathering in Castille (A.D. 1318) he
deemed essential for the preservation of his newly-acquired throne--it
was some few years afterwards, with Algeciras, Ximena, Marbella, and
Gibraltar,[72] formed into a kingdom for that emperor's son, _Abou
Melic_; and this prince, passing over into Spain, (A.D. 1331)
established his court at Ronda; building a splendid palace there, and,
according to the usual custom of the Moors, erecting a formidable castle
on the highest pinnacle of the rocky mound. The natural defences of the
city were also strengthened by a triple circuit of walls, rendering it
almost impregnable.

The Moorish name given to the place was _Hisnorrendi_, the laurelled
castle; but, on returning to the hands of the Spaniards, (A.D. 1485) it
assumed its present mongrel appellation; in which its etymological
claims upon the Celtic and Arabic languages are pretty equally balanced,
as the following old couplet partly illustrates;--

    _Y con el tiempo se ha desbaratado_
    _El Hisna Randa, y Ronda se ha llamado._[73]

The existing circumvallation is very irregular, and embraces little more
than the mere summit of the rocky ledge on which the city stands;
confining it consequently within very narrow limits. Its length,
however, is considerable; and at its southern extremity, where the
ground slopes more gradually to the narrow gorge that connects it with
the neighbouring mountains, a triple line of outworks continues yet to
supply the want of the natural walls which elsewhere render the place so
difficult of access.

On the crest of the ridge overlooking these advanced works, stands the
shell of the capacious castle; or Royal Palace, as it is called. Its
solid walls and vaulted chambers denote it to have been a work of great
strength. It is now, however, but a vast heap of ruins; the French, on
finally evacuating Ronda in 1812, having destroyed the principal part of
it.

The only entrance to the city, from the country, is through a succession
of gates, in the before-mentioned outworks, the last of which is
immediately under the walls of the old palace. From this gate, a long
and narrow, but tolerably straight street, traverses the city from south
to north, terminating at the upper or new bridge, and being nearly three
quarters of a mile in length. This street is lined with handsome shops,
and from it, numerous alleys (for they deserve no better name) lead off
right and left, winding and turning in all directions, and communicating
with numberless little courts, crooked passages, and _culs de sac_;
quite in the style of an eastern city.

In wandering through this labyrinth, the perplexed topographer is
astonished to find a number of remarkably handsome houses. In fact, it
is the _Mayfair_ of Ronda--the aristocratic location of all the
_Hidalguía_[74] of the province;--who, proud of the little patch of
land their forefathers' swords conquered from the accursed Moslems,
would as soon think of denying the infallibility of the Pope, as of
taking up their abode amongst the mercantile inhabitants of the mushroom
suburb.

The New Town, however, I must needs confess,--despite all aristocratic
predilections,--is by far the most agreeable place of residence.

The principal streets are wide, and tolerably straight; it contains some
fine open _plazas_ or squares; and although the houses are thus more
exposed to the influence of the sun, yet, from the same cause, they
enjoy a freer circulation of air. The absence of an enclosing wall tends
also, in point of coolness, to give the _Mercadillo_ an advantage over
the city; leaving it open to receive the full benefit of the refreshing
breezes that sweep down from the neighbouring mountains.

But, though destitute of battlements, the New Town is nearly as
difficult of approach, and as incapable of expansion, as the walled city
itself; for, bounded on its south side by the deep _Tajo_, and to the
west, by an almost equally formidable cliff that branches off from it,
its eastern limits are determined by a rocky ledge that extends
diagonally towards the Guadiaro; thus leaving the access free only on
its north side.

The ground in all directions falls more or less rapidly inwards; and the
town, thus spread over it, assumes the form of an amphitheatre, looking
into the rocky bed of the Guadiaro.

There are three bridges across the river, communicating between the two
towns: the first--a work of the Moors--connects the suburb of San
Miguel, situated at the lowest part of the New Town, with some tanneries
and other buildings standing outside the walls of the ancient city. It
is very narrow, and being thrown over the stream just before it enters
the dark fissure, does not exceed forty feet in height. The second
crosses the chasm at a single span, where its banks have already
attained a considerable elevation, and affords an entrance to the Old
Town by a gateway in the N.E. corner of its present walls. The last and
principal bridge is a noble, though somewhat heavy structure of much
more recent date than the others, and furnishes an excellent specimen of
the bold conception and peculiar taste of the Spaniards of the last
century. It is thrown across the chasm where its precipitous banks have
attained their greatest elevation, and its parapet is 280 feet above the
stream that flows beneath, and nearly 600 above the level of the plain
to which it is hastening.

A bridge was erected at this same spot a hundred years back,[75] which
spanned the frightful fissure in one arch, and must have been one of the
boldest works of the kind, ever (up to that time) undertaken; since its
diameter could not have been less than 150 feet. Unfortunately, the
workmanship was in some way defective, (or more probably the
foundation,) and it fell down but a few years after its completion. The
present structure was then commenced, which, if not so airy and
picturesque as the former must have been, possesses the more solid
qualities of safety and durability.

This bridge also spans the lower portion of the fissure in one arch,
springing from solid buttresses that rest on the rocky bed of the
torrent. But, as the chasm widens rapidly, this first arch is merely
carried sufficiently high to admit of the free passage of the stream at
all seasons, and is then surmounted by a second, of the same span but
much greater elevation; and the massive buttresses on either side are
lightened in appearance by being pierced with arches to correspond--thus
making the bridge consist of three arches above and one below.

The view from the parapet of this bridge is quite enchanting. The
sensation of giddiness that seizes the spectator on first leaning over
the yawning abyss, leaves a feeling of pleasureable excitement, similar
to that produced by a slight shock of a galvanic battery. The distant
roar of the foaming torrent also warns him of his perilous height; but
the solid nature of the bounding wall quickly removes all feeling of
insecurity, and allows him, whilst he rests against it, to enjoy at his
leisure the noble view before him, in which are combined the rich and
varied tints of a southern clime, with the bold outlines and wild
beauties of an Alpine region. The view looking over the Eastern parapet
of the bridge is of a more gloomy character than that from the opposite
side, but is equally grand and imposing. In the bottom of the dark
fissure--which here the sun's rays seldom reach--the transparent rivulet
may be tracked, winding its way leisurely through the tortuous channel;
here and there interrupted in its course by masses of fallen rock, and
partially overshadowed by trees and creepers; whilst its precipitous
banks, from whose rugged surface it might be supposed no vegetation
could possibly spring, are thickly covered with the _higo chumbo_,[76]
(prickly pear) amongst whose thorny boughs numerous ragged urchins may
be seen--almost suspended in air--intent on obtaining their favourite
fruit. Beyond the dark tajo, the sun shines on the green fields and
vineyards of the fertile plain; and yet further behind are the low
wooded sierras that bound the vale of Ronda to the north.

The City can boast of few public buildings to excite the interest of a
stranger. The churches are numerous, and gaudily fitted up; but they
contain neither paintings nor statuary of any merit. In the New Town, on
the other hand, are the Theatre--a small but conveniently fitted up
edifice--the Stables of the _Real Maestranza_;[77] and the _Plaza de los
Toros_; which latter, though not so large as those of the principal
cities of the Province, is certainly one of the handsomest in Spain. It
is built of stone, and nearly of a circular form, and is capable of
containing 10,000 persons. The roof is continued all round; which is not
the case in most amphitheatres; and it is supported by a colonnade of 64
pillars of the Tuscan order. The greatest diameter of the _Arena_ is 190
feet, which is precisely the _width_ of that of the Flavian Amphitheatre
at Rome. The internal economy of the bull-fighting establishment is well
worthy the observation of those who are curious in such matters; being
very complete and well ordered, though not now kept up in the style of
by-gone days.

The two towns together contain about 16,000 inhabitants, who are
principally employed in agricultural and horticultural pursuits; though
there are several manufactories of hats, two or three tanneries, and
numerous water-mills.

Ronda is a place of considerable commerce; its secluded and at the same
time central situation adapting it peculiarly for an emporium for
smuggled goods; in which, it may be said, the present trade of Spain
entirely consists. The vicinity of Gibraltar and Cadiz; the
impracticable nature of the country between those ports and along the
Mediterranean shore; the difficult and intricate mountain paths that
traverse it (known only to the smugglers); and the wretched state of the
national army and Navy; all tend to favour the contraband trade; and
more especially that of Ronda, where the same facilities present
themselves for getting smuggled goods _away from_ the place, as of
bringing them from the coast to it.

It is lamentable blindness on the part of the Spanish
government,--considering the deplorable state of the manufactures of the
country; of the "shipping interest;" of the roads and other means of
inland communication; and, to crown all, I may add, of the
_finances_,--not to see the advantage that would accrue from lowering
the duties on foreign produce; on tobacco, cocoa, and manufactured goods
in particular, which may be considered as absolute necessaries to all
classes of Spaniards. By so doing, not only would the present
demoralising system of smuggling be put an end to,--since it would then
be no longer a profitable business,--but the money which now clings to
the fingers of certain venal authorities of the Customs, or finds its
way into the pockets of the Troops[78] and Sailors employed on the
preventive service, in the way of bribes, would then stand some chance
of reaching the public treasury.

The sums thus iniquitously received (and willingly paid by the
smugglers) amounts to a charge of 15 per cent. on the value of the
prohibited articles; a duty to that amount, or even something beyond,
would therefore readily be paid, to enable the purchaser to take his
goods openly into the market. The trade would thus fall into more
respectable hands; competition would increase; and the sellers would be
satisfied with smaller profits. This would naturally lead to an
increased demand, and the revenue would be proportionably benefited.

The obsolete notions that wed the Spaniards to their present faulty
system are, first, that, by opening the trade to foreign powers, their
own country would be drained of its specie, in which they seem to think
the riches of a nation consist; and secondly, that the national
manufactures would be ruined, if not protected by the imposition of high
duties on those of other countries.

The fallacy of these ideas is evident; for it would not be possible to
devise any plan by which money could be kept in a country, when the
articles that country stands in need of are to be bought cheaper
elsewhere; and it is futile to suppose--as, however, is fondly
imagined--that Spain's doubloons go only to her colonies, to be brought
back in taxation, or for the purchase of the produce of the mother
country. As well might _we_ imagine that Zante alone could furnish
England with her Christmas consumption of Currants, as that Cuba and the
Philippine Islands (all the Colonies worth enumerating that Spain now
possesses) could supply her with tobacco, cocoa, and cinnamon. And, as
the above-mentioned articles are as much necessaries of life in Spain,
as tea and sugar--not to say the aforesaid currants--are in England, the
deficiency, _coute qui coute_, must be made good somewhere; and
consequently Spanish money will have to be expended in procuring what is
wanting.

A much greater evil than this, however, is occasioned by the enormously
high duty placed by the Mother Country on these very articles, the
produce of her dependencies; so that even her own colonial produce is
smuggled to her through the hands of foreigners!

With respect to the favour shown and encouragement given to her own
manufactures, by the prohibitory duties imposed on those of other
nations, it must be evident to any one at all acquainted with the state
of the inland communications of Spain, that the country is not in a
sufficiently advanced state of civilization to warrant its engaging in
such undertakings with any prospect of success. The Factories that are
already in existence cannot supply clothing for one fourth part of the
population of the country; to which circumstance alone are they indebted
for being able to continue at work; for if the number were increased,
all would inevitably fail. The same cause, therefore, here also exists,
to encourage smuggling, as in the case of the consumable articles,
tobacco, spices, &c.--viz. the necessity of finding a supply to meet the
demand.

It is quite surprising that, for such a length of time, and under so
many different administrations, Spain should have continued thus blind
to her own interest. But, without going the length I have suggested,
much good might be effected, by merely giving up the farming out the
taxes and various monopolies, and by putting a stop to sundry other
abuses, such as the sale of places, by which the Crown revenues are
principally raised.

If the present faulty system were abandoned,--by which a few individuals
only are enriched to the prejudice of the rest of the community,--numerous
speculators would be found ready to embark their capitals in mining
operations, in the construction of railroads, canals, &c. which would be
productive of incalculable benefit to the country; for, by such means,
the produce of the fertile plains in the interior of Spain would be
able to come with advantage into the foreign market; whilst the varied
productions of this fruitful country, by being distributed throughout
its provinces with a more equal hand, would be within the reach, and add
to the comforts of all classes of its inhabitants.

At the present day, such is the want of these means of communication,
that it frequently happens an article which is plentifully produced in
one province is absolutely difficult to procure in another. One
province, for instance, has wine, but wants bread; another has corn, but
not any wood; a third abounds in pasture, but has no market for its
cheese, butter, &c., thus rendering the cattle it possesses of
comparatively little value.

From the same cause, large tracts of land lie waste in many parts of
Spain, because the crops they would yield, if cultivated, would not pay
the cost of transport, even to the adjoining province; and a prodigious
quantity of wine is annually destroyed, (a cruel fate from which even
the divine _Val de Peñas_ is not exempt!) because the casks and
pig-skins containing it are of more value, on the spot where the wine is
grown, than is the wine itself. What remains unsold, therefore, at the
end of the year, is frequently poured into the street, in order that the
casks may be available for the new wine.--Such would also be the fate of
all the _light_ wines grown on the banks of the Guadalete, but that the
vicinity of Port St. Mary and Cadiz makes it worth the grower's while to
prepare them with brandy and stronger bodied wines, to bear the rolling
over the Bay of Biscay.

In an article of produce so readily transported as barley, I have known
the price of a _fanega_[79] vary no less than four _reales vellon_[80]
on the opposite sides of the same chain of mountains; and I have seen
Barbary wheat selling at Gibraltar, for one third less than corn of
Spanish growth could be purchased at San Roque. This certainly would not
be the case, if the riches of Spain could be distributed more easily
over the whole face of the country; and since the demand for exportation
would thereby be greatly increased, more industrious habits would be
engendered, and an important step would thus be made towards
civilization.

I must not, however, enlarge on this subject; otherwise, (besides
peradventure wearying my reader) I shall certainly incur the displeasure
of my quondam acquaintances of the Serrania; since any thing that may be
suggested to induce the Spanish government to place the commerce of the
country on a more liberal footing, would be most unfavourably viewed by
the rude inhabitants of the Ronda mountains; who--their present
profitable occupation ceasing--would be obliged to take to their spades
and pruning-knives, and labour for a livelihood in their fields and
olive groves. The inhabitants, however, of the favoured basin of Ronda,
would rather benefit by the change; the produce of their orchards being
so rare, as to be in great request all over the country. It is also
worthy of remark, that, whilst the sugar-cane succeeds on the plains
about Malaga, this elevated mountain valley, situated under the same
parallel of latitude, enjoys a climate that enables it to produce
apples, cherries, plums, peaches, and other stone fruits, that are more
properly natives of central Europe, but which can hardly be excelled
either in England or France.

The climate is also considered so favourable to longevity, that it has
become a common saying in the country--

    _En Ronda los hombres_
    _de ochenta años son pollones._[81]

But although, even on such tempting terms, one would hardly consent to
pass one's entire life at Ronda, yet I scarcely know a place where a few
weeks may be more agreeably spent. The Inns are not good; though that
bearing the name of the _Holy Trinity_--to which in my various visits I
always bent my steps, until I could find a suitable lodging--is clean,
and its keepers are honest and obliging. Lodgings are abundant, and, for
Spain, very good; the great influx of strangers during the period of
the fair having induced the inhabitants to fit up their houses purposely
for their accommodation, and given them also some notion of what English
travellers require, besides four bare walls, a roof overhead, and a
mattress on the floor; the usual sum total of accommodation furnished at
Spanish inns and lodging-houses.

The society of this place is particularly good; a number of the most
ancient families of Andalusia having congregated here; who, with all the
polish of the first circle of Spanish society, are exempt from the
demoralizing vices which distinguish that of Madrid and other large
cities.

It was only on the occasion of my second visit to the little Capital of
the _Serranía_, that I was so fortunate as to be the bearer of letters
of introduction to the principal families; and nothing could possibly
exceed the kind attentions they pressed upon me. Their friendly
hospitality was even extended, on my account, to all the English
officers who, like myself, had been attracted to Ronda by the fame of
its cattle fair and bull fights, and whom I was requested to invite to
the balls, &c., which at that festive period were given nightly at their
different houses. Nor did their kindness cease there; for I afterwards
received pressing invitations to visit them, as well at Ronda as at the
neighbouring _watering-places_, to which they are in the habit of
resorting during the summer months; for the Spanish fashionables--like
those of other climes--deem it essential to their well being to migrate
periodically to these rendezvous for dancing and dosing.

One of the most _remarkable_ as well as most delightful families of
Ronda, is that of _Holgado y Montezuma_. It is lineally descended from
the last Cacique of Mexico, whose name it bears, and whose character and
features I almost fancied were to be recognized in the somewhat haughty
eye, and occidental cast of countenance, of the present head of the
family.

The lower orders of inhabitants have, amongst travellers, the credit of
being a fierce, intractable race; but this character is by no means
merited, and belongs altogether to the savage mountaineers of the
Serranía. Indeed, these latter hold the industrious artizans, and the
peasants of the city and plain, in great contempt, and it is a common
maledictory expression amongst them--

    _En Ronda mueras_
    _acarreando zaques._[82]

This saying originated in the occupation of bringing up skins of water
from the bed of the river,--to which labour the christian captives were
condemned, when the city was possessed by the Moslems--and still
continues to be made use of, in allusion to the ignoble life of labour
led by the peaceful inhabitants.



CHAPTER VI.

     RONDA FAIR--SPANISH PEASANTRY--VARIOUS COSTUMES--JOCKEYS AND
     HORSES--LOVELY VIEW FROM THE NEW ALAMEDA--BULL FIGHTS--DEFENCE OF
     THE SPANISH LADIES--MANNER OF DRIVING THE BULLS INTO THE
     TOWN--FIRST ENTRANCE OF THE BULL--THE FRIGHTENED WATERSELLER--THE
     MINA, OR EXCAVATED STAIRCASE--RUINS OF ACINIPPO--THE CUEVA DEL
     GATO--THE BRIDGE OF THE FAIRY.


The fair which is held annually at Ronda, in the month of May, collects
an astonishing concourse of people from all parts of the country, and
offers an excellent opportunity for seeing the peculiar costumes of the
different provinces, as well as for observing the various shades of
character of their respective inhabitants. The national costume,
(speaking generally of it) is, without dispute, extremely becoming; for,
not only does it set off to advantage such as are naturally well formed,
but it conceals the defects of those to whom Dame Nature has been less
kind; making them appear stout, well built fellows--in their own
expressive words, "_bien, plantado_"[83]--when, in point of fact, it
ofttimes happens that their slender legs have enough to do to bear the
weight of the spare and ill-formed bodies placed upon them.

This is very perceptible when, deprived of their broad-brimmed
_Sombreros_ and stout leather _botines_, the peasantry come to be capped
and trousered in a military garb. To a stranger, indeed, it must appear
that the Spanish troops are collected from the very refuse of the
population of the country; so miserable is their look. But the truth is,
the conscription (by which the Army is raised) is levied with great
fairness; and to the change of dress alone, therefore, must the falling
off in their appearance be attributed.

The Spanish peasant, moreover, is the only one in Europe,[84] whose
_tenue_ is not improved by the drill serjeant; which may be accounted
for by his not, like those of other countries, having been accustomed in
his youth to carry burthens upon his _shoulders_. He consequently bends
under the new weight of a musket and knapsack, which, so placed, he
cannot but find particularly irksome.

To return, however, to the crowded city; whilst Ronda fair thus
periodically furnishes the occasion for a general muster of the natives
of all classes, the _Fair_ of Ronda may claim the merit of holding out
to them the inducement to display their figures and wardrobes to the
best advantage; and strange are the ways, and various the means, by
which the Andaluz _Majo_[85] seeks to win the sweet smiles or dazzle the
bright eyes of his tinsel-loving countrywomen.

Amongst the numerous varieties of the genus _Majo_, that claiming the
first rank may be readily known, by the _seeming_ wish to avoid rather
than to court admiration. Thus, the rich waistcoat of bright silk or
costly velvet, studded with buttons innumerable of the most exquisite
gold or silver filigree, is partially concealed, though rendered more
brilliant, by the jacket of dark cloth simply ornamented with black
braid and tags, which is worn over it; whilst the plain white kerchief
that protrudes from either side-pocket requires to be closely examined,
to make the extreme delicacy of its texture apparent.

Others, of more gaudy and questionable taste, hold peagreens and
lavenders to be more becoming; and here and there an ultra dandy may be
seen, aping the bull-fighter, and bedizened with gold and silver lace;
but he is of an inferior caste, and may generally be set down as a
_Chevalier d'Industrie_.

Another class of the genus is distinguished by the glossy jacket of
black goat-skin. The wearers of this singular costume are the
_Ganaderos_, or cattle owners; whilst those satisfied with the more
humble dresses, of brown or white sheep-skin--by no means the least
picturesque of the motley crowd--belong to the shepherd tribe.

The breeches and gaiters undergo as many varieties as those above
specified of the upper garments; but almost all who thus appear in the
national costume wear the _sombrero_, or broad-brimmed hat with a high
conical crown; the _Montera_--a low flat cap, made of black velvet, and
ornamented with silk tassels--being now used only by the bull-fighters,
and some elderly sticklers for old hats as well as old habits.

Many scowling fellows, enveloped in capacious cloaks, seemed to have no
object in view but to examine with searching eyes the persons of the
assembled multitude, and to conceal as much as possible their own from
counter observation; and some of the savage mountaineers,--whom nothing
but a bull fight, or perhaps the hope of plunder, could draw from their
mountain fastnesses,--gave evident signs of never before having seen the
British uniform.

I may observe here, _en passant_, that a few robberies are generally
_heard of_, at the breaking up of the fair; the temptation of well
filled pockets and bales of merchandize drawing all the _ladrones_ of
the surrounding mountains down to the high roads.

The cattle fair is held on a rocky plain beyond the northern limits of
the New Town. It is not so celebrated as some others held on the banks
of the Guadalquivir; the narrow stony tracts across the mountains being
both inconvenient for driving cattle, and injurious to their feet.
Nevertheless, it offers a good opportunity for swapping "a _Haca_,"[86]
though Spanish jockeys--like all others--must be dealt with according to
their own proverb--_à picaro, picaro y medio_.[87] The horses of the
South of Spain are small, hardy animals, well suited to the mountain
roads of the country, but possessing no claims to beauty, beyond a
lively head and a sleek coat. The Spaniards, by the way, have a strange
prejudice in favour of _Roman-nosed_ horses. They not only admire the
_Cabeza de Carnero_, (sheep's head) as they call it, but maintain that
it is a certain indication of the animal being a "good one." I presume,
therefore, the protuberance must be the organ of _ambulativeness_.

I was much mortified to find that "Almanzor," whose finely finished
head, straight forehead, sparkling eye, and dilated nostril, I certainly
thought entitled him to be considered the handsomest of his kind in the
fair, was looked upon as a very ordinary animal.

_No ai vasija que mida los gustos, ni balanza que los iguale_,[88] as
Guzman de Alfarache says; and my taste will certainly be disputed in
other matters besides horseflesh by all Spaniards, when I confess to
having frequently retired from the busy throng of the fair, or abstained
from witnessing the yet more exciting bull fight, to enjoy, without fear
of interruption, the lovely view obtained from the shady walks of the
new _Alameda_.[89] This delightful promenade is situated at the further
extremity of the modern town, overhanging the precipice which has been
mentioned as bounding it to the west. The view is similar to that
obtained from the parapet of the bridge; but here, the eye ranges over a
greater extent of country, commanding the whole of the southern portion
of the fertile valley, and taking in the principal part of the mountain
chain that encompasses it.

For hours together have I sat on the edge of the precipice, receiving
the refreshing westerly breeze, and feasting my eyes on the beauteous
scene beneath; tracing the windings of the serpent streamlet, and
watching the ever-changing tints and shadows, cast by the sun on the
deeply-furrowed sides of the mountains, as he rolled on in his diurnal
course. All nature seemed to be at rest; not a human being could be seen
throughout the wide vale; not a sound came up from it, save now and then
the bay of some vigilant watch dog, or the call of the parent partridge
to her infant brood. Its carefully irrigated gardens, its neatly trimmed
vineyards, and, here and there, a low white cottage peeping through
blossoming groves of orange and lemon trees, bore evidence of its being
fertilized by the hand of man: but where are its inhabitants? nay, where
are those of the city itself, whose boisterous mirth but lately rent the
air! All is now silent as the grave: the cries of showmen have ceased.
The tramp of horses and the lowing of cattle are heard no longer; the
Thebaic St. Anthony himself could not have been more solitary than I
found myself.--But, hark. What sound is that? a buz of distant _vivas_
is borne through the air!--It proceeds from the crowded circus--the
_Matador_ has made a successful thrust--his brave antagonist bites the
dust, and he is rewarded with a shower of _pesetas_,[90] and those cries
of triumph!--I regret not having missed witnessing his prowess! but the
declining sun tells me that my retreat is about to be invaded; the
glorious luminary sinks below the horizon, and the walk is crowded with
the late spectators of the poor bull's last agonies.

"_Jesus!_[91] _Don Carlos_"--would exclaim many of my bright-eyed
acquaintances--"why were you not at the Bull fight?"--"I could not
withdraw myself from this lovely spot."--"Well, _no ai vasija que mida
los gustos_.... You might see this at any other time." There was no
replying to such an indisputable fact, but by another equally
incontrovertible--viz.--"The sun sets but once a day."

The Bull-fights of Ronda are amongst the best of Spain; the animals
being selected from the most pugnacious breeds of Utrera and Tarifa;
the _Picadores_ from the most expert horsemen of Xeres and Cordoba; the
_Matadores_ from the most skilful operators of Cadiz and Seville; and
the whole arrangement of the sports being under the superintendence of
the Royal _Maestranza_. During the fair there are usually three
Corridas,[92] at each of which, eight bulls are slaughtered.

A Bull-fight has been so often described that I will content myself with
offering but very few remarks upon the disgusting, barbarous, exciting,
interesting sport,--for such it successively becomes, to those who can
be persuaded to witness it a second, third, and fourth time.

In the first place, I cannot admit, that it is a bit more cruel than an
English bull-bait (I speak only from hearsay of the latter), or more
disgusting than a pugilistic contest; which latter, whatever pity it may
occasion to see human nature so debased, can certainly possess little to
_interest_ the spectator, beyond the effect its termination will have
upon his _betting-book_.

Oh!--I hear many of my countrymen exclaim--"I do not complain so much of
the cruelty practised on the bulls, or the dangers incurred by the men.
The former were made to be killed for our use; the latter are free
agents, and enter the arena from choice. I feel only for the poor
horses, exposed to be gored and tortured by an infuriated animal,
without a chance of ultimate escape." Doubtless, the sufferings endured
by the poor horses are very disgusting to witness; but it is merely
because _we see_ their agonies, that we feel so acutely for them. Before
we condemn the Spaniards, therefore, let us look again at the amusements
of our own country, and _consider_ how many birds every sportsman dooms
to linger in the excruciating torments of a broken leg or wing, or some
painful bodily wound, for each one that he kills!--"But recollect,"
rejoins my Interlocutor, "recollect the difference between a bird and
such a _noble animal_ as a horse!"--Certes, I reply, a horse is a nobler
looking beast than a pheasant or a wild duck; but just observe the
wretchedness of our own decayed equinine nobility, standing in Trafalgar
Square and other rendezvous of cabs and hackney coaches!--Would it not
be comparative charity to end their sufferings by half an hour's
exposure in the Arena?

I must next throw my gauntlet into the arena in behalf of the Spanish
Ladies, who I maintain are vilely aspersed by those who have represented
them as taking pleasure in the tortures inflicted on the unfortunate
horses, and as expressing delight at the jeopardy in which the lives of
the bull's human persecutors are sometimes placed.

On such occasions, I have on the contrary remarked, that they always
retired to the back part of their box, or, if they could not do that,
turned their heads away in disgust or alarm.

It may be said, that they have no business at such exhibitions. Very
true--but surely some allowance is due, considering their want of such
breakneck sights as horse-races and steeple-chases? And,--apart the
cruelty to the animals,--I see no greater harm in the Spanish Lady's
attendance at a Bull-fight, than our fair country-woman's witnessing
such national sports.--The _Toreadores_[93] are certainly not exposed to
greater risks than the jockeys and gentlemen whom taste or avocation
leads daily to encounter the dangers of the field, for the entertainment
of the public!

At the numerous bull-fights I have witnessed--for I must plead guilty to
having become an _aficionado_[94]--I saw but four men hurt, and who can
say as much, that has hunted regularly throughout the season with a pack
of fox-hounds? or, that has walked the streets of London for a week,
since cabs and omnibuses have been introduced?

Certainly, it is not unusual to hear female voices cry, "_Bravo toro!_"
when some fierce bull has, at his first sweep round the circle, borne
down all the horsemen opposed to him; and then, maddened with pain, and
flushed with victory, but unable to attain his human tormentors, (who,
in spite of the ponderous weight of cuirasse, boot leather, and padding
that encumbers them, always manage to hobble off to a place of refuge)
rushes upon the poor blindfold, abandoned horses; which, with just
sufficient strength to get upon their legs, stand trembling in the
centre of the Arena, quite conscious of their danger, but not knowing
which way to avoid it, and thus, one by one, fall victims to the rage of
their infuriated enemy.--On such occasions, I repeat, I have heard such
encouraging cries proceed from female lips; but he who asserts that they
have been uttered by a Spanish _Lady_ can be classed only with _Monsieur
Pillet_, (I think that was the _quinze jours à Londres_ gentleman's
name) who stated that all English Ladies _boxed_ and drank brandy.

The most amusing part of the sport afforded by the Bulls is the driving
them into the town. This is done at night, and the following is the
method adopted. The animals, having been conducted from their native
pastures to the vale of Ronda, are left to graze upon the sides of the
mountains, until the night preceding the first day's _corrida_; when a
number of persons--of whom a large proportion are amateurs--proceed from
the city, armed with long lances, to drive them into their destined
slaughterhouse. The weapons, however, are more for show than use; since
the savage animals are decoyed, rather than goaded, into the snare
prepared for them. To effect this, some tame animals are intermixed with
the new comers on their first arrival; and these, trained by human
devices in all the ways of deceit, lead them off to slake their thirst
at the purest rill, and point out to them the tenderest pasture
wherewith to satisfy their hunger. The unsuspecting strangers, trusting
to the _pundonor_ of their new friends, abandon themselves to a Cupuan
enjoyment of the delights of this fertile region, and perceive not the
host of human foes that, under shelter of the night, are stealthily
encircling them. The investment completed, a horseman rides forward to
attract the attention of their treacherous brethren, who trot off after
him, followed by the whole herd. The rest of the horsemen now close upon
their rear, urging the bulls forward with loud shouts and blazing
torches; and, following close upon the heels of their leader, the
wonder-struck animals enter the town at a brisk pace and in compact
order. The cross streets having been strongly barricaded, the _avant
courier_ of the _Calbalgada_ proceeds straight to the court-yard
attached to the amphitheatre, the entrance to which alone has been left
open, and forthwith ensconces himself in a stable. The savage brutes,
bewildered by the strangeness of the scene, the blaze of lights and din
of voices, make no attempts either at escape or resistance, but, blindly
following his track, enter the court-yard, the gate of which is
immediately closed upon them.

A number of doors are now thrown open, which communicate with a large
apartment boarded off into narrow stalls. Into these but one bull at a
time can enter, and each of the decoy animals, selecting a separate
entrance, is quickly followed by two or three of the strangers. The tame
animal is permitted to pass through the narrow passage and escape at the
other end; but the unhappy victims of his toils, in attempting to follow
his footsteps, find their progress impeded by stout bars let down from
above, and are thus finally and securely installed.

Under this unpleasant restraint they continue until their services are
required in the arena; and during this brief period they are open to the
inspection of the curious, who can examine them at their ease from the
apartment above, the planking of the floor being left open for the
express purpose.

When the hour of the bull is come, the front bar of his prison is
withdrawn, a goad from above urges him forward, and, rushing from his
dark cell into the broad daylight, the astonished animal finds himself
at once in the _Arena_ and within a few paces of a _Picador's_ lance,
couched ready to receive his attack.

Some rush upon their enemy without a moment's hesitation; and I have not
unfrequently seen a valiant bull overthrow the four _picadores_ placed
at intervals round the circus, in less than that number of minutes. But,
in general, the animal pauses ere making his first onset--looks round
with amazement at the assembled multitude--paws up the dusty surface of
the arena--appears bewildered at the novelty of the sight and by the din
of voices,--and is undecided where to make the first attack. At length,
his eye rests on the nearest picador, and it is seldom withdrawn until
he has made his charge. He rushes on his enemy with his head erect,
lowering it only when arrived within a few paces. The picador gives
point to receive him on the fleshy part of the neck above the right
shoulder; and, if his horse be steady, he generally succeeds in turning
the bull off. But should the bull, regardless of his wound, return
immediately to the attack, the man has not time to resume his defensive
position, and his only safety is in ignominious flight. If his steed be
quick in answering the spur, he is soon removed from danger, but, if
otherwise, nine times in ten both horse and rider are laid prostrate.

Whilst in confinement, the bulls are decorated with the colours of their
respective breeders (a bunch of ribbon, attached to a dart, which is
forced into the animal's shoulder); and such as appear tame, and hold
out small promise of sport, are often "ingeniously tormented" previously
to being turned into the arena. I have heard also that it is not
unusual, when the circus is small, and the _Toreadores_ are not very
expert, to weaken the animal's powers by letting a weight fall upon his
back, so as to injure the spine; but this refinement of cruelty is
certainly not practised at Ronda.

It doubtless requires the possession of some courage to be a
bull-fighter; though at the same time it is to be recollected, that the
people who devote themselves to the profession have been brought up,
from their earliest youth, amongst the horns of these animals, and have
thus acquired a knowledge of all their peculiarities; they are
consequently aware, that the bull's furious onset requires but a little
activity to be readily avoided, and they have by long habit become
quick-sighted to take advantage of his blind rage, for striking their
blow. But, above all, their confidence is increased by knowing with what
ease the attention of the bull is drawn off; and no Picador or Matador
ever ventures into the arena unattended by one _Chulo_,[95] at least;
who, provided with a gaudy coloured flag or cloak, stands near at hand
to occupy the bull's attention, should his opponent have met with any
accident.

I once witnessed a laughable instance--as it turned out--of the ease
with which a bull's attention may be diverted. An _Aguador_, or
water-seller, had taken post in the narrow passage which serves as a
retreat for the bull-fighters when hard pressed, between the front row
of seats and the Arena, and, unconscious of danger, was vending his iced
liquid to the thirsty spectators--pouring it with singular dexterity
from a huge jar made fast to his back into their outstretched
goblets--when a bull, following close upon the heels of a _Chulo_, leapt
the five-foot barrier, and came with his fore legs amongst the front row
spectators, but, unable to make good his footing, fell back into the
narrow passage. The _Chulo_, by vaulting back into the Arena, readily
escaped from the enraged animal, which, not having space to turn round,
face and re-leap the barrier, found himself a prisoner within the narrow
passage. Very different, however, was the situation of the venturous
_Aguador_, who, labouring under his weighty liquid incubus, could not
possibly have clambered over the fence, even had time permitted of his
making the attempt. But, so far from that being the case, the bull
having instantly recovered his legs, was coming trotting and bellowing
towards him, with the most felonious intentions. The spectators shouted
with all their might to the luckless water-seller, _to save himself_;
alas! how was he to do so?--a single glance over his right shoulder
convinced him of the vainness of the admonition! Instinct prompted him
to run; but escape appeared impossible; for the horns of the rabid
animal were within a few feet of him, and every barrier was closed!

In this awful predicament, fright made him take the only step that could
possibly have saved him--namely, a _false one_. He stumbled, groaned,
and fell flat upon his face. The bull, without slacking his speed,
stooped down to give him his _quietus_; when a peasant--one of the
spectators--having tied his pocket-handkerchief to the end of his
_porra_,[96] dangled it before the animal's eyes just as he reached the
fallen _Aguador_. The enraged bull, making a toss at the new object thus
placed before him, bounded over the prostrate water-carrier, without
doing any other injury than breaking his jar with his hind feet, and
proceeded on to complete the tour of the circus.

The fright of the fortunate vender of water was excessive, and _now_
most ludicrous. The liquid poured in torrents over his shoulders and
down his neck, leading him to believe that he had been most desperately
gored, and that it was his life's blood which was--not oozing out of,
but--absolutely deluging him. He screamed most lustily that he was a
dead man; and the spectators, highly amused at the scene, cried out in
return, "Get up--get up, or you'll be drowned!" But, until some of the
_Chulos_ came to his aid, and put him on his legs, he could not be
persuaded that he had escaped without even a scratch.

He lost no time, however, in putting the power of his limbs to the
proof, running off as fast as they could carry him, to escape from the
jeers of the crowd, who, amidst roars of laughter, shouted after him,
"What a gash!"--"I can see right through his body."--"The Bull is
swimming after you!"--"_Toro! Toro!_" &c.

We will now leave the Amphitheatre, and proceed to visit one of the most
interesting sights of the ancient city--namely, an extraordinary
staircase, or _Mina_ as it is called by the natives, which, sunk close
to the edge of the chasm dividing the two towns, communicates with the
rocky bed of the river.

It is said to have been a work of Abou Melic, the first king of Ronda,
and was clearly undertaken to ensure a supply of water to the city in
the event of a siege;--the want of this indispensable article being, in
those early days, the only dread the inattackable fortress had to guard
against.

The entrance to the _Mina_ is in the garden attached to a gentleman's
house at a little distance from, and to the east of, the principal
bridge.

The descent, according to our Cicerone's information, was formerly
effected by 365 steps, cut in the live rock; but, at the present day, it
would defy the powers of numbers to reckon them, the greater part of the
staircase being in so ruinous a condition as to be barely practicable. I
should suppose, however, the depth of the _Mina_, from its mouth to the
bed of the river, is about 250 feet. It pierces the solid rock, in
short and very irregular zig-zags, for about two thirds the distance
down, when, entering a natural rent in the cliff, the remaining portion
is built up from the bottom of the chasm with large blocks of stone;
advantage having been taken of a lateral projection, to cover this
artificial facing from an enemy's projectiles.

At various levels, passages lead off from the staircase into spacious
and curiously arched apartments, to which light is admitted by narrow
casements opening into the chasm or tajo. This subterranean edifice is
supposed to have been a palace of the Moorish kings.

On the side walls of the narrow, crooked staircase, are numerous rudely
engraved crosses, which our conductor assured us were wrought by the
hands of the Christian captives who, during the last siege of the place,
were employed in bringing up water for the use of the garrison, and
whose oft-repeated signs of faith, thus lightly marked by their passing
hands, had miraculously left these deep impressions on the hard stone.
"Nor"--added he--"did such proofs of their devotion go unrewarded even
in this world, for their liberation quickly followed; the until then
unconquered city having been wrested from the Mohammedans after only a
few weeks' siege."--The chains of these good Christians were sent to
Toledo, in one of the churches of which city they may yet be seen.

Various other remarkable legends are related of this wonderful place;
which, however, I will pass over, to say a few words of other objects
worthy of observation in the vicinity of the city.

Of these, the most interesting to the Antiquary are the ruins of the
Roman city of Acinippo,[97] which lie scattered on the side of a
mountain on the left of the road to Seville by way of Olbera, and
distant about ten miles N.W. from Ronda. Some of the Spanish Geographers
persist in calling it _Ronda la vieja_, (old Ronda,) but certainly on no
good grounds, since no place bearing the comparatively modern name of
Ronda could well be of older date than the present city itself.

In the time of Carter, the venerable ruins of Acinippo could boast of
containing an Amphitheatre and the foundations of several spacious
temples, all in tolerable preservation; but these are now barely
perceptible; and the statues, pavements, in fact, every thing considered
worth removing, has long since been carried to Ronda.

Numerous Roman coins are daily turned up by the plough, as it passes
over the streets of the ancient city, and Cameos, intaglios, and other
more valuable relics, may be procured occasionally from the peasants
dwelling in the neighbourhood.

But, though scarcely one stone of Acinippo now rests upon another, still
the view from the site is of itself a sufficient reward for the trouble
of scrambling to the summit of the mountain; whence, on a clear day, it
is said that even Cadiz may be seen.

Deep in the valley, on the opposite or eastern side, flows the principal
source of the Guadelete, (water of _Lethe_) which the Spaniards maintain
is the _real_ river of _Oblivion_ of the ancients. Where the fertilizing
stream flows amongst the vineyards of Xeres, it probably has often
proved so without any fable.

On the bank of this rivulet stands the little castellated town of
Setenil; famous in Moorish history, as having defied all the efforts of
the Christians to subdue it, until the ponderous lombards of Ferdinand
and Isabella were brought to bear with unerring aim upon its rock-based
battlements. A.D. 1484.

Within another morning's ride from Ronda is a very remarkable cavern, in
the side of a lofty mountain, about five miles to the S.W. of the city,
and known by the name of the _Cueva del Gato_ (Cat's cave). The
entrance to it is some way up the face of a scarped wall of rock, that
falls along the right bank of the Guadiaro, and can be gained only by
those whose heads and feet are proof against the dizzy and slippery
perils to be encountered; the ascent being over a pile of rough granite
blocks, moistened by the spray of a foaming torrent that gushes out of
the narrow cavity. These difficulties surmounted, the cavern itself is
tolerably practicable, and the stream flows more tranquilly, though
still here and there obstructed by blocks of stone. After penetrating
some way into the interior, an opening of considerable width presents
itself, where a ruined building of very ancient date is observable. It
is said to owe its foundation to the Romans, and to have been a temple
dedicated to the infernal deities. Rumour alleges that in later times it
has served as a refuge for banditti. To proceed further, it is necessary
to be well supplied with torches: with their aid I was informed the
cavern is practicable for a great distance.

The stream to which this cavern gives a passage, takes its rise in a
wooded basin, situated on the opposite side the mountain ridge, from
whence the waters of all the other valleys are led off in a northerly
direction to the Guadalete. This eccentric little rivulet directs its
course, however, to the south, reaches the foot of a high-peaked mount
that overlooks the village of Montejaque, and there, its course being
obstructed by the solid rock, betakes itself once more to the earth,
filtering its way for upwards of a mile through the mountain, and
finally discharging itself into the Guadiaro[98] by the mouth of the
_Cueva del gato_.

The Cavern is said to have received its name from the wonderful feat of
a cat, which, put into the fissure by which the stream disappears from
the surface of the ground, reached the other entrance with one of its
lives yet unexhausted.

Numerous other delightful excursions may be made from Ronda, up the
ravines in the surrounding mountains; and, should the sports of the
field possess attractions, the country is noted for its abundance of
game of all kinds; from quails and red-legged partridges, to wild boars,
deer, and wolves.

In following this pursuit, chance one morning directed my footsteps
along the edge of the precipice, that (as I have already mentioned,)
bounds the New town to the west, and which, describing a wide circle,
and gradually losing something of its height, once more closes upon the
Guadiaro, about a mile below the city.

The space that nature has thus singularly walled in, and sunk beneath
the rest of the vale of Ronda, is richly clad with gardens and
vineyards; and the little stream, having disengaged itself from the dark
chasm that divides the two towns, here once more slackens its pace, to
luxuriate under refreshing groves of orange, citron, and pomegranate
trees. Arrived, however, at the southern extremity of this basin, the
rocky ledge on which I found myself standing again presents an obstacle
to the tranquil flow of the crystal stream, and it hurries fretfully
through a narrow defile, of the same wild character as that in which it
received its birth; the banks being thickly clothed with the endless
varieties of the cistus, and shadowed by the dense and sombre foliage of
the ilex and wild olive.

Beyond this, a glen of somewhat more easy access presents itself, and
the river is spanned by a light but firmly-knit arch, that bears the
romantic name of the _Puente del Duende_, or, the Bridge of the Fairy.
So sequestered is this spot--for it is some distance from any public
road--that the little bridge, though well known to the country people,
is seldom visited by strangers; and indeed its leafy canopy is so
impervious, that, until arrived at the very brink of the precipice
overlooking the dell, it is not possible either to discover the bridge
or to trace the further progress of the river itself, which, by its
tortuous course, seems loth to leave the lovely valley that has grown
rich under its fostering care.

The mountains beyond appear equally unwilling that the beauteous basin
should lose its benefactor; presenting themselves in such confused and
successive masses, and in such intricate forms, as seem to preclude the
possibility of the little stream ever finding its way through them to
the Mediterranean.

Conspicuous above all the other points of this serrated range, is the
_Pico de San Cristoval_,--said in the country to be the first land made
by Columbus on his return from the discovery of the New World. Certain
it is, that this peak,--called also _La Cabeza del Moro_ (Moor's
head)--can be seen at an immense distance. I myself, from the blue
Atlantic, have traced its faint outline reaching far above the horizon,
when the low land about Cadiz, though comparatively near, could not even
be discerned.

In following the course of the stream, however, I have been carried far
below the Fairy's Bridge, to which it is time I should retrace my steps.
The narrow little structure serves, at this day, merely as a point of
passage to a mill, situated on the left bank of the rivulet; from
whence long trains of pig-skin laded mules convey almost as constant, if
not so copious a stream, of oil and wine, _over_ the bridge, as that of
water which flows beneath it. The hills that rise at the back of the
mill--and which in our more level country would be called mountains--are
clad to their very summits with vineyards and olive groves--the sources
of this gladdening and fattening stream. There was, nevertheless, an air
of solitude, and even of mystery, about the spot, that greatly excited
my curiosity. The reckless muleteers devoutly crossed themselves ere
they ventured to pass over the little bridge; some even prostrated
themselves before a crucifix rudely carved in wood that stood
overhanging it. The more timid goatherds drove their flocks far away
from the holy spot; and those whom I questioned concerning it gave me to
understand, that the less they said and I inquired on the subject, the
better for all parties.

The owner of the mill, without being quite so reserved, was equally
mysterious; saying that, though in this sceptical age many persons were
disposed to regard the wonderful things related of the place as mere
_cuentas de viejas_--i. e. old women's tales--yet that he could vouch
for their truth, and, whilst it would be unbecoming in him (as Herodotus
said before him) to disclose _all_ he knew, this much he _could_
say,--that it would be dangerous for most people to dwell as near the
enchanted spot as he did. "But," added he, throwing open his shirt and
exposing what I learnt was a piece of a black dog's skin, that he wore
suspended from a rosary at his breast, "this is a sovereign charm
against all manner of witchcraft."

I afterwards discovered that the olive-grinding rogue was a notorious
smuggler, and kept his contraband goods concealed in what are supposed
to be haunted caverns, under his habitation, secure from the search of
superstitious _Aduaneros_.[99]

My curiosity still further excited by the difficulty experienced in
gratifying it, I applied for information touching the Fairy's Bridge to
my friend Don ---- ----, who referred me to _El Padre Canonigo, Don Apodo
Fulano_, adding laughingly, "You will be amused at the worthy father's
serious manner of relating the story; but I can assure you,--divesting
it of the marvellous,--it is not _todo cisco y carbon, como tesoro de
duende_."[100]

To the _Padre_ I forthwith bent my steps; and the following chapter
contains his account of the _Puente del Duende_, which I give as nearly
as possible in his own words.



CHAPTER VII.

LEGEND OF THE FAIRY'S BRIDGE.

     "_My companions said to me, 'Do you visit her monument?' but I
     answered, 'Where but in my heart should she have a tomb?'_"
                                                  ARABIC ELEGY.


You must know, Don Carlos, commenced the worthy Padre, "_con voz
reposada y clara_"[101]--You must know, that the bridge you have just
visited has usurped the name it bears, which was given to a much more
extraordinary structure--if such it may be called--that formerly
occupied its place; or, I should rather say, that was situated near the
present edifice; for the supernatural bridge of which I am about to
speak was thrown across the ravine somewhat lower down the stream;
where, as you may have observed, the cliff on the left bank falls quite
perpendicularly along the river, and is at this day entirely overgrown
with ivy.

This bridge was formed of a single tree; a huge _acebuche_[102]--a tree
often employed as an agent in working miracles--which, having grown for
ages on the brink of the precipice, was one night marvellously felled to
the earth. That it had been prostrated by supernatural means was
evident; for the trunk bore no marks of the axe; and though still
adhering to the stump by the bark and some slight fibres, yet it had
been most curiously blackened and charred; whilst a wild vine, which
(having entwined itself gracefully round its wide-spreading branches)
had accompanied it in his fall, remained unscorched, and seemed to have
been purposely left unhurt, to serve as a hand-rope to steady the
footsteps of the venturous passenger over the tremulous bridge.

The further extremity of the tree rested on a ledge that projected
slightly from the opposite cliff; above which, a fissure in the rock
appeared to lead into a dark cavern. But so curiously was the rustic
bridge balanced, that as sure as any mortal attempted to cross by it to
the opposite side of the river, so sure was he to be precipitated into
the abyss below.

It is supposed that this chink in the cliff had served to admit light
and air to some spacious caverns which, in remote times, had been formed
in the rocks, and from which a rude staircase had communicated with a
_quinta_, or country house, situated in the midst of the vineyards and
olive grounds that clothe the hill side. But of these, Don Carlos, no
vestige now remains; indeed all traces of them were lost soon after the
occurrence of the events I am about to relate.

The last possessor of this villa was a wealthy Moor--Abenhabuz by
name--of the tribe of the Ganzules, and one of the most distinguished
_Alfaquies_ of the proud city of Ronda. To the treachery of this Moor
the capture of the Moslem stronghold by the Catholic kings[103] was
mainly attributed; for the bravery of its _Alcaide_, the strength of its
garrison, and the triple circuit of walls by which in those days its
assailable points were defended, rendered it too formidable a post even
for such indomitable spirits as Ferdinand and Isabella to think of
attacking. But Hamet Zeli, surnamed _El Zegri_, the fierce governor of
Ronda, dreamed not of treason, and least of all did he suppose that
Abenhabuz, his bosom friend, could betray him. But what will not envy
stoop to do? He was persuaded by his deceitful confidant that the
Spaniards were laying close siege to Malaga, and that a most favourable
opportunity thereby was presented for making a foray in their country.
Sallying forth, therefore, with his brave _Gomeles_--the principal
strength of the garrison--El Zegri crossed the mountains to the
westward of the city, and fell upon the unprotected country round Arcos
and Xeres de la Frontera.

Ferdinand and Isabella were quickly informed of his departure from
Ronda, and, breaking up their camp before Malaga without loss of time,
pressed forward through the rugged and now unguarded defiles of El
Burgo, to seize upon their prey.

El Zegri, loaded with plunder, and breathing further vengeance, bent his
steps also towards his sequestered fortress; little, however,
anticipating the blow that awaited him. It was only at his bivouac in
the dark cork forest under the lofty _Sierra del Pinar_ that the thunder
of the Castillian artillery burst upon his astounded ear.--He mounted
his courser in all haste, and, dashing forward with mad speed, stopped
not until he had gained the pass of _Montejaque_. You see it there, Don
Carlos, (said the Padre, pointing to a deep gap in the summit of the
serrated ridge that bounds the basin of Ronda to the west) it is still
known in the country as _El Puerto del Pasmo del Moro_.[104]--What a
sight there met his eager, searching eye! The proud city entrusted to
his care, hemmed in on all sides by Christian lances!--the sumptuous
mosques and stately palaces of his ancestors, crumbling to dust, under
the all-destroying projectiles of the implacable enemies of his
creed!--A cry of rage burst from him; but his prudence even in that
trying moment did not forsake him. Checking his advancing troops, so as
to keep them out of sight of the beleaguering army, he sent forward a
trusty messenger, who, gaining admission to the Fortress, cheered its
feeble garrison with the news of his being at hand, and of his intention
to force his way into the city during the night. But Abenhabuz took care
to have this information conveyed to the besiegers; and El Zegris' bold
attempt was consequently foiled.

The inhabitants, seeing all hope of relief now cut off, their store of
provisions nearly exhausted, and large gaps formed in the walls of their
until-now unconquered city, deemed it prudent to negotiate for a
capitulation; and the sagacious Ferdinand, aware that El Zegri was still
in the field--that the place could yet hold out some weeks--that his own
supplies might be cut off,--and that to carry the city by storm would be
attended with immense loss of life,--willingly granted most favourable
terms; the garrison and inhabitants were permitted to depart with all
their effects; such of them as chose to remain in Spain having even
lands assigned to them, and being permitted the free exercise of their
religion.

But whilst the wily Ferdinand hesitated not to grant these liberal
terms, yet, as in duty bound, he forthwith transmitted to Rome a formal
declaration of his resolve to extirpate the abominable heresy of
Mohammed from his dominions, whenever a fitting opportunity should
occur; thus piously reserving to himself the right of infringing the
terms of capitulation, wherever his doing so should seem most conducive
to the interests of our holy religion.

The traitor Abenhabuz, besides the indulgences granted by the terms of
the surrender, was, as the price of his treason, permitted to reside
within the city, and to retain possession of his estates. But some years
after, (when, by the capture of Granada, the Catholic Monarchs were
relieved from all apprehension of evil consequences ensuing from
carrying their long meditated plans into effect) he, as well as the
other Moslems who had chosen to remain in Spain, was offered the
alternative of Christianity or expatriation. He balanced not in the
choice; but forthwith repairing to the altar of Our Lady of griefs,
declared himself a convert to the true faith.

In consequence of this act--with the piety and generosity which have at
all times distinguished the Spanish nation above all others--the Moor
was graciously allowed to keep possession of the lovely _quinta_ and its
surrounding vineyards; the rest of his vast estates being made
over--for the good of his soul--as an expiatory offering to the
chivalric brotherhood of Santiago.

Abenhabuz retired to his country retreat, accompanied only by his
daughter, the beauteous Hinzára; for his sons--true scions of an Arabic
stock--chose rather to seek a home on the parched shores of Africa, than
abandon the accursed dogmas of their Prophet.

Hinzára was the youngest of the Moor's children, and the sole issue of a
Christian maiden who had been captured in a foray some time previous to
the fall of Ronda, and who--meditating his future treason--Abenhabuz had
considered it conducive to his interest to marry.

At the period of his expulsion from the city, his wife had been dead
some time, and his daughter had just reached the age when a maiden's
footsteps most require the guidance of a mother's care. But Hinzára was
a being of no common order. The rosebud bursting through the petals of
its mossy calyx, spreading its delicious fragrance to the summer breeze,
exceeds not more in loveliness every other flower of the field, than the
beauty of Hinzára surpassed that of all the maidens of the
neighbourhood. To you, Don Carlos, whose eyes are daily feasted on the
charms of our comely Andalusians, it will suffice to say, that in the
daughter of Abenhabuz were combined the regular features and soft
expression of the dark-eyed _Malagueña_; the blooming cheek and polished
brow of the fair _Serrana_[105] of Casarabonela; and the form and
carriage of the graceful _Gaditana_![106] Her person, in fact, was a
bouquet, of the choicest flowers culled from this our Hesperian garden;
whilst her mind might be likened to a book, in which, as in the pages of
our incomparable Cervantes, were to be found united the most brilliant
wit, the soundest discretion, the purest sentiment, and the nicest
judgment.

Courted by all the principal chieftains of the day--Spaniards as well as
Moriscoes--Hinzára appeared alike regardless of their adulation, and
unmoved by their importunity. But the Moorish maiden was not insensible,
and--unknown to all besides--had pledged her hand to a noble Biscayian
youth, long the possessor of her guileless heart.

The ancestors of Don Ramiro--for such was her lover's
appellation--though rich in deeds of renown, had left him little else
than an untarnished sword, to support the glorious names of Segastibelza
y Bigorre which he inherited from them. And besides his poverty, Hinzára
had other reasons (which will be stated as I proceed with my tale) to
fear that her father's consent to their union would not be easily
obtained.

Abenhabuz was, to all appearance, fully sensible of the generosity that
had been so manifestly shown to him; and though now the possessor of but
the few vineyards and olive grounds that encircled his _quinta_, he was
nevertheless generally considered a wealthy man:--a reputation for which
he was as much indebted to his imagined knowledge of Alchymy, as for the
hords he was supposed to have collected during a long life of rapine and
plunder.

This character for wealth, whilst it excited the cupidity of many,
secured to him the protection of the governor of Ronda, Don Guiterre
Mondejar; who, captivated by the charms of the beauteous Hinzára, hoped,
together with her hand, to obtain, what he coveted yet more, the
imaginary treasures of the Alchymist.

The crafty Moor readily promised him the immediate possession of the
one, and the inheritance of the other; but he had no intention of
fulfilling his engagements. The protection of a powerful friend was
needful for a time, to screen his proceedings from a too-vigilant
observation; particularly, since the establishment of the Holy
Inquisition by Ferdinand and Isabella of blessed memory (here the worthy
Father crossed himself most devoutly) was a thorn in the side of these
backsliding Christians that obliged them to be extremely circumspect;
but the implacable Abenhabuz cherished hopes of wreaking vengeance on
those by whom he chose to conceive he had been wronged; and the Spanish
governor was one of his marked victims.

In the prosecution of his horrible designs, the Moor was prepared to
immolate even his own daughter to satisfy his revenge; though this was
an extremity to which he hoped not to be driven. It may, however, be
readily imagined that his stock of parental affection was not very
great, and that he concerned himself but little in his daughter's
affairs. He enjoined her to be strict in the outward observance of her
religious duties, the better to conceal his own delinquency; but of her
actual conversion to Christianity, and her acquaintance with Don Ramiro,
he was altogether ignorant.

For a considerable time, Abenhabuz succeeded, under various pretences,
in deferring the fulfilment of his contract with Don Guiterre; but, at
length, finding his projects of vengeance not yet ripe for execution,
and that the amorous Spaniard was becoming every day more urgent for the
possession of Hinzára, he determined to overcome the few weak qualms of
conscience that had hitherto withheld him from sacrificing his daughter,
and intimated to her that she was shortly to become the wife of the
abhorred Guiterre. To his surprise, however--for it was for the first
time in her life--Hinzára refused obedience to his will. Commands and
entreaties were alike unavailing:--to the first she opposed a calm but
resolute refusal; to the latter a flood of tears. But when the
infuriated father employed threats, and assailed her with
invectives,--"Hold!" exclaimed the daughter of the cross. "Though, in
casting off the execrable heresy of Mohammed, I cast not off my Moslem
father, yet in embracing this," and she drew from her bosom a small gold
crucifix, "I obtained a Protector against all outrage; and should he at
the cost of my plighted word,--my word, for the observance of which I
have pledged my belief in a crucified redeemer--persist in exacting
obedience to his will; amongst the Holy Sisterhood of Santa Ursula shall
I seek, and readily find, a refuge from his tyranny."

The Infidel was thunderstruck--his rage unbounded. Scarcely admitting
that a woman had a soul to be saved, he had thought it mattered little
whether his daughter was a Mohammedan or a Christian; conceiving that,
in either case, her duty to him prescribed passive obedience. But he had
always imagined that Hinzára's abjuration of Islamism, like his own, was
a mere mockery, and that he should find in her a willing instrument to
work his purpose of taking vengeance on his Christian rulers. Awakened
now to a sense of his error,--and as he considered of his danger--he
feared that she might, on the contrary, prove an insuperable bar to the
execution of his plans; and he determined to lose no time in removing
her.

Dissimulation was, however, necessary. Smothering, therefore, his anger,
he affected to be moved by her tears. He alluded no more to the marriage
contract entered into with Don Guiterre; and, treating her with more
than wonted kindness, lulled her into forgetfulness of his former
harshness, whilst he matured the most hellish plot that ever was
conceived by man, to render her subservient to his designs.

Informing the governor of Hinzára's determined opposition to their
wishes, he imparted to him the diabolical scheme he contemplated to
force her into compliance; and in the vile Spaniard he unfortunately
found a too willing abettor of his infamous project.

The cavern under the Moor's habitation contained numerous chambers
opening into each other, the innermost of which was known only to
Abenhabuz himself; the entrance being concealed by tapestry, and closed
by means of secret springs. On the plea of having some repairs executed
to the quinta, Hinzára and her father retired to the subterranean
apartments; Abenhabuz occupying that which communicated with the
staircase, Hinzára the one from which the secret chamber opened; the
intermediate chamber serving as their common refectory.

One afternoon, as the sun was closing his diurnal course, an officer of
the Holy Inquisition, accompanied by numerous Aquazils and masked
attendants, appeared suddenly before the abode of the renegade Moor. The
terrified domestics fell on their knees, repeating their _Pater
nosters_, too much alarmed to give notice of the approach of the
visiters; and the officer, followed by his satellites, proceeded
straight to the entrance of the Souterrain, and demanded instant
admission.

"Who is he," inquired Abenhabuz from within, "that thus unannounced
requires entry? If his business be of worldly affairs, let him choose
some more fitting time, nor disturb a good Christian at his evening
devotions; but, if aught else, enter--the latch is now raised." The
party immediately rushed forward, but the superior stopped short at the
scene before him--Abenhabuz, clothed in sackcloth, stretched prostrate
on the bare floor before an image of the blessed Virgin! Beside him lay
a scourge, with which he had evidently been inflicting self-punishment!

"What want ye of me?" demanded the Moor, without rising from the rocky
floor.--"With _you_ we have _now_ no further business, good Abenhabuz,"
replied the officer. "We must however see your daughter--for such is our
duty--though doubtless she follows the example of her pious
father."--"Hinzára," said the Moor, "is within that second chamber,"
pointing to the door--then raising his voice, he called out in
Spanish--"Hinzára, my child, open, that these worthy Señores may bear
witness to the piety of Abenhabuz' daughter;" but Hinzára answered not.

"What is this?" exclaimed the Moor--"the heat of the summer sun has
surely overcome her.--Hinzára, my beloved, open quickly"--but still
Hinzára replied not.

"Force open the door, then," said the officer, "but quietly--disturb not
her sleep, if such be the cause of her silence. Excuse this apparent
rudeness, worthy _Alfaqui_; our orders are imperative."

Admittance was quickly gained, and disclosed to the spectators the
lovely form of Hinzára, extended on a divan, her eyes closed in profound
sleep. Her right arm, passed across her gently heaving bosom, hung over
the side of the couch, and on the floor beneath it lay a book, which to
all appearance had fallen from it.--That book was the _Koran_!

The exclamations of the astonished spectators, but, above all, the
wailings of old Abenhabuz, soon brought the sleeper to her senses. But
not to detain you, Don Carlos, with superfluous details: suffice it to
say, that further search was made; the secret doorway was discovered,
and exposed to view a small apartment furnished with the _Mehrab_,[107]
denoting it to be a Mohammedan place of worship.

No one of the assembled group was, or rather appeared to be, so much
shocked as Abenhabuz.--"Father! Father!" exclaimed the frantic Hinzára
in tones of the most piercing anguish:--but, overcome by the intensity
of her emotion, she could utter no more, and fell senseless to the
ground.

Happy had it been for the wretched Hinzára had this insensibility to
mundane ills been the perpetual sleep of death! But inscrutable, my
friend, are the ways of Providence! The innocent victim of this fiendish
plot woke only to the torments of the Inquisition!--Oh that an
institution, ordained to effect so much good, should in this instance
have been the means of inflicting such unmerited anguish! But what human
works are all perfect?

I must not attempt, Don Carlos, to raise the veil that covered the
events which followed. The disappearance of Hinzára, whose virtues yet
more than her beauty caused her to be universally beloved, excited much
solicitude. But time swept on; and at length all, save _one_, seemed to
have forgotten the existence of the ill-fated maiden. That _one_,
however, persisted in his endeavours to trace her out; and, dangerous as
was the attempt, to penetrate even the secrets of the Holy Inquisition.
But all his efforts were unavailing.

Still, however, Ramiro clung to the idea that she had not been removed
from Ronda; and despising the alluring prospects of wealth and
distinction, at that time held out by the discovery of a new world, he
remained rooted to the spot. At length his sad presentiment was but too
truly realized. A mysteriously-worded billet, left by an unknown hand,
warned him of approaching calamity; shortly after, public notice was
given that an execution of heretics was about to take place; and on the
appointed day, headmost of the wretched criminals, and clothed in a
dress of surge, representing flames and demons,--indicative of her
impending fate,--was the hapless daughter of Abenhabuz.

The frantic Ramiro soon distinguished her from the rest. The pile that
was to immolate his lovely, innocent Hinzára was already lighted--the
criminals destined for execution were about to be given over to the
secular power--when, rushing to the feet of the Grand Inquisitor, the
proud descendant of the bluest blood in Spain, on his bent knees,
supplicated for mercy. With the eloquence of despair, he pleaded her
youth, her virtues, her piety;--but, alas! he pleaded in vain!--"Let me
at least," said he at length, "make one effort to induce her to
confess?--my known loyalty--my birth--my station--entitle me to this
boon."

The Inquisitor was moved;--Ramiro's entreaties were seconded by a faint
murmur that ran through the crowd; and his request was granted, despite
the frowns of Don Guiterre, into whose hands, as governor of the city,
the condemned were about to pass.

A passage was quickly opened for Ramiro through the dense multitude,
and, amidst loud _vivas_, he flew to his Hinzára. The maiden's
countenance brightened at the approach of her long separated lover.
Starting from the posture of prayer, in which she was devoutly attending
to the exhortations of one of the holy brotherhood appointed to the sad
office of attending her in her last moments--yet not without first
raising her eyes in gratitude to the great disposer of all
things--"Thanks, beloved Ramiro," said she, "for this last, convincing
proof of affection! I almost fear, however, to ask--didst thou receive
my message?"--"I did," replied her lover; "but let me implore thee,
adored Hinzára, to change thy purpose--alas! beloved of my soul, hope
not that thy silence will aught avail thy father. Be assured his fate is
sealed--nay--I know not but that he may already have been sacrificed;
for, during many weeks past, I have in vain sought to gain tidings of
him.--Declare then all thou knowest, and at least save thyself, and
me--who cannot survive thy loss--from the fate that hangs over
us."----"No, Ramiro," replied the maiden, in slow but steady accents,
"my resolve is fixed. Since there is yet a _chance_ of saving my father,
_we_ must part--let us hope to meet again hereafter.--I trust thou hast
been able to comply with my desire?"--He motioned assent.--"Then Heaven
bless thee, dearest Ramiro! as thou lovest me, obey my last
injunctions--return not evil for evil--there is another and a better
world--risk not our chance of possessing in it the happiness denied to
us here."

One moment of human weakness succeeded--it was but one--Hinzára's head
fell upon her lover's breast--her bloodless lips met his for the
first--the last time. Recovering herself quickly, "Now, beloved," she
exclaimed, "thy promise!--and thou, oh blessed Saviour, before whose
holy image I now, on bended knees, offer up my last supplication!--who
seest the pile already laid to torment with infamous publicity thy too
weak servant!--plead, oh plead forgiveness for this act, which hastens
me, by but a few short moments, into the presence of an omnipotent,
all-merciful creator!"

Ramiro listened to the words of the prostrate maiden with intense and
agonised attention, and at the conclusion of her short but earnest
prayer drew from his breast a glittering poignard--Hinzára snatched it
hastily from his hand,--and the next moment fell a corpse at his feet!

The horror of the spectators, at this unlooked-for termination of
Ramiro's interference--the consternation of the officials of the Holy
Inquisition--the rage and invectives of the Governor--were such that,
amidst the general confusion which ensued, Ramiro, snatching the
poignard from the reeking body of his mistress, darted through the
crowd, and effected his escape.--Don Guiterre vented his impotent rage
on the lifeless body of his victim, by having it burnt, amidst the
groans and indignant cries of the assembled multitude.

Every attempt to trace the flight of Don Ramiro failed; but information
was eventually received, that an individual answering his description
had embarked at Malaga, in a vessel bound to some Italian port.

The excitement caused by this tragic affair gradually subsided. Years
rolled on--Abenhabuz was never again seen--and the fate of his daughter
was nearly forgotten;--when one morning the Governor of Ronda was no
where to be found. Diligent search was of course made, and at length his
corpse was discovered in the rocky bed of the Guadiaro, immediately
beneath the miraculous bridge, which was now seen for the first
time!--On examining the body, it was found to be much bruised and
mutilated, as if--which indeed was evident--Don Guiterre had fallen in
an attempt to cross the hazardous bridge, and although one deep wound
seemed to have been inflicted by some sharp instrument, yet it might
have been given by the pointed rocks with which the bed of the rivulet
is strewed, and there was no other reason to suppose that he had fallen
by the hands of bandits; since nothing had been taken from his person.
His sword was found lying near him, but it might have dropt from its
scabbard.

The cause of the Governor's visit to this secluded spot nobody could
divine; but the general astonishment on this head was still further
increased, when, a few days after, the body of a near relative of Don
Guiterre--one of the principal officers of the Holy Inquisition--was
discovered at the very same spot, and bearing marks of having met with a
similar death.

A clue to the solution of these mysterious and appalling events was at
length, however, obtained; though it still left many of the particulars
open to conjecture. An old and faithful servant of the late Governor
was, not many days after, found in the bed of the stream, having also,
as it appeared, fallen from the enchanted bridge. Life, however, was not
extinct. He was conveyed to a neighbouring monastery, where every
attention was paid to his wounds, though without the slightest hope of
his ultimate recovery. The excessive pain, caused by a severe wound in
the head, brought on delirium; so that little information could be
gathered from him; but in his paroxysms he raved of a brilliant light
that shone constantly before his eyes, which, with piercing cries for
mercy, intermixed with frightful imprecations on Don Guiterre, he
fervently invoked.--But in the last moments of his wretched existence,
he became somewhat more tranquil; and the monk who attended him, (a
brother of one of my distant ancestors) collected at intervals the
following particulars of his melancholy story.

His master it appeared had willingly entered into the plot--already
alluded to--projected by the old Moor. The inquisitorial visit, planned
by these two fiends in human form, was brought about by information
secretly furnished to the Holy Tribunal, by the wretched maniac himself.
Their _professed_ object in procuring Hinzára's incarceration was, to
frighten her into a marriage with Don Guiterre, whose influence over the
Inquisitor, his relative, was to be employed in procuring her
liberation, on condition that she gave proof of her innocence by
consenting to marry him.--Each of these miscreants imagined, however,
that he was making a dupe of his confederate; for each breathed only
vengeance on the innocent Hinzára. Don Guiterre could not forgive her
contemptuous rejection of his suit; and, his ungovernable passion
continuing unabated, he hoped, by acceding to the terms on which only
it was proposed, she should obtain her liberation,--to have her in his
power to satisfy his revenge, after he had gratified his yet more
hateful passion: or, should she, contrary to his expectations, continue
obdurate, to feast his eyes on the tortures of his hapless victim.
Abenhabuz, on the other hand, knew his daughter too well to imagine she
would consent to purchase life on the terms proposed. His sole object
was to procure her death,--which, as he conceived, was merited as much
by her disobedience to his commands, as by the unpardonable sin of
deserting the faith of her forefathers;--and, as he himself could not
inflict the punishment without exciting suspicion, he hit upon the plan
of making Don Guiterre a tool to effect his purpose. But, in the words
of the Roman Fabulist, "_Vindictæ cupidus sibi malum accersit_." Each of
these monsters reaped the just fruit of his crime.

Whether the terms of liberation before alluded to were ever proposed to
the daughter of Abenhabuz, I cannot inform you, Don Carlos:--most
probably not, however.--Don Guiterre doubtless overrated his influence
with the Holy Tribunal,--the vast powers and inaccessible character of
which were at that early period of its establishment not known even to
Spaniards themselves. At all events, the governor, finding that the doom
of his victim was irrevocably fixed, and--ignorant of the secret wishes
of the Moor--fearing that the full weight of Abenhabuz's resentment
would fall upon him on the discovery of the failure of their
scheme,--resolved, ere the _Auto da fé_ was announced to take place, to
prevent the possibility of the Moor's attempting to save his daughter,
by confessing the plot, and making known the share he--Guiterre--had
taken in it.

The wretch, who, in his dying moments, confessed these atrocities, was
an accomplice in the crime by which this object was attained.--The foul
deed committed, the corpse of Abenhabuz was destroyed by quick lime, and
his papers were minutely examined, lest any proof should be furnished by
them of the plot against Hinzára. Letters were then found from the sons
of the murdered Moor, (who it appeared had joined the discontented
inhabitants of the Alpujarras, at that time about to take up arms
against the government,) which brought to light a project on the eve of
being carried into execution, to seize upon the city of Ronda. These,
after being made up in a sealed parcel, were dropt, by the governor's
faithful agent, on the road to Marbella, and, being picked up by a
chance traveller, were brought to Don Guiterre.

The importance of their contents caused them of course to be forwarded
to the seat of government, accompanied by a statement, that diligent
but unavailing search having been made for Abenhabuz, it was supposed he
had escaped to the mountains, and must, in the hurry of his flight, have
lost these papers, containing indubitable proofs of his treason.

The policy of keeping these events secret was suggested by the artful
Guiterre, on the plea, that it might lead to the detection of other
persons engaged in the conspiracy; which recommendation, having been
approved of, it soon came to be believed that the missing Abenhabuz was,
as well as his daughter, an inmate of the dungeon of the Inquisition.

By what means Don Guiterre met with his death still remained a matter of
mystery.--By his servant's statement it appeared that he had fallen in
an attempt to pass over the rustic bridge, leading to the cavern under
the _quinta_ of the deceased Moor; whither by an anonymous communication
he had been invited to repair unattended, under the promise of having
the spot shown to him where the Alchymist's riches were buried.--The
wretched Lopez, who had followed his master at a distance, saw a bright
light shining to point out the passage made across the deep chasm, and
heard his cries on falling; but, overcome by fear, he immediately took
to flight, and for obvious reasons had not given any information on the
subject.

Whatever further particulars--if any--were gathered from him ere his
death, never became public. Sufficient, however, was known to cause the
spot to be held in great awe; so much so, indeed, that, after the
miraculous abstraction of various goats, sheep, &c., from the flocks
grazing in the neighbourhood, not a soul would venture near it; the
common opinion being, that some vindictive fairy had taken up his abode
in the cavern, and amused himself by playing off his malicious pranks
upon mankind.

After a lapse of some years, a Hermit applied to the owner of the
property, for permission to make the haunted cavern his cell; and,
trusting that his prayers would be instrumental in laying the
troublesome Sprite, his request was readily granted.

The holy man who thus proffered his good offices, though bent down and
infirm, had not the eye of one stricken in years; neither did his
flowing beard, though white as the undrifted snow on the surrounding
mountain tops, appear to have been blanched so much by time, as by
privations and sufferings. He went out but seldom, and then only to
attend upon the sick and poor. Within the city walls he was never known
to enter. He had travelled much--had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and
visited the Holy house at Loreto--was known to carry on a correspondence
with some of the first dignitaries of the Pontifical City,--and never
wanted money.

By his piety, munificence, and benevolence, Father Anselmo at length
attained such celebrity throughout the country, that his prayers were
considered nearly as efficacious as those of most saints.--He sunk
gradually and quietly to his grave. Not having been seen for several
days, those to whose wants he was in the daily habit of administering
consulted together as to the steps to be taken to ascertain his fate.
They determined to enter his cell, and, as he would never permit a soul
to cross the bridge, procured a long ladder to enable them to effect
their purpose. On gaining admission, they discovered Anselmo's body,
stiffened unto death, in the attitude of prayer. His knees were bent
before an Altar, on which stood a small gold crucifix, of exquisite
workmanship; but his head had fallen forwards on his clasped hands.--By
his side lay a poignard. Its point was corroded with the deep rust of
years; but every other part of the shining blade bore evidence of the
peculiar care which has been taken of its preservation. Its hilt was a
glittering mass of costly diamonds.

From the deceased hermit's neck a small packet was suspended, containing
a lock of auburn hair, and on the envelope, the following words were
written, in Anselmo's hand. "For thee have I passed a life of celibacy
and seclusion!--for disobeying thy sacred injunctions have I been sorely
chastened!--Sainted Virgin! plead for me with our Heavenly Father, that
the sins I have committed in this world may be forgiven in that which is
to come!"

It was evident,--said the worthy Padre, concluding his long story,--it
was evident, Don Carlos, that his prayer could be addressed to no other
than the Holy Virgin, Mother of our blessed Saviour,--and, consequently,
that the lock of hair must have been her's. It was accordingly sent to
Toledo, and deposited in the church of _San Juan de los Reyes_,--where a
magnificent urn--now probably melted down into some atheistical French
Marshal's soup tureen--enclosed for many years the precious relic. What
became of the poignard I know not.

The pious Anselmo was buried with great pomp, and numberless miracles
have been wrought at his grave;--the mischievous fairy feared to return
to a place purified by so holy a person;--the passage leading to the
subterranean apartments has long been filled up;--and the miraculous
bridge decayed and was carried away by the stream.

We have put up a cross to scare away evil spirits; but they nevertheless
say, that strange noises are yet heard, and flickering lights
occasionally seen in the vicinity. I do not attach much credit to such
tales. "_Fallax vulgi judicium_," (the good Father loved a scrap of
Latin) and--producing from his pocket a white cambric handkerchief, and
wiping his forehead with it, as if to show he had some notion of the use
to which the cavern was at the present day applied, he added--"I dare
say you are equally sceptical."--I will now, Don Carlos, wish you a
pleasant _Siesta_--"_Dios guard' usted._"[108]



CHAPTER VIII.

     DEPARTURE FOR MALAGA--SCENERY ON AND DANGERS OF THE ROAD TO EL
     BURGO--FINE VIEW FROM CASARABONELA--AN INDEPENDENT INNKEEPER--A
     SPANISH BATTLE, ATTENDED WITH MORE DECISIVE RESULTS THAN
     USUAL--DESCRIPTION OF CASARABONELA--COMELINESS OF ITS WASHING
     NYMPHS--ROAD TO MALAGA--RIVER GUADALJORCE--SIGILA OF THE
     ROMANS--CARTAMA.


Bidding adieu to Ronda,--its fruitful groves, crystal springs,
snow-white bread, and jet-black eyes,--we will take the road to Malaga.

At about a mile and a half from the town, the road arrives at and passes
under a long aqueduct, by means of which a stream is conveyed across the
valley, for the supply of the fountains of the Mercadillo; thereby
saving to its inhabitants the expense of sinking deep wells in the rocky
hill.

At the end of another half league, the road having gained a slight
acclivity, commands a fine view of the venerable old city and its
fertile plain; but diving thence into a dark and narrow ravine, a
contrast of the wildest character presents itself, and the road winds
for many miles amongst the rugged roots of the _old women's teeth_,
already noticed.--These have certainly not had the effect of grinding
the path smooth--for a more execrable _trocha_ it never has been my fate
to ride over. Part of it is so bad,--resembling a petrified honeycomb of
Brobdignag dimensions,--that our horses had to pause at every step, and
consider into which of the holes presented to their choice they should
next venture to put their feet.

The scenery is splendid. It consists of terrific precipices and
impending mountains--foaming torrents and rustic bridges--umbrageous
oaks and wide-spreading cork trees. But our enjoyment of these wild
beauties was considerably diminished, as well by the torrents of rain
that fell without ceasing from the time of our entering the mountains,
as from the attention it was necessary to give our horses.

Our progress, necessarily slow over this _camino de perdices_,[109] was
yet further retarded by numberless trains of loaded mules, which, having
left Ronda with the earliest dawn, had gained an advance upon us over
the plain, and, labouring under the bulky produce of the fair, were
filing slowly along the same narrow track as ourselves, restricting our
pace to an average rate of something less than three miles an hour.
Vain were all our endeavours to gain the head of the lengthened
column;--for though we seized every opportunity the rugged road
presented of pushing on with our less burthened animals, yet no sooner
had we succeeded in passing one string of mules, than we found ourselves
in contact with the tail of another.

Gradually, however, the _Cafilas_[110] became wider and wider apart; and
on arriving within a few miles of the town of El Burgo, an open and
comparatively level space presenting itself, unobstructed by man or
beast, we began to indulge the hope that our perseverance had earned its
reward, and that thenceforth a clear road lay before us. Our impatient
steeds gladly availed themselves of the permission to quicken their
pace; but five minutes' canter carried us across the verdant glade, when
we again found ourselves immured within a rocky ravine, shadowed by the
dark forest, and--to our disappointment--in contact with yet another
string of mules and _boricos_.

The pass was more rugged than any we had hitherto met with, and the
sure-footed animals, with noses almost touching the stony path, were
scrambling down the rough descent with caprinine agility; though
sometimes--thrown off their equilibrium by the size rather than the
weight of their burthens,--they would stagger from side to side, so as
to make their destruction appear inevitable. Righting themselves,
however, in the most scientific manner, and making a short pause, as if
to recover their self-possession, they would resume their perilous
undertaking, without further incitement than an "_arre!_"[111] glad
enough not to _feel_ the usual accompaniment on their houghs or ribs.

Considering it advisable to follow the muleteers' example, we too
allowed our beasts to use their own discretion in the selection of their
stepping-places by giving them their heads; and, folding our cloaks
about us, so as to afford the utmost possible protection against the
pelting storm, we resigned ourselves to fate; there being nothing for
it, as the philosophic Sancho says, but patience and a shrug of the
shoulders.

Whilst proceeding with our necks thus in chancery--sliding, stumbling,
and dripping along, in rear of the closely formed column--we came most
unexpectedly upon a peasant, mounted on a sleek mule, who, taking
advantage of a favourable spot, had drawn up on the road side to allow
the train to pass. The circumstance of his being the only person we had
met journeying towards Ronda, would of itself have caused us to notice
him, but there was something in the man's deportment that peculiarly
attracted observation. In the first place, he suffered all his
fellow-countrymen to pass without deigning to return their usual
courteous salutation; in the next, he was smoking a _tabaco_[112]
instead of a _papelito_; and, lastly, he was muffled up so completely in
his _manta_ that every part of his dress was concealed, and of his face
little more than the eyes could be seen. These were dark, piercing, and
inquisitive, and their sidelong glances, evidently following their
owner's thoughts, were directed with searching scrutiny on the tempting
bales that passed successively before him.

So thoroughly was the attention of this person devoted to this
interesting examination, that, concealed as we were by the moving
mountains of Manchester goods which preceded us, our military cortège,
bringing up the rear of the column, took him completely by surprise. For
the moment all presence of mind forsook him. His left arm, by an
instinctive jerk, removed the hat from his head; disclosing a most
sinister countenance, and a brace of pistols stuck in his worsted sash;
whilst, with the other, he hurriedly made the _cruz de admirado_,[113]
muttering, at the same time, the usual passing benediction. With the
flurry of a person exerting himself to _appear_ composed, he then, to
our great amusement and astonishment, began singing one of the peculiar
ditties of the _arrieros_, at the very extent of his voice.

These sudden transitions, first from arrogance to servility, then from
alarm to merriment, struck us all very forcibly; and each was pondering
to himself,--for it rained too hard to render talking agreeable,--what
could possibly have given rise to them, when, reaching the bottom of the
descent, a sharp turn in the road brought us in view of a party of some
twelve or fifteen persons, who, partially concealed in a thicket of
underwood, were assembled under the shelter of a huge cork tree, about
fifty paces off the road. Though habited as _Contrabandistas_, they were
armed up to the teeth, and had a far more offensive than defensive
appearance. Most of the party were grouped round the stem of the huge
tree, under protection of which a fire was struggling for existence
against the storm and rain; but some of the men were scattered amongst
the brushwood, and seemed to be girthing up and preparing their horses
for a start.

All eyes were anxiously fixed upon us the moment we came in sight,
showing that the muleteer's song had not been a spontaneous outbreak of
hilarity; and the examination of our persons was evidently productive of
some little distrust and apprehension; for though the folds of our
capacious cloaks screened our persons most effectually from view, yet
the glazed caps that protruded above, and the steel scabbards that
peeped out below, sufficiently showed our military calling.

A short and hurried consultation was the result of their scrutiny. That
ended, one of the party, who seemed to be its chief, stepped a few paces
towards us, whilst the rest, as if wishing to avoid observation, resumed
their interrupted occupation at the fire.

The person who thus put himself forward was a handsome, jolly-looking
fellow, who, despite the heat of some fifty Andalusian summers, was
bordering on corpulency. Richly dressed and well armed (as well with
assurance as with blunderbuss and pistols), he was, in every sense of
the word, _un hombre de bigote_;[114] and, saluting our party most
courteously, he requested our knightships would alight and warm
ourselves at their fire; and, if we could put up with road-way fare,
partake of their poor breakfast.

Treating this invitation as--that which no doubt it was meant to be,--a
mere _compliment d'usage_, we politely, but with the brevity which the
Spanish language admits of, excused ourselves (for the weather was
anti-ceremonious), and passed on without even exchanging a single word
amongst ourselves.

That fatal effects are frequently the consequence of too great
_loquacity_, no one will venture to dispute; but that similar results
should spring from over-_taciturnity_, many may be disposed to
controvert. Voltaire (I think) relates a ludicrous story of some
drowning Dutchmen, who would not part with their _pipes_ to cry help;
but the fact may be doubted. In the present case, however, several
luckless wights were actually throttled for want of one saving word of
English!--But I am anticipating the catastrophe of our adventure, if so
it deserve to be called.

We had no sooner passed beyond hearing of the suspicious-looking troop,
than a peasant, who had stuck close to our heels all the morning, rode
up to inform us that the persons we had just met were _muy mala
gente_,[115] and that we had had a most fortunate escape.--We too were
pretty well convinced that the party had halted at that retired spot
with the intention of taking something more substantial than breakfast;
but we did not feel surprised at their allowing us to pass without
molestation, since our party was strong and our baggage light.

On our arrival at Malaga next day, we learnt that a sharp affair had
taken place near El Burgo, between some of the government troops and a
gang of robbers; and the following afternoon, when riding on the
Alameda, whom should we meet but our quondam friend, and two of his
companions, proceeding under an escort to the city gaol. He recognized
us immediately, but his breeding was by no means improved by the air of
the city;--the friendly greeting of the Sierra being changed into a
torrent of maledictions.

Curious to learn the particulars of the case, and cause of his abuse of
the _malditos Ingleses_, we made particular inquiries on the subject,
and learnt, to our surprise, that we had ourselves been mainly
instrumental in causing the apprehension of the robbers. Deceived by our
being muffled up in our cloaks, they had taken us for one of the
detachments of Spanish troops, which, at the breaking up of the fair,
are sent from Ronda to patrole all the principal roads leading through
the Serranía. The vidette whom we came upon so unexpectedly had not been
able to give the bandits sufficient time, either to prepare for action,
or to conceal themselves; which accounted for the confusion so
perceptible when we first discovered them; as, expecting to have easy
work with the muleteers, they had secured their horses in the thicket,
to have all hands ready for the ransack.

Trusting that our suspicions had not been excited, and relieved from all
apprehension of encountering another patrole for some hours, they had
stopped, and were in the act of plundering one of the richly-laden
trains that we had passed in the morning, when the real _gens d'armes_
came to the rescue. In their fancied security, the robbers had gone so
deliberately to work, that the notice of their scout had not given them
time to regain their tethered horses; and in the scuffle that ensued,
three of the gang were captured, whose necks, as we were afterwards
informed, were in the due course of justice submitted to the _garrote_.

I must now return to El Burgo,--which place we were five hours in
reaching, although its distance from Ronda is scarcely eleven miles;
indeed, in the measure of the country, it is reckoned but two leagues.

El Burgo de Ronda (as it is generally called) is a miserable village,
containing about 200 _Vecinos_; but it is most romantically situated, in
a fertile plain encompassed with magnificent woods and mountains, and
watered by numerous springs. We arrived thoroughly drenched, and were
glad to halt for a short time, to breathe our horses and dry our cloaks.
Towards noon, the weather becoming more propitious, we continued our
journey to Casarabonela. The road is very bad all the way, though
somewhat better than we had gone over in the morning. The scenery is not
by any means so fine.

The direct road to Malaga avoids Casarabonela, leaving it, perched on
the side of a steep mountain, some thousand feet above, and about half a
mile off, on the right; but the view from the summit of the ridge
overlooking the town is so grand, that I would strongly recommend all
travellers to ascend the rugged mountain, even at the cost of an hour's
delay, and risk of a displaced collar-bone.

The little town, embosomed in groves of fruit-trees, lies about half way
down the southern side of the mountain. On its right, and somewhat
overlooking it, an old Moorish fortress occupies a cragged eminence; its
smoked and shattered walls seeming, after the manner of its founders, to
be mourning with dirt and ashes the loss of the rich plain spread out
beneath; over which, in former days, they held despotic dominion.

This vast plain stretches south, to where the winding Guadaljorce
discharges itself into the ocean; the Sierra Gibalgalía rising "like a
huge incumbrance" from its centre, and sheltering the mouldering walls
of the famed city of Cartáma. Along the eastern side of the valley, the
mountains of Alhama, the Alpujarras, and snowy ridge of Granada,
successively overtop the rugged ramifications of the Sierra of Almoxia,
which bound it in that direction. To the west, the Sierras of Alhaurin
and Mijas present themselves, rising abruptly from the plain. Between
these two masses of mountains, and beyond the plain, a wide expanse of
the blue and glassy Mediterranean is visible, studded with white sails,
bearing the rich produce of Malaga to every part of the world.

The descent to the town is good, but tedious,--winding through luxuriant
vineyards and orchards. The vines are here trained on frames raised
about five feet from the ground; a method by no means general in Spain,
and which, though certainly more pleasing to the eye, is not considered
so favourable to the fruit as that usually adopted.

The Inn looked dirty and comfortless, and its keeper was so imbued with
the constitutional doctrines of liberty and equality,--then much in
vogue,--that he would hardly condescend to answer our questions
concerning accommodation, and was perfectly indignant at our suggesting
the expediency of his rising from his seat, and showing us the way to
his stable.--"There was the door of his house if we chose to enter; if
not, we had but to suit ourselves elsewhere."

Aware that the town did not possess another _posada_, and that the
nearest _Venta_ on the road was at a distance of several leagues, the
dignified innkeeper trusted, from the lateness of the hour, that we
should necessarily be obliged to place ourselves at his mercy. We, on
the other hand, determined, if possible, to obtain accommodation
elsewhere, and seeing the lady-owner of the adjoining house standing at
her door, asked her if she knew any one who, for a handsome
consideration, would furnish us with a night's lodging.

After a short parley, it was agreed that her house and stable should be
placed at our "_disposicion_" for the night, and sundry of our hard
dollars at her's in perpetuity. The publican--who, pending the
negociation, sat at his portal puffing a cigar, affecting the utmost
indifference to its result, but in reality listening impatiently to
every word that passed--no sooner found how good a thing had slipped
through his fingers, than he started up in the most ungovernable
passion, venting his rage upon our buxom hostess, somewhat in the
following strain--"_Mala Pascua te dé Dios! Hija de puta
ruin!_[116]--May you be burnt for a witch before the year's over, for
taking the bread out of a neighbour's mouth!--May the ghost of your
cuckold husband appear at your bedside this night, you shameless
wanton!--May"--"_Que chusco es el tuerto!_"[117] interrupted the
incensed fair one, in a scream that completely drowned the rest of his
good wishes, to whatever extent they may have been carried--"Look at
home, _Cabron_,[118] ere you call an honest man cuckold, and a virtuous
woman wanton."--"Virtuous woman, indeed!" resumed he of the Venta; "and
admits four smooth-chinned _Ingleses_ into her house, to say nothing of
their two stout grooms, and that monkey-faced Portuguese, their guide;
whom I know right well, though he has grown fat under English feeding;
and whom, fat or lean, no virtuous woman would suffer within reach of
her nostrils."

This unlooked-for attack on "lazy Antonio" drew a furious cross-fire
upon the irritated _Ventero_; for whilst our hostess flinched not one
inch from his direct and somewhat scandalous assault--_par pari
referens_--"_Vosse mercé_" opened a fire of loud, nasal
Portuguese-Spanish upon his flank, that exceeded in noise the braying of
a whole troop of asses.

This, in its turn, unkennelled the publican's _Cara Sposa_. The combat
recovered its equilibrium, and seemed likely to be terminated only by
the coming night; for all our endeavours to withdraw the valorous
Antonio proved unavailing. But, in the words of the Manchegan Knight,
"_siempre deja la ventura, una puerta abierta_."[119] The publican and
his wife, though proof against the reputation-killing batteries of their
open enemies, could not stand before an insidious covert attack that was
now about to open upon them.

The town's people, amongst whom the liberal _ventero_ did not appear to
be in good odour, flocked in crowds to the scene of action, and, though
professing to take no part in the fray, yet, by whooping, hollowing, and
laughing, whenever the widow and her Portuguese ally fired a successful
shot at their adversaries, they gave the former a "moral support," that,
in its results, proved quite as efficacious as an active interference.

The Innkeeper--who hitherto had manfully confronted his opponents--now
saw that victory was no longer attainable, and abandoned the field;
leaving his light-tongued helpmate to cover his retreat. This task she
performed with consummate ability, supporting her nearly exhausted
volleys of words by screams of defiance, and various offensive
gesticulations. The last distinguishable turn of reproach that reached
our ears, was _Alarbes!_[120] which she seemed to consider the _ne plus
ultra_ of vituperation, and certainly was the very last epithet we had
any right to expect would be applied to fair-skinned mortals like
ourselves, by such a bronze-complexioned semi-morisco.

The battle over, and stable door unlocked,--the key of which, firmly
grasped in her right hand, had been the standard under which our hostess
had fought and conquered,--we led our tired horses in, leaving her to
fire a round of taunts in celebration of the victory.

Casarabonela is a clean and well-paved town. For the former quality, it
is principally indebted to a stream of limpid water that, issuing from
the side of the mountain, rushes down the steep streets, carrying every
thing offensive before it. Its supply is so bountiful that, besides
doing the scavenging duty of the town, and turning a number of
mill-wheels, it is led off in irrigating channels through all the
gardens and orchards in the neighbourhood.

The inhabitants are celebrated for their comeliness, and I willingly
bear witness to the truth of common report in this particular instance;
having seldom seen more lovely faces than amongst those of the
bright-eyed, fair-complexioned damsels of this mountain town. Nor are
their figures unworthy of note, albeit, their limbs are something too
muscular for Naiades and Oreades.

It is meet, by the way, that I should explain _how_ I became acquainted
with this latter fact relating to their secret history, lest scandal
should blight the fair fame of the Casarabonelian maidens. The truth is,
then, we arrived at the town upon a _washing day_, and in taking our
evening stroll, chanced to come upon the congregated village nymphs
engaged knee-deep at their lavatory vocation in the mill stream; jumping
and stamping with all their might upon the soiled garments of the
preceding week; and certainly displaying more of their fair skins than
might reasonably have been expected to meet the eyes of strangers. So
they appeared to think also; for our sudden advent created an
extraordinary sensation amongst them. Some had sufficient presence of
mind to get on dry ground ere they loosened the bandage that confined
their petticoats at the knee; others, regardless of consequences, let
them drop in the water; and some few were so completely bewildered as to
fancy their only chance of obtaining concealment was by squatting down,
even in the midst of the stream.--All laughed, but there was nothing
either immodest or rude in their merriment. They were evidently ashamed
that their bare legs (albeit not to be ashamed of) had been exposed to
our gaze; but, at the same time, they could not but be amused at the
various extraordinary expedients resorted to to conceal them.

As we could not accuse ourselves of any indiscreet curiosity in this
matter--for we had followed a beaten path leading to the old castle--we
had but to compliment them on their fair skins and sound understandings,
and pass on. Indeed, I suspect it was merely our being strangers that
had occasioned their modesty to be so put to the blush; for their own
countrymen must have been passing to and fro the whole day, in
proceeding to their work in the fields. Such is the force of habit.

The view from the Old Castle, looking towards Malaga, is nearly equal to
that from the top of the mountain; and in the opposite direction, the
outline of the Sierra itself is very bold, and is set off to great
advantage by the rich foliage of well-grown forest trees that clothe its
rough side.

Our landlady's will was better than her accommodation. Our beds, which
(so careful was she of her reputation) were all in one small room,
looked well enough; but the somnifugeous animals domesticated therein
were so numerous, so vigorous, and so insatiable, that we gladly hailed
the dawn of day to escape from their persevering attentions.

The road down the side of the mountain (in its windings upwards of a
mile) is far from good, and it is only tolerable after gaining the
plain, until it passes by a ford to the left bank of the Guadaljorce,
when it becomes practicable for carriages all the way to Malaga.

The course of this river (_Guada al jars_--River of the Guard) is most
eccentric. It rises considerably to the eastward of the city of
Antequera, almost, it may be said, on the margin of the Genil, and
running, during the early part of its course, nearly parallel to that
river, seems, like it, to be directing itself to the Guadalquivír. But,
after following this westerly course for upwards of thirty miles, it
turns abruptly from the level country, in a southerly direction; pierces
its way through a most intricate country to Alora; washes the base of
the rock on which that ancient city is perched; and then, entering the
vale of Malaga, winds round to the eastward, fertilizing that spacious
plain; and discharges itself into the Mediterranean:--thus, from its
source to its mouth, describing a perfect semicircle.

In the centre of the extensive vale of Malaga, the volume of the
Guadaljorce is increased by the junction of the Rio Grande--a far less
considerable stream, which comes down from the mountains encircling
Toloz, Monda, and other Roman-Moorish fortresses, that guard the passes
on the western side of the plain.

Carter, describing this latter river from its source to its embouchure,
states it to be the _Sigila_ of the Romans. Should this be the case,
(though it seems probable that the larger stream of the two would have
carried its name to the sea) we have yet to learn by what name the
Guadaljorce was known in former days.--I mention this, as I shall
hereafter refer to the subject in speaking of the _Salsus_, which, it
strikes me forcibly, was the name given formerly to the _upper_ portion
of the Guadaljorce--_i. e._ before it was lost in the rocky defiles to
the north of Alora.

The Guadaljorce--jore--joz--and--quivirejo, (for it is equally known by
all those names) runs in a wide, pebbly bed, and is readily enough
forded at all seasons, excepting when heavy rains happen to have caused
it to overflow its banks. Under any circumstances, however, Malaga may
be reached by making a détour to the westward; crossing the Rio Grande
at Casa Palma, and from thence, following the road by Cartama, down the
right bank of the Guadaljorce, until arrived abreast of the village of
Aljaurinejo, where a bridge presents itself.

The direct Road from Casarabonela crosses the River, previous to its
confluence with the Rio Grande; and about a mile beyond the ford,
reaches the _Venta de Cartáma_. This is often made the resting-place
between Ronda and Malaga. Now, as I write with the view of tempting
others to ride after me, I feel called upon, despite the poor
accommodation of Casarabonela, to advise future travellers to put up
with it; for certainly a more wretched hovel than the Venta of Cartáma I
never looked into. A single glance produces an irritation of the skin,
and a sympathetic restlessness of the fingers.

Proceeding onwards, a view of the town of Cartáma is obtained on the
right. It lies somewhat removed from the bank of the Guadaljorce, upon
the north side of the Sierra Gibalgalía. The harvest of statues,
pavements, coins, &c. gathered amongst the ruins of this ancient Roman
city, has been very abundant. A few years back it possessed a Forum,
Porticoes, and Temples, in a very perfect state. But, though the
Spaniards talk much of their antiquities, they trouble themselves but
little about their preservation; and Cartáma contains now scarcely any
thing worthy of note.

From the _Venta de Cartáma_ to Malaga the road is practicable for
carriages to an extent of thirteen miles and a half; making the total
distance from Casarabonela twenty-five miles;--from Ronda, forty-five.



CHAPTER IX.

     UNPREPOSSESSING APPEARANCE OF MALAGA--DREAD OF YELLOW FEVER--THE
     ALAMEDA--DERIVATION OF THE CITY'S NAME, AND SKETCH OF ITS
     HISTORY--THE GIBRALFARO AND ALCAZABA--CATHEDRAL--CIGAR
     MANUFACTORY--CALCULATION OF THE SUPPLY AND CONSUMPTION OF CIGARS IN
     SPAIN--MALAGA
     FIGURES--POPULATION--TRADE--WINE--HARBOUR--SOCIETY--VISIT TO EL
     RETIRO--THE FANDANGO AND CACHUCHA.


The appearance of Malaga on a near approach is mean and unprepossessing;
nor is this an optical deception, for the suburbs are miserably poor and
excessively dirty. This last, indeed, is a fault that the city may be
charged with generally; and such is the contempt in which the virtue of
cleanliness is held by the inhabitants, that, though the little river
_Guadalmedina_[121] winds its way through the heart of the city,
requiring only to be properly husbanded to keep the place sweet and
clean; yet, from mismanagement, it is itself suffered to become a
nuisance; the scanty stream left after supplying the fountains being in
summer so obstructed by heaps of filth, brought out from the city, and
thrown into its wide bed, that not having sufficient power to carry off
the accumulated mass of corruption, it serves only (by keeping it
constantly moist) to render the process of putrefaction more fetid and
deadly.

The calm indifference with which the inhabitants of Malaga endure the
intolerable nuisance thus generated by their improvidence and indolence,
and the patience with which they look forward to the winter torrents to
rid them of it, contrast singularly enough with the immoderate alarm
occasioned by the arrival of a vessel from the Habana, and the haste
with which they send it from their port to undergo purification at
Minorca. Thus, whilst dreading most unwarrantably the importation of the
yellow fever from a place which, at the time, perhaps, was perfectly
free from it, they disregard altogether the little forcing-bed of
miasmatic diseases, situated under their own immediate noses.

The city, it is true, has suffered so severely from visitations of this
terrible disease, that the inhabitants may well dread its recurrence;
but since they are aware that Coin, Alhaurin, and other places in the
neighbourhood, situated in a purer atmosphere, are beyond its influence;
surely they ought to look at home for the causes of its fatal virulence,
if not of its actual production.

The winter torrents come down in great force, and, from the proximity of
the mountains, the Guadalmedina rises very suddenly; rendering a wide
bed quite necessary to carry it off, as well as strong walls to resist
and direct it in its course. But, in spite of these precautions, the
lower portions of the city are frequently inundated.

A wooden bridge, on stone piers, keeps up the communication between the
two parts of the city during _sweet winter_; but the bed of the river,
which is eighty yards wide, may be crossed dry-foot the greater part of
the year.

The principal portion of the city is on the left bank of the
Guadalmedina. Indeed, the part situated on the western side is, properly
speaking, only a large suburb. The change on passing the bridge is most
agreeable; the first object that presents itself being the Alameda, a
fine open space, lined on three sides with handsome houses, and on the
fourth open to the refreshing westerly breezes. A shaded carriage drive
goes round the quadrangle; and down its centre, a broad gravel walk,
furnished with seats, and planted with flowers and shrubs, affords the
public a delightful promenade.

On a Sunday evening this _Paseo_ is crowded with all classes of the
inhabitants; and the dark voluptuous Malagueña, as, with mincing step,
she threads the motley throng, fails not to display her skill in
_fanning_ signals to her various acquaintances. The stranger, whilst
following, with admiring eyes, the graceful movements of the fluttering
parchment,[122] little suspects that he is himself the subject matter of
its telegraphic communications.

Besides the Alameda, there are several fine open spaces in the city, but
certainly not one good street, although some few pretend to the
convenience of a _trottoir_. The inns are tolerably good. That which is
dignified by the name of "_Los tres Reyes_" was the best, at the period
of my last visit.

Malaga is said by some to have received its name from the Hebrew work
_Malach_, (signifying to reign) and to have been founded by the
Phoenicians, eight centuries before the advent of our Saviour. Others,
on the contrary, maintain that its name is derived from the Phoenician
language; the same word _Malach_ signifying in it _to salt_; and that
the city was so called from the quantity of fish taken and cured there.
The learned Florez, who inclines to this latter opinion, states that the
cured fish of Malaga was so esteemed at Rome that a body corporate of
merchants was established in that Capital of the world, under the name
of _Malacitani_, as proved by an inscription found in the _Campo di
Flora_.

By the Romans the city was called Malaca; and became one of their
_confederates_, (of which there were but three in Boetica) as well as
the great emporium for their Spanish trade; although Pomponius Mela
speaks slightingly of its importance.[123] It was captured by the Moors
under Tarik, A.D. 715; and probably such portions of the walls as still
exist were built about that period; but the fortress on the
_Gibralfaro_, and the _Alcazaba_, or Royal Palace, are said to have been
erected only towards the end of the thirteenth century; when the Moors,
by the rapid progress of the Christian arms, (which had already wrested
from them both Cordoba and Valencia) saw the necessity of strengthening
the towns of their diminished territories.

Malaga had become a separate kingdom, however, as early as the beginning
of the eleventh century; when the Caliphat of Cordoba ceased under the
imbecile Haccham II.

The first who mounted the throne of Malaga was Ali Aben Hameth. But it
does not appear that the crown was regularly handed down in one family;
it seems rather to have been a constant object of strife; and its power
over other states seems to have varied according to the talents of him
who wore it; for sometimes we find the sovereign of Malaga owning
obedience to the Princes of Seville and Cordoba; at others claiming
dominion over those kingdoms; and generally, over the city of Granada.

Ishmael, a prince of the house of Alhamares, was the last king who dwelt
within the walls of the _Alcazaba_. From the time of his being called to
the throne of Granada, (A.D. 1313), Malaga was governed by a prince of
the royal blood.

Malaga was one of the last cities that fell to the Christian arms,
Ferdinand and Isabella having succeeded in capturing it, after an
obstinate siege, only five years prior to the conquest of Granada, viz.,
A.D. 1487.

The _Gibralfaro_ is, or rather has been, a fortress of great strength
and considerable extent. Its ruins occupy the crest of a rugged
mountain, from which, and a signal tower that formerly stood on the
summit, it receives its present name, _Gibel al faro_.

The rocky ridge stretches east and west along the Mediterranean shore,
falling precipitously towards the beach, and roughly and rapidly in the
opposite direction, but less abruptly as it approaches the city, which
it partially shelters to the S.E. A narrow, walled passage connects the
castle with the _Alcazaba_, which, standing on a plateau near the
termination of the rocky tongue, has a better and more immediate
command over the city and harbour than even the _Gibralfaro_ itself.

The walls of the fortress were evidently constructed at the cost of some
proud Roman temple, and were probably run up in great haste, as numerous
fragments of columns, capitals, &c., are built in with the more suitable
bricks which the Moors generally used when they bestowed pains upon
their works.

The walls of the Alcazaba, like those of the fortress, are studded with
these venerable fragments, and are in an equally ruinous condition. The
principal gateway is, however, tolerably perfect, and affords a fine
specimen of Moorish architecture. The Alcazaba answered the triple
purpose of a royal palace, an advanced work of the more elevated
citadel, and a dock or arsenal for the city galleys. The docks were
situated under its north wall; but they have long since been buried
under the ruins of the impending building, and are now covered over with
houses.

The Cathedral of Malaga, commenced about the middle of the sixteenth
century, is a handsome building; but, from one only of its towers having
been finished, its appearance is much injured. How frequently has it
happened, and how much is it to be regretted, that edifices, dedicated
to the worship of the Deity, have, as in this instance, been planned and
partly executed on a scale of magnificence totally disproportioned to
the means possessed for completing them according to the original
design.

Besides the deformities that offend the eye in these patched-up
buildings, and the unpleasant feeling to which the contemplation of an
unfinished Christian church ever gives birth, a deplorable conviction is
forced upon the mind, that these splendid piles were erected rather with
a view to commemorate their _founders_ than to promote the well-being of
mankind; and that large sums of money have thus been vainly squandered,
or, at best, lain profitless for ages; which might have been otherwise
beneficially employed in the interests of Christianity.

Let me not lead my reader to suppose, however, that I dislike to see
stately temples raised for the worship of our Creator. On the contrary,
the lofty towers, high vaulted aisles, and gorgeous windows of many of
our Christian churches are well calculated to predispose the mind to
devotion; since, wonderful as they are, considered as works of man, how
contemptible do they appear, compared with the mighty works of _our_
Maker! and, viewed in this light, they cannot but impress us with a
sense of His power and our utter insignificance.

With such feelings I have ever regarded the splendid cathedrals of
Antwerp, Cöln, Rheims, Ratisbon, Vienna, &c., which are amongst the
number of those that remain to this day in a more or less unfinished
state, though, in other respects, they are some of the finest specimens
of Gothic architecture extant.

The cathedral of Malaga is of noble proportions, but of a heavy,
over-ornamented, composite style of architecture; and it is disfigured
in an extraordinary degree with gilt chapels, carved saints, and votive
offerings. It contains little worthy of notice besides the carved
wood-work of the seats in the choir, the jewels, dresses, &c., in the
_Tesoreria_[124], and one good painting by Alonzo Cano, in the chapel of
the _Rosario_.

The tower of the cathedral is 300 feet in height, and commands a fine
view, though not equal to that obtained from the _Gibralfaro_, since
this latter includes the whole city, as well as the extensive plain of
the Guadaljorce, and the various ranges of mountains that stretch along
the Mediterranean shore between Monda and Marbella.

Immediately under the _Alcazaba_ stands an immense and rather handsome
edifice, built not many years since for a custom-house; but, meeting
with few customers in that line of business, it has recently been
converted into a Royal cigar manufactory, and is now in a thriving
condition.

Previous to the establishment of this assistant, the Royal manufactory
of Seville had imposed on it the _impossible_ task of supplying cigars
and snuff for the whole of Spain; and even now, with such additional
means of production, the demand is _ten times_ greater than the two
factories have the power of furnishing, as the following statement will,
I think, pretty clearly show.

The manufactory of Malaga employs 700 persons (women and children) in
making cigars. A good pair of hands at the work may furnish three
hundred a day; but (as the children cannot make half that number),
taking the average at two hundred, gives a daily supply of 140,000. The
manufactory of Seville employs 1,000 men and 1,600 women. These 2,600
persons may be calculated as furnishing, on an average, 250 each per
diem; or, altogether, 650,000. Add to this number the 140,000 made at
Malaga, and we have 790,000 as the "total of the whole" manufactured
daily in Spain. But, as there are but six working days in the week, and
seven smoking--indeed the lungs ought to be calculated as doing double
work in Spain on Sundays and Saints' days, whilst the hands are quite
idle--we must reduce that amount by one seventh, to obtain the average
number of cigars furnished for each day's consumption throughout the
year, which amounts therefore but to 677,143.

Now, taking the population of the country at 11,000,000 of souls, and
supposing (which is a moderate computation) that but one million and a
half of that number are consumers of tobacco, it is evident that Spain,
with her present means, can supply her smokers with but _seven
sixteenths_ of a cigar _per ora, per diem_; and, consequently, as my
proposition advanced, with less than one tenth part of the demand.

It follows, as a corollary, that great encouragement is given to the
pernicious habits of smuggling and smoking _papelitos_[125].

The persons employed in the manufacture of cigars are paid at the rate
of one _real vellon_ for fifty, which enables even a first-rate maker to
earn but fifteen pence a day. The best cigars are made entirely of
Habana tobacco, and are sold at the factory at the rate of thirty
_reales vellon_ a hundred, or about three farthings, English, each. The
second quality, composed of mixed tobaccoes, (that is, the interior of
Habana leaf, and the outside of Virginia) cost eighteen _reales vellon_
per hundred, or something under a half-penny each.

It may be seen, from this statement of the cost of cigars of the Royal
Manufactory, that smuggling cannot but prosper; since, at the Habana,
the very best cigars are sold for twelve dollars a thousand (or a trifle
above a half-penny each), whilst those of inferior quality may be had
for one fourth that price.

One of the most interesting sights of Malaga is the _Studio_ of Señor
Leon, the most renowned of the numerous modellers in clay, for which the
city is celebrated. His figures are admirably executed, as well as
strikingly characteristic; and, from first to last, are the work of
himself and family. His sons form them by hand of a very ductile clay;
he goes over such parts as require the finish of an experienced artist;
and they are then passed over to his daughters, who give them life by
their exquisite taste and skilful management of the pencil. The price is
high, the most simple figures costing four dollars (about seventeen
shillings) each. A group of nine equestrian figures that Señor Leon had
just executed for the _Infante_ Don Francisco de Paula, when I last
visited Malaga, he valued at nine thousand _reales vellon_, or ninety
four pounds!

The population of Malaga is estimated at sixty thousand souls. It was
formerly much greater, and, not many years since, considerably less,
having been reduced from 80,000 to 40,000, by repeated visitations of
the yellow fever, about the commencement of the present century. But the
city has been exempted from any very severe infliction of this scourge
for some years past, and the amount of its population, and,
consequently, its commercial prosperity, are rapidly increasing.

The place is celebrated for its manufactures of silk, linen, and hats;
but the quantity of these articles now made is trifling, the greater
portion of the inhabitants being employed in the more profitable
occupation of preparing wines and dried fruits for the foreign markets.

Upwards of 18,000 butts of wine--sweet and dry--are annually shipped
from Malaga, of which the chief part is taken by the Americans; but a
vast quantity of the latter, under the name of _Malaga Sherry_, finds
its way also into the cellars of "_the trade_" in England; whence, after
undergoing a simple metonymical process, it flows down the public throat
under its new name of "old brown," or, perchance, "curiously old dry
_Sherry_."

The cured fish of Malaga, though not so celebrated as in the gastronomic
days of ancient Rome, continues nevertheless to be a profitable branch
of its trade; anchovies being annually exported from thence, to the
amount of 20,000 quintals.

The export of olive oil is also very great, the average quantity being
about 10,000 _arrobas_ per annum. But, perhaps, the most profitable
article of produce shipped from Malaga is fruit--almonds, oranges, and
raisins; the preparation of which costs little, whilst they are always
sure to find a market and fetch a good price. The quantity exported is
enormous.

The harbour of Malaga is artificially formed by a stone pier, that,
protruding upwards of a quarter of a mile into the sea, screens it
perfectly from the prevailing easterly gales. In the opposite direction
it is nearly as effectually sheltered by the coast itself, which bends
for some distance to the S.W. So that, in fact, the anchorage is exposed
only to a due south wind, which, besides being one that seldom blows in
this part of the Mediterranean, cannot, from the proximity of the
African shore, occasion a heavy swell.

The depth of water inside the mole is not sufficient to allow line of
battle ships to lie there; and the port is otherwise inconvenient, from
the difficulty of "making" it, when the wind is blowing strong on shore.
But it is an excellent place of refuge for steamers, which need not
apprehend so much the danger of getting on a lee shore. A light-house
stands on the pier head, and the entrance of the harbour is guarded by
several batteries.

The society of Malaga is very changeable. During the constitutional
frenzy, the principal inhabitants were extremely liberal in their
entertainments, as well as in their ideas; were fond of bull-fights,
dancing, singing, _ponch y huevos_,[126] and even, because it was
English, of bottled porter. But a sad change afterwards came over them.
These festive meetings were, on the return of absolutism, deemed vulgar,
democratical, and _illegitimate_; and a more dull and gloomy city than
Malaga, after the star of liberty had set, can hardly be imagined. I
speak, of course, of the Spanish portion of the inhabitants only. The
foreign merchants of the place have at all times been, and still
continue to be, noted for hospitality.

Most of the leading men of the city have country houses, to which they
retire with their families during the heat of summer. One of the most
delightful of these _sin cuidados_,[127] is "_El Retiro de San Tomas_,"
situated at the foot of the mountain range that bounds the vale of
Malaga to the west, and distant about eight miles from the city. This
charming retreat is said to occupy the site of a villa built by one of
the Moslem sovereigns of Malaga, and destroyed by the Spaniards in one
of the devastating inroads made upon the fertile valley of the
Guadaljorce, in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella. The present edifice,
erected shortly after the kingdom of Granada was annexed to the crown of
Spain, was also a royal seat, and so continued to be until the time of
Philip V., who bestowed it upon an illegitimate son, then bishop of the
diocese; from whom, he being of the order of San Domingo, it received
its present name, _El Retiro de San Tomas_. At his death it went to the
Dominican convent, of which he was a member, but has since passed into
other hands, and, at the period of which I write, was occupied by Mr.
Roose, the consulgeneral of Prussia, who, in favour of a letter of
introduction with which I had been furnished, gave my friends and self a
most courteous reception.

The _Retiro_ is celebrated for the rare productions and luxuriance of
its gardens, the fragrance of its orange and citron groves, the
splendour of its _jets d'eau_, and the beauty of the scenery it commands
in all directions.

After seeing all the external sights of the place, we were introduced to
one of a much more novel character in Spain, viz., a large circle of
ladies, assembled round a steaming urn, in the fragrant enjoyment of a
"cup of tea." We needed but little pressing to join in the imbibition of
the refreshing beverage, at all times acceptable, but especially in this
country, where, excepting in an apothecary's shop, the cherished leaves
of the invaluable shrub are seldom to be seen. From the _salon_ we were
conducted to a secluded part of the grounds, where another agreeable
surprise awaited us, the peasantry of the neighbourhood, decked out in
their holiday suits, having been assembled there, to do honour to the
patron saint of the village, by belabouring the _gazon vert_ with an
interminable _fandango_.

The natives of the south of Spain are passionately fond of this dance,
which, like a Scotch reel, is usually kept up as long as fingers or
lungs can be found to mark time for the exhibitors. A few notes thrummed
on the guitar are quite sufficient to set a _fandango_ on foot; or, in
default of that instrument, a monotonous ditty chaunted by one of the
bystanders answers the purpose.

Sometimes, when the vocalist is a _gracioso_,[128] his part of the
performance is by far the most entertaining, as he will improvise
couplets on the various gymnasts, who, from time to time, relieve each
other at the laborious amusement, seasoning his verses plentifully with
Andalusian wit.

This dance is certainly of Oriental parentage. It is the same, in fact,
as that of the Ghawazies of Egypt, but clothed with _South of Europe_
decency. The balancing movements of the arms are precisely the same in
both, and the contortions of the body differ but slightly, though the
Spanish dancers have more regard for decorum than the tattoued-faced
jezebels of the East. In the Fandango also, the co-operation of the
feet is at times much more active, affording a wide field for the
display of personal activity, if offering but small opportunity for the
exhibition of grace. In the end it becomes a most fatiguing affair,
either to witness or take part in; and no one, without personal
experience, can form an idea of the serious engagement he enters into,
by inviting a fair _Malagueña_ to stand up to _un poquito de Fandango_;
the _Caballero_ exposing himself to much _badinage_ should he be forced
to give in before the lady.

The _Cachucha_ is a refined species of _Fandango_; but it is seldom
witnessed in Spain, except on the stage. It is doubtless a very graceful
dance, but, as performed in its native land, _tant soit peu libre_.



CHAPTER X.

     CHOICE OF ROUTES BETWEEN MALAGA AND GRANADA--ROAD TO VELEZ
     MALAGA--OBSERVATIONS ON THAT TOWN--CONTINUATION OF JOURNEY TO
     GRANADA--FERTILE VALLEY OF THE RIVER VELEZ--VENTA OF
     ALCAUCIN--ZAFARAYA MOUNTAINS--ALHAMA--DESCRIPTION OF THAT PLACE AND
     OF ITS THERMAL BATHS--CACIN--VENTA OF HUELMA--SALT-PANS OF LA
     MALA--FIRST VIEW OF GRANADA AND ITS VEGA--SITUATION OF THE
     CITY--ITS SALUBRITY--ANCIENT NAMES--BECOMES THE CAPITAL OF THE LAST
     MOSLEM KINGDOM OF SPAIN--FINE APPROACH TO THE MODERN CITY--IT IS
     THE MOST PURELY MOORISH TOWN IN SPAIN--CAUSE OF THE DECADENCE OF
     THE ARTS UNDER THE MOORS OF GRANADA, AND OF THE EASY CONQUEST OF
     THE CITY--DESTRUCTION OF THE MOORISH LITERATURE ON THE CAPTURE OF
     THE CITY BY THE SPANIARDS.


Several roads present themselves between Malaga and Granada, each (as
the Dover-packet skippers of the olden time were wont to say of their
vessels) possessing a peculiar claim to the traveller's preference.

One is good, but very long; another is short, but very bad; a third is
both circuitous and bad, but across a most interesting and picturesque
country. We made choice of this last, which proceeds by way of Velez,
Malaga, and Alhama.

Of the other two above-mentioned, the first is an excellent carriage
road, that is directed in the first instance upon Loxa, and will be
travelled over hereafter; the second (a mere mountain track) leaves the
coast at once, and proceeds straight to Alhama.

The distance from Malaga to Velez, although reckoned six leagues of
Spain, is only about eighteen English miles. For the greater part of the
way, the road is conducted along the Mediterranean shore; sometimes
ascending and crossing the low, rocky promontories by which the coast is
indented, but seldom stretching inland more than a quarter of a mile. It
is tolerably well kept, and is at all seasons passable for carriages.

The coast is rugged, and thickly set with towers and _casa
fuertes_,[129] but is marked by no picturesque features until arrived
within a short distance of Velez, when the road, turning away from the
sea-shore, enters a flat and verdant valley, wherein stands the old
town, shrouded in groves of orange and lemon trees, and backed by hills,
clad to their summits with vines. A fine stream, bearing the same name
as the town, serpentines through the valley, fertilizing it by a
deposit of rich soil, swept from the sides of the Sierras of Loxa and
Alhama. A kind of delta has thus been formed at the river's mouth,
stretching some way into the sea; so that Velez, which probably, in
former days, stood upon or near the coast, is now upwards of three miles
from it.

The town is slightly elevated above and on the left bank of the stream,
and is commanded by the neighbouring hills. The streets are wide, clean,
and well paved; but the thriving commerce, and abundant market,
naturally looked for in a place once so noted for the productiveness of
its orchards and extent of its export trade, are no longer to be seen;
and the number of inhabitants has either decreased very rapidly, or has
been greatly exaggerated of late years, when stated to amount to twelve
thousand souls.

There can be little doubt but that Velez is the town of Menoba,
mentioned both by Pliny and in the Itinerary of Antonius, though there
is a slight discrepancy in the two accounts; for, whilst both place
Menoba to the eastward of Malaca, the latter states the distance between
the two places to be only twelve Roman miles, and the former says it is
on a _river_. Now, there is no stream that can be called a "river"
between the two towns, excepting that of Velez itself, and it is full
eighteen _Roman_ miles from Malaga.

In the days of the Moslems, Velez was a place of considerable strength,
as well as commercial importance, and only fell into the hands of the
Spaniards in the spring of the same year that the "catholic kings"
possessed themselves of Malaga, A.D., 1487.

The investment of the fortress was attended with much risk to the army
of Ferdinand, which at one period of the siege was cut off from its
communications with the interior. The king himself also--for he
personally directed the operations against the beleaguered
city--incurred great danger in repulsing an attempt made by the Moors to
relieve the place; his life having been saved only by the devotedness of
his attendants. The armorial bearings of the town commemorate this
event.

We had been informed that the only thing for which Velez Malaga is at
the present day celebrated, is its breed of _fleas_; and certainly we
could not in this instance say, "_nunquam ad liquidum fama perducitur_;"
for never in my life--and one retains a lively recollection of these
matters--did I see a more active, nor feed a more insatiable race than
that which is perpetuated in the floors, walls, and bedding, of the
_Venta Nueva_. The camphor bags, with which, at the recommendation of
our Malaga friends, we had come provided, were thrown away as useless.

Nothing loth, we started for Alhama with the earliest day. The road
ascends very gradually along a fine, open, and highly cultivated valley,
all the way to the venta of Vinuela, distant about eight miles from
Velez. For the first few miles the road is good, but afterwards it is so
cut across by water channels as to offer serious impediments to quick
travelling; for these aqueducts are formed by high banks, composed of
mud and fascines, which, though bridged across and kept in good repair
during the winter season, when the mountain torrents come down with
great force, yet in summer are suffered to get out of order, and must,
therefore, be scrambled over as the traveller best can.

The valley is admirably irrigated, however, from other sources, and the
crops it produces are remarkably fine and very various. They consist of
fruits and vegetables of all sorts, maize, corn, and sugar-canes. On the
right hand, but at some distance, rises the lofty _Sierra de Tejeda_; on
the left are visible the rugged peaks of the mountains of Antequera;
whilst in front, the road continues to be directed towards the elevated
passes of Zafaraya, which serrate the great mountain-chain of Alhama.

About four miles beyond the venta of Vinuela--that is, twelve miles from
Velez, and half way between it and Alhama--is the venta of
Alcaucin.[130] Beyond this the ascent becomes much steeper, and the
road, reaching the summit of the mountain range, enters a narrow and
difficult pass, that soon shuts out the view of the sea. In exchange,
however, it opens to the north, into a lovely and singularly secluded
valley, which is walled in on all sides by barren and rugged tors, and
carpeted with the richest vegetation; and, proceeding a short distance
onwards, we were yet further gratified by obtaining an imposing view of
the famed _Sierra Nevada_.

The road from hence is tolerably good nearly all the way to Alhama,
which is not seen until one arrives immediately _over_ it. The descent
is abrupt and bad.

Alhama stands on the brink of a stupendous _tajo_, or fissure, through
which the river _Marchan_ forces its way towards the great plain of
Granada. Encompassed on all sides by wild, impracticable sierras, it
commands the only tolerable road that, for the distance of nearly forty
miles, presents itself to traverse the lofty mountain spine, which
stretches east and west, along the Mediterranean shore; that is to say,
the portion of this chain which extends between the pass of
Alfarnate--where the great road from Malaga to Loja crosses it; and the
sources of the river Durcal--round which winds the road from Almuñecar
to Granada.

From this circumstance, the Moors ever regarded this mountain fortress
as a place of first-rate importance, calling it, indeed, the key of
Granada; and it was not without reason they did so, since the fall,
first of Malaga, and then of their beloved city itself, was mainly
attributable to the capture of this place, by Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon,
who took it by surprise, A.D., 1481.

Even in the present day, it is a formidable port; but artillery has now
been brought to such perfection, and is made to traverse such difficult
country, that its defenders would soon be buried beneath its ruins.

Alhama seems to occupy the site of the Roman town of Artigi, mentioned
by Pliny as one of the cities lying inland between the upper
Guadalquivír and the Mediterranean Sea. But no vestiges of walls of
greater antiquity than the time of the Moors are any where visible. Its
present name is evidently derived from the Arabic, _Al Hamman_ (the
Bath).

Besides the fame enjoyed by Alhama, from its bygone strength and
strategical importance--its numerous sieges and obstinate defences--the
place is in high repute from the curative properties of its thermal
springs; and it derives yet further celebrity from the various laurel
wreaths twined round it by the poets and romancers of all ages. The
translation of one of its plaintive legends has not been thought
unworthy even of the pen of Byron.[131]

Divest Alhama, however, of its historical recollections, of its hot
water, its poetry, and romance, and it is one of the dullest, dirtiest,
and most sultry towns of southern Spain. The streets are narrow, houses
poor, and churches and convents dilapidated.

It is supplied with water by means of an aqueduct, and the stream is
sufficiently abundant to keep it clean and sweet, but for some filthy
dyers; who first turn it to their own purpose, and then into the public
streets. Although so little ground in the vicinity of Alhama is
susceptible of cultivation, and the place contains but a few
inconsiderable manufactories of woollen clothes, yet the population is
said to amount to 10,000 souls. I have great doubts, however, whether it
would not be over-rated at half that number.

In the bottom of the fissure--which is 600 feet below the town--are
numerous picturesque water-mills; and, viewed from thence, Alhama
furnishes an excellent subject for the painter: The situation of the
crumbling old fortress is romantic; the sides of the hills rising behind
it are clad with vines, and their summits clothed with forest trees;
whilst beyond are seen the distant peaks of the Zafaraya passes.

The hot springs are about a mile from the town, on the left of the road
leading to Granada. The source which supplies the baths is very copious,
and its heat is about 110° of Fahrenheit. The water contains various
salts and a considerable quantity of sulphur, smells rather offensively,
and certainly does _not_ taste like chicken-broth, as some people
maintain that of Wiesbaden does; though, for my own part, I confess I
never could discover any chicken flavour in the scalding liquid of the
fashionable _koch brunnen_, unless it was of the eggs, from which, after
three weeks' incubation, the chickens had not been released.

The mineral water of Alhama has been found very efficacious in obstinate
cases of rheumatism, dyspepsia, and hypochondriasis, and is considered
infallible in the cure of gun-shot wounds. Its virtues were doubtless
known to the Romans; indeed, one of the baths is said (and appears) to
be, the work of that people. But the vaulted building which now encloses
the principal source is evidently of Moorish workmanship. The reservoir,
or bath, that first receives the beneficent stream, is built at the foot
of a scarped rock, from a narrow crevice in the face of which the
streaming water gushes, whilst the base of the same rock is washed by
the icy-cold current of the Marchan.

After visiting the baths, we returned to Alhama to pass the night--to
sleep I cannot say, since not an eye could any one of the party close,
during the half dozen tedious hours that, stretched on our cloaks,
(having very soon been driven from the wool-stuffed mattresses afforded
by the house) we lay alternately invoking Morpheus and Phoebus, and
exclaiming, "Woe is me, Alhama!"

We left the wretched _venta_ as soon as the light was sufficient to
enable us to follow the winding road down the steep side of the
mountain, and, reaching once more the bed of the Marchan, crossed to its
right bank, and took the road to Granada, by way of La Mala.

In about two hours we passed within gunshot of the village of Cacin,
leaving it on our left; and then, fording a stream of the same name
which runs towards the village, proceeded, by a villanously stony road,
over a very broken, but not mountainous country, to the solitary venta
of Huelma, which, though distant only about fifteen miles from Alhama,
took us four hours and a half to reach.

We were glad, and at the same time surprised, to find that the house,
miserable as its exterior bespoke it, could furnish materials for a
human breakfast, as well as a feed of barley for our famished horses; an
invigorator which the _mozo_ of the posada at Alhama had certainly
forgotten to give the poor animals at cock-crow, according to his
plighted word.

From the venta of Huelma to La Mala is six miles of very bad road, and
very uninteresting country. La Mala contains a royal salt manufactory,
and appears to be a thriving village. The water from which the salt is
extracted is pumped up from wells sunk in all directions round the
place, and is conducted by pipes and channels into extensive pans,
where, exposed to the action of the sun and air, the process of
evaporation is soon completed.

All the hills in the vicinity contain so much salt, that even the little
stream which runs through the village, and supplies its inhabitants with
this necessary of life, is strongly impregnated with it, and it is
difficult to procure drinkable water any where in the neighbourhood.

About two miles beyond La Mala (the road having reached the summit of a
hill of some height), the far-famed city, and its glorious _vega_--which
we had all the morning been looking for on gaining each succeeding
eminence--at length burst upon our impatient sight. It is a magnificent
view; though the city is at too great a distance (full seven miles) to
be a striking object in a prospect of such vast extent; and the
unvarying olive-green tint of the plain, and the total want of
(perceptible) water, give a sameness to the scene that somewhat
disappointed us. The mountains, too, that rise to the northward of the
Genil, dividing that river from the Guadalquiver, appeared tamely
outlined, after those we had so lately traversed.

On a nearer approach, however, Granada has an imposing appearance. Its
elevated citadels, hanging gardens, and wooded hills, form a fine
background to the shining city; and the splendid Sierra Nevada, which is
now again seen on the right, makes the picture almost perfect.

The descent is very gradual towards Gavia el Grande, which stands on the
edge of the plain--the road from thence to Granada being on a perfect
level. The luxuriance of the vegetation exceeds any thing I ever beheld.
The wheat, though not yet ready for the sickle, was upwards of seven
feet high, and the crops of flax, clover, &c. were gigantic in
proportion.

The whole plain, as we rode along, appeared to be one vast cultivated
field; and the want of water we had complained of, in looking down upon
the vega, was readily accounted for on observing the innumerable
irrigating channels into which the Genil and its various affluents are
directed, and in the distribution of which, the most rigid frugality is
perceptible. The plain is all watered "by the foot," as practised in the
East.

The city of Granada is situated at the eastern extremity of the
celebrated _vega_, where the golden Darro and the crystal Genil--long
pent in amongst the tortuous ravines of the _Sierra Nevada_--first pour
their fertilizing streams of melted snow upon the verdant plain.

The greater part of the city stands within the fork of the two rivers,
sheltered to the southward and eastward by the _Cerro de Santa Elena_--a
rugged hill, crowned by the lofty towers of the Alhambra--and connected
by several bridges with the other portion of the city, which extends
along the right bank of the Darro. This quarter, or _Barrio_, still
retains its ancient Moorish appellation, _Albaycin_, and is screened to
the north by a steep ridge, once crowned by another formidable castle,
but of which the ruined foundations alone remain to attest its strength
and magnitude.

Granada, whilst thus sheltered on three sides from the piercing blasts
that in winter sweep over the snowy summits of the _Sierra Nevada_, is
yet sufficiently elevated to command an extensive view over the fertile
_vega_, stretching far away to the west, and to receive the refreshing
breezes wafted from its perfumed orange groves. The climate,
consequently, is at all seasons delightful, and the shade of its
ever-verdant groves, and freshness of its inexhaustible springs, might
well be regretted by the sensual Moslems, driven from it to seek a
shelter on the parched shores of Africa.

The coins, monuments, inscriptions, and statues which have been
discovered here, leave no doubt that the Roman city of _Illiberris_
stood upon or near the site of the present city; though some antiquaries
have imagined they discovered in the name of the Sierra _Elvira_ that of
the ancient city.

The word Elvira, however, is merely a corruption of the Arabic words _Al
Beyrah_--the unprofitable--which is quite the character of the droughty
arid mountain in question; and as not a vestige of a town is to be met
with in its vicinity, it may fairly be concluded that so unlikely a site
was never selected for one.

Pliny calls the city "_Iliberi, which is also Liberini_;" the latter
name being apparently formed from that which it bore previously to the
arrival of the Romans in the country, namely, Liberia, a city founded,
according to the Spanish chronologists, 2000 years before the Christian
era. By the Goths the name was changed to Eliberi, as proved by numerous
coins of that people, yet extant. The last of these bears the date A.D.,
636, from which it may be inferred that the place had fallen to decay
prior to the irruption of the Saracens; particularly as little notice is
taken of it in the early annals of the Moors of Spain, under its new
name of Granada.

Florez conjectures--and I think not unreasonably--that the name Granada
may be derived from the Arabic words _Garb_, west; and _nata_, the name
of a mountain overlooking the city of Damascus, from whence came the
band of Arabs that conquered Eliberi. Thus, we may suppose, that on
first discovering it from the Sierra of Alhama, they designated it, from
a resemblance to the bright city and its splendid vale in their native
land, the western Nata.

The surpassing beauty of the wooded eminences overhanging the Darro and
Genil, not less than the delightful temperature and excessive fertility
of the outstretched _vega_, could not fail to have soon induced many of
such earthly paradise-seekers as the Mohammedans to settle there; and
doubtless, Granada, at an early date after the Saracenic conquest, again
became a large and populous city; though not until the power of the
crescent was on the wane; in fact, not until Cordoba and Valencia had
fallen to the Christians, and Seville was threatened with destruction,
did she assume a proud pre-eminence, by becoming the capital of the
diminished, though scarcely weakened, dominions of Mohammedan Spain.

The first great augmentation the city had received was occasioned by the
capture of the towns of Alhambra and Baeza, by Ferdinand III, (A.D.
1224) the inhabitants of which, driven to the southern side of the
Guadalquivír, sought shelter behind the rugged mountains of Jaen,
establishing themselves at Granada. The exiles of the former town there
built a fortress, overhanging the left bank of the Darro, to which they
gave the name of their regretted home; whilst those of the latter
erected an equally formidable citadel on the opposite side of the river,
which was called after them Al Bayzin, and eventually gave its name to
the large and populous district of the city that, in the course of a few
years, was clustered round its base.

The city, thus strengthened and augmented, was shortly afterwards (A.D.
1236) selected as the capital of a new kingdom, founded by Mohammed Abou
Said, or, as from the name of his family he is generally called,
Mohammed Alhamar;[132] and the throne continued in the family of that
prince until A.D. 1492, when Ferdinand and Isabella planted the cross
upon the towers of the Alhambra; a period of upwards of two centuries
and a half.

The new kingdom erected by Mohammed Alhamar might have presented as
impassable a barrier to the Christian arms as Turkey has offered, from
the conquest of Constantinople to the present day, had not anarchy and
dissension pervaded the other provinces of the Spanish peninsula, yet
subject to the Moslems. But, jealous of each other, and differing in
their views, they fell successively before the two enterprising
sovereigns who, at that period, occupied the thrones of Castile and
Aragon. Thus Cordoba, which had already ceded the pre-eminence to
Seville, fell, unaided, into the hands of the Castillian in the very
year that Granada became the capital of a formidable Mohammedan kingdom;
and Valencia, only two years later, was also finally added to the
conquests of the Christians. Even the city of Jaen, though fiercely
contested for by Mohammed Alhamar, was at last ceded by treaty to his
better-supported antagonist, _San Fernando_, who then, with consummate
policy, forming an alliance with the king of Granada, induced him to
assist in the subjugation of Seville.

This important city, which, a short time previously, had adopted a
Republican form of government, and, with democratic jealousy, had kept
aloof whilst the Christians were crippling the growing power of the
neighbouring kingdom of Granada, now reaped the fruits of its
short-sighted policy; being obliged, after a short but obstinate
struggle, to bend the neck to the Castillian yoke.

Murcia on one side, and Algarbe on the other, were soon afterwards
added to the conquests of the allied sovereigns of Castile and Aragon.
So that, before the first monarch of Granada had closed his reign, all
the Mohammedan states and cities, which had repudiated his alliance,
fell in detail to the Christian arms.

The kingdom of Mohammed Alhamar, which thenceforth had to contend
single-handed against the Christians, was respectable in size, though
but a fragment of the vast dominions of the Caliphs of the West. It
extended far beyond the limits of the modern kingdom of Granada, and
comprised all the mountainous portions of those of Jaen, Cordoba,
Seville, and Murcia; thus stretching along the sea-shore from Cape
Trafalgar to Cape de Gatte, and forming a compact and very defensible
territory.

Its population, too, was great beyond all proportion to its extent; the
inhabitants of the various cities captured by the Christians having, by
an inconceivable act of barbarity and impolicy, been driven from their
homes to seek shelter within the mountain-girt kingdom of Granada. So
enormous, indeed, is the amount of population said to have been, that
the Capital alone could furnish an army of 50,000 fighting men.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Moors, thus concentrated,
should have been able to maintain their independence for so extended a
period; especially, when we consider the want of unanimity that
prevailed amongst the Christian princes, from the death of St. Ferdinand
until the union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon, in the persons of
Ferdinand V. and Isabella.

The city still covers a considerable extent of ground, though certainly
far less than it must have occupied when swarming with half a million
Mohammedans. The approach to it, on the Malaga side, is particularly
fine; a handsome stone bridge (built by the French during their
occupation of the province in the "war of independence") spans the
sparkling Genil--the _Singilis_ of the Romans. Immediately beyond this
bridge rise crenated walls, and terraced gardens, domes, minarets, and
shining steeples, reaching to the base of the dark rocks that bear the
yet darker towers of the proud Alhambra.

The precincts of the city gained, every thing bears the marks of Moslem
hands. The narrow streets and gushing fountains, the lofty, flat-roofed
houses, and heavy projecting balconies, are all quite oriental; whilst,
here and there, the entrance of some old mosque, or ruined bath, bears,
in its horse-shoe arch, the peculiar stamp of the Morisco.

Granada may certainly lay claim to the title of the _most Moorish_ city
of Spain. Some few, whose glories had passed away ere it rose to
distinction, may have surpassed it in wealth, extent, and even
population; and others were doubtless more distinguished for the
cultivation of those arts and sciences which were cherished with such
peculiar care by the Arabian conquerors of Spain. But, when the Moslem
rule was drawing towards its close, and Granada had to contend alone
with the Christians for existence, her monarchs, in their distress,
naturally turned for help to their uncivilized brethren of Mauritania;
and, as each fresh graft was taken from the original savage stock, the
character of the people of Granada became more decidedly Moorish; until,
at last, from the frequency of these calls, they came to differ but
little from the wild nomad tribes, whose assistance they had invoked.

At its commencement, however, the new kingdom founded on the ruins of
Cordoba, Seville, and Valencia, gave promise of reviving the brilliant
days of the early Mohammedans--its sovereigns of rivalling the fame of
the Abdalrahmans and Almanzors. The countless minarets of the renovated
city selected for its capital resounded with the _Muezzeem's_ cries,
awakening the dozing fanaticism of "the faithful;" and the bright
watch-tower[133] of its proud Alhambra served as a beacon to point out
where what remained of wealth and learning, in the wreck of Musa's
mighty empire, would find a safe place of refuge. But the crimes which
soon soiled the throne of Alhamar, the fierce contentions of the Princes
of the Royal house, and the interminable civil wars to which their
pretentions led, so exhausted Granada's strength, that, stripped one by
one of her bulwarks, cut off from external succour, and torn by
intestine dissension, she at length fell an easy prey to her persevering
enemies; and, at her fall, expired the flickering light of Mohammedan
civilization;--a civilization, which, considering the withering tendency
of the Arabian impostor's scheme of religion, furnishes much greater
cause for surprise, than even the rapid propagation and wide spread of
the pernicious creed itself.

The decadence of the arts kept pace with that in the manners of the
inhabitants of this fair region;--both being natural consequences of the
internal struggles by which it was agitated. The olive tree could not
thrive in soil moistened only with the blood of its cultivators.

During this period of progressive deterioration were erected most of the
Moslem buildings, whose remains are yet scattered throughout the city;
and, whilst in some points of character these monuments exhibit a marked
difference from the Arabian structures of the East, they are more purely
_Moorish_ than any other Saracenic edifices to be met with in Spain,
and are infinitely superior, in every respect, to such as were erected
in Barbary at a yet more recent date.

The literature of the Moors of Spain would doubtless have exhibited a
similar decadence and peculiarity of character; but on these points we
have not the means of judging, the fanatic destroyer of the celebrated
library of the Ptolemies having, seven centuries afterwards, found an
unworthy imitator in Cardinal Ximenes--at whose instigation every scrap
of Mohammedan literature found within the captured city of Granada was,
with intolerant fury, committed to the flames.



CHAPTER XI.

     THE ALHAMBRA AND GENERALIFE--OTHER RELIQUES OF THE MOORS CONTAINED
     WITHIN THE CITY--THE CATHEDRAL OF GRANADA--CHAPEL OF THE CATHOLIC
     KINGS--ANTIQUITY OF THE CHURCH OF ELIBERI--TOMB OF GONZALVO DE
     CORDOBA--CHURCHES OF SAN JUAN DE DIOS AND SAN DOMINGO--CARTHUSIAN
     CONVENT--HERMITA DE SAN ANTON.


The famed Alhambra[134] was the first object to which we bent our steps,
after depositing our effects at the _Fonda del Comercio_, and sending
our horses to the _Posada de las Tablas_. It is perched on the summit of
a steep but narrow ridge, which, falling precipitously to the north,
along the left bank of the Darro, terminates in a rugged point,
overhanging the city, to the west; and, as I have already noticed, is
supposed to have been erected by the exiled inhabitants of a town of the
same name in La Mancha, captured by _San Fernando_ about the year of our
Lord 1224.

The walls of the fortress follow the various sinuosities of the scarped
cliffs that bound the rocky ledge on three sides, and enclose a plateau,
770 yards in length, and 200 wide in its greatest breadth. But the form
of the enceinte is very irregular, and its ground plan bears a strong
resemblance to the elongated leaf of the prickly pear; the numerous
towers studding the walls of the Moorish stronghold having all the
appearance of the _inattackable_ fruit that grows round the edge of the
Spanish vegetable monster. The principal entrance is by the gate of
judgment, situated in one of the towers on the southern front of the
fortress. The approach to this gate is by a wide and well kept carriage
road, which, shadowed over by luxuriant forest trees, winds up a narrow
ravine, that, on this side, divides the Alhambra hill from another steep
mound, which projects, in like manner, towards the city, and is occupied
by the ruins of other old Moorish fortifications, called _Las Torres
bermejas_. Both hills form part of the _Cerro de Santa Elena_.

On gaining the interior of the fortress, the first object that catches
the eye, standing towards the centre of the plateau, and looking
somewhat contemptuously down upon its Moorish rival, is the gorgeous
palace of the Emperor Charles V. It is a large quadrangular building,
enclosing a spacious circular court, and its four fronts, constructed
entirely of cut stone, have a handsome appearance, albeit, the
heterogeneous mixture of the orders of architecture they exhibit, is of
rather questionable taste.

Though of so much more recent date than the palace of the Moorish kings,
the stately pile of Spain's mighty monarch seems doomed, like the throne
of his successors, to fall to the ground e'en sooner than the tottering
fabric of Mohammedanism itself. Indeed it is even now a mere shell, and
the few remaining bolts and bars that hold together its shattered walls
will, I have no doubt, shortly find their way to the same furnace that
has already converted the bronze rings and ornaments with which it was
formerly embellished, into the more useful form of _maravedis_.[135]

The celebrated palace of the Moslem princes, to which our conductor now
led the way, was commenced by Mohammed Al Fakir, son of Mohammed Abou
Said, the founder of the kingdom of Granada, A.D. 1275. It rests against
the north wall of the fortress, and its low and irregular brick walls,
overshadowed by the stone palace of the Spanish kings on one side, and
by the huge tower of Comares on another, have a mean and very
unpromising appearance. It looks like the dilapidated stables and
_remises_ attached to a French chateau of the "old school," the walls of
which only have withstood the levelling system of the revolution.

This unpretending exterior being common to all Moorish buildings, did
not occasion disappointment. Not so, however, the interior; of which,
for I was a young traveller then, I had conceived a much more exalted
idea. Indeed, the disappointment was general, for all of us had expected
to see, if not a palace on a grand scale and of magnificent proportions,
one, at all events, containing suites of courts and apartments, which,
on the score of costliness and luxury, would not cede the palm to any
erected even in these days of refinement and extravagance. When,
therefore, after following our guide through several long dirty
passages, we were ushered into a small quadrangular court, laid out like
a Dutch garden, but, unlike it, overgrown with sunflowers, larkspurs,
and marigolds, so little idea had we of being within the precincts of
the royal apartments, that my companions were about to pass on with
eager haste, until I called out, "Do stop a moment to look at this, it
is so _pretty_." "_Este es el patio de los Leones,_"[136] said our
cicerone, describing a wide circle with his stick, to draw our attention
to the light and elegant colonnade that encompassed us, adding, after a
short but effective pause, and pointing at the same time to a basin in
the centre of the court, supported on the backs of twelve nondescript
animals which were half concealed in the flowery jungle, "and those are
the _lions_, celebrated in every part of the known world, which have
given the name to this terrestrial paradise!" This grandiloquent burst
was evidently occasioned by our apparent _insousiance_. We stood
corrected, but not the less disappointed.

On paper--in type as well as in pencil--the Alhambra has generally been
represented in too glowing colours. In defence of the painter it may be
said that he labours under a peculiar disadvantage, as far as _truth_ is
concerned; for, whilst the utmost effort of his art will never enable
him to do justice to the lovely tints of nature, he cannot, with all his
skill, avoid conveying too favourable an idea of works of art,
especially in delineating architectural subjects. It follows, that, in
drawings of the building now before us, the elaborately ornamented
walls, the delicately wrought arcades, the spouting lions, the flowery
parterres, every thing, in fact, connected with it, appears fresh,
perfect, and beautiful; the dirt, weeds, cobwebs, and scribbling that
disfigure the _reality_, being omitted as unnecessary adjuncts to the
_picture_; and the palace is thus represented to us (embellished a
little, perhaps, according to the artist's fancy) rather such as it _may
have been_ in the days of the Moors, than what it _is_ at the present
time;--this leads to one source of disappointment. On the other hand,
whilst travellers have given the dimensions of the various courts and
apartments with tolerable accuracy, they certainly have misapplied their
epithets in describing them. The _reader_ is apt, therefore, to lose
sight of the scale in picturing to himself these gorgeous halls, which
the _spectator_, at the first glance, _sees_ are neither grand nor
magnificent.

We, at all events, having, from what we had previously read and seen,
formed most erroneous conceptions, both as to the size of the building,
and of its state of preservation, made the circuit of, and quitted the
too celebrated palace, disappointed with every thing within its walls.

The false impression once removed, however, and a few days given to
mourn over the sad destruction of our long cherished fancies, we again
ascended the wall-girt hill; and, having now brought our visual rays to
bear at a proper focus, and allowed greater scope to the imagination--in
other words, changing the adjectives grand and magnificent for tasteful
and elaborate, and, in some matters, suffering fancy to supply the place
of reality--we received much greater pleasure from our second visit to
the crumbling pile; a gratification that became less alloyed at each
succeeding visit.

I should here observe that, at the period of which I write, A.D. 1822,
the Alhambra, like every thing else in Spain at that epoch, was in a
deplorable state of dilapidation. No steps had yet been taken to repair
the damage done by the French on evacuating the fortress ten years
previously; and the Royal Palace, rent and shaken by the same explosions
that had thrown down the towers of the Moorish stronghold, was still
strewed with ruins, partially unroofed, and exposed to the destructive
influence of wind and rain. That it is yet standing we have to thank
General Sebastiani, who was governor of the province during a
considerable part of the late war, and bestowed great pains upon its
preservation. Perhaps, indeed, but for his interference, as well as the
repairs he caused to be executed, this _chef d'oeuvre_ of Moorish art
would have shared the fate of the walls of the fortress.

I am happy, for the sake of future travellers, to be able to add that,
on visiting Granada many years after, I found the Alhambra in a much
improved state, notwithstanding that it had in the meanwhile suffered
severely from the shock of an earthquake. The government seemed at
length to have decided that the Royal Palace was worthy of preservation,
though the work of infidels. An officer of rank had accordingly been
appointed to its guardianship, whose permission it was requisite to
obtain ere the stranger could enter its gates; and an old woman was
lodged therein as his deputy, to pocket the fees and do the honours.

Under the watchful eye and ever busy broom of this vigilant personage,
the place is now kept in excellent "_inspection order_." The white
marble pillars of its corridors have, under the influence of soap and
water and a scrubbing brush, been cleansed of the names, doggrel verses,
and maudlin sentiment, with which, from time immemorial, travellers have
thought proper to disfigure them; the rubbish of another description
that concealed its mosaic pavements has been removed; the weeds with
which its courts were overgrown are eradicated; and, in the words of an
Arabian poet, "The spider is no longer the chamberlain at the gate of
Koshrew."

Still, however, even in its improved condition, the future visitor must
not go prepared to walk through stately courts and suites of magnificent
apartments, else, like me, will he be sadly disappointed. The novelty in
the style of architecture, the delicacy and variety of its enrichments,
the tasteful patterns of its tesselated floors, and the laboured
workmanship of its vaulted ceilings, constitute its chief merits, and
are, I willingly admit, masterpieces of their respective kinds.

These have been so well and minutely described in Murphy's work on the
Moorish antiquities of Spain, that I shall confine my observations on
the Royal Palace to the state in which I found it at the period of my
last visit, in the autumn of 1833.

The female Cicero who, as aforesaid, was then charged with the
exhibition of "the Lions," happened to be one of those mechanical,
dogmatical persons, who not only dislike, above all things, to leave the
beaten track, but will insist upon regulating all tastes by their own.
Finding, therefore, that she had laid down a "grand tour" of the
premises from which nothing could persuade her to deviate, and had
determined in her own mind the precise number of minutes that should be
devoted to the admiration of each object, we requested she would save
herself further trouble, and us annoyance, by leaving us to the guidance
of _Mateo Ximenes_ (a name rendered classic by the pen of Washington
Irving), who, as a kind of Director General of English travellers in
Granada, had attached himself to us in the capacity of _fac totum_.

Mateo being now, from the emoluments of his self-created appointment,
one of the inhabitants _de mas tomo_[137] of the Alhambra; from his
eloquent dissertations and learned disquisitions, an acknowledged
dilettante and antiquary; and, as the "Minister of Grace and Justice"
of most visitors, a person of considerable influence with the deputy
governor of the palace, our conductress, on payment of certain dues,
made not the least scruple of acceding to our proposal, giving Mateo,
nevertheless, strict injunctions to have us constantly in sight, and to
keep our hands from picking and stealing.

For our future visits we obtained a written permission from the
commandant to make sketches, in virtue of which we were enabled to
wander about wherever and as long as we pleased; a privilege which I
would recommend all travellers to obtain immediately on their arrival at
Granada, for, besides that this permit saves both trouble and expense,
they will find no more delightful retreat during the heat of the day,
than within the shaded courts and cool and airy halls of the Moorish
palace.

The _Patio de la Alberca_, to which, following the Itinerary laid down
by the _Tia Manuela_, I will first conduct my readers, is an oblong
court, ornamented at the two ends with light colonnades, and having a
long pool of water, or tank (_Al Borkat_, whence its name is derived),
in the centre. Above, but a little retired from the northern arcade, the
huge square tower of Comares rises to the height of 142 feet; and in it,
on the level of and communicating with the court, is the grand hall of
audience of the ambassador's. This, however, being the principal
show-room of the palace, I will, following the discreet example of our
guide, keep in reserve, and proceed to the Hall of the Baths, into which
a passage leads from the eastern side of the _Patio de la Alberca_.

Art seems to have exhausted itself in the embellishment and fitting up
of this luxurious establishment. Its floors are laid with a mosaic of
porcelain. Its walls, faced also with glazed tiles to a certain height,
are finished upwards with the most elaborate moresques, moulded in
stucco to correspond with the basement. The roof of the royal bathing
apartment is arched with solid blocks of stone, bidding defiance to the
sun's rays, and is pierced with numerous starry apertures, admitting
ventilation. The basins wherein the royal couple performed their
ablutions are of white marble, and placed in separate alcoves, at the
north end of the principal saloon. The windows open upon a garden
without the palace walls, conveying perfumed breezes from its fragrant
shrubs and orange trees to the epicurean bathers within.

Another apartment, communicating with the saloon of the royal baths, is
called a _concert_ room. Music room would, perhaps, be a more correct
name for it, since I think it may be fairly doubted whether the Arabs
ever cultivated music to such an extent as to warrant our using the
term _concert_ in speaking of it. Numerous Arabic ballads, some of
considerable merit, have, it is true, been handed down to the present
generation, and are yet chaunted by public singers in the east, but
without the slightest attempt to attune either their voices or the
instruments on which they sometimes strike an accompaniment.

The natives of Morocco, on the other hand, who may be considered as the
"nearest of kin" to the Moors of Spain, have not the slightest notion of
_music_. A diabolical noise, made by a _zambomba_[138] and a reed pipe,
which not even a civilized dog can hear without howling, is the only
attempt at a _concert_ that I ever knew them to be guilty of executing.
This discordant clamour appears, nevertheless, to afford them unalloyed
satisfaction.

The court of the Lions, which, proceeding from the baths, is entered on
its north side, is a rectangular peristyle, 100 feet long, (east and
west) and 50 wide. The pillars are of white marble, extremely light and
beautiful, and they support a fantastic but elegant series of arches,
the superstructure of which is covered with an elaborate fretwork of
stuccoed mouldings, representing moresques, and flowers, interspersed
with sentences from the Koran, &c.

The pillars, I should observe, are perfectly plain; and, though
methodically arranged, yet, from being disposed in corresponding groups
of two, three, and four, produce a very bizarre effect.

In the centre of the court is a handsome fountain. The basin, into which
the water rises, is of oriental alabaster, as are also the twelve
animals that support it on their backs, and which, by some strange
zoological blunder, have been called _lions_, for panthers would be more
proper. The reservoir that receives the stream they disgorge is of black
marble.

It is not improbable that, on the decadence of Cordoba, this fountain
was brought from the famous palace of Zehra, built by the Kaliph
Abdalrahman III. as a country retreat for his favourite sultana; which,
embellished, according to common report, with the works of Grecian
artists, is said to have contained numerous sculptured animals; and,
amongst others, some golden (meaning probably gilt) lions, that spouted
water into a basin of alabaster, are particularly mentioned by Moorish
historians.

On the north side of the Court of the Lions is the Hall of the Two
Sisters; so called from two large slabs of delicately white marble that
occupy the centre of its floor. This apartment looks upon the fountain
in the centre of the court, and directly facing it, on the south side,
is the Hall of the Abencerrages, to which the legend of the cruel
massacre of the chieftains of that noble race has given a mournful
interest. If the tale be true, (and from the distracted state of Granada
under its two last kings there is every reason to believe it is) there
can be little reason to doubt that the stains, yet visible in the white
marble pavement, were occasioned by the blood of Boabdil's unfortunate
victims.

On the same side the Court of the Lions as the Hall of the Abencerrages
is a small apartment, wherein, in former days, the Moslem sovereigns
sought the _Kiblah_,[139] and made their private prostrations. It was
the burial place of Ishmael Farady, fifth king of Granada, one of the
most enterprising monarchs that occupied the throne, but whose
voluptuous excesses led to his assassination, A.D. 1322.

The Hall of Judgment is situated at the upper end of the court, and at
the eastern extremity of the palace.

All these apartments are almost equally beautiful, though differing from
each other in size, shape, and every part of their elaborate
decorations. If any one can claim pre-eminence over the others, it is
the Hall of the Two Sisters, the ceiling of which is composed of
delicate stalactites in stucco, and the colouring and gilding are
perhaps fresher and more gaudy. The windows in the back, or north, wall
of this apartment look upon the garden of Lindaraja, which is now laid
out with some little taste and care.

From this garden, or, by retracing our steps through the baths, we gain
a small and exquisitely finished apartment, upon which the Spaniards
have bestowed the name of _El Tocador_, or Dressing Room of the Sultana.
It is situated in a kind of tower, or buttress, that projects beyond the
walls of the fortress, and commands a lovely view in every direction.
The mosaic pavement of this little room is of extreme beauty.

The situation of the Hall of the Ambassadors, or "Golden Saloon," to
which we will now proceed, has already been described. It is a square of
36 feet, and occupies the whole space enclosed by the walls of the tower
of Comares which are of extraordinary thickness. The height of this
apartment is 60 feet, and its ceiling, vaulted in a singularly graceful
manner, is inlaid with a mosaic of mother of pearl.

This hall is certainly the pride of the Alhambra. Its proportions are
more just, its stuccoed walls more highly finished, and the colouring
and gilding of its ornaments more brilliant, than those of any of the
other apartments. The tower in which it is situated projects far beyond
the curtain wall of the fortress; so that, whilst it looks into the
refreshing court of the _Alberca_ on one side, from windows in the
other three, it commands extensive views over the city, and the dark
valley of the Darro. It is the only one of the principal apartments of
the palace that possesses this advantage, and it was therefore
peculiarly well adapted to the purpose of a hall of audience; since, the
wide circumvallated city spread out below, the fertile plain over which,
as far as the eye can range, it commands a view, and the fearful height
of the massive walls, upon which its casements look down, could not but
impress visitors with a sense of the wealth and power of the ruler of
this fair realm, and of the strength of his proud mountain citadel. The
windows too of this audience hall, elevated some hundreds of feet above
the rocky banks of the Darro, afforded every facility for
disposing--after the wonted manner of the Mohammedans--of any
contumacious heir presumptive, or other troublesome friend or relative,
whose journey to paradise might require hastening.

The view from the eastern window, looking up the valley of the Darro,
embraces several objects of much interest; on the right, projecting
boldly into the valley, is the tower surmounted by the Sultana's
_Tocador_, which, seen almost to its base, gives a good idea of the
height of the Alhambra's walls above the crouching city. Beyond, but
situated on the same bank of the river as the fortress, is seen the
Palace of the Generalife, and, above it, the _Silla de los Moros_,[140]
a scarped rock, whereon the Moslems were in the habit of watching the
setting sun, as he cast his gorgeous rays upon their beloved Vega. On
the opposite side of the valley is the _Sacro Monte_ convent, an immense
pile, now crumbling to the dust.

The _bassi relievi_ of the stuccoed compartment round this window are
very curious, and I should say they represented groups of fishes
intermixed with arabesques, but that several great authorities have
declared, that in all the decorations of the Alhambra there are no
traces of animal or vegetable life.

There are many other objects well worthy of notice within the Royal
Palace. Amongst others, the cicerone does not forget to point out the
apartments wherein the Sultana _Ayxa_ and her unfortunate son Mohammed
Abi Abdilehi, or Boabdil, were confined by the licentious Muley
Hassan,and the window in the tower of Comares, whence the young
prince,--who thus early, even in a father, deserved the surname of _El
Zogoybi_,[141] afterwards bestowed upon him,--was lowered down and
escaped from Granada.

The palace contains also a very handsome porcelain vase, said to be of
Moorish manufacture. Another, which was discovered at the same time in
the vaults under the royal apartments, was taken away by Count
Sebastiani. The _Granadinos_ abuse the French general in most unmeasured
terms, for what they term this _theft_; but, if he carried off nothing
else from the city, it must be admitted he charged them moderately
enough for his guardianship of what he left behind--treasures on which,
at that time, they seemed to set no value.

Independent of the interest with which the traveller explores the abode
of Granada's Moslem sovereigns, his attention is called, in no slight
degree, to the examination of the crumbling ruins of the fortress
enclosing it; over every nook of which a fresh charm has been thrown by
the delightful tales of Washington Irving, whose _fidus Achates_,
"Mateo," stoutly maintains that the accomplished writer has drawn but
slightly on the stores of his imagination.

The views from the walls and lofty towers of the fortress are most
extensive and varied. The most comprehensive is from the _Torre de la
Vela_,[142] situated at the western extremity of the Alhambra, whence,
besides the view over the city and plain, the eye embraces the whole
range of the magnificent _Sierra Nevada_, the peaks of which are several
hundred feet higher than the loftiest points of the Pyrenees; and
though not, as is usually supposed, covered with _perpetual_ snow, are
generally capped with it during nine months of the year. The highest
points of the range are the _Cerros de Mulahacen_ and _de la Veleta_,
bearing S. E. from Granada, and both computed to be upwards of 11,000
feet above the level of the Mediterranean.

On my last visit to Granada, in the month of October, the mountains were
perfectly free from snow, and "Mateo" had succeeded in persuading me to
mount to their summit under his guidance; a journey of twenty-four hours
from the city. The day was fixed accordingly, but, during the night
preceding our intended scramble, the whole ridge put on its winter
covering, and rendered the undertaking impracticable.

Leaving the fortress by a low sally-port on its north side, we will
proceed to visit the Generalife, or summer palace of the Moorish kings,
situated rather above, but on the slope of the same ridge as the
Alhambra, and separated from it by a deep ravine. The path is perfumed
with groves of myrtle, orange, and other odoriferous trees; and is
shaded with eglantine, woodbine, and wild vines, whose red autumnal
leaves, entwined in the evergreen boughs of the overhanging carobs and
ilexes, offer an impenetrable shield against the mid-day sun.

The chief attraction of the _Generalife_, (House of Love) are the
refreshing coolness of its courts and apartments, the sweetness and
abundance of its crystal waters, the luxuriance of its flowers and
fruits, and the beauty of the views that its impending balconies
command.

The stucco fretwork and porcelain mosaics, with which the apartments are
ornamented, are in the same style as those of the Alhambra; but with the
highly finished and gorgeous decorations of the Royal Palace yet fresh
in the recollection, those of the _Generalife_ appear far inferior. In
the opinion of Mr. Murphy, however, the mosaic work in the portico of
the _Generalife_ not only surpasses any other specimen of Moorish
workmanship, but "for variety of execution and delicacy of taste is
fully equal, if not superior, to any Roman mosaics which have come down
to our times."

I should have been unwilling to admit this, even at the time he wrote;
but the late discoveries at Pompeii have brought to light mosaic
pavements far exceeding, as well in boldness of design as in beauty of
execution and colouring, any thing of the kind that has ever been
produced in modern times; and which, whilst causing us to estimate more
highly than heretofore the proficiency of the ancients in the art of
_drawing_, make us regard the mosaics of the Moors as mere pieces of
mechanism.

The wood-work in the roofs of the various apartments of the
_Generalife_ is worthy of remark, not only from the beauty of the
workmanship, but from its state of preservation. Murphy has fallen into
error in translating _Nogal_ (of which they are composed) _chesnut_--he
should have said _walnut_.

The walls of one of the apartments are decorated with portraits of some
of the most renowned warriors who figured in the siege of Granada;
amongst others of _Gonzalvo_, "the great Captain;" _Ponce de Leon_, the
captor of Alhama; _El Rey Chico_, Boabdil; and Ferdinand and Isabella.
They are all said to have been "taken from life," and the work of one
individual.

The gardens of the _Generalife_ are more pleasing from the luxuriant
growth of their flowers and fruits, than for the manner in which they
are laid out. One must taste the _pomegranate_ of the Generalife to
appreciate fully the value of that refreshing fruit; and he who has
eaten of its muscatel grapes can have no doubt of the wine house, from
whence Ganymede supplied the cups of the thirsty olympics.

At a certain cypress-tree that grows within the walled court of the
palace, "_Mateo_" mysteriously wags his head; and should any curiosity
be evinced at this intimation of a tale that he could unfold, will open
a budget of Royal scandal, purloined from Florian, and other romancers,
which furnishes him with the means of displaying his historic lore for
the rest of the evening.

Descending from the _Generalife_, and crossing the "golden" Darro ere it
enters the city, we will mount the rough streets of the Albayzin. The
hill side is perforated with numerous caverns, many of which are
tenanted by a singularly savage race of beings, who, differing in
character from either Moors or Spaniards, appear to be descended from
the aborigines of the country.

Several curious wells, arches, and other Moorish remains, are to be seen
in the quarter of the Albayzin; and the view it commands is one of the
finest in Granada, embracing the greater part of the city, and the
richly wooded bank, whereon are perched the bright _Generalife_, and the
sombre _Alhambra_, backed by the snow-clad ridge of _Nevada_.

Amongst the numerous Moorish reliques that the city contains, the most
perfect, perhaps, are the baths. But, at every turn, a ruined bridge, a
dilapidated gateway, or some other memento of the Saracens, presents
itself, giving Granada peculiar interest in the eyes of the seeker after
Moorish antiquities. Neither in modern sights does it fall short of
other more populous and flourishing cities.

The Cathedral is not so large nor so handsome as that of Malaga. The
interior is heavy, excessively gaudy, and fitted up in the worst
possible taste. The architecture is Corinthian, but of a very spurious
sort. Some good paintings are to be found distributed in the various
chapels; the best are in that of the _Santissima Trinidad_, viz.--the
Trinity, by _Cano_, and a Holy Family by _Murillo_--the latter a
masterpiece.

The pillars round the _Altar Mayor_--above which rises the Dome--are
richly gilt; and the light admitted by painted windows, above and
behind, has a fine effect. Some paintings by _Cano_, under the Dome, are
very good, and the Cathedral is ornamented with two busts of great
merit, (Adam and Eve) by the same master, whose talented hand directed
the chizel with the same success as the pencil.

The _Capilla de los Reyes Catolicos_ communicates with the Cathedral,
but is under a separate roof. It is of Gothic architecture, and
celebrated for a flat arch of remarkable boldness, which supports its
roof. The remains of Ferdinand and Isabella, and their immediate
successors, Philip and Joanna, are deposited in this chapel. Their
tombs, executed by order of the Emperor Charles V., are superbly
sculptured. That of the "Catholic Kings" is the most elaborately wrought
and highly finished; but the other is lighter, and displays more
elegance of design. The recumbent figures of Ferdinand and Isabella are
remarkably well carved;--the repose in the queen's countenance is
incomparably expressed. The same cannot be said of the manner in which
the "mad" Joanna and her Austrian husband have been sculptured; with the
latter of whom, at all events, the artist could not offer the usual
excuse, that crowned heads are difficult _subjects_ to manage, since the
Spaniards themselves surnamed Philip "_El Hermoso_."[143]

In ascending rather too hastily and unguardedly from the tomb of the
conquerors of Granada, I struck my head against the iron grating above,
and was laid prostrate and senseless at the foot of the altar. It
required a good pint of the church wine--which our worthy, priestly
cicerone insisted upon administering, both internally and externally--to
set me up again; and, as a reward for my patience under suffering, he
showed us the splendidly illuminated missal, used by the "Catholic
Kings," and deposited with the crown, sword, and sceptre of the great
Ferdinand, in the sacristy of the Cathedral.

The church of San Geronimo is one of the oldest in Granada--which city
boasts of being the first in Spain that embraced Christianity--_San
Cicilio_, one of the seven apostles ordained by Peter and Paul, having
founded a church at Eliberi, in the first century.[144] It contains
some paintings said to be by Murillo, but is more celebrated as being
the burial-place of _Gonzalvo de Cordoba_. A plain white marble slab,
let into the pavement at the foot of the principal altar, and bearing
the following simple inscription, is all that marks the spot where the
remains of the greatest captain Spain ever produced were interred.

                           Gonzali Fernandez
                               de Cordova
                          Sui propriâ virtute
                           magni ducis nomen
                          proprium sibi fecit
                                  ossa
                            perpetua tandem
                            luci restituenda
                          huic interea loculo
                              credita sunt
                       gloria minime consepulta.

The church of _San Juan de Dios_ is well worthy a visit; though its
decorations are rather gaudy than handsome. It contains a few small, but
very good paintings by _Cano_, and a valuable silver urn, embossed with
gold, wherein are deposited--so the Spaniards assert--the bones of our
Saviour's favourite disciple, who died at Granada.

There are many other churches deserving of the traveller's notice, but
it would be tedious to enumerate them. To the lovers of Rossini's music,
however, I would recommend a visit to that of _San Domingo_ during _High
Mass_. I once heard there the whole of the airs from _Mosé in Egitto_,
besides various _pezzi scelti_ from the _Gazza ladra_, to which, in
England, we dance quadrilles.

The Carthusian Convent (_extra muros_) is noted for its riches, and
collection of paintings. We could not gain admission on our first visit;
as, after toiling up the eminence on which it is situated, we found the
grating in the portal closed by a board, announcing "_Hoy se sacan
animas_"--To-day souls are extracting from purgatory;--a praiseworthy
occupation, from which it would have been sinful to take the worthy
friars; although it was gently hinted to us, that a few _pesetas_ would
remove any scruples _they_ might entertain. The day following,
however,--the funds for suborning the devil having been exhausted,--we
were admitted to inspect the interior of the convent. It contains
numerous paintings, some few said to be by Murillo, others by Cano; but
I doubt whether either of those great masters ever touched them. The
rest are mere daubs, representing the persecutions of the monks by Henry
VIII, by the Moors, and by the German Lutherans.

The _Hermita de San Anton_ is a small edifice on the outskirts of the
city, which, on a certain day in the spring of the year, is endowed with
the singular power of curing horses of the _cholic_; all that is
required being to ride them nine times, at a brisk pace, round the
exterior of the church--_ni mas ni menos_.



CHAPTER XII.

     GRANADA CONTINUED--THE ZACATIN--MARKET
     PLACE--BAZAAR--POPULATION--THE GRANADINOS--THEIR PREDILECTION FOR
     THE FRENCH COSTUME--LOVE OF MASKED BALLS--MADAME MARTINEZ DE LA
     ROSA'S TERTULIA--AN ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE METAMORPHOSED--SPECIMEN
     OF SPANISH TASTE IN FITTING UP COUNTRY HOUSES--THE MARQUES DE
     MONTIJO--ANECDOTE OF THE LATE KING AND THE CONDE DE
     TEBA--CONSTITUTIONAL ENTHUSIASM OF GRANADA--ENDS IN SMOKE--MILITARY
     SCHOOLS--OBSERVATIONS ON THE SPANISH ARMY--DEPARTURE FOR
     CORDOBA--PINOS DE LA PUENTE--PUERTO DE LOPE--MOCLIN--ALCALA LA
     REAL--SPANISH PEASANTS--MANNER OF COMPUTING DISTANCE--BAENA--NOT
     THE ROMAN TOWN OF ULIA--CASTRO EL RIO--OCCUPIED BY A CAVALRY
     REGIMENT--VALUABLE FRIEND--CURIOSITY OF THE SPANISH OFFICERS--DITTO
     OF OUR NEW ACQUAINTANCE--INFLUENCE OF "SHERRIS SACK"--HE RELATES
     HIS HISTORY--CONTINUATION OF OUR JOURNEY TO CORDOBA--FIRST VIEW OF
     THAT CITY.


Granada is the see of an archbishop, and the seat of one of the two high
courts of Chancery of Spain. It is not a place of much trade, its
inhabitants being chiefly employed in horticultural pursuits; but it
contains manufactories of gunpowder, of silk and woollen goods on a
small scale, and numerous tanneries.

The busiest part of the city is a narrow crooked street, which still
retains its corrupted Moorish name, _El Zacatin_,[145] the little
market. But the square where the market is now held (likewise a relique
of the Moors,) presents also, at certain times, a scene of considerable
bustle. The houses encompassing it are very lofty, and, at each
successive story, have wide projecting galleries, wherein dwell the
lowest classes of Granada's inhabitants. The arches of these galleries
are patched up with old pieces of board, canvas, and other materials, of
all sizes and shapes, between the chinks, and crevices, and rents of
which, smoke issues in every direction.

Towards the centre of the city is a _bazaar_, constructed, not like our
London toy fairs so called, but on the oriental plan, each little gloomy
stall being boarded off from the rest. The goods, also, as in the east,
are offered for sale by smoking men, instead of being, as with us,
handed to you by smiling houries. The modern merchants, however, enter
their shops by a door, instead of clambering over the counter; and they
occupy chairs instead of sitting in the cross-legged fashion of the
founders of this remnant of Mohammedanism. At a certain hour in the
evening the bazaar is closed, and given over to the care of three or
four large dogs, which, shut into the building for the night, will not
suffer any one to enter but him whose office it is to feed them, and to
unlock the gates.

The population of Granada may be reckoned at 60,000 souls; and I think
the female portion of it the _least good looking_, not to speak harshly,
of all the dark complexioned natives of southern Spain. The _Granadinas_
have not the carriage of either the _Sevillanas_, or _Gaditanas_, nor
even of the _Malagueñas_, who are celebrated rather for beauty than
_gracia_; and, consequently, the lovely _Alameda_, on the banks of the
Genil, has no attraction for strangers beyond that of its own intrinsic
beauty.

The ladies of Granada lose somewhat, perhaps, in the comparison with the
fair of other places, from having adopted, in a greater degree, a
harlequin French costume, that but ill becomes them,--or, more correctly
speaking, perhaps, that they do not become. Thus, the admirable _set_ of
their well poised heads is lost under a huge silk _chapeau_ and groves
of _Roses de Meaux_, clematis, and woodbine; their lustrous eyes no
longer range, _en barbette_, as it were, over three quarters of a
circle, but, pointed through a narrow embrasure, can only carry
destruction in one direction. Their fans, too,--telegraphs of their
slightest wishes or commands,--can no longer be flirted with the wonted
effect; and their stately, though somewhat peculiar gait, does not
receive its just tribute of admiration, unless set off by the black silk
_basquiña_, under whose graceful folds their well tutored limbs have
been accustomed to move.

The _Granadinas_ of all classes are passionately fond of masked balls;
which circumstance may partly be accounted for by one of the above-named
disadvantages under which they labour-want of beauty; and all the
masquerades at which I "assisted" seemed expressly got up for carrying
on intrigues. No _character_, in any sense of the word, appeared to be
maintained; and the whole amusement seemed to consist in the ladies
going about to the gentlemen, who were almost all unmasked, and asking
in a screaming voice, "_mi conoces?_"[146]

Although every body went to these balls, which were held at the theatre,
yet, amongst the _elite_, it was deemed _fashionable_ (now quite a
Spanish word) for the ladies to have a box and receive masks. But the
temptation of the waltz was too strong to be resisted, and all, I
observed, descended occasionally, putting on a mask and domino, to join
in its fascinating circumgyrations.

A letter of introduction to Madame _Martinez de la Rosa_,[147] equally
noted for her accomplishments and her hospitality, gave us an
opportunity of seeing the best society of Granada. The same want of
beauty was observable amongst the _beau monde_ at her _Tertulia_, as on
the _paseo_ on the banks of the river; but, to make amends, the music
and waltzing were particularly good. The Spaniards may certainly be
reckoned the best waltzers in Europe, now that the Germans have
converted that graceful dance into a mere bear's hug.

I afforded some amusement in the course of the first evening passed at
Madame Martinez' house, by asking a Spanish gentleman the name of a most
laborious performance, which all appeared to be engaged in with great
delight, to the total sacrifice of the graces. He started back with
astonishment. "What description of dance? why it is an _English country
dance_!" He thought it too good a joke to keep to himself, and, the
performance concluded, went about telling all the ladies they had so
disguised an English country dance that one of its countrymen did not
recognise it. This information occasioned great dismay, _contra danzas
Inglesas_ being, at that particular juncture, "_muy facionables_;" and
all the _Señoritas_ crowded round with exclamatory "_Jesuses!_" to
gather the appalling truth from my own lips, and ask instructions as to
their future proceedings.

I explained, in the best manner I could, that, though the ladies and
gentlemen in our national dance were deployed in two long opposing
lines; in the same way that their sexes had respectively been drawn up,
yet that various preliminary evolutions were performed by us, ere the
parties began racing up and down the middle at full speed, in which
their imitation entirely consisted; and, moreover, that we did not hurry
the matter over, by beginning at _both ends_, as they did.

Before leaving Granada, a favourable opportunity presenting itself, I
will enable my readers to form some idea of the taste and style in which
the Spanish aristocracy fit up their country houses, taking as my
pattern that of the _Marques de Montijo_, which, combining the comforts
of the English with the classic taste of the French, I was assured I
should find a very choice specimen. It is situated on a slightly
elevated hill, rising from and commanding a lovely view over the wide
_vega_. For the selection of the site, small praise is due, however, to
the Marquis, as he would have had difficulty in fixing on any spot
within the same distance of the city, that did not afford equally as
fine a view. But the embellishments of the house and grounds are "all
his own;" to these, therefore, I shall confine my description.

The grounds are laid out in stiff parterres, intersected with twisting
footpaths, "_à la Inglesa_," as they call it; a portion being hedged off
as a labyrinth, which is thickly studded with rustic arbours, furnished
with modern sofas. On the summit of an artificial hillock is a shallow
fish-pond, from the centre of which rises a cave, or grotto (built, I
believe, in imitation of the Giant's Causeway), composed of fragments of
stalactites, brought at a great expense from a cavern in a distant
mountain.

A whirligig, with two horses and two _coches_--such as may be seen at
Bartholomew fair--weathercocks of all sizes and devices, sun-dials
innumerable, hedge-rows of zoophytes, &c. are scattered tastefully
about, and in fact nothing is wanting but "the sucking pig in lavender,"
and "Adam and Eve in juniper," of the inimitable Mr. Drugget, to
complete the long catalogue of absurdities.

The show-suite of apartments consists of a succession of small
carpetless rooms on the ground-floor, each furnished with a bed, a few
shabby gilt chairs, a sofa, some yet more Monmouth-street-looking chintz
window curtains, a profusion of miserly little mirrors, and two or three
old family pictures.

In the library, which contained some hundreds of ill-bound books,
chiefly French, sat the Marquis himself--the genius of the place--a
grandee of Spain of the first class, a reputed scholar, dilettante, and
patron of the fine arts; a distinguished statesman, and at one time a
pretender to the regency of Spain; now, alas! the victim of paralysis,
disappointed intrigues, inordinate vanity, and insane ambition.[148]

Whilst at Malaga I had become slightly acquainted with the Marquis's
brother, the _Conde de Teba_, who, by turns, a violent _Legitimista_,
_Afrancesado_, and _Exaltado_, was then, in the latter character, doing
duty as corporal in the _City Light Horse_, and bore about on his
crippled person the just reward of his treason to his country, having
received a wound which disfigured him for life, whilst serving in the
French ranks.

The _Conde_ married a Miss K----, "the beautiful and accomplished
daughter" (as the newspapers say) of one of the first British merchants
of Malaga. His union with this lady had been forbidden by the late king
of Spain, on the grounds that the pure blood of a Spanish grandee was
not to be contaminated by admixture with the grosser current flowing in
plebeian veins. To overcome this objection, reference was made to the
heraldic records of Scotland (the country of the lady's family), and a
genealogical tree was shipped off to Spain, which proved without flaw,
cross-bar, or blemish, that the family of K---- was an offset from the
great Fingal himself. Ferdinand, who, morose as he has usually been
represented, enjoyed a joke as much as most people, burst into a hearty
laugh on this document being placed before him, exclaiming at length,
"In God's name, let Teba marry the Scotch king's daughter!"

This speech, though made in perfect good humour, was not soon forgotten
by the lady, who, when I had the pleasure of meeting her, wore round her
king-hating person (forgetting her high descent) the terrific words,
_constitucion ò muerte_, embroidered on a green sash ribbon.

Granada, by the way, is reckoned a most constitutional city. I first
visited it a few months previous to the invasion of the Duc d'Angoulême,
when every one breathed the most deadly hate against the French, and
every thing promised a most sanguinary struggle. The streets of Granada,
if the vile _Gavachos_ ever got so far, were to be their burial place;
the city was to be another Zaragoza; the contest another "_guerra hasta
el cuchillo_."[149] I pictured to myself the beauteous groves of the
Generalife formed into abattis to defend the town; the pure streams of
the Darro and Genil reddened with the gore of its brave inhabitants; the
tottering towers of the elevated Alhambra pounded into dust; the
venerable deputy-governor[150] of the royal palace exposed to the
insults of a licentious soldiery! Happily, however, all my anticipated
fears were groundless. The French troops marched quietly into the city
long after the garrison had left it by an opposite gate, and the
invaders were received by the inhabitants with every outward mark of
neighbourly esteem and affection.

During the first days of the constitutional portion of the reign of
Ferdinand "the beloved," military schools were established in most of
the principal cities of the kingdom. That of Granada was on a scale
proportioned to the "_exaltacion_" of the place, 90 students being
maintained at it. A large monastery, which, ever since the expulsion of
the Moslems, had been under the protecting care of St. Jerome, was
handed over to the more bellicose _Santiago_,[151] for the purpose of
training up the youthful _Granadinos_ to deeds of arms; and if the
saint-militant attended to their studies as well as he did to their
feeding and clothing, no complaint could possibly be brought against
him.

The attempt to regenerate the national army by the infusion of a body of
_educated_ officers, whose advancement should depend entirely upon their
own conduct and acquirements, was a praiseworthy effort to break through
the barriers of presumption, ignorance, and vice, with which the
pampered nobles of Spain had, until then, closed the door of promotion
against every kind of merit; reserving for themselves all the most
influential and lucrative posts, and placing in the inferior, the
illegitimate branches of their houses, their numerous hangers-on and
menials, and, even yet worse, the debased panders to their vices.

But venality is so strictly entailed upon all public departments in
Spain, that the same gross corruption and glaring favouritism continued,
as before, to regulate the distribution of favour and promotion. The
patronage had passed into other hands, but the new hands were not more
delicate than the old; "_aunque vistan à la mona de seda, mona se
queda_."[152] Legitimists and liberals were both equally corrupt; their
object was the same, namely, to fill their pockets from the public
purse. The difference between them consisted merely in the means by
which they effected their purpose. The intrigues that had formerly been
employed to manage the _court_ were now directed to influence the
_political clubs_, and, under their dictation, the constitutional
ministers (to retain their places) were obliged to nominate the noisiest
braggarts to the command of their armies, and select for all the minor
posts such as were most vociferous in their cries of "constitution
or death." These, as might naturally have been expected, were,
for the most part, lawyers' clerks, tavern waiters, and barbers'
apprentices--self-imagined _Gracchi_ and _Bruti_, who thought they would
be doing a great public good by bettering their own particular
condition. The youths, who, under the _new system_, crowded the military
schools, were all chosen under the same influence, and mostly from the
same class. But whatever germs of future Cids and Gonzalvos these
seminaries may have cherished, not any were destined to reach maturity,
for, Santiago not being so quick in his operations as San Anton, the
French army cut up the tree of liberty, root and branch, ere these seeds
of military greatness had even sprung up.

The extraordinary deterioration that has taken place in the Spanish
army, since the days of Philip II., is only to be accounted for by the
demoralized state of the upper ranks of society, and the consequent
corruption that pervades every department of the state. The soldiers,
who now _run away_, are chosen from the same race of men, that fought so
gallantly under the Dukes of Alba and Parma; the religion they profess
is the same that it was then, nay is stript in some slight degree of its
bigotry and superstition. The last king to whom they swore obedience,
was not a whit more despotic than any of his predecessors; so that it is
futile to say, that tyranny or liberty had any weight in the matter.
Could any sway be more absolute than that of the Spanish sovereigns of
the House of Hapsburg? and yet under them the Spaniards behaved most
nobly. Would it be possible to frame a more liberal constitution than
that of 1820? and yet no troops ever conducted themselves more
shamefully than those ranged under its standard.

Nor can this marked change be attributed to any inferiority of
theoretical military knowledge on the part of the Spanish nation; for
their schools of artillery and engineers are indisputably good, and
their military writers by no means behind the age. Indeed, the
"_reflexiones militares_" of the _Marques de Santa Cruz_ may be traced
throughout the scientific pages of Jomini and Dumas, and are, in fact,
the groundwork of some tactical compilations of recent date in our own
language.

The experience of the _War of Independence_ proved, however, that very
few officers of superior rank in the Spanish army were qualified to
command;[153] and, at the same time, one cannot but be struck at the
very small number amongst the inferior grades, who rose to distinction
during the long period of its continuance.

The civil war that followed brought forward no new men of military
talent; and the invasion of the French, in 1823, proved the utter
incapacity of all the leaders who had been transformed into generals
under the constitutional government.

The bombast of these latter worthies rendered their imbecility the more
ridiculous. I heard one say to the late Sir George Don, just before the
entry of the Duc d'Angoulême into Spain, "If _we Spaniards_ drove the
French across the Pyrenees, like a flock of sheep (!) when commanded by
Napoleon's best generals, with how much greater ease shall we now do so,
being led only by a despotic Bourbon!"

Not very long after, I witnessed an act of imbecility yet more
laughable. In ascending the staircase of the government house at
Gibraltar one morning, I saw, on the landing place, a Spanish general
officer (then, as _at this moment_, holding a most important command)
explaining to an officer of the governor's staff how, by "_una grande
combinacion_," he, Riego, and other "_inclitos heroes_," proposed
cutting off Marshal Molitor's division of the French army, then marching
on Granada. As the success of their combined operations depended
entirely upon the _secrecy_ and celerity with which they were to be
conducted, it could not but be extremely amusing to hear the gallant
general explain the "whole progress" of the affair, before a host of
orderly serjeants, messengers, and servants; who, attracted to the spot
by his loquacity and gesticulations, were listening with open-mouthed
astonishment, to the elucidation of his cunningly devised plan. Ere I
passed on, I too was fortunate enough to witness the hypothetical
termination of "his marchings and counter-marchings," in the most
complete success; as, suiting the action to the word, he described a
wide circle with his outstretched arms and gold-headed cane, and
enclosed the outmanoeuvered French marshal and his entire _corps
d'armée_.

The result of this "_grande combinacion_" turned out, however, to be
that the Marshal effected the passage of the mountains between Guadiz
and Granada, ere the Spanish captain general had yet fully explained the
impossibility of his escaping from the strategical toils _about to be_
spread for him.

Return we now to Granada--from which city, having announced at Madame
Martinez' tertulia that it was our intention to depart on the following
morning, taking the road to Cordoba, certain symptoms of uneasy
curiosity were manifested, attended with sundry mysterious hints, that
led us to fancy some extraordinary perils were to be encountered on that
particular road. Less communicative than the Spanish captain general,
however, the utmost we could elicit from our various acquaintances was,
that the country round about the city whither we were about to proceed,
was in a very _volcanic_ state, and that a political explosion might be
daily expected.

As none of our party had professed an over-boiling admiration of the
existing state of things, I believe we were set down as aiders and
abettors in the revolt of the troops which shortly afterwards took
place--though not until we had safely returned to the shelter of the
British fortress.

We left Granada as proposed, taking the direct road to Cordoba, by
Alcalà la real. As far as that town, the road, at the period of which I
write, was the only carriage route leading from Granada towards Madrid.
Another by way of Jaen has been opened within the last few years. If
ocular demonstration of this first-named road being practicable for
carriages had not, however, been afforded us, we should certainly have
doubted the possibility of any thing less fragile than a bullock's cart
getting over some parts of it; but as far as Piños de la Puente, that
is, for the first twelve miles, it is tolerably good, traversing the
north-eastern portion of the _Vega_, and leaving the Sierra de Elvira at
some little distance on the right. The village of Piños stands on the
right bank of the river Cubillas, and inscriptions, which have been
found and are preserved there, prove it to have been the town of Ilurco,
mentioned by Pliny. It is celebrated, in more recent times, as a spot
where many a fierce struggle took place between the Moors and
Christians; for, in their forays into each other's country, the bridge
of Piños was generally the point chosen for effecting a passage across
the impracticable little stream that, in this direction, bounds the
_Vega_.

The hilly country begins immediately on leaving Piños de la puente, and
a fine view is obtained from the heights above the village: Granada, and
the line of mountains beyond, are seen to great advantage, and to the
right lies the rich _vega_, stretching westward as far as Loja. The
_Soto de Roma_[154] occupies the very heart of the fruitful plain;
appearing from hence to be thickly wooded. Such, however, is not the
case, although some well grown timber is upon one part of it.

Proceeding onwards, over a very hilly country, and crossing the little
river Moclin, in an hour and a half we reached the _Venta del puerto
Lope_, (pass of Lopez) distant six miles from _Piños de la puente_.
About three miles beyond the _Venta_, a view of the most romantic kind
presents itself. The _Sierra Nevada_, and part of the plain of Granada,
are seen through a tremendous rent that intersects the lofty mountains
which now encircle the traveller; the entrance of the rugged defile
being defended by two towers, standing on bold, and almost inaccessible,
rocks.

Some miles up this impracticable _tajo_, is situated the crag-based
fortress of Moclin, which, from the command it possessed of the
principal pass through this mountain range, was called by the Moors,
"the Shield of Granada." The celebrated _Conde de Cabra_ experienced a
signal defeat in attempting to surprise this fortress; which, a few
years after, (A.D. 1487) fell into the hands of Ferdinand the Catholic,
by the accidental explosion of its powder-magazine.

About a league from the _Puerto de Lope_, the town of Illora,
erroneously placed _on_ the road in most maps, is seen two miles off, on
the left. It stands on a rocky eminence, crowned by an old castle, and
overlooking a fertile plain. The ancient name of the place is lost; but
it was one of the strongholds of the Moors, and fell to the Christian
arms only a few weeks prior to the capture of Moclin, when the renowned
_Gonzalvo_ was appointed its _Alcaide_.

The country henceforth becomes more open and cultivated, but the soil
looks cold and ungrateful after that of the plain of Granada. The hills
bordering the road are studded with towers at the distance of about a
league asunder, which, in the days of the Moslems, must have formed a
very perfect line of telegraphic communication between the capital and
the northern frontier towns of the kingdom of Granada.

The old castle of _Alcalà la real_, situated on an eminence, is seen at
a considerable distance, and, on a near approach, some modern works
thrown up by the French give it rather an imposing appearance. The town
is so pent in by hills as not to be seen until one has passed under the
triumphal arch by which it is entered. It was called by the Moors
_Alcalà Abenzaide_, the Castle (_Al Kala_) of Abenzaide, and received
its present distinguished name on falling to the victorious arms of
Alfonzo XI. A.D. 1340. From this date it became the principal bulwark of
the Christian frontier, and the base of most of the offensive operations
undertaken against Granada. A remarkable brick tower, built by the
_Conde de Tendilla_ as a night beacon, to assist the erring footsteps of
the Christians in escaping from captivity, still stands on an elevated
knoll, clear of all the other hills, on the opposite side of the town to
the castle.

Antiquaries are at issue as to what Roman town stood in this important
position. Some imagine it to be the situation of the _Agla menor_ of
Pliny; whilst others--as it appears to me with more reason, considering
the order in which that methodical writer enumerated the cities of note
lying between Boetis and the Sea--are of opinion that it is the site
of _Ebura Cerealis_.

Alcalà la real has always been considered a military post of importance,
and many a desperate conflict has been witnessed from its walls. The
last (not a very desperate one, however) was in January, 1810, between a
division of the French army, commanded by General Sebastiani, and a
disorganized mob of Spaniards, under Areizaga,--by turns the most rash,
and most desponding, and always the least successful, of all the Spanish
generals. By the defeat of the Spanish host, the road to Granada was
thrown open to the invaders.

The Old Castle, called _La Mota_, is a Moorish work, which the French
strengthened by some interior retrenchments. The city, though sunk in a
deep hollow, stands high as compared with the surrounding country; the
springs on the opposite sides of the chain on which it is situated
falling to the Guadalquivir and Genil respectively. The streets are
tolerably wide and well paved, but steep; the _plaza_ is spacious, and
rather handsome; the Alameda is shady, and abounding in fountains; and
the _Posada_ vile, and overrun with vermin. The population may be
estimated at 4000 _vecinos escasos_,[155] or 20,000 souls, including the
inmates of six large convents.

On our next day's journey, to _Castrò el Rio_, we were most disagreeably
convinced of the little dependence that can be placed on the information
of the peasantry respecting distance. They invariably compute space by
_time_; an hour's ride being reckoned one league. As, however, the rate
at which their animals travel is by no means the same, their computation
of distance varies accordingly; so that a man possessed of a good mule
reckons that distance seven leagues, which the owner of the more tardy
_burro_ estimates at nine. To exemplify this by our own case--we set out
from Alcalà under the impression, received overnight from information
obtained from a party of _arrieros_--that the distance to _Baena_ was
seven leagues. After riding _an hour_ we overtook two peasants, mounted
on sorry animals, who told us it was still seven leagues. Ten minutes
after, (fancying we must have taken a wrong road) we questioned a
priest, bestriding a sleek mule, and learnt that it was four leagues to
Baena, _or five_ from a knoll some _hundred yards_ behind us. In another
hour the distance had increased to four leagues and three quarters; but
for the next hour and a half, we proceeded in the proper descending
progression, until we had reduced the distance to three leagues, and a
shrug of the shoulders, implying good measure.

With this radius, and Baena as a centre, we were doomed to describe the
arc of a circle for two tedious hours; and at length, by a figure which
it would be difficult to explain geometrically, found ourselves suddenly
within a league and a half of our destination. From this stage, our
journey diminished pretty regularly to its end, excepting that we were a
quarter of a league from that desideratum before we were half of one!

I think the real distance may be reckoned twenty-four English miles; for
it occupied us seven hours to accomplish. The country is rough and
intricately broken, without being elevated; and it is devoid of much
interest. The road is a mere mule track, (for from Alcalà the Madrid
road proceeds to Alcaudete) and must be almost impassable in winter, as
well from the stiff, clayey nature of the soil, as from the depth of the
mountain rivulets which have to be forded, and which are very numerous.
The plains, which here and there present themselves, are well, that is
generally, cultivated; producing corn chiefly. The line of beacon-towers
is continued along the points of the distant hills.

The town of _Alcaudete_ (distant three leagues from Alcalà) lies about
six miles off the road on the right; and _Luque_ (some little distance
farther on) stands on a slight eminence, about a mile and a half off, on
the left.

On drawing near _Baena_, the country becomes wooded with olives, and the
hills lose somewhat of their asperity. It is a large town, containing
1000 _Vecinos_, and stands on the side of a rugged mound, overhanging
the right bank of the little river _Marbella_. The summit of the crag,
in the usual Moorish fashion, is crowned by an old castle, the enceinte
of which is rather extensive. The walls of the town are also standing,
and, within the last few years, have been plastered up and loop-holed,
to enable them to resist a _coup de main_, or an attack of cholera.

Baena is another town to which antiquaries are puzzled to affix a Roman
name. By some it is imagined to be _Ulia_; but this I do not think at
all likely, for, in the first place, the Itinerary of Antoninus makes
_Ulia_ distant but eighteen Roman miles from Cordoba, whereas Baena is,
at least, thirty two; and, in the next, because Cæsar, who, on his
second coming to Spain, found his own army assembled at _Obulco_,
(Porcuna) and that of his adversaries besieging _Ulia_,[156] would
scarcely have ventured to make a flank movement on _Cordoba_, to draw
Cneus Pompey from the siege of _Ulia_, leaving his own magazines exposed
to the enemy within half a day's march of that place. Had he been strong
enough to act in the bold manner this would imply, it seems more
probable that he would have marched at once with his whole army to the
relief of the beleaguered fortress. It strikes me, as being more
probable, that _Baena_ is the _Baebro_ of Pliny, enumerated by that
author (amongst the towns of note on the left bank of the Guadalquivir)
next in order to _Castra Vinaria_, now _Castrò el Rio_.

The last Moslem King of Granada, the "luckless" _Boabdil_, made prisoner
at the battle of Lucena, (A.D. 1483), was confined for some time in the
castle of _Baena_; in which also the banners and other trophies, taken
on the field of battle, were deposited by the victor, the enterprising
_Conde de Cabra_.

The accommodation of the Posada we found very _hard_; so, after
exploring the place, and attempting to take a _Siesta_, we proceeded on
to _Castrò El Rio_. The distance from _Baena_ to this place is two very
short leagues--scarcely more than six miles. The road, during the
greater part of the way, is along the confined valley of the _Marbella_;
but, on approaching Castrò, the bounding hills gradually lose themselves
in an extensive plain, that stretches along the winding course of the
River _Badajocillo_.

_Castrò El Rio_ has all the appearance of a very ancient place, and
almost all accounts agree in placing at this spot the Roman city of
_Castra Vinaria_, called, in some authors, _Castra Postumii_.[157] It is
now an insignificant and thinly populated place, having little or no
trade; and most of the land in its vicinity is laid out in pasture. The
River _Badajocillo_, or _Guadajoz_, washes its walls, and, by many, is
supposed to be the _Salsus_, so frequently mentioned in the "Spanish
war" of Hirtius; but without any reason, that I have been able to
discover, if we are to place reliance in that author's description of
the river and adjacent country.

We found Castrò occupied by the head-quarters and greater part of one
of the royal regiments of Carbineers; and every stable in the place
being crowded with the troopers' horses, we had the greatest difficulty
in obtaining accommodation for our own wearied animals. Indeed, but for
the interference of a _Caballero_, muffled up in a capacious cloak (who
seemed to possess extraordinary influence over the Innkeeper), we should
have been obliged to proceed on, or bivouac outside the walls of the
town. His interference, however, caused a small shed, crowded with mules
and _borricos_, to be cleared for the reception of our horses, into
which, after some little trouble, they were all squeezed. A room for
ourselves we were assured was quite out of the question;--and, as for
beds, every mattress, bolster, _manta_, and blanket, that the _posada_
afforded, had been secured by the Spanish officers. The same civil and
influential personage again, however, befriended us, for, after a short
time, whilst we were consulting where we should spread our cloaks for
the night, the Innkeeper came to acquaint us that "_ese Caballero
Español_"[158] had resigned in our favour "_una pequeñissima
sala_,"[159] which had been reserved for his use; and that he had
further directed it to be furnished with four sacks of chopped straw for
our accommodation.

The Spanish officers, who had entered into conversation with us whilst
standing at the portal of the posada, evinced great curiosity to know
whence we had come, whither we were going, and what was the motive for
our travelling, and very civilly invited us to pass the evening with
them at some house where they were in the habit of assembling nightly.
But being both hungry and weary, we made the latter an excuse for
declining their invitation. They then plied us with questions touching
the state of Granada; asked our opinion of the political condition of
the kingdom in general; and, complaining of the difficulty experienced
in obtaining news of any kind that could be relied on, begged to be
informed if we had recently heard of any thing stirring at Madrid, and
whether we purposed visiting that capital. To all these queries we
replied that, our object being merely amusement, we had not troubled
ourselves much by inquiring into the state of parties--that every thing
seemed to be quiet wherever we had been--and that our future plans were
undetermined.

With numerous offers of service, they then wished us good night, and we
betook ourselves to the _Sala_, sending a message to the _Caballero_,
who had so kindly given it up, to request he would do us the pleasure of
joining his smoke with our's; an invitation that did not require
pressing.

Our visitor, whom we now had an opportunity of inspecting more closely
and critically, was a tall, powerful man, with marked but good features,
though the general expression of his countenance was decidedly bad. His
brows were dark and shaggy, his cheeks covered with a forest of whisker,
and his fierce, uneasy eyes intimated that he was one who had stopped
and would stop at nothing to effect his purpose.

His curiosity concerning the object of our travels was not less, though
more guardedly expressed, than that of the Spanish officers; and, by
degrees, a kind of distrust, with which at first he evidently regarded
us, wore off, and he expressed his unbounded love for and admiration of
the English nation, collectively and individually. "I have seen much of
your compatriots," he proceeded, filling himself a bumper of wine,
"though of late years my opportunities of mixing with them have been but
few. I have ever found them to be true lovers of liberty--ever ready to
lend a helping hand to neighbours in distress; yes, yes! whenever an
oppressed people stand up for their rights, _carajo!_[160] an Englishman
has a G--d--n in his mouth, and a musket on his shoulder in a
_credo_.--_Pardiez, Señores!_ but these are excellent cigars! They are
indeed _legitimos_,[161] and, entre nous, they are the only things being
_legitimas_ that I have any great taste for. To you Englishmen I may say
as much. You, like myself, are lovers of constitutional
liberty--detesters of absolutism, of a domineering aristocracy, of
religious bigotry, and priestly mummery. These things are all very well
for the ignorant; but we, who have read, and studied, and reflected,
know the just value to set upon them."

We gave a ready assent.

"This wine is sad trash," he continued, after a flask of execrable black
strap had been disposed of, "and I know that you English like a good
glass of _Xeres seco_. I will therefore take the liberty, _con
licencia_, of sending for some that I think will please your palate."
Upon which, calling the _mozo_ charged with the care of the stables, he
directed him to go to the house of a certain Don Hilario, and request
_su merced_ to send some bottles of wine.

"Say it is for _me_, Juan," added our guest, or rather our host, with a
marked emphasis on the personal pronoun; "say it is for _me_, and he
will be sure to give you the right sort; but _cuida'o_![162] Tell him I
have some friends with me--English _officers_; is it not so?" turning
interrogatively to us, "and that half a dozen bottles will not be too
many."

Juan took his departure with a knowing glance at our friend, and in less
than the "_fumar de un cigarro_,"[163] returned with the wine. It was
excellent--the real "Sherris sack." Bottle after bottle was drained, and
every draught of the "fertile" liquor seemed, in the words of
Shakspeare's droughty knight, to have a "two-fold operation" upon our
convivial entertainer; "drying him up the crudy vapours" that environed
his suspicious brain concerning us, and rendering him extremely
communicative respecting his own affairs: so that long before even the
second bottle was emptied, he had pronounced us to be _gente_ with whom
he saw he could converse "_con toda confianza_,"[164] and had awakened
much curiosity on our parts, with regard to himself.

Although he had appeared to us to be on a friendly footing with the
officers of Carbineers, he now abused them in most unmeasured terms;
asking if they had not evinced very impertinent curiosity, (how much
sooner are the faults of others seen than our own!) to know all about
our movements. "Those _alacranes_,"[165] said he, "are all traitors to
their country, enemies to our glorious charter of liberty, and--whatever
professions they may make to the contrary--have as little liking for a
free-born Englishman as Sancho Panza had for unadulterated water."
"Indeed," we replied;--truly enough, though somewhat jesuitically
perhaps, wishing to draw him out;--truly, "from some observations they
let fall, it is evident they are no great admirers of the present
constitutional government." "Admirers!" he exclaimed; "no, indeed, it
brings them down to their proper level. But, _carajo!_ if I had my way I
would bring them down something lower; for I'd shoot every mother's son
of them, without the benefit of a dying confession. I'll tell you how
_I_ would set about establishing a constitutional government,
_caballeros_. I would first hang up the king; then give the _garrote_ to
all your dukes, marquisses, and _condes_; and lastly, to make things
sure, root every bishop, priest, _cura_, and _fraile_, out of their snug
hiding-places. That would be----" "But your religion?" interrupted we.
"_Qu ... e Religion! disparate!_[166] That would be the way to keep the
French on their own side the Pyrenees! But let them come! they will find
us ready to receive and able to beat them, in spite of the defection of
our dastardly nobles. As for these carbineer officers, they are a set of
_fanfarrones_, who are only fit to _pavonearse por las calles_.[167] I
have done more service to my country than the whole of them put
together. Look here," he added, removing the handkerchief bound across
his forehead,[168] and exhibiting a formidable scar; "this was not
obtained in a brothel brawl; nor this," showing a mutilated hand. "No,
no, caballeros, my skin would not serve to carry wine in."

"You have seen much service then," we observed.--"Wherever any was to be
seen," he replied. A fresh supply of cigars was brought, another cork
drawn, and before the bottle was finished, we had persuaded our visitor
to give us his whole history.

The narration occupied the best part of the night, and will consequently
require a proportionate space in these pages. Not therefore to detain my
readers in a miserable country venta, and break the thread of my
journey, I will reserve it for future chapters, concluding this with a
brief description of the remaining portion of the road between Granada
and Cordoba.

We left Castrò at dawn, (minus the curb chains, valise straps, and
divers other little detachable articles of our equipment, which are
serviceable to cavalry soldiers); taking leave of our new acquaintance,
who, though he had impressed us with no great feeling of admiration for
his character or principles, had, nevertheless, greatly interested us by
the narration of his adventures.

The road to Cordoba is dreary in the extreme; being principally across
extensive plains of pasture, uninterrupted by a single tree, uncheered
by a solitary cottage, or even _rancha_, and after leaving the banks of
the _Guadajoz_, unrefreshed by a single drop of water. It does not,
however, leave the river immediately on quitting Castrò; on the
contrary, so eccentrically does the stream wind, that it is twice
crossed (by fords) within a very short distance of the town, and then
continues for a considerable distance along its right bank. Indeed,
until arrived within a league and a half of Cordoba, the road does not
altogether lose sight of the winding river.

The quality of the route depends upon the season. In summer it is
_carriageable_;[169] in winter, knee-deep in mud, and liable to be
flooded. The distance between the two towns is reckoned six _leguas
regulares_, i. e. about 24 miles.

On reaching some high table land, about five miles from Cordoba, the
glorious capital of the western caliphs, and the splendid valley of the
Guadalquiver, first burst upon the sight. The view is less extensive,
perhaps, but far more striking than that on approaching Granada from
Alhama; and when arrived at the edge of the range of hills bordering
the rich valley, it becomes perfectly enchanting. The bright city, with
its venerable cathedral, its Moorish bridge, its castle and royal
palace, is offered to the spectator's close inspection. The gracefully
winding Guadalquiver, bathing its mouldering walls, may be traced for
miles along the spacious plain that stretches to the East; its flat and
fertile banks covered with the varied foliage of the olive, pomegranate,
and citron. Beyond the city, a range of wooded mountains, studded with
numerous _cortijos_, convents, and _quintas_, rises abruptly from the
plain; presenting a fine relief to the sun-lit edifices of the city; and
behind this, again, successive ranges of wild mountains show themselves,
terminating at length in the cloud-capped ridge of the _Sierra Morena_.



CHAPTER XIII.

BLAS EL GUERRILLERO.

A BANDIT'S STORY.

     "_La murmuracion, como Hija natural del odio y de la enbidia,
     siempre anda procurando como manchar y escurecer las vidas y
     virtudes agenas. Y assi en la gente de condicion vil y baja, es la
     salsa de mayor apetito, sin quien alguna viando no tiene buen
     gusto, ni està sazonada._"
                                      "GUZMAN DE ALFARACHE."


The tale which occupies this and the succeeding chapters interested us,
however unworthily, so deeply, that the following day--whilst its
details, as well as the peculiar phrases of the narrator, were yet fresh
in our memories--was chiefly devoted to transmitting them to our
journals, in as regular order as the case would admit of. By a strange
coincidence, however, (which will be noted in the course of my
wanderings) an opportunity was some years afterwards afforded me of
revising and correcting my MS. under the eye of the hero of the tale
himself; who, besides adding many minor details that had escaped our
recollection, explained various circumstances which had struck us as
somewhat obscure and unaccountable.

I leave the tale, however, so far in its original state, as to make our
acquaintance himself relate


THE ADVENTURES OF BLAS EL GUERRILLERO,

Who, having first carefully examined the outer apartment, which was used
as a kind of granary, and then closed the door of that we occupied, thus
commenced his story.

My name, _caballeros_, is Blas Maldonado; my present office, that of
_Corregidor_[170] of the neighbouring town of ----.[171] The place of my
birth was M----, a small _pueblo_[172] on the other side of the
_Serranía de Ronda_, of which my father and mother were natives.

I believe, notwithstanding the somewhat Italian sound of my
_appellido_,[173] that there is a tolerable proportion of the red blood
of the Moors in my veins, and that my name is corrupted from the Arabic.

My parents were both of respectable, though humble, birth, and owned a
small _pacienda_ in the vicinity of Utrera, which, from time immemorial,
had been in possession of my mother's family. Devoid alike of pride,
education, and ambition, they lived in monotonous contentment on the
proceeds of their miserable farm, which I, as their only child who had
reached maturity, was destined to inherit.

I was beloved by my parents, but especially by my mother, with the most
unbounded affection; and from my earliest youth was accustomed to have
every wish gratified, every whim indulged. As I advanced in years, I
soon showed that I possessed a spirit which soared above the pruning of
vines and gathering of olives; and my kind mother checked not this
rising ambition; for, though unaspiring herself, she was anxious that
her child should be distinguished above the common herd of mankind. My
father, however, was desirous of bringing me up to the occupation of my
forefathers; saying to my mother, that they themselves had always been
happy in the state to which it had pleased their maker to call them;--a
condition which, if humble, was one of independence, and placed them, in
point of worldly wealth, above the most part of their associates; and
that, if they consulted their child's welfare, they should not bring him
up above his calling; for he would only thereby lose the friendship and
esteem of his neighbours, without increasing their respect; and might,
by idleness and pride, be led to his perdition here and hereafter.

These old-fashioned notions were fortunately overruled; though I must
needs confess, that in the early part of my career, I often thought my
father had been endowed with the gift of prophecy. My more
tender-hearted parent declared, that I had a mind above the direction of
a plough, even if my bodily frame had been strong enough to bear the
fatigue of a life of labour; and closing her arguments with a flood of
tears, she reminded my father of the children they had lost in early
life, and begged that I, their last hope, might not also be sacrificed.

I was accordingly sent to Seville, to be educated for the church; that
being the only profession my well-intentioned father would hear of my
embracing. My fond mother paid me constant visits, to convince herself
that my health was not suffering from too close an application to study;
supplying me with money saved by her household economy, to enable me to
purchase books, and whatever else I might stand in need of. Her fears
were not perhaps so groundless as, judging from my present strength and
health, you might imagine; for, following the natural bent of my
inclination, a thirst for knowledge, I gave up the whole of my time to
reading; despising the amusements of my schoolfellows, to whom I felt
myself as superior in intellect, as they prided themselves on being in
the accidental matter of birth.

I soon, however, wearied of the lives of the saints, and other good
books placed in my hands; and leaving them for such as wished to learn
how to merit canonization, I sought for more worldly knowledge in the
pages of Guzman de Alfarache, Gil Blas, and other adventurers, who, like
myself, had had their fortunes to seek; and, whilst I considered the
last-named _hero_ a mere driveller, devoid of all honourable ambition, I
adopted his code of morality, as the only one to be followed by one who
has to push his way through the selfish crowd that throngs every avenue
to wealth and power.

My parents, informed by those to whose care I was entrusted, that I was
by no means likely to become an ornament to the church, were at length
persuaded to allow me to make trial of the law. But though at the outset
I applied very diligently to the dry study to which my mind was now
directed, yet I soon found it suited my taste as little as that of
divinity. Of the two, indeed, I think I preferred the lives of the Holy
Fathers to the _Siete Partidas_ of _Alfonzo el Sabio_; for the former,
at all events, contained ample matter for satire and ridicule, for which
I had a natural turn; whereas the latter formed a mass of heavy reading,
replete with incongruities, and clogged with technicalities, which
ill-suited my peculiar humour.

During the latter years of my residence at Seville, however, my reading
was altogether diverted into another channel. I became acquainted with a
French youth, by name Louis Xavier le Bas, who, intended for the
mercantile profession, had been sent to our commercial capital, where
some of his mother's relatives were settled, for the purpose of
acquiring a knowledge of the Spanish language.

Though this person was several years my senior in age, a similarity of
tastes soon warmed into the closest friendship an acquaintance that had
been commenced merely with a view to our mutual advantage. I initiated
him in all the mysteries of Spanish life, and he, in return, undertook
_à me decrasser_, as he termed it, and render me fit to _jouer un rôle
distingué_ on the theatre of the world. In short, we became inseparable;
and our despised and despising fellow-students thence designated us Don
Cleofas and Asmodeus.

This valuable friend, devil or not, was the means of my acquiring a
tolerable knowledge of the French language, (which has proved of
infinite service to me,) and of my understanding being enlarged by the
writings of Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet, and other enlightened
materialists of his nation, whose depth of reasoning and witty satires
were, at that period, effecting such beneficial changes in France;
removing from the eyes of the _people_ the bandages of ignorance and
bigotry that had so long blinded them to their state of slavery and
debasement.

These works, though forbidden by the despot government of Spain, were
surreptitiously obtained for me by my kind friend; and their perusal
opened my eyes also to the deplorable state of degradation in which my
own country was plunged. I accordingly became a philosopher, and, I may
say, even a _liberal_, long before the term was heard or understood in
this enslaved and priest-ridden land.

Our school companions, unable to comprehend the elevated principles by
which we were governed, shunned us as plebeian democrats and blasphemous
free thinkers. But we soon collected around us a set of more congenial
spirits, and became the founders of a secret political association, that
has since spread widely throughout the whole kingdom.

I had nearly completed the fifth year of my sojourn at Seville, when an
unwelcome summons from my father bade me repair forthwith to M----. His
letter briefly stated, that, concluding I must by this time have
thoroughly digested the contents of _all_ the law books ever published
in the universe--my father, as you may perceive, was very ignorant in
such matters--he had embraced a most favourable opportunity that
presented itself of establishing me in the world agreeably to my desire;
and, accordingly, was about to place me, together with a handsome bonus,
in the hands of Don Benito Quisquilla, the village attorney, to be by
him initiated into all the practical quirks and chicaneries of the law;
with the view, if I gave promise of becoming a useful co-operator in the
work of litigation, of being eventually admitted to a share of his daily
increasing profits.

This prospect of settling down as a country attorney was, as my friend
and counsellor Le Bas said, quite insufferable to one of my intellectual
powers, cultivated mind, and honourable ambition. If I had finally
determined on following the profession of the law, he observed, the only
fit field for one of my abilities was the capital. _There_, he had no
doubt, I should soon rise to distinction; whereas, in a country town, my
pursuit of fame would be as vain as that of partridges _en campo
raso_.[174]

This opinion tallied exactly with my own; for, feeling myself as
superior in mental endowments as in physical powers to the decrepit
piece of nobility who owned the vast plains surrounding the miserable
inheritance to which I was born, I saw no reason why I should be
inferior to him in worldly wealth and consideration. With these and
various other arguments, therefore, I replied to my father, urging him
to break off with Don Benito, and furnish me with the means of
accompanying my friend, Le Bas, to Madrid, where he was about to
establish himself as a merchant. My father, however, would not listen to
reason. He replied, that the Duke of Medina Celi was born a grandee of
Spain, and I a peasant; and, with respect to a reflection I had cast
upon the justice of Providence in distributing so unequally the good
things of this world, he maintained that, though my life was doomed to
be one of labour, yet it was as sweet, probably even sweeter, than that
of him whose lot I seemed so much to envy.

Finding that it was _predicar en el desierto_[175] to argue with my
father, and that my mother did not give me the support on which I had
reckoned, I had no alternative but to acquiesce in the proposed plan,
and wait for the favourable moment of relieving myself from the paternal
yoke. I, therefore, took a most affectionate leave of Le Bas, who
promised to summons me to the capital as soon as he had an opportunity
of serving me, and, with a very bad grace, obeying my father's commands,
proceeded to M----.

My parents were delighted with the improvements that had taken place in
my health, person, and deportment, and not less proud of the
superiority my education and accomplishments had given me over the
companions of my childhood. I was now, my fond mother declared, entitled
to _llamar de vos_[176] the first _hidalgo_ in the land; and, I believe,
_Caballeros_, that, without vanity, I may say, my coming caused some
little sensation in my natal town.

I was not long in discovering, however, that the place contained no fit
associate for one of my stamp. Those few amongst the inhabitants whose
professions had rendered some little education necessary, were, from
morning to night, occupied at their respective vocations, and affected
rather to treat me as a _parvenu_. The youths of my own age, on the
other hand, were ignorant clowns, of whom I could not possibly make
companions; and, with pain I make the admission, even on the authors of
my being I could not now avoid looking down with some slight feeling of
contempt. They were all kindness, however, and my father spared not the
means of enabling me to continue the same expensive manner of life to
which I had so long been accustomed.

Deprived as I now found myself of associates of my own sex--for I
believe every boor in the place hated me most thoroughly--my time was
exclusively devoted to the society of the other; and I need not,
therefore, tell you--for most young men are aware of the expenses
attendant on such intimacies--that my father's purse was drawn heavily
upon to meet my increasing exigencies.

Meanwhile my legal studies were prosecuted with no great assiduity. Don
Benito, who, whilst my father's money was fresh in his pocket, had, for
the sake of appearances, treated me with affected kindness, soon threw
off the mask of hypocrisy, and neglected no occasion of making me aware
of the little interest he took in my welfare. The soft and speaking eyes
of his fair daughter told me, however, that she entertained a kindlier
feeling towards me; an avowal which was quickly followed by the
admission that I was the sole possessor of her affections.

I must make the ungallant confession, _Caballeros_, that _expediency_
was the only incentive I had for encouraging the passion of the lovely
girl. My life had been too dissolute to admit so pure an affection as
her's readily to take root within my breast; but I saw in it the only
sure stepping-stone to greatness--money; for Don Benito was a wealthy
man, Alitéa his only daughter.

Whilst yet undecided as to the best means to be adopted for the
accomplishment of my purpose (for it was a matter requiring some
consideration, since I was perfectly aware the crafty old lawyer would
never _consent_ to our union, my dissipated mode of living having
involved me in pecuniary difficulties of which he could not well be
ignorant), events occurred which, by opening other prospects to me, for
a time drove Alitéa altogether out of my thoughts.

The trifling sum that my father's frugal habits had enabled him to lay
by, had been entirely swallowed up in placing me with Don Benito; and to
meet my increasing expenditure, which he fully believed was merely money
put out to interest, he conceived that increased exertions on his part
were necessary. Against this--since in replying to my mother's
objections to my following the plough, he had ever maintained that
agricultural pursuits were of all others the most healthy--I could have
nothing to say. But these exertions soon proved too much for the old
man's strength, and he contracted a painful disorder, from which, after
a tedious confinement, it became a mercy to be relieved.

I mention these circumstances, _Caballeros_, not for the purpose of
repelling the charge brought against me by my kind fellow-townsmen, of
having wilfully accelerated my parent's death, a crime of which, God be
praised, my conscience is quite clear, but to show the ill will they
entertained towards me; a feeling to which, in the course of my story,
I shall again have occasion to refer.

I had always expected, on the death of my father, to find myself in the
possession of a comfortable independence, as he had ever represented to
me that such would be the case.

But, during his protracted illness, every thing had gone wrong at the
farm: the cattle died; those of our neighbours intruded upon our crops;
the vines remained unpruned; the olives rotted upon the ground; the
property, in fact, had become a perfect wilderness; and, to obtain money
to defray the expenses of my parent's funeral, I was obliged to sell the
implements of husbandry upon the farm; those being the only property
which could be immediately rendered available.

Before proceeding to this extremity, however, I had applied to Don
Benito for assistance. The pettifogging rascal in reply said, that he
had every disposition in the world to befriend me, and, with that view,
felt called upon to say, that the further study of a profession for
which I had neither the requisite talent nor application, would be
merely a waste of time and money; and to advise me to apply myself to
the healthful occupation of my forefathers, for which, on the other
hand, my bodily strength peculiarly fitted me. "On this condition only,"
he concluded, "can I render you assistance. Give me your promise to
devote your best energies to this honest calling, and I am ready at once
to return the sum advanced by your father, though not called upon to do
so, either by law or equity."

I spurned his offer with the contemptuous indignation it merited,
withdrew from all further intercourse with the miserly wretch, and, as I
have already said, sold every thing that I could lay my hands upon.

Could I have acted otherwise? impossible! But the blow inflicted on my
mother by this sudden destruction of her long-indulged hopes was too
heavy for her to bear up against. Staggering already under her late
loss, and now with the dread of penury and want added to her sufferings,
she sank broken-hearted to the grave.

I can ill describe my feelings on the heart-rending occasion. I had
loved my mother with the fondest affection; yet had it been my _fate_ to
drug the cup that agonised her last moments! With pleasure would I have
laid down my own life to prolong her's; yet had it been my unlucky
destiny to inflict the blow that hurried her to the tomb! She
nevertheless felt more for me than for herself, even in her last
moments; and her dying breath was spent in calling down a blessing on my
head. _Ya està en el cielo._[177]

To meet the fresh expenses my mother's illness and death had brought
upon me, as well as to liquidate my former debts, I was now under the
necessity of raising more money. I tried in vain to effect a mortgage on
my property: nobody would advance a _maravedi_ upon it! To obtain a few
paltry doubloons, therefore, I had no alternative left but to sell the
patrimony handed down to me by a long line of ancestors. My _hacienda_
was accordingly put up to public auction; and--deteriorated in value as
it was represented to be, by every one but the auctioneer--sold for
something less than one third of its real value. The purchaser was Don
Benito Quisquilla.

The proceeds of the sale, after paying the customary expenses, were
barely sufficient to satisfy the various demands made upon me; and I was
left a bankrupt in wealth as well as expectations; a being without a
relative in the wide world to speak comfort to him; without a friend to
advise him; without a home; without even the means of subsistence!

Was life any longer worth preserving? I weighed its value in the scales
of experience--fleeting joys on the one side, rankling injuries on the
other; and the preponderating weight of the latter had well nigh
determined me to rid myself of the burthen of existence, when the
sweetness of revenge, cast into the opposing balance, turned the scale,
and decided me to live--to live to be revenged on _mankind_.

The purchaser of my property, or rather the swindler who had obtained
possession of it, again outraged my wounded feelings by the repetition
of his humiliating offer of assistance. Thus insulted and scorned by the
specious villain whose robberies had rendered me a beggar, I swore to
let fall on him the first stroke of my revenge. I kept my oath! I tore
from his arms his daughter, his darling Alitéa--the solace of his
widowed hearth--the prop of his declining years. She fled from the
paternal roof, and became my--mistress!

Ignorant of all that had passed between her father and myself, and but
too ready to lend a favouring ear to my tale, few persuasions were
necessary to induce Alitéa to comply with my proposal. I assured her
that I had sounded Don Benito on the subject of a marriage, and that he
objected only on account of the disparity of years: she who was then
entering her twenty-third year, being two years older than myself. But
as this objection, trifling as it could not but be considered, was
nevertheless one which would always exist, I convinced her that it could
only be overcome by the step I proposed, a step which would readily be
forgiven by an indulgent father. She trusted to my honour and her
father's kindness, and became my victim.

We fled to the mountains, and sought a refuge amongst the lawless
bandits of Olbera, a place proverbial for sheltering the outcasts of
society. There we remained for several months, subsisting on the few
_onzas_ that remained in my purse from the sale of my patrimony, and by
disposing of various trinkets that Alitéa had brought away with her. But
our funds were soon exhausted, and it became necessary to take some
steps to procure the means of maintenance.

On matters reaching this stage, it had originally been my intention to
abandon Don Benito's daughter to her fate, and seek my fortune in
America; for, as I have already said, Alitéa had awakened no feeling of
love within my breast, and the idea of making her my wife, though
entertained previous to my rupture with her father, had never once
entered my thoughts on taking her from the paternal roof. Revenge alone
had instigated me to an act, by which I purposed bringing everlasting
disgrace on Don Benito, and his vaunted high connexions.

But, besides that Alitéa possessed great personal attractions, and had
given proof of loving me with the most boundless affection, which
naturally disposed my feelings to warm towards her, she, even now, on
discovering the deceit I had practised; that I was a libertine; a
beggar; nay, even when I told her she was the mere instrument of my
revenge, did not reproach me with one bitter word.--"Blas, Blas, I trust
to your honour," was the only appeal made to her seducer's feelings.

Was it in human nature to spurn so confiding, so affectionate a being?
For my _punishment_ (so a confessor would, probably, have told me) it
was ordained, that the cold admiration with which I first regarded
Alitéa should gradually warm into the most fervent, the most ardent
love, to make me feel more poignantly the wrong I had done, the misery I
had brought on this admirable being!

Bitterly as I upbraided _fate_, and curst the author of my misfortunes,
more bitter still were my self-reproaches at having exposed the object
of my adoration to the hardships and privations we were doomed to
suffer; for we were now obliged to labour from daylight to dark to earn
a miserable pittance, barely sufficient to procure the necessaries of
life, and to be satisfied with the humblest lodging, the coarsest
garments, and the poorest food.

At length, urged by my love for Alitéa, and yet more by the prospect of
a family, I determined on opening a communication with Don Benito, which
I did by proposing to marry his daughter, and thus save the blighted
honour of her family. This proposal was, of course, coupled with a
stipulation--for it was now my turn to dictate terms--that a handsome
settlement should be made upon us.

The medium I selected for carrying on this delicate negociation was one
of the villagers, a smuggler, with whom I had become intimate, and whose
avocation afforded the opportunity of communicating with Don Benito,
without furnishing a clue, by which our place of concealment could be
discovered. On the fidelity of my friend--having exacted a promise of
the most inviolable secrecy--I thought the fullest reliance might be
placed; but "honour and profit will not both keep in one sack," as the
saying is. The scoundrel had not enough virtue to resist a bribe of a
few dollars, and he acquainted Don Benito with every thing concerning
us.

This abominable piece of treachery, whilst it served to increase the
hatred I bore mankind, had a considerable influence in stamping my
future character, for I became habitually wary and distrustful. But, to
resume my narrative, on returning one evening from my daily work, I
found Don Benito at my Alitéa's bed-side, and that she had prematurely
given birth to a male child--an _illegitimate_ child.

I pass over the scene of mutual recrimination that ensued. What might
have happened, but for the precarious state in which Alitéa was lying, I
know not. Enraged beyond measure at the circumstance, which, for the
moment, had caused the failure of his project to recover his daughter,
Don Benito took his departure, calling down upon me every possible
malediction, and declaring to the village authorities his firm resolve
to return without loss of time, armed with power to lodge me in a gaol,
and place his daughter in a convent; but I baulked his purpose, by
making Alitéa my wife that very night. Her father had dropped his purse
upon the floor, and I scrupled not to employ its contents in so
legitimate a purpose.

I soon found an obsequious priest, ready to do my bidding. They are not
over-scrupulous in religious matters at Olbera, neither are the laws
very rigidly enforced there[178]; so that on my _father-in-law's_
return, a few days after, with the _justicia_, I set him at defiance.

I had, some time previously, made up my mind to perform this tardy act
of justice to my Alitéa, but had delayed it with the view of exacting
favourable terms from her father, who, I thought, as our Spanish saying
has it, would rather see _La hija mal casada que bien abarraganada_.[179]
Having failed in this, it became necessary to marry her for my own
sake; since, though Don Benito might still send me to prison, I could
now insist on my _wife_ accompanying me.

He was outrageous on finding that his revengeful intention was thwarted;
but, seeing that menaces had no effect upon me, changed his tone, and
proposed that I should resign his daughter for a sum of money. This I
resolutely declined, whilst Alitéa, on her knees, implored his
forgiveness. How the monster could refuse I know not; but he did, and
they parted, to meet no more.

A few days after this scene, a letter was delivered to Alitéa from her
unnatural parent. In it, after declaring that he would no longer hold
communion with the villain who had brought misery on her, and disgrace
on the name she bore, and who, but on her account, he would pursue with
the utmost vengeance of the outraged laws of our country, he proceeded
to state, that still prompted by the recollection of the unbounded
affection he had borne her mother, he had determined to make an
allowance sufficient for our bare support, and that a certain sum would,
for that purpose, be lodged periodically in the hands of the superior of
the convent of _San Pablo de la Breña_, in our vicinity; where he
charged her, if the religious precepts he had implanted in her breast
were not entirely eradicated, to make the frequent confessions necessary
for the salvation of her soul. The money indeed, he added, was to be
paid only on these conditions, and into her own hands, and so long as he
was assured that she experienced proper treatment from me. Convinced,
however, he pursued, that I was actuated solely by the vilest of
motives, and not influenced by any regard for _her_ in refusing to give
her up, he once more repeated the offer made at our last interview; or
even offered to settle on me alone the sum he purposed to allow us
jointly, if I would formally resign his daughter, and allow the marriage
to be annulled. In conclusion, he informed her, that though his door
would ever be open to admit a repentant daughter, it was closed for ever
against that daughter's seducer, and the offspring of our criminality.

My wife perused the letter, and, with a steady countenance, but brimful
eye, placed it in my hands. "Well, Alitéa," said I, "will you return to
your father and luxury, or remain to share the poverty of your husband?
I pledge you my word it shall be as you may choose--decide."--"I have
already decided," she replied: "I remain."

I sent a scornful reply to Don Benito's letter, returning, with usurious
interest, the opprobrious terms he had lavished upon me. "Villain,"
indeed, from him who was the source of all my misfortunes!--Nevertheless,
he was as good as his word; the allowance was regularly paid into the
hands of Alitéa; and, added to the profits arising from the cultivation
of a vineyard, it enabled us, without much labour, to live in comfort,
if not luxury.

But short, alas! was this period of happiness; the cup of life appeared
only to have been sweetened for a brief space, to render more bitter the
long draught of misery that was in reserve for me. My Alitéa had never
entirely recovered from the effects of the shock occasioned by her
father's sudden visit; and, as if fate took pleasure in mocking our
tardy marriage, the illegitimate Fernando was doomed to be the only
issue that proceeded from it. Suffice it to say, my wife fell at length
a victim to her father's rash act, and I was once more alone in the
world, and a beggar.

Even now, _Caballeros_, though two-and-thirty years have elapsed since
my Alitéa was torn from me, I cannot speak of her loss with composure.
Judge then of my frantic rage at the time. In my ungovernable frenzy, I
rushed into the open air, to upbraid the Almighty Being who had given me
existence; I invoked his utmost wrath, I defied his utmost power, but in
vain! I was fated to live on, to endure yet greater wretchedness. Fool
that I was, to repine at what was written in the book of _Fate_!

I returned to the house of death, to obtain the means of ridding myself
of an existence that I abhorred. I was about to snatch my knife from its
sheath to execute my purpose, when, casting my eyes yet once more on my
adored Alitéa, I saw my child, my helpless Fernando, extended in violent
convulsions at her side. A sense of the duty I owed the dear pledge of
my Alitéa's love checked my upraised arm. I determined to live for that
boy--that boy thenceforth became my all.

The allowance made by Don Benito was immediately stopped on the death of
his daughter, without his condescending even to inquire after her child.
It became necessary, therefore, to adopt some course of life better
suited to me than that of a field labourer, to earn wherewith to support
us; and I accordingly joined a band of Contrabandistas, and, in the
lawless life I thenceforth led, found an occupation well suited to my
adventurous, and now reckless disposition.

During several years that I devoted to this precarious profession, I
made frequent visits to Cadiz, where my knowledge of the French language
threw me in constant communication with the various merchants of that
nation, who were, at that period, established there. Amongst these, to
my inexpressible delight, I discovered my old friend Le Bas--though now
glorying in the virtuous republican appellation of Publius Manlius
Niveleur. Our intimacy was, of course, renewed, and, as he had the
means of throwing a great deal of business into my hands, I soon drove a
thriving trade. Through him, also, I became _au fait_ as to the state of
affairs in France, and, consequently, aware of the great benefits that
had accrued to the people by the change from a Despotic to a Republican
government; and of other events, which our rulers took every possible
pains to prevent reaching the ears of the Spanish people.

I am speaking now of as distant an epoch as the year 1796, when France,
having emancipated herself from the thraldom of a tyrannical king, a
vicious nobility, and a corrupt priesthood, was basking in the sunshine
of liberty;--when each had his rights, and was equal to his neighbour.
Need I say, _Caballeros_, that I longed for the day to arrive when my
own country should be relieved from the ravages of similar birds of prey
and devouring locusts?

My early hatred of our abominated tyrants and oppressors had been
fostered by numerous persecutions; for, since entering on my new
vocation--a vocation made necessary for the _people_, by the infamous
monopolies enjoyed by those termed _noble_--I had been twice imprisoned,
and no less than three times afterwards relieved from that punishment
solely by dint of bribery. Once, also, I had been subjected to a heavy
fine for barking trees in a forest, belonging to a worthy brotherhood
of _Capuchinos Descalzos_;--a swarm of lazy drones, who, gaining an easy
livelihood by begging impudently from door to door, could ill brook
seeing others turn that to account, which, if not neglected by
themselves, would render their alms-seeking unnecessary.

However, I had now an excellent business, and money, I calculated, would
bring me out of all further difficulties; for, by this time, I had
acquired a knowledge of its value in obtaining immunity for all sorts of
crimes. In an unlucky hour, however, I was detected shooting deer in a
forest belonging to the _Conde de Aguila_; and one of the keepers, who
owed me a grudge, refused the proffered bribe. The Count himself proved
beyond my price, though I made him a handsome offer; and, affecting
great indignation at this attempt to corrupt the pure course of justice,
he prosecuted me most vindictively. The consequence was, I was found
guilty, and sentenced to ten years' transportation to Ceuta, with chains
and hard labour.

Who will deny that these things called for a change in the institutions
of my country? Was the luxury of tobacco to be placed beyond the reach
of the peasant, whilst the noble _con pierna tendida_[180] spent his
whole life involved in a cloud of smoke? Was the industrious husbandman
to be contented with rags and tatters, whilst lazy priests were clothed
in silks and brocade? And, surely, even if the neglected bark of the
forest trees was sacred, the wild beasts, that sheltered in that forest,
were the property of all!

The most severe pang the banishment from my native land caused me, was
the separation from my beloved Fernando, at that time a boy of eight
years old. During my frequent short absences from home, I had always
left him in charge of an old crone, the widow of one of our gang, and
receiver of our smuggled cargoes. But I dreaded lest, on the news of my
sentence reaching her ears, she should send my poor boy adrift to beg
his bread--perhaps, to starve--in this wide, uncharitable world.

For the ten long years that I was doomed to exile, did this dread weigh
upon me yet heavier than the chains that bound me to my task. I
constantly wrote, and sent repeated messages by convicts returning to
our native land, at the expiration of their term of punishment, and who
invariably promised to inform me of the result of their inquiries; but
never did any tidings of my boy arrive, to cheer me in my tedious
captivity!

The day of my release at length arrived; the shackles were struck from
my emaciated limbs; and, ere I left the African shore, I registered a
vow--which has been most truly kept--that the tyrants should rue the day
on which Blas Maldonado had been condemned to labour like a highway
robber, or midnight assassin.

I seized the first opportunity of proceeding to Gibraltar. Had the means
of quitting the sea-girt prison[181] not quickly presented itself, I
verily believe I should have attempted to swim across the wide channel
that separated me from my country, so painful had my restraint become.
The communication with the English fortress was then open. On landing
there, I learnt that our imbecile old king and his hopeful son had both
been persuaded to leave their country; which, distracted by parties, and
without a government, was at the mercy of an ambitious priesthood, and
an ignorant, perfidious nobility.

The opportunity of wreaking vengeance on my oppressors was most
favourable. I hastened first, however, to Olbera, to obtain tidings of
my son--my long estranged Fernando. Alas! no one could give me any
information concerning him. The _Tia Dorotea_, in whose charge I had
left him, had been dead several years; but the boy had, "it was said,"
absconded from her, long before her death. It was not a matter to
interest the savages who had been my associates. I cursed them all from
the bottom of my heart, and proceeded on to M----.

My inquiries there were not more successful. Don Benito had long since
left the place, and no one could, or _would_, give me any information
concerning my son. I included the whole population in my sweeping
malediction, and, with a heart panting for revenge, proceeded to
Seville, where I had ascertained that one of my oppressors, at all
events, was within reach of my knife.

Reckless of life, and fearless of consequences; with a ready flow of
words, and a breast full of wrongs, I soon acquired an extraordinary
ascendency over the ignorant and volatile mob of that turbulent city. A
riot was the consequence; and by the knife of _one of those_ engaged in
it, fell the Conde de Aguila!

For some months after this I went about exciting feelings of distrust
against the nobility, and of hatred against the hypocritical monks, that
eat up the produce of our fertile fields. But the battle of Beylen
having again restored, in some measure, the influence of these rapacious
vultures, I was arrested as a seditious person, on information lodged by
one of my own followers. A mockery of justice took place in the way of a
trial; I was found guilty, and sentenced to death.

The day of my execution was fixed; but I had a purse full of money, and
managed to escape from the place allotted for my prison; and thinking
that the constitution at this period, promulgated by the intrusive king,
held out great promise of relieving my unhappy country from its state of
degradation--as well by opening all professions to every _class_ of
Spaniards as by making promotion the reward of merit--I determined to
seek distinction in the ranks of our liberators. Accordingly, I
proceeded to the north of Spain, and joined the French army at the
moment it was about to resume offensive operations on the banks of the
Ebro.

My acquaintance with the invaders' language made me a valuable recruit,
and I was attached as an orderly and interpreter to General----.

With all my wrongs fresh rankling in my breast, I burned to bathe my
sword in the blood of my base countrymen, fighting in the ranks of
slavery and despotism. And too soon, alas! was the opportunity afforded
me.

The first operations of the French army, in the campaign which now
opened, were crowned with the most brilliant success. Army after army
disappeared before them, like chaff before the wind. A last effort to
resist the invaders was made by Palafox and Castaños, in the plains of
Tudela; and here, again, I drew my sword for those whom I hoped were to
be the liberators of my country.

I need not describe more of that scene of slaughter than is necessary
for my tale. The Arragones, posted on the Spanish right, shamefully
abandoned their position, after a feeble resistance. The gallant old
Castaños flew to the left, where the Andalusian troops, whom he had led
to victory at Baylen, were stationed, and attempted to restore the
battle; but his efforts were vain; all he could effect was to withdraw
this wing of his panic-struck army with some kind of order.

It is impossible for me to describe the irresistible thirst for blood
which impelled me forward on that fatal day. I have since--as you will
hear in the sequel--fought against these very French, whose bread I was
then eating; but never was my sword edged with the same temper that now
sharpened it. The moment of revenge had, I conceived, at length
arrived--the long invoked opportunity of wreaking vengeance on my
perfidious, abject countrymen. I thought of my wife, hurried to an
untimely grave--of my child, left to perish for want--of my ignominious
chains and treacherous associates; and I became frantic with rage.

I had quitted the side of my general, whose division was posted towards
the centre of the line, that I might be opposed to the vile
_espadachines_ of my native province. I arrived at the moment that the
general confusion was spreading amongst their ranks; and, seizing a
lance from a Frenchman, who fell wounded at my side, I rushed
impetuously upon my flying countrymen. Trampling down the common herd,
for others who came after me to despatch, I pushed madly forward in
pursuit of nobler game, and marked as my victim a young cavalry officer,
who was vainly endeavouring to rally his fugitive troopers. I rode at
him with my lance _en joue_, and, being an able _toreador_, had little
fears of the result of the contest, though he awaited my onset with
perfect self-possession. Before I came within his reach, however, he was
struck from his horse by a musket-ball, and fell, apparently lifeless,
at my feet.

I do not know what prompted me--certainly not the love of gold, for at
that moment my thoughts were bent entirely on blood--not a feeling of
mercy, for that was yet further from my mind than wealth; but some
unaccountable impulse, perhaps the agency of the devil, persuaded me to
alight, and strip the youth of his bright gold epaulettes.

I found that he had been shot in the head, the ball having entered at
one eye, and seemingly passed out at the other. His face was suffused
with gore, but he was not dead.

I was about to finish his short career with a thrust of my lance, when
it struck me it would be less merciful to allow the blind wretch to eke
out his miserable existence. Stripping him, therefore, of his
epaulettes, "You may live, young _hidalgo_," said I, "unless you are
lucky enough to find some Frenchman more charitably disposed towards you
than myself. You will yet serve for an _espantajo_!"[182]

"What!" exclaimed the youth, "is it a Spaniard who pillages a dying
countryman? Is it a vile renegade that taunts me with the disfigurement
of an honourable wound? Then may my dying curse be upon him; may it ring
perpetually in his ears, as a foretaste of torments to be endured,
should my arm fail in sending him at once to eternal punishment!"

So saying, he snatched a pistol from his breast, and, ere I could arrest
his hand, fired in the direction he judged me to be. The ball--would it
had been more surely aimed!--merely grazed my left cheek, leaving the
mark you may see through my bushy whisker.

Provoked beyond endurance by this act, I seized my adversary by the
throat, and, forcing my knife into his mouth, cut out the tongue that
had so lately cursed me; and then, after watching some moments the
wreathings of my tortured victim, sheathed it in his breast.

I felt in so doing that it had struck against something hard--I thought,
perhaps, a watch; and, tearing open his jacket, discovered, oh
God!--that I was the murderer of my son!



CHAPTER XIV.

BLAS EL GUERRILLERO--_continued_.


The worthy Señor Blas having quaffed a bumper of _Xeres seco_, by way of
drowning his sorrow, thus continued his story:--

I fell senseless on the mangled corpse of my beloved Fernando. How long
I remained in this state I know not, but I was aroused by the jeers of
some French soldiers, who, tearing me rudely from the now cold body of
my son, asked if I had fairly earned my compatriot's epaulettes; at the
same time very unceremoniously transferring them from my sash, into
which I had hastily thrust them, to their own havre-sacks.

I offered no resistance; but, when they were about to rob me as
unceremoniously of the chain and locket, proofs of my son's identity,
which my damp and blood-stained hand yet held in its convulsive grasp, I
checked their insolence by a look at my gory knife, taking at the same
time from my breast, and throwing towards them, the _carte de
protection_ of their general. They passed on, carrying off the
epaulettes, and laughing at and mimicking the grief and anger depicted
in my countenance.

I was again awakened to a sense of my misfortunes. At first I tried to
fancy it was all a dream; then, that I might still be mistaken in the
locket of my departed Alitéa; but a pocketbook, which, on further
search, I discovered on the person of my ill-fated son, established the
appalling fact, beyond the possibility of doubt.

I hastily dug a grave for my boy, but, ere returning the corse to its
native clay, I vowed to revenge his death upon the heartless foreigners,
who, having led me to commit this crime, and brought a dying curse upon
my head, had scoffed at my grief and misery. I accordingly took the
first opportunity of quitting the French army, and falling in with a
gang of lawless freebooters, who, under the pretext of fighting the
enemies of their country, robbed and plundered indiscriminately friend
and foe, I enlisted, a willing recruit, into the _quadrilla_.[183]

In the matter of plunder, I believe that the _best_ of the _guerrilla_
bands, which now began to be formed throughout the country, were as
little scrupulous as that of which I became a member, though they had
not the honesty to admit it. Many, certainly, were the acts of atrocity
committed by our band. We scoured the whole of Old Castile and Leon,
levying contributions wherever we moved; we hung upon the flank of the
English army in its retreat to Coruña, filling our pockets with
doubloons, and our pouches with ammunition; we slaughtered any luckless,
wearied, or wounded French straggler that came across our path, but
sought not for opportunities of exchanging shots with our invaders.

In this latter respect, the plan of our leader was too timid for me, and
I sometimes managed to join the red-coats in a skirmish with the common
enemy. On one of these occasions my life was saved by one of your
countrymen. From that day I have known how to value an Englishman, and
have never neglected an opportunity of evincing my gratitude to the
fellow-countrymen of my brave deliverer.

I had straggled away from our _quadrilla_, accompanied by two of my
comrades, to take part in a skirmish which was going on at the passage
of a small river, between the rear-guard of the English and their
pursuing enemies. The object in view was, of course, merely to retard
the advance of the French; since your army was in full retreat; and just
as the signal was given for the skirmishers to retire, I received a
carbine ball in my thigh which unhorsed me. My frightened charger
galloped off, as did also my two companions, leaving me to the tender
mercies of the advancing enemy. One of your countrymen happened,
however, to look round, and seeing me doomed to destruction, though
doing my best to hobble off, rode back amidst a shower of bullets to
render me assistance. "John," said he, "you're a brave fellow; give me
your hand and jump up behind me." I did the first part of his bidding;
but whilst in the act of climbing up in obedience to the second, a shot
disabled his left arm. The gallant lad immediately seized me with his
right hand, by the help of which I scrambled on his horse's back, when
another shot brought him to the ground. Poor fellow! one groan alone
escaped him. I was obliged to fly, but did not do so until I had
convinced myself that his life was extinct.

My own wound was but slight; and soon after this affair, thinking your
army had thrown away all its treasure, we betook ourselves to the
mountains of Asturias, returning along the northern coast of Spain into
Navarre, and thence into Catalonia, where we commenced a more decided
guerrilla warfare against the enemy; embracing every opportunity of
attacking him when _profit_ was to be gained without much risk.

I soon distinguished myself above the rest of the quadrilla by my daring
and unscrupulousness; and my influence, particularly amongst the most
reckless of the band, increased daily; so great, indeed, did it become,
that the chief and his chosen associates regarded me with extreme
jealousy. I was always urging them to leave the north of Spain, where we
had numerous competitors in the field, and proceed to the less
devastated province of Andalusia; for I longed for the opportunity of
settling my outstanding accounts with divers priests, _alcaldes_,
_hidalgos_, and others, for various little acts of _kindness_, shown me
during my contrabandista career; and I was anxious also to pay off a
debt of more serious amount, due to Don Benito; to explain which I must
go back a little in my story.

The pocket-book which I had found on the person of my unfortunate
Fernando contained several letters addressed to him by Don Benito, from
which, together with information they led me to seek by making a short
visit to Madrid, I learnt that my son had been removed from the care of
_Tia_ Dorotea, very soon after my transportation to Ceuta. About the
same period, it appeared, Don Benito had been suddenly called to Madrid,
from whence he had been sent as _Corregidor_ to some town in Galicia.

None of the various letters I wrote to my boy had been permitted to meet
his eye; and to his anxious inquiries after the fate of his convict
father, answer was made, that I had fallen a sacrifice to the unhealthy
climate of Africa.

On his removal from Olbera, Fernando had at once been sent to Salamanca
for his education, and was yet studying at the celebrated university of
that city, when the French invasion called the country to arms. With the
enthusiasm natural to youth, he burned to join the ranks of the
_Patriots_--as the ill-organized, worse directed, and in too many cases
shamefully betrayed bands of peasantry were called--and Don Benito, whom
it appeared had conceived a tardy affection for his grandson, had long
combated this desire. After vainly attempting, however, to turn him from
his purpose; and fearful, probably, by prolonged opposition, of being
himself denounced as an _Afrancesado_, he at length acceded to
Fernando's wishes, and procured for him a commission in a regiment of
cavalry, where he thought he would be less exposed to fatigue and
hardships than as a foot-soldier.

My gallant boy, as appeared as well by the letters found upon him, as by
a decoration at his breast, had already distinguished himself in the
field, when fate directed a father's hand to close his promising career.

Don Benito, I further learned, overwhelmed with grief by the death of
his grandson, had retired from Madrid to his native town. There,
clothed with power, I longed to beard him in his fancied security; to
tell him that his vile deceit had caused a son to raise his arm against
a father--had caused that father, in ignorance, to become the murderer
of his son; to tell him, in fine, that all his property, his ill-gotten
property--his life even--was at my disposal, to take and destroy as I
thought fit. To accomplish this was now the ruling desire within my
breast; my country's wrongs were but the pretence for acquiring power
amongst my companions.

Esteban, the leader of our _quadrilla_, was an overbearing, avaricious,
craven-hearted Catalan, who, fearful of venturing far from his own
mountain retreats, resolutely and effectually opposed my project of
making a dash at Andalusia. As a first step towards effecting my
purpose, therefore, it became necessary to dispose of him.

I have before stated that I had many friends in the troop, and by an
assumed generosity,--my share of plunder, unless consisting of arms,
horses, &c., being generally left to be divided amongst my comrades,--I
gradually succeeded in increasing the number of my adherents; thus
paving the way for becoming, one day, the leader of the band. In this I
but adopted the maxim of my favourite _Guzman de Alfarache_, who says,
"_ganar amigos es dar dinero a logro y sembrar en regadio_."[184] I
valued wealth, however, only as the means of obtaining _power_; and at
that moment, to give money was to gain friends, and to gain friends, to
attain power.

The friends I gained were very uncertain ones, it may be said. They were
such, nevertheless, as I could depend upon whilst fortune favoured me;
and what is friendship after all? a flimsy veil thrown over the double
face of mutual interest, which the slightest breath of adversity blows
aside! a mere footstep to the seat of power, which is trodden upon the
moment that seat is gained! Friendship! I have never in my eventful life
known it last when once the bond of interest was broken!

Strong, however, as my party had become, by the means I have stated, it
was not yet sufficiently so to warrant my coming to an open rupture with
Esteban, even had that been advisable. On the contrary, as the band
consisted principally of his countrymen, whose services I did not wish
to lose, it was desirable, in the step I meditated taking, to avoid even
the _suspicion_ of treachery. With this view, I arranged a plan with
three of my most faithful supporters, which was crowned with complete
success.

Esteban had obtained information, that, on a certain day, a convoy,
conveying treasure and ammunition for the use of the French division
employed at the siege of Gerona, would be sent from Figueras. The
escort, on account of the value of the convoy, would of course be
strong; but the avarice of our chief serving as a fillip to his courage,
we succeeded in persuading him to make an attempt to capture it. Taking
post, therefore, in a deep ravine, situated in the heart of a forest
through which the enemy must necessarily pass, a council was called to
consider the best mode of making the attack. Contrary to my usual
custom, I recommended the adoption of the most cautious proceedings. I
hinted that we must have been misinformed respecting the strength of the
escort; as, doubtless, so enormous a sum as that the enemy was sending
would be protected by a very strong body of troops. In fact, whilst
feeding Esteban's cupidity, I succeeded so completely in frightening
him, that he asked me to propose a plan for the attack.

I readily acquiesced; and my project meeting with unanimous approval,
was immediately acted upon. It was as follows. Two thirds of our force
were concealed in a hollow some distance from and to the right of the
road, beyond the pass. Their horses were muzzled to prevent detection by
their neighing, but were provided with slip knots to release them at a
moment's notice. The rest of the troop took post on foot on the left
side of the defilé, immediately over the road, three of the men retiring
some distance into the forest with the horses of this party, and keeping
them ready to bring up to the spot at the concerted signal.

The first party was placed under the command of the lieutenant of the
troop, the bosom friend of Esteban, who, screening his men carefully
from observation, was to allow the enemy's advanced guard to pass
unmolested until it had gained a comparatively open space clear of the
ravine, and then to charge it _à cierra ojos_,[185] for the purpose of
drawing to its support the main body of the escort, and so leave the
mules with the treasure but slightly protected. This done, he was to
retire, or not, according to circumstances.

Meanwhile, Esteban concealed himself in the thick foliage of an
evergreen oak that grew on the summit of an isolated crag, which,
standing out from the bank of the hollow way, protruded into and
commanded a perfect view of the road. From this elevated spot he was
(should he deem it advisable) to make the signal for a general attack by
liberating a huge eagle, which we always kept for this purpose; a signal
that, instead of exciting suspicion, we found rather tended to throw the
enemy off his guard. Our rendezvous was given for the night at a
village some ten miles from the scene of action.

As much of the detail of these arrangements had been left (out of
compliment) to me, I had no difficulty in selecting the _three men_ who
were to take charge of the horses of the dismounted party. As to myself,
to avoid suspicion, I volunteered joining the lieutenant's division,
which was likely to have the warmest work.

Every thing happened as I expected, if not altogether as I could have
wished; for the treasure was too well guarded to give us any chance of
attacking the escort with success. The enemy also advanced with great
caution; halted at the entrance of the pass, sent forward a cavalry
piquet to reconnoitre the road in advance, and detached infantry _en
eclaireurs_ up both banks of the hollow way. Having taken these
precautions, and closed up the train, they renewed their march.

Our scout gave timely notice of what was passing. We unmuzzled our
steeds, whose impatient neighing gave the enemy the first notice of our
vicinity, and that we had thrown ourselves between their main body and
somewhat compromised advanced guard. Our charge was like the swoop of an
eagle upon his prey, whilst the enemy's hurried notes of recall
resounded through the forest like the screams of a flight of terrified
plover. But the order for their return arrived too late. We fell upon
them ere they had time to make any disposition to receive our unlooked
for rear-attack, and sabred them to a man.

Whilst this was going forward, some slight confusion manifested itself
in the enemy's main body, but the commandant quickly restored order.
Sending forward all his horsemen to secure the head of the ravine, and
rally, as he hoped, his advanced guard, he reinforced his rear guard
with infantry, and then, recalling his tirailleurs to the edge of the
defilé, pushed on as quickly as possible to get through the pass, and
gain a field where discipline would resume its advantage over numbers.

The party with which I served was again drawn up, anxiously waiting for
the signal to renew the attack. We watched in vain, however, for the
rising of the bird of Jove. We heard a few scattered shots, which our
lieutenant very justly observed augured no good, and saw a formidable
body of cavalry deploying rapidly at the issue of the ravine, and
preparing to charge us. It was evident, therefore, that Esteban deemed
it hopeless to attack, and that it was high time for us to be off.
Indeed, had we been briskly attacked, the half of our party would most
certainly have been captured, but the good face we put upon it probably
led the enemy to suppose we were well supported, and they contented
themselves with firing a volley, as, putting spurs to our horses, we
dispersed in all directions.

On reassembling at the appointed rendezvous, the only person missing was
Esteban. As soon as prudence admitted, we returned to the late scene of
action to make search for our absent chieftain, and found his body lying
in the hollow way, but so hacked and disfigured as to render it
impossible to tell what had been the manner of his death. It was the
general opinion, therefore, since the shots we had heard could in no
other way be accounted for, that the enemy's tirailleurs must have
discovered him in the tree, and that the Frenchmen, enraged at their
severe loss, had thus cruelly mutilated him.

I did not attempt to combat this opinion, and the three men who had
_charge of the horses_ were quite silent in the matter, though they
could, perhaps, have told a different tale.

I see, _Caballeros_, that you are shocked at the little hesitation I
showed in taking this caitiff's life; but I can assure you no scruples
of conscience troubled me in the matter, for I had previously learnt
that the cowardly rascal had engaged the very men to shoot me, whom I
employed to perform that kind action towards him.

Esteban's death being thus placed beyond a doubt, it became necessary to
elect a new leader. Rodriguez (the lieutenant) and myself were the only
two competitors. I had, as I have already stated, many supporters in the
band; and some money which, no matter how, came at this time into my
possession, was liberally distributed to increase the number; but,
nevertheless, the Catalans and Biscayans, of whom the _quadrilla_
principally consisted, could not be brought over to my side, and
Rodriguez was preferred by a majority of votes. A separation was loudly
advocated by my friends; but to this, with affected humility, I refused
to listen. "No," said I, "we are all one family; let us not weaken our
strength by dissension. For my own part, I have no wish to command, and
will willingly yield obedience to Rodriguez."

The bait took; my friends stood out for a separation; and the supporters
of my competitor, charmed by my moderation, proposed (as a division
would probably lead to the destruction of both parties) that Rodriguez
and I should command alternately. This proposal was adopted with general
acclamation, for, whilst the Catalans acknowledged my superior talents
for command in the field, they thought the counsel of a Nestor like
Rodriguez would temper with prudence my somewhat venturesome projects;
besides which, he was better acquainted with the country where they
wished to act.

I knew that my coadjutor, though a brave old man, possessed no one other
quality to fit him for the leader of a band of guerrillas, who should be
decisive as well as courageous, full of resources as well as cautious,
and whose eye should be quick to turn ground to the best advantage, as
well as to acknowledge it as an old acquaintance. In order, therefore,
to let the band see his incompetency, and that he might become convinced
of it himself, I gave in to all his plans, without offering an
objection, and so effectually succeeded in my own, that, after
experiencing several severe checks, and reducing our _military chest_ to
a very small _box_, it became the general wish to change the scene of
operations, and proceed to a less devastated, and, consequently, less
protected country.

It was accordingly determined to make an experimental excursion into the
kingdom of Valencia, with which, whilst following the _contraband_ life,
I had become well acquainted.

Our _debût_ was most successful, for so unprepared was the enemy for our
sudden irruption that we captured a rich convoy under the very
walls[186] of the capital city, without the loss of a man. But a large
force being immediately despatched in pursuit, I (happening to be in
command for the day) directed the retreat upon Murcia, thereby enabling
the enemy to prevent our return to Catalonia.

This was a hazardous step, for the country to the north was not of a
nature to afford us either shelter or resources; whilst, to the south,
all the towns between us and the sea were occupied by French garrisons,
which, if we were not quick in our movements, or happened to meet with
any check, might easily cut short our further advance, and oblige us to
disperse.

To hesitate under these circumstances was to be lost; so, pushing on _à
cierra ojos_, we hardly drew rein until we had passed Guadix, when the
vicinity of the impracticable Alpujarra mountains secured us from attack
on the left, and, at the same time, assured us a safe retreat in the
event of being hard pressed. The enemy, however, seeing that further
pursuit would be unavailing, stopped short at Guadix; and, embracing the
opportunity of giving our wearied horses a few days' rest, we
established ourselves at the Fuente de la Gitana, the principal sources
of the little river Fardes, which, winding through a sequestered dell,
at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, is bordered with the richest
pasturage. The spot thus selected for our bivouac held out also the
advantage of enabling us to watch the high road from Guadix to Granada,
one of the principal lines of communication of the French army.

Whilst refreshing our horses in this secluded spot, numerous
opportunities of attacking the enemy presented themselves. But without a
certain prospect of obtaining booty, we were not to be tempted to give
the alarm by showing ourselves. Allowing, therefore, various parties to
pass to and fro without molestation, we succeeded in leading the enemy
to believe that we had crossed the sierra, and thrown ourselves upon the
stores of arms and gunpowder in the mining district of Adra.

No sooner were their fears allayed, and confidence restored, than we
seized the favourable occasion to pounce upon them. This was afforded us
by the march of a convoy, with provisions and money, from Guadix to
Granada. As soon as we had received certain advice of its having left
the first named city, and reached Diezma (its first day's march), we
broke up our camp, and, riding all night, took post in the Sierra
Jarana, where we commanded both the roads which, from Diezma, are
directed on Granada.

The enemy, wishing to keep as far as possible from the Sierra Nevada,
chose the upper or northern road, which was by far the most favourable
for our project, there being a difficult pass to get through, which
must unavoidably oblige a convoy to lengthen out and straggle. We
accordingly permitted the greater portion of the loaded animals to pass
unmolested, and then, falling suddenly upon the rear division, succeeded
in capturing and carrying off no less than thirty mules.

We did not, however, escape without loss; for Rodriguez was left dead
upon the field, and several of the band were severely wounded. I drew
the party off by a rugged pathway that leads round the sources of the
Darro; crossed the Genil below Guejar; and, by a rapid march, gained
Huelma that same night, ere the news of our exploit had well reached
Granada.

We had now got upon the high road from Granada to Alhama, and,
proceeding along it for some miles, struck off to the left, and
established our bivouac in a wooded sierra, above the village of Agron,
from whence we commanded both the great road we had left, and that from
Granada to Almuñecar and Motril.

Having eluded all pursuit, and gained a point which, whilst it favoured
our future operations, was in the vicinity of some of the most intricate
mountain country in Andalusia, but with which I was thoroughly
acquainted; I determined, if possible, to obtain possession of the
French governor of Granada's despatches to his subordinates commanding
the towns upon the sea-coast, with the view of ascertaining how his
forces were distributed, their strength, &c., as well as the steps he
purposed taking to interrupt or pursue my band.

Appointing, therefore, one of my most devoted adherents to the command
of the troop during my absence, I doffed my old contrabandista dress,
and, accompanied by one only of my men, proceeded to the ventas de
Huelma, where I understood the French orderlies were in the habit of
baiting their horses for half an hour when journeying to and from
Alhama.

The place consists only of two wretched _ventas_, and half a dozen
_ranchas_. We reached it about mid-day, and, as luck would have it, just
in time to see two French Dragoons ride in at the door of one of the
inns. After waiting a few minutes to make sure that they had not merely
called for their _goutte_, we also rode up to the venta, and alighted at
the portal, and, securing our horses to the stakes in the wall, entered,
as the saying is, _santamente en la casa_.[187]

The inn was crowded with people, and the two Frenchmen, having given
their horses a feed of barley, were holding forth to the _arrieros_ and
villagers grouped round them; who, with eager, though silent, interest,
were listening to their discourse. Our _Ave Maria purissima_ hardly
attracted notice, an old crone, seated in the chimney corner at her
spindle, being the only person to mumble in return the usual "_sin
pecado concebida_."[188] Addressing myself to the _ventero_, I begged he
would furnish me with a slice of bread, some oil, vinegar, and the other
ingredients requisite for making a _gazpacho_.

"_Caramba!_" exclaimed my host, looking inquisitively at me, "these are
not the cooling _alimentos_ Blas Maldonado used formerly to ask for!"

"They are _not_, good Pacheco," said I, finding that the number of years
which had elapsed since our last meeting had not prevented his
recognizing me,--"They are not, good Pacheco; but as the proverb says,

    "'_Ajo crudo y vino puro_
     _hacen andar al mozo seguro._'"[189]

And I gave a significant glance at the Frenchmen.

"Is it so!" replied he; "then to answer you with another proverb--'_à
perro viejo no has tus tus_'[190]--how can I serve you?"

"Tell me first," said I, "do you know those _gavachos_?"[191]

"I do; they have stopped here several times to bait their horses on the
way backwards and forwards to Alhama; but they are likely to send their
despatches under a more numerous escort for the future, if the news be
true that a band of _guerrillas_ has made its appearance close to
Granada; though they have, as _they_ say, cut it to pieces. But let us
draw near, and hear their story--of which I had only caught a few words
when you called me away."

"I can probably give you a better account of it than _they_," said I;
"therefore, tell me first what sort of men are they? Think you a couple
of resolute fellows could master them readily?"

"For the matter of that," replied Pacheco, "the _Cabo_ is, I suspect, a
determined dog; but the young fellow, who accompanies him, seems, like
most of his countrymen, to have _mas viento que fuego_[192] about him."

"Do they smoke?"

"Like two _Carboneras_."[193]

"That will do; now let us go and hear what the braggarts have to say;"
and, drawing my _Capa_ round so as to conceal the lower part of my face,
I joined the circle of _gobemouches_.

The younger of the two Frenchmen, with much gesticulation, and in very
bad Spanish, was giving an account of the action between my band and
his countrymen. It was well I had been there, otherwise, I certainly
should never have recognized it for the same affair; since he maintained
that we had been completely worsted--our chief and upwards of half the
band left dead upon the field, and the remainder dispersed in all
directions!

"Were no prisoners made?" said I--having first ascertained by a glance
all round that no old acquaintances were in the group of listeners.

"Prisoners, _mon brave_," replied he; "_pas un seul_--_Sacristie_! we
speared them like wild boars, without giving them time to translate
_quartel_[194] into French."

"You have prudently taken care to have ready the Spanish translation of
the French," I observed.--"And so you were yourself in the _melée_,
then?"

"_Je le crois bien! Sacrebleu!_" said the boaster, regardless of the
signs of his corporal to be less communicative, "I believe you!
_Sacrebleu!_ I, myself, spitted half a score of the _sacré gueux_, and I
think I should know the rest of the _canaille_ by their backs, if ever
my eyes lighted upon them again; for I pressed them hard enough; but my
horse was too tired to overtake them all."

"_A quien tanto ve, con un ojo le basta_,"[195] said I, adding, lest
the laugh my sarcasm had caused amongst my countrymen should excite the
corporal's suspicions, "however, I am glad you have given so good an
account of the scoundrels, and hope any other factious bands that may
attempt to disturb the tranquillity of our province may be similarly
dealt with. You must, however, I fear, be ill provided with cavalry,
since you have been so soon sent again on duty after such sharp
service?"

"Why, we are rather short of cavalry, no doubt," continued the
loquacious _gascon_; "but, I rather think, our despatches contain an
order for such as can be spared from Malaga to be sent to join us at
Granada; and then we shall serve them out in good style."

"Why, I thought you had dispersed them altogether?" said I.

"_Allons, allons!_" cried the corporal to his companion, "_à cheval!_"
adding, in the same language, which, doubtless, he conceived none of us
understood--"I like not that inquisitive _embossé_--what the d--l makes
you so communicative?"

"Communicative!" exclaimed the young dragoon; "why you know I have not
told them a word of truth, excepting about the order for the cavalry to
come and join us; and the sooner that piece of news is spread through
the country the better."

My attendant had not been an idle listener to the conversation I have
just narrated; but, having glided unobserved amongst the horses, had
quietly occupied himself in taking a fore shoe off the foot of one of
the dragoons' chargers. He now joined the circle, making me a sign that
all was right, and whispering a few words in the ear of the landlord,
whilst, despatching our _gazpacho fresco_, we mounted our horses and
rode off toward Alhama.

Before we had proceeded a mile, the two Frenchmen overtook us, and were
about to pass on at a brisk trot, when I called out that one of their
horses had thrown a shoe. It was that of the corporal. He dismounted,
and, after sundry _sacrés_, proposed to his companion that they should
return to the _venta_ for a smith. I said, if they had a spare shoe, I
could furnish them with a hammer and nails, which would, possibly, save
time. My offer was thankfully accepted, and the dragoon, dismounting and
placing himself between the two horses, so as to hold both their heads,
the corporal forthwith proceeded to work.

I waited, of course, to receive back my hammer, and, to pass the time,
struck a light and commenced smoking. "_Gasta usted tabaco?_"[196] asked
I, addressing myself to the young dragoon, presenting him at the same
time with a Frenchified looking cigar with a straw inserted at one end.

"Volontiers," said he, taking it and a piece of burning _yesca_,[197]
that I offered him on the flat side of my flint.--"_Volontiers!_ I am a
true dragoon."

In receiving the flint back, I purposely let it fall, and, begging he
would not trouble himself, dismounted to pick it up, drawing near to the
corporal, as if to see how he got on with his work. My companion now,
also, alighted to tighten the girths of his saddle, and, at the instant,
an explosion took place, the young dragoon was thrown on his back, and
the two horses, disengaged from his hold, started off in a fright,
pitching the corporal forward on his head. I instantly pinned him to the
earth with my knee, and plunged my knife into his neck; whilst my
comrade despatched the young dragoon--asking him how it was he had not
recognized us by our _backs_, and what he thought of _un cigarro
bomba_.[198]

We secured the despatches and horses, and made off for our bivouac with
all speed. On our arrival, I found the band at _Toros y cañas_;[199] the
followers of my late coadjutor, Rodriguez, insisting that another
captain should be joined with me in the command.

Having had sufficient experience of the inconveniences attending this
divided form of government, and being now so situated as to insist on
having my own way, I determined to cut the matter very short, exclaiming
"_à otro perro con ese hueso!_"[200] "Let those who choose turn back,
and God be with them! and I think--judging from the despatches that have
this day fallen into my hands--they will stand in great need of his
protection! Those who prefer following my fortunes shall obey no orders
but mine."

Alarmed at what I had hinted about the despatches, all but the
_aspirant_ to the joint dictatorship and two of his relatives, joined my
standard. These three _desgraciados_ determined to leave the band. In
vain I pointed out the danger of such a proceeding--the impossibility of
their making their way across a country with which they were
unacquainted, and that was now beset with enemies. They, sneeringly,
replied that the same road they had followed in coming would conduct
them back. This, however, for a reason which I shall hereafter explain,
I determined that it should _not_ do.

Detaining them, therefore, until the morrow, on the plea of receiving
their due proportion of the booty we had made, I despatched a trusty
messenger to Granada, who, presenting himself to the French governor,
informed him that the greater part of my troop had passed close under
the walls of Alhama, directing its march towards Velez, after having
killed the two dragoons bearing his despatches to the commandant of that
town; but adding, that he had heard, on very good authority, a
detachment of three men, conveying important communications from me, was
to return, on the following day, into the eastern provinces of the
kingdom, and that he had come to offer himself as a guide, to intercept
the party.

On the following morning, our seceders took their departure, having, I
may truly say, "_el despeñadero a los ojos, y lobos à las
espaldas_."[201] The next day my messenger returned, and informed me of
the result of his mission, giving out, however, that he had obtained
intelligence that a valuable convoy was about to proceed immediately
from Granada to Motril. The temptation was irresistible, and a rapid
counter-march on Alhendin was determined on that very night.

We reached our destination by dawn, where I was told (what I was already
fully informed of) that the convoy had already passed by, and that our
quondam companions had been seized and hung up on the road-side. There
they were, sure enough, dangling from the trees like _espata-lobos_,[202]
and on the forehead of each was nailed the following notice in the
French language.

"The undersigned, Lieutenant General of the Imperial French Army, and
governor of Granada for his Catholic majesty Joseph Napoleon, &c. &c.
&c., hereby gives notice, that the band of _factieux_, under the
infamous traitor Blas Maldonado, having appeared in the military
division under his command, all persons who may be persuaded to join,
harbour, or furnish information or provisions to the same, will, on
conviction thereof, be deemed equally traitors to their country, as the
aforesaid Blas and his band, and will meet with the condign summary
punishment due to their crimes; in witness whereof, he has this day
caused to be hanged the rebel hereunto annexed.

RIGHT
"---- ----."

This exceeded my hopes: the Basques of my party did not fail to give a
very literal translation of this notice to their comrades, who longed
for an opportunity of taking vengeance on our inhuman enemies. But it
was not with the motive of keeping alive the inextinguishable hate that
already existed between the _guerrillas_ and the French that I had got
up this melo-drama; but rather to deter the remaining Catalans of my
band from depending on themselves, should our interests jar on any
future occasion, and they be inclined to throw off their allegiance.
They were now made sensible how completely their want of acquaintance
with the country rendered them dependent upon me. On my own countrymen I
knew reliance might be placed, and I generally entrusted them with the
out-post duty.

I affected, nevertheless, to be much enraged at the treatment the
_Pobrecitos_, so lately our companions in arms, had experienced, and, a
chapel being at hand, readily acquiesced--for I liked to encourage
superstitious habits in my followers--in the proposal of offering up
masses for their souls; concluding our pious work with a vow not to
spare any French_man_, woman, or child, that should fall into our hands
for the next six months.

      "Al hierro caliente
    machacar de repente,"[203]

as the saying is. Having satisfied myself, from information collected
from the peasantry, that all the disposable French cavalry at Granada
had been laid upon the false scent I had furnished the governor, I
thought the opportunity favourable for enabling my men to keep their
pious vow, and, at the same time, fill their _fajas_[204] with _onzas_.
Descending, therefore, boldly into the fertile _Vega_ of Granada, we
made a dash at Santa Fé, reaching the little walled town at the very
moment a party of French soldiers were busily occupied in loading some
bullock carts with contributions raised in the surrounding district. So
scared were they by our sudden appearance, that, instead of shutting the
gates in our faces, and _haciendo la higa_,[205] as they might have
done, they took themselves off _à bride abattue_, and never stopped
until they had placed the Genil between us. So sudden, indeed, was our
arrival, and so precipitate their departure, that we caught two luckless
French commissaries, who, being busily engaged in taking an account of
barrels of flour stored in one of the churches at the further end of the
town, had not heard the alarm.

My troopers were anxious to _dar quito_[206] for their comrades hanged
at Alhendin; and I was far from being disposed to baulk their fancy, but
thought we would do it with _éclat_. Having, therefore, first plunged
the two caitiffs "_patos arriba_"[207] in one of their flour casks, we
took them to the city gate facing Granada; which, being old, and hanging
loosely upon its hinges, we were enabled, by cutting two small notches
in the side posts, to force their heads through, and so throttle them
by closing the gate upon its centre, leaving their heads sticking out,
like the mock-guns of a smuggler's _xebeque_.[208]

This done, I wrote with some chalk the following notice on the outside
of the gate.

"The undersigned, Principal Ratcatcher to his Catholic Majesty _Fernando
Septimo_, charged by an act of the _Junta_ of government now established
at Cadiz with the duty of clearing the province of Andalusia of the rats
and other vermin with which it is at this moment overrun, to the
destruction and undermining of the glorious fabric of our independence,
hereby gives notice, that any persons who may henceforth feed, harbour,
or encourage the same, will themselves be considered equally as
detrimental to the country as the aforesaid rats, and will, on
conviction, meet with the same condign summary punishment.

"In witness whereof, I have this day throttled the two weasels hereunto
made fast.

RIGHT
"BLAS MALDONADO."

I was ever afterwards called _El Ratonero_.



CHAPTER XV.

BLAS EL GUERRILLERO--_continued_.


That the French might be sure to see their comrades, we drove all the
inhabitants before us out of the place; a matter of no great difficulty,
since _Santa Fé_, though dignified by its pious founders[209] with the
title of _city_, is but a small walled village, the principal streets of
which form a Greek cross; so that, standing in the centre of the place,
its four gates may be seen by merely turning round, and are all within
pistol-shot.

Carrying off all the plate, money, &c., that we could find, I determined
now, whilst the country was clear, and a direct road open, to visit the
place of my nativity; the thirst for revenge on my enemies and
detractors increasing, as the opportunity of gratifying it appeared more
within my reach.

We directed our march, therefore, down the _vega_, towards Osuna,
demanding rations in the king's name wherever we had occasion to halt,
and levying contributions whenever the least hesitation was shown in
complying with our demands. In this way we picked up considerable booty,
besides carrying off all the good horses we met with on the route; for
the French, in consideration of the quietness with which Andalusia had
submitted to the yoke, had hitherto dealt very leniently with its
inhabitants.

Avoiding Loja and Antequera, which were occupied by French garrisons, we
struck into the mountains again on approaching Osuna, proceeding by way
of Saucejo and Villa Martin de San Juan, to the _venta_ of Zaframagon,
on the road between Ronda and Seville.

I selected this spot, as being at a convenient distance from my native
town, and as affording, at the same time, good shelter to my band during
my purposed short absence. Lodging two of my men, therefore, disguised
as peasants, in the _venta_, and bivouacking the rest of the troop in
the adjacent forest, I proceeded, accompanied only by one trusty
attendant, to M----; deeming it most prudent to reconnoitre the place,
ere carrying my plan of revenge into execution.

It was now upwards of two years since I had paid my last hasty visit to
the place, twenty-one since I had seen Don Benito. In that long period
I had changed from youth to manhood,--to old age, I may almost say, as
far as appearance went; for ten years of hard labour on the parched rock
of Ceuta had marked my face with the deep lines of grief and suffering;
and the scar left by my son's hand had as completely changed the
expression of my countenance, even since my last visit to M----, as
scenes of blood and strife had changed my natural character. Fancy not,
however, by what I now say, that it was my purpose to take the life of
the wretched old man whose presence I sought, though his deceit had been
the cause of all my misfortunes. No! on my soul I swear it, I meant only
to upbraid him with the wrongs he had heaped upon me, to ----.

Señor Blas here broke off with some little sign of emotion; but,
swallowing a bumper of wine, he presently continued in a calmer tone.

But, to proceed with the thread of my story.--Wrapping an old cloak
about me, and leaving my horse in charge of my attendant at the entrance
of the town, I proceeded on foot to the principal _posada_, in full
confidence that, changed and disguised as I was, no one could possibly
recognise me.

Many persons, but chiefly old men (for those capable of bearing arms had
been called to the armies), were assembled round the fire. I
immediately joined the circle, and entered into conversation,
representing myself as a stranger to the province. After some little
time I ventured to ask if Don Benito Quisquilla still resided at the
place; and, being answered in the affirmative, by way of allaying any
suspicions, asked if his grandson, Fernando Maldonado, yet lived?

"No," replied an old man, whom I recognised as the town-crier, "he is
dead; he fell gloriously in the battle-field, fighting for his country's
liberty!"

"What!" I exclaimed, "did he not join the French army with his father?"

"With his father!" cried half a dozen voices in concert. "What! did that
miscreant add to his crimes by joining the ranks of the vile enemies of
our country? No: Fernando died like a true-born _Andaluz_; he fell,
covered with the blood of our oppressors, in the fatal field of Tudela.
But how know you, _Tio_, that his father joined the French?"

I stated that I had been so informed on very good authority, and had
indeed come expressly to M---- to make a communication concerning Blas
to his father-in-law, Don Benito.

"Go not near the old man if you have aught to say of that miscreant
Blas," replied the town-crier, "unless it be to inform him that the
devil has carried him off in a hurricane."

I rose, and left the house choking with rage. "What!" I ejaculated,
"does the old villain attempt to clear his own conscience by accusing
me, who have been the innocent victim of his crimes? Did he not blast my
earliest hopes, drive me to desperation, bring my wife to the grave, rob
me of my son, and, finally, send that son to fall by my hand!--miscreant
in his teeth."

With these excited feelings, I proceeded straight to Don Benito's house,
and rang the bell. The door flew open; and, in answer to my inquiry if
Don Benito was within, a female servant from the gallery informed me
that I should find him in one of the apartments on the ground-floor,
opening into the _patio_.[210]

It was well I had been told that it was Don Benito I should find there,
otherwise I never could have supposed that the wretched, withered being
whom I beheld, enveloped in a grey flannel dressing-gown, with slipshod
feet, and a black _montera_ cap on his head, was the once personable
father of Alitéa. He did not attempt to rise from the _silla
poltrona_[211] in which he was seated; but, removing the spectacles from
his eyes, and wiping them with his pocket-handkerchief, desired me to
approach and state my business.

For a moment I felt inclined to turn away and leave the house; a feeling
of pity crept into my heart, and bade me spare him. Though I owed him
little mercy for myself, he had intended to be kind to my boy; he had
never entirely cast off my Alitéa; and he seemed so thoroughly wretched,
that it appeared impossible to add more to his misery. I wish I had
followed this first impulse, but a second thought determined me to try
if his unforgiving nature remained unchanged. I began by simply asking
if I was addressing Don Benito Quisquilla.

"What! can it be!" he exclaimed, starting upon his legs, as if newly
invigorated with the breath of life; "is it my Fernando? Approach. No,
no! I see--_he_ was in the bloom of youth, but you, like myself, have,
it appears, bent to the gusts of many a tempest. Still, that voice--that
figure! Say, I beseech you, stranger, who are you?"

The old man's emotion nearly choked him. I was half tempted to throw
myself at his feet, when he continued, without waiting for my answer:

"But the wretched, misguided being, who begot him, had the same----.
Excuse this emotion; you have touched a chord----."

"Wretched being, indeed!" I exclaimed, interrupting him, "you know then
the fate of the _wretched_ Blas, and half my business is already
executed."

"His _fate_? No," said the old man. "Has he then met the punishment so
repeatedly due to his crimes? Has his last act of disloyalty to his king
and country--of which I have had tidings--brought him to the gallows?"

"No, no!" I replied--all my rage returning at the old scoundrel's
vindictiveness--"He lives, wretched, indeed, as you have said, for by
your instrumentality he became the _murderer of his son_!"

"_Jesus! Hijo de Dios!_ what do I hear!" ejaculated Don Benito; "has the
infamous villain crowned all his iniquities by so horrible a crime?"

"Vindictive old dotard!" I replied, throwing back my cloak, which had
hitherto partially concealed my face, and clenching at him my right
hand, "this hand, given at the altar, before all the saints of heaven,
to your daughter--this very hand, through your accursed machinations,
directed the point of the knife which drew the life's-blood from a son's
heart!"

"Monster! hardened, damned, incorrigible monster!" screamed Don Benito,
"may every curse----!" But my fiery temperament would not allow me to
listen patiently to the old man's imprecations. We had approached close
to each other; I raised my hand to drive the curse down his blasphemous
throat--nothing more, for my knife was in my girdle, had I wished to use
it--when the infatuated old man seized me by the collar, and called for
help. It was the last sound that escaped from his lips--he fell dead at
my feet.

Señor Blas here paused a moment to make choice of a fresh cigar, and
then thus continued his story.

I left the house without a moment's delay, hurried through the town,
and, mounting my horse, rode "_à toda priesa_" to rejoin my troop. I had
intended to march it on M----, which was quite defenceless, and lay a
heavy contribution upon the inhabitants, but a foolish weakness made me
decide on keeping to myself the fatal result that had attended my visit;
so, framing an excuse for the non-execution of my project, I drew my
band off into another part of the Serranía de Ronda.

We remained in this intricate country several months, watching the
different approaches to Ronda, which, being one of the depôts for
storing the supplies collected for the siege of Cadiz, afforded us
abundant opportunities of making booty. During that period I became
acquainted with one Alonzo Bazan, the chief of another guerrilla. He was
a gallant young fellow, though affecting the Royalist rather too much
to please me. However, we joined our bands together on several
occasions, to attack the common enemy, when a greater force than we
respectively commanded was necessary.

My intimacy with Alonzo brought me acquainted with his sister, now my
wife. She was at that time a blooming girl of eighteen, and over head
and ears in love with a young _majocito_ of some substance, named
Beltran Galindiz, who was the sworn friend of her brother, and had, at
his persuasion--for I do not think he had a natural calling that
way--raised a band of guerrillas amongst his relatives and dependents.

I confess to you, _Caballeros_, that I never felt the same love for
Engracia, for such is my _esposa's_ name, that I had for my long-lost
but ever-regretted Alitéa. The passion, indeed, to which her youth and
beauty gave birth, might, perhaps, have passed away like many others,
without leaving any impression, but for the very indifference with which
my advances were received, and the passionate fondness that she evinced
for the contemptible Beltran. In vain I practised every art to supplant
him in her affections; and, what maddened me yet more than the thought
of this beardless boy being preferred to myself, was that, as if
confident of his influence over her, _he_ regarded my rivalry with the
most perfect indifference.

It happened, soon after my acquaintance with Engracia commenced, that
her brother Alonzo, during a visit to Ronda, was arrested as a spy, and
the French commandant of that fortress, thinking it would have a
beneficial effect in putting down the insurrection to have him publicly
executed at the place of his birth, directed him to be taken on the
following day to Utrera for that purpose.

Having obtained notice of this, I determined, short as the time was to
make arrangements, to attempt a rescue. Accordingly, I proceeded without
delay to Alfaquime (a village over-looking the road by which the escort
would have to march), and, sending the horses of my party to the convent
of _N. S. de los Remedios_, about half a league further on towards
Olbera, took post with my dismounted troopers at the head of a steep and
very narrow _defilé_, which the road enters after winding round the base
of the rocky mound, whereon the little town of Alfaquime is strewed like
a stork's nest.

Making my men conceal themselves in the gorse and underwood that clothed
the banks of the narrow pass, and giving them orders not on any account
to pull a trigger until they received the word, and then with deliberate
aim, I picked out two good marksmen, whom I directed to fire at the
_horse_ rode by Alonzo; and, finally, selecting a bold rider, posted him
as a decoy on a conspicuous knoll beyond the pass, but overlooking the
approach from Ronda, giving him my own horse (which I knew would
outstrip any pursuers, should he have to gallop for it), and directing
him to mount only when he was quite sure the enemy had seen him, and
then ride off, _ventre a terre_, as if taken by surprise.

My plan succeeded _à merveille_. Two French dragoons, who were pushed on
in advance, as the party approached Alfaquime, soon discovered my scout,
and seeing him mount his horse in great haste, and ride off as if to
carry information to others beyond, spurred after him up the ravine. The
main body of the escort, seeing their comrades gain the table land at
its head without obstruction, took it for granted the coast was clear,
and hastened up the ravine to keep them in view.

At the word, "_fuego_,"[212] Alonzo and six of the twelve Frenchmen
composing the escort rolled to the dust; those who were so fortunate as
to escape unhurt turned their horses' heads, and fled back to Ronda.
Alonzo was only stunned by the fall, but his horse was killed. We
secured the chargers of the dead men, and rode in pursuit of the two
dragoons who had given chace to our scout. We met them returning yet
faster than they had gone, having discovered that we had sold them
_gato por liebre_.[213]

They were two gallant fellows, and attempted to cut their way through us
in spite of the fearful odds against them. This, _Caballeros_, (showing
his mutilated hand) is a _souvenir_ of their proficiency in the sabre
exercise. _Carajo!_ the hard-mouthed French brute I bestrode would not
answer the bit so as to enable me to parry the blow; but my pistol
brought the donor to the ground just as he had cut down one of my men,
and was flattering himself he had got clear off. The other Frenchman
made a desperate resistance also, but was sabred after wounding two of
my _quadrilla_.

This exploit was followed by several others, wherein the _Gavachos_ were
equally maltreated, but, into the details of which, it would be
wearisome to enter. Suffice it to say that at length my name was so
constantly _en la boca de la fama_,[214] that a large reward was offered
for the body of _Blas el Ratonero_, dead or alive.

Whether the bribe thus publicly offered, or merely the intrigues of
Beltran, led to an adventure, which--seeing you are not disposed to
sleep--I will now relate, I never could satisfactorily learn. Perhaps
both had a hand in it, with a little envy to boot; for, as our _refran_
says, _donde reyna la enbidia, no puede vivir la virtud_;[215] and I
must needs confess that some of my followers were villains quite capable
of _saccando los dientes de un ahorcado_,[216] if they would gain but
the price of a bottle of wine by it.

I must, however, go back a little in my story, to inform you that, in
gratitude for his deliverance from the French, my friend Alonzo (who
considered that Beltran had rather held back on that occasion) declared
himself in favour of my suit to his sister. But she, still infatuated
with my smooth-tongued rival, whilst admitting my claims upon her
esteem, said it was out of her power to regard me with a more tender
feeling.

My _love affair_ remained in this state, when one morning Alonzo
repaired to my bivouac in the neighbourhood of Ubrique, and, telling me
that a spy, on whose fidelity he could perfectly rely, had sent him
information that the enemy's garrison at Ronda had been so reduced by
draughts for the siege of Cadiz that the defence of the place was
intrusted almost entirely to a small detachment of cavalry, proposed
that we should make a combined attack upon it; he undertaking to engage
Beltran in the project by making a diversion in our favour to draw off
part of the garrison in an opposite direction.

My own accounts of the state of the garrison of Ronda coinciding
perfectly with that of Alonzo, I readily agreed to his proposal; and it
was decided that, after he had given the necessary instructions to
Beltran, with whom, notwithstanding their little coolness, he still
continued on friendly terms, a messenger should be sent to me, to fix
the day for our _rendezvous_ at Grazalema, a small but strongly situated
town, on the line of communication between Ronda and Cadiz, from which
the French had recently been driven.

After waiting impatiently for several days without receiving any further
intelligence, a letter from Alonzo at length reached me, accounting for
the delay by informing me he had been seized with a bad _Tertiana_,
which kept him a prisoner at Gaucin, and, he regretted to say, would
prevent his taking an active part in the projected attack on the enemy;
but that every thing had been arranged as agreed between us, excepting
that Beltran had preferred joining me with his troop, being but little
acquainted with the country about El Burgo (whither it was proposed to
decoy the enemy), and would cross the Guadiaro with his band at _La
Torre del Paso_ on the third day after the date of this communication,
and remain there until he heard from me. Meanwhile, Alonzo said, his own
band had proceeded to El Burgo, under the command of his brother
Melchor.

On the receipt of this letter, I immediately quitted my bivouac, and
proceeded to Grazalema, so timing my movements as not to reach that town
until the sun had sunk beneath the wide horizon of the Atlantic ocean;
and, after establishing myself in the house of an old _compadre_,[217] I
sallied forth to post the requisite videttes at the different outlets of
the town. On returning to my quarters, I found a billet lying upon the
table, containing the following mysterious warning, written in a female
hand.

     "BLAS MALDONADO.

     "There are traitors in your band. Take care how you move from
     Grazalema, and, above all, beware of _Pépé el Alamin_.[218] Act
     with your wonted decision and circumspection, and you may yet
     escape the snare that is laid for you; but scorn not the advice of
     one who watches over you with the devoted affection that a woman's
     heart alone is capable of feeling."

I was lost in amazement; and who my fair _inamorata_ could be was not
the least part of the mystery. That there was treason of some sort
stirring was evident, but where to seek for it was the difficulty. Could
Alonzo's illness be feigned? and his intention to betray me? Could it be
a mere device of the French to detain me in the _guet à pans_ of
Grazalema, whilst they surrounded me? But how should _they_ know of my
arrival? Was it possible that my own secretary--the son of my
adoption--Pépé el _Alamin_--was it possible that _he_ would betray me?

My first impulse was to send for this worthy, and tax him with his
treason; but circumspection was pointed out as necessary; I had no
proofs to convict him, and the danger to be apprehended from others
engaged in the plot would still be hanging over my head. I determined,
therefore, to adopt another course, and endeavour if possible to trace
the dark conspiracy to the fountain-head.

My plan arranged, I sent for _Jacobo_, my lieutenant, and telling him
that I was about to proceed secretly to El Burgo, with a view of
ascertaining that every thing was going on _corriente_,[219] gave him a
sealed packet containing instructions how to act, in the event of my
absence being prolonged beyond eight and forty hours; until which time
had expired, however, it was not to be opened. They were very brief, _à
saber_[220]--Hang Pépé, and save yourself by a rapid flight to Zahara.

I then summoned Pépé to my presence, and informing him that the receipt
of a very important communication, rendering it expedient that I should
without loss of time consult my confederates Alonzo and Beltran, I was
about to proceed forthwith to Gaucin; but, as it was essentially
necessary that my absence should not be known to any one but himself, I
directed him to meet me at a certain spot on the outskirts of the town
in half an hour, bringing with him a fleet and sure-footed mule.

Stealing forth at the appointed time, I found Pépé at his post with
every thing ready. He muttered something as I threw my leg across the
saddle, about having lost my confidence; hoped I was not periling myself
unnecessarily, and would be prudent, as without me the quadrilla would
be like an _olla sin tocino_.[221]

"As to personal danger, Pépé," I made answer, "dismiss your fears for
me. As I told you before, I am only going to see my friends Beltran and
Alonzo; but unless I see them this very night, our project to surprise
Ronda must be abandoned."

"Can you not," he rejoined, "communicate this to them by letter? your
presence here may be very necessary; I will be the bearer."

"Impossible," said I; "it may be necessary to alter the whole of our
arrangements. Good night, my faithful Pépé; be assured you have my full
confidence. Should my non-appearance to-morrow excite surprise, say I am
unwell, and have given orders not to be disturbed; but if my absence
exceed forty-eight hours, go to Jacobo, and tell him all you know of my
movements. He is aware of the value I set upon you; and your head--in
the situation in which he will then be placed--will be required by him.
Once more _adios y Pesetas!_ with this stout mule I trust I shall be
able to reach Gaucin before midnight;" and putting spurs to the animal's
sides, I urged him rapidly down the steep acclivity of the _Sierra
Endrinal_, taking the _trocha_ to _Cortes_.

The dark shadows of the lofty impending mountain soon concealed my
movements from observation, and quitting the beaten track, I struck into
a path on the left hand, which is used only by the goatherds, and leads
through a dense forest to _Montejaque_. Putting my animal to the utmost
speed the bad road would admit, I reached that village in two hours.

Every inmate of the little Eagle's nest was at my command. I found no
difficulty, therefore, whilst a barber was robbing me of my mustaches
and eyebrows, in getting my mule exchanged for a stout _burro_, my
military costume for a tattered _zamarra_;[222] and thus metamorphosed,
issued forth from the village. Descending by a rugged footpath to the
river Guadiaro, and fording the stream a little above where a remarkable
cavern, called the _Cueva del Gato_, overhangs its right bank, I made a
wide circuit round Ronda, until I had gained the high road from that
place to Gaucin; and then turning to the left (directing my ass's head
towards the French garrison), proceeded quietly along the road, until,
on arriving at the commencement of the long suburb, which extends beyond
the walls on the south side of the town, I fell in with an enemy's
piquet.

My business being demanded, I desired to be forthwith conducted to the
commandant of the fortress, stating that I had information of the utmost
consequence to communicate. "You have the look of one who has important
_disclosures_ to make," observed the corporal of the party, pointing to
a large rent in my cloak, whilst examining me from head to foot with a
lantern; at which _bon mot_ his men, as in duty bound, laughed very
heartily. "You wish no doubt to make a clean breast before you are shot
for a _Judas_!"

"Wit without discretion, my friend," said I, "is like a sword in the
hands of a fool. Great ends are sometimes gained by small means; so lead
me to your officer without further parley, otherwise your shoulders will
have to bear a heavy responsibility."

"I have half a mind to handcuff the fellow for his self-importance,"
said the Frenchman to his companions, not supposing I could understand
his language; "and would too, only that there _does_ appear to be
something stirring; for one of his cut-throat _compatriots_ has already
been admitted to make '_important disclosures_,' within the last
twenty-four hours. _Eh bien mon vieux_, you shall be forwarded, but let
us first see what you have about you." So saying, my person was strictly
searched; but I had only a few _ochavos_ about me, half a dozen
doubloons, which I had brought in case of need (for "_quien no trahe
soga se ahoga_,"[223] as we Spaniards say), being tied to the rope
passed through my _borrico's_ mouth.

Another short delay took place at the gate of the fortress; but an order
was finally brought from the commandant to conduct me to his presence.

The information I had gained, that another of my countrymen had been
recently admitted to the fortress on a similar errand as myself, tended
to confirm the anonymous warning of treachery, and made my position
rather alarming; since, if brought face to face with the other informer,
I should indubitably be recognised, and as certainly be hanged, drawn,
and quartered.

However, my motto was ever _a lo hecho buen pecho_.[224] It was too late
to recede; so muffling myself up in the old cloak to avoid being
recognised by any of my countrymen, and taking the doubloons from their
hiding-place, I left my _monture_ at the town gate, and, accompanied by
a file of soldiers, proceeded on foot to the governor's abode.

His excellency had just returned from his nightly _tertulia_, and,
attended by a single _aide-de-camp_, or secretary, was awaiting my
arrival in his dressing-room.

The governor was a wizen-faced elderly man, short, thin, and phthisical,
with quick grey eyes, thick bushy eyebrows, a high forehead, and a nose
made expressly for taking snuff. He appeared to be, and I believe was,
one of the _emigrés rentrés_, whom, about this time, the Emperor
Napoleon was imprudently admitting into his service. The secretary, on
the other hand, had all the appearance of _un vieux caporal_; his
pockmarked full face, shaggy black hair, _coiffé à la Brutus_, and
affected _brusque fránchise_, denoting him clearly to be _un homme du
peuple_.

_Haciendo la Zalama_,[225] and then looking round at my escort, I said,
that the information I had to impart might better, perhaps, be
communicated as privately as possible.

"_Q'uest ce qu'il dit?_" asked the governor, turning to his
aide-de-camp.

This having been duly translated to him, "_Bien!_" he replied, in a
sharp querulous key; and asking the corporal if my person had been
searched, ordered him to withdraw with the escort. This done, addressing
me in very bad Spanish, he begged to be made acquainted with the nature
of my communication, desiring his secretary, who, I soon found out,
conversed fluently in the Castillian language, to pay attention to what
I said.

I briefly stated, that a plan had been laid by some guerrilla
chieftains, assembled in the neighbouring Sierras, to entice him from
Ronda, whilst a large body of _facciosos_, collected at El Burgo, was to
pounce upon the fortress; that I was master of all the details of the
project, and was willing to lend him my services in frustrating it.

He listened attentively until I had concluded, and my harangue had been
translated into French; and then, compressing his eyebrows, and looking
earnestly at me, repeated, "Collected at El Burgo, you say?"

"Si, Señor."

"And in what force?"

I stated a very exaggerated number.

"And how many of the _facciosos_ may there be at Grazalema?"

"Some forty or fifty."

"This appears to be an intelligent rascal, _Leboucher_," said his
excellency, now addressing his aide-de-camp; who, standing at the
fireplace, had been attentively perusing a paper hanging against the
wall, from which, however, he from time to time turned round, to take a
look at me. "This appears to be an intelligent rascal, but his
information differs _in toto_ from that furnished by _the other_. Keep
your eye upon him, therefore, whilst I put a few more questions, but do
not let him perceive that you are watching him."

"I have _had_ my eye upon him," replied _Mr. Butcher_, "and, strange to
say, the fellow corresponds in many respects with the description I have
before me of _El Ratonero_."

"_Diable!_" exclaimed the governor, "give it me;" and he cast his eye
hastily over the paper handed to him, without once looking up at me.
This was most fortunate; for, from the dangerous situation in which I
found myself placed, my countenance would, probably, have betrayed me,
notwithstanding all my efforts to appear unconcerned, had one glance
been directed towards me, especially had any questions been put to me at
the moment. Fortunately, I say, however, the governor did not look up,
nor say a word to me, until he had perused the paper which his
aide-de-camp presented, and drew his attention to; but then, suddenly
fixing his quick little eyes upon me, he asked rapidly, as if to throw
me off my guard, "Do you know one _Blas Malditado_?"

"Blas who, did your excellency say?" asked I, affecting not to know whom
he meant.

"Blas el Ratonero," he rejoined.

"Oh, Blas _Maldonado_!" I exclaimed. "Ay, that I do! I know him as well
as I know my right arm, and have a long account to settle with him some
day; for I owe him all my ills, and, _por quien Dios es_,[226] he shall
have honest payment!"

"No, Leboucher," said the governor, now turning to his _factotum_, "no;
you are certainly mistaken--he is, decidedly, _not_ the rat-catcher. I
think I am a sufficient judge of human nature to pronounce, that no man
could act the part of the _injurié_ so well. This fellow's hate is
heartfelt, be assured, but I will probe him a little more;" and, again
addressing himself to me, he asked, "Do you know where this Blas now
is?"

"Not exactly," I replied, "for he moves about like a ball of
quicksilver. One day he is at _Zeca_, another at _Meca_. There is no
catching him."

"Where does he say?" asked the governor, addressing his secretary--"_à
Meca? où diable donc est Meca?_"

"Allow me to question him," said Señor Leboucher, with an ill-suppressed
smile, a request to which the governor gave a pettish assent.

"_Allons, mon brave! sans phrases!_ you know this Blas well?" commenced
my new interrogator.

"Right well."

"And is he a man of such determination as report says?"

"He is a bold fellow," I replied, "one who is not to be trifled with. He
is always as good as his word, and his promises are engraved with the
knife's point."

Fixing his eyes now upon me with a penetrating glance, whilst, at the
same time, a kind of smile played about his sarcastic mouth, implying,
"now you understand perfectly what I mean," he very deliberately and
significantly asked, "Is he to be ... _bought_?"

"No, _señor_," said I, "I think not. He hates your nation from the
bottom of his soul; and, if you have any dealings with him, be assured
you will find but a _nest_ where you think to get _birds_."

"And what is _your_ name, friend?"

"Jacobo Vargas," I replied, giving him the name of my lieutenant.

"Can you write?"

"I can."

"Then do me the favour to write your name on this paper."

I did so.

"Do you know one Beltran Galindiz?" continued my interrogator.

"Yes, by character."

"Is _he_ faithful to your cause, think you?"

"Not to my cause, certainly." (Here the governor smiled, as much as to
say to his assistant, you are not so clever as you think yourself.) "_I_
am a good Spaniard, and loyal subject of Joseph Napoleon; _he_ is a
friend of the _despotic Bourbon_."

The secretary smiled in return at the old aristocrat, and continued his
cross-questioning.

"And where did you leave this redoubtable Blas?"

"I have not yet said that I was with him." (Another smile from the
governor.)

"True, true; but it would appear that you have lately seen him."

"I saw him last at Grazalema."

"When?"

"This very night."

"_Sacrebleu!_ he is already netted then," exclaimed he, turning round
and addressing the governor, "and we have, therefore, no occasion for
this fellow's services, except to stretch a rope; for, take my word, he
is a spy--a spy of this very Blas, if not the rascal himself; who, with
all due deference to your superior discernment, I still think he is.
Suppose, however, as their accounts differ so widely, we first have our
two spies confronted?"

"Perhaps it would be as well," replied the governor; "but we must not
break faith with the _other_ either. So, show him first this fellow's
name; ask if he knows him; and, then, whether he objects to see him face
to face. We shall then, I think, find out whether El Burgo or Grazalema
be the real point of concentration of the _canaille_."

The foregoing questions had led me to _suspect_ who this _other_ was;
the concluding speech of the governor, like the sun dispersing the
_mirage_ on the Guadalquivir's banks, made every thing clear. The
information he possessed _could_ only have been given by one of my
confederates, and if he and I were confronted my fate was sealed. It was
a trying moment for me; the slightest hesitation would have been my
ruin; the gibbet, I might say, was prepared; but I determined not to be
hanged, without making an effort to shift the rope round the neck of my
betrayer. I collected myself, therefore, for the coming crisis, and, as
soon as the secretary had left the room, addressing the governor in his
own language, said, "Your excellency is so perfect a master of the
Castillian tongue, that it would be presumption in me to stammer out
the few words of French with which I am acquainted, only that I wish to
avoid all appearance of deceit and----."

"_Bon Dieu de la France! mais vous parlez parfaitement!_" interrupted
the governor. "_Pourquoi diable! ne m'avez vous pas dit cela
auparavant?_"

"Because I was never asked the question, please your excellency."

"_Vrai, vrai_--that fellow, Leboucher, _will_ always be cleverer than
every body else! But, since you _do_ speak French, and well too, pray
have the goodness to make all further communications in that language."

"Willingly," I replied, "since such is your excellency's wish; and, to
speak the truth, it is much more satisfactory to me to go to the
fountain-head. I have ever found, with blood as with water, that the
higher the stream the clearer it runs."

His excellency took a pinch of snuff with unequivocal satisfaction, and
begged me to proceed with what I was going to state when he interrupted
me.

"I was about to observe," said I, "that I might claim the same exemption
from being brought before any of my countrymen, as has been granted to
this _other_; but I am no secret informer--on the contrary----."

Here Señor Leboucher re-entered the apartment, and, giving the governor
back the paper on which I had written my (or, rather, my lieutenant's)
name, said, "The other knows this person well, but on no account
will----."

"Hush, hush!" exclaimed the governor, "our friend here speaks French."

"The devil he does!" ejaculated the secretary. "Then hang him up at once
for a spy! what further proof is required of his being so? Depend on it,
he is El Ratonero, and not the person he represents himself to be."

"_Un moment_," said the governor, taking him aside, and whispering for
some time in his ear, by which, however, whatever it may have been, the
secretary did not appear at all convinced.

"I am not surprised, Señor," said I, addressing Monsieur Leboucher as
soon as their consultation appeared to flag, "I am not surprised at your
continuing in the mistake of supposing me to be _El Ratonero_. It
requires less clear-sightedness than I am sure you possess, to discover
a likeness, which (in spite of all my endeavours to conceal it) has
frequently been observed. But I here solemnly swear, _por Dios y todos
los Santos_, (and I crossed myself most devoutly) that Blas Maldonado
has been through life my greatest enemy." Was not that true, Caballeros?

"To put all your doubts at rest, however," I continued, "bring forth
this _other_--this Beltran, for well I know who your informer is. As
regards me, have no scruples; for, as I have said before, I am no secret
informer, but an open and faithful friend of the brave nation that has
come to release my country from her fetters. As it affects the matter I
have come about, however, our meeting will render abortive the whole
plan I was about to propose to you. _He_ will at once see that his
machinations are discovered, and you will have to hang him--a poor devil
that never has and never can do you any harm;--whereas, by his absence
from his confederates at El Burgo, _they_ will be aware that their
project to entrap you has miscarried, and you will consequently miss the
glorious opportunity of taking them in their own toils."

"Nay," said the governor, "I think, since you say that you left Blas at
Grazalema this night, our plan has already succeeded without your
assistance. By to-morrow night the pass in his rear will be occupied by
a body of troops moved up from Cadiz; and our arrangements are made to
give him a warm reception, should he attempt to escape on this side."

"And now, Señor," added the secretary, "since his excellency has thought
fit to make you acquainted with so much of our plans, I believe you must
remain our prisoner, until they have been fully carried into
execution."

"That will be as his excellency pleases," I replied. "But I have yet a
communication to make that may induce you to view the matter
differently. Blas Maldonado left Grazalema this night; he sleeps at
Gaucin, and from thence, in conjunction with the band of this very
Beltran, is to attack your fortress as soon as ever you have been
induced to move upon Grazalema, and thus...."

An orderly here entered the room, and delivered a packet to the
governor. It was short, and seemed to confound him. He handed it to his
secretary without a word of comment, who also seemed perplexed.

After another whispered consultation, the governor turned to me and
said, "Your information is correct--Blas is now at Gaucin. Leboucher,
reseal that letter, and carry it to the worthy Señor Beltran, and ask
him if it contains any thing to be communicated to me. Say we have
imprisoned Jacobo as he recommended."

In a few minutes the secretary returned, and stated that Beltran, having
perused the letter, was desirous of departing immediately, as he feared
something had gone wrong--that Jacobo (meaning me) must on no account be
lost sight of.

"His impudence shall not save him," exclaimed the governor; "I'll have
him before me this instant, and...."

"_Mon General_," I interrupted, "reap yourself the fruit of his perfidy;
affect to place perfect reliance in him--allow him to depart, and I
pledge you my word, before eight and forty hours are passed, you shall
have _his ears_, if not the head of _Blas el Ratonero_."

My real earnestness and assumed frankness, the opportune arrival of the
traitor Pépé's despatch to Beltran, announcing my sudden departure for
Gaucin (for no one _but_ Pépé knew I was going there), and, lastly,
Beltran's anxiety to get away, caused the general, and even Monsieur
Leboucher, to place perfect confidence in me, and the rest of the night
was passed in arranging a plan to circumvent Beltran; a plan, which,
offering no great risks, (for my object now was rather to be revenged on
my traitorous associates than to occasion loss to the French) was
readily adopted, and before dawn I had left the town to perform my part
in the drama; Beltran having been suffered to depart some hours
previously.



CHAPTER XVI.

BLAS EL GUERRILLERO--_continued_.


Every thing, thus far, had succeeded to the utmost of my wishes. I had
now but to frame an excuse to Beltran for my unexpected visit to his
quarters, and for my delay in reaching them; lull his suspicions; and
wreak my vengeance upon him and his accomplices.

A good horse had been provided for me, and I soon reached Gaucin. I
found Alonzo and Beltran in deep consultation: the former was much
surprised and pleased at my unexpected visit; the latter pretended to be
so.

Having expressed their hopes that nothing had happened to thwart our
projected plans, and assured me that every thing on their parts was
going on prosperously, Alonzo asked me jokingly what had occasioned my
unlooked for visit, for he thought I had merely come to see his sister.

I told him (keeping my eye upon Beltran all the time) I had received
information that a force had been moved from the French camp before
Cadiz, towards the mountains, as if for the purpose of reopening the
communication with Ronda, which had been closed by the recent capture of
Grazalema; and I had, therefore, come to say, that either I must abandon
that post, and consequently our concerted project, (since I should find
myself between two fires,) or, that we must carry our plans into
execution without further delay.

Beltran looked very blank; and to my proposal of proceeding to work
immediately, stammered out some objection about want of time. But this
Alonzo overruled,--observing that his brother Melchor and myself were
the two who would feel inconvenience on that score, since our bands were
the most distant from the field of action; and as Melchor was then at
Gaucin,--having, Alonzo observed to me, arrived unexpectedly, "as if
sent by Providence," the preceding night,--the whole affair might be at
once settled.

Accordingly, a messenger was despatched for his brother; whilst waiting
for whom, I took the opportunity of stating that I had met with an
accident on the road, which had retarded me considerably; having, I
said, in consequence of the fall of my mule soon after leaving
Grazalema, been obliged to proceed to Cortes on foot, and, arriving
there in the dead of the night, had experienced great delay in procuring
a horse.

Beltran's countenance brightened on hearing this little explanation, and
he then, with affected carelessness, asked after his old friend Jacobo.
I replied, that I had left him quite well at Grazalema; a piece of
information that seemed to puzzle him amazingly.

Melchor did not keep us long waiting, and our final dispositions were
soon made. It was settled that he should proceed with all speed to join
his band at El Burgo, and at daybreak on the following morning make the
projected foray into the eastern part of the vale of Ronda, to draw upon
him a portion of the garrison of the fortress. Beltran, meanwhile, was
to march immediately with his troop, (which was already assembled at
Gaucin) and gain the valley of the Guadiaro below Montejaque; whilst I
should post back to Grazalema, to conduct my _quadrilla_ to the pass in
the chain of Sierra to the left of that same village. Our two bands
would thus be so situated as to be able to form a junction, and fall
upon the defenceless city, the moment the favourable opportunity
presented itself.

Although, as chieftain of the largest band, the direction of the
operations devolved upon me, yet, out of compliment to Beltran, I
invited him to meet me at the village of Montejaque, as soon as he had
conducted his troop to its assigned position; whence we could watch the
movements of the enemy in the plain below, and put the necessary
"_ensemble_" in our movements. I then remounted my horse, and lost no
time in rejoining my band.

My first care, on regaining Grazalema, was to send for Pépé. The
scoundrel confessed every thing. Beltran, Melchor, and himself, had
entered into a plot to betray me into the hands of the French. Alonzo,
he declared, knew nothing of it. A French force was, that very night, to
occupy the narrow pass between the lofty Sierras of Endrinal and San
Cristoval, in our rear, to intercept me, when--on discovering that our
plan to entrap the enemy had failed--I should attempt to escape by that
issue to Ubrique.

Alarmed at my sudden determination to visit my coadjutors at Gaucin, and
yet more at the hint I had thrown out of the possible disarrangement of
our plans, Pépé rightly conjectured that I had received some hint of
impending danger, and had despatched a hurried epistle to Beltran, (who,
he knew, was then at Ronda, making final arrangements with the enemy,)
acquainting him with my proceedings. My _faithful_ Pépé furnished me,
moreover, with a list of six of my own men, who were engaged in the
plot. It was, however, with the greatest difficulty I brought him to
confess what had moved him to engage in this treacherous plot; the more
unpardonable on his part, since, in all our intercourse, he had received
nothing but benefits at my hands. At length, he acknowledged that he had
been worked upon by that strongest and strangest of all human passions,
_jealousy_--that uncontrollable phrenzy, which, of all our weaknesses,
is the only one that fails not with our declining years, and
that--strange to say--ofttimes causes the very feeling, the suspicion
alone of which gave it birth!

Such was the case in the present instance. The wife of Pépé was a dark
_Gitana_,[227] in the full bloom of woman's beauty; and, with a form as
graceful, and passions as unrestrained, as those of the wild deer that
bounded through her native forests, she possessed, as I soon discovered,
a spirit that ill assorted with the clownish and imbecile character of
her husband.

The source whence the mysterious warning sprung was now evident; but,
until that moment, I had not even been aware that Pépé's wife had
accompanied him to Grazalema.

I solemnly protested to him that I had never looked upon _Paca_ with the
eyes of love, and that his jealousy was, consequently, quite
unfounded--a declaration which, at that time, was not more solemn than
true; and Pépé's jealousy ceased precisely at the moment when cause for
it commenced.

For his unreserved confession of the plot I granted the wretch his life
on one condition; a condition which I will hereafter specify, and to the
performance of which he bound himself in the most solemn manner. I knew
him sufficiently to trust to his superstition, what I no longer could to
his honour.

Without taking any further notice of this conspiracy, I assembled my
troop, and, towards nightfall, put it in motion for its allotted
position; which we reached towards midnight. I now sent for Jacobo, and,
communicating to him my secret, directed him to proceed on, whilst yet
the shadows of night would conceal his movements, towards Ronda, and,
with the earliest dawn, to make the demonstration _I_ had arranged with
the French Governor of the fortress. This done, I proceeded myself to
Montejaque, to give the meeting to my confederate Beltran.

He came about an hour before day-break, armed up to the teeth, but was
evidently very nervous and uneasy, which I remarked to him, and asked,
jestingly, if he had a presentiment of death. He affected to laugh too,
but his teeth chattered in the vain attempt; and, to take off my
attention, he remarked that it was time we should be on the alert. We
accordingly left the village, which is nestled between two cragged
peaks, that protrude from the mountain like the tusks of a
_javali_,[228] and, ascending to the summit of the northernmost
pinnacle, stationed ourselves on the look out.

The sun had not yet risen above the eastern mountains ere we heard some
distant straggling shots. "That firing must be the skirmishing of
Melchor's party," observed Beltran; "had we not better move on?"

"Our attack would be premature," I replied; "Let him draw the garrison
off some distance further, and then we shall.... _Valgame Dios!_ the
sounds appear to come nearer! there must indeed be some treason here!"

"Treason!" he exclaimed, shuddering.

"Ay, treason, _Carajo_!" I repeated. "See! do you not distinguish the
blue jackets of the French dragoons!"

By this time a slight mist, which hung over the course of the Guadiaro,
had gradually dispersed under the influence of the rising sun, and we
were enabled distinctly to perceive Jacobo's party, scattered amongst
the olive groves, retiring slowly before a detachment of about equal
strength of French dragoons. At the same moment we heard the distant
roar of artillery; and _Beltran_, starting back from the edge of the
precipice, exclaimed, "There is indeed, treason somewhere; I shall
forthwith rejoin my band, and there await your orders."

"Do so," I replied quickly; "but the way through the village is
circuitous. Here, Pépé--Andres,--show my good friend Beltran a shorter
way down to the river:--but let me have his ears first."

At my first word, Pépé and another stout fellow, darting from behind a
rock, seized Beltran by the arms, and, holding the traitor whilst I
robbed him of his ears, then pitched him headlong down the precipice.

I now hastened to my troop. Jacobo and his party had by this time
reached the spot where the Guadiaro, leaving the fertile basin of Ronda,
enters a narrow, tortuous valley; and, crossing to the right bank, kept
down the stream; thereby passing along the front of my position, and
drawing the enemy on towards the spot where Beltran's troop was posted.

The enemy imprudently suffered themselves to be enticed into the trap
thus laid for them, and, when sufficiently advanced for my purpose, I
rushed down the side of the mountain, cutting off their retreat by the
road along the edge of the river, whilst, at the same moment, Jacobo's
detachment, reinforced by the whole of Beltran's band, attacked them
vigorously in front.

They did not attempt to resist such fearful odds, but, plunging into the
stream, endeavoured to escape amongst the vineyards that clothe the
rough hills bordering its left bank. Few, however, escaped. One prisoner
only (according to my orders) was made. He happened to be the very
corporal who commanded the piquet which had stopt me on going into Ronda
two nights before.

I congratulated him on his lucky escape. "Your saint takes good care of
you," said I, "to throw you into the hands of so generous an enemy. You
threatened to handcuff _me_--now I am about to liberate _you_. You must,
however, be the bearer of some more _important disclosures_, which I
have to communicate to your governor. They are contained in this letter
and parcel;--as you value your life, deliver them safely." I then sent
him about his business.

The letter was as follows:--

     "_Mon General_,
         "When recently honoured with an interview, I pledged my word that,
     within eight-and-forty hours, your excellency should have the ears
     of Beltran Galindiz, _if not_ the head of Blas El Ratonero.

     "In performance of this promise, I herewith send the _former_; for
     I find that I have still further occasion for the services of the
     _latter_.

     "Pray assure Monsieur Lavater (your sagacious secretary) of the
     high consideration in which I hold his extraordinary penetration;
     and, for yourself, accept the assurance of my earnest desire, that
     one so talented "may live a thousand years," to command the forces
     opposed to
                                                 "BLAS MALDONADO."

I will not weary you, _Caballeros_, with any further account of my
military adventures, except to tell you that some eighteen months after
this affair, whilst pursuing the enemy on his retreat from before Cadiz,
a French officer was captured by my troop, and brought up for judgment.

"Monsieur," said he, addressing me in his native tongue, and not without
some little surprise in his countenance, "_il me parait que votre figure
me revient_."

"Very likely, _Monsieur Leboucher_," I replied in Spanish; "probably you
again recognise _Blas el Ratonero_, and have come for your reward. Here,
_compañeros_," I continued, addressing my attendants; "pay this worthy
gentleman the thousand crowns reward due to his penetration. Let them be
put up in a bag, the bag tied to his heels, and he by the neck to the
next tree."

"Savage!--Monster!"--exclaimed my old acquaintance, as my orders were
carrying into execution; "order your ruffians at all events to shoot me,
that I may die like a French soldier."

"You are a bold fellow," said I, "to beard the tiger in his lair; and I
like a brave fellow although an enemy; so get ye gone, and read a lesson
on humanity to your generals, for many of them stand much in need of
it."

He thanked me like a brave man, without expressing such extravagant
gratitude as his nation is wont to do; and I felt an inward
satisfaction at having spared him. Nevertheless, I had my reasons for
it, be assured; for, since the Ronda affair, I knew not what dependence
to place on my fellows, and thought I might perchance have need, some
time or other, of a friend in the enemy's camp.

I must now, _caballeros_, hurry on to the conclusion of my tale; for
though the day is not yet dawning, the cocks are giving notice of its
approach, and, like yourselves, I purpose being on horseback by sunrise.

The true manner of Beltran's death was never known, and his corpse was
left to furnish a meal to the vultures. I knew I could depend on the
secrecy of my Montejaque bravo, Andres; and Pépé swore that he had seen
Beltran fall dead from his horse, whilst attempting to rejoin his troop
after leaving me. Not the slightest suspicion, therefore, fell upon me.

It was some years, however, ere Engracia could be persuaded to become my
wife. She has since told me that it was her brother Melchor who always
dissuaded her from it; but he was killed in a skirmish with the French
in the Pyrenees, and her brother Alonzo never recovered from the
_Tertiana_ that laid him up at Gaucin.

_Paca_, on her side, opposed my marriage, with all her most impassioned
rhetoric; but its influence was no longer felt, and our intimacy broke
off with a violent explosion. I have never seen her since, but
understand she absconded from her disconsolate Pépé soon afterwards.

On the termination of our glorious war of independence, and the
elevation of Ferdinand the Seventh to the constitutional throne, as
established by the National Cortes, in 1812, I proceeded to Madrid to
swear allegiance to the sovereign for whose return I had fought and
bled, and claim the reward of my long services. But instead of
surrounding himself with the valiant chieftains who had driven the vile
_gavachos_ across the Pyrenees, and placed the crown of the two worlds
upon his head, the imbecile monarch had hedged himself round with the
same impotent old grandees, intriguing priests, and other parasites and
_bribones_, who, but for the in-born valour of the Spanish _people_,
would have been now fawning with the same abject _servilism_ at the feet
of the usurper Josef. At length, however, by dint of perseverance, I
obtained an audience. The king received me in his usual graceless,
gracious manner--regretted my wounds--presented me with a
cigar--referred me to his ministers--and wished me good morning.

His ministers--true jacks in office--had the impudence to tell me, that
my services, like those of the _Empecinado_, and so many other gallant
_guerrilla_ chieftains, amounted to little more than highway robberies,
and that my proper reward, if I had it, would be the gallows.

Was it astonishing, _caballeros_, that such black ingratitude should
meet with a heavy punishment? The favourable opportunity for inflicting
it did not, however, as you know, occur for several years. But the mine
which was for ever to lay the throne of absolutism prostrate, was
preparing, and at length the explosion took place. I need not tell you
that I was amongst the first to declare for the constitution, and my
patriotism was rewarded by the lucrative post I now hold. The miserable
serviles and _anilleros_[229] are still contriving plots to subvert the
glorious fabric we liberals have raised. But they will find us too
strong for them; and the vigour we shall exhibit will effectually deter
the French from effecting their long talked of intervention. Indeed, as
our old Spanish _refran_ says, "_Olla que mucho hierve, mucho
pierde_;"[230] and I suspect they will find their army assembling to
watch Spain, fritter away by desertion, until nothing but its well-paid
_Etât-Major_ remains.[231]

_Pues!_[232] _Señores_, added our _hero_, after a short pause; I have
now related all the most remarkable events of my eventful life. You
must, I think, admit that I have had much to contend against in raising
myself to my present prosperous condition, and that what little
_peccadillos_ I have committed were--if not purely accidental--forced
upon me by uncontrollable circumstances. _Conque, amigos!--le beso las
manos._ I will now leave you for a few moments to see to the feeding of
my horse, who has a long journey before him, and I will take the
opportunity of desiring our hostess to prepare us some chocolate. _Si se
oferece algo..... ustedes no tienen que mandar_,[233] and if you can be
persuaded at any future time to visit ----, be assured, _mi casa, mi
muger, mis criados--todo está a lá disposicion de ustedes_.[234]

With this most liberal invitation, Señor Blas left us.



CHAPTER XVII.

     CORDOBA--BRIDGE OVER THE GUADALQUIVIR--MILLS--QUAY--SPANISH
     PROJECTS--FOUNDATION OF THE CITY--ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WESTERN
     CALIPHAT--CAPTURE OF CORDOBA BY SAN FERNANDO--THE
     MEZQUITA--BISHOP'S PALACE--MARKET PLACE--GRAND RELIGIOUS
     PROCESSION--ANECDOTE OF THE LATE BISHOP OF MALAGA AND THE TRAGALA.


The grandeur of Cordoba, like the effect of stage scenery, ceases on a
near inspection. The city, as has already been noticed, stands in the
midst of a vast plain, bounded by ranges of distant mountains; but, on
entering within the gates, the prospect of the smiling valley and darkly
wooded sierras is altogether excluded, and, in exchange, the traveller
finds his view confined to the white-washed walls of the low and
poverty-stricken houses that line the narrow, crooked, jagged streets of
the once proud capital of the Abdalrahmans.

From the painful glare of this displeasing contrast, the eye in vain
seeks relief by turning towards the winding Guadalquivír; for, the
bridge once passed, not a glimpse of its dark blue current can be
obtained from any part of the city.

There is a suburb of some extent on the southern bank of the river; but
the city, properly so called, is altogether situated on the opposite
side. An old Saracenic castle, modernised and kept in a defensible
state, interdicts the approach to the bridge, which edifice is also a
work of the Moors. It is a solid structure of sixteen irregular arches,
23 feet in width, and 860 in length. Its erection is usually attributed
to the Caliph Hassim (son of the first Abdalrahman), towards the close
of the eighth century; and, according to Florez, that enlightened
sovereign was himself the planner and director of the work. I can see no
reason to doubt this respectable authority, although some English
writers have stated the bridge to be of Roman construction. It is very
possible that the present edifice may have been raised on an old
foundation, though the bridge built by the Romans is generally supposed
to have been higher up the river.

The summer stream of the Guadalquivír scarcely warrants its being
distinguished by so grandiose a name as the _Great River_--_Guad-al
Kibeer_, for its volume of water is but small, and, from being led off
into numerous irrigating conduits and mill-races, is reduced to so
inconsiderable a current that, during nine months of the year, the
greater part of the river's wide sandy bed is left perfectly dry.

Some of the mills "below bridge" are Moorish, and very picturesque; as
are also the crenated, ivy-clustered towers of the city walls
overhanging the river. On the right bank of the stream, above the
bridge, a handsome quay is (1833) constructing; but, as the "great
river" is navigable only for small boats, the sum expended on this
costly work appears to be an absolute waste of money, which ought rather
to have been laid out in sinking a channel, so as to render the river
practicable for barges and trading vessels down to Seville. If this were
done--and it was effected to a certain extent by the French, during
their occupation of the country from 1810 to 1812--a quay would soon be
constructed from the profits arising from the increased commerce of the
place. But the Spaniards generally begin things at the wrong end, and in
this, as well as most of their projects, they might derive great
advantage from the study of Mrs. Glasse's well known recipe for making
hare soup, beginning, "first catch a hare."

The precise date of the foundation of Cordoba is unknown. By Strabo, who
calls it the first colony of Roman citizens established in Boetica,
it is attributed to Marcellus, but which individual of that name is
meant it would be difficult to determine. It must, however, have been
founded very soon after the Romans obtained possession of Spain, since
the city is mentioned by Appian in the war of Viriatus, as well as by
Polybius in the expedition of Marcus Claudius against the Lusitanians.
We may suppose, therefore, that it was built by the Romans, to secure
their dominion over the country on the expulsion of the Carthagenians,
that is, about 200 years before the Christian era.

By Hirtius, Cordoba is spoken of as the capital of the country at the
period of Julius Cæsar's second visit to Spain; and, from that time, it
seems ever to have been a rich and powerful city, and the residence of
many noble Roman families. But the most glorious epoch in the annals of
Cordoba dates from the arrival of the renowned Abdalrahman, sole
surviving male descendant of Mohammed in the Ommiad line, who, being
forced to seek shelter from the enemies of his race in the deserts of
Africa, was called over to Spain, became sovereign of the country, and,
fixing his residence at Cordoba, assumed the title of Caliph of the
West, A.D. 755.

Abdalrahman repaired, strengthened, and extended the walls with which
the Romans had already encircled the city; built a splendid palace, and
commenced the celebrated mosque; and, during his long reign, so firmly
did he establish his sway over the rest of Spain, as even to force a
tribute from the hardy descendants of Pelayo, entrenched within the wild
recesses of the Asturian mountains.

The western caliphs continued to exercise great power for upwards of two
centuries, and, indeed, the prosperity of Cordoba was at its acmé during
the reign of Abdalrahman III., who flourished in the middle of the tenth
century. The days of its glory ceased, however, with the life of
Mohammed Almanzor, the celebrated vizier of the weak Hassim II., A.D.
998; and, not long afterwards, the caliphat of Cordoba finished, and
several small kingdoms were founded on its ruins.

The kingdom of Cordoba, in its diminished and enfeebled state, continued
to exist until A.D. 1236, when its proud capital fell an easy conquest
to Ferdinand III. of Castile, who, to merit the saintly title which
Spanish history has conferred upon him, drove the turbaned inhabitants
from their homes, and rendered the beautiful city a wilderness of brick
and mortar.

Cordoba never recovered the effects of this cruel and impolitic act; and
its population, which, during the caliphat, is reputed to have amounted
to upwards of a million of souls, at no after period reached a tenth,
and can now, at the utmost, be estimated at a twentieth part of that
number.

The circumvallation of the city is still very perfect, and embraces a
considerable space; but many parts of the enclosure are not built upon,
and the houses generally are low and but thinly inhabited. The once
flourishing trade of the place is now confined to some trifling
manufactures of leather, called _Cordovan_, which ill deserves the
celebrity it even yet enjoys.

We took up our abode at the Posada _del Sol_, than which a more wretched
place of accommodation, either for man or beast, the sun never shone
upon. Nevertheless, it was represented to us as being (and I believe at
that time was) the only eligible lodgment for _Hidalgos_ which the city
contained.[235] One advantage it did hold out, however, namely, that of
being immediately in front of the great and only _lion_ of the place,
the famed cathedral, or _Mezquita_, as it still continues to be called.

This remarkable pile has evidently been raised upon the ruins of some
gothic edifice, which again is generally supposed to have stood upon the
site of a yet more ancient Roman temple of Janus.

The _Mezquita_, in fact, may be said to be made up of the reliques of
those two nations, its architecture alone being Moorish. It was
finished by Hassim (son of Abdalrahman, its founder), towards the close
of the eighth century; but subsequent caliphs made great additions to
it.

The exterior of the building is extremely gloomy and unprepossessing;
its dark and windowless walls, and low engrailed parapets, giving it the
appearance of a prison, rather than of a place of worship. The
horse-shoe arches over the doors are nevertheless well worthy of notice,
and the principal gate is covered with bronze plates of most exquisite
workmanship. Of the four and twenty entrances that formerly gave
admission to the holy shrine of the prophet's descendant, but five are
now open, which may in some degree account for the gloom that pervades
the interior.

Never did the feeling of astonishment so completely take possession of
my senses, as on first entering this most extraordinary edifice. You
step at once from the hot and sun-bleached street into a cool and sombre
enclosure, of vast extent, which has not inaptly been likened to a
forest of marble pillars; and, indeed, to carry out the simile, the
arches, springing in all directions from these polished stems, present a
vaulted covering which, at first sight, appears as complicated in its
construction, as even a forest canopy of nature's own formation. One
soon discovers, however, that the thickly planted pillars are aligned so
as to divide the dark interior into regular avenues or aisles, and that
the arches springing from and connecting each column with the four
adjacent pillars (thus spanning both the main and transverse
intercolumniations) form arcades, extending the whole length and breadth
of the building. These arches are mostly of the Moorish, or horse-shoe
form, but some few are of the pointed gothic, and seem to me to be the
remains of a building of more ancient date than the time of the Moors.

The interior of the mosque is nearly a square, its dimensions being 394
English feet from east to west, and 356 from north to south. But on
attentive examination it becomes evident that the side which, correctly
speaking, must now be considered the width of the mosque, was originally
its length, an addition having been made on its eastern side, which has
given it greater extent in that direction than in the other, so that its
original interior dimensions were 356 feet from north to south (the same
as at present), but only 240 feet from east to west.

This space was divided by ten lines of columns into eleven aisles,
extending north and south through the building; the centre avenue, which
was directed straight from the great gate of entrance to the
_Maksurah_, or sanctuary, situated in the middle of the south wall of
the mosque, being (as it continues to this day) two feet wider than the
others. Each of these ten rows contained thirty-one columns, placed
about ten feet apart, from centre to centre; but they did not extend the
whole length of the building, a small space at the south end being
partitioned off for the apartments of the Imans.

By the addition which was afterwards made to the Mosque, (doubtless
rendered necessary by the increasing veneration with which it came to be
regarded) it gained 154 feet in width, and eight aisles were added to
the eleven already formed; and, as no part of this was reserved, it
required thirty-four columns in each row to fill up the space. These,
however, were not _throughout_ placed so as to align transversely with
those of the original portion of the building; which circumstance has
probably occasioned the discrepancies observable in the accounts given
of this singular building by different writers. Swinburne, whose
descriptions are generally very accurate, has fallen into error by
stating that the mosque was divided into but seventeen aisles, having
apparently overlooked the fact, that an avenue on each side has been
taken off since it became a Christian church, for the erection of
chapels dedicated to the divers saints of the Cordoban Calendar.

The mosque may, therefore, be considered as having formerly been divided
longitudinally into nineteen principal aisles or avenues of columns, and
transversely into thirty-five. But it is to be observed that the line of
columns which marks the division between the old and modern parts of the
building differs from the rest; being rather a series of clusters of
pillars (four in each pier), than isolated columns: and two similar
lines divide the interior also, transversely; so that in making a
calculation of the number of columns it formerly contained, these must
be duly taken into the account; and it will then be found that the total
number did not fall far short of the thousand it is rumoured to have
contained.

Although, as I have observed, the cross alignments of the columns in the
old and new portions of the building do not exactly correspond, yet in
some parts of the interior the arrangement of them is so perfect, that
the spectator looks down eight avenues from the spot where he stands;
four being at right angles with the walls of the building, the other
four bisecting these, and extending diagonally across the mosque.

The columns are of polished jasper, marble porphyry, and granite, and
offer as much variety in their architectural as in their geological
character; some rising doric-like from the pavement, others resting on
low bases; many swelling in the shaft in the early style of the
Egyptians, and some few ascending spirally, bespeaking the vitiated
taste of the middle ages. Many are capped with Corinthian, others with
grotesque, and some with purely Gothic, capitals.

All these varieties of colour, shape, and ornament, have, after a time,
a displeasing effect; but on first entering the building the spectator's
attention is so riveted by the novelty of its character, and the
vastness of its dimensions, that these violations of the prescribed
rules of taste are overlooked.

The columns, which are mostly eighteen inches in diameter, rise only
nine feet above the pavement; and even with the additional height of
their capitals, and of the arches springing from them, the roof is
elevated but thirty-five feet above the floor; a height totally
disproportioned to the extent of the building. On advancing further into
the interior, however, this defect is less conspicuous; for the roof is
found to be there raised in a singular manner--in steps, as it were--by
a second series of horse-shoe arches, that spring from square pillars
raised on the columns which support the lower arches; and thus--the
space between the two series of arches being left open--forming a kind
of double arcade, of a peculiarly light and fanciful kind.

In different parts of these raised portions of the roof, small cupolas
are erected, which admit the only light that the interior receives. The
distribution of light is, consequently, very unequal. But the effect
produced is remarkably well suited to the character of the building; as
the partial gleams of sunshine thus scattered throughout the complicated
architecture of the roof, by gradually diminishing in strength as the
long lines of columns recede from view, leaves them at last in a distant
gloom, which makes the avenues appear interminable.

The appearance of the interior is much spoilt by the erection of an
enormous Gothic choir, in the very centre of the building; for it
intercepts the view of nearly one half the columns, (the long vistas
between which constitute the great beauty and wonder of the place) and
offers nothing to compensate for the injury thus inflicted but some
carved wood-work, representing subjects taken from the Scriptures,
executed by one Pedro Cornejo. The life of the artist is said to have
been miraculously preserved until the very day on which he had completed
his pious undertaking. This Gothic pile was erected so late as the time
of Charles the Fifth, who seems to have taken a pleasure in disfiguring
every thing Moorish that his predecessors had not laid their intolerant
hands upon.

When in its pristine state, despite all its sins against good taste,
the interior of the _Mezquita_ must have presented a superb _coup
d'oeil_. The roof, composed of wood, and wonderfully well put
together, was richly painted and gilt; the walls were covered with
elaborate stuccoes, and the floor was paved with gaudy mosaics. But of
all this splendour little now remains. The all-destroying hand of Time
has long since robbed the vaulted aisles and graceful cupolas of their
brilliant tints; the not less destructive hand of Bigotry has stript the
walls of their tasteful arabesques and inscriptions; and to the fragile
mosaic pavement the change from slippers to shoes has been equally
fatal; for, excepting here and there, round the foot of some column,
scarcely a fragment of the bright glazed tiles with which it was
originally laid can now be discovered, amidst the bricks of which it is
composed, and dust with which it is covered.

From this sweeping destruction one small recess has most fortunately
been preserved, to afford the means of judging what the _whole_ must
have been in its original state. This little compartment is situated at
the south end of the mosque, near the sanctuary, and must have been
included within the portion of the building set apart for the Imans. It
was brought to light only in 1815, by the removal of some bookshelves
and a slight brick wall, which had, probably, been put up purposely to
screen it from the eyes of the superstitious multitude, and save it
from mutilation. By the Spaniards it is called the Chapel of the Moorish
Kings. Within it was found a tomb, containing the sword, spurs, and
bones, of one of the principal chieftains who accompanied San Fernando
to the siege of Cordoba, and at whose request, we were told, this
beautiful little nook has been permitted to retain its Mohammedan
decorations. In lightness and elegance of design it equals any portion
of the Alhambra, and from its high state of preservation may be looked
upon as the best specimen of Moorish workmanship extant. Indeed, it
would be difficult to imagine any thing more beautiful of its kind, such
is the perfection of its mosaic pavement, the sharpness of the fretwork
and brilliancy of the colouring on its walls, and the dazzling splendour
of the gilt stalactites pendant from its roof.

Adjoining this invaluable little casket is the _maksourah_, or, as it is
called by the Spaniards, _el zancarron_[236] (the heel-bone): a name
which favours the supposition that it was the place of burial of the
founder or finisher of the mosque, rather than the sanctuary of the
Koran, as is generally supposed, although, indeed, it might have been
both.

The architecture and ornaments of this sanctum differ from those of the
rest of the mosque, being even yet more complicated and richly finished;
but it is by no means in so good a state of preservation as the recess
just described. The face of the arch that spans the entrance of the
_zancarron_ is elaborately worked in crystals of various hues, and
encompassed with moral precepts from the Koran. The interior is an
octagon, only fifteen feet in diameter, and is domed over by a single
block of white marble, carved into the form of a scollop-shell. Another
huge slab of the same material forms its floor.

The shrine of the caliph, descendant of the prophet, probably occupied
the centre of this recess; round which the feet of the numberless
pilgrims who visited the holy place have worked a groove in the hard
marble. It is situated _now_ towards the south-west angle of the
building, but in the original mosque it stood, as I have already stated,
exactly in the centre of its south wall, facing the grand entrance. On
each side were the apartments of the Imans; and in front, extending east
and west, across the building, a space of the width of two
intercolumniations was set apart as a chancel or _mikrab_, wherein the
officiating priests performed their mysterious ceremonies before the
people, to whom different portions of the rest of the building were
appropriated, according to their rank in life.

At the north end of the mosque is a spacious court, encompassed on three
sides by an open colonnade, and furnished with copious fountains. Here,
when occasion required, the Mussulmans purified their bodies by
ablutions ere entering the holy place, and, leaving their slippers under
the arcades, proceeded barefoot to the shrine of Mohammed's descendant,
making divers prostrations in the course of their short journey.

This court, now called the _Patio de los Naranjos_,[237] is the same
width as the mosque, and adds 200 feet to its length; making the
exterior dimensions of the building 574 (English) feet from north to
south, and 416 from east to west.

From the north wall of the court rises the _campanilla_, or belfry, from
the summit of which a fine view is obtained of the city. Beneath it is
an archway of more recent date than the mosque, called the Gate of
Mercy, through which a flight of steps leads from the street into the
court. This gate faces the principal entrance into the _Mezquita_.

The cathedral is rich in silks, jewels, candlesticks, and brocades; and
the altar of the chapel of Villa Viciosa is splendidly furnished.

The sacristy contains also some tolerable paintings, said to be by
Murillo, and other first-rate Spanish artists, but I doubt whether any
of them are originals; for the French, who have a nice discrimination in
these matters, twice sacked the city, and were on both occasions so
little expected, that the priests had barely time to carry off the
plate, and reliques of the churches, to places of greater security.
Besides which, the Spaniards are prone to call every black, tarnished
old painting a Murillo or a Velasquez.

The bishop's palace is an immense, and rather handsome pile, standing a
little removed from the cathedral, towards the river. The very face of
it shows, however, that of late years the prelates have appropriated the
revenues of the see to some other, perhaps more _legitimate_, though
less orthodox, purpose, than that of setting their house in order, for
it is in a very neglected state. The interior, which is not better
looked after, exhibits, in an eminent degree, that mixture of splendour
and misery so conspicuous in all things Spanish. A spacious, costly, and
particularly dirty marble staircase ascends to the first floor, whereon
are the state apartments; they consist of a suite of long, narrow,
whitewashed rooms, communicating one with another the whole extent of
the building, and each furnished with a prodigious number of shabby old
chairs, an antediluvian sofa, and some daubs of paintings in
poverty-stricken gilt frames.

The principal apartment, or _sala de la audienca_, is hung with
portraits of all the goodly persons who have worn the episcopal mitre of
Cordoba, from the days of _San Damaso_ (who flourished about the middle
of the third century) to the present time. Some of these paintings have
much merit; but, if they are _likenesses_ of those for whom they were
drawn, a disciple of Lavater or Spurzheim must either abandon his faith,
or admit that most of the beetle-browed, low-crowned originals, deserved
a gibbet rather than a bishop's cap. Nevertheless, several of these
peculiarly "ill-favoured" ecclesiastics are--so our conductor solemnly
assured us--now saints in heaven.

One old gentleman, who was not exalted to the episcopal see until he had
attained a very advanced age, by way of giving a sarcastic reproof to
his patron, had his portrait taken, with a grim figure of death placing
the mitre on his head. Another painting represents death holding the
mitre in one hand, whilst with the other he is directing a dart at his
victim's breast; leaving us to infer, that the bishop died whilst the
pope's diploma was yet on its way to him from Rome.

At the head of the bench is suspended a very good painting, and
admirable likeness, of the truly amiable Pius VII.; and over the
fireplace hangs an execrable daub, but an equally striking resemblance,
of the detestable Ferdinand VII.

The most noble part of the episcopal palace is the kitchen; which,
whether the bishop be at his residence or not, daily furnishes food for
2000 poor persons.[238]

The garden is laid out with taste, and contains some rare transatlantic
plants.

There is little else worth noticing in Cordoba. The king's palace is not
occupied; the royal stud-house, where, in former days, the best breeds
of Spanish horses were reared, is empty; the fine alameda, outside the
city gates, is unfrequented; there is not a handsome street, I may
almost say an edifice, in the place; and idleness, penury, and
depravity, meet one at every step.

The market is held in the _Plaza Real_, or _de la Constitucion_ (the
name varying according to circumstances), and the houses encompassing
it, like those in the market-place of Granada, are lofty, and furnished
with rickety wooden galleries, that have a very picturesque _Prouty_
appearance. Some of the old buildings, in the narrow Moorish streets,
possess the same kind, of sketchy beauty; but the houses of the other
parts of the city seldom exceed two stories in height, from which
circumstance Cordoba is, perhaps, the most sultry place in Andalusia.

The inhabitants are a diminutive race, and the most ill-looking I have
seen in Spain.

During our stay at Cordoba we witnessed the grand procession of Corpus
Christi, at the commencement of Lent, which is considered one of the
most holy and imposing exhibitions of the Hispano-Roman church. It was a
lamentably splendid sight; for a more heterogeneous, heterodoxical
mixture of bigotry and liberty, superstition and constitution, wax
candles and fixed bayonets, it never fell to my lot to witness. It moved
through the streets, preceded by a military band of music, which played
Riego's Hymn and the _Tragala_ alternately, with sacred airs and
mournful dirges. This was only in keeping with the rest of the
absurdities of the ceremony; but it was a crying sin to compel the poor
old bishop to parade through the streets, in his full canonicals, at a
_pas de valse_.

The _Cordobeses_ of all classes are held to be very religious, and
particularly "_servil_;" and this degrading exhibition was, probably,
got up by the _exaltado_ party, then in the ascendant, to bring the
prelate and priestly office into contempt.

On my return to Gibraltar soon after witnessing this indecent ceremony,
the Bishop of Malaga, then a refugee within the walls of the British
fortress, was publicly insulted by a shameless countrywoman (the _prima
donna_ of an operatic company then performing in the garrison), who,
placing herself opposite to him whilst seated on one of the benches in
the public gardens, sung the _Tragala_;[239] applying most emphatically
to him the word _perro_ (dog), with which each verse of the
constitutional ditty concludes.

The venerable prelate listened most patiently until her song was
concluded, and then very composedly said, "_Gracias hija mia,
muchissimas gracias_;[240] in good truth, it is a bone fit only for the
mouth of a _perra_."[241]

The laugh was rather against the chaste Rosina, who, I should not omit,
however, to mention, received a hint, that if the bishop were favoured
with any more such gratuitous proofs of her vocal powers, she would
herself have a disagreeable _bone_ to pick at the town-major's office.



APPENDIX.


A.

The following brief notice of the numerous sieges and attacks, that the
celebrated fortress of Gibraltar has sustained, may possess some
interest in the eyes of many of my readers. It is extracted principally
from Don Ignacio Lopez de Ayala's "Historia de Gibraltar," which dates
the first arrival of the Saracens, and occupation of the rocky
promontory by Taric ben Zaide, A.D. 710, and attributes the erection of
the _Calahorra_, or castle, to Abdul Malic, A.D. 742.

The Fortress (which in early days must have comprised little more than
the enceinte of the present ruined castle,) appears to have remained in
the undisturbed possession of the Mussulmans for six entire centuries.
But Ferdinand the Fourth, at length, breaking through the mountain
barrier that defended the diminished territory of the Moors, laid siege
to Algesiras, and despatched a force under Don Alonzo Perez de Guzman to

1. attack Gibraltar, which very unexpectedly fell into his hands, A.D.
1309.

2. The Moslems, under Ishmael, King of Granada, failed in an attempt to
recover it in 1315.

3. It fell, however, to the powerful army brought over from Africa by
Abdul Malik (Aboumelic), son of the Emperor of Fez, who thenceforth
assumed the title of King of Gibraltar, 1333.

4. It was besieged the same year by King Alphonso XI.; and again, with
as little success, by the same heroic monarch,

5. who died of the plague under its walls, 1349.

It now again remained in the undisputed possession of the Moslems for a
considerable period, though it was wrested from the

6. hands of the King of Fez by Jusef, King of Granada, 1411.

7. The Spaniards again ineffectually attempted to possess themselves of
it, under Don Henrique de Guzman, Conde de Nicbla, 1436.

8. But it was finally taken from the Moors by Alonzo de Arcos, Alcayde
of Tarifa, 1462.

9. From him it was taken by Don Juan de Guzman, Duke of Medina Sidonia,
1468.

It remained in the possession of the House of Guzman, until the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella, who claimed it for the crown, but, on their
demise, Don Juan de Guzman attempted again to

10. make himself master of it, 1516.

11. The town was sacked by a Turkish squadron, 1540;

12. and bombarded by the French, when affording shelter to an English
fleet, 1693.

13. The fortress was captured by Sir George Rooke, 1704;

14. and besieged the same year, by a combined French and Spanish force,
under the Conde de Villadarias and Monsieur de Tessé. By the Treaty of
Utrecht (1713), it was ceded to England, but, immediately on the renewal
of the war, was

15. besieged by the Spaniards, under the Conde de las Torres, when the
lines across the isthmus were constructed, 1727.

16. The last and most celebrated siege was undertaken by the Spaniards
and French in 1779, and lasted until 1783.


B.

"_Una estatua de San Josef, que por su corpulencia no se podia sacar
oculta la extrajo un catolico llamado Josef Martin de Medina, colocado
sobre un caballo à imitacion de una persona que lo montaba; la afianzó
bien, la embozó con una capa i la cubrió con una montera. Otro montado à
la gurupa ayudaba à sostener al Santo, i agregandose algunos combidados
para mayor confusion i disimulo salieron por la calle real sin ser
descubiertos._"

RIGHT
_Ayala, Hist. de Gibraltar._


C.

I suspect the _apes_ tempted Mr. Carter to jump to the conclusion that
Carteia was the Tarshish of Sacred History. Nevertheless, few places
have furnished more food for conjecture than this famed city: some
antiquaries, indeed, not content with Tarshish as a mere port, or even
country, maintaining that the vast continent of Africa was so called;
whilst others, differing _toto coelo_, imagine that the word implies
the wide or open ocean!

In spite of the great authorities arrayed against the vulgar opinion,
that Tarshish is the self-same city as that situated on the southern
coast of Asia Minor, and known in after ages as Tarsus, I cannot but
subscribe to it. The difference in character between the Hebrew and
Greek languages may, not unreasonably I think, be supposed to have led
to the change in the mode of spelling and pronouncing the name of the
place; (which in point of fact is not greater than between Dover and
Douvres,) for most Jews of the present day would still pronounce Tarsus,
Tarshish; whilst modern Greeks would as certainly call Tarshish, Tarsis.

That _both_ were ports of the Mediterranean sea will hardly, I think,
admit of dispute; since Jonah[242] embarked at Joppa (Jaffa,) to proceed
to Tarshish; and Tarsus was the birth-place of St. Paul,[243] and must
have been situated on the coast, but a short distance to the northward
of Antioch.

The chief difficulty in determining _what_ and where Tarshish was,
arises from a discrepancy in the two accounts given of the building of
_Jehosaphat's_ fleet, in the Books of Kings and Chronicles: the first
stating, that the King of Judea "made ships _of_ Tarshish to go to
_Ophir_ for gold,"[244] which ships were destroyed at Ezion Geber on the
Red Sea; the latter, mentioning that the ships were built at Ezion Geber
to "_go to Tarshish_."[245]

Josephus makes the matter still more perplexing by saying, that "these
ships were built to sail to _Pontus_, and the traffic cities of Thrace,"
but were destroyed from being so unwieldy, without mentioning _where_
they were either built or destroyed; thus differing from the account in
Kings, which says they were made to go to Ophir, and, by implication,
from the account in the Book of Chronicles, which states that they were
made on the shores of the Red Sea; since vessels to trade with Pontus
and Thrace would certainly have been built at the ports of Syria.

Now it is quite evident, that _two_ of these three accounts must be
incorrect; and it is more natural to conclude that the mistake
originated in careless writing than from ignorance; since, little as the
Jews (being neither sailors nor travellers) may be supposed to have
known of foreign countries, they could not, even with their limited
knowledge of geography, have imagined that a fleet sailing from Tyre, in
the Mediterranean, was destined to the _same_ country as another fleet
built on the shores of the Red Sea. And, if they were not destined to
the _same_ country, the two places to which they were proceeding would
certainly have been distinguished by different names.

It is not, I think, unwarrantable therefore to suppose, that the Hebrew
writers, in alluding to a fleet which all accounts agree was destroyed
at the very port where it was built, may (supposing always our
translations to be perfectly correct,) have fallen into a mistake in
stating the _destination_ of that fleet, and hence that, in the Book of
Chronicles, Tarshish has been written for Ophir. This appears the more
likely when we bear in mind that the Jews, after the destruction of
Jehosaphat's fleet, do not appear to have ever again engaged in any
naval enterprises, and consequently were careless, or had no
opportunity, of correcting this mistake in their histories. In support
of this supposition, it may be farther observed that, throughout the
Scriptures, wherever the commodities brought by the fleets from Tarshish
and Ophir are mentioned, the former is stated to have come laden with
the productions of Europe and Northern Africa; whilst the latter brought
only gold and precious stones, and algum trees.

On the discrepancy above pointed out--where there is evidently a
mistake--is grounded, however, the hypothesis, that in early ages two
cities or countries bore the name of Tarshish; for such a supposition is
not at all borne out by the accounts previously given in the same Books
of Kings and Chronicles of the fleets built by Solomon; it being
particularly specified in _both_[246] that that king made (or more
properly, perhaps, _launched_) a navy of ships at Ezion Geber, on the
Red Sea, which, piloted by Tyrian sailors, proceeded to _Ophir_ for
gold. The mention which is afterwards made[247] of Tarshish, seems
merely to have been introduced to account for the vast riches of
Solomon; shewing that he had other sources whence he procured gold and
other valuables, besides Ophir.

A slight discrepancy of a similar kind to that already noticed occurs,
however, in the two accounts, in speaking of the voyage of Solomon's
fleet to Tarshish; the Book of Kings stating, that he "had at sea _a
navy of Tarshish_ with the navy of Hiram,"--the Book of Chronicles, that
the King's ships "_went to Tarshish_ with the servants of Huram."

The difference in this case is immaterial. The probability seems to be,
that Solomon built a fleet on the Red Sea to go to Ophir, because he
could not otherwise procure one: but that he _hired_ vessels to trade in
the Mediterranean; which vessels, placed under the charge of Tyrian
pilots, proceeded with his own servants (or supercargoes) to Tarshish,
or Tarsus, on the coast of Cilicia, whither, once in three years,
returned the fleet of that port,[248] bearing the produce of the more
distant countries--Spain, Barbary, the Cassiterides, and England.

And Tarsus, we may suppose, was chosen as the entrepôt for the produce
of those countries, in preference to Tyre--firstly, on account of its
being a more commodious port; and, secondly, as being better situated
for the inland trade of Asia Minor.

                             END OF VOL. I.

                                LONDON:
             F. SHOBERL, JUN. 51, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Hallam.--Europe during the Middle Ages.

[2] The causeway that connects the city of Cadiz with the Isla de Leon
is said to be a _fragment_ of a work undertaken by Hercules; the castle
of Santi Petri (built on a rocky island about five miles to the east of
the city) to be constructed from the ruins of a temple built by that
celebrated hero, and in which his bones were deposited.--Traces of this
temple may be seen at low water, near the mouth of the San Pedro river.

[3] That of Cadiz is literally a ruin.

[4] The _Torre del Oro_, in which the precious metals brought from
Mexico were formerly deposited.

[5] The Lonja was built (as the word in fact implies) for an exchange,
but, from the fallen state of Spanish commerce, it is now used as a
depôt for the American Archives.

[6] The Province of Andalusia comprises, strictly speaking, only the
three kingdoms of Seville, Cordoba, and Jaen; but that of Granada is
generally included by modern Geographers.

[7] The kingdom of Granada was founded by Mohammed Abou Said, of the
family of Alhamares, A.D. 1236.

[8] The Vale of Granada is, _par excellence_, termed La Vega. _Vega_
signifies a plain.

[9] He who has not seen Granada--has seen _nothing_.

[10] _Cosas de España!_ is a common mode of expressing the uncertainty
of every thing connected with Spain. "_Affairs of Spain._"

[11] Far be it from me to disparage the information or undervalue the
exertions of this most estimable lady, to turn the precious time of my
_all-seeing_ countrymen to the best account: on the contrary, I can with
perfect truth and from much personal experience say, that I never met
with a better General Itinerary than that she has given to the public:
and though, as regards Spain, the amount of information is scanty, yet
it is nevertheless far more correct than that contained in works I have
met with, devoted exclusively to the description of that country.

[12] There are tastes which deserve a stick.

[13] A mountain road.

[14] It may be as well, ere I start on my travels, to explain that
there are three words in Spanish by which houses of entertainment are
designated, exclusive of _Parador_, which may be considered a generic
term, implying a _place to stop at_.--The first in rank is the _Fonda_,
whereat travellers are furnished with board and lodging, but which
does not extend its accommodation to horses. Next comes the _Posada_,
which accommodates man and beast, but does not always profess to supply
nourishment to either.--The _Venta_ is a kind of roadside public house,
where bad accommodation, and whatever else the place contains, may be
had for money.

[15] A muleteer.

[16] _Olla_--an earthenware vessel. The well known cognominal mess is so
called from being cooked therein.

[17] Fill himself with gazpachos.

[18] The word tar signifies also a ridge either of a house or mountain,
and might with great propriety have been applied to the strongly-marked
outline of the rock of Gibraltar as compared with the mountains in the
neighbourhood.

[19] See Note A in the Appendix.

[20] Peculiar Spanish cap.

[21] The original Spanish is given in the Appendix B.

[22] A Year in Spain, by a young American.

[23] Young American.

[24] _The Place_--the name, par excellence, by which the Spaniards
distinguish Gibraltar.

[25] Mountaineers.

[26] "We are all corrupt." Such were the words of Merino Guerra, at
his parting interview with the late Sir George Don at Gibraltar, on
proceeding--an exile--to South America.

[27] Napoleon certainly succeeded in making his Satraps honest. In his
latter days, Massena would not have dared to repeat the witty reply
made to the _First Consul_ before all the Republican Generals, on his
accusing him of being "_un voleur_." "_Oui, mon General, je suis un
voleur, tu es un voleur, il est un voleur--nous sommes des voleurs, vous
êtes des voleurs, ils sont tous des voleurs._"

[28] "_El Presidente e Individuos de la Junta de Sanidad de la Ciudad de
Gibraltar, que por la material pérdida de su plaza reside en esta de San
Roque de su Campo, &c._"--Such was the heading of the Bill of health,
with which I travelled when last in Spain.

[29] The punishment of death by strangulation is so called, from the
_short stick_, by turning which an iron collar, that goes round the
criminal's neck, is brought so tight as to cause instant death.

[30] The usual complimentary mode of expression amongst Spaniards, which
has no more meaning than the "Obedient humble Servant" at the bottom of
an English letter.

[31] He had fallen in with Capt. Tupper of the 23d Fuzileers (with whom
he was well acquainted) on his way to Algeciras, who had accompanied
him to San Roque. Poor Tupper! led away by a somewhat quixotic love of
strife, he was persuaded in an unlucky moment to throw up his company
in one of the first regiments in the British service, to become the
_Colonel_ of a regiment of adventurers, and was killed whilst gallantly
leading on his men at the first attack on _Hernani_ of fatal memory.

[32] A Spanish _pillared_ dollar.

[33] Blue blood.

[34] The term _Tertulia_ was originally applied to an assembly of
_Literati_, which met to discuss the opinions held by _Tertulian_, and
even to this day those who attend these, now festive, meetings, are
called _Tertulianos_.

The following lines contain a biting satire on the _Tertulians_ of the
olden time, (for they can hardly be applied to those of the present) and
might perhaps not inaptly be addressed to other self-appointed literary
judges in various parts of the world.

     _Y entraron los Tertulianos--rigidissimos jueces, que
     sedientes de Aganipe, se enjuagan; pero no beben._

which may be thus freely translated.--Thirsting, the Tertulians arrive
at Aganippe's fountain; infallible judges!--They rinse their mouths, but
drink not.

[35] Lit:--_a sigh_--a kind of puff made principally of sugar, which
dissolves immediately on being dipped in water.

[36] An open court. Most Spanish houses are built so as to enclose a
court or garden--which in summer is much used by the family, being
protected from the sun by a canvass awning.

[37] Widow of Sir Emanuel Viale--Roman Consul in Gibraltar.

[38] 1st Book of Kings, ch. 10. v. 22. See Note C in Appendix.

[39] According to Strabo, however, the original founder of this city was
Hercules, from whom it received the name of Heraclea.

[40] Pieces of Artillery.

[41] Large game.

[42] The Spanish term for a shooting party, where beaters are employed
to drive the game.

[43] This must not be confounded with the more celebrated _Genil_.

[44] _Aqui se vende buen vino_--Here good wine is sold.

[45] Posadero--keeper of a Posada--Innkeeper.

[46] Spaniards never say the Spanish grammar, the Spanish tongue,
&c.--but _La Gramatica Castellana_--_La Lingua Castellana_, &c.

[47] With every convenience.

[48] Little sister.

[49] Strictly speaking, _Knights_, but applied to all gentry.

[50] Parlour.

[51] Literally translated--people of _hair_, but here evidently meaning
people of _substance_.

[52] Infant God.

[53] A _hot_ Gaspacho, which consists of the same materials as the
_Gazpacho fresco_, but, when an evening meal, is usually heated at the
fire.

[54] Thieves.

[55] Chief magistrate, where there is no _Corregidor_.

[56] One does not depart a point from the truth.--Don Quijote.

[57] Fowling-piece.

[58] Black pudding.

[59] God assists him who rises early.

[60] A little charity, for the love of God.

[61] Quite correct.

[62] God go with you.

[63] Custom-house officer.

[64] There are various league measures in Spain.--1st. The _Legua
geografica_, of which there are 17-1/2 in a degree of the meridian;
2ndly, the _Legua de Marina_, or of "an hour's journey;" and 3rdly,
the _Legua legal_. Of the two last, a degree contains 20 and 26-1/2
respectively. The leagues on the _post-roads_ of Andalusia must
be calculated at the second of these measures; that is, at three
British statute miles, and 807 yards each: but on the cross roads the
measurement depends upon whether the leagues are specified as being
_largas_, _cortas_, or _regulares_, which may be computed at 5, 3, and
4 miles respectively, whilst that of "_una hora_" (an hour) may be
reckoned like a post league, at 3-1/2 very nearly.

[65] Friar's rock.

[66] Here, brother Sancho, we may thrust our hands (arms?) up to the
elbows in what are called adventures.

[67] So it is said.

[68] Publican.

[69] Off!--Jesus! Maria! Joseph!--my barley! my hemp! every thing will
be destroyed!

[70] Little market.

[71] On this subject see further at Chapter XV., vol. II.

[72] Gibraltar was recaptured from the Spaniards by Abou Melic, the
year following his arrival in Spain; and he assumed the title of King
of Ronda, Algeciras, and Gibraltar.--He fell at the battle of Arcos,
where his army was completely routed by that of Alphonso the Eleventh,
commanded by the Grand Master of Calatrava, A.D. 1339.

[73] And, in the course of time, the _Hisna_ trimming (Randa) has been
torn off, and the place called Ronda.

[74] Gentry--from _Hidalgo_ (_Higo de algo_). _Son of Somebody._

[75] A.D. 1735. Part of this bold arch is yet visible.

[76] Ficus indicus.

[77] A body corporate of the nobility, whose province is chiefly to
encourage the breed of horses.--The present male competitor for the
crown of Spain was Grand Master of the R. Maestranza of Ronda, during
the lifetime of Ferdinand VII.

[78] It was no unusual thing to send Regiments, that were very much in
arrears of pay, to garrison the lines in front of Gibraltar; and so well
was the reason of their being sent there understood, that sometimes
they would take the settlement of accounts _into their own hands_. I
recollect the Regiment of _La Princesa_ refusing--Officers and Men--to
embark for Ceuta, because they had not been allowed to remain long
enough before Gibraltar to pay themselves. The regiment was permitted to
remain three months longer, and at the expiration of that time embarked
perfectly satisfied: a rare instance of _moderation_.

[79] A bushel nearly.

[80] A real vellon is equal to 2-1/2 pence.

[81] At Ronda even an Octogenarian is a Chicken.

[82] May you die at Ronda, bearing pig-skins.

[83] Well planted.

[84] The Greek peasant may also perhaps be excepted.

[85] The word _Majo_ originally signified Bravo, or Bully, but is now
applied to such as court distinction by an extravagant style of dress.
It is almost confined to the South of Spain.

[86] _Haca_--a Pony--though the term is applied to horses of all sorts.
Our word _hack_ is evidently derived therefrom, and Hackney from
_Hacanea_, the diminutive of Haca.

[87] To a rogue, a rogue and a half.

[88] There is no vessel to measure tastes, nor scales, by which they can
be tried.

[89] The public walk of every Spanish town is so called.--The word is
derived from _Alamo_, a poplar.

[90] A small silver coin.

[91] Revoltingly as this exclamation from a lady's mouth would sound
to "ears polite" in England, yet it is in common use, even in the
first circle of Spanish Society. The different manner of pronouncing
the J, making it _Hèsus_, mitigates in some degree the disgust with
which it cannot but be heard by Englishmen: the word appearing to have
a different import, as it were, until the ear becomes accustomed to
its use. The vulgarisms of one nation are often thus passed over by
another,--most fortunately in some instances,--for with married couples
it frequently happens this "ignorance is bliss."

[92] Literally--Courses.

[93] Bull-fighters.

[94] An Amateur.

[95] Literally, _Jester_.--The term has probably been applied to the
bull-fighter's _assistant_, from the part he acts in drawing the
animal's attention.

[96] A long club stick, with which the shepherds and others keep
their flocks in order, and bring to the Bull-fights to signify their
impatience and displeasure, by striking it against the wood-work.

[97] Acenipo, according to Ptolemy. The ruined city was discovered A.D.
1650, and the coins, inscriptions, and statues, that have been found
there, leave no doubt of its being the Acenippo mentioned by Pliny
as one of the cities of _Celtica_, (Lib iii.) the situation of which
country had long been matter of dispute; some supposing it to have been
on the banks of the Guadiana.

[98] Carter, who it is clear never visited the spot, fancied it was the
Guadiaro itself that issued from the _Cueva del Gato_.

[99] Custom-house officers.

[100] All ashes and coal, like a fairy's treasure.

[101] With a clear and tranquil voice.--_Don Quijote._

[102] Wild olive.

[103] _Los Reyes Catolicos_--the title by which Ferdinand and Isabella
are invariably distinguished.

[104] The Pass of the horror-struck Moor.

[105] Mountaineer.

[106] Native of Cadiz.

[107] The niche which marks the direction of Mecca.

[108] _Dios guarde à usted_--God preserve you.

[109] _Road of partridges._ Any particularly wild and stony track is so
called in Spain, from such localities being the favourite resort of that
bird.

[110] A train of men and beasts, from the Arabic, _Kafel_.

[111] The cry by which muleteers keep their animals on the move. This
word is the root of the term _arriero_, applied generally to the drivers
of beasts of burthen.

[112] A cigar, made entirely of tobacco (in the usual way), is so called
by the country people, who very seldom consume "the weed" in that form.

[113] _The cross of astonishment_--meaning the hurried cross which a
devout Romanist describes upon his person, whenever unexpectedly exposed
to danger.

[114] Literally, a _man of whisker_--but meaning a bold fellow.

[115] Very bad people.

[116] God give you a bad Easter--_desunt cætera_.

[117] How droll the squint-eyed fellow is!

[118] He-goat--which, in allusion to his horns, is used as a term of
reproach.

[119] Fortune always leaves a door open.

[120] A corruption of the word _Arabes_.

[121] River of the city.

[122] The fans mostly used are made of kid-skin, richly gilt at the
back, and painted on the other side.--A Spanish belle does not hesitate
to expend thirty or forty dollars on her fan, though she should have to
live on _Gazpacho_ for a month, to make up for her extravagance.

[123] De situ Orbis: Lib. 2. Cap. 6.

[124] Treasury.

[125] The name given to cigars composed of chopped tobacco rolled up in
_paper_, the latter item furnishing by far the greater portion of the
_smoke_.

[126] Punch and eggs.

[127] Without cares.

[128] Buffo.

[129] Literally, _strong houses_. They are brick forts of small
dimensions, presenting, generally, a bastioned front on the land side,
and a semi-circular battery, en barbette, to the sea.

[130] The _village_ of Alcaucin, erroneously placed in Lopez' and other
maps _on_ the road, is situated about half a mile from it, on the right
hand.

[131] Woe is me, Alhama!

[132] The accounts of the founder of the kingdom of Granada differ
materially.--Florez says that he was but a common ploughman, and that
the surname of Alhamar was given him from his ruddy complexion.--Others,
however, (and I think with greater appearance of truth,) maintain that
he was a distinguished inhabitant of _Arjona_, of which place he made
himself Lord previous to founding the kingdom of Granada, and that he
belonged to the tribe of Alhamars, from Couffa, on the Red Sea.

[133] _Torre de la Vela_--the loftiest tower of the Alhambra.

[134] Al Hamara--the red.

[135] A small Spanish coin.

[136] This is the court of the Lions.

[137] Of most volume--meaning importance.

[138] A kind of drum, having a small hole in the parchment at one end,
through which a close fitting stick is worked up and down so as to
produce a noise like that made by a wheel requiring grease.

[139] The point to which Mohammedans turn when praying.

[140] Seat of the Moors.

[141] The _little_ unfortunate, in allusion rather to the size of his
person than the extent of his misfortunes.

[142] Watch Tower.

[143] The handsome.

[144] Florez--España Sagrada.

[145] From the Arabic word _suk_, a place of sale.

[146] Dost thou know me?

[147] The husband of this lady was at the time of which I write, as
he has lately again been, Prime Minister of Spain. Though universally
admitted to be a man of great talent, his views are considered too
"_confined_" for "the circumstances of the country;" and he has each
time been obliged to make way for more "_stirring men_."

[148] I have already warned my readers, that in publishing the journal
of my various wanderings, it did not form part of my plan to specify
dates with any precision. I should perhaps state, however, that it
was _not_ on the occasion of my first visit to Granada that I saw the
Marquis of Montijo, nor, indeed, do I think he had then retired from
public life. But, at all events, if his so doing be considered a matter
of history, it is so unimportant a one, as to excuse my here describing
him eight or ten years older, and much more infirm, than he really was
at the time of which I write.

[149] War to the knife.

[150] I certainly am right in calling the old lady gover_nor_, since we
pray in our churches for "our most gracious queen and governor."

[151] St. James; the patron saint of Spain.

[152] Though you dress up a monkey in silk, a monkey he remains.

[153] I speak only of the officers of the _Regular_ army, not of the
_Guerrilla_ chieftains, who, without performing the prodigies of valour
_stated by themselves_, often behaved most gallantly, manoeuvered with
great skill, and did good service to the general cause.

[154] The name of an estate granted to the Duke of Wellington.--See
Chap. xiii., Vol. 2.

[155] The amount of population in Spanish towns is calculated by
vecinos; the term in a literal sense meaning neighbours, but in this
case implying _hearths_, or _families_. Each _vecino_ is computed at six
souls, unless they are specified as being _escasos_, (scanty) when five
only are reckoned for each.

[156] _Hirtius--de Bello Hisp._

[157] The Eton Atlas, however, places _Ulia_ on the spot where _Castrò
el Rio_ now stands, and gives the name of _Silicense_ to the River
Guadajoz.

[158] _That_ Spanish gentleman.

[159] A very small parlour.

[160] A common ejaculation of all Spaniards.

[161] Real Habana cigars are so called, though those made at the Royal
Manufactories in Spain more properly deserve the _lawful_ distinction.

[162] _Cuidado_--care! meaning be careful. The Andalusians invariably
slur over, or altogether omit, the _d_ in the final syllable, which
forms the past participle of most of the Spanish verbs. I once heard of
a dispute between an Irish and a Scotch soldier, touching the _true_
pronunciation of the name, _Badajos_,--one maintaining that it was _Bi
Jadus_, the other _Baddyhoose_. The question was finally referred to
an Andaluz contrabandista in company to decide. The Spaniard, after
gravely listening to both modes, declared that, of the two, Sandy's was
the nearer approach to the _real Castillian_, which he pronounced to be
_Ba'jos_, Anglice _Bah-hose_.

[163] The smoking of a cigar.

[164] With perfect confidence--and it is astonishing and highly
flattering to our national character what confidence all Spaniards
place in us on a very slight acquaintance. A remarkable instance of
this occurred to my friend Budgen (whose name I have once before taken
the liberty of mentioning in these pages), when returning home alone
one afternoon, from shooting in the Almoraima forest. A well dressed
and well mounted Spaniard, who had trotted past and eyed him very hard
several times, addressing some common-place observation to him on each
occasion, at length, having ascertained to his satisfaction that, in
spite of a half Spanish costume, he was an Englishman, reined his
horse up alongside, and said he had a particular favour to ask. "It is
granted, if in my power," was the reply. "I have here, then," added the
Spaniard, "a number of doubloons," mentioning a very considerable sum,
"which I want to smuggle into _La Plaza_, for the purchase of various
goods. Your person will not be examined by the custom-house officers at
_the Lines_, whereas mine is sure to be. Will you, therefore, oblige me
by carrying them in for me, and lodging them at the house of ---- and
Co.?" "Did you ever _see_ me before," demanded my astonished friend,
"that you ask me to do this?" "No," replied the other; "but I see
_you are an Englishman_." Thanking him for the compliment paid to the
national character by this proof of trust, our countryman added, that he
must nevertheless decline doing what was asked of him, as the confidence
shown by the Spanish government in suffering Englishmen to pass into
Gibraltar without examination would be badly returned by such an act.
The Spaniard (fully appreciating the high sense of honour that dictated
this answer) expressed a hope that he had not given offence, wished him
good day, and rode forward.

[165] Scorpions.

[166] "_What about Religion? stuff!_" Many of my readers may suppose,
that this sanguinary and summary mode of establishing a constitutional
government is an _original_ project of my own, put into the mouth of
_Tio Blas_; but I can assure them it is _word for word_ a _translation_.

[167] To strut the streets like peacocks.

[168] The Andalusian peasants usually wear a handkerchief round the
head, under the _sombrero_, to absorb the perspiration.

[169] In England the state of the roads is such, as to enable us to
dispense with an adjective signifying _passable_ for a carriage; the
Spaniards have not an equally good excuse for this deficiency in their
vocabulary: I venture therefore to translate the expressive Italian word
_carrozzabile_.

[170] Chief magistrate of a town, who is never a native of the place.

[171] The names of these places, though communicated to me in the first
instance, are now withheld, at the narrator's particular request.

[172] Something between a town and a village.

[173] Surname.

[174] In an open country.

[175] To preach in the desert.

[176] Address as _you_.

[177] She is now in heaven.

[178] It is a common saying amongst the _Serranos_, "Kill your man, and
fly to Olbera for safety."

[179] The daughter badly married than well maintained.

[180] Literally, with outstretched foot--at his ease.

[181] I can fancy some hypercritical persons quarrelling with this
expression of the worthy Señor Blas; since Ceuta is not actually an
island. But it is cut off from the main land by so wide a salt water
ditch, that I think he was almost warranted in using the word sea-girt.

[182] Scarecrow.

[183] Band.

[184] To gain friends is to put money out to interest, and sow on
irrigated soil.

[185] With closed eyes--i. e. without hesitation.

[186] I interrupted the Señor Blas here, asking him if Valencia was not
an _open city_? "Yes, _Señor Critico_," he replied, "but have not houses
walls?"

[187] Holyly into the house.

[188] Conceived without sin--the invariable _acknowledgment_ of the _Ave
Maria_ which a devout Spaniard pronounces on crossing the threshold of a
house, be it even to commit murder.

[189] Raw garlic and pure wine make one travel safely.

[190] To an old dog you need not say _tus tus_.

[191] A nickname for Frenchmen.

[192] More wind than fire.

[193] Charcoal furnaces.

[194] Quarter.

[195] For him who sees so well, one eye is enough.

[196] Literally, _do you expend tobacco_?

[197] Punk made of a dried fungus that grows round the roots of the cork
tree.

[198] Bomb-cigar.

[199] Literally, bulls and canes--i. e. high words.

[200] Throw that bone to another dog.

[201] A precipice before, wolves behind.

[202] Scare _wolves_.

[203] Strike the iron whilst it is hot.

[204] Sash--The Spanish peasants carry their money wrapped up within the
folds of their wide sashes.

[205] Literally, _make the fig_, that is, thrust the thumb between the
fore and middle fingers in sign of contempt.

[206] Give a quittance.

[207] Feet uppermost.

[208] Peculiar sailing boat.

[209] It was founded by Ferdinand and Isabella, whilst laying siege to
Granada.

[210] Most Spanish houses are built in a square form, enclosing an open
court, or _patio_. A servant "answers the door," by raising the latch,
by means of a pulley, and demanding your business from the gallery of
the first floor, a plan which would be attended with _considerable
inconvenience_ in London.

[211] Arm-chair.

[212] Fire.

[213] Cat for hare.

[214] In the mouth of fame.

[215] Where envy reigns, there virtue cannot live.

The lines of Burns,

    "O wad some pow'r, the giftie gie us,
    To see oursels as others see us!"

often occurred to me in the course of Señor Blas's story.

[216] Of extracting the teeth from one who has been hanged.

[217] Old crony.

[218] _Pépé_, short for Josef.--_Alamin_, faithful.

[219] Without stoppage.

[220] To wit.

[221] An olla without _bacon_--an essential ingredient for its
well-being.

[222] Dress worn by the herdsmen, made of sheepskins.

[223] He who neglects to take a rope may be drowned.

[224] To the deed with a good heart.

[225] Making the salaam.

[226] Literally, by who God is.

[227] Gipsy.

[228] Wild boar.

[229] The _moderates_ were distinguished by wearing a ring--whence the
term.

[230] An olla that boils long loses much.

[231] This was the general opinion amongst the Spanish _liberales_.

[232] "_Well then_"--a conjunctional expression with which, and sundry
_conques_ (with which), a Spaniard takes up and links together the
different portions of a _cuenta_, the narration of which is generally
interrupted by the necessity for lighting a fresh cigar, striking a
fresh light, or getting rid of a superabundant supply of smoke. I have
been purposely chary of these expressions, not to prolong a story which,
even without them, many may think is somewhat tediously spun out.

[233] Which may be thus literally translated (_si se ofrece algo_)
if any thing occurs, ( ...) a hiatus that is filled up with a shrug
of the shoulders; an expansion of the hands, palms outwards, and
corresponding contortion of the muscles of the cheeks; all of which,
like Lord Burleigh's shake of the head, has a wonderfully comprehensive
meaning--viz., in which I can in any way serve you, (_ustedes no tienen
que mandar_,) you have but to give me your orders.

[234] My house, my wife, my servants--every thing I possess is at your
disposal.

[235] A much better, indeed a very good inn, has since been established.
See chapter 2, vol. ii.

[236] _Zancarron de Mahoma_ is a contemptuous way of speaking amongst
Spaniards of the bones of the prophet, which the Mussulmans go to visit
at Mecca.

[237] Court of the Orange-trees.

[238] This was previous to the present civil war.

[239] "Swallow it;" the substance of the song being, if you do not like
it (the constitution), you must swallow it, dog!

[240] Thanks, my daughter, many thanks.

[241] A female dog.

[242] Jonah, ch. i., v. 3.

[243] Acts. ch. ix., v. 11.

[244] 1st Kings, ch. xxii., v. 48.

[245] 2nd Chron., ch. xx., v. 36.

[246] 1st Kings, ch. ix., v. 26., and 2nd Chron., ch. viii., v. 17 and
18.

[247] 1st Kings, ch. x., v. 22, and 2nd Chron., ch. ix., v. 21.

[248] Ezekiel, ch. xxvii., v. 12.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Zefaraya Mountains=> Zafaraya Mountains {pg v contents}

An English Conntry Dance=> An English Country Dance {pg vi contents}

Occnpied by a Cavalry Regiment=> Occupied by a Cavalry Regiment {pg vi
contents}

the commerce of the country detroyed=> the commerce of the country
detroyed {pg 4}

vous etes des voleurs=> vous êtes des voleurs {pg 40 n.}

They rince their mouths=> They rinse their mouths {pg 52 n.}

eluded his viligance=> eluded his vigilance {pg 98}

bright eyed-acquaintances=> bright-eyed acquaintances {pg 128}

the first days _corrida_=> the first day's _corrida_ {pg 133}

the stangers=> the strangers {pg 134}

answering his decription=> answering his description {pg 168}

that protuded above=> that protruded above {pg 184}

by the rapid progress of the christian arms=> by the rapid progress of
the Christian arms {pg 203}

Genaralife=> Generalife {pg 259}

encicle the traveller=> encircle the traveller {pg 282}

have given orders not be disturbed=> have given orders not to be
disturbed {pg 381}

foothpath to the river=> footpath to the river {pg 382}

I solemly protested=> I solemnly protested {pg 400}





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