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Title: A Corner of Spain
Author: Wood, Walter
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



    TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

    * Obvious printer errors have been silently corrected.
    * Original spelling was kept, but variant spellings were made
      consistent when a predominant usage was found.
    * Italics are denoted by underscores as in _italics_.
    * Small caps are represented in upper case as in SMALL CAPS.
    * Illustrations have been slightly moved so that they do not
      break up paragraphs while remaining close to the text they
      illustrate.
    * Illustration captions have been harmonized and made consistent
      so that the same expressions appear in the text and in the List
      of Illustrations.
    * Repetitive chapter headings under some illustrations have not
      been kept.
    * Some Spanish and Galician expressions have been changed, namely:

      Page  31: "_Ave Maria purissima_" replaced by "_Ave María
                purísima_",
      Page  36: "_caldo Gallego_" replaced by "_caldo gallego_",
      Page  66: "_Vida Gallego_" replaced by "_Vida Gallega_",
      Page  86: "Rosaria" replaced by "Rosario",
      Page  90: "_gigantones_" replaced by "_gigantes_",
      Page  92: "Colegieta" replaced by "Colegiata",
      Page 119: "Antonio Palachio" replaced by "Antonio Palacios",
      Page 132: "Filguiera" replaced by "Filgueira",
      Page 144: "pi y Suñer" replaced by "Pi y Suñer",
      Page 188: "Bembibra" replaced by "Bembibre",

      and throughout the text "sereño" has been replaced by "sereno",
        "Hôtel" with "Hotel" and "compostella" by "compostela".



    A CORNER
    OF SPAIN



[Illustration: GALICIA'S GOLDEN SANDS]



    A CORNER
    OF SPAIN

    BY WALTER WOOD
    WITH AN INTRODUCTION
    BY MARTIN HUME

    ILLUSTRATED IN COLOUR AND
    LINE FROM PICTURES BY
    FRANK H. MASON, R.B.A.
    AND WITH NUMEROUS REPRODUCTIONS
    FROM PHOTOGRAPHS


    NEW YORK
    JAMES POTT & CO.

    LONDON: EVELEIGH NASH
    1910



    Printed by BALLANTYNE & CO. LIMITED
    Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London



PREFACE


This book does not pretend to be a history or a complete record of
Galicia. Its purpose is to show something of the life and character
of a little-known part of Spain, and to deal with things seen and
done by the visitor who travels under competent and comfortable
guidance. I have written either of what I experienced or on the
authority of prominent residents with whom I came in contact in my
wanderings.



CONTENTS


  INTRODUCTION                                                  Pp. 1-21

  CHAPTER I
  GALICIA AND ITS PEOPLE

  The Real Galicia : The Hundred Maidens : The Glory of the North-West :
  Granite Hills : Gallegans and their Lives : Pigeon-cots and
  Maize-barns : The Night-watchman's Chant : Civil Guards and
  Constables : A Modest Breakfast : Eating and drinking : The Waiter as
  a Gentleman : Enterprise and Open-air Life : The Blessed "To-morrow" :
  Cigarettes : The Unexpected : Photography : Wine and a Bibber :
  Across the Biscay                                            Pp. 23-47


  CHAPTER II
  VIGO BAY AND HILLS

  Sun-bound : Sharp Contrasts : Devil-fish and Ink-fish : Sardines : A
  Spanish Infant : Vigo's Enterprise : The Lazaretto : Treasure-ships :
  A Grandee's Home : A Fishing-town : _Memento mori_ : Handling Catches :
  Clubs and Warships : A Russian Funeral : Emigrants : A Valley Town :
  The Press and a Distributor : Borrow's Vigo                  Pp. 49-67


  CHAPTER III
  SPAIN'S JERUSALEM

  Galicia's Patron Saint : Pilgrims and Pestilence : A Holy City :
  A Monumental History : Noisy Students : The Fascination of the
  Cathedral : Precious Relics : A Wealth of Silver : The _Compostela_ :
  St. James's Sepulchre : The Gate of Glory : The Mighty Censer :
  Religious Festivals : Our Lady of the Rosary : St. James's Day
  Festivities : The Way of Blood and Tears : Mediæval Night : From
  Pilgrims' Hill                                               Pp. 69-96


  CHAPTER IV
  THINGS SEEN

  More Contrasts : Bewildering Baedeker : A Galician Vineyard : Sabbath
  Peace : Wayside Inns : Security of Travel : Brawny Brigands : A
  Sonorous Tongue                                             Pp. 97-108


  CHAPTER V
  THE ATLANTIC COAST AND THE FRONTIER

  Romantic Scenery : A Blighted Town : British Enterprise : The
  Napoleonic Wars : A Quaint Old Place : Galicia's Fjords : A
  Remarkable Lighthouse : Down to Portugal : Friendly Sentries : The
  Glories of the Miño : Orense and its Famous Bridge         Pp. 109-124


  CHAPTER VI
  LOCOMOTION

  The Diligence : Railways : Galicia's Rolling-stock : The Solemnity
  of Journeying by Train : Motor-cars and Motor-buses : Beauty in the
  Saddle : Shocks in Travelling : "Drummers" of the North-West : Cycles
  and a Freak                                                Pp. 125-139


  CHAPTER VII
  MONDARIZ

  An Alluring Hotel : Beneficent Waters : A Noble Building : Pine
  Hills and Trout-streams : A Splendid Pump-room : The Logan of Arcos :
  Sobroso's Ruins : Creaking Bullock-carts : Peaceful Prospects
                                                             Pp. 141-151

  CHAPTER VIII
  GALICIA'S BURDEN-BEARERS

  The Woman with the Coffin : Women and Weights : Wages and Rent : My
  Pretty Maid : Hairdressing : Universal Washing : A Galician Funeral
                                                             Pp. 153-163

  CHAPTER IX
  AROSA BAY AND LA TOJA

  A Favourite Anchorage for British Warships : Roman Remains :
  Religious Prisoners : Cortegada and the King of Spain : An
  Attractive Workhouse : Borrow and the Bible : An Arcaded Town :
  Columbus and his Ships : The Haunt of the Wolf : The Island of La
  Toja : A Wonderful Cure : Golf                             Pp. 165-177


  CHAPTER X
  CORUNNA AND ITS HERO

  The Most Happy and Invincible Armada : Modern Corunna : The
  _Miradores_ : Wellington, Napoleon, and the Gallegans : The
  Peninsular War : The Tragedy of Moore's Retreat to Corunna : A
  Butchered Rearguard : Marvellous Marching : The Last Stand : Moore's
  Death : His Burial on Corunna's Ramparts                   Pp. 179-194


  INDEX                                                      Pp. 195-203



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE
  Galicia's Golden Sands (_colour_)                  _Frontispiece_

  A Land of Mountain and Flood                                         1

  Peasants in their Sunday Best. Fishwives                _To face_    8

  A Galician Laundry                                                  23

  A Galician Market Place (_colour_)                      _To face_   25

  A Granary. A Pigeon-cot                                    _"_      30

  A Merry Roadside Group                                     _"_      37

  A Cattle Market. An Open-air Market                        _"_      41

  San Simon's Island, Vigo Bay                                        49

  Vigo, Galicia's Gateway (_colour_)                      _To face_   51

  Galician Children. Afraid of the Camera                    _"_      54

  On the Quay at Vigo. Fishermen's Cottages at Cangas        _"_      61

  Santiago, from the Alameda                                          69

  Santiago de Compostela (_colour_)                       _To face_   71

  One of Santiago's Twin Towers                              _"_      74

  Rua del Villar, Santiago (_colour_)                        _"_      81

  A Logan                                                             97

  A Galician Village (_colour_)                           _To face_   99

  A Galician Fishing-boat. Men and Women rowing up
    Vigo Bay                                                 _"_     104

  The Church at Bouzas, on the Coast                                 109

  Tuy, a Hill City on the Frontier (_colour_)             _To face_  111

  Ferrol, the Spanish Portsmouth                             _"_     113

  The Bridge at Ramallosa. The Shrine on the Bridge          _"_     118

  Oxen towing a Broken-down Motor-bus                                125

  Pontevedra by Night: the Bull-ring (_colour_)           _To face_  127

  A Diligence on the Highway. Oxen Yoked to a Diligence      _"_     128

  The Hills of Mondariz                                              141

  Mondariz (_colour_)                                     _To face_  143

  A Peasant's Funeral in the Hills. A Peasant Woman,
    with her Distaff, driving a Bullock-cart                 _"_     150

  Gathering Firewood in the Pine Hills                               153

  The Fishing Town of Marin (_colour_)                    _To face_  155

  A Maid of Cangas                                           _"_     159

  Carrying Water. A Woman Threshing Beans                    _"_     162

  Arosa Bay                                                          165

  The Island of La Toja (_colour_)                        _To face_  167

  The Torre de Hércules, Corunna                                     179

  A Road in the Hills (_colour_)                          _To face_  181

  Elviña, where Sir John Moore was Mortally Wounded.
    The House, Modernised, in which he died                  _"_     191

  Sir John Moore's Tomb at Corunna. Corunna Bay, from
    the Ramparts                                             _"_     194

  Map of Galicia                                                     195


[Illustration: A LAND OF MOUNTAIN AND FLOOD]



INTRODUCTION


I stood upon the salient bastion of an ancient fortress towering
high above a swift and placid river. Below and around me swept line
upon line of crumbling walls and grass-grown moats, the scene of
many a bloody struggle in the evil days of old. From a hundred grim
embrasures peeped rusty cannon, harmless now, and dark-eyed children
sported upon the battlements that once had belched defiance and
destruction to the foe across the stream. For this old white town,
cramped within its triple ramparts, is the last vantage ground of
Portugal; and on the other side of the Miño straight before me is
Galicia, the unconquered land of the Gael, a land of mountain and
flood, of mist and sunlight, such as are all the western promontories
in which the mysterious Celtic people have finally found a home after
ages of unrecorded wanderings.

The scene as I looked upon it from these old battlements of Valença
is as fair as any that Europe can offer. Down in the valley on both
sides of the stream the maize-fields are reddening in the autumn sun,
and between them, and terraced on the hill slopes above them, vines,
heavy now with great masses of black grapes, are trained over slender
posts of grey granite, forming endless arcades of fruit and foliage.
Then higher up, climbing the steep skirts of the mountains, vast
forests of darkling pines throw into relief the majestic summits,
bare and boulder-strewn, upon which the ardent southern sunlight
glows and quivers, whilst deep purple shadows fleck the tints of old
rose and cinnamon where the sunlight falls. Across the majestic iron
bridge that spans the Miño, the one modern note in all this scene,
there rises an ancient city clustered upon a rise crowned by square
battlemented towers. Some old feudal fortress it would seem; but
closer acquaintance proves it to be a Christian cathedral built at a
time when bishops girt the sword and donned their armour to fight the
infidel and defend their faith with their lives.

Tuy, the first city of Galicia, is a relic of a past age. Its
tortuous narrow streets, mere alleys a few feet wide, are like those
of the prehistoric Celtic city of Citania in Portugal: deep channels
worn in the living rock and patched where necessary with flat slabs.
The city itself is as silent as the grave, and the frowning old
castle-cathedral, with its tinkling bell calling to worship, almost
alone indicates the presence of the living. A mediæval writer calls
Tuy "lately a city of pagans," but for well upon ten centuries now
the brave old Romanesque church has stood aloft unmoved like a cliff
to resist the incursions of the enemies of the Church. But Tuy,
quaint and suggestive of thought as it is, can hardly be considered a
typical Galician city; for the best and most picturesque regions of
Galicia are those which surround the glorious fjords cut deep into
the land that entitles the little "Kingdom" to be called the Norway
of Spain.

The scenery up the Miño to Orense is, as Mr. Wood has mentioned, one
of the most fascinating series of river views for fifty miles that
Europe can show. Foaming and tearing its way between dark gorges,
broadening here and there into smiling little valleys, the mountains
terraced almost to their distant summits with mere steps upon which
crops are raised, the river passes through infinite phases of beauty.
But the towns, and even villages, are few and far between in these
wild regions, and the suave and beautiful inland bays, with the
sweet valleys and soaring sierras that surround them, will form for
visitors the main attractions of Galicia.

I have here little to add to Mr. Wood's glowing descriptions of many
of the places he visited, except to confirm them fully and completely
from long and intimate local knowledge. To come comfortably and
safely from brumous England in the spring or autumn in less than
sixty hours to this enchanted land is almost like a sudden change of
world. This vivid light sharpening all the outlines and vivifying
the colours to almost fierce intensity, can surely not emanate from
the pale, misty sun we left but two short days ago; these azure seas
landlocked by the eternal hills of pines and gilded summits, seem a
different element from the sullen turgid grey of the Channel waves.
And the chaffering folk in the markets of Vigo clad in brilliant
colours, vehement in their bargaining as if life depended upon the
price of the glowing fruits and glittering fish which they buy and
sell; do they belong to the same human family of sad-faced people we
have left behind us? Look at these hardy fisherfolk, and still more
at the husbandmen and graziers in the inland valleys, and you will
recognise their close resemblance with some of our own people. These,
you will say, might well be Connemara folk, and in many respects
besides personal appearance these Gallegos are like their brother
Celts in other western lands indented by the sea. The bays of Western
Ireland from Donegal to Kerry; the lochs of Scotland from Ross to
Argyll; the waters that run deep into the Breton land from St. Michel
round to Morbihan, all breed upon their banks and valleys men of the
same race as these, though none of them are so untouched by outer
influences, except in the matter of language, as these Gallegos.
Wanderers are they and workers throughout their world: they have none
of the Castilian's haughty assumption of superiority independent of
circumstances. Throughout the Peninsula, both in Spain and Portugal,
in many parts of eastern South America, wherever a poor wage may be
gained by hard work; harvesting other people's crops, carrying other
people's burdens, there you will find the patient Gallego, hardy,
frugal, and honest, yearning like a true Celt for his own home and
his own kin again: sometimes, indeed, though rarely, so overcome by
the homesickness as to be unable to resist the craving for his native
hill-side before even he has amassed the few crowns that will enable
him to provide some little comfort for him and his.

This Celtic instinct and need to wander in search of work in order
to render less hard the lot of the weaker ones left behind, is the
main reason for the almost universal labour of the women of Galicia
in tasks elsewhere usually allotted to men. The constant drain of the
best and strongest of the male population of Galicia by emigration is
the saddest phase of Galician life. Something like twenty thousand
Gallegos emigrate to the Argentine Republic every year. They are
usually men of the soil, crowded out by a vicious system of taxation
and the infinite subdivision of the soil amongst a multitude of
peasants owning their tiny crofts. The soil and climate of Galicia
are the best in Spain and the people are by far the most laborious;
and yet it is calculated that three-quarters of the poorer classes
in the province are only kept alive by remittances sent by the
hardworking sons, husbands, and brothers in America. Not less than
eight millions of pesetas (£280,000) thus finds its way, mostly in
very small sums, annually to those who stay at home living upon the
hard fare and keeping the wolf from the door as best they may by
constant toil upon land or sea.

But a better time, it is hoped, is dawning for this favoured land.
The unrivalled fishing grounds are providing now not only food
for those who live upon the shores. All along the Ria of Vigo and
elsewhere factories are working, preserving and packing sardines for
the markets in the world. The abundant vegetables and fruits, which
according to the altitude upon the hill-sides may be gathered from
early spring to late autumn, are likewise being preserved for export
to countries less abundant than this. Other industries, too, are
awakening after the stifled sleep of generations, and if the burden
of taxation upon land and labour can be lightened in its incidence
there may yet be sunshine for the humble cottages of the Galician
valleys, and prosperity flowing from the labour of Gallegos in their
own land rather than from remittances from abroad. The living of
these poor, patient folk is incredibly frugal; and like that of their
kinsmen in Western Ireland inferior in stamina. Maize bread, and
_brona_, a coarse millet bread, is the staple food with potatoes,
though wheat of the finest quality can be grown; and the province
which provides cattle for the consumption of half Spain, and once
did a splendid trade in oxen with England, feeds its own population
mainly on fish, varied by an occasional meal of cow-beef too poor for
export.

[Illustration: PEASANTS IN THEIR SUNDAY BEST]

[Illustration: FISHWIVES]

Of all this the casual visitor sees nothing, and perhaps cares
nothing. He drives through a smiling land greener than Kerry, more
sunny than the overrated French Riviera: he lingers in abundantly
supplied markets, where all the fruits of the earth and ocean seem
spread in glowing heaps: he spins in a comfortable motor-car along
good roads cut upon the steep sides of mountains, and at every
turn of the tortuous way admiring some new enchanting prospect
of far-flung valley, towering cliffs or smiling fjord. The white
cottages with their attendant conical dovecots and tiny granaries,
their cobs of maize hung to ripen in fringe-like rows from their
verandahs, are, it is true, mean and dark within; but they form a
gracious note amidst the lush green of never-failing vegetation. Not
even in the depth of winter is the landscape free from flowers. In
February the wallflowers are in full bloom in the crannies of ancient
masonry, and the sweet-scented mimosa is bent down by the weight of
its masses of yellow flowers; a few weeks later the starry white and
crimson camellias grow in the open with marvellous luxuriance, and by
the middle of April the cherries are ripe in the sheltered valleys.

The air blows soft and moist from the sea through most of the year,
tempering the ardent sun even in the height of summer; and this fact,
which accounts for the marvellous verdancy and fertility of the soil,
also brings with it frequent showers and mists drifting up the Rias,
especially in the winter and early spring. But the rains are seldom
of long continuance, and the sunshine invariably follows close upon
them, drying everything with wonderful rapidity and leaving the
country more sparkling and green than ever.

Through such a country as this the traveller may go by motor-car
or railway from one fjord to another, rarely long out of sight of
blue water most of the way from Vigo to the _bellisima_ Noya, by
the holy town of Padron, where the body of St. James first took
harbour on its miraculous voyage from the Holy Land to the country
that thenceforward was to be its home. In old times it was part of
the great pilgrimage after worshipping at the shrine of the Saint at
Santiago to trudge on to Padron, the Iria Flavia of the Romans, and
the ancient Galician verse says:

    "_Quien va á Santiago
    E non va al Padron
    O' faz romeria ó non._"

Through the Middle Ages a stream of pilgrims wended their way from
all Christian lands to Santiago. The innumerable stars of the Milky
Way are called by Spaniards "the road of Santiago," expressive of the
vast concourse of the faithful that flocked to the Galician shrine.

I have before me as I write a naïve relation of a German priest,
the envoy, by the way, of an emperor seeking a Portuguese bride,
who thought it his duty on the way to worship at the sainted tomb
of Santiago. His narrative marks quaintly the immense difference
that has come over the world since the mid-fifteenth century in
which he wrote. On arriving at Astorga the band of pilgrims who
travelled together, and of which he and his colleague formed part,
were advised to go no farther for the present, as one of the great
rieving territorial nobles, who afterwards gave Ferdinand and
Isabella so much trouble to crush, was ravaging Galicia and making
war on the all-powerful favourite of the King, Don Alvaro de Luna.
The pilgrims being very numerous, decided to run the risk, confiding
in the harmless and meritorious character of their journey. Not
far from Pontevedra, however, they fell in with a strong force of
freebooters, who at once attacked them, wounding many and stripping
the whole company to the skin. On their knees, and in mortal terror,
the Emperor's envoys showed their credentials and prayed for mercy,
but no attention was paid to them, though they invoked Santiago and
all the other saints in the calendar. They were allowed, at last, to
go on the way with their companions, despoiled and, as the narrator
says, "full of pain, suffering and anguish, passing through towns
burnt and sacked by the marauders."

At last arriving at Pontevedra some kindness was shown them, and, on
foot still, the whole band trudged on to Santiago. After visiting the
shrine there they walked, as in duty bound, "with certain pilgrims
from Ireland," to Padron, where beneath the waves they were shown
the stone ship that had brought to the port the body of the apostle.
Then to another shrine at Finisterre also they went on foot, and
finally, their religious duty being ended, they proceeded on their
matrimonial mission to Portugal.

The streets of Santiago can have changed but little since those
far-off days of pious pilgrimage, when from all points of Christendom
came the countless thousands to expiate sins or seek salvation.
As the big omnibus from Cornes station bumps and rumbles into the
streets of the ancient city, almost the only vehicle that ever
invades them, a plunge is made into the centuries of long ago. Narrow
slab-paved streets with dim arcades on both sides, above which houses
of unimaginable antiquity are reared. Scallop shells adorn the
fronts of many of them, indicating that they were formerly pilgrims'
lodgings, and carved coats of arms with knightly casques above remind
us that in the old days nobles, too, lived in the streets of the holy
city. It looks almost an anachronism for men and women in modern garb
to wander through these silent streets and to tread the very slabs
worn thin by the pilgrim shoon of the centuries of faith so long ago.

Though lacking its sacred associations, Pontevedra in its way is
almost as quaint as Santiago. Standing at the head of its lovely
Ria, just where the river Lerez joins the bay, it is surrounded
by gracious hills backed by the Sierra high aloft. No words can
exaggerate the luxuriant character of the vegetation all around.
As elsewhere, maize and vines floor the valleys and lower slopes
with abundant fruit trees and a wilderness of flowers. Above are
the oaks, sycamores, and chestnuts, then higher still the grave
solemn pines, crowned at last by bare rocky summits glittering and
gilded in the sun. The ancient Plaza and Calle Real of Pontevedra,
with arcade-arches so low that most Englishmen have to stoop to
enter them, must present the same aspect as in the Middle Ages;
these very houses and arcades must have stood as now when Columbus
sailed in his Pontevedra ship to discover the New World. Whether the
great "admiral of the ocean sea" was, as some have not hesitated to
assert, of Pontevedran origin himself it is difficult now to decide;
but certain it is that many of the Spanish sea-dogs who guided the
_conquistadores_ into the unknown were men from Pontevedra and the
adjoining port of Marin.

All Galicia is historic ground for Englishmen. Its bays and
harbours have been the resort of our ships in peace and war from
time immemorial, and here in Pontevedra the English John of Gaunt
reigned for years as so-called King of Castile in right of his wife
the daughter of Peter the Cruel. Here in the country round the
Sotomayors, the Sarmientos, the Fonsecas, and Montenegros fought out
their endless feuds in which the warlike archbishops of Santiago
took a frequent part, until the great Isabella with iron hand and
virile energy crushed them all with her _hermandad_. Here in the
neighbourhood was born that Sarmiento whom we in England know best,
him of Gondomar, who ruled our crowned poltroon James I. by bluff and
mother wit. To the Sarmientos too belonged that Maria de Salinas
as she is incorrectly called in our annals, the devoted friend of
Katherine of Aragon, and the ancestress of the house of Willoughby
d'Eresby.

From Corunna, the Groyne, as our forbears translated it, sailed
those numerous futile fleets that Philip destined to bring stubborn
England to her knees. From the great Armada down to the poor squadron
that sailed for Ireland when Elizabeth lay dying, Corunna was the
trysting-place for England's foes. Here came the Desmonds, O'Donnells
and O'Sullivans, who hoped to set a Catholic Ireland under the
seal of Spain. Here landed the Irish bishops and priests who went
backwards and forwards from Killibegs to Spain plotting and planning
for Ireland's emancipation: here Drake and Norris in 1589 avenged
the Armada by a bloody but fruitless siege, greatly to Elizabeth's
indignation. I have told elsewhere[A] the not too creditable story of
this unauthorised siege in which the strong wine of Galicia proved a
worse enemy to the English than the pikes and partisans of the brave
Gallegan peasants and their womenkind led by the redoubtable heroine
Maria Pita herself.

  [A] "The Year after the Armada."

But all the blood feud has been forgotten long ago. The splendid
soldier of British blood whose body lies buried upon the ramparts
of Corunna died for Spain, as did thousands of our countrymen in
that Titanic war to free the Peninsula from the grip of Napoleon;
and Gallegos, high and low, have nothing but warm Celtic welcome
for British visitors to their beautiful and long-neglected land. The
British home fleet finds a frequent rendezvous in the magnificent Bay
of Arosa, where Villa Garcia receives with open arms the sailors who
come in peace. This beautiful Villa Garcia and its adjoining town
of Carril, upon the line of railway from Pontevedra to Santiago,
are destined for great things in the near future. Upon a charming
wooded island, Cortegada, a few cable-lengths only from the shore,
the new marine palace of the King of Spain is to be built, and the
English-born Queen will be cheered by the sight of the fleets of her
native land lying within hail of her summer home.

Nothing more exquisite can be imagined than a trip by sailing-boat or
steam launch through this lovely landlocked bay of Arosa. Defended
in the entrance by the storied isles of Ons, the great inlet looks
like a vast lake surrounded by mountains on all sides. The water
is so clear and pellucid that the bottom can be clearly seen many
fathoms deep. A lofty island, that of Arosa, occupies a position
in the centre of the bay, and on the opposite side, near the sandy
promontory of Grove, the pine-clad isle of La Toja, with its
wonderful healing hot wells within a few feet of the sea, possesses
one of the finest hotels in Spain.

For, whatever happens with the rest of the country, this land of
Galicia is going ahead at last. Gallegos who have returned rich
from the Argentina are showing an increasing disposition to invest
capital in native enterprises, and the factories that are springing
up around Vigo are the result. Not only can La Toja show an hotel of
which any country in Europe might be proud, but, at Mondariz, the
establishment in the high valley of the Tea, which Mr. Wood so justly
praises, is an hotel that will satisfy the most exacting visitor. If
only the terrible exodus of the able-bodied male population can be
checked by making the lot of the peasant less cruelly hard than it
is, Galicia should be one of the most prosperous regions in Europe.

As a proof that the present poverty and backwardness are the result
of political causes it may be mentioned that thousands of Gallegos
cross the Miño every summer and autumn to labour in the Portuguese
fields and return with their hoarded wage to help them through the
winter at home, much as the Irish harvester serves the English
farmer. There are reasons for the latter, for English agricultural
land is richer than Irish, and racial causes operate in this case.
But the land on the south of the Miño is much the same as on the
north, the climate is identical, and the Gallegos and people of
North Portugal are of the same stock and speak a similar tongue.
And yet the North Portuguese small farmer, well off and prosperous,
can afford to hire the man in a similar position across the Spanish
frontier to do his hard work, whilst in Galicia women do the work of
men in their husbands' absence.

The visitor whose aim is but to pass a pleasant holiday of a few
weeks in Galicia, especially without a good knowledge of the
language, cannot hope to study the unspoilt people in their own
homes. Those whom he will meet in the seaports and along the bays are
to some extent sophisticated and accustomed to deal with foreigners,
but it would well repay a scholar interested in Celtic folklore to
live amongst the peasants of some of the inland valleys for a time,
to gather some of the traditions which are yet handed down from
remote antiquity amongst these primitive folk. Like all their race,
the Gallegos are shy and distrustful. Their superstitions and rites
are for them almost sacred things, but with patience and tact many of
their quaint beliefs may still be gathered from them, as they have
been by the greatest of living Spanish women, the Countess of Pardo
Bazan, whose books upon her native land of Galicia are redolent of
the soil, as are those of another distinguished Gallego, the Marquis
of Figueroa.

The peasant cultivators of the isolated valleys and mountain slopes
rarely come into the larger centres of population. Each little
local town has its fortnightly market, where produce and cattle are
sold for money with which to pay the tax-collector and to buy the
simple necessaries not produced upon the soil. To see the Galician
peasant as he is, one must study him at his local fair, and on one
of his long pilgrimages to a holy shrine. On these occasions, as
on similar occasions with the Irish peasantry, he is for a time
boisterously gay, given to singing, dancing, and music, the latter
being produced from the native bagpipes, _gaita_, and tambour. But
in the long winter nights in his dark cottage, with its smoky fire
of vine-cuttings and pine-cones, the Gallego, like his brother Celt
elsewhere, is moody, poetical and speculatively mystic. In such
surroundings as this the tale of wraiths and demons goes shuddering
round, for the Señor Cura, who sternly reproves such talk when he
hears it, is safe in his lonely little parsonage adjoining the
village church.

But not alone of malevolent spirits is the conversation around the
cottage fire. Much communing there is of America, and of kinsmen and
friends who are seeking a livelihood, and sometimes, but rarely,
finding not only that but a fortune in far Argentina. How Tio Pedro,
a returned Indiano with pockets full of money, is coming to build a
fine house in his native valley; how poor Juanito has returned ill
and homesick without a dollar; how the good lad Pepe sends the large
sum of ten pesetas every month to his old mother, who is looked up
to in consequence as quite a wealthy woman, and so on--talk not very
different, indeed, from that which goes on around the turf fire of
many a hill-side cottage in Western Ireland.

And Galicia, like Ireland, is a land of saints and soldiers. From
its mountain fastnesses and those of its neighbour Asturias, went
forth those indomitable Christians who saved Europe and the world
from the domination of Islam. This was the focus of mystic religious
fervour which made the mediæval Spanish Christian ten times a man.
Here the ecstatic visions seen by star-gazing shepherds in the night
foretold the final victory of the Cross; here the blazing emblem of
the redemption miraculously led the Christian hosts to combat; hither
to this land of fervid faith was wafted the body of the apostle in
its ship of stone, to give heart to his own people; and from time
immemorial the stoutest priests and bishops of the Spanish Church
have issued from the race that alone of all Spaniards held even the
Roman legions at bay, and provided the spiritual fervour that finally
rolled back the Moor. From Cæsar to Wellington great commanders have
borne testimony to the martial valour of the Gallegos; and there
are no bonnier fighters even now in Spain than the thickset, stocky
little chaps who are drawn, usually much against their will, to fill
Spanish regiments in distant parts of the country and in North Africa.

And yet with all their fine qualities, and in spite of the fact that
many of the most eminent writers, thinkers, and administrators of
Spain are natives of Galicia, Gallegos are often held by Castilians
in derision. To the Gallego with his half-Portuguese speech is
attributed every story which requires boorish stupidity as its
subject, and the "bull," which English people are fond of calling
Irish, depending as it does upon the mental process being too rapid
for vocal expression, is considered by Castilians as the special
characteristic of the Gallego.

This is the people, and this is the land, which Mr. Wood describes
in the present volume, with the aid of the excellent illustrations
of Mr. Mason. To those English travellers who, deserting the beaten
track of tourists, are tempted to see for themselves this unspoilt
pleasure-ground, a feast of new and pleasant impressions may be
confidently promised. They will find a country of loch and mountain
that will make the Scottish Highlands seem trivial and tame, they
will find a climate as soft as Munster and as warm as Italy, a
vegetation as green as that of Killarney without the chilling mists
of Ireland.

Drawbacks naturally there are. The country is backward, and some
of the smaller hotels are lacking in the luxuries that English
travellers expect. But progress in these and other respects is
being made with giant strides. The great English liners that carry
passengers from England to Vigo and Corunna in two days and a half
are of course excellent, and the principal hotels of Vigo, Mondariz
and La Toja, are all that can be desired. The hostelries of Santiago
and Pontevedra are being greatly improved, and new modern hotels are
in project. The new Association in Galicia with a branch in London
for the purpose of rendering the province agreeable to English
visitors is already hard at work stirring up local opinion in favour
of the reforms in accommodation and locomotion that are needed, and
every important interest and authority in Galicia, from the Cardinal
Archbishop of Santiago to the local town councillors, are pledged to
do their utmost to make this sweet "Corner of Spain" an attractive
and fitting resort for British seekers after health and recreation.

    MARTIN HUME,
    _Chairman of the London Committee of
    the Galician Association_.



[Illustration: A GALICIAN LAUNDRY]



[Illustration: A GALICIAN MARKET-PLACE]



CHAPTER I

GALICIA AND ITS PEOPLE


Even Spaniards are sometimes at a loss to say which part of their
kingdom is Galicia, just as Londoners occasionally pause before
locating Yorkshire. The Englishman confesses either that he has
never heard of Galicia or does not know where the country is. He
imagines vaguely that it is situated in Poland. There are, indeed,
two Galicias, one north of the Carpathians and the other, of which I
am writing, bounded by the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay. Galicia
includes Corunna, which is known to all good Englishmen because of
the burial on its ramparts of Sir John Moore. The country, too, is
associated with Columbus and the Armada, for the explorer's own
ship was built at a Galician port, and the Armada finally sailed
from Corunna to conquer England. Spain's holiest city, Santiago de
Compostela, is in Galicia.

If you consult a map of Spain you will see Galicia at the top corner,
jutting boldly into the Atlantic, with a coast-line, largely formed
of glorious inland bays, of two hundred and forty miles. No other
part of the Peninsula presents such a wonderful and majestic frontage
to the sea; nor does any other Spanish province afford greater
contrasts of scenery and people.

This corner of Spain has a history which goes back to the times of
the Phoenicians, centuries before St. James the Elder, who is to
Galicia what Christ is to Palestine, preached the Gospel on its
rugged shores. Romans and Moors tried in vain to conquer Galicia, and
in Santiago Cathedral there is a tablet recording the triumph ten
centuries ago of Christians over Moslems at the battle of Clavijo.

There is a famous legend of this celebrated fight. The Moors demanded
from Galicia the tribute of a hundred virgins, from whom they meant
to benefit their nation's stock, but the monstrous claim inspired the
native Christians with such a warlike spirit that they slaughtered
sixty thousand of the infidels and drove the Moors out of the
country. Betanzos, an old-world town near Corunna, is associated with
this thousand-year-old belief, and one of its quaint thoroughfares is
called the Street of the Hundred Maidens.

Galicia is a land of hills. They are seen as soon as the coast is
observed, and no journey can be made without beholding them. The
hills are not high enough to be called mountains, but their altitude
in many cases gives them a noble and dignified appearance. Richard
Ford called Galicia the Switzerland of Spain; but there are no hills
in the province to compare with even the range on Lake Geneva, and
nothing to equal the majestic Dent du Midi; yet those north-western
heights have charms and beauties of their own, and in some respects
are more attractive than the hills of Switzerland. The Alps allure
the climber, but the day is not remote when the sierras of Galicia
will irresistibly call those travellers who crave for splendid
panoramas and are fascinated by the chance of sport. Wolves and wild
boars still roam about the lonely hills, remote from man, and there
is abundant fishing everywhere.

The country is well watered, a number of rivers, of which the chief
is the Miño, flowing into the bays and the Atlantic through its hills
and valleys. In ordinary seasons the streams are insignificant, but
after heavy rains they develop into raging torrents and thunder
over their rocky beds. The rivers, too, will rise swiftly and to
great heights. At the end of December 1909 Galicia, like the rest
of Europe, was swept by storms, and rivers rose from twenty to
twenty-five feet above their normal level, destroying bridges,
buildings, animals, and human life. A Galician river in flood is a
striking spectacle, especially a stream like the Miño, which even
in ordinary seasons is a swift and turgid water. The Miño separates
Galicia from Portugal, acting as a natural frontier from the southern
extremity of the province to San Gregorio. This river has been well
called the Glory of Galicia, and the tourist to the country would be
fully recompensed for his visit even if he did nothing more than make
the railway journey along the Miño's splendid and impressive banks.

Galicia's hills abound in granite, much of which is easily accessible
and workable. In many of the country districts the peasants and
small farmers, for the sake of asking, are permitted to quarry for
building purposes and to secure those thin upright grey posts which
are such a singular feature of the vineyards. It seems strange
that in a land where trees are so abundant and timber is to be had
for the trouble of felling preference should be given to granite;
yet the stone is easier and cheaper to work than timber, and on
the hills and roadsides men and women are constantly quarrying the
brittle substance. The way of working and the tools employed are very
simple. Holes are chiselled at distances of about a foot; then iron
or wooden wedges are driven in and the granite block is separated.
The same system of wedge-driving is employed in getting the props
for vineyards, and the long thin slabs come easily away. Enormous
numbers of these granite supports are used, and long high walls are
often seen, built of slabs placed upright in the ground and so close
together that the structure looks like solid stone.

Much has been written of the poverty of the Gallegans, as the people
of Galicia are called, and the sparsity of food and drink for many
of the two million people who compose the population of the country;
but the appearance of the strong and healthy men and women does not
confirm what writers in that melancholy strain have put on record.
The very maize bread which forms the basis of the peasant's food
has been maligned; yet no one ventures to belittle porridge as an
article of diet for the conquering Scot. The comely and powerful
fisher-lasses who travel the East Coast in the herring season do not
live in luxury, nor do their sisters of Galicia, many of whom, in
strength and figure, are their equals. Where the fisher-girl drinks
coffee, tea, or cocoa, the Gallegan woman takes wine; and she can buy
a tumblerful of very drinkable liquor, red or white, for a halfpenny;
for another halfpenny she can get a piece of bread big enough for a
sustaining meal. Even a Scotchwoman, however canny, would be hard
pressed to make a midday meal at the cost of a penny. Fruit, too,
is so abundant that it may be had for the picking, and vegetables
are plentiful. There are grapes everywhere; and though most of the
chickens and bacon go into the towns for sale, yet there are so many
fowls and pigs in Galicia that the taste of poultry and pork is known
throughout the country. At noon on the roadside working men and women
make a far more varied meal than the rough dinner of the British
labourer. In England, when the streets are fog-bound, and navvies and
road-makers are content to make shift, while eating and drinking,
with a warm ray or two from a neighbouring watchman's fire, the
Galician worker is taking a midday meal on the shore of some glorious
bay or river, or on the hill-side in romantic scenery--and in almost
constant sunshine.

In every part of Galicia there are quaint round pigeon-cots. Many
of them are included in farm-buildings, to which they give an
added picturesqueness; others are perched on summits of slopes,
like lonely watch-towers. There are no buildings in England which
have the appearance of these Galician pigeon-houses, but there
are a few in Scotland, in the neighbourhood of Arbroath, with the
same characteristics. The Gallegan cannot afford to cultivate
pigeon-rearing as a hobby, and with him, as with many Englishmen,
the birds are kept for eating purposes. Sentiment is vanquished by
utility.

Maize-barns, or granaries, are universal. The granaries are oblong,
narrow structures, mostly built of granite, but sometimes of timber,
and raised on walls or pillars about a man's height above the level
of the ground. They are noticeable features of every landscape, and
some of them are romantic-looking buildings, with a cross at one
gable and a pinnacle at the other. In the autumn the granaries are
filled with the maize which has been gathered from the fields and
stripped and dried in the sun. On village pavements, in fields, on
the beach, and in all sorts of odd corners the cereal is spread out
to dry, and makes glorious golden patches in the sunshine. Women,
helped by children, prepare the maize for grinding into flour.
Primitive methods of grinding are employed, and crude ways of baking
and cooking, as you may see by entering a Galician cottage and
examining the open, chimneyless fireplace--the big stone slab on
which the fuel burns.

[Illustration: A GRANARY]

[Illustration: A PIGEON-COT]

The cry of the night-watchman, the _sereno_, is of all Galicia's
old customs one of the strangest and most famous. The _sereno_ is a
romantic figure, with his Spanish cloak and gleaming pike--a weapon
much resembling the halberd carried by our Yeomen of the Guard. While
the English policeman in the dark early hours is gloomily patrolling
his beat, his fellow in Galicia is pacing the quaint streets which
differ little in appearance from their aspect centuries ago, and
every hour he proclaims the time or in other ways gives proof that
he is about and doing his duty. The ancient town of Pontevedra is
celebrated for the watchman's call. Hourly throughout the night the
_sereno_ chants the time, and the sonorous notes of his "_Ave María
purísima_," Gabriel's salutation to the Virgin, has a singular effect
upon the stranger, awake and listening in bed. The accomplished
_sereno_ will not only cry the hour, but will also, for the benefit
of listeners, add interesting items of news, as, for instance, that
love-making is proceeding on a neighbouring balcony. The eerie chant
lingers in one's memory, and may be likened to the solemn cry from
a steamer's crow's-nest in mid-ocean of "Lights are burning bright
and all's well." In Santiago and elsewhere the _sereno_ still does
duty in the night, but perhaps the day is near when he will be ousted
by the commonplace policeman. In many of the towns the watchman
whistles every hour instead of chanting. There are other cries in
Galicia which will interest the visitor, and amongst them is the
protracted musical announcements of the girls and women of Corunna
who are selling fish. They walk along the pavement with wide, shallow
baskets poised gracefully on their heads, uttering a cry which makes
you marvel that human beings can maintain it without bringing on that
collapse of the vocal cords which perhaps, in uncharitable moments,
you desire to see accomplished.

In Galicia, as on the Continent generally, the policeman differs from
his English prototype. There, in addition to being a keeper of the
peace, he is a fighting man, liable to be called upon for military
service. The famous Civil Guard of Spain, a force which bears the
highest reputation, every member being a specially selected man
of thoroughly good character, has its detachments in Galicia--the
striking-looking fellows with their glazed three-cornered hats,
rifles, swords, and revolvers. A couple of them are on duty at the
exit of every railway station of importance, and on lonely country
roads, marching on each side, you will come across a pair, carrying
their rifles at the slope, prepared for action. The purpose of this
system of patrol is to lessen the risk of both men being surprised at
once.

The Civil Guards exercise a wide influence over the people, and to
them is largely due the present peaceful state of the country. The
total strength of the force is twenty-five thousand men, of whom five
thousand are mounted. The cavalry are armed with sabres, carabines,
and revolvers. Comparison has been made between them and the Royal
Irish Constabulary, and it is a very proper one, although I think
the Royal Irish is physically a finer body. The Civil Guards have
great powers, and are entitled to take the law into their own hands
in extremities, such as shooting down an escaping prisoner or a
murderer caught in the act.

There is perfect security in travelling throughout Galicia, either
alone or in parties, and even in the remotest districts the idea of
personal danger, from man or beast, does not enter the visitor's
mind. Probably there is not in North-West Spain any greater risk
incurred than would be experienced by pedestrians from tramps on the
highways of North-West England.

The ordinary Galician policeman is very much like a Spanish soldier
in appearance, except in Corunna, where he wears a helmet. His
sword is ready to his hand, and he often carries a revolver and a
stick. He is permitted to smoke on duty; and perhaps not even the
iron discipline of the Civil Guard would compel the members of the
force to abandon the cigarette. A Galician policeman being at heart
a _caballero_--which is "gentleman"--will spare no trouble to put
a stranger on the right track, and will not only direct him to the
place he wishes to reach, but will, in the friendliest manner,
accompany him as far as his duties will permit, smoking contentedly
and well pleased with life.

I saw only one policeman on stern duty in Galicia, and that
was in Vigo, where he was conducting a belligerent lady to the
police-station, guiding her by a gentlemanly pressure on the arm.
She was loudly and volubly giving her version of what had happened;
and a crowd of bare-headed or shawled friends added their voices to
the confusion. They were all probably swearing to things which they
could not possibly have seen. At Vigo also I noticed a constable,
old enough to be near the superannuation stage, trying to preserve
the peace between an aged peasant and an ill-conditioned juvenile
who might have been his grandson. At intervals the old man paused
to cuff and persuade the boy, and the policemen seemed to form one
of the little crowd which accompanied and watched the performers. I
followed them for a short distance; then, as there was no prospect of
an arrest, I walked away.

The constable in every land attracts one's notice and commands
respect. Much at times depends on him; also on chambermaids and
waiters. Both these types of servant compel attention in Galicia, if
only for their odd and interesting habits. A Galician chambermaid,
who from her appearance might be anything from a respectable
charwoman to the mother of a promising family, does not know the
meaning of ceremony; at any rate she does not stand upon it, and will
break into your bedroom with the morning coffee without warning,
and derive intense amusement from any timidity or embarrassment due
to her abrupt appearance. She is too primitive to be disturbed by
trifles, even such as gazing upon her when she tucks up to sleep on
a couch in the hall of an hotel at the foot of the main staircase--a
post she occupies, apparently, to meet the necessities of belated or
early-going travellers.

The Galician waiter is remote from the rest of his kind. In the two
palatial establishments which the country possesses he figures,
during the season, either in orthodox swallow-tails or a livery
approximating to the garb of club attendants at home, but generally
speaking he is not so smart. In the morning he presents a slovenly
appearance, because breakfast, as Englishmen understand it, is either
an unimportant or a non-existent meal, and the waiter is reserving
his energies for the feast that counts, the lunch. The native is
content to start the day on coffee and a roll without butter--for
which omission he has reason for gratitude, because Galician butter
is neither good nor plentiful--or on a small cup of chocolate and
bread. If he favours coffee he takes it from a basin, with which a
dessert-spoon is supplied, enabling him to deal with the liquid as
he would absorb soup, or he drinks it, Christian fashion, by way of
the vessel's rim. The chocolate is a concoction so thick that a spoon
or bread will stand upright in it; yet the preparation is delicious
in the estimation of those who like it, especially when taken with a
frothy sugar, which is served in a glass of water--a creation which
looks like frozen beaten white of egg, and is almost large enough to
fill the tumbler. With this chocolate and bread the Spaniard bears
the burden of the day's battle until the real breakfast is served;
then indeed he makes up for any loss he may have suffered after
rising.

The midday meal is heavy and bewildering, from the English point
of view. _Hors-d'oeuvre_ will begin the feast--excellent olives,
sardines, anchovies, appetising little salads and other oddments;
then come heavier dishes, succeeded by soup and fish--all things
reversed, as it seems, compared with English order and arrangements.
There is a very palatable and wholesome dish called _caldo gallego_,
a soup which is as peculiar to Galicia as is _bouillabaisse_ to
Marseilles. Incidentally I may say that I had _bouillabaisse_ as
good in a Galician hotel as in one of the best hotels of France's
southern seaport where I tried it--a dish which would have moved even
Thackeray, its great admirer, to expressions of applause.

    "_This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is--
      A sort of soup, or broth, or brew,
    Or hotch-potch of all sorts of fishes,
      That Greenwich never could outdo;
    Green herbs, red peppers, mussels, saffron,
      Soles, onions, garlic, roach, and dace:
    All these you eat at_ TERRÉ'S _tavern,
      In that one dish of Bouillabaisse._"

You may not eat all these good things in the Galicia _bouillabaisse_
as Thackeray did at Terré's tavern in Paris; but the _caldo gallego_
is as rich and varied in vegetables as _bouillabaisse_ is in
marine delicacies. The _caldo Gallego_ has the advantage of freedom
from that taint of garlic which is so repellant to the English palate.

[Illustration: A MERRY ROADSIDE GROUP]

A peculiarity of service in Galician public dining-rooms is the
piling up of plates before you. The stack is gradually lessened as
you get through the courses. Free use may be made of your private
cutlery to help yourself to salt and pepper, after the custom of
the Continent. The wine is placed on the table either in bottles
or decanters. There is a tendency to tire of the wine and crave
for English beer. This is obtainable in the principal hotels and
_cafés_, but only at a heavy charge, a bottle of ale costing more
than a bottle of ordinary wine. Being specially brewed for export,
the beer is not equal to the article which is bought at home. Very
good Spanish lager can be had, especially in Vigo, at the bar in the
Calle Velazquez Moreno, opposite the post and telegraph office. At
that place, also, excellent afternoon tea is served. To my regret and
financial loss, I did not discover this welcome retreat until two or
three days before the _Antony_ bore me from Galicia.

By the time _déjeuner_ is served the waiter has become himself. He
has assumed a collar and a dinner-jacket, and bustles round with
every wish to please his customers. He takes a real interest in them,
and, given proper treatment and consideration, there is no trouble to
which he will not go to meet an expressed or implied wish. He can be
led like a lamb, but if any sign is shown of driving him he displays
the mule's unpleasant attributes. I remember that at one hotel, into
the dining-room of which I wandered early in the mornings, an elderly
waiter, coatless and collarless, with a soiled napkin over his arm,
ignored my existence for a day or two. He was performing the task
of a _frotteur_, skating, in melancholy, meditative fashion, over
the polished wooden floor, with a rag-bundle on his right foot. He
would slide past with an air of almost grotesque seriousness, so
intent on his work that he failed to see me; at least that was the
impression made on my mind. Commands in ordinary English to produce
some breakfast failed to move him; yet when, in due course, on
entering the room, I greeted him as a man, a brother, and especially
a _caballero_, he skated elegantly to the mysterious region where
the coffee was prepared, and ceremoniously produced not only coffee
and rolls, but also butter. One morning I desired Rocquefort--to his
polite but palpable amazement--and thereafter he conceived that no
British breakfast was complete without the cheese concomitant. At
this hotel the butter was very good--a native product with a cheesy
flavour; in other hotels Danish butter in tins was provided. Galicia
can produce first-rate butter, yet the Gallegans go to Denmark for
the article, and bring it over land or sea--or both--in tins. One of
the remarkable things about Galicia is that although the country is
so productive, still in many cases there are no adequate systems of
making the most of natural resources.

A great change, however, is taking place, and some of the richest
and most enterprising public men in North-West Spain are devoting
themselves with enthusiastic zeal to the task of awakening the people
and making them realise the immense possibilities of the province.
Energetic measures for development are being taken by the Asociación
para el Fomento del Turismo en Galicia, of which prominent members
are Messrs. Miguel Fernandez Lema, ex-Lord Mayor of Vigo; Manuel
Olivie, the Town Clerk, who is a well-known author; Eladio de Lema,
Director, _El Faro de Vigo_; Jaime Solar, Director, _Noticiero de
Vigo_ and _Vida Gallega_; Manuel Borrajo, President, Asociación de
Cultura; Angel Bernandez, writer and secretary of the Asociación
Fomento Turismo; Guillermo de Oya, President of the Asociación, and
Dr. Ildefonso Zabaleta, Medical Officer of Health for Vigo Harbour.
Mr. Frederico Barreras Masso, one of Vigo's most distinguished
citizens, is doing much to bring Galicia into closer union with Great
Britain, and all these efforts are being zealously fostered and
supported by residents like Mr. Ricardo Rodriguez Pastor, of Corunna;
Mr. Thomas Guyatt, the British Vice-Consul at Corunna; and Mr. R.
Walker, the British Vice-Consul at Villa Garcia.

Most of Galicia's business is transacted in the open air, and much
of it concerns the handling of live stock. In the larger towns,
like Santiago, there is a weekly cattle market, where dealers
and peasants assemble from the surrounding country, travelling
by diligence, bullock-cart, pony, mule, or on foot, and making a
wonderful congregation of human beings, from the pure gipsy type
to the thorough Gallegan. Girls and women are everywhere, driving
cattle, carrying great round baskets crammed with fowls, which are
kept quiet and in place because their legs are tied, or piloting
pigs. Native swine are not amenable to discipline, and the custom is
to tie a rope or piece of string to one of the hind legs and let the
beast go ahead. In the market the squealing animals are imprisoned by
this method. Sometimes a quicker system is adopted--that of conveying
pigs in sacks slung pannier-wise across the back of a mule or pony.
This practice does not apply to full-grown animals; it is the smaller
fry that are subjected to the indignity.

[Illustration: A CATTLE MARKET]

[Illustration: AN OPEN-AIR MARKET]

At Santiago market a peasant drove a mule past me with two sacks
from the depths of which came muffled screams. He shook the sacks,
and from each a little pig was shot to the ground, uttering piercing
squeals, then, after the hind leg had been secured, settling into a
continuous grunt of protest. Bargaining and wrangling were going on
all round me, to the accompaniment of choruses of squeals and grunts,
crowing of cocks, cackling of hens, and lowing of cattle. Business
was conducted on simple lines--prodding of pigs' ribs, examining
of oxen's mouths and other points, and lifting and calculating the
weight and general promise of table and laying birds. Prices
having been arranged, payment was made; and I was surprised to see
how many fat silver dollars were poured from ancient purses and
money-bags by peasants whose appearance conveyed the impression that
they were almost destitute. Pontevedra is a great cattle centre, and
enormous markets are held there two or three times a year. Herds of
cattle monopolise the roads at these seasons, making motoring and
driving a slow and laborious business.

This universal open-air life is in marked contrast to the dark and
unwholesome dwellings of the lower classes in Galicia. The cottages
in the country districts are in many cases mere hovels of the most
primitive type, often enough without windows and admitting light only
by the doorway. Fowls and quadrupeds share the establishments with
their owners, and pigs grunt joyously in the room where the master
and mistress and children take their rest--frequently on a bed as
crude and dirty as that on which the porkers sleep. In this respect
the Gallegan peasant somewhat resembles his prototype who is found
in country places in Ireland which are remote from towns. In the
principal centres of population, however, the people are much better
housed and the municipalities exercise a far more rigid sanitary
supervision.

Most things are done in Galicia on the seductive system of
_mañana_--to-morrow. It is useless to attempt to hurry people. Not
even the demands of telegraphy will rouse them to robust activity.
To send a telegram is a serious and impressive undertaking. First
you find your telegraph office, which even in a city like Santiago
is hidden in the shadow of the cathedral. Then you enter, and
discover that you are in the wrong part of the premises, being in the
operating office. A cigar is burning on the table, while the clerk
to whom it belongs is talking with his colleague, the transmitter
meanwhile tapping lazily. Even the instruments seem to be possessed
with the spirit of languor. Finally an individual comes who, after
showing almost pained surprise at your unseemly energy, conducts
you to the proper place, and ceremoniously gives you a telegraph
form and a pencil. When the message has been written and handed in,
and you have put down your payment, you reasonably assume that the
exhausting transaction is completed, and that you are free to depart.
Not so--you are in Spain, where hurry is indecency. The change is
not ready, and when it does appear the coins are accompanied by a
triangular receipt torn from the message, giving details of the
telegram and the price which has been paid for it. Then triumphantly
you go away, blessing Spain; but the fervour of your benediction is
nothing compared with your expressions on learning that the telegram
has not been delivered in England because of a misread address. It
is useless either to wail or to protest, since the one would be
ineffective and the other too late. Stamps are bought mostly at your
hotel, where the letter-box is kept to be emptied by the postman.
There are no street pillar-boxes in Galicia. I saw one, a ramshackle,
red-painted structure, bearing a resemblance to a rabbit-hutch, hung
outside a general store-shop in a village, and gathered that the
enterprise shown in displaying the receptacle was unexampled. When
an ordinary post office is not available it is customary to place
letters in the hotel box.

It cannot be said that Galicia is rich in works of art. Some of
the paintings which adorn the churches are neither very good nor
interesting, nor are the examples in the castles such as to claim
more than passing notice. But travellers will not journey to
the country for the sake of seeing what they can get so well at
the Louvre, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Wallace
Collection and elsewhere. They will go to see the land and its
people, and to wander through the old-world streets and squares and
market-places, which have charms unrivalled in any region within such
easy reach of England.

Two things are inseparable from the Galician--his cigarette and his
umbrella. His tobacco is cheap, and much of it is good, so that he
can enjoy at little cost the weed which is as much a man's necessity
as luxury. For cinco centimos, a coin which sounds imposing, but
whose value is less than a halfpenny, he can get seven hand-made
cigarettes. True, when I bought two packets from a dark Spanish lady
in a darker shop she warned me that they were known as "men-killers,"
but I have smoked worse in England at a higher price. The better
qualities are relatively cheap. The Galician cigarette is made of
dark, dry, loose tobacco, rolled in a gumless paper, with the ends
folded to keep the particles from escaping.

The umbrella answers two purposes--to keep the rain off in wet
weather and to serve as a shelter from the sun. I observed men with
umbrellas slung at their sides under their coats, like swords, and I
suppose the crook-shaped handles were suspended from hooks stitched
to the waistcoats.

At every turn there is something unexpected in Galicia. On going
back to my hotel one night I wished to develop some films. I had
neither chemicals nor means of doing the work, but learned that
in the village there was a competent operator who would develop
the exposures. I asked for directions as to how and where I should
find the skilled performer. It was long before I learned that he
lived in a house at the top of the village. A guide was needful,
and he came--a waiter from the hotel, carrying a paper lantern with
a candle. He led the way across a field, then up a rugged path,
puddled with recent rain, and from that to the rocky, steep bed
of a little stream running down the side of a hill they call the
Devil's Boulders. The scene was such as may be found in Morocco,
when the Moor or negro who pilots you carries his ancient lamp to
light your path, or in the Catskills, or the Middle West, where the
same friendly office has been performed for me in the darkness
when crossing lonely fields or penetrating woods. Up the gulley
for some hundreds of yards, now stumbling on a small boulder, now
plunging into deep mire with a prickly, unseen bough unexpectedly
touching your face or hands--then a halt at a gateway leading from
the gulley, and a hail to which there was no answer. Up the gulley
still farther, and a pause and rattle at another gate, through which
a light could be seen, and the answering hail. Then came an elderly
man with a lighted candle and begged us to enter. We descended two
or three stone stairs, crossed a small flagged yard, and went into a
store-room, with heaps of onions lying on the floor and other food
and articles dimly outlined by the candle and the lantern. Thence we
went into a comfortable living-room, where a woman who was busy with
her mending smiled upon us, and a little girl gazed at me something
after the manner in which in the days of our youth we believed that
our forefathers, as children, would have looked upon Napoleon if they
had seen him in the flesh. This was the house of the photographer--a
farmer; but he had no means, he explained, of getting artificial
light for developing, and must wait till daylight before he could
fulfil his task. The films were left, and the farmer led us through
his vineyard to the gate. Before we reached the gulley which was our
homeward path he explained that a clear little stream ran through his
grounds, and that in it he washed his films, plates, and prints.

Vineyards are everywhere in Galicia, and some of their wines are
excellent, notably those from the districts of Orense, Amandi,
Valdeorras, and Rivero. On the self-contained estate of Mondariz a
first-rate wine is grown which is provided free for visitors. In most
places the hotel charges include wine. Occasionally the vintage is
not palatable enough to suit the traveller, but at a very small cost
a superior brand may be had to take the place of the unsatisfactory
product. A capital red wine is served without charge at lunch and
dinner on board the Booth liners.

There is abundance of wine in the country; but some of the peasants
do not take it, preferring the pure water from the hills. The vast
majority, however, are wine-drinkers; yet there is none of that
degrading drunkenness which one may see in every part of Britain.
I noticed only one intoxicated person in Galicia, and that was on
a Sunday afternoon at Caldas, when an aged peasant, in frilled
knickers, was staggering down the road, as near the middle as he
could keep, but occasionally lurching towards the gutter and the
walls of the houses. He was perfectly harmless, and very affable,
and occasionally paused and supported himself against a house side
and reproved the juveniles who followed him and offered pointed
criticisms on his state. The spectacle was rare enough to claim
attention and provoke derision. In England the toper would have been
unnoticed.

In the principal towns there is at least one club, and the stranger
has no difficulty in getting admission for the purpose of seeing the
newspapers and spending a pleasant hour. The English clubman shrinks
from the vulgar public gaze, but in Galicia the member loves to be
as near his fellow-creatures as he can get. Usually he sits at an
open window on the street level, within easy touching distance of the
passer-by. The clubmen, like all the residents of the country with
whom the visitor may come in contact, are most hospitably disposed
towards him.

The British tourist has become accustomed in his own country to
hotels which are more than comfortable--they are luxurious--and when
he is abroad he expects their equal. In Galicia, until recently, he
could not get it; yet now, at Mondariz and La Toja, he has the choice
of palatial establishments which are unrivalled in Spain. The visitor
may reach Galicia by way of the Channel, spending about three days
in trains, or journey direct by sea, landing at the gate of Galicia,
which is Vigo. For that part of the undertaking he is thoroughly
equipped by the Booth Steamship Company, Limited, whose powerful
and splendid modern vessels have the reputation of being the most
comfortable of all that cross the Bay of Biscay.



[Illustration: SAN SIMON'S ISLAND, VIGO BAY]



[Illustration: VIGO, GALICIA'S GATEWAY]



CHAPTER II

VIGO BAY AND HILLS


Iron cliffs confront you when you first behold Galicia, for the
earliest glimpse of North-West Spain, when the Biscay has been
crossed, is Cape Villano, rising, stern and rugged, north of
Finisterre. The coast looks grim and cheerless, yet it is the gate to
one of Europe's warm and most romantic regions. Every mile of it is
linked with history, and, hidden in what look like gloomy fastnesses
of the Atlantic, are sun-bathed, landlocked bays, of which the best
known are Vigo and Arosa, forming two of the finest natural harbours
in the world.

The _Ambrose_ slipped past the Cies Islands, at the seaward side of
Vigo Bay, in the darkness of an early autumn morning, and steamed
up the placid inland sea as day was breaking. In Galicia the dawn
and twilight are briefer and more splendid than in England. The
Cies Islands are some fifteen miles from Vigo, and the _Ambrose_,
steaming steadily, will do the distance in an hour. Her masthead and
side lights were burning brightly as she passed the lonely lumps of
land which jut up like ragged teeth on Galicia's seaboard; yet when
her cable rattled and her anchor dropped within a stone's-throw of
the jetty the sun was shining and the day had fully broken. Through
my porthole I had seen the flashing light on the islands, and I had
hurried up on deck to watch the sun rise in the east, beyond the
church-topped hill which forms one of the Seven Sisters. The Seven
Sisters are hills in the neighbourhood of Vigo, each being crowned
with a church and bearing a special name, such as Nuestra Señora de
Alba.

Vigo is Galicia's chief portal, and offers ready means of access to
the other parts of the province. The town affords wonderful contrasts
between the old and new worlds which jostle up against each other in
every part of North-West Spain. You are in a quaint, strange world
as soon as you have stepped ashore and are clear of the Customs and
free to roam. In the steep and narrow streets of the old town people
lead the primitive life of many generations or centuries ago. Amongst
them are men clad in brigand fashion, with sombreros, and shawls
thrown over their shoulders--shawls so showy and highly coloured
that they might well do duty as table-cloths. You may pass from such
a sight into the thoroughly modern technical school, which, founded
by private and philanthropic enterprise, is equal to any institution
of its size in any corresponding English town, and is helped by
the municipality to the extent of three thousand pounds a year. In
the afternoon the _señoritas_ may learn dressmaking and millinery
and modelling in clay; in the evening the _caballeros_ may grapple
with appropriate subjects, under competent guidance. The working
classes are educated free of charge, and the better-to-do pay ten
pesetas--equal to eight shillings--a year for mental culture.

Just outside Vigo ploughs may be seen which are as crude as those the
conquering Romans used, yet in the town there is a new flour-mill
worked by electric power, where the product of the plough is turned
into flour, and only a few men are needed to attend to the machinery.
Vigo offers many of the contradictions between the very old and the
essentially new which are to be found in Galicia.

There is not much to see in the way of public buildings; but
there is the fish market, best visited early in the morning, when
the building is crowded with women who are buying, selling, and
handling the catches which have been brought in from the bay and
the Atlantic; and the vegetable market, where also the women are
the principal attendants. These two places give evidence of the
marvellous fecundity of land and sea. There is abundance of fish
and a bewildering display of fruits and vegetables. Many of the
creatures of the sea are strange to English eyes, and not agreeable
to English palates. There is the revolting devil-fish, and the more
repulsive ink-fish; yet both, when properly cooked, are far from
unappetising, and the tourist, by way of experiment, may have the
fortitude to try them. The sword-fish makes an excellent course;
and there is a plentiful supply of oysters and other shell-fish. The
commonest fish of all, however, is the sardine. It is larger and
coarser than the sardine with which English people are familiar,
being the size of a small herring, but it makes a very good dish, and
the finest specimens, when cooked in oil or tomatoes, and packed in
tins, are delicious. In Vigo, for breakfast, you may have a dish of
big sardines, cooked to your liking, which have formed part of the
previous night's catch.

[Illustration: GALICIAN CHILDREN]

[Illustration: AFRAID OF THE CAMERA]

Vigo's Alameda skirts the glorious bay, and is a fine promenade along
which one may stroll and enjoy the scenery and study something of
the local life. The road is smooth and asphalted, purely modern, yet
on its perfect surface an ancient bullock-cart will come, slowly
drawn by oxen. I watched one of these vehicles going towards the
Custom-house, pursued by an enterprising Spanish child, who watched
her chance for a cheap ride. It is no hard matter, even for an
infant, to overtake a bullock-cart, and the girl clambered up and
experienced the fearful joy of a stolen passage. The driver was
somnolent, and the journey looked promising, until he was roused to
action by the raising of the Galician equivalent to the English alarm
of "Whip behind!" For a moment the infant defied him, and apparently
reflected unfavourably on the driver's origin; but a swish of his
long driving-stick made her tumble off precipitately. But her
spirit was unchecked, and, pulling herself together, she accompanied
him at a safe distance and continued her taunting criticism. I took
a snapshot of the fractious juvenile just before she regained the
asphalt, and while she was telling her compatriot what she thought of
him; but an incompetent developer spoiled the exposure, as he ruined
many others. It is a comforting reflection now--such is the mellowing
effect of time--that though he was unable to appreciate the technical
advice I gave him in English, yet he also did not realise the force
of my additional remarks when I criticised his work--indeed, when
I left he raised his hat, and in the politest and most polished
manner wished me, so I gathered, continued health and prosperity.
The Galician who has wronged you has a wondrous gift for making you
understand that you are the offender.

A noble view of the surrounding scenery is obtainable from the
Castillo del Castro, whose old fortifications are more than four
hundred feet above the level of the bay. As the castle is in the
nature of a fortress and sentries are on duty, admission is not given
to the public, but the visitor may wander about freely, and the climb
is worth the trouble for the sake of the panorama.

Vigo has a strong and enterprising municipality, and the city is
giving evidence of what can be done by earnest and united enterprise.
On the opposite side of the bay, for example, is a prosperous
community called Moyna. Eight or nine years ago the place consisted
of only a few houses; yet to-day the green hill-side is dotted with
white buildings, due to the development of the fishing industry.
Near it is a little village nestling in a hollow at the foot of the
mountains which rise from the bay in a fertile sweep; so sheltered
is the spot and so balmy is the atmosphere, so continuous and
beneficent is the sunshine, that from the water's edge to the summit
of the range, palm-trees, which are rare in Galicia, flourish and
orange-trees abound.

On every side there are majestic views, and at the head of the
bay, rising beautifully from the calm blue water, is the island of
San Simon. In ordinary times this is the lazaretto, or quarantine
station, but for fifteen years it has not been necessary for the
buildings to be used for sickness or suspected cases. San Simon is
one of Spain's three quarantine stations, the other two being at
Santander, on the Biscay coast, and at Port Mahón, in the island
of Minorca, in the Mediterranean. The little island overlooks the
inlet in which treasure-ships were sunk two centuries ago, and the
buildings upon it are being modernised and equipped with scientific
apparatus at a cost of £4000. The island is State property, but it
is administered from Vigo by the Director of Public Health, with the
co-operation of the mayor and corporation. At the end of the war in
Cuba eight thousand repatriated soldiers were treated on the island,
and it speaks well for the healthiness of the place, and the devotion
of the Sisters of Mercy and the skill of the doctors, that only
sixty died. There is a delightful avenue of boxwood-trees, spoiled,
unfortunately, by the foolishness of a former housekeeper; excellent
boating is to be had; and just by the island there are first-rate
oyster-beds and plentiful fishing. In the sand a small fish is found
which has a habit of burying itself, and at low water the women go
forth and dig the creature out of its burrow.

Nothing can be more peaceful and beautiful than the sail down Vigo
Bay at eventide, after spending a few hours on the island; for the
sun is setting in the Western Ocean and flooding Vigo Bay with
golden light, against which the seaward hills and Cies Islands stand
outlined in a solemn purple.

Treasure from galleons of Spain lies buried in Vigo Bay. The story
goes that at the beginning of the seventeenth century allied British
and Dutch ships, under Admirals Rooke and Stanhope, attacked the
famous Silver Fleet, which was lying at anchor, and captured much of
the gold and silver. Some of the vessels which were not taken were
sunk, and their precious cargoes foundered with them. For more than
two hundred years the galleons have rested at the bottom of the bay.
Many efforts have been made to recover the treasure, but Vigo Bay is
deep, and so far the attempts have not succeeded. But the story is
not strictly true, nor is it correct to say that the treasure-ships
were destroyed just at the entrance of the bay. The actual place of
their ill-fortune was at the head of the bay, towards San Simon's
Island, where there is a narrow channel. Two centuries ago there
were fortifications on each side of the channel, which is called the
Strait of Rande, and the ruins may still be seen at the foot of the
hills. At that time Cadiz had the sole right to receive treasure from
Spain's foreign possessions, and to that port a fleet of galleons
laden with precious freight was bound. But there was war with England
and Holland, and the treasure-ships, which were merchantmen, and
of lighter draught than the opposing ships of war, were ordered to
seek shelter at the head of Vigo Bay; and thither they scurried,
finding refuge in the shallower water behind the entrance of Rande.
A chain was drawn across the strait as an additional protection. For
several weeks the hunted vessels lay securely at their anchorage, and
meanwhile much of the treasure was taken ashore for conveyance to
Madrid.

Fifteen hundred treasure-laden waggons, drawn by oxen, started for
the capital. There is a saying in Spain that he who handles butter
will get greasy, and by the time Madrid was reached the fifteen
hundred waggon-loads of gold and silver had dwindled to five hundred;
so that two-thirds of the precious cargoes, having escaped the
clutches of the English and Dutch, had fallen into the not less
rapacious hands of Spaniards. The missing treasure does not appear to
have been recovered, but in Vigo until quite lately walking-sticks
and other articles could be bought which had been made from wood
raised from the sunken galleons. I asked if they were still to
be purchased, and was told that the supply had run out, though I
gathered that I should have no difficulty in getting such a relic
made to order, after the style, I suppose, of momentoes of our own
_Royal George_.

The hills surrounding Vigo Bay command most glorious and extensive
views. On one of them is the Castle Mos, a summer residence of
the Marquis de la Vega de Armijo, the head of one of the noblest
families in Spain. As castles go, it is not large, but by reason of
its history and association the building is amongst the most famous
in Galicia. The late King of Spain, Alfonso XII., visited it three
times, as a record in the castle testifies, during the residence of
the late Marquis, who was Spain's Prime Minister, and died in Madrid
in 1908. He was taken from the capital to the castle, where he was
buried beneath the floor of the tiny private chapel in which he had
so often worshipped. The chapel is part of the interior. Outside,
within the walls, is a miniature theatre, in which performers and
audience were either members of the family or visitors. There is a
keep which was built six hundred years ago. It forms the oldest part
of the castle, and the walls are so enormously thick that to look
through one of the narrow windows is like gazing down a corridor. The
main room is a small armoury, beneath which is a dark apartment,
reached by a ladder from a trap-door in the floor. This basement, now
used as a wine-cellar, was formerly a dungeon, and at one time held a
bishop prisoner. The castle has been modernised inside, and in recent
years restorations have been made to the exterior; but neither within
nor without has anything been done to make it hard for the visitor to
picture accurately the former house of a grandee of Spain. The old
keep is in perfect repair, and the inner and outer walls stand as
they were when wars raged fiercely in Galicia. The muzzles of some
small old guns stick out of the embrasures, and you can raise and
lower them slightly, for their trunnions are fixed in iron rings let
into the walls, and one can realise what a slow business artillery
firing was in the days when these quaint, open-breached ordnance
were used for fighting. I was told that the guns were captured
from the English in the days of Elizabeth. The castle grounds are
beautiful and extensive, and full of charm and romance. There are
some magnificent eucalyptus-trees; fine examples of the arbutus,
whose fruit, something like strawberries, is rich and delicious;
orange-trees, from which, in glorious November sunshine, I plucked
sweet tangerines; and the botanical curiosity popularly known as the
monkey-puzzler. Chestnuts abound here, as in Galicia generally.

[Illustration: ON THE QUAY AT VIGO]

[Illustration: FISHERMEN'S COTTAGES AT CANGAS]

Across Vigo Bay, looking like a white streak at the foot of the
hills, which are bare and bleak at the tops, but fresh and green
at their bases, lies the little fishing town of Cangas. A small
steamboat which plies regularly between the two places makes the
journey across the blue water in half an hour, and on stepping ashore
at the primitive pier you can realise what Vigo was like not many
generations ago. There is no plan in the arrangement of Cangas; the
houses are placed where they fit best, and the streets follow the
houses. Oil-lamps give illumination to the straggling thoroughfares,
yet inside the quaint dwellings there is electric light. Cangas has
its old church, whose dimensions are out of all proportion to the
size of the town to the English way of thinking, and smaller places
of worship, one on the sands, built in 1711.

The church, which is named after St. James, is dark and bleak inside.
I visited it the morning after All Souls' Day, and saw in the middle
of the floor a high structure covered with black cloth and ornamented
on four sides with skulls and cross-bones in white. Rising from
the gloom, after entering the church from the brilliant sunshine,
the reminder of the grave looked ghastly. The air was heavy with
the smell of incense, and peasants were kneeling and praying. One
old man was wiping away his tears and gazing at some object in the
semi-darkness which I could not clearly see. I walked up to it, and
saw that a bier, black-cloth-covered, with the skull and cross-bones
in white, was resting on the floor. On the bier was an open black
coffin, and at the head of the rude, oblong box were two pillows
covered with dark velvet. On the top pillow was a grinning skull; in
the coffin was a khaki-coloured coarse robe, like a friar's habit,
and from the sleeves peeped the bones that had once been arms. The
grave-clothes and the side of the bier were thick with spots of
candle-grease. A child came up as I bent over the coffin, and she
waggled the skull to and fro with hideous effect, for it seemed to
nod. She looked at me and smiled. Here was all the ghastliness of
death without its glorious hope and promise, a spectacle that was
meant to awe and overpower, yet a little girl was unaffected by the
grim reminder of her own end. Near me was a door through which the
sunshine slanted, and I walked out into the free, refreshing air, and
listened to the song of another small maid who was nursing a child.
She was one of the prettiest children I saw in Galicia, and was
singing a song which I was told was an urgent prayer to her lover to
come across the seas and rejoin her.

Most of the men of Cangas are engaged in the sardine fisheries, and
on the beach and afloat were many of their fine open craft, which are
rowed by sixteen, eighteen, or twenty oars, and can be propelled very
rapidly.

At times the fishermen will contract to sell their catch, whatever it
may be, at a certain price, in which case they are assured of some
return for their labour; at other times they will dispose of the fish
in the ordinary way, at market prices. On the north side of Vigo
Bay, as on the south, there are factories where sardines and other
fish are prepared and packed for home and foreign use. One of the
most popular and interesting sights of Vigo is the sardine factory
of Messrs. Barreras, beautifully situated at the edge of the bay,
to the east of the town. It is fascinating to watch the treatment
of the myriads of fishes from the time they are brought in from the
sea to the moment when the soldered box is ready for packing. Only
a few hours elapse, sometimes, between the catching of the fish and
the exportation of the finished product. Messrs. Barreras build their
own steam fishing-boats entirely, catch their own sardines, and carry
out the various processes of cleaning, cooking, tinning, and packing
them for home and foreign use. The sardine trade is one of the most
important of Vigo's industries, and no visitor to Galicia should fail
to inspect one of these busy factories.

Sunday is the brightest day in the week in Vigo, for then the band
plays at noon and evening in the Alameda, and the people promenade
and laugh and talk incessantly; the places of amusement are open, and
the theatre provides a satisfactory finish for the day's enjoyment.
So excellent is the climate of the town that the band performances
take place in the open air even in the winter months. For those who
do not care for the public entertainments there are two or three good
clubs. When ships of war visit Vigo the officers are made honorary
members of clubs, and find the institutions very useful for seeing
their country's newspapers.

I spent many interesting days in Vigo. Often, in the darkness of
the early morning, from the balcony outside my bedroom at the Hotel
Continental, a stone's-throw from the bay, I watched the mail-boats,
tramps, and sailing-ships come in from the sea, or the day break.
A constant charm about the watching was the impossibility of
foreseeing what would happen. One morning I saw a Russian cruiser
squadron, grey and silent, steam up to its anchorage, and frequently
afterwards, at eight o'clock, I heard the strains of the Russian
National Anthem as the ensigns were hoisted. The familiar music, used
sometimes in England as a hymn tune, mingled with the shore noises of
bullock-carts and timber-shifting and the cries of men and women.

While the Russian squadron was in Vigo Bay a seaman was killed by
the explosion of some acetylene on board his ship. On the following
afternoon he was buried with all the solemn rites of his Church. At
the head of the procession walked a sailor carrying a basket, from
which he scattered flowers on the roadway; following him were Russian
priests in their white silk vestments, chaplains from the squadron,
and brass eikons were borne aloft; the bandsmen from the squadron
played a funeral march, and alternating with their music was the
playing of a solemn dirge by the band of the 37th Regiment of the
Line of Spain; there was the firing party, with fixed bayonets, the
admiral and the officers from the ships and the ships' companies,
and the white coffin in the white funeral car, drawn by four horses,
and surmounted by a figure of the Virgin. It was all very touching
and impressive--another of the unexpected sights of this corner of
Spain which is so old and yet so very new.

Vigo is the port from which most of the emigrants who leave Galicia
sail, and at which they land on returning to their native country.
Crowds of them may be seen frequently, with their baggage and
household belongings, waiting on the quay for their ship to enter
the bay, or going off in barges or tenders to get on board. The
emigrants, mostly young men, are bound for South America, where some
of them do very well, and come back to Galicia with capital enough to
buy land and settle as comfortable farmers.

A most enjoyable journey can be made from Vigo to Redondela, eight
miles away. In situation the town is considered one of the finest in
Spain, and it would be hard to picture anything more beautiful and
striking than its aspect at night, as seen from either of the tall
railway viaducts. The larger of these is 118 feet high and 348 yards
long. The electric lamps give the place the look of an enchanted
city. You can glance down the shore to Vigo itself, outlined by
lamps, high on the hill-side, whilst Redondela nestles in a dike
scores of feet below you as you rumble over the viaduct, thankful
for once that the speed of the train is so slow. Redondela is on the
road from Vigo to Mondariz. Pretty women, portly priests, and tales
of war and treasure have been long associated with the lively town.

Also within easy reach of Vigo is Puenteareas, a small town which
is celebrated mostly for its very fine old bridge. During a brief
halt at this place in the evening I entered the church in the public
square just as service was beginning, and was surprised to find the
interior almost crowded with worshippers, mostly women. After the
manner of the country, they carried all sorts of articles with them.

Vigo has an enterprising and resourceful daily press, and Galicia has
its interests well represented by an admirable illustrated monthly
magazine. This is the _Vida Gallega_, which gives to the matters of
the province that attention which at home is bestowed upon current
events by the London and provincial weeklies. One morning, leaving
early for Orense, I observed a man at the first stopping-place alight
and promenade the platform with copies of the _Faro de Vigo_, and
at each station, during a period of five hours, he jumped down and
disposed of his numbers. The train corresponded to our own newspaper
specials, and the method of distribution, crude though it may be, is
the beginning of a system which in time may equal ours. The journals
were eagerly bought, the purchasers opening them at once on the
platform, and either standing to read the news or absorbing the
contents of the columns as they walked away. The journey from Vigo
to Orense occupied five hours; and there was the same time spent on
the return, which the newsvendor made. He started at six, and arrived
at Vigo late at night. That, I was told, was his daily task; yet he
seemed perfectly cheerful and contented.

Vigo fascinated Borrow, who described it as a small, compact place,
surrounded with low walls, with narrow, steep, and winding streets,
and a rather extensive faubourg stretching along the shore of the
bay. Vigo, he added, seemed to be crowded, and resounded with
noise and merriment. In that respect there is little difference
between the town then and now; but in other directions there have
been vast changes. It can no longer be said that Vigo has only a
wretched _posada_ to offer to travellers, for it has the up-to-date
and thoroughly equipped Hotel Continental, facing the bay, an
establishment from whose balconies you may watch the sun rise
gorgeously above the hills, and see it set in a blaze of colour
behind the Cies Islands.



[Illustration: SANTIAGO, FROM THE ALAMEDA]



[Illustration: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA]



CHAPTER III

SPAIN'S JERUSALEM


"Now about that time Herod the King put forth his hand to afflict
certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with
the sword."

That is the Gospel story of the death of St. James the Greater, son
of Zebedee, in whose memory the city of Santiago was founded, and
who remains the patron saint of Spain's Jerusalem. Tradition has it
that St. James journeyed through Spain and preached the Gospel; while
another story states that after he was beheaded by Herod his remains
were taken to Galicia, and buried at the place on which the cathedral
of Santiago stands.

The saint's sepulchre was not known till the ninth century, when
it was revealed to a pious bishop, Theodomir of Iria, by a star
of wondrous brilliance. At that time Santiago did not exist; but
the marvel of the prelate's discovery spread throughout Spain, and
wrought so powerfully upon the reigning monarch, Alonso II., that
he commanded the immediate building of a chapel on the site of the
grave. The structure was begun, but so amazing was the enthusiasm
with which the holy discovery was hailed that the original design
of a mere chapel developed into a scheme for a cathedral, and the
building was consecrated at the end of the ninth century.

News travelled laggardly in those far-distant days, yet while
the cathedral was being built devout believers everywhere became
acquainted with the tidings of the bishop's vision, and pilgrims
hastened to pay tribute to the holy tomb. From every country in
Europe the faithful travelled by horse or on foot, many of them
spending months on the journey. Countless thousands worshipped at the
shrine and returned to their homes; unnumbered thousands perished on
the way to Santiago or back; while multitudes who reached the holy
city never left it, for accommodation was limited, and pestilence
swept off the pilgrims ruthlessly. At times the crowds were so
enormous that the cathedral had to remain open day and night, so that
they could find resting-places on its extensive floors. The primitive
medical and sanitary appliances and remedies of the day were used to
ward off disease, and a great censer was kept burning to purify the
vitiated air of the cathedral.

Santiago is a city of romance, and my own first sight of it was
memorable. A night-watchman, cloaked and leaning on his gleaming
pike, watched us as we stepped from the rickety diligence which
had jolted us from the railway station to the Hotel Suizo, near
the cathedral, and within a stone's throw of the university. It
was nearly midnight, and there was driving rain, which ran in
torrents down the crooked, narrow, flagged thoroughfares which
serve as streets. At the station the oil-lamps dimly shone on the
swimming platforms and gloomily illuminated the big bare room in
which a statuesque pair of Civil Guards leaned on their rifles and
the Customs officers and passengers mixed confusedly. There was an
emigrant returned from South America with a ponderous trunk to open
and examine. When it was passed the huge box was hoisted on to the
head of a woman, and the emigrant's wife having been loaded up with
miscellaneous articles, the triumphant man sallied forth, bearing no
heavier burden than his umbrella.

From the oil-lamped station we drove into the mediæval streets, lit
by electricity, and as the bells began to chime the midnight hour
the _sereno_ strolled away on his rounds and the diligence disgorged
the travellers, peasants, Civil Guards, and human oddments, who
had clambered into and outside it. Bells were chiming as I entered
Santiago; they rang, it seemed, throughout the night, and at
daybreak clanged to summon worshippers to early Mass. The population
numbers less than thirty thousand, yet there are forty-six churches,
containing nearly three hundred altars, with thirty-six religious and
kindred institutions. If priests and churches make a city good, then
Santiago must be a veritable holy of holies.

There are many wonderful and fascinating buildings in this Jerusalem
of Spain, but the glory of them all is that vast structure whose
twin towers rise serenely to the blue sky, and whose golden crosses
burn and glitter in the sunshine. Not an hour or a day, but many
hours and many days must be spent in the majestic minster before
its beauties can be adequately realised. Many books and innumerable
articles have been written about it, but the greatest book of all is
that marvellous work entitled "Historia de la Santa A. M. Iglesia de
Compostela." The author is a canon, Antonio López Ferreiro, who has
already produced thirteen volumes of his monumental undertaking, and
is to complete his task with a fourteenth. A dozen years will have
been needed for the publication, which will surely almost rank in
time to come with Matteo's masterpiece, the Gate of Glory.

[Illustration: ONE OF SANTIAGO'S TWIN TOWERS]

You enter the cathedral and look around in the casual manner of the
visitor who is pressed for time and has a long programme to get
through before he starts on the home track; and not even that amazing
Gate of Glory which stands unrivalled in Christendom may call for
more than passing notice. You may have spent an hour in the building,
and leave it thinking that you have seen all, and you wander through
the quaint, narrow, twisted streets, gazing at the little shops,
which are only travesties of business places; at the women, who
are working ceaselessly, especially at the wells, drawing water;
at the men and boys who mingle, and contrast the present with
the passing, the student and the peasant. You visit that particular
_café_ which, in the afternoon, is infested by students from the
university when the strain of mental toil is over, and may count a
hundred of them, reckless, rowdy, and full of life and carelessness,
all playing dominoes, thudding the bone pieces on the marble-topped
tables like little sledge-hammers working, and filling the
tobacco-laden air with deafening cries. If the students in after-life
put into legal and medical work anything approaching the energy they
infuse into pastime, then fortunate indeed will be their patients
and clients. At eventide the students become romantic and conduct
their little love affairs, and occasionally even in the unemotional
morning a young man may be seen hovering in the neighbourhood of his
adored one's dwelling. I saw a youth at daybreak, outside my hotel,
feverishly pacing the flags. He wore patent leather boots, very
tight and small, and a large-checked overcoat, a flagrant tie and a
ridiculous little bowler hat. For an hour he watched and waited; then
from an upper window a female voice was heard, and the youth's face
assumed a fatuously rapturous expression. A few minutes afterwards
the owner of the voice descended, accompanied by her parents, at
the sight of whom the youth scuttled round the corner, for the
better-class young ladies in Galicia are closely guarded when in
public.

You leave the _café_ and drift, and instinctively you have made your
way again to the cathedral precincts, gazing at the windows of the
box-like shops in the building itself, in which the silversmiths ply
their craftsmanship and produce, amongst other things, vast numbers
of tiny silver scallop-shells, one at least of which, obtainable
for a few coppers, the good pilgrim takes away from Santiago.
Unconsciously you re-enter the cathedral, and are wandering about
the vast incense-smelling nave and transepts. Even to the unguided
visitor there is much to see, while the skilfully piloted stranger
may leisurely examine priceless relics and treasures and behold many
marvellous spectacles. I had the good fortune to be shown round the
cathedral during two protracted visits by Canon Leopoldo Eijo Garay,
and to have the precious relics shown and explained by Canon Martin,
who has charge of the treasury.

There is the beautiful Biblioteca, with its ceiling so cunningly and
adroitly wrought in stone and painted and gilded that it is difficult
to believe that the figures and ornamentation are not plaster. The
present King of Spain himself, when visiting the apartment, declared
his disbelief that the decoration was carved from solid stone, and
there is pointed out a small patch of bare stonework from which the
colouring was rubbed to prove to his Majesty that he was mistaken.
You may enter a loft where many old and modern tapestries are
hung to keep them from the ravages of moths and atmosphere; go to
another loft in which are stored the grotesque giants' heads used
in the procession of St. James, carefully covered to preserve them
from dust, and inspect the large room in which the tapestries and
trimmings of the cathedral are kept in order and repair. In another
part of the cathedral, in the nave, near the treasury, is a cupboard
in which clerical vestments are kept drawn on frames--vestments that
look like priceless cloth of gold. Also to be seen are the ponderous
silver maces which are carried at the ceremonies in the minster, and
the giant censer in its sentry-box-like case. If you are favoured you
may lift the maces and try to raise the top of the censer--and may
succeed in moving the silver mass a few inches from its base.

In a dimly lighted room the treasure of the cathedral is kept and
Kings of Spain are buried. With cunningly devised keys the doors
are unlocked, and the canon explains the meaning of the silver and
gold possessions, the very extent of which is bewildering. Here are
gifts from sovereigns and potentates, each a wonder in itself, yet
so grouped as to form a perfectly harmonious whole. Centuries of
religious devotion are represented in this one corner of the mighty
edifice, and it would be hard to estimate more than approximately
what is the value of the treasure, though an expert might guess at
the metals' intrinsic worth.

A small Maltese cross in the centre of the ornaments on the wall
which faces the door contains a piece of the true Cross, while above
it is a thorn from the Saviour's Crucifixion Crown. Golden images
and goblets, carvings, pictures, fading gorgeous cushions, made by
royal and noble hands, with many other gifts in various form to the
Holy Mother Church from her sons and daughters, are here, and the eye
almost fails to take in what the mind needs time to comprehend. More
than once the treasury has been raided by invaders; and within the
last two or three years sacrilegious hands have been laid on one or
two of the priceless possessions of the cathedral, but the treasury
is now specially protected, and an ingenious clock is used to record
the movements of the watchmen who are responsible for the safety of
the relics and riches. It is said that the whereabouts of some of the
lost treasures are known, and that they are not far from America.

From the treasury one may go to the high altar, above which is the
gorgeous effigy of St. James, the object of the last attention of the
Santiago pilgrims. The whole of the massive altar decoration is solid
silver, wrought in Salamanca, and the candlesticks and ornaments
around are of the same metal, which has been used with the lavishness
of iron. In the centre is a small image of the Virgin, with a halo of
precious stones, and many other gems flash as a lighted candle at the
end of a long stick is held out so that they may be seen.

Eleven hundred pounds' weight of solid pure silver--considerably
more than half a ton--was used by Salamanca craftsmen to make the
wondrous work amidst which the saint sits enshrined. At this high
altar no cleric below the rank of bishop may celebrate Mass, except
the canons of the cathedral, without special power being granted
by the Pope. Changes are being made, even in romantic, mediæval
Santiago, and it is hoped that something like five hundred thousand
pesetas will be raised to carry out alterations in the cathedral.

The figure of St. James adorns the centre of the altar, with the
right hand pointing to that sacred little vault below in which
reposes the great silver casket containing the ashes of the Apostle;
and behind him is an unassuming box in which the bones were hidden
when Drake swooped down on Santiago from the coast. The original
figure was made in the thirteenth century, and there it is still,
but with a massive silver garment clothing it, a garment wrought
in modern times by cunning craftsmen of Madrid. Ford describes the
original figure as being of stone, but my own impression on feeling
it, which I did after the ponderous silver back had been pulled away
on its castors, was that the material is wood.

At the back of the Apostle is a little platform, which is approached
by a few steps on each side. Up these staircases the pilgrims walk,
and, placing their hands on the shoulders of the silver cape, kiss
the back of it--the gem-studded _esclavina_--and return to the floor
of the cathedral. Men and women of all ranks and countries have
visited that tiny platform and leaned forward for a salutation,
and doubtless multitudes will journey thither still. It may be
that a band of the well-to-do classes will visit the figure in the
company, as I saw them, of peasants who come into Santiago and make
their osculation and depart. These peasants, being able to visit the
sanctuary often, do not trouble to acquire and take away that coveted
document which it is the wish of all true pilgrims to possess--the
_compostela_. This is a parchmenty form, containing an ornamental
border, headed by a figure of a pilgrim and flanked by columns of
scallop-shells. The border encloses a printed Latin declaration
to the effect that the pilgrim whose name is written in has duly
made the pilgrimage and has received the certificate, after making
confession and receiving communion. The certificate is signed by a
canon, with the date of the month and the year of the pilgrimage, and
is stamped with a blue seal. The acquisition of it crowns the object
of the journey to the holy city of Galicia, and the _compostela_
remains as evidence that he has performed a ceremony which in other
days was almost as essential as legal documents in proving a right to
property.

[Illustration: RUA DEL VILLAR, SANTIAGO]

Two little metal doors behind the altar lead up to the platform;
another, hidden in the gloom near them, gives access to that dark
chamber in which the faithful pray and worship at St. James's
holy shrine, and where the cardinal conducts his own devotions.
Electricity has been installed in the vault, but there are
days--amongst them Sundays--when it is not used, and other days
when the current fails to work, and at these times candles are
employed to light the cavern-like apartment, into which the sunshine
never penetrates. A few steps downwards, a few more along the narrow
stone passage, a turn to the right, and two or there more steps--then
you are in the cold and tiny chamber which contains the famous silver
coffin.

The Apostle's sepulchre is about three feet long and two feet wide
and the same in depth, though the top slopes somewhat after the
manner of a roof. It is purely modern work, and was designed and made
in the cathedral by an expert whose son is still associated with the
building. There are figures round the sides of the urn, beautifully
wrought images something like a foot in height, copied from the
finest details in the Gate of Glory.

The dim light of the candles reveals other relics in this sacred
spot--amongst them Roman mosaics and various ancient fragments in
glass cases. The original walls of the vault, dating from the first
century, are visible. In some places the bricks and stones have been
faced with granite, but those that are uncovered show little traces
of the effects of the two thousand years which have passed since they
were built upon each other.

Just as you instinctively return to the cathedral, so, when you are
in it, you wander to the Gate of Glory and begin to realise why
Santiagoans claim that this masterpiece is peerless of its kind.
The sculptor who created it spent twenty years in carrying out his
purpose. During those two decades--1168-1188--Maestro Matteo wrought
in stone that wondrous work of which a replica exists in South
Kensington Museum. Unfortunately the Gate of Glory at Santiago is
so placed that its real significance and majesty are not apparent
at a glance, because the portico is within the building itself,
standing back a little distance from the main entrance, which is
opened only for important ceremonials. Nor can the replica be seen
to full advantage in its present position. Other architectural works
are crowded up to it, and there is no point from which the complete
copy can be viewed. Admirable though the replica is, yet it falls
far short of the original in beauty, because it is painted a dirty
drab, while the Gate itself still bears much of the original rich
colour with which it was decorated. The replica was acquired in
1866 at a cost of £2300, and now that there is so much room in the
magnificent new Museum no time should be lost in removing the work.
The reproduction would form a noble decoration for one of the light
and splendid galleries of the extension at South Kensington.

The Gate of Glory consists of three arches, the centre one of which
gives the title to the whole--La Gloria. Twice life-size, the
Redeemer is seated in the centre of the arch, with St. James below
Him, seated also, and around Him are the Evangelists and elders and
angels, the whole being symbolic of the Last Judgment and the victory
of virtue over vice. It is not so much the subject as the work
itself which will awe and fascinate the visitor: there is so much
prodigality of labour, such lavishness of design, such an amazing
whole contained in so limited a space. The wondrous and magnificent
group over the central arch would in itself make Santiago's Gate of
Glory unrivalled amongst kindred masterpieces.

Seven hundred years have passed since Matteo finished his immortal
work, yet in many ways that work appears as perfect now as it was
when he put down his tools for the last time and gazed upon that
figure of himself which kneels and looks towards the dim interior of
the minster, as if in thankfulness for the completion of his task.

In the exquisite central shaft of the Gate there are some depressions
into which the extended thumb and fingers of one's right hand will
fit. I was told that these indentations had been worn into the stone
through contact with the hands of countless pilgrims who believed
that as a result they would be physically strong for life; and that
another performance which has been extensively practised is to place
one's head on that of Matteo's figure; the faithful being satisfied
that thenceforward they will be spared numerous mental afflictions.
As there may be hidden virtues in the superstitions I went through
both performances.

The visitor to Santiago who is fortunate may see a spectacle which
is unrivalled in the service of the Catholic Church, and that is
the swinging of the largest silver censer in the world. At ten in
the morning of an October Friday I entered the cathedral when High
Mass was being celebrated. There was much that was imposing in the
procession of the gorgeously vestmented clergy, from the two bishops
downward; near me, fastened to a sculptured pillar, was the staff
which was found with the body of St. James, and there were priceless
articles in precious metals within view; but I had attention only for
the massive urn, which is six feet high.

The censer had been brought from its house in the Biblioteca and
placed in position in the middle of the aisle, under the gorgeously
decorated dome. It was resting on the floor, and from the ring in the
top a stout rope ran upward to a combination of pulleys supported
on graceful iron standards secured to four pillars. The free end of
the rope was hung on a neighbouring bracket. When the time came to
burn incense the rope was released and the fire was lit. Immediately
the dense, sickly sweet fumes ascended and a master workman gave the
signal for hoisting. The man at the rope pulled downward, and the
censer swung at a height of about six feet, clear of the adjacent
altar-rails; then the leader seized the silver mass and gave it a
strong push, so that it began to swing to and fro with a long, steady
sweep, the fumes rising and spreading in the dim interior.

As the censer was swung it was hoisted higher; then, each man seizing
one of the cluster of smaller ropes fastened to the main rope, a
regular pulling began, and the pulleys, acting like the ropes of a
church bell, caused the censer to make an immense sweep to and fro.
It was fascinating to watch the growing of the sweep, until the arc
described must have been equal to a hundred feet. The censer swung
majestically until it seemed to strike the vaulted roof; then the
pulling ceased and the great vessel was lowered. With unexpected
quickness its pace decreased, and as the heavy mass swung across the
railed space the master workman seized it again and with unerring
judgment piloted it to the floor, a cloud of incense rising from the
top and bright flames showing in the interior of the vessel. Two men,
clothed like workmen, went to the censer, and, putting a pole through
the ring, carried it away on their shoulders, the weight of metal
being just so much as they could bear with ease.

As I watched the long sweep of the enormous urn I wondered what would
happen if it broke adrift and fell into the crowd of worshippers.
Legend says that at one time the censer actually did leave its
support and crash through the wall of the cathedral, and that on the
spot where it fell a well sprang up, to the amazed joy and great
comfort of the faithful, who were thirsting for water.

Being a city of churches, Santiago is the home of religious
celebrations--or festivals, as they may be called, for the people of
the ancient city take life joyfully, and to them the church fills the
place of the bull-ring and the theatre, neither of which exists in
Santiago as a permanent institution.

One afternoon I walked into the Church of San Martin, which has
some gorgeous altars, and learned that there was to be the yearly
observance of the festival of Rosario. There is no distinction of
worshippers in Catholic churches, and rich and poor alike were
entering, wearing little medals and bearing yard-long candles. They
crossed themselves devoutly and knelt and prayed on the bare, bleak
floor of the building, which is reached by descending a flight of
stairs. Children, ragged and dirty, without either medal or candle,
were clambering over forms, other children, prim and proper, brightly
clad and clasping candles, were seated with their mothers, and
_señoritas_, some of them handsome, knelt and crossed themselves
and prayed--but glancing slantingly as they did so to reckon up
their neighbours and the strangers. Officers and privates of a line
battalion entered, and a great number of men, all bearing candles,
and some hurrying as if they had just left business and were anxious
to share in the ceremony. At five o'clock the procession started,
headed by white-clad children bearing tiny banners, and followed
by the effigy of Our Lady of the Rosary, shoulder-high, and the
priests in their full vestments. The women, bearing their candles,
now lighted, ranged up the sides of the open-air steps as the
procession advanced, some of them, the younger, who were dressed in
modern style, giggling confusedly, but others, the poorer and more
primitive, very serious in their work. There was fine full, resonant
singing of the _Ave María_ by the priests and two laymen, accompanied
by a soldier and a civilian with bassoons; then, the image having
left the church, the band of the 12th Infantry, the famous Saragossa
Regiment, fell in and played as the procession at the slow march went
along the ancient streets to the Church of San Domingo, where the
last part of the service was conducted--an old church made garish
inside with arc-lamps. It was a festival in which noise shared
largely, for rockets were exploding at intervals, and the bells of
every church we passed clanged madly, pulled by boys who, against the
sky, looked like imps. A crowd followed the procession--a strange
mixture of well-to-do and poor, of smartly dressed and shabbily
clothed. Near me was a handsome Spaniard in a charming frock and
Paris hat, side by side with a shawled peasant, and a Spanish captain
chatted gaily with a friend and smoked a cigarette.

The festival of Our Lady of the Rosary may be seen in any Catholic
country, but Santiago has its own particular celebrations in
connection with the cathedral, and of these by far the most famous
is the ceremony which takes place on St. James's Eve, July 24. The
people give themselves up to enjoyment and merriment, and begin
early on the morning of the 24th. At eight o'clock bands parade the
principal streets, and their music is succeeded by clanging bells and
crashing rockets. Amid the growing excitement and commotion there
starts that historical procession of giants which crudely represents
the arrival of the pilgrims of old from all parts of the world.

These giants are created largely out of the enormous artificial heads
which I have mentioned. The heads are carried elevated, so that,
with the garments that the bearers employ, colossal men seem to walk
along the streets. The procession starts at noon, and for an hour the
clock-tower bell peals constantly and it is difficult to move along
the densely crowded thoroughfares.

The giants are not the only curious feature of the celebration. There
are also included in it a number of dwarfs--_cabezudos_, signifying
big-heads, who strive, with great success, to entertain the juveniles
of Santiago by their antics and quaint dances. There is constant
mirth and music; and later in the afternoon, in the Plaza del
Hospital, greasy poles are climbed, and country dances take place,
accompanied by the Galician bagpipes, which give national and local
airs--as well as they can be played on such unmusical instruments.

From joy to joy and noise to noise the Santiagoan arrives at
darkness, and at nine o'clock the rockets, bursting from a dozen
mortars, open a brilliant display of fireworks in front of the holy
basilica, accompanied by coloured illuminations of the principal
buildings and the crash of bells, the shouts and laughter of the
crowds and the music of the bands. St. James's Eve ends in a chorus
of mirth and music, and the holiday-makers have scarcely time to
recover from the excitement of the day before they are called upon to
renew it.

Twenty-one mortars fired in the Plaza del Hospital at seven
o'clock in the morning begin the festivities of St. James's Day.
Simultaneously with the crashing of the rockets all the bands in the
city burst into music. Two hours later the mayor, the civil governor,
the members of the corporation, and the other principal local
officials go to the holy basilica, where they join the procession
round the cathedral and hear Mass between the choir and the high
altar, where the civil governor occupies a seat as the king's
representative.

By this time the cathedral, vast though it is, can scarcely hold the
crowds who throng the nave and transepts. The cardinal celebrates
the Mass, at which the giant censer is used; and a solemn feature
of the performance is the ascent of the steps of the high altar by
the civil governor, who, kneeling, offers in the name of the king a
thousand _escudos_ of gold, equal to £400, an annual gift from the
monarch, at the same time pronouncing a fervent prayer, which his
Eminence answers. When the present King of Spain visited Santiago he
personally discharged this interesting task. Mass being finished,
the cardinal pronounces the Papal blessing, and to all who have
officially shared in the ceremony beautiful bouquets of flowers are
given. Then follows an old and remarkable act in the performance
at the high altar, before the holy Apostle, of a dance by the
giants. During the afternoon both giants and dwarfs--_gigantes
y cabezudos_--show themselves in the streets and public squares,
accompanied by bands and crowds of Santiago's populace and country
people.

In the evening, when the celebrations at the cathedral are ended, a
procession of virgins leaves the Church of Santa Clara and enters the
basilica by the northern door, which is known as the Gate of Jet, and
there the cardinal, accompanied by all the dignitaries of the church,
receives them.

For these two days in July each year Santiago surrenders itself to
revelry and enjoyment; then the city resumes its peaceful, yet always
bright and interesting, life. The people have had their giants and
dwarfs, bands of music and mortars, celebrations in the cathedral
and their bells, and have shown that in spite of all their woes and
burdens they still know how to live.

Not the least pronounced feature of the festival has been the bells
of Santiago. Some of them seem to be always ringing. There are the
calls to early Mass at six in the morning, and the summonses to other
forms of worship throughout the day; and whenever a procession passes
a church the bells clang out and mingle with the bursting of the
rockets. Some of the bells are mellow and melodious, but others are
like the ringing of a raucous hotel gong. There is no music or method
in them; a small boy is stationed by the bells--you can see him at
his noisy work--and he hammers at his task, performing it with extra
frenzy when service-time is reached.

In the cathedral the bell-ringer and his family live near the belfry,
to be ready to answer any special call, to ring a peal or sound an
alarm, for the fire-bell is at the mother church; and there are
other special bells, such as that which is rung only when a canon
of the cathedral dies. One of the largest of the bells of Santiago
was struck not long ago by lightning and was cracked. The crevice
is still visible, though attempts have been made to fill it up with
other metal. The bell dropped from its support to the stonework
inside the balustrade, and there remains, out of action.

Pilgrims of old reached Santiago by the way of blood and tears, for
roads were bad and shoes and sandals vanished on the weary journeys.
Nowadays pilgrims travel speedily and comfortably, and organised
bands set out for Spain's Jerusalem to see its wonders and enjoy its
charms. In 1909, for the first time in nearly four centuries, an
English band of pilgrims, headed by the Archbishop of Westminster,
visited Galicia, by the Booth Line, under the guidance of the
Catholic Association, and their banner is suspended in the cloisters
of the holy city's minster, while on many of their walls at home are
hung the coveted certificates of pilgrimage.

Modern pilgrims may visit and revisit the cathedral; and they may
also wander at will about the city, visiting the old Inquisition,
near the Alameda, now used for business purposes, and soon, perhaps,
to be converted into an hotel, the Archæological Museum, formerly
the old Convent of San Clemente, the vast Seminary, the Town Hall,
the Royal Hospital, built four centuries ago for the accommodation
of pilgrims, the cattle market, and the city's lesser churches, the
most astonishing of which is the Colegiata de Sar, famous for its
leaning columns and twisted look. The palace adjoins the cathedral.
It is an unassuming building, and the audience chamber, where I had
the privilege of an interview with Cardinal Herrera y de la Iglesia,
makes no pretence to splendour. The Cardinal is deeply interested in
the visits to Santiago of foreigners, and spoke with enthusiasm of
the excellent effect of journeys to the city. Proud of its wonderful
past, he is alive to the necessity of modern improvements in some
respects, and doubtless some of these will be carried out without
in any way affecting the city's fascination. The Museum contains
many of the ancient remains of Galicia, and in the Inquisition,
seldom visited or mentioned, there are relics of the torture days;
the Seminary bears signs of the visit of the French under Soult in
1809, when they raided the cathedral treasures and bore off something
like half a ton of precious metal-ware; and in the Hospital you may
see the well-kept wards, the beautiful and extensive cloisters, and
the little ancient chapel. Strange though it may seem to English
people, yet you may stroll unchallenged through the wards, and see
how well cared for are Galicia's sick and ailing. The Royal Hospital
at Santiago claims to be amongst the very first of Spain's healing
institutions. Even in November, when I visited it, there was warm
sunshine in which the patients could sit or lie--different indeed
from the dreary deluges of rain with which, as my home letters told
me, England, and particularly London, was afflicted. I know that
when, near Mondariz, I was lying on the bank of a clear stream on
the hot sand, in a flood of sunshine, idly throwing pebbles in the
rushing water, and watching the peasant women crossing and recrossing
an old bridge near me, my countrymen in England, whose southern
shore was only two days' sail away, were shivering in steely blasts
and maligning the land of their nativity. I know, too, that in such
unromantic and inclement weather at home, I was seated on a green
hillock to the south of Spain's Jerusalem, smoking and watching the
hot sun glint on Santiago's gilded crosses. In such a place you may
rest and muse and gaze towards the city, which is one of the most
alluring in all Christendom.

Fascinating though Santiago is by day, yet its charms are not so
subtle then as at night, when the day's work is done and the people
are walking in the open air they love so well. There is no wheeled
traffic in the streets--only an occasional bullock-cart or diligence
is encountered--and the long, broad flags, with their wide crevices,
worn smooth by generations of men and women and children, re-echo
the footsteps of the pedestrians. The arc-lamps accentuate the
quaintness of the thoroughfares, and electric bulbs show up the
strange interiors of the little shops.

The streets are thronged, and there is a constant chorus of talk and
laughter. If the Santiagoans have cares, surely they have left them
in their homes, for here you seem to come across nothing that is
gloomy or depressing. The modern hat and dress are mingled with the
mantilla and the coloured shawl, and the high-heeled boot adds to
that chorus of sound the chief feature of which is the clank of the
wooden shoe, with the softer accompaniment which comes from the thud
of bare feet.

Here and there inside the buildings is a simple oil-lamp, and at
times you see a small acetylene lamp on a counter, showing up,
perhaps, some of the enormous round maize loaves which form the basis
of the poorer people's food. If you would escape from the lighted
streets and be alone, you may slip down a narrow alley and find
yourself in an old-world thoroughfare, whose only light comes from
some open doorway, or the stars in the ragged line of gables which
open to the sky. If it is near the time of full moon you may wander
on--and you will abruptly reach the cathedral, and see above you the
square twin towers and the gilded spires. Again you are back at that
wonderful creation which for centuries has been the pride and glory
of Galicia.

The scallop-shell of Santiago has been mentioned. It is seen
wherever you may go--on the walls of the cathedral, over the doors
of numberless little houses, and in multitudes, in tiny silver
representations, in the shops of jewellers. The origin of the shell
as an emblem is legendary. One story goes that when the Apostle had
been slain by Herod his body was taken from Joppa back to Galicia, to
which it was borne by sea in a colossal shell. The version adds that
a man of high rank who wished to accompany the remains to Galicia
was not able to go in the vessel; accordingly he rode his horse into
the sea and miraculously made his way by water. When he emerged from
the sea both he and his horse were covered with scallop-shells. The
legends are picturesque if not convincing; the fact remains that the
scallop is the emblem of St. James's pilgrimage now as it has been
since he gave his name to Spain's Jerusalem.

A road, newly cut, leads from Santiago to the summit of a hill
towards the west, and on the top of that eminence there is a granite
monument which makes the fourteenth cross to be reached by the devout
visitor who wishes to complete the pilgrimage. I do not know the
name of either the road or the eminence, but the one may be called
the Pilgrims' Road and the other the Pilgrims' Hill. Nothing can
exceed the solemn grandeur of the prospect from the monument. If it
is Sunday, and eventide, the sound of distant bells will reach you,
and the golden crosses on the graceful spires will glint; beyond the
city, and around it, sweeping in majestic curves, are the Galician
hills, and behind you more hills, ridge beyond ridge, with darkness
settling on them, so that they look like colossal rollers in the
Western Ocean when a heavy gale has blown.

Covering an area which seems a mere oblong speck on the enormous
surface of the landscape, Santiago stands supreme. It is the only
living thing in what appears to be a dead setting. There is perfect
Sabbath stillness in the air, and you see the city now, when here and
there a peasant slowly climbs the winding road, as old-time pilgrims
must have looked upon it at the end of long and weary journeys.

Behind you is Arosa Bay, one of the world's finest anchorages,
where modern fleets may safely lie; near it is Finisterre, the grim
promontory which is made by all cautious mariners who voyage north
and south across the Biscay, and where Anson won his famous victory,
and past which Nelson sailed to win his crowning triumph in Trafalgar
Bay. In Elizabeth's time Drake and Hawkins, Raleigh and the other
sea-dogs sailed along the rock-bound coast intent on war and pillage,
and Drake reached that quaint city nestling in the hills whose golden
crosses glisten in the sun by day and whose lights show clearly in
the darkness after sunset; for Middle Ages and modernity are linked
at Santiago, and the garish arc-lamp supplements the glimmer of the
candle.

[Illustration: A LOGAN]



[Illustration: A GALICIAN VILLAGE]



CHAPTER IV

THINGS SEEN


Galicia is a land of sharp contrasts, and the things seen include
sights which cannot be witnessed in any other country within such
easy reach of London. The bullock-cart creaks by the side of
the railway, the peasant with a Roman plough turns up the soil
within sound of the electrical machinery of a corn-mill, the swift
motor-car rushes past the old-world diligence on the highway, and the
incandescent burner or electric lamp keeps company with the ancient
candle. Orange-groves abound and vineyards carpet the landscape,
while the stately liner sends her bow-wave swishing at the bare feet
of fishwives who are handling catches as they were handled in the
days of Jesus. A peasant may prod and drag his team of oxen past a
modern school in which his brother may be learning chemistry and his
sister millinery, and the old man who has never learned to read and
write listens to the machines which print the newspaper whose symbols
are to him a mystery; the nun, a life-long prisoner in her gaol-like
convent, hears the booming of guns in ships of war whose purpose
is to keep and further liberty, and the friar, tonsured, girdled,
sandalled, kneels on the cathedral floor beside a woman dressed
in Parisian gown and hat. These are amongst things seen by the
leisurely traveller, but even the hasty tourist may make a passing
acquaintance with many quaint and fascinating customs and peoples.
The pleasure-seeker may have constant recreation and enjoyment, the
student of ancient cities and remains finds material wherever he
goes, and the lover of archæological and ecclesiological memorials
and structures may carry out a long tour and find at the end that he
has only touched the fringe of the subject.

The easy-going visitor may constantly step aside from the beaten
path and encounter new aspects of Gallegan life, and learn something
interesting that is not mentioned in even the best of guide-books. I
think the very impossibility, as it seems to be, of getting at the
real truth of some Galician matters is one of the charms of going
about the country. Baedeker, omnipotent in travel, has missed many
things in North-West Spain, or omitted them as being superfluous or
unattractive, while details which are published in his masterpieces
are at variance with other sources of information. For example,
Baedeker states that the population of Pontevedra is 8500, but Murray
gives the number as 21,000, a startling and bewildering difference.
The discrepancy, however, is understandable, because it is one of
the hardest of all things in Galicia to get reliable statistics. The
Gallegan treats any demand for census details as Englishmen deal
with income-tax papers.

Wandering off the high road and through some vineyards and
maize-fields not far from Caldas, I saw a fine old house. This was
at the village of San Benito, where also I came across a quaint
little church connected with the house by a small bridge. A few
yards from the church, and just off the highway, was a curious
open-air platform, used in connection with religious ceremonies at
certain seasons of the year; for even this tiny hamlet attracts
pilgrims, many of whom travel to get a saintly cure for warts and
such-like unromantic ailments of the flesh. There was no difficulty
in obtaining permission to inspect the house, which has a fine and
well-preserved coat of arms in the stonework outside, and to visit
the adjoining vineyards--indeed, I was well received, under the
impression that I was a person of importance in the wine trade. The
building is seven hundred years old, and certainly looks its age,
both inside and outside; further, I was informed the vineyards yield
from nine to twelve pipes of red and white wine yearly, according to
the season; and the average price obtained is 205 pesetas a pipe.

After my inspection of the house and vineyards I was pressed by the
proprietor, with true Spanish hospitality, to try the new vintage,
which I did, drinking the white, cider-like beverage from a tumbler
just as one would take water. I had three samples, and although I
was warned that pains and penalties would follow I felt no ill-effect
whatever, and continued my journey stationward with every possible
good feeling towards my fellow-creatures in Galicia. By that time I
had left the Spanish carriage in which I had been driving, and walked
in pleasant companionship along the road towards Caldas station.

There was a wonderful peace in the air, for it was Sunday evening,
and work had ceased. The peasants were out and about, the women
sitting, the men smoking and leaning against doors or walls, and the
children playing before being put into their primitive beds. The
chimes from neighbouring churches mingled with the pleasant tinkle
of the bells worn by the two small horses which were drawing the
conveyance.

Darkness was falling quickly, and the stars were shining beyond the
hills and overhead. Peasants were coming towards us, young men and
young women, laughing and chatting gaily, and some of them singing
sweet Gallegan songs. In England, even in the villages, people of
the same ages and condition would have been bellowing banalities
from music-halls. The twilight was short and the road and country
were soon in almost perfect darkness, for there were no lights or
lamps of any sort. I reached Caldas station in company with a little
diligence which dashed up in the gloom, indicated by the voices of
the driver and passengers and the thudding of the ponies' hoofs and
tinkle of their bells, as well as by a tiny lamp in the interior of
the vehicle. There was practically no illumination in the station,
on the walls of which a melancholy oil-lamp was suspended, serving
just to outline the figures of the waiting passengers. Nothing came
out of the vast surrounding darkness except the occasional sounds of
the peasants' songs, and there was something so amazingly primitive
and peaceful in the evening and the place that it gave one almost a
shock to have a second oil-lamp turned up on the platform and to hear
the approaching train and see the head-lights of the locomotive; yet
after a few miles had been covered I looked from the carriage windows
upon the bright electric lights of Redondela station, and had time
to take some wine and food before re-entering a train and journeying
back to Vigo.

It is your duty, if only for the sake of experience, to enter one of
the wayside inns of Galicia, the _fondas_ and _posadas_ at which your
motor-car, motor-bus, diligence, or carriage draws up in travelling.
It may be a place which is comparatively imposing, with bottles of
spirits and wines ranged temptingly on shelves, and a right-angled
counter containing sundry articles of refreshment, with a dining-room
adjoining the bar, and all clean and attractive in appearance; it
may be an appalling establishment from which you are fain to fly
on swallowing your drink and in which you are grateful to your
cigarette; or it may be a house which is neither good nor bad, but
incorrigibly indifferent. Go into them all; there is something new
and fresh in each.

The first _fonda_ I entered was at Porriño, and that was on a Sunday.
Next door was a barber's shop, open to the air, with a priest reading
a newspaper while awaiting his turn for a shave. The sign of the
trade was a brass dish dangling from a chain, in contradistinction
to the impressive tonsorial pole of British facial artists, of whom
it would be wrong in these levelling days to speak as barbers.
Peasants were entering the _fonda_, and some, men and women, were
seated at bare wooden tables, breakfasting on bread and wine. At
the counter I bought for a penny an excellent aniseed liqueur, and
for the equivalent of a shilling came away with a full large bottle
of the spirit, which experience proved more than rivalled cocoa in
its comforting and grateful qualities. Incidentally, on re-entering
the motor-bus, I saw a large dead rat lying in the middle of the
road. Three days later, on returning to Porriño and the _fonda_, I
noticed that the carcase was still there--also a decayed and dejected
diligence on the pavement, a vehicle which could, however, be
galvanised into active service in case of need. Porriño, however, is
not a typical Galician village, and is no more representative of the
charms and beauties of the country than Wigan is of England.

[Illustration: A GALICIAN FISHING-BOAT]

[Illustration: MEN AND WOMEN ROWING UP VIGO BAY]

The visitor will often witness sights which, if not exactly pleasant,
are full of interest, as showing something of the people's lives.
I saw in corners of vineyards or gardens the carcases of kids
suspended; and, driving down a village street, I observed the body
of an immense pig which had been killed. The animal had been placed
on the stones in front of the door of a cottage, and a man and his
wife, helped by children, were heaping up branches and faggots. When
I returned this material was burning, and on inquiry I was told that
this was the Galician method of removing the bristles.

In Galicia you may travel in perfect comfort and security along many
of the roads and into many of the towns which in Borrow's day, only
seventy years ago, were infested with murderers and robbers, and the
idea of danger and peril will never so much as enter your mind--a
state of peacefulness which is largely due to those splendid fellows
of the Civil Guard; yet wherever he went Borrow ran great risks to
life and limb. Frequently he took advantage of a military escort, and
at one time, travelling from Lugo to Corunna, he had the support of a
band of picturesque ruffians who had all the appearance of banditti,
and would have created a sensation in a Drury Lane drama.

"They were all men in the prime of life," says Borrow, "mostly
of tall stature and of Herculean brawn and limbs. They wore huge
whiskers, and walked with a fanfaronading air, as if they courted
danger, and despised it.... Their proper duty is to officiate as a
species of police and to clear the roads of robbers, for which duty
they are in one respect admirably calculated, having been generally
robbers themselves at one period of their lives."

Alas! these romantic ruffians have disappeared from Galician
highways, and their nearest prototypes to-day are harmless peasants
adorned with flowing side-whiskers, the style of decoration favoured
by respectable and inoffensive British butlers.

To my lasting regret I did not thoroughly re-read my Borrow until I
returned from Galicia, because Galicia fascinated him, and he covered
much of the ground that I personally traversed, and looked upon many
awesome sights which I, in a spirit of modernity and commerce, would
have photographed.

At the bridge of Castellanos, "a spot notorious for robbery and
murder, and well adapted for both," Borrow passed "three ghastly
heads stuck on poles standing by the wayside; they were those of a
captain of banditti and two of his accomplices, who had been seized
and executed about two months before. Their principal haunt was
the vicinity of the bridge, and it was their practice to cast the
bodies of the murdered into the deep black water which runs rapidly
beneath." Borrow added that the three heads would always live in his
remembrance, particularly that of the captain, which "stood on a
higher pole than the other two: the long hair was waving in the wind
and the blackened, distorted features were grinning in the sun."

All this sounds very gruesome and barbarous; yet such sights were
common in England at the same time, for those were the days of public
executions and gibbeting of corpses.

The things seen in Galicia do not include the woeful exhibitions of
ignorance of the native language which are so common on the part of
the Englishman abroad, especially in France. Even the hardy British
matron who in Paris will address the cabman as _cochon_ refrains from
speech in Galicia, because no word of Spanish has formed part of
her education. Yet a working acquaintance with the language can be
easily obtained, for Spanish, though of all modern tongues the least
understood by Englishmen, is the easiest to learn. Borrow declared
it to be the most sonorous tongue in existence. In my own wanderings
I had the constant help and guidance of an excellent interpreter,
and the tourist would do well to avail himself of such skilled
assistance, which leaves him free to enjoy the charms of the country
and the customs and peculiarities of the people. The system also
removes the need for travellers to adopt Borrow's idea of making a
foreigner understand them in his own language; that method being to
speak "with much noise and vociferation, opening their mouths wide."
He protests that when his fellow-countrymen attempt to speak the
most sonorous of all tongues they put their hands in their pockets
and fumble lazily, instead of applying them (their hands, not their
pockets) to the indispensable office of gesticulation. "Well may
the poor Spaniards exclaim," he adds despairingly, "_These English
talk so crabbedly that Satan himself would not be able to understand
them._" To do my countrymen justice, I am bound to say that, with
a single exception, I never heard them attempt to speak Spanish in
Galicia; and as for the isolated case, I was assured that his Spanish
was too bad to be intelligible.



[Illustration: THE CHURCH AT BOUZAS, ON THE COAST]



[Illustration: TUY, A HILL CITY ON THE FRONTIER]



CHAPTER V

THE ATLANTIC COAST AND THE FRONTIER


If one could be high enough in air and had a sufficient range of
vision, one would see Galicia's coast on the Atlantic side jutting
into the ocean something after the manner of the jagged teeth of
a colossal saw, from the fangs of Finisterre to the greater fangs
southward between Muros, Arosa, Pontevedra, and Vigo Bays, and
northward to Cape Ortegal. But it is not necessary to soar skyward
to comprehend what Galicia's coast is like, for that can be done
from the promenade deck of a liner and the tops of hills. The
wild, romantic scenery at Ferrol, Corunna, and remoter places like
Finisterre and Corcubion are in themselves enough to fascinate
the visitor who seeks majestic solitude and primitive existence.
Finisterre is a region in which several famous British battles
have been fought. In 1747 Anson defeated a French squadron off the
promontory, a victory for which he was made a peer. It was near
Finisterre, too, that, three months before Trafalgar, Sir Robert
Calder valiantly attacked the far superior French fleet under
Villeneuve and captured two of his ships; and in these waters Sir
Richard Strachan made prizes of the ships under Dumanoir which had
escaped from Trafalgar.

Ferrol is one of the most striking natural harbours in the world.
It is best seen when entered from the Atlantic. Nature has made a
canal in the iron cliffs by cutting a straight slit something like
a mile in length, and through this amazing cleft vessels enter the
noble sheltered basin which forms the harbour. Ferrol has one of the
largest populations of Galicia's towns--over 20,000--and is famous
mostly for its arsenal; the town, indeed, is Galicia's Portsmouth.
Naval officers and cadets and seamen are met everywhere in the
Calle Real and other streets, and splendid views of the harbour
and dockyard are easily obtainable. In these days Ferrol is very
different from the town which Borrow saw, for it was then suffering
from the blight which fell on Spain as the result of Trafalgar.

[Illustration: FERROL, THE SPANISH PORTSMOUTH]

"Grass was growing in the streets, and misery and distress stared me
in the face on every side ..." he wrote. "Only a few ill-paid and
half-starved workmen still linger about.... Half the inhabitants of
Ferrol beg their bread." But Ferrol to-day has a cheerful aspect,
and vast changes are being made with the help of foreign capital and
foreign engineers. Enormous modern machinery plants are being
installed, and there is hope that in no very remote years Spain will
be able to build all her own ships of war. She is exceptionally
fortunate in the lavishness of Nature's provision of safe and
beautiful harbours for her fleet's accommodation. The gigantic and
costly dredgers of the Mersey and the Thames are not needed in the
Galician bays. Ferrol has many attractions in its neighbourhood
for antiquaries, who have found here some of the most interesting
of Galicia's Celtic remains. The district, too, is reminiscent of
St. James, who is credited with the founding of the ex-Colegiata de
Caaveiro, a dozen miles to the east of the arsenal. This building
is one of the great ancient military religious strongholds of the
country, and possesses dark, damp dungeons in which captives were not
able either to lie down or stand upright.

Borrow would be amazed if he could revisit Ferrol and overlook that
arsenal of which he gave such a depressing description. He would
find, it is true, that the Spaniards proceed in the leisurely fashion
of his own generation, because they retain a love of putting off for
accomplishment to-morrow the disagreeable duties of to-day. They
believe in the blessed _mañana_. For a long time there has been at
Ferrol a desultory kind of shipbuilding, and a vessel is to be seen
on which the Spaniards have been at work for fifteen years. She is
still unfinished. Again _mañana_. But new life and energy have been
introduced into the Atlantic arsenal, and under the guidance of
three great British engineering and shipbuilding firms a very large
amount of capital has been invested for the purpose of reconstructing
the arsenal and the Spanish navy. The firms are Sir W. G. Armstrong,
Whitworth & Co., Ltd., Messrs. John Brown & Co., Ltd., and Messrs.
Vickers, Sons & Maxim, Ltd., and a general control is exercised by
the Advisory Committee, who are the technical guarantors of the
Sociedad Española de Construccion Naval, the Spanish company which
has undertaken the work. At present about 2000 workmen are employed,
more than 90 per cent. of whom are Spaniards. The chief engineers of
the undertaking are mostly British. The programme of reconstitution
will extend over seven years, and the total sum which is being spent
is £7,000,000. All the steel which is necessary for this great new
enterprise is being rolled at Bilbao. Three _Dreadnoughts_, somewhat
smaller in size than our own, are being built at Ferrol, the cost of
their construction being included in the £7,000,000.

This Spanish arsenal has an excellent club for artisans, an
institution with a large membership. The club is of a very
complete character, and combines the advantages of an educational
establishment with social enjoyments and sick-pay benefits.

During the Napoleonic wars Ferrol was attacked by Sir James Pulteney,
who in July 1800 sailed from England in command of a secret
expedition of 8000 men. The objective was the coast of France;
but Pulteney, finding the task too big for him, made for Ferrol.
He defeated the Spaniards in two skirmishes and took possession
of the heights above the harbour. Then he suddenly withdrew his
forces, owing, according to one story, to the fact that the enemy
had been greatly strengthened, but in reality, it seems, because of
secret instructions which had been given to him to retire. In 1805,
when Napoleon had thirty-eight French ships of the line and thirty
Spanish, with 170,000 men, almost ready for the invasion of England,
Ferrol was one of the three ports which Spain used for her fleet's
requirements. Just before Trafalgar Villeneuve took refuge in the
port to escape from the British, an act which threw Napoleon into a
transport of fury and made him exclaim bitterly: "All hope is gone!
That Villeneuve, instead of entering the Channel, has taken refuge in
Ferrol! It is all over!"

When Moore had fallen at Corunna and the town had been occupied by
Soult he marched to Ferrol, which he took, with seven ships of the
line and immense quantities of naval stores. The town was held for
several months, during which Soult gave Marshal Ney the task of
fighting in Galicia; but the rugged country and the valour of the
Gallegans were too much for even the "bravest of the brave," and,
believing that he had been deserted by Soult, Ney abandoned Corunna
and Ferrol and marched away from Galicia.

Within convenient access of Ferrol and only two miles from Betanzos
is the strikingly situated town of Puentedeume. Formerly this place
was noted for a bridge which was a mile long and possessed no fewer
than fifty-eight arches; but this was destroyed in 1868, and was
replaced by a modern structure. Betanzos is one of the quaintest and
most beautifully situated towns in Galicia. It is full of historical
charm, and in addition to its old churches possesses the ruins of a
Moorish castle. The town rises from the banks of an inland bay, and
on the journey by road between Corunna and Ferrol the visitor has
an opportunity of seeing Betanzos from all points of view. First he
beholds it from an altitude, nestling snugly in a hollow, then he
passes through its old romantic streets, which are villainously paved
and crooked, and sees the town again from a height as he goes towards
Corunna or Ferrol.

The neighbourhood of Ferrol is to the sportsman one of the most
alluring parts of Galicia, for it abounds in beasts and birds and
fishes. Hawks and eagles frequent the lonely valley of Caaveiro, deer
are numerous, and in the autumn and winter the wild boar is hunted.
Salmon and trout are caught in enormous numbers, and wood-pigeons,
partridges, and other game are very plentiful.

Between Ferrol and Corunna communication is maintained by steamer
and diligence. The sea route is far shorter and easier than the land
journey, the vessels in fair weather making the trip in an hour and
a half. But sometimes for several days together the steamboats cannot
run because of strong winds or rough seas, and when I visited Ferrol
they had been kept in harbour for three days owing to these causes.
This meant that storm-bound travellers who found it imperative
to reach Corunna to embark were forced to take the diligence and
make the long and tedious land journey. To the easy-going visitor,
however, that journey is full of charm and interest, including as it
does Betanzos, and giving an opportunity of inspecting the Castillo
de Moeche, a noble old ruin on the hill-side. There can be seen also
on the roadside, not far from Corunna, a modern mansion in beautiful
grounds, which was built in the hope that the present King of Spain
would take it as a summer residence; but the monarch was not able to
accept the offer.

From Corunna to Vigo the coast is bold and jagged, and though it
does not present the imposing appearance of Gibraltar, in the south
of Spain, or offer the majestic mountains of the east side of the
Peninsula, yet it has in its bays glories and beauties which are not
excelled by any of Spain's other natural attractions. One of those
bays at least, Vigo, will be seen by all visitors who enter Galicia
in Booth liners, and there is danger that they may omit some of the
delights of the northern fjords in favour of a journey down the
Atlantic coast to the point where the river Miño separates Spain from
Portugal.

To the frontier of Portugal there runs a carriage road alongside the
Atlantic, which is irresistible to the motorist, the cyclist, the
rider, and the walker. The scenery is varied and beautiful, beginning
with Vigo and continuing to Guardia. On the one side, when the
southernmost point of Vigo Bay has been passed, the pleasant village
of Ramallosa is reached, with its extensive view across the yellow
sands, and its venerable bridge with a weather-worn shrine in the
middle. Seven miles farther on, and only fourteen from Vigo, is the
little ancient town of Bayona, famous chiefly for its old castle on
the wooded summit of the Atlantic shore.

There is no difficulty in getting permission to inspect this romantic
residence, which has some delightful grounds from which magnificent
views are obtainable. The Atlantic billows sweep up the rocks on the
west side of the estate, and overlooking the sea, on the battlements,
is a curious stone table, with stone seats, in the open air, with a
cross which is visible from a considerable distance over the water.

[Illustration: THE BRIDGE AT RAMALLOSA]

[Illustration: THE SHRINE ON THE BRIDGE]

One of the most beautiful of all modern lighthouses is to be erected
near Bayona. The design takes the form of a colossal figure of the
Virgin, who holds in her left hand a lantern which will be lit by
electricity. Her right hand supports a model of a ship, sheltering
against her bosom--symbol of the protection which her friendly beams
afford to craft at sea. The rocky base of this remarkable structure
will have a number of steps leading from the beach to a terrace
from which the visitor may get some glorious views of land and sea.
The lighthouse will be known as the Virgin of Bayona, and will stand
as a memorial to the creative ability of its designer, an architect
of Madrid named Señor Antonio Palacios.

Still with the refreshing breeze of the Atlantic meeting you--the
ocean so near that the air is salt-laden--the coast journey is
continued to Guardia, once a fortress of importance, but now a ruined
relic; then, Galicia's most southerly point having been reached,
a turn inland is made, and there comes into view the Miño, on the
other side of which is Portugal. The river here is a fine stream, and
there is in the neighbourhood that subtle interest and charm which
characterise all frontiers.

The Miño is skirted until an ancient city perched upon a hill is
seen on the north bank, and on the south another city, battlemented,
romantic, mediæval. The one is Tuy, an ancient Spanish country town;
the other is Valença, an old Portuguese fortress. These frontier
towns have been the scenes of many battles since the days when
Witiza, a Gothic king, lived and ruled in Tuy. Witiza resided there
in 700; a few years later the Moors swept down upon and wrecked the
town; but the Spaniards recovered it, and eventually, in the twelfth
century, built the cathedral which is Tuy's most striking feature.
No visitor can fail to notice the uncommon iron belfry which stands
out against the sky from the surrounding houses, which at this place
seem to be packed exceptionally close together. Tuy has only one
considerable street, called the Alameda, and offering no particular
charm; indeed, the town's greatest attraction is its beautiful
situation and proximity to Portugal.

The two nations, friendly and harmonious, have a joint bridge across
the Miño, and it is a very pleasant little excursion to cross
the river for a peep at Portugal. The bridge is modern and very
long--400 yards. In the centre is a carriage road, above which is the
railway; and on each side of the road is a footpath, from which very
fine views are had of Tuy, Valença, and the river and surrounding
landscape. At Tuy you may listen to the bells of Portugal, and from
the grey walls of Valença fortress you may hearken to the chimes from
the iron belfry on the house-topped summit of the hill on which the
Spanish town is built.

Sentries allow you, being inoffensive visitors, to cross the bridge
unchallenged. The Spanish and Portuguese guards take their duties
easily, and are much less business-like than British or German
troops. They more closely resemble the French in appearance and
conduct. It is different, of course, if one attempts to take a
photograph or make a sketch in the region of a fort. The use of
the camera is not allowed in these places without permission, nor
may drawings or sketches be made. My friend Mr. Frank H. Mason, in
travelling for the purpose of illustrating this book, crossed the
frontier to Valença, wishful from the battlements to sketch Tuy.
Before he could proceed he found it necessary to interview the
officer commanding the Portuguese guard. Permission was readily and
politely given, but while the artist secured the necessary details he
was watched by armed sentries who had been told off for the purpose.
It was a picturesque but unnecessary proceeding, for there does not
appear to be any serious military secret about the defence of either
Tuy or Valença.

The Atlantic coast has been left behind and is out of sight; but
there is now an even more astonishing panorama than the ocean-fringe
itself has offered, for the Miño runs through fertile, striking, and
romantic scenery for many miles, acting as a frontier between Spain
and Portugal. Guillarey, a railway junction near Tuy, enables the
traveller to take train and steam along the bank of one of the most
picturesque iron roads in the world.

Sixty miles away is the town of Orense, and for fifty-five miles of
that distance the railway hugs the bank of the Miño, so closely at
times that there seems to be almost a prospect of the locomotive
and its carriages going into the water. From the windows of the
compartments there is an ever-changing, fascinating scene; now of
the river rushing wildly over boulders, or going smoothly to the
sea; now of vineyard upon vineyard, Spanish and Portuguese, rising
in terraces on the slopes of the hills, and of some old ruin or
towering landmark. At Salvatierra station there are the ruins of an
ancient fort, seemingly on the platform itself; and across the river
is Mongao, a mediæval city, which can be reached by ferry. Hereabouts
is a famous wine-growing district, and so fertile is the country that
it is spoken of as Galicia's granary. The river which is crossed by
the iron bridge at Salvatierra is the Tea, which at this place runs
into the Miño.

The scenery becomes grander and grander until Arbo is passed, and
then, eight miles farther on, at Friera station, Portugal's highest
mountain is seen, the Outeiro Major, with an altitude of nearly 8000
feet, rising beyond the town of Melgaço, situated on its slopes. A
short distance beyond this point the Portuguese frontier, indicated
by a few cottages, is left behind; but the character of the scenery
remains the same as far as Orense.

Before Orense is reached there is a chance of seeing the old and
picturesque town of Ribadavia, where the river Aria, on the banks
of which it stands, joins the Miño. Ribadavia has a population of
5000, and in the convent of Los Dominicos possesses a building which
was at one time a royal palace, though probably a crude one, for it
was occupied by monarchs of Galicia when the country was a separate
kingdom. The town is very quaint, and will form a halting-place for
visitors who like to spend a few hours examining it while awaiting
the return of the train from Orense. That town, however, will offer
more inducement than Ribadavia, especially to those who have made
a particular point of journeying along the frontier and are not
disposed to go beyond.

Orense is a very ancient city, celebrated for its bridge and warm
baths, which for many centuries have been looked upon as marvels.
These baths, or springs, have a temperature of about 150° Fahr.,
and as the water has practically neither taste nor smell and does
not appear to possess any medicinal value, it is used for washing
and all kinds of domestic purposes, even including the cleansing of
slaughtered animals. There are three springs, called Las Burgas, and
they yield about thirty gallons of hot water each minute.

The cathedral is an imposing building, with a very gloomy interior,
and although the structure dates from the sixth century, still it
will scarcely call for more than passing attention from any one
who is not ecclesiologically inclined. There are, however, some
extensive and magnificent cloisters at Orense, which may be viewed
by permission, and there is the bridge. This is a remarkable stone
structure, dating from the thirteenth century, with a length of
more than 1300 feet, and containing seven arches. One of these, the
central, known as the Grand Arch, is 156 feet wide. It is pointed,
and the crown is 135 feet above the bed of the river--a height which
looks very considerable both from the bank of the river and the walls
of the bridge.

The Miño rises rapidly and to a great height, and it was with the
object of safeguarding the bridge against the sudden inundations
that the arch was made so high. The bridge ascends from each end to
something of a point in the centre, and is one of the wonders of
Orense. A stone in the bridge records the interesting fact that that
particular spot is exactly 555 kilometres--nearly 350 miles--from
Madrid. Beyond the springs, the cloisters, the cathedral, and the
bridge, the town has few attractions, but whatever it may lack in the
shape of bricks and stones and mortar is more than counterbalanced by
the glories and the grandeur of the neighbouring scenery.



[Illustration: OXEN TOWING A BROKEN-DOWN MOTOR-BUS]



[Illustration: PONTEVEDRA BY NIGHT: THE BULL-RING]



CHAPTER VI

LOCOMOTION


The diligence is still the national vehicle of Galicia. It is to be
met on the high roads which run between some of the chief towns,
drawn by six or nine or more mules, ponies, or horses; and no
more picturesque sight can be imagined than that of the primitive
conveyance in a country district lumbering on its peaceful way in the
hills or valleys, crowded with men and women in peasant garb, and
the top piled high with miscellaneous goods and baggage. The jingle
of the bells gives the first warning of the carriage's approach;
then there is the thud of the hoofs and the rumble of the wheels,
and the craning of heads from doors and windows. Travellers who have
spent days and nights in them, cramped and crowded in _berlina_ and
_interior_ or _coupé_, suffering many miseries and inconveniences,
have dwelt on the perils and drawbacks of the diligence, which has an
unfriendly habit of capsizing and killing or maiming its passengers,
and whose arrival at any given place is subject to the state of road
and weather and other circumstances.

The _berlina_ is a small compartment in front, running at right
angles to the wheels, and ranks as first class; the _interior_,
second class, is behind, the seats being arranged after the fashion
of a London bus; and the _coupé_, third class, is the top of the
vehicle in front of the baggage. In the good weather, which prevails
almost throughout the year in Galicia, the _coupé_ is by far the
pleasantest and cleanest of the three classes of accommodation;
and, perched high in front of the diligence, the visitor has an
uninterrupted view of the road, and may enjoy the scenery and look
upon objects which are ceaseless in their fascination. Journeying by
diligence, despite its drawbacks and discomforts, is one of the most
convenient ways of seeing Galicia, and if the traveller understands
Spanish there is every opportunity of learning the names of places
and buildings and getting explanations of the meaning of unfamiliar
customs. The driver is seldom at a loss for words or information, and
what he does not know can be supplied by the conductor or a friendly
passenger.

Diligences, big and little, have their special names, some of which
would be impressive if the vehicles were in keeping with them. Part
of the system of Galician driving is to make an uproar from the box.

[Illustration: A DILIGENCE ON THE HIGHWAY]

[Illustration: OXEN YOKED TO A DILIGENCE]

One Sunday morning I mounted a ramshackle contrivance called El
Elegante, and took a seat beside the driver, a brigand-looking
person who was unwashed and unshaved. Perched above me, under the
canvas hood, was a small Spanish boy, bare-footed, bare-legged and
bare-headed--almost, indeed, bare-bodied, for his only clothing was
a remnant of shirt and precarious trousers, consisting mostly of
patches. He planted his feet on my shoulders to steady himself. I
would have reproved him, but he had the air of a _caballero_, and
the road saved me the trouble of requesting that he should cast his
burden on the diligence. His feet were jerked off their perch and
we were all thrown tumultuously about. Three wild-looking little
ponies were harnessed to the coach, and with a frantic shouting and
stamping the driver started them on their journey, flicking his long
whip and cursing and blessing them by turns. Each animal, like the
coach, has a name, to which it seems to be entirely unresponsive. The
ponies were in no need whatever of a fillip, yet the driver lashed
out furiously, making a great pretence of flogging them, but doing
no real hurt, and spending most of his time in disentangling the
lash from the harness. Nor was there any occasion for him to break
into frenzied shouts and lean forward in a paroxysm of affected
energy; but he did both, and, judging from his looks at the end of
the journey, he was satisfied that the success of the drive was due
to his own exertions, and was not in any way attributable to the
quadrupeds.

The railway system of Galicia is imperfect. Only three lines
exist--the West of Galicia Railway, worked by English capital,
the system which operates from Corunna, and the track which runs
along the bank of the Miño, and covers some of the most wonderful
scenery in the country. In time other systems will be finished and
in course of operation; but progress marches slowly in Galicia, and
there is no hurry in the country. An old Spanish proverb says that
by the road of By-and-by you will arrive at the town of Never; and
there is the favourite promise of _mañana_, which means that certain
things will be accomplished in the fulness of time. Amongst them
is the completion of Galician railways. Fourteen years have been
spent on one railway between Betanzos and other centres. The track
is finished, but the system is not complete, and to-day, where a
train should take you swiftly and smoothly across country, you jolt
and jostle in a diligence, or, if you are fortunate, travel in a
motor-car.

Aged engines draw Galicia's rolling-stock; yet the carriages
themselves are very comfortable. The first-class compartments, by
which alone the Booth Steamship Company's tourists travel, are
excellently adapted to the country's needs. Many of them are built on
the English plan of small compartments, but others are in the form
of little saloons capable of seating about a dozen passengers. Seats
after the manner of an ordinary English compartment are at each end
of the saloon, and seats are on each side, leaving the centre free
for the baggage which Galicians cram into every railway carriage when
they get the chance.

These small saloons are about equal in size to two English
compartments, allowing for a broader gauge rail in Spain, but there
are many of the eight-seated compartments which are common to England
and the Continent. In these coaches the ordinary Continental system
is adopted of inserting small glass panes in the partitions, so that
travellers may look from one compartment to the other. The plan has
its objections in the estimation of those who seek privacy, but it
gives comfort to the nervous and unprotected passenger.

In England smoking-carriages are labelled; in Galicia the forbidding
notice is put on the vehicle where smoking is not allowed. As a
matter of fact, you may smoke anywhere and everywhere in Galicia,
unless great pressure or sweetness is brought to bear on some
offender against the law. Yet ladies travelling on railways may
reasonably hope to escape from suffering and annoyance, for each
Galician train has a first-class compartment exclusively reserved for
them. Frequently, even in trains which were well filled, I observed
that the compartment "_Reservado para Señoras_" was empty, the
womenfolk preferring to travel with the men and the tobacco smoke.

Starting a Galician train is a serious task. Before you are allowed
to enter the station your _bona fides_ as a traveller must be
established. The carriages are shunted to the platform perhaps half
an hour before the advertised time for leaving, then at a later stage
the locomotive is backed in and coupled, and in due season, with
no unseemly haste, a man in a blouse perambulates the platform and
chants the Spanish equivalent for "Gentlemen, please embark," which
the _caballeros_ do at their leisure. The engine takes breath, as it
were, and a trumpet tootles; then the driver blows the whistle, and
if you are leave-taking you jump frantically on board, only to learn
that five minutes pass before the train begins to move. A prolonged
blast from the locomotive is the preliminary for a leisurely start--I
even heard it suggested that the signal exhausted the boiler so much
that a delay was needed to raise more steam.

Galician trains travel slowly, and there are protracted waits at the
intermediate stations--sometimes long enough to allow the passenger
to view the surrounding scenery or stroll into the adjacent town or
village, certainly to give him a chance of drinking a cup of coffee
or glass of wine or a liqueur at the refreshment-room, if one exists.
Failing that establishment, which is primitive and unattractive from
the English standpoint, a drink of water may be obtained from an old
woman who walks about the platform with an earthenware vessel. At
Filgueira station I saw an aged dame, wearing men's boots, dispensing
water to passengers; near her, on a balcony, was an unwashed but
picturesque Spaniard smoking a cigarette; and two small girls came to
the carriages selling a sweet cake, made in the shape of a ring. I
bought two for a copper, and they proved excellent eating.

Young and old people of both sexes took their duties easily, and the
platelayers went about their business leisurely, stepping off the
single track long before the warning signal of the whistle sounded,
and gazing meditatively at the passing and departing train. There is
little fear of the Galician worker on the line sustaining injuries,
because he gets out of the way long before the train reaches
him--and the train would be hard pressed to catch up even a retiring
platelayer. The speed is very limited, and once when I was travelling
by motor on a road which ran parallel with a track the chauffeur
easily outdistanced the train, and shot triumphantly across the
metals in front of the engine.

Motor-cars are not numerous in Galicia, but there are some very fine
examples in use; and despite adverse criticisms, many of the roads
in the north-west of Spain are excellent. The highways, to begin
with, are well made, but after heavy rains they become lumpy and are
neglected; but in the neighbourhood of the large towns they are well
cared for, and cars run smoothly and as fast as the driver cares to
go, for except in passing through towns and villages there is no
speed limit.

Public motor-cars, corresponding in size, power, and appearance to
the London motor-bus, run regularly between Santiago and Corunna.
The _berlina_ will seat eight persons, but not more than half a
dozen are booked as a rule. The accommodation is equal to that
of an English first-class compartment, the entrances being at the
sides, like a railway carriage. The rear and larger part of the
vehicle is given to second-class passengers, who enter at the end.
In front there is room for two or three people, and a passenger
may sit beside the driver and enjoy the air and scenery. The roof
of the conveyance is used for baggage, of which a great quantity
can be stowed. Each trunk or package carried on the roof--and care
is taken that the passenger shall not burden the interior with his
belongings--has pasted on it a yellow label bearing a written number.
These motor-buses usually cover the journey of forty miles between
Corunna and Santiago in three and a half hours. A slower service,
conducted by antique-looking steam vehicles, requires five or six
hours--about half the time occupied by the diligence, which you will
easily overtake on the highway.

Occasionally the motor-bus will break down and need slight repairs.
The passengers in that case may get out and stroll along the road,
as I did. Blackberries were plentiful in the hedges, and I gathered
and ate them, much to the astonishment of some fellow-travellers.
Spaniards will not eat the fruit, but several of them gathered
blackberries and insisted upon my acceptance. I consumed as many as
I cared to eat, and as for the rest, I left them, unobserved by the
donors, for the birds. One afternoon, near the frontier, I passed a
motor which had broken down, and to which a pair of oxen had been
yoked, to draw the crippled vehicle away.

Railway train, diligence, and motor vehicle are used by visitors
and residents in Galicia, but there are many districts, remote from
towns, where the mode of locomotion is by mule or donkey, with
occasional horse and pony. Everywhere the peasant woman may be seen
riding on a mule or ass; and sometimes a string of mules will come
along, each bearing a brightly clad, laughing woman of Galicia; or
in a remote bridle-path in the hills you have to step aside into a
field or hedge to make way for a handsome girl of the country who
is returning to her father's farm from the nearest village, sitting
contentedly on the mule which picks its way easily along the rough
ground, which may be, and often is, the stony bed of a little stream.

It is well to be prepared for minor shocks in travelling. Your train
may have left a station at night, and you are dozing in the dimly
lit compartment. Suddenly you are fully awake, and by the light of
the oil-lamp see a figure outlined--a man in corduroys standing
almost menacingly over you. He is not a brigand nor a hold-up; he is
merely the inspector wishing to see your ticket. He has clambered
to the door by way of the footboard, and has opened it and entered
unseen. When he has done his task he leaves by the same way, and
proceeds to startle some other unsuspecting and unready traveller.
At other times a man in semi-uniform, with a cap bearing a small
metal locomotive as a badge of office, will fall upon you for the
same purpose, and then depart. At wayside stations you will see him
leaning from the door of a first-class compartment, smoking a cigar
or cigarette, and preparing to resume his footboard tricks when the
train is again under way. But though the descent is as unexpected
as the same performances in American trains, yet there is an entire
absence of that aggressive, domineering attitude which in some of
the United States railway officials is so offensive. The Galician
ticket-examiner doubtless believes that, being a _caballero_, he is
quite as good as you are, just as the American official does--except
when he wishes you to know that he is better--but he has a gentler
way of showing it than his compeer on the other side of the Atlantic.

In departing from a railway station, too, at night, you may be
startled by the sudden opening of the door of the hotel bus, and
the bursting in upon you of a man with a lantern. He is merely an
_octroi_ official, and his purpose is to see that you have not
hidden upon or about you such dutiable goods as fowls and other
eatables. The _octroi_ man may be seen in all parts of Galicia, his
headquarters usually being some strange little abode on the roadside,
roughly built of stones.

Probably no men in Galicia feel more acutely the slowness and
inconvenience of the locomotion of the country than the commercial
travellers, most of whose time is spent in getting from place
to place, and not in the actual transaction of business. That
remark applies, of course, to the commercials of England and the
enterprising "drummers" of America; but the business representative
in Galicia has to endure many hardships to which his foreign brethren
are strangers.

Late one night I entered an hotel in the company of some travellers,
and watched them as they took their final meal. They were preparing
to make a night of it, and on asking the reason for the dissipation
I was told that one of the commercials had to leave by a train which
started at 2.45 A.M., that he had resolved to sit up for it, and that
his comrades, in a spirit of compassion and conviviality, had agreed
to keep him company until he left the hotel. One or two of them had
to start at six o'clock--and these were quite usual hours for men on
the road.

Time after time I met the same commercials in trains, diligences,
motor-buses, and hotels, and on each occasion noticed that they
had long ago acquired the art of making themselves comfortable in
adverse circumstances, and had cultivated a fine disregard of the
feelings of others. There is something in locomotion in North-West
Spain which seems to bring out the worst qualities in travellers,
and I found nothing more disagreeable and exasperating than to be
wedged into a sort of diligence for conveyance to and from stations.
In the darkness of an early morning I was packed in the corner of
an aged conveyance and jostled over the lumpy road without so much
as a chance of escape, for the very doorway and outside platform
were crammed with fellow-creatures, and the interior was packed with
people who were mostly corpulent and unattractive. Once or twice it
seemed as if the vehicle would capsize, and it was a disquieting
spectacle to see a wall of feminine flesh bending forward as if with
the sinister purpose of extinguishing me. In the gloom of one corner
was a stout man, wearing a linen uniform and smoking. I assumed that
he was a workman, perhaps a bill-poster, until, later, he was seated
opposite to me in a first-class compartment, and I discovered that he
was an officer.

It may be that you have your cycle with you, in which case you may
pedal in peace, but unless you know the region well you must keep an
ever-watchful eye ahead, for many of the roads zigzag dangerously
along the mountain sides, and an uncontrolled machine would bring
about a swift disaster. Brakes both good and strong, and at least two
of them, are necessary for the cyclist's safety and his peace of mind
in Galicia. That precaution would apply especially to the ordinary
visitor, man or woman. There are those in the cycling world who, even
in risky and unknown neighbourhoods, neglect precautions and scoff at
danger. In many parts of Galicia the scoffing may be followed by a
catastrophe the victim of which would scoff no more.

I saw only two or three cycles in Galicia, and one of these was a
freak made of wood. The wheels were solid discs, after the fashion
of the wheels of a bullock-cart, and the whole of the frame and
fittings seemed to be of the same material, unpainted, as if the
masterpiece had been just finished and was undergoing its trials. The
work was excellently done, and was a high tribute to the patience
and ingenuity of the producer, who had clearly taken as his model an
ordinary safety. The machine was being ridden by a peasant lad in a
country village. When I first saw him he was ahead, coasting slowly
down the steep road; but he observed the motor-car approach, and by
the time I passed him he had dismounted and dragged his cherished
possession up the hedge side out of harm's way. As to cycling
generally in Galicia, it is quite feasible, for many of the roads are
suitable, but in most places the steep, rough thoroughfares make the
comfortable use of one's machine impracticable.



[Illustration: THE HILLS OF MONDARIZ]



[Illustration: MONDARIZ]



CHAPTER VII

MONDARIZ


There is one health and pleasure resort in Galicia which is in
the nature of an earthly paradise, and that is Mondariz. The
district has been long famed for its beauty, charm, and grandeur,
and those curative waters on the success of which a colossal and
palatial hydropathic institution is conducted by Messrs. Ramon and
Enrique Peinador. This hotel claims to be the finest and best in
the Peninsula; it is certainly the most remarkable in many ways,
and might almost be compared with a _Mauretania_ on land, it is so
complete and self-contained.

In wandering through Galicia it is impossible not to be struck by
the number of medicinal facilities that the country offers in the
form of natural springs, and the careful attention which has been
given to their development. Great labour has been spent, as well as
money, in connection with some of these watering-places, and only
by the application of a large capital, incessant perseverance, and
a far-seeing sagacity could the Mondariz hydropathic establishment
be what Messrs. Peinador have made it. Mondariz is not only a resort
for those who take medicinal waters in the ordinary way, but it is
also a great pleasure centre of Spain. In the season Mondariz is the
most brilliant place in Galicia, and its pleasures are shared by
visitors from all parts of Spain and abroad. The attractions of the
institution and the district are rapidly becoming known to English
travellers.

The waters of Mondariz (Gandara and Troncoso, as the springs are
called) contain bicarbonate of soda, and abundant medical evidence
is available as to their therapeutic value. Professor Augusto Pi y
Suñer, of Seville University, in an exhaustive report gives some
striking facts concerning their tonic and curative effect in many
forms of illness. So that visitors may take full advantage of the
waters Messrs. Peinador have constructed baths of every description,
and of beautiful design and admirable workmanship. Lavishness of
expenditure, indeed, is one of the characteristics of the Mondariz
Hydro, and only by the adoption of such a bold policy could the
present great results have been attained.

A handful of people a few years ago journeyed to the vale in which
Mondariz nestles, to take the waters, and they found accommodation in
little _châlets_ on the green slopes which abound in the locality.
The results were so remarkable that the _châlets_ could no longer
house the visitors, and finally the existing hotel was opened in
1897.

Six hundred people can be accommodated at the hydro, yet in the
season the vast establishment is taxed to its utmost capacity to
provide for the visitors. The grace and beauty of the building
are noticeable as soon as the main hall is entered and the grand
staircase is seen. This gives access to rooms some of which,
especially the chief private suites, are regal in their appointments.
Mondariz can give accommodation to a king as well as to an ordinary
tourist. The principal dining-room is of enormous size, and there
is a very large and handsomely decorated _salon_ in which dances
and theatrical performances and concerts take place. The kitchen
arrangements are of the most perfect modern type, and possess the
feature, somewhat unusual in hotels, of being open at all times to
public inspection.

But it is not merely in the hotel as a building and establishment
that interest centres at Mondariz; it is in the completeness of the
undertaking. The industry of bottling the water is conducted in its
entirety. The neighbouring woods supply the timber needed for the
packing-cases, which are all made on the estate; and so great is
the demand at home and abroad for the waters that in the course of
twenty-four hours 10,000 bottles are prepared. The men and women who
bottle and pack work day and night in alternate shifts.

The hotel has its own fancy shops in the season, for enterprising
houses in Madrid send business representatives to supply the wants of
visitors, delightful stalls and kiosks being arranged, bazaar-like,
in the grounds. Special vineyards, wine-making premises, farms,
kitchen and fruit and flower gardens, as well as sheds and sties
for cattle and pigs, and great pens for poultry, are amongst the
other resources of Mondariz. The estate also possesses its own
printing establishment, from which a newspaper is issued specially
dealing with the doings of the institution and its guests. Fishing
and shooting, driving, riding, walking, and rowing--all these may
be enjoyed on the hotel estate, through which the trout-teeming Tea
flows. The walks in the pine-clad hills and along the bridle-paths
and little lanes of Mondariz are full of charm and delight. A perfect
holiday may, indeed, be spent without leaving the estate, on which,
to give an atmosphere of completion, there is a chapel.

From the verandah in front of the hotel, or the balcony on to which
the window of your bedroom leads, or from your garden-chair under the
palm-trees you may watch the women of Galicia ride past on mules or
donkeys or walk to and fro with their burdens, so that the very life
of the people seems to be brought to your notice without any exertion
on your part. On the extensive estate long and enjoyable walks may
be taken, and inspection made of numerous historical remains which
Messrs. Peinador have brought together from various parts of Galicia.
A museum is in course of formation in which many articles are
already to be seen bearing on Gallegan life and costume. By means
of the hotel motors very delightful excursions may be undertaken to
neighbouring towns and villages. A regular service is maintained
between Mondariz and Vigo for the convenience of tourists by the
Booth Line.

A pump-room is being built at Mondariz from designs prepared by the
foremost of Spain's architects, and when it is finished the building,
judging from the plans, will be amongst the finest in existence. It
will be a beautiful ornament to the grounds and form the rendezvous
for the water-drinkers, just as the old pump-rooms at Bath,
Harrogate, Scarborough, and Buxton were the central meeting-places
for visitors. The pump-room will be equipped with every modern
appliance and luxury, and yet within a stone's-throw there are
primitive cottages inhabited by something approximating primitive
man. That is another of Galicia's sharp contrasts.

One of the chief features of the new building will be the fine
granite columns. These are made entirely on the premises and are
produced from the estate. The huge granite blocks are quarried in the
neighbouring hills; bullocks draw them down to the hotel grounds,
where hotel workmen rough them out, and turn them in the lathe and
finish and polish them. Other employés will put them in position and
complete the building, the estimated time for constructing which is
two years.

There are larger and more imposing hotels in the world than the
hydro at Mondariz; I have seen them in London, Paris, New York,
Chicago, and elsewhere; but not even in America have I visited an
establishment which can lay claim to that completeness of resource
which characterises the concern of Messrs. Peinador. Galicia from
north to south and east to west is fascinating, but there is no place
in the country which leaves more abidingly pleasant memories than
Mondariz.

The balanced stone of Arcos is within an easy drive of Mondariz.
This gigantic boulder is poised on the top of another enormous rock
in such a way that it seems as if a touch or a strong wind would
send the mass headlong into the rough road below. But the stone has
been in that position for ages, and is one of Nature's mysteries.
The journey to this wonderful logan affords a view of some of the
wildest and grandest scenery in the neighbourhood of Mondariz. Much
nearer the hydro, and making a very charming walk, is the little
village of San Pedro, which forms one of the pleasantest sights that
the pedestrian can witness. Here and there, on the banks of rushing
streams, are stone-built mills, primitive and tiny, where native
millers carry out their grinding operations with the water-wheel.

Galicia may be visited and something seen of the people and country
without going beyond the confines of the hotel, for the estate is
large and wonderfully comprehensive. It possesses its own hills and
dales, where you may get good sport, even its own river, the Tea, on
which you may boat and fish. You may see the process of wine-making,
from the growth of the grape to the bottling of the juice, and the
evolution of the chicken from the egg to the _poulet rôti_ or other
form of table delicacy. Fruits and vegetables in more shapes and
forms than I can either remember or understand are produced on the
estate, and in due season take their places on the well-appointed
tables. Nay, even Galician peasant life is represented, and without
much trouble you may enter a cottage and see what the life of
the people really is. True, the homes are better than the sordid
hovels which are common to Galicia, but the lives of the people are
practically the same. I went into one house, and from the dark,
primitive kitchen walked into a sleeping-room with an embrasure-like
window which framed one of the most perfect landscapes I ever saw--a
picture the like of which few people in England below noble rank can
command from their own possessions.

The ruined castle of Sobroso, which is within pleasant walking and
driving distance of Mondariz, offers an exceptionally fine view of
Galician landscape. The country is a wealth of fascinating colour.
Hills rise up on every side--pine-clad and lonely; some, if the day
is doubtful, suffused in sunshine, some a deep blue--so deep that
the details of the hills are lost and the mountain ranges are smoky,
mist-topped masses. The sun shines and the warm rain drops softly.
Peaceful little farms nestle in the valleys, with the vineyards
terracing the slopes; bullocks, resting from their labours, are
browsing; goats are nibbling on the green slopes; women are in the
maize-fields, and men are digging, trimming, turning, to make the
bounteous earth yield its supplies. It is a scene of perfect peace
and beauty, and the only sounds that break the soothing silence are
the laughing voices of the women who are working in the fields, and
that strange creaking of the bullock-carts which is not heard in any
other part of Spain.

A long mile from the wooded base of Sobroso I had watched a train
of bullock-carts crawl up the white high road--a train of seven,
timber-laden, making an extraordinary noise as they approached.
Amongst the drivers was an old woman, bare-footed, who, as she
trudged alongside her patient pair of oxen, wove wool with a
distaff which she carried in her hands. Later, from Sobroso itself,
I listened to the distant noises of the bullock-train--a musical
creaking, groaning, and rasping--with a sudden silence when the
cattle were brought up to rest. Sometimes the creaking would be like
church bells, at other times the sound resembled the whistle of a
locomotive. It was an uncanny medley, like, and yet unlike, both
bells and whistle, and to be compared only with itself, for there is
nothing else like the creaking of the bullock-cart of Galicia. They
say that the noise is made deliberately, to give warning, in narrow,
dangerous roads where there is no room to pass, that a bullock-cart
is coming; but they do not explain how a driver, dulled and deafened
by the uproar of his own conveyance, hears the noises of a rival
vehicle.

[Illustration: A PEASANT'S FUNERAL IN THE HILLS]

[Illustration: A PEASANT WOMAN, WITH HER DISTAFF, DRIVING A
BULLOCK-CART]

Down in the foreground is a white, peaceful church, near it a tall,
slender pillar of stone, surmounted by an effigy of the crucified
Redeemer on the one side, and on the other a figure of the Virgin and
Child; on the tops of neighbouring walls are crosses, emblems of that
faith which all Galicians have adopted, for here, as elsewhere in
Spain, there is one religion only, and it is that of the Holy Mother
Church. The whole scene is wonderful and impressive, and the country
has the great merit of being almost untravelled by and unknown to
ordinary tourists.

From Sobroso's solitude you walk back to the high road where your
motor-car or Spanish cab awaits you and resume your journey, or,
being untroubled by thoughts of time or vehicles, walk onward in
the strangely fascinating twilight of Galicia. You pass the peasant
women, and they smile and murmur "Adios," and instinctively you raise
your hat in recognition of the salutation.

All roads near Mondariz lead to the hydro, and an hour or two after
you have descended from the ruins of Sobroso you are in the great
dining-hall of the hotel or in its brilliant _salon_, or are smoking
in the verandah outside, in the pine-scented air, with semi-tropical
vegetation around you. It is no exaggeration to speak of this great
undertaking as Mondariz the marvellous.



[Illustration: GATHERING FIREWOOD IN THE PINE HILLS]



[Illustration: THE FISHING-TOWN OF MARIN]



CHAPTER VIII

GALICIA'S BURDEN-BEARERS


On the road which runs from Vigo to Mondariz I saw a woman walking
with some great burden on her head. She advanced quickly, with
straight and supple gait, but not till she was very near did I notice
what she carried. It was a full-sized coffin, but so perfectly poised
that the bearer did not seem to feel its weight. She went past,
silent, heavy-eyed, and looking straight ahead, her bare feet making
no sound on the gravel of the pavement.

That was one of the first of Galicia's burden-bearers I saw, but
the very first was when I landed at Vigo and observed a woman on
the Alameda carrying an assortment of bedding on her head, a mass
which almost smothered her. A man, apparently her husband, stalked
in front, leading the way, like a Red Indian before his squaw, and
bearing his share, according to Galician ethics, of the family
possessions, for under his left arm was tucked a pillow and in his
right hand he carried an umbrella.

From the day when they can support any burden at all the females
of Galicia are taught that to them is given the conveyance of any
article, however big and clumsy, which is not too big for a human
being to grapple with. Nothing more astonishing can be seen in
Galicia than the size and weight of some of the loads which the women
carry on their heads, and frequently a woman hurries along under a
burden which a Billingsgate or Covent Garden porter would refuse to
have planted on his crown.

Galician women have a passion for consigning burdens to their heads.
Size, shape, and weight are immaterial. The burden may be a bedstead,
a coffin, a load of firewood or seaweed, an enormous trunk packed
with baggage, a bucket of water, a huge basket of fish or vegetables,
or some grotesque article which could be easily carried in the
hand. Big or little, the method of conveyance is the same, a small
protecting pad being put between the top of the head and the burden.
A common, almost universal, way of preparing the pad is to take a
handkerchief, usually a white one, from the pocket, roll it into a
ring, and then put it on the crown of the head. The material prevents
the hard basket, bucket, box, or other burden from being unduly felt,
though many Galician women have bald spaces due to the wearing away
of the hair by the circular pads. If the weight is not too heavy a
woman will hoist it up herself, but the custom is to have the load
lifted up and put in place.

There is a spirit of _camaraderie_ in the burden-bearing, and
frequently a woman who is hurrying along the street, flying light,
will stop to hoist up a burden on to a fellow-creature's head. Small
girls scurry along the pavement or roadway bearing weights that are
out of all proportion to their strength and years, and to this early
toil may be attributed the spoiling of Galician figures. The heavy
weights and strain of carrying them cause the women to walk with
a curious twisting movement of the hips, and to over-develop that
part of the body; but as a rule the carriage of the Galician peasant
woman is perfect, and many have remarkably fine figures. Some of the
women appear to be enormously strong, and the great majority look
healthy and happy. Even when near confinement they will continue
their burden-bearing, and I was told that often a child will be
born to a woman who has gone straight from her work, and that in an
incredibly short time she will be at her task again. In this respect
the Galician peasant seems to be fit sister to the Red Indian women,
of whom it was said that they would fall out of the line of march,
and having given birth to a son or daughter on the prairie, pick the
infant up and overtake their companions.

Women in Galicia work in the houses, the fields, the quarries, on the
road, on the water. You may see them driving bullock-carts, and pigs
and cattle. I observed a tiny girl who could not be more than three
years old piloting an enormous and fractious sow, weeping copiously
as she did so because the stubborn pig refused to answer steering
signals, which were smart thuds on her fat sides; women were helping
men to pull a boat-load of seaweed up Vigo Bay; three women and one
man outside Pontevedra were road-making with pickaxes; not far away
from them other women were filling corves with coal, plying their
shovels like navvies, and women were unloading a stone-laden sloop,
tripping up a springy gangway with their stone-filled baskets on
their heads, and hurrying down another plank for further loads. I saw
women stripping the husks from maize, quarrying granite in the hills,
working on hats and dresses, teaching in little wayside schools,
tending the sick in hospital, and doing a hundred and one odd things
many of which are carried out by women in Great Britain, but most of
which fall only to the lot of men.

On inquiring into the rate of wages paid to women I was told that
a female labourer gets sevenpence daily for her work, which lasts
from sunrise to sunset, and she is as a rule supplied with wine and
maize-bread, although in some places the bread has to be bought. In
cold weather the women are given a little brandy. The wages seem
small enough, but the cost of living is in proportion to the income.
A little cottage may be had for a shilling a week, and although the
dwelling is far from being a desirable human habitation from the
English standpoint, still it is not worse in some respects than many
of the appalling dens in which British labourers live.

[Illustration: A MAID OF CANGAS]

Women appeared on the railway side at every level crossing when
a train was passing, and, armed with a staff as badge of office,
held up the traffic, vehicular and pedestrian. As a rule there
was neither, but the conscientious female went through the solemn
ceremony of standing sentry over the gate or chain which separated
the single track from the highway until the train had passed, and
then lowering the sign of authority and opening the gate or releasing
the chain to indicate that carts and human beings were at liberty to
cross the metals. Often enough this motherly protection was witnessed
only by a dilapidated Spanish infant, who had nothing better to do
than stroll down to the railway and watch the train go past.

These remarkable children are everywhere, and some of them are very
pretty, and as shy as they are attractive. At the old bridge of
Ramallosa I wished to take a photograph of a little Spanish maid
who was hurrying towards me over the arches, but her coyness was
unconquerable, and in spite of all allurements she refused to be a
party to the picture, and at last turned and fled precipitately. At
Cangas, on the north side of Vigo Bay, I craftily secured a shot
at a beautiful maid who was hugging a fat and placid infant on the
shore. Being only a few feet away, I feigned deep interest in a
neighbouring sardine-boat, then, unexpectedly confronting the little
nurse, so that she should not have time to pose, I secured her for
the film. It was not until I strolled away that the subtlety of the
performance struck her; then, for some reason best known to herself,
she burst into screams of laughter. One of the charms of snapshots in
Galicia is that the subjects are quite unconscious. They do not pose,
because they do not understand.

Some of the Galician peasant women have a strange way of dressing
their hair. This consists of plaiting a length of material of exactly
the same colour as the hair into the pig-tail or tails to give the
finished article a more generous and impressive appearance. At first
sight the custom strikes one as tending to vanity; yet it is as
nothing, if men are to believe all they read, compared with one's
own countrywomen's practice of enriching their own locks by adding
to them, not a piece of stuff or ribbon, but other people's shorn
tresses.

Women do most things--nearly, it seems, all things--in this corner of
Spain, but in no respect are they more in evidence than in connection
with washing. Laundry work in England is synonymous with everything
that is hard and sordid, but in Galicia it reaches something
approaching a fine art. Washing seems to be the national recreation
of Galicia. All day long and every day the womenfolk are on the banks
of streams and rivers, standing, bending, or kneeling at their work,
or in public washhouses, such as Corunna possesses, just below the
place where Sir John Moore is buried, or in some open ground in
towns. At Ferrol there is a huge trough around which the women stand
to their work. This is in the open air. Vigo has a covered building
near the bay for laundry operations, but by far the greater part of
the work is done in sunshine, near the running water by the side of
glorious fields or at the edges of green woods, and though the task
may be laborious the conditions of the toil are perfect.

There is incessant talk and laughter--one of the brightest and most
hilarious groups of women that I saw in Galicia was at Ferrol, round
the public wash-tub. There were a score or so of them, busy at work,
but not too busy to turn and laugh at the stranger; merry, but not so
merry that they could not find energy to break into joyful screams at
some playful jest from a passer-by. The spectacle was one on which
Samuel Pepys would have dwelt with rapture, and the joke would have
been recorded with minute precision in his diary. There are many odd
things in Galicia which savour of the England of the Restoration.

The washing is a simple task. The clothes are taken to the water's
edge, mostly in flat baskets, such as those which are used for fish.
The women kneel over the running water, thoroughly soaking and
soaping the garments, which are then placed on stones to be rubbed.
After the rubbing there is a careful rinsing and wringing. The
articles are then spread on the nearest hedges or grass or stones
to dry. A mother may bring her baby with her, and leave the little
creature sitting or sleeping in the basket near her; the young boys
and girls will give a hand with the work; and if it is after dinner
an old woman may come up with her tin and earthenware utensils and
wash them in the running water, which carries all impurities towards
the sea.

There is in most of us that faculty for enjoyment which comes from
watching, at our ease, fellow-creatures toiling, and I will confess
to the keen satisfaction I felt at the quaint bridge of Marin, a
pleasant little run from Pontevedra, as I leaned over the parapet
smoking and watching the washers in the stream below. The sun was
shining hotly, the sky was a clear blue, the little white houses
dotted the yellow sands, and the brown nets hung to dry from the
fishing-boats and fences. The women sang at their labour, and
the children sang as they frolicked or helped their elders. It
seemed like a universal washing-day. Yet even washing in Galicia
is a romantic and picturesque performance, completely free from
the steamy, squalid smells of laundry days in British homes and
institutions.

[Illustration: CARRYING WATER]

[Illustration: A WOMAN THRESHING BEANS]

At Marin I leaned over the bridge and gazed long at the workers by
the stream, then turned towards Pontevedra, walking up the road in
the hot sunshine. Ahead the road was filled with people, moving
slowly, and in their midst a banner and some trappings flashed in the
strong bright light, and there came the strains of solemn music
and the wails of grief, for this was a Galician funeral. The coffin
was borne shoulder-high, with several priests near it, and with them
a man, like a peasant in his Sunday clothes, playing a bassoon, on
which he accompanied some of the responses to the priests' prayers.
Women, mostly in black, of the poorest class, with shawls on their
heads, followed the coffin closely. There were but few men present. A
halt was made for a few moments to rest and change the bearers, and
a peasant woman hurried from her cottage with a small table on which
they could rest their burden. All the time there were the prayers
and the responses, mingled with the strangely sweet and solemn music
of the great reed instrument, until the procession reached a spot at
which a branch of the road led to a little church on the shore, whose
bell was tolling and in whose ground the burial was to take place. It
was a simple ceremony, shorn of pomp and circumstance, and in perfect
keeping with the wondrous peace and beauty of the sun-bathed hills
and water.



[Illustration: AROSA BAY]



[Illustration: THE ISLAND OF LA TOJA]



CHAPTER IX

AROSA BAY AND LA TOJA


British warships have made Arosa Bay their headquarters for many
years, and have found the landlocked stretch of sea and the
surrounding hills a glorious and delightful region for sport and
pleasure. It is remarkable that the three great bays on the coast of
Galicia--Arosa, Pontevedra, and Vigo--have their entrances protected
by islands which break the force of the Atlantic waves.

The Isle of Salvora is in the very mouth of Arosa Bay, with small
islands to the north of it as satellites. There is a fine stretch of
bay between Salvora and Arosa Island, which is in the middle of the
bay itself. The warships anchor between Arosa and the mainland, close
to Villa Garcia, Carril, and Cortegada.

Villa Garcia is renowned for its bathing and fishing, and on its
shore an excellently appointed and large bathing establishment has
been built. The town is the headquarters of a British Vice-Consul,
whose residence is one of the most striking features of the place. It
is the old castle of the Marquis of Villa Garcia, modernised, and
abounding in historical and antiquarian associations.

Roman remains have been discovered in recent years on the estate
by the present Vice-Consul, who has formed a very interesting
private collection, and has contributed some valuable objects to the
Archæological Museum at Santiago. On the other side of the road, only
a few feet from the Consulate, is a convent, with a church adjoining
in which the nuns worship. These religious prisoners go to and from
the church by way of a private passage, and are never seen in public.
The barred windows of their cells frown on the Consulate like the
windows of a gaol.

Pilgrims in bygone years took this road to Santiago, coming from
Portugal; but to-day British officers and sailors use it largely when
they are ashore for recreation. Perhaps from behind some rusting bars
sweet, pale-faced nuns may watch them as they drive or walk, and may
wonder what sort of life it is that these men of the waters lead--the
fighters to whom the world is free and open, while the silent watcher
never gets beyond the convent's narrow boundary. The nun's bed
consists of rough boards which, when she dies, are turned up and
nailed together to form her coffin.

A pleasant walk from Villa Garcia is to Carril, only a mile away,
with a population of 3000 and a very busy harbour. A short sail is to
Cortegada, the beautiful island which the King of Spain has chosen
as his summer residence. Villa Garcia, indeed, is a centre from which
many excursions may be made, either for sport in the hills or the
bay and rivers. From the little town it is an easy train journey
to Caldas de Reyes, where, for three months in the year, July to
September, visitors take the warm mineral baths at the excellent
Hotel Acuña, delightfully situated at the end of the bridge which
crosses the river Umia. The town is small, but very quaint. It has a
public hot spring, where the family washing may be conducted or the
family hot water obtained, but the laundry work is done mostly on
the river-side by the bridge. You may lean over the bridge and see
in the limpid water the fish disport themselves. The scenery in the
locality is beautiful, especially from the summits of the surrounding
hills. The waters of Caldas have neither taste nor colour, and have a
wonderful effect upon the skin. At Cuntis, three miles from Caldas,
in the hills, are warm baths which at the Grand Hotel attract many
thousands of visitors yearly; while the little town is picturesque
and interesting, especially on Sundays, when the peasant women crowd
the market-place, buying and selling and congregating outside the
business places which serve as general stores.

Caldas is associated in my mind with the only drunken man I saw in
Galicia; also with a peasant's funeral in the hills, and a charmingly
situated workhouse on the banks of the river. I do not suppose that
in Galicia they have old age pensions, but as a last home few places
could rival in situation this white-walled building on the grassy
slopes of Umia.

The romantic and the practical are typified just outside Caldas,
where, amid impressive rocky scenery, the Umia thunders in a fine
cascade. It is fascinating to sit or stand on the rocks and watch the
waterfall and listen to its roar; and for those who do not greatly
appreciate the charms of nature there is at the side of the falls
a modern structure with a thorough electrical equipment which is
reminiscent of Niagara's power-houses, and supplies light for many
miles around.

The country is beautiful and varied, and from Cuntis very fine views
are obtainable, although in this respect the neighbourhood has not
the same attractions as some of the hills near Vigo. From the hills
at Cuntis a view of the Portuguese mountains is obtainable; but most
of the tourists to Galicia will postpone their inspection of the
Portuguese landmarks until they are nearer the frontier.

Easily reached from Villa Garcia is El Padron, a town of 10,000
inhabitants, at the head of the bay, and full of historical
associations. El Padron (meaning "The Saint") is a very ancient
little city--older, indeed, than Santiago, and also imperishably
connected with St. James, for it was here that his body was landed
on being brought from the Holy Land, and El Padron formerly shared
some of Santiago's glory as a city for pilgrims, but is no longer a
pilgrim city, nor, as it used to be, a sanctuary for criminals flying
from what passed for justice. Borrow visited El Padron, and found
it a flourishing little town with an extensive commerce, sending
small vessels not only across the Bay of Biscay, but also as far as
London River. He dwelt with satisfaction on a story which he heard
in Santiago concerning El Padron skippers and the Scriptures. The
English had presented Bibles to the skippers, who happened to be in
London, and on their return to Galicia it was observed that these
enterprising mariners had become very dogmatic in argument concerning
Holy Writ. Finally the cause of their wisdom was discovered, and the
Testaments were taken from them and burnt, and the disputants were
punished and reprimanded.

St. James preached at El Padron, and on a spot where he spoke a
hermitage was built to which pilgrims went in the days when the town
attracted them. According to the legend, when the Apostle's body
reached the town the miraculous boat containing it found anchorage
at the base of a Roman statue, an event which is commemorated in El
Padron's coat of arms.

Though there is not much in El Padron to induce the visitor to stay
there, yet the town's situation and romantic history make it an
attractive excursion centre. Pontevedra, however, a few miles from
Villa Garcia, offers many inducements to the stranger to linger. The
arcaded streets are full of charm and history and many of the old
houses are admirably preserved. There are about 20,000 inhabitants
in Pontevedra, and, like all other Galicians, they get into the open
air whenever they can and disport themselves on the well-wooded
Alameda, or, in the season, at the bull-ring, a building which is
a conspicuous feature of the town. There is good hotel and _café_
accommodation, and many quaint sights are to be witnessed. But the
most pronounced memory of Pontevedra is the _sereno's_ haunting
night-chant, of which I have written elsewhere.

The vessel in which Columbus crossed the Atlantic and discovered
America was built at Pontevedra. She was named the _Santa Maria_, and
was decked. The _Pinta_ and the _Niña_, her little consorts, were
open, without decks amidships, but with high bows and sterns, where
cabins were built for the accommodation of the crews. Some of the
ships of the Armada were assembled at Pontevedra before the complete
fleet sailed for England.

On the Carril road stand the ruins of the Convent of San Domingo.
The building has been turned into an open-air archæological museum,
but enough of the original structure remains to give a good idea of
the convent in the days of its glory. It was here that, rather more
than a century ago, a desperate battle took place between the French
troops and the peasants. The convent was founded in the thirteenth
century, and the ivy-clad remains, on a typical sunny day, make a
beautiful object to inspect.

Pontevedra has its modern institutions, like Vigo, but the arcaded
streets and the ancient houses are the great charms. The Church
of San Francisco is a prominent feature of the town, occupying a
commanding position, and a very pleasant walk across the bridge to
the other side of the water may be taken, a point being reached from
which a striking view is obtained.

The country around Pontevedra is remarkably picturesque and fertile,
and has long been famous for its grapes and oranges and citrons. In
Borrow's day the town was surrounded by a wall of hewn stone, of
which parts remain, although there is nothing left of the turrets
which formerly stood for purposes of defence and observation. The
river Lerez runs into Pontevedra Bay, and a few miles outside the
town, forming an extensive enclosure, is an estate, with the Hotel
Mendez Nuñez, where the Lerez waters are bottled for home and foreign
use. In the summer time marine excursions are run from Pontevedra to
the estate, the river being a pleasant and enjoyable mode of travel.
At that season the stream is low and placid, but in time of storm and
heavy rains the Lerez swells rapidly and becomes a roaring torrent.
The Lerez rises in the Candan Sierra, and in those wild and lonely
hills the wolf still roams, although he is seldom seen.

In this region, as well as on other parts of the coast, the
Benediction of the Sea is celebrated on May Day. At that festival
the parish priests bless the waters which give such a rich harvest of
fish, and the fishermen and fishwives in large numbers share in the
religious ceremony.

There is one attraction of outstanding interest to visitors to Arosa
Bay, and that is the island of La Toja. This beautiful little place
stands like a gem in the sheltered nook on the south side of the
bay, and from the mainland, the Grove Peninsula, only two or three
hundred yards distant, it presents a scene which is almost fairy-like
in its enchantment. Most of the island is covered with pine-trees,
and nearly in the centre is a walk, from shore to shore, through pine
plantations, whilst a boulevard flanked by pines runs almost parallel
with the walk. On every side there is the entrancing Galician
landscape, and that placid stretch of clear blue water which is one
of the British Fleet's most famous foreign anchorages.

If you go from Villa Garcia by the steam-yacht belonging to the
hotel of La Toja there is an hour's run across the bay between the
mainland and the Isle of Arosa, in sheltered waters--you may, if you
choose, take your own Spanish fishing-boat, and your own time--or
half an hour's ferry from the old-world village of Cambados, with its
three-cornered castle. If you do not favour sail or steam there is
the road from Villa Garcia to Cambados, through plane-lined avenues
and fascinating scenery, across the strikingly impressive long Bridge
of the Ferry over the Umia. Skirting the shores of the cove in which
La Toja nestles, you reach a point from which a boat can row in a
few minutes to the island, and from which it will soon be possible
to drive or walk by a fine bridge that is well advanced towards
completion.

Between the pine-woods and the sea a great white building rises,
looking in the distance something like a Moorish palace. This is the
Grand Hotel, built of stone, brick, and iron, and facing the sea
and a delightful frontage which has been called the Grand Avenue.
Already the structure is of imposing dimensions, but it is rapidly
being enlarged, and when finished will contain no fewer than 750
bedrooms, ranging from the ordinary comfortable sleeping apartment to
the luxurious room which forms one of a suite, with private bathing
accommodation.

Galicia is advancing rapidly, and one of the most notable signs of
the country's progress is the development of such an institution
as the Grand Hotel at La Toja. A famous Spanish architect designed
the buildings, and one of the most renowned artists in Spain was
commissioned to execute some mural decorations in the interior.
Bizarre and unique paintings on the walls are amongst the first
things that command the visitor's attention.

It is strange, in such a quiet and sequestered spot, to enter an
hotel which in its domestic appliances, decorations, bathing and
sanitary arrangements, and situation can hold its own with any
kindred institution in Europe--indeed, an eminent medical authority
declared recently that the island and its hotel are unrivalled even
on the Riviera. There are hot and cold springs at La Toja, the supply
from which is so copious that a daily output of mineral waters is
possible of nearly 700,000 gallons. From the mud emanating from the
hot springs and the salts extracted _in vacuo_ from the waters a very
efficacious soap is made, and this is one of La Toja's best-known
products.

Tourists in growing numbers, especially from Spain and South
America, visit La Toja yearly during the season, which is brilliant
and wonderfully recuperative, for, in addition to the beauty and
health-giving qualities of the island's situation, the natural
mineral waters, muds, and salts have established themselves in the
medical world as remarkable therapeutic agents. Sufferers from even
the most acute forms of skin and kindred diseases have benefited so
miraculously from visits to the island that La Toja might almost
seem to be, in the estimation of some people, a second Lourdes. So
thorough and complete are the arrangements that it is not necessary
for the ordinary tourist to see anything of the curative methods
which are adopted, and many visitors make prolonged stays without
being aware of the existence of the purely medicinal aspect of La
Toja.

Sportsmen at La Toja find in the wide sweep of hill and dale and sea
and river every chance of satisfying gun and rod. Plover, snipe,
and wild duck are amongst the bags, and trout is good and plentiful.
Wild boar is to be had in the neighbouring sierras, and it sometimes
figures in the _menu_ at La Toja. I crossed from Cambados to the
island in a little Spanish fishing-boat, and a revolver shot, fired
by a Galician in the craft, sent a swarm of wild birds skyward in a
cloud.

Not the least of La Toja's glories are the gorgeous sunsets--pictures
so wondrous that at least one traveller returns each year for the
special purpose of enjoying them. There are fishing, shooting,
and sailing expeditions in abundance, and while some members of a
party of visitors may be enjoying these outings others are quietly
undergoing a cure as a result of treatment by La Toja products.
There are many other attractions and amusements on the island for
visitors, amongst them being tennis, croquet, and other English
games seldom found in Spanish resorts, and in addition excellent
nine-hole golf-links have been laid out and are now available for
players. These are the only links in Spain, where the game has been
practically unknown.



[Illustration: THE TORRE DE HÉRCULES, CORUNNA]



[Illustration: A ROAD IN THE HILLS]



CHAPTER X

CORUNNA AND ITS HERO


A century has passed since Sir John Moore, mortally wounded on the
heights of Corunna, was carried from the battlefield and buried on
the ramparts. Corunna to-day is a busy, thriving seaport, and has
much that will attract the visitor's attention. There are the quaint
old twisted streets, typical of Galician towns, where you may imagine
yourself back in the days of that immense Armada which sailed from
the deep, wide harbour to vanquish England, and can picture Drake's
swoop on the Galician coast ten years after the British navy had
shattered the fleet which had been so proudly called Most Happy and
Invincible. When the Armada left Lisbon it consisted of nearly 130
ships, with an aggregate tonnage of 58,000, carrying 2400 guns, about
20,000 soldiers, 8000 mariners, and over 2000 rowers--30,000 in all.
Some of the ships proved leaky and were badly found, and owing to
heavy weather the Armada was forced to put into Corunna for shelter.
Enormous quantities of provisions had been thrown overboard because
they were bad, and there was not enough water to drink. Pestilence,
too, had carried off many of the sailors and soldiers. The huge fleet
finally left Corunna on July 12, 1588, and by that time death and
sickness had reduced the strength of the fighters to 24,000.

Modern Corunna has its great tobacco factory, employing several
thousands of women and girls, fine ornamental grounds, statues, and
public buildings. These may command only passing notice, though
greater attention will be given to the mule-drawn trams and the
diligences which run regularly between Corunna and the surrounding
towns and villages. Nothing can more clearly give an idea of what
primitive travelling in Galicia means than to watch the diligence
from Ferrol, Finisterre, or Santiago drive up with jingling bells
and cracking of whips, to put down weary passengers, and, the horses
having been unharnessed, to see the oxen draw the coach to its
departure-place. There are to be seen, too, the _miradores_, glazed
frontages for which Corunna is celebrated. These vast stretches of
windows protect the houses from the strong winds in winter and form
bright and warm interior verandahs. Most of the modern houses in
Galicia have these glass-protected verandahs in the top story, where,
in winter, the greater part of the inhabitants' spare time is spent.
The glazed exterior allows the heat of the sun to be retained, and
compensates for the absence of fires. Corunna differs from other
Galician towns in having not only many more modern buildings, but
also in providing all the stories with the _miradores_. The streets
are lively and busy, and some of the shops are very interesting.
There are several good _cafés_.

There is the harbour, with its shipping, the magnificent scenery, the
cemetery--worth a visit by those who wish to compare the Spanish mode
of burial with the English--and the famous lighthouse which is called
La Torre de Hércules. Corunna exports great quantities of onions and
sardines, chiefly to America, and in the streets you may see enormous
loads of the vegetable being taken to the quays for shipment. But to
the ordinary visitor the ramparts and the heights of Elviña are the
great attractions, for on the one Sir John Moore is buried, and on
the other he made his last stand in that retreat which for sufferings
and horror was not equalled by any of the Peninsular campaigns.

It was at Corunna that the Duke of Wellington, then
Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, landed on July 20, 1808,
when he entered the Peninsula to begin and see to a triumphant finish
the war which lasted six years and gave to England an unparalleled
series of victories. The French by that time were masters of Spain,
and it was Wellesley's purpose to free the country from Napoleon's
tyranny. The Spaniards had risen against their conquerors, and
Wellesley found that "no one dared to show that he was a friend to
the French." The Gallegans, brave and patriotic, clamoured for
arms, and Wellesley furnished the Junta of Galicia with £200,000
and promised the immediate despatch of military stores. He sailed
from Corunna on the night of the 21st, and joined the fleet of
transports and convoys next day. On the 24th he reached Oporto in the
_Crocodile_. A few days later the troops landed, "each with one shirt
and one pair of shoes besides those on them, combs, razor, and a
brush, which are to be packed up in their greatcoats." The men landed
with three days' bread and two days meat, cooked. Three weeks after
leaving Corunna Wellesley won his first victory over the French, at
Roleia, with a loss on his own side of nearly 500 killed and wounded
and on the French of 1500. The opening shots of the war were fired
by riflemen of the 60th, now the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and the
95th, now the Rifle Brigade. The Rifle Corps has no fewer than
sixteen Peninsular battle honours, won by the famous 5th, or Jäger,
Battalion--foreigners, mostly Germans, who were in British pay. Since
its origin in 1800 the Rifle Brigade has been composed entirely of
British troops. Throughout the war Wellington found these riflemen
of the utmost service, and he frequently spoke of them in terms of
praise.

Moore's retreat to Corunna was a tragedy from start to finish. Spain
was in what appeared to be a hopeless state, and of all its provinces
none was more severely harassed than Galicia. War had impoverished
an already poor and burdened country, and there were none of the
resources available which are needed for the successful conduct of a
great campaign. In 1807 the French army entered Spain, and early in
the following year Madrid was captured by the conquering legions of
the Emperor. For a few weeks only the visitors remained in peaceful
possession; then there was a rising in the capital, which began the
long and bloody fight to master Bonaparte. On May 2, 1808, the French
troops and the Spanish populace came into conflict, and for nearly
three hours there was incessant firing and slaughter, and many acts
were done which have become famous amongst many famous deeds. A
musket had been fired from one of the houses, and a mameluke dashed
into the building. He was slain by a beautiful girl, and she, in
turn, was instantly cut down by the assailant's comrades. A huntsman,
who was celebrated as a marksman, fired twenty-eight cartridges
against the French, bringing down a man with each. He maintained his
deadly fire until his ammunition was finished; then, arming himself
with a dagger, he hurled himself against his foes, and was killed as
he struck at them.

That outrage in Madrid let loose the pent-up passions of the
Spaniards. They had, in the lonely hills and valleys of their
country, many chances of retaliation, and they showed no mercy to
the Frenchmen who became their prisoners. Even the sick and the
medical attendants were butchered, and some were done to death with
incredible barbarity. A French officer was returning from a peaceful
mission into Portugal, unconscious of the fact that hostilities had
broken out. He was unarmed and unattached to a military force; but
he was a Frenchman, and that was looked upon by his captors as proof
sufficient for his doom. The Spaniards seized and mutilated him;
then, having secured him, still living, between two planks, they
sawed him asunder.

In the autumn of 1808 Moore had taken command of the army in
Portugal, and had marched into Spain to drive out Napoleon, who
had sworn that he himself would become the king of that country.
Unexpectedly encountering overwhelming forces under Marshal Soult,
Moore recognised that his only hope of salvation lay in retreat, and
accordingly he resolved to fall back on Vigo and embark his army
in the transports which had been ordered to assemble there to meet
him. Circumstances compelled him to alter his plans, and finally to
resolve to get on board ship at Corunna.

Moore had rapidly covered 400 miles on his way from Portugal to
Spain, and found himself in Galicia. There he learned that his
allies, the Spaniards, had been routed and dispersed. Anxious to
avoid confusion and unnecessary calls on an impoverished country, he
entreated the Spaniards not to fall back in the same direction as
himself; but they did not accede to his wishes, and the result was
a hopeless overcrowding of the houses on the line of retreat, and a
call on the resources of the land which could not be met.

Officers and men who fought in the Peninsula and shared in the
sufferings of that appalling retreat to Corunna have put on record
vivid pictures of the terrible state of Moore's army. When he reached
Benavente he sent General Crauford with 3000 men by way of Orense,
nearly a hundred and forty miles away, which offered a shorter but
harder road to the coast.

Moore's purpose was to prevent the French from securing an advantage
over him by employing a light column. He himself took the longer but
better road which led through Astorga and Villa Franca. At Astorga he
was joined by Baird's division, and Moore ordered the destruction of
everything which could check his retreat.

The rainy season had been succeeded by heavy falls of snow, for Moore
was high in the hills, and the cold was intense, while the roads and
fields by which he had to march were almost impassable. By that time
the condition of the army was pitiful. Typhus fever swept through the
ranks, and the roads were dotted with dead and dying men and women
and children. In those days women were allowed to accompany British
soldiers to war, and Moore had even a larger proportion than usual
with him. The privations of the women and children remain as the most
terrible feature of a retreat which stands almost unparalleled for
suffering and loss. There was no ammunition for the guns, none for
the muskets, and the soldiers were almost unshod and in rags. In this
respect there was little difference between the pursuing French and
the retreating English.

At the beginning of December Moore had 20,000 men under him, and he
was relentlessly followed by an enemy in overwhelming force. Men
and horses fell and died on the march, and day by day the flying
army had had its strength reduced by death and desertion. Whole
regiments forsook their colours and defied authority, in spite of the
punishment of death which was imposed for disobedience and drinking.
Whenever a wine-house was reached the soldiers raided it, and forgot
their misery in debauchery.

The main body of the army kept a day's march ahead of the reserve
and the rearguard. On New Year's morning 1809 the main body reached
Bembibre, and immediately assailed the wine-shops. So hopelessly
drunk were many of the troops when the rearguard came up that it was
impossible to arouse them to a sense of their peril from the French
cavalry who were harassing their rear, and they had to be left behind
in great numbers. By that time the opposing armies had been marching
within sight of each other for many miles, and the French horsemen
swept on the drunken mob and butchered it. Soult's dragoons thundered
in amongst the helpless crowd of British troops and shrieking women
and children, and without distinction of sex or age put them to
the sword. A few soldiers, mangled and bleeding, escaped from the
massacre, and Moore ordered that they should parade through the ranks
and show their wounds--a stern warning to the army of the effect of
drink and disobedience.

Believing that Astorga would be a resting-place, the retreating
army had kept up something like order, and had been inspired by the
hope of battle; but there was no rest. Again everything that was
burdensome was abandoned, and the terrible withdrawal was continued.

"From that hour," said Lord Londonderry, "we no longer resembled a
British army. There was still the same bravery in our ranks, but it
was only at moments, when the enemy was expected to come on, that
our order and regularity returned, and except in that single point
we resembled rather a crowd of insubordinate rebels in full flight
before victorious soldiers than a corps of British troops moving
in the presence of an enemy." Moore himself, in the last despatch
he ever wrote, said he could not have believed that such complete
demoralisation could have overtaken a British army.

Marvellous distances were traversed, notwithstanding the difficult
country and the bitter weather. Villa Franca was reached on January
2, after sixty miles had been covered in two days. One march alone
represented forty miles, but that was continued by night as well as
day, and was marked by the abandonment of the dying and the dead.
The troops dropped by whole sections on the road and died. "Not men
only," wrote Lord Londonderry, "but women and children were subject
to this miserable fate. Moore's army had carried along with it
more than the too large proportion of women allotted by the rules
of the service to armies in the field, and these poor wretches now
heightened the horror of passing events by a display of suffering
even more acute than that endured by their husbands. Some were taken
in labour on the road, and in the open air, amid showers of sleet and
snow, gave birth to infants which, with their mothers, perished as
soon as they had seen the light. Others, carrying, some of them, two
children on their backs, toiled on, and, when they came to look to
the condition of their burdens, they would probably find one or both
frozen to death."

[Illustration: ELVIÑA, WHERE SIR JOHN MOORE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED]

[Illustration: THE HOUSE, MODERNISED, IN WHICH SIR JOHN MOORE DIED]

Guns, waggons, and even treasure were abandoned on that fatal road.
Dollars to the value of twenty-five thousand pounds, which were in
two bullock-carts, could not be drawn any farther by the exhausted
oxen, and the casks containing the coins were stove in, and the money
thrown over a precipice. Some of the ragged, starving soldiers lagged
behind to seize the money, and perished either by the French sabres
or the winter's cold. Sick and wounded were abandoned in the waggons;
and at last, on January 11, the worn and famishing survivors of the
flying army reached the village of Elviña, on the heights of
Corunna, about two miles from the town.

Moore went into Corunna and took up lodgings in a little house
facing the bay, and directed the embarkation of his fugitives in the
transports, which arrived from Vigo on the 14th.

The French did not molest the embarkation for two days, but on the
16th they advanced, 20,000 strong, to assault the 14,000 who alone
remained of Moore's worn-out troops. He had done his best to bring
his sorry remnant to the coast, and he had triumphed. Now, at the end
of his retreat, he showed the superior French force that as a fighter
he was as dangerous as ever. He destroyed bridges and ammunition, and
blew up 4000 barrels of gunpowder--an explosion which wrecked all the
windows in Corunna--and used every artifice he knew to prevent either
his men or his _matériel_ from falling into the hands of his foe. It
seemed as if even now, at the end of his tribulation, the British
chief would get away from Spain; but Soult forced him at the very
last to give battle, and on January 16, 1809, the worn and harassed
leader, from a piece of rocky ground at Elviña, just beyond the
village, directed the battle which, beginning at about two o'clock in
the afternoon, continued furiously till darkness fell.

Time after time the Frenchmen charged the shattered remnant of the
hero's force; but as often as they advanced they were driven back
and broken by the men who, with all their faults of drink and
insubordination, knew how to fight and conquer.

All through the terrible retreat the British soldier's prayer had
been for a battle, and now that his supplication was answered he
proved himself a true son of his country. Not even Soult's genius
and the valour of his overwhelming forces could master the stubborn,
sullen troops who held the little church and streets of Elviña.
Napoleon's veterans were driven back, and when the day gave place to
night his famous marshal knew that the army which he had harassed and
pursued for so many bitter days would escape.

Twice, with frantic valour, the French had taken the village, and
twice they had been hurled out of it at the point of the bayonet by
the Guards, Highlanders, and linesmen under Moore. He had covered his
amazing retreat with a triumphant victory; but in the very moment of
success he was struck down by a cannon-ball, which shattered his left
shoulder.

Moore fell from his horse, his arm hanging only by a piece of skin,
and his breast bared to the lungs. Some soldiers took him up and put
him, conscious still, into a blanket, and bore him from the field of
battle to his lodgings. He knew that the French were beaten, and,
turning to an old friend, he said: "You know that I always wished to
die this way." He lingered for a few hours at his lodgings, and just
before he passed away he murmured: "I hope the people of England will
be satisfied. I hope my country will do me justice." It was almost
a repetition of the glorious death of Nelson in Trafalgar Bay, 600
miles below Corunna, on the Atlantic Coast, only three years earlier.

The embarkation was still in progress and the French guns were
booming as the valiant British rearguard filed in silence to the
beach. The victorious general died while the transports were
receiving the troops, and, wrapped only in his military cloak, he
was borne by men of the 9th Foot, now the Norfolk Regiment, to the
hastily dug grave on the ramparts, where he was buried, his farewell
volleys coming from the distant artillery. The officers' silk sashes
with which the body of the beloved commander was lowered into the
grave, and the prayer-book used at the hasty funeral service, are
preserved in the Royal United Service Institution Museum, Whitehall.
When Moore was first laid to rest the ramparts were little more than
a wilderness. Soon after the burial the body was exhumed and placed
where it now is. The grave is made of Galician granite, the urn above
is of white stone, and common stone was used in the construction of
the enclosure.

The British victors sailed from Corunna, having spiked their guns and
buried them in the sand, and when the French at last entered the town
even the sick and wounded had been taken safely off to sea.

Corunna cost Moore nearly a thousand men. The French suffered
far more heavily. During the retreat the British casualties were
6000, including deserters and stragglers, of whom 800 escaped into
Portugal. Three hundred men were drowned in the wrecks of two
transports off the English coast, and many died of disease after
landing.

Moore wished to be buried near the spot where he died, and his
grave is only a short walk from his last quarters. The brave and
noble Soult paid homage to the hero who had perished in the hour of
triumph. A French gun is planted, muzzle downward, in each corner
of the enclosure, and palm-trees rise gracefully from the soil. A
few yards away you may look through the ruined embrasures and see
the heights of Elviña and the Atlantic into which the survivors of
the great retreat were sailing while their fallen leader was being
lowered to his resting-place upon Corunna's ramparts.

[Illustration: SIR JOHN MOORE'S TOMB AT CORUNNA]

[Illustration: CORUNNA BAY, FROM THE RAMPARTS]



[Illustration: MAP OF GALICIA]



INDEX


    ALFONSO XII., 59

    Alps, The, compared with Galician Hills, 27

    _Ambrose_, The R.M.S., 51

    Animals, Wild, in Galicia, 27

    _Antony_, The R.M.S., 37

    Arcos, Balanced stone of, 148

    Argentina and Gallegans, 18

    Armada, The Spanish, and Corunna, 14, 25

    Arosa Bay, 15, 167

    Art, Works of, in Galicia, 43


    BAYONA, 118

    Betanzos, 26, 116, 130

    Booth Steamship Co., Ltd., The, 47, 91, 117, 130

    Borrow and Vigo, 67
      his remarks on robbers, 105
      his advice with regard to Spanish, 107
      his description of Ferrol, 112

    _Bouillabaisse_, 36

    Breakfast in Galicia, 35


    CAAVEIRO, Valley of, 116

    _Caballero_, The, 33, 38, 53, 136

    Caldas, 169

    _Caldo Gallego_, 36

    Cambados, 174

    Cangas, The fishing-town of, 61
      ghastly festival at, 62

    Castillo del Castro, 55

    Castle Mos, 59

    Cattle markets, 41

    Censer, The Giant, 84

    Cies Islands, The, 51, 57, 67

    Civil Guard, The, 32, 105

    Clavijo, The battle of, 26

    Climate, 9

    Clubs in Galicia, 47

    Columbus and Galicia, 13, 25, 172

    Commercial travellers, 136

    Convent, A, 168

    Cortegada, 15, 168

    Corunna, Fishwives of, 32
      Corunna, Modern, 182
      Moore's retreat to, 184
      privations during the retreat, 184
      battle of, 191
      losses during the retreat, 194

    Cottages of Galicia, 41

    Cuntis, 169

    Cycling, 138


    DANISH butter, Use of, in Galicia, 38

    Déjeuner in Galicia, 36

    Diligence, The, 127

    Drake and Galicia, 79, 96

    Dwarfs, Dance of, 90


    ELVIÑA, 183, 191

    Emigration from Galicia, 7, 65


    FERROL, description of, 112
      British enterprise at, 114

    Finisterre, Battles off, 111

    Fish and vegetable markets, 53

    Flowers in Galicia, 9

    Ford, Richard, 26

    Frontier, The, 120

    Funeral, A Russian sailor's, 64
      a peasant's, 163


    GALICIA an historic ground for Englishmen, 13
      the progress of, 15
      hotel accommodation in, 20
      the coast-line of, 25
      floods in, 27
      security of travel in, 33
      chambermaids and waiters of, 34

    Gallegans, The, 6
      shyness of, 17
      character of, 18
      their martial valour, 19
      their alleged stupidity, 19
      food and drink of the, 29
      Gallegans and Portuguese farming, 16

    Gate of Glory, The, 81

    Giants, Dance of, 90

    Gold, Annual gift of, by King of Spain, 89

    Golf-links, 177


    HAIR, strange mode of dressing the, 160


    INNS of Galicia, 103

    Ireland, Galicia compared with, 18


    JUNTA of Galicia, The, 184


    KING'S Royal Rifle Corps, The, 184


    LAGER beer, Spanish, 37

    La Toja, The Island of, 15, 174
      the Grand Hotel at, 16, 175
      the mud and springs of, 176

    Lerez, The River, 173

    Londonderry, Lord, and Corunna, 189, 190

    Los Dominicos, Convent of, 122


    MADRID, The rising in, 185

    Maize, drying of, 30
      maize-bread, 8, 29
      maize-barns, 30

    Marin, 162

    Mass, High, celebration of, 84

    Miño, The River, 1, 4, 5, 27
      the bridge over the, 120

    _Miradores_ at Corunna, The, 182

    Mondariz, the hotel at, 16, 145
      the waters of, 144
      new pump-room at, 147

    Moore, Sir John, death of, 192
      burial of, 193

    Moors, The, and Galicia, 26

    Motor-cars, 133


    NIGHT-WATCHMEN, The, 31


    ORENSE, 123


    PARDO BAZAN, The Countess of, 17

    Phoenicians, The, and Galicia, 26

    Photography, 44

    Pigeon-cots, 30

    Pigs in Galicia, 40

    Pilgrims and Freebooters, 11

    Policemen of Galicia, The, 32, 33

    Ponies, 129

    Pontevedra, 12, 13
      the _sereno_ of, 31
      the people of, 172

    Porriño, 104

    Press of Galicia, The, 66

    Puenteareas, 66

    Puentedeume, 116

    Pulteney's expedition, 114


    RAILWAYS in Galicia, 129

    Ramallosa, 118

    Rande, The Strait of, 58

    Redondela, Bridges at, 65

    Ribadavia, 122

    Roleia, The Battle of, 184

    Romans, The, and Galicia, 26
      Roman ploughs, 53
      Roman remains, 168

    Rosary, The Festival of Our Lady of the, 86


    SAINT JAMES and El Padron, 10, 171
      killed by Herod, 71
      his staff, 84
      and military stronghold, 113

    Salvatierra, 122

    San Benito, The village of, 101

    San Domingo, The Convent of, at Pontevedra, 172

    San Simon, The Island of, 56

    Santiago, The road of, 10
      the streets of, 12
      scallop-shells at, 12, 95
      founding of, 71
      pilgrims to, 72, 91
      the bells of, 73, 90
      history of, 74
      students at, 75
      the Cathedral of, 76
      the treasury, 77
      St. James's figure, 79
      the _compostela_, 80
      the sepulchre of St. James, 81
      the Gate of Glory, 81
      the giant censer, 84
      the Church of San Martin, 86
      St. James's Festival, 88
      the Royal Hospital, 92
      the Cardinal's Palace, 92

    Sardines, 54
      Messrs. Barreras and the sardine industry, 63

    Scenery in Galicia, 149

    Scottish Highlands, Galicia compared with, 20

    _Sereno_, The, 31

    Seven Sisters, The, 52

    Smoking-carriages, 131
      smoking in Galicia, 43

    Sobroso, The Castle of, 149

    Soult, Marshal, 186, 191, 194

    Sport in Galicia, 27, 176

    Street of the Hundred Maidens, The, 26

    Sunday evening in Galicia, 102


    TEA, The River, 146, 148

    Telegraphy in Galicia, 42

    Thackeray and _Bouillabaisse_, 36

    Tourists and Galicia, 39

    Trains, slowness of Galician, 132

    Travel, security of, 105

    Treasure ships and Vigo, 57

    Tuy, 4, 119


    UMIA, The River, 170


    VALENÇA, 1, 3, 119, 121

    Vigo, 67
      Galicia's chief portal, 52
      the Alameda, 54
      the municipality of, 55
      warships at, 63

    Villa Garcia, 167

    Villeneuve, Admiral, 115

    Vineyards, granite posts in, 28


    WAITER, The Galician, 37

    Washing in Galicia, 161

    Wellington and Corunna, 183

    Wines of Galicia, The, 46

    Women of Galicia as workers, 156


Printed by BALLANTYNE & CO. LIMITED
Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London





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