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Title: The Alhambra
Author: Irving, Washington
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Alhambra" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  On page 357, "On the verge of great beetling bastion" was changed
  to "On the verge of the great beetling bastion".

  On page 377, "on which occasion he have" was changed to "on which
  occasion he gave".

  On page 388, "the talisman that hangs around my neck" was changed
  to the talisman that hangs around thy neck".

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by +plus








  [Illustration: _Washington Irving's rooms, overlooking the Garden of






     _First Edition (Cranford Series), 1896. Reprinted, 1906, 1911.
     Pocket Classics, 1908_.



It is not possible to forget Washington Irving in the Alhambra. With a
single volume, the simple, gentle, kindly American man of letters became
no less a figure in the Moor's Red Palace than Boabdil and Lindaraxa of
whom he wrote. And yet, never perhaps did a book make so unconscious
a bid for popularity. Irving visited Granada in 1828. He returned the
following year, when the Governor's apartments in the Alhambra were lent
to him as lodgings. There he spent several weeks, his love for the place
growing with every day and hour. It was this affection, and no more
complex motive, that prompted him to describe its courts and gardens and
to record its legends. The work was the amusement of his leisure moments,
filling the interval between the completion of one serious, and now all
but unknown, history and the beginning of the next.

Not many other men just then could write about Spain or anything Spanish
so naturally. For, in 1829, while, within the walls of Alhamar and
Yusef, he was listening to the prattle of Mateo and Dolores, in Paris,
Alfred de Musset was writing his _Contes d'Espagne_, and Victor Hugo was
publishing a new edition of his _Orientales_. A year later and the battle
of _Hernani_ was to be fought at the _Comédie Française_; a few more,
and Théophile Gautier would be on his way across the Pyrenees. Time had
passed since Châteaubriand, the pioneer of romance, could dismiss the
Alhambra with a word. Hugo, in turning all eyes to the East, had declared
that Spain also was Oriental, and to his disciples the journey, dreamed or
made, through the land where Irving travelled in single-minded enjoyment,
was an excuse for the profession of their literary faith. Irving, whatever
his accomplishments, was unencumbered with a mission and innocent of pose.
There is no reason to believe that he had ever heard of the Romanticists,
or the part Spain was playing in the revolution; though he had been in
Paris when the storm was brewing; though he returned after the famous red
waistcoat had been sported in the public's face. At any rate, like the
original genius of to-day, he kept his knowledge to himself.

Literary work took Irving to Spain. Several years before, in 1818, he had
watched the total wreck of his brother's business. This was the second
event of importance in his hitherto mild and colourless existence. The
first had been the death of the girl he was to marry, a loss which left
him without interest or ambition. There was then no need for him to work,
and his health was delicate. He travelled a little: an intelligent,
sympathetic and observant tourist. He wrote a little, discovering
that he was an author with _Knickerbocker_. But his writing was of the
desultory sort until, when he was thirty-five years old, his brother's
failure forced him to make literature his profession. It was after he had
published his _Sketch-Book_ and _Bracebridge Hall_ and _Old Christmas_,
after their reception had been of the kind to satisfy even the present
generation of writers who measure the excellence of work by the price
paid for it, that some one suggested he should translate the journeys
of Columbus, which Navarrete, a Spanish author, had in hand. Murray, it
was thought, would give a handsome sum down for the translation. Murray
himself, however, was not so sure: wanted, wise man, first to see a
portion of the manuscript. This was just what could not be until Irving
had begun his task. But already in Madrid, and assured of nothing, he
found the _rôle_ of translator less congenial than that of historian, and
the Spanish work eventually resolved itself into his _Life of Columbus_.
"Delving in the rich ore" of the old chronicles in the Jesuits' Library
of St. Isidoro, there was one side issue in the history he was studying
that enchanted him above all else. This was the Conquest of Granada,
the brilliant episode which had fascinated him ever since, as a boy at
play on the banks of the Hudson, his allegiance had been divided between
the Spanish cavalier, in gold and silver armour, prancing over the
Vega, and the Red Indian brandishing his tomahawk on the war-path. Now,
occasionally, Columbus was forgotten that he might collect the materials
for a new story of the Conquest to be told by himself. To consult further
documents he started one spring (1828), when the almond trees were
blossoming, for Andalusia; and Granada, of course, came into his journey.
Thus chance brought him to the Alhambra, while (1829) the courtesy of the
Governor and the kindness of old Tia Antonia put him in possession of the
rooms of the beautiful Elizabeth of Parma, overlooking the oranges and
fountains of the Garden of Lindaraxa.

The Alhambra reveals but half its charm to the casual visitor. I know, of
my own experience, how far custom is from staling its infinite variety,
how its beauty increases as day by day one watches the play of light
and shadow on its walls, as day by day one yields to the indolent dreams
for which it was built. There was one summer when, all through July and
August, its halls and courts gave me shelter from the burning, blinding
sunshine of Andalusia, and the weeks in passing strengthened the spell
that held me there. For Gautier, the place borrowed new loveliness
from the one night he slept in the Court of Lions. But by day and night
alike, it belonged to Irving; he saw it before it had degenerated into a
disgracefully managed museum and annex to a _bric-à-brac_ shop for the
tourist; and he had heard all its stories, or had had time to invent
them, before he was called away by his appointment to some useless and
unnecessary diplomatic post at the American Legation in London.

The book was not published until more than two years later (1832).
Irving, though a hack in a manner, had too much self-respect to rush into
print on the slightest provocation. Colburn and Bentley were his English
publishers, their edition preceding by a few months the American, brought
out by Lea and Carey of Philadelphia. The same year saw two further issues
in Paris, one by Galignani, and the other in Baudry's Foreign Library, as
well as a French translation from the house of Fournier. The success of
_The Alhambra_ was immediate. De Musset and Victor Hugo had left the great
public in France as indifferent as ever to the land beyond the Pyrenees.
Irving raised a storm of popular applause in England and America, where,
of a sudden, he made Spain, which the Romanticists would have snatched as
their spoils, the prey of the "_bourgeois_" they despised. Nor was it the
general public only that applauded. There were few literary men in England
who did not welcome the book with delight.

I think to-day, without suspicion of disloyalty, one may wonder a little
at this success. Certainly, in its first edition, _The Alhambra_ is
crude and stilted, though, to compare it with the pompous trash which
Roscoe published three years afterward, as text for the drawings of
David Roberts, is to see in it a masterpiece. Irving, more critical than
his readers, knew it needed revision. "It is generally labour lost,"
he said once in a letter to Alexander Everett, "to attempt to improve a
book that has already made its impression on the public." Nevertheless,
_The Alhambra_ was all but re-written in 1857, when he was preparing a
complete edition of his works for Putnam, the New York publisher, and it
gained enormously in the process. It was not so much by the addition of
new chapters, or the re-arrangement of the old; but rather by the changes
made in the actual text--the light touch of local colour here, and there
the rounding of a period, the developing of an incident. For example "The
Journey," so gay and vivacious in the final version, was, at first, but a
bare statement of facts, with no space for the little adventures by the
way: the rest at the old mill near Seville; the glimpses of Archidona,
Antiquero, Osuna, names that lend picturesque value to the ride; the talk
and story-telling in the inn at Loxa. Another change, less commendable,
is the omission from the late editions of the dedication to Wilkie. It
was a pleasant tribute to the British painter, who, with several of his
fellows--Lewis and Roberts--was carried away by that wave of Orientalism
which sent the French Marilhat and Decamps, Fromentin and Delacroix to
the East, and had not yet spent its force in the time of Regnault. The
dedication was well-written, kindly, appreciative: an amiable reminder
of the rambles the two men had taken together in Toledo and Seville, and
the interest they had shared in the beauty left by the Moor to mark his
passage through the land both were learning to love. As a memorial to the
friendship between author and artist, it could less well have been spared
than any one of the historical chapters that go to swell the volume.

Even in the revised edition it would be easy to belittle Irving's
achievement, now that it is the fashion to disparage him as author.
Certainly, _The Alhambra_ has none of the splendid melodrama of Borrow's
_Bible in Spain_, none of the picturesqueness of Gautier's record. It
is very far from being that "something in the Haroun Alraschid style,"
with dash of Arabian spice, which Wilkie had urged him to make it.
Nor are its faults wholly negative. It has its moments of dulness. It
abounds in repetitions. Certain adjectives recur with a pertinacity that
irritates. The Vega is blooming, the battle is bloody, the Moorish maiden
is beauteous far more than once too often. Worse still, descriptions are
duplicated, practically the same passage reappearing again and again, as
if for the sake of padding, or else as the mere babble of the easy writer.
Indeed, many of the purely historical chapters have been crowded in so
obviously because they happened to be at hand, and he without better means
to dispose of them, and then scattered discreetly, that there is less
hesitation in omitting them altogether from the present edition. An edited
_Tom Jones_, a bowdlerized Shakespeare may be an absurdity. But to drop
certain chapters from _The Alhambra_ is simply to anticipate the reader
in the act of skipping. There is no loss, since all important facts and
descriptions are given more graphically and entertainingly elsewhere in
the book.

Perhaps it may seem injudicious to introduce a new edition of so popular
a work by pointing out its defects. But one can afford to be honest about
Irving. _The Alhambra_ might have more serious blemishes, and its charm
would still survive triumphantly the test of the harshest criticism.
For, whatever subtlety, whatever elegance Irving's style may lack, it is
always distinguished by that something which, for want of a better name,
is called charm--a quality always as difficult to define as Lowell thought
when he found it in verse or in perfume. But there it is in all Washington
Irving wrote: a clue to the lavish praise of his contemporaries--of
Coleridge, who pronounced _The Conquest of Granada_ a _chef d'œuvre_,
and Campbell, who believed he had added clarity to the English tongue; of
Byron and Scott and Southey; of Dickens, whose pockets were at one time
filled with Irving's books worn to tatters; of Thackeray, who likened the
American to Goldsmith, describing him as "one of the most charming masters
of our lighter language."

Much of this power to please is due, no doubt, to the simplicity
and sincerity of Irving's style at its best. Despite a tendency to
diffuseness, despite a fancy for the ornate, when there is a story to be
told, he can be as simple and straightforward as the child's "Once upon a
time," with which he begins many a tale: appropriately, since the legends
of the Alhambra are but stories for grown-up children. And there is no
question of the sincerity of his love for everything savouring of romance.
For that matter, it is seldom that he does not mean what he says and does
not say it so truly with his whole heart, that you are convinced, where
you distrust the emotion of De Amicis, pumping up tears of admiration
before the wrong thing, or of Maurice Barrès seeing all Spain through
a haze of blood, voluptuousness, and death. It was the strength of his
feeling for the Alhambra that led Irving to write in its praise, not the
desire to write that manufactured the feeling. Humour and sentiment some
of his critics have thought the predominant traits of his writing, as of
his character. It is a fortunate combination: his sentiment, though it
often threatens, seldom overflows into gush, kept within bounds as it is
by the sense of humour that so rarely fails him. His power of observation
was of still greater service. He could use his eyes. He could see things
for himself. And he was quick to detect character. Occasionally one
finds him slipping. In his landscape, the purple mountains of Alhama
rise wherever he considers them most effective in the picture; and the
snow considerately never melts from the slopes of the Sierra Nevada,
which I have seen all brown at midsummer. He could look only through the
magnifying glass of tradition at the hand and key on the Gate of Justice:
symbols so gigantic in fiction, so insignificant in fact that one might
miss them altogether, did not every book, paper, and paragraph, every
cadging, swindling tout--I mean guide--in Granada bid one look for them.
But these are minor discrepancies. In essentials, his observation never
played him false. There may not be a single passage to equal in force and
brilliance Gautier's wonderful description of the bull-fight at Malaga;
but his impressions were so clear, his record of them so faithful, that
the effect of his book remains, while the accomplishment of a finer artist
in words may be remembered but vaguely. It is Irving who prepares one
best for the stern grandeur and rugged solemnity of the country between
Seville and Granada. The journey can now be made by rail. But to travel
by road as he did--as we have done--is to know that his arid mountains
and savage passes are no more exaggerated than the pleasant valleys and
plains that lie between. For Spain is not all gaiety as most travellers
would like to imagine it, as most painters have painted it, save Daumier
in his pictures of Don Quixote among the barren hills of La Mancha. And if
nothing in Granada and the Alhambra can be quite unexpected, it is because
one has seen it all beforehand with Irving, from the high Tower of Comares
and the windows of the Hall of Ambassadors, or else, following him through
the baths and mosque and courts of the silent Palace, crossing the ravine
to the cooler gardens of the Generalife, and climbing the Albaycin to the
white church upon its summit.

There have been many changes in the Alhambra since Irving's day. The Court
of Lions lost in loveliness when the roses with which he saw it filled
were uprooted. The desertion he found had more picturesqueness than the
present restoration and pretence of orderliness. Irving was struck with
the efforts which the then Commander, Don Francisco de Serna, was making
to keep the Palace in a state of repair and to arrest its too certain
decay. Had the predecessors of De Serna, he thought, discharged the
duties of their station with equal fidelity, the Alhambra might have been
still almost as the Moor, or at least Spanish royalty had left it. What
would he say, one wonders, to the Alhambra under its present management?
Frank neglect is often less an evil than sham zeal. The student, watched,
badgered, oppressed by red-tapeism, has not gained by official vigilance;
nor is the Palace the more secure because responsibility has been
transferred from a pleasant gossiping old woman to half a dozen indolent
guides. The burnt roof in the ante-chamber to the Hall of Ambassadors
shows the carelessness of which the new officers can be guilty; the
matches and cigarette ends with which courts and halls are strewn explain
that so eloquent a warning has been in vain. And if the restorer has
been let loose in the Alhambra, at the Generalife there is an Italian
proprietor, eager, it would seem, to initiate the somnolent Spaniard into
the brisker ways of Young Italy. Cypresses, old as Zoraïde, have already
been cut down ruthlessly along that once unrivalled avenue, and their
destruction, one fears, is but the beginning of the end.

But whatever changes the past sixty years have brought about in Granada,
the popularity of Irving's book has not weakened with time. Not Ford, nor
Murray, nor Hare has been able to replace it. The tourist reads it within
the walls it commemorates as conscientiously as the devout read Ruskin
in Florence. It serves as text book in the Court of Lions and the Garden
of Lindaraxa. It is the student's manual in the high _mirador_ of the
Sultanas and the court of the mosque where Fortuny painted. In a Spanish
translation it is pressed upon you almost as you cross the threshold.
Irving's rooms in the Palace are always locked, that the guide may get an
extra fee for opening--as a special favour--an apartment which half the
people ask to see. As the steamers "Rip Van Winkle" and "Knickerbocker"
ply up and down the Hudson, so the Hotel Washington Irving rises under
the shadow of the Alhambra. Even the spirits and spooks that haunt every
grove and garden are all of his creation, as Spaniards themselves will
be quick to tell you; though who Irving--or, in their familiar speech,
"Vashington"--was, but very few of them could explain. And thus his name
has become so closely associated with the place that, just as Diedrich
Knickerbocker will be remembered while New York stands, so Washington
Irving cannot be forgotten so long as the Red Palace looks down upon the
Vega and the tradition of the Moor lingers in Granada.






  The Journey                                                   1
  Palace of the Alhambra                                       46
  Important Negotiations.--The Author Succeeds to
    the Throne of Boabdil                                      79
  Inhabitants of the Alhambra                                  90
  The Hall of Ambassadors                                      96
  The Mysterious Chambers                                     106
  Panorama View from the Tower of Comares                     122
  The Balcony                                                 134
  The Adventure of the Mason                                  144
  The Court of Lions                                          151
  Mementoes of Boabdil                                        163
  The House of the Weathercock                                172
  Legend of the Arabian Astrologer                            176
  Visitors to the Alhambra                                    199
  The Generalife                                              207
  Legend of Prince Ahmed al Kamel, or, the Pilgrim
    of Love                                                   217
  A Ramble Among the Hills                                    259
  Legend of the Moor's Legacy                                 270
  The Tower of Las Infantas                                   293
  Legend of the Three Beautiful Princesses                    297
  Legend of the Rose of the Alhambra                          326
  The Veteran                                                 346
  The Governor and the Notary                                 350
  Governor Manco and the Soldier                              359
  A Fête in the Alhambra                                      377
  Legend of the Two Discreet Statues                          383
  The Crusade of the Grand Master of Alcántara                401
  An Expedition in Quest of a Diploma                         413
  The Legend of the Enchanted Soldier                         417
  The Author's Farewell to Granada                            432


  [Illustration: _Seville_]



In the spring of 1829, the author of this work, whom curiosity had brought
into Spain, made a rambling expedition from Seville to Granada in company
with a friend, a member of the Russian Embassy at Madrid. Accident had
thrown us together from distant regions of the globe and a similarity of
taste led us to wander together among the romantic mountains of Andalusia.

  [Illustration: _A stern melancholy country._]

And here, before setting forth, let me indulge in a few previous remarks
on Spanish scenery and Spanish travelling. Many are apt to picture
Spain to their imaginations as a soft southern region, decked out with
the luxuriant charms of voluptuous Italy. On the contrary, though there
are exceptions in some of the maritime provinces, yet, for the greater
part, it is a stern, melancholy country, with rugged mountains, and
long sweeping plains, destitute of trees, and indescribably silent and
lonesome, partaking of the savage and solitary character of Africa. What
adds to this silence and loneliness, is the absence of singing-birds, a
natural consequence of the want of groves and hedges. The vulture and the
eagle are seen wheeling about the mountain-cliffs, and soaring over the
plains, and groups of shy bustards stalk about the heaths; but the myriads
of smaller birds, which animate the whole face of other countries, are
met with in but few provinces in Spain, and in those chiefly among the
orchards and gardens which surround the habitations of man.


In the interior provinces the traveller occasionally traverses great
tracts cultivated with grain as far as the eye can reach, waving at times
with verdure, at other times naked and sunburnt, but he looks round in
vain for the hand that has tilled the soil. At length he perceives some
village on a steep hill, or rugged crag, with mouldering battlements
and ruined watch-tower: a stronghold, in old times, against civil war,
or Moorish inroad: for the custom among the peasantry of congregating
together for mutual protection is still kept up in most parts of Spain,
in consequence of the maraudings of roving freebooters.

But though a great part of Spain is deficient in the garniture of groves
and forests, and the softer charms of ornamental cultivation, yet its
scenery is noble in its severity and in unison with the attributes of its
people; and I think that I better understand the proud, hardy, frugal,
and abstemious Spaniard, his manly defiance of hardships, and contempt of
effeminate indulgences, since I have seen the country he inhabits.



There is something, too, in the sternly simple features of the Spanish
landscape, that impresses on the soul a feeling of sublimity. The immense
plains of the Castiles and of La Mancha, extending as far as the eye can
reach, derive an interest from their very nakedness and immensity, and
possess, in some degree, the solemn grandeur of the ocean. In ranging
over these boundless wastes, the eye catches sight here and there of
a straggling herd of cattle attended by a lonely herdsman, motionless
as a statue, with his long slender pike tapering up like a lance into
the air; or beholds a long train of mules slowly moving along the waste
like a train of camels in the desert; or a single horseman, armed with
blunderbuss and stiletto, and prowling over the plain. Thus the country,
the habits, the very looks of the people, have something of the Arabian
character. The general insecurity of the country is evinced in the
universal use of weapons. The herdsman in the field, the shepherd in the
plain, has his musket and his knife. The wealthy villager rarely ventures
to the market-town without his _trabuco_, and, perhaps, a servant on
foot with a blunderbuss on his shoulder; and the most petty journey is
undertaken with the preparation of a warlike enterprise.

  [Illustration: _Picturesque Ronda._]


  [Illustration: _Roman Bridge, Ronda._]


The dangers of the road produce also a mode of travelling resembling,
on a diminutive scale, the caravans of the East. The _arrieros_, or
carriers, congregate in convoys, and set off in large and well-armed
trains on appointed days; while additional travellers swell their number,
and contribute to their strength. In this primitive way is the commerce
of the country carried on. The muleteer is the general medium of traffic,
and the legitimate traverser of the land, crossing the peninsula from the
Pyrenees and the Asturias to the Alpuxarras, the _Serrania de Ronda_,
and even to the gates of Gibraltar. He lives frugally and hardily: his
_alforjas_ of coarse cloth hold his scanty stock of provisions; a leathern
bottle, hanging at his saddle-bow, contains wine or water, for a supply
across barren mountains and thirsty plains; a mule-cloth spread upon the
ground is his bed at night, and his pack-saddle his pillow. His low, but
clean-limbed and sinewy form betokens strength; his complexion is dark
and sunburnt; his eye resolute, but quiet in its expression, except when
kindled by sudden emotion; his demeanour is frank, manly, and courteous,
and he never passes you without a grave salutation: "_Dios guarde à
usted!_" "_Va usted con Dios, Caballero!_" "God guard you!" "God be with
you, Cavalier!"

  [Illustration: _Serrania de Ronda._]

As these men have often their whole fortune at stake upon the burden of
their mules, they have their weapons at hand, slung to their saddles, and
ready to be snatched out for desperate defence; but their united numbers
render them secure against petty bands of marauders, and the solitary
_bandolero_, armed to the teeth, and mounted on his Andalusian steed,
hovers about them, like a pirate about a merchant convoy, without daring
to assault.

The Spanish muleteer has an inexhaustible stock of songs and ballads, with
which to beguile his incessant wayfaring. The airs are rude and simple,
consisting of but few inflections. These he chants forth with a loud
voice, and long, drawling cadence, seated sideways on his mule, who seems
to listen with infinite gravity, and to keep time, with his paces, to the
tune. The couplets thus chanted are often old traditional romances about
the Moors, or some legend of a saint, or some love-ditty; or, what is
still more frequent, some ballad about a bold _contrabandista_, or hardy
_bandolero_, for the smuggler and the robber are poetical heroes among
the common people of Spain. Often, the song of the muleteer is composed
at the instant, and relates to some local scene, or some incident of the
journey. This talent of singing and improvising is frequent in Spain, and
is said to have been inherited from the Moors. There is something wildly
pleasing in listening to these ditties among the rude and lonely scenes
they illustrate; accompanied, as they are, by the occasional jingle of
the mule-bell.


It has a most picturesque effect also to meet a train of muleteers in some
mountain-pass. First you hear the bells of the leading mules, breaking
with their simple melody the stillness of the airy height; or, perhaps,
the voice of the muleteer admonishing some tardy or wandering animal, or
chanting, at the full stretch of his lungs, some traditionary ballad.
At length you see the mules slowly winding along the cragged defile,
sometimes descending precipitous cliffs, so as to present themselves in
full relief against the sky, sometimes toiling up the deep arid chasms
below you. As they approach, you descry their gay decorations of worsted
stuffs, tassels, and saddle-cloths, while, as they pass by, the ever
ready _trabuco_, slung behind the packs and saddles, gives a hint of the
insecurity of the road.

  [Illustration: _Approach to Granada. From near Elvira._]

The ancient kingdom of Granada, into which we were about to penetrate, is
one of the most mountainous regions of Spain. Vast _sierras_, or chains
of mountains, destitute of shrub or tree, and mottled with variegated
marbles and granites, elevate their sunburnt summits against a deep-blue
sky; yet in their rugged bosoms lie ingulfed verdant and fertile valleys,
where the desert and the garden strive for mastery, and the very rock is,
as it were, compelled to yield the fig, the orange, and the citron, and
to blossom with the myrtle and the rose.


In the wild passes of these mountains the sight of walled towns and
villages, built like eagles' nests among the cliffs, and surrounded by
Moorish battlements, or of ruined watch-towers perched on lofty peaks,
carries the mind back to the chivalric days of Christian and Moslem
warfare, and to the romantic struggle for the conquest of Granada. In
traversing these lofty _sierras_ the traveller is often obliged to alight,
and lead his horse up and down the steep and jagged ascents and descents,
resembling the broken steps of a staircase. Sometimes the road winds along
dizzy precipices, without parapet to guard him from the gulfs below, and
then will plunge down steep and dark and dangerous declivities. Sometimes
it struggles through rugged _barrancos_, or ravines, worn by winter
torrents, the obscure path of the _contrabandista_; while, ever and anon,
the ominous cross, the monument of robbery and murder, erected on a mound
of stones at some lonely part of the road, admonishes the traveller that
he is among the haunts of banditti, perhaps at that very moment under
the eye of some lurking _bandolero_. Sometimes, in winding through the
narrow valleys, he is startled by a hoarse bellowing, and beholds above
him on some green fold of the mountain a herd of fierce Andalusian bulls,
destined for the combat of the arena. I have felt, if I may so express it,
an agreeable horror in thus contemplating, near at hand, these terrific
animals, clothed with tremendous strength, and ranging their native
pastures in untamed wildness, strangers almost to the face of man: they
know no one but the solitary herdsman who attends upon them, and even he
at times dares not venture to approach them. The low bellowing of these
bulls, and their menacing aspect as they look down from their rocky
height, give additional wildness to the savage scenery.

I have been betrayed unconsciously into a longer disquisition than I
intended on the general features of Spanish travelling; but there is
a romance about all the recollections of the Peninsula dear to the

As our proposed route to Granada lay through mountainous regions, where
the roads are little better than mule-paths, and said to be frequently
beset by robbers, we took due travelling precautions. Forwarding the most
valuable part of our luggage a day or two in advance by the _arrieros_,
we retained merely clothing and necessaries for the journey and money
for the expenses of the road; with a little surplus of hard dollars
by way of _robber purse_, to satisfy the gentlemen of the road should
we be assailed. Unlucky is the too wary traveller who, having grudged
this precaution, falls into their clutches empty-handed; they are apt
to give him a sound rib-roasting for cheating them out of their dues.
"_Caballeros_ like them cannot afford to scour the roads and risk the
gallows for nothing."

A couple of stout steeds were provided for our own mounting, and a third
for our scanty luggage and the conveyance of a sturdy Biscayan lad,
about twenty years of age, who was to be our guide, our groom, our valet,
and at all times our guard. For the latter office he was provided with
a formidable _trabuco_ or carbine, with which he promised to defend us
against _rateros_ or solitary foot-pads; but as to powerful bands, like
that of the "Sons of Ecija," he confessed they were quite beyond his
prowess. He made much vainglorious boast about his weapon at the outset of
the journey; though, to the discredit of his generalship, it was suffered
to hang unloaded behind his saddle.

According to our stipulations, the man from whom we hired the horses was
to be at the expense of their feed and stabling on the journey, as well
as of the maintenance of our Biscayan squire, who of course was provided
with funds for the purpose; we took care, however, to give the latter
a private hint, that, though we made a close bargain with his master,
it was all in his favour, as, if he proved a good man and true, both
he and the horses should live at our cost, and the money provided for
their maintenance remain in his pocket. This unexpected largess, with the
occasional present of a cigar, won his heart completely. He was, in truth,
a faithful, cheery, kind-hearted creature, as full of saws and proverbs
as that miracle of squires, the renowned Sancho himself, whose name, by
the by, we bestowed upon him, and, like a true Spaniard, though treated
by us with companionable familiarity, he never for a moment, in his utmost
hilarity, overstepped the bounds of respectful decorum.

Such were our minor preparations for the journey, but above all we laid
in an ample stock of good-humour, and a genuine disposition to be pleased;
determining to travel in true _contrabandista_ style; taking things as we
found them, rough or smooth, and mingling with all classes and conditions
in a kind of vagabond companionship. It is the true way to travel in
Spain. With such disposition and determination, what a country is it for
a traveller, where the most miserable inn is as full of adventure as an
enchanted castle, and every meal is in itself an achievement! Let others
repine at the lack of turnpike roads and sumptuous hotels, and all the
elaborate comforts of a country cultivated and civilised into tameness
and commonplace; but give me the rude mountain scramble; the roving,
hap-hazard, wayfaring; the half wild, yet frank and hospitable manners,
which impart such a true game-flavour to dear old romantic Spain!


Thus equipped and attended, we cantered out of "Fair Seville city" at
half-past six in the morning of a bright May day, in company with a
lady and gentleman of our acquaintance, who rode a few miles with us, in
the Spanish mode of taking leave. Our route lay through old _Alcala de
Guadaira_ (Alcala on the river Aira), the benefactress of Seville, that
supplies it with bread and water. Here live the bakers who furnish Seville
with that delicious bread for which it is renowned; here are fabricated
those _roscas_ well known by the well-merited appellation of _pan de Dios_
(bread of God); with which, by the way, we ordered our man, Sancho, to
stock his _alforjas_ for the journey. Well has this beneficent little city
been denominated the "Oven of Seville"; well has it been called _Alcala de
los Panaderos_ (Alcala of the bakers), for a great part of its inhabitants
by lines of mules and donkeys laden with great panniers of loaves and


I have said Alcala supplies Seville with water. Here are great tanks or
reservoirs, of Roman and Moorish construction, whence water is conveyed
to Seville by noble aqueducts. The springs of Alcala are almost as much
vaunted as its ovens; and to the lightness, sweetness, and purity of its
water is attributed in some measure the delicacy of its bread.


Here we halted for a time, at the ruins of the old Moorish castle, a
favourite resort for picnic parties from Seville, where we had passed many
a pleasant hour. The walls are of great extent, pierced with loopholes;
enclosing a huge square tower or keep, with the remains of _masmoras_, or
subterranean granaries. The Guadaira winds its stream round the hill, at
the foot of these ruins, whimpering among reeds, rushes, and pond-lilies,
and overhung with rhododendron, eglantine, yellow myrtle, and a profusion
of wild flowers and aromatic shrubs; while along its banks are groves of
oranges, citrons, and pomegranates, among which we heard the early note
of the nightingale.


A picturesque bridge was thrown across the little river, at one end of
which was the ancient Moorish mill of the castle, defended by a tower of
yellow stone; a fisherman's net hung against the wall to dry, and hard
by in the river was his boat; a group of peasant women in bright-coloured
dresses, crossing the arched bridge, were reflected in the placid stream.
Altogether it was an admirable scene for a landscape-painter.


The old Moorish mills, so often found on secluded streams, are
characteristic objects in Spanish landscape, and suggestive of the
perilous times of old. They are of stone, and often in the form of towers
with loopholes and battlements, capable of defence in those warlike days
when the country on both sides of the border was subject to sudden inroad
and hasty ravage, and when men had to labour with their weapons at hand,
and some place of temporary refuge.

Our next halting-place was at Gandul, where were the remains of another
Moorish castle, with its ruined tower, a nestling-place for storks,
and commanding a view over a vast _campiña_ or fertile plain, with the
mountains of Ronda in the distance. These castles were strongholds to
protect the plains from the _talas_ or forays to which they were subject,
when the fields of corn would be laid waste, the flocks and herds swept
from the vast pastures, and, together with captive peasantry, hurried off
in long _cavalgadas_ across the borders.


At Gandul we found a tolerable _posada_; the good folks could not tell us
what time of day it was, the clock only struck once in the day, two hours
after noon; until that time it was guess-work. We guessed it was full time
to eat; so, alighting, we ordered a repast. While that was in preparation,
we visited the palace once the residence of the Marquis of Gandul. All
was gone to decay; there were but two or three rooms habitable, and very
poorly furnished. Yet here were the remains of grandeur: a terrace, where
fair dames and gentle cavaliers may once have walked; a fish-pond and
ruined garden, with grape-vines and date-bearing palm-trees. Here we were
joined by a fat curate, who gathered a bouquet of roses, and presented
it, very gallantly, to the lady who accompanied us.

Below the palace was the mill, with orange-trees and aloes in front, and a
pretty stream of pure water. We took a seat in the shade; and the millers,
all leaving their work, sat down and smoked with us; for the Andalusians
are always ready for a gossip. They were waiting for the regular visit
of the barber, who came once a week to put all their chins in order.
He arrived shortly afterwards: a lad of seventeen, mounted on a donkey,
eager to display his new _alforjas_ or saddle-bags, just bought at a fair;
price one dollar, to be paid on St. John's day (in June), by which time
he trusted to have mown beards enough to put him in funds.

By the time the laconic clock of the castle had struck two we had finished
our dinner. So, taking leave of our Seville friends, and leaving the
millers still under the hands of the barber, we set off on our ride across
the _campiña_. It was one of those vast plains, common in Spain, where for
miles and miles there is neither house nor tree. Unlucky the traveller who
has to traverse it, exposed as we were to heavy and repeated showers of
rain. There is no escape nor shelter. Our only protection was our Spanish
cloaks, which nearly covered man and horse, but grew heavier every mile.
By the time we had lived through one shower we would see another slowly
but inevitably approaching; fortunately in the interval there would be an
outbreak of bright, warm, Andalusian sunshine, which would make our cloaks
send up wreaths of steam, but which partially dried them before the next

Shortly after sunset we arrived at Arahal, a little town among the hills.
We found it in a bustle with a party of _miquelets_, who were patrolling
the country to ferret out robbers. The appearance of foreigners like
ourselves was an unusual circumstance in an interior country town; and
little Spanish towns of the kind are easily put in a state of gossip
and wonderment by such an occurrence. Mine host, with two or three old
wise-acre comrades in brown cloaks, studied our passports in a corner
of the _posada_, while an _Alguazil_ took notes by the dim light of a
lamp. The passports were in foreign languages and perplexed them, but
our Squire Sancho assisted them in their studies, and magnified our
importance with the grandiloquence of a Spaniard. In the meantime the
magnificent distribution of a few cigars had won the hearts of all around
us; in a little while the whole community seemed put in agitation to
make us welcome. The _Corregidor_ himself waited upon us, and a great
rush-bottomed arm-chair was ostentatiously bolstered into our room by our
landlady, for the accommodation of that important personage. The commander
of the patrol took supper with us: a lively, talking, laughing _Andaluz_,
who had made a campaign in South America, and recounted his exploits in
love and war with much pomp of phrase, vehemence of gesticulation, and
mysterious rolling of the eye. He told us that he had a list of all the
robbers in the country, and meant to ferret out every mother's son of
them; he offered us at the same time some of his soldiers as an escort.
"One is enough to protect you, _señors_; the robbers know me, and know
my men; the sight of one is enough to spread terror through a whole
_sierra_." We thanked him for his offer, but assured him, in his own
strain, that with the protection of our redoubtable squire, Sancho, we
were not afraid of all the _ladrones_ of Andalusia.


While we were supping with our drawcansir friend, we heard the notes of
a guitar, and the click of castanets, and presently a chorus of voices
singing a popular air. In fact, mine host had gathered together the
amateur singers and musicians, and the rustic belles of the neighbourhood,
and, on going forth, the court-yard or _patio_ of the inn presented a
scene of true Spanish festivity. We took our seats with mine host and
hostess and the commander of the patrol, under an archway opening into the
court; the guitar passed from hand to hand, but a jovial shoemaker was the
Orpheus of the place. He was a pleasant-looking fellow, with huge black
whiskers; his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. He touched the guitar
with masterly skill, and sang a little amorous ditty with an expressive
leer at the women, with whom he was evidently a favourite. He afterwards
danced a _fandango_ with a buxom Andalusian damsel, to the great delight
of the spectators. But none of the females present could compare with
mine host's pretty daughter, Pepita, who had slipped away and made her
toilette for the occasion and had covered her head with roses; and who
distinguished herself in a _bolero_ with a handsome young dragoon. We
ordered our host to let wine and refreshment circulate freely among the
company, yet, though there was a motley assembly of soldiers, muleteers,
and villagers, no one exceeded the bounds of sober enjoyment. The scene
was a study for a painter: the picturesque group of dancers, the troopers
in their half military dresses, the peasantry wrapped in their brown
cloaks; nor must I omit to mention the old meagre _Alguazil_, in a short
black cloak, who took no notice of anything going on, but sat in a corner
diligently writing by the dim light of a huge copper lamp, that might have
figured in the days of Don Quixote.

The following morning was bright and balmy, as a May morning ought to
be, according to the poets. Leaving Arahal at seven o'clock, with all
the _posada_ at the door to cheer us off, we pursued our way through a
fertile country, covered with grain and beautifully verdant; but which
in summer, when the harvest is over and the fields parched and brown,
must be monotonous and lonely; for, as in our ride of yesterday, there
were neither houses nor people to be seen. The latter all congregate in
villages and strongholds among the hills, as if these fertile plains were
still subject to the ravages of the Moor.

At noon we came to where there was a group of trees, beside a brook in a
rich meadow. Here we alighted to make our mid-day meal. It was really a
luxurious spot, among wild flowers and aromatic herbs, with birds singing
around us. Knowing the scanty larders of Spanish inns, and the houseless
tracts we might have to traverse, we had taken care to have the _alforjas_
of our squire well stocked with cold provisions, and his _bota_, or
leathern bottle, which might hold a gallon, filled to the neck with choice
Valdepeñas wine.[1] As we depended more upon these for our well-being than
even his _trabuco_, we exhorted him to be more attentive in keeping them
well charged; and I must do him the justice to say that his namesake,
the trencher-loving Sancho Panza, was never a more provident purveyor.
Though the _alforjas_ and the _bota_ were frequently and vigorously
assailed throughout the journey, they had a wonderful power of repletion,
our vigilant squire sacking everything that remained from our repasts at
the inns to supplying these junketings by the road-side, which were his


On the present occasion he spread quite a sumptuous variety of remnants
on the greensward before us, graced with an excellent ham brought from
Seville; then, taking his seat at a little distance, he solaced himself
with what remained in the _alforjas_. A visit or two to the _bota_ made
him as merry and chirruping as a grasshopper filled with dew. On my
comparing his contents of the _alforjas_ to Sancho's skimming of the
flesh-pots at the wedding of Camacho, I found he was well versed in the
history of Don Quixote, but, like many of the common people of Spain,
firmly believed it to be a true history.

"All that happened a long time ago, _Señor_," said he, with an inquiring

"A very long time," I replied.

"I dare say more than a thousand years,"--still looking dubiously.

"I dare say not less."

The squire was satisfied. Nothing pleased the simple-hearted valet more
than my comparing him to the renowned Sancho for devotion to the trencher;
and he called himself by no other name throughout the journey.


Our repast being finished, we spread our cloaks on the greensward under
the tree, and took a luxurious _siesta_, in the Spanish fashion. The
clouding up of the weather, however, warned us to depart, and a harsh wind
sprang up from the southeast. Towards five o'clock we arrived at Osuna, a
town of fifteen thousand inhabitants, situated on the side of a hill, with
a church and a ruined castle. The _posada_ was outside of the walls; it
had a cheerless look. The evening being cold, the inhabitants were crowded
round a _brasero_ in a chimney-corner; and the hostess was a dry old
woman, who looked like a mummy. Every one eyed us askance as we entered,
as Spaniards are apt to regard strangers; a cheery, respectful salutation
on our part, caballeroing them and touching our sombreros, set Spanish
pride at ease; and when we took our seat among them, lit our cigars, and
passed the cigar-box round among them, our victory was complete. I have
never known a Spaniard, whatever his rank or condition, who would suffer
himself to be outdone in courtesy; and to the common Spaniard the present
of a cigar _puro_ is irresistible. Care, however, must be taken never to
offer him a present with an air of superiority and condescension: he is
too much of a _caballero_ to receive favours at the cost of his dignity.


Leaving Osuna at an early hour the next morning, we entered the _sierra_
or range of mountains. The road wound through picturesque scenery, but
lonely; and a cross here and there by the roadside, the sign of a murder,
showed that we were now coming among the "robber haunts." This wild and
intricate country, with its silent plains and valleys intersected by
mountains, has ever been famous for banditti. It was here that Omar Ibn
Hassan, a robber-chief among the Moslems, held ruthless sway in the ninth
century, disputing dominion even with the califs of Cordova. This too was
a part of the regions so often ravaged during the reign of Ferdinand and
Isabella by Ali Atar, the old Moorish _alcayde_ of Loxa, father-in-law of
Boabdil so that it was called Ali Atar's garden, and here "Jose Maria,"
famous in Spanish brigand story, had his favourite lurking-places.


In the course of the day we passed through Fuente la Piedra, near a little
salt lake of the same name, a beautiful sheet of water, reflecting like
a mirror the distant mountains. We now came in sight of Antiquera, that
old city of warlike reputation, lying in the lap of the great _sierra_
which runs through Andalusia. A noble _vega_ spread out before it, a
picture of mild fertility set in a frame of rocky mountains. Crossing a
gentle river we approached the city between hedges and gardens, in which
nightingales were pouring forth their evening song. About nightfall we
arrived at the gates. Everything in this venerable city has a decidedly
Spanish stamp. It lies too much out of the frequented track of foreign
travel to have its old usages trampled out. Here I observed old men still
wearing the _montero_, or ancient hunting-cap, once common throughout
Spain; while the young men wore the little round-crowned hat, with brim
turned up all round, like a cup turned down in its saucer; while the brim
was set off with little black tufts like cockades. The women, too, were
all in _mantillas_ and _basquinas_. The fashions of Paris had not reached



Pursuing our course through a spacious street, we put up at the _posada_
of San Fernando. As Antiquera, though a considerable city, is, as
I observed, somewhat out of the track of travel, I had anticipated
bad quarters and poor fare at the inn. I was agreeably disappointed,
therefore, by a supper-table amply supplied, and what were still more
acceptable, good clean rooms and comfortable beds. Our man Sancho felt
himself as well off as his namesake when he had the run of the duke's
kitchen, and let me know, as I retired for the night, that it had been a
proud time for the _alforjas_.



Early in the morning (May 4th) I strolled to the ruins of the old Moorish
castle, which itself had been reared on the ruins of a Roman fortress.
Here, taking my seat on the remains of a crumbling tower, I enjoyed a
grand and varied landscape, beautiful in itself, and full of storied and
romantic associations; for I was now in the very heart of the country
famous for the chivalrous contests between Moor and Christian. Below
me, in its lap of hills, lay the old warrior city so often mentioned
in chronicle and ballad. Out of yon gate and down yon hill paraded the
band of Spanish cavaliers, of highest rank and bravest bearing, to make
that foray during the war and conquest of Granada, which ended in the
lamentable massacre among the mountains of Malaga, and laid all Andalusia
in mourning. Beyond spread out the _vega_, covered with gardens and
orchards and fields of grain and enamelled meadows, inferior only to the
famous _vega_ of Granada. To the right the Rock of the Lovers stretched
like a cragged promontory into the plain, whence the daughter of the
Moorish alcayde and her lover, when closely pursued, threw themselves in


The matin peal from church and convent below me rang sweetly in the
morning air, as I descended. The market-place was beginning to throng with
the populace, who traffic in the abundant produce of the _vega_; for this
is the mart of an agricultural region. In the market-place were abundance
of freshly plucked roses for sale; for not a dame or damsel of Andalusia
thinks her gala dress complete without a rose shining like a gem among
her raven tresses.

On returning to the inn I found our man Sancho in high gossip with the
landlord and two or three of his hangers-on. He had just been telling some
marvellous story about Seville, which mine host seemed piqued to match
with one equally marvellous about Antiquera. There was once a fountain,
he said, in one of the public squares called _Il fuente del toro_ (the
fountain of the bull), because the water gushed from the mouth of the
bull's head, carved of stone. Underneath the head was inscribed,--

     _En frente del toro
     Se hallen tesoro._

In front of the bull there is treasure. Many digged in front of the
fountain, but lost their labour and found no money. At last one knowing
fellow construed the motto a different way. It is in the forehead _frente_
of the bull that the treasure is to be found, said he to himself, and I
am the man to find it. Accordingly he came, late at night, with a mallet,
and knocked the head to pieces; and what do you think he found?


"Plenty of gold and diamonds!" cried Sancho, eagerly.

"He found nothing," rejoined mine host, dryly, "and he ruined the

Here a great laugh was set up by the landlord's hangers-on; who considered
Sancho completely taken in by what I presume was one of mine host's
standing jokes.

Leaving Antiquera at eight o'clock, we had a delightful ride along the
little river, and by gardens and orchards fragrant with the odours of
spring and vocal with the nightingale. Our road passed round the Rock of
the Lovers (_el peñon de los enamorados_), which rose in a precipice above
us. In the course of the morning we passed through Archidona, situated
in the breast of a high hill, with a three-pointed mountain towering
above it, and the ruins of a Moorish fortress. It was a great toil to
ascend a steep stony street leading up into the city, although it bore
the encouraging name of _Calle Real del Llano_ (the royal street of the
plain), but it was a still greater toil to descend from this mountain city
on the other side.



At noon we halted in sight of Archidona, in a pleasant little meadow
among hills covered with olive-trees. Our cloaks were spread on the grass,
under an elm by the side of a bubbling rivulet; our horses were tethered
where they might crop the herbage, and Sancho was told to produce his
_alforjas_. He had been unusually silent this morning ever since the laugh
raised at his expense, but now his countenance brightened, and he produced
his _alforjas_ with an air of triumph. They contained the contributions
of four days' journeying, but had been signally enriched by the foraging
of the previous evening in the plenteous inn at Antiquera; and this seemed
to furnish him with a set-off to the banter of mine host.

     _En frente del toro
     Se hallen tesoro_

would he exclaim, with a chuckling laugh, as he drew forth the
heterogeneous contents one by one, in a series which seemed to have no
end. First came forth a shoulder of roasted kid, very little the worse
for wear; then an entire partridge; then a great morsel of salted codfish
wrapped in paper; then the residue of a ham; then the half of a pullet,
together with several rolls of bread, and a rabble rout of oranges,
figs, raisins, and walnuts. His _bota_ also had been recruited with some
excellent wine of Malaga. At every fresh apparition from his larder, he
would enjoy our ludicrous surprise, throwing himself back on the grass,
shouting with laughter, and exclaiming, "_Frente del toro!--frente del
toro!_ Ah, _señors_, they thought Sancho a simpleton at Antiquera; but
Sancho knew where to find the _tesoro_."

While we were diverting ourselves with his simple drollery, a solitary
beggar approached, who had almost the look of a pilgrim. He had a
venerable gray beard, and was evidently very old, supporting himself on
a staff, yet age had not bowed him down; he was tall and erect, and had
the wreck of a fine form. He wore a round Andalusian hat, a sheep-skin
jacket, and leathern breeches, gaiters, and sandals. His dress, though
old and patched, was decent, his demeanour manly, and he addressed us
with the grave courtesy that is to be remarked in the lowest Spaniard. We
were in a favourable mood for such a visitor; and in a freak of capricious
charity gave him some silver, a loaf of fine wheaten bread, and a goblet
of our choice wine of Malaga. He received them thankfully, but without
any grovelling tribute of gratitude. Tasting the wine, he held it up
to the light, with a slight beam of surprise in his eye; then quaffing
it off at a draught, "It is many years," said he, "since I have tasted
such wine. It is a cordial to an old man's heart." Then, looking at the
beautiful wheaten loaf, "_bendito sea tal pan!_" "blessed be such bread!"
So saying, he put it in his wallet. We urged him to eat it on the spot.
"No, _señors_," replied he, "the wine I had either to drink or leave; but
the bread I may take home to share with my family."

Our man Sancho sought our eye, and reading permission there, gave the old
man some of the ample fragments of our repast, on condition, however, that
he should sit down and make a meal.

He accordingly took his seat at some little distance from us, and
began to eat slowly, and with a sobriety and decorum that would have
become a _hidalgo_. There was altogether a measured manner and a quiet
self-possession about the old man, that made me think that he had seen
better days: his language, too, though simple, had occasionally something
picturesque and almost poetical in the phraseology. I set him down for
some broken-down cavalier. I was mistaken; it was nothing but the innate
courtesy of a Spaniard, and the poetical turn of thought and language
often to be found in the lowest classes of this clear-witted people.
For fifty years, he told us, he had been a shepherd, but now he was out
of employ and destitute. "When I was a young man," said he, "nothing
could harm or trouble me; I was always well, always gay; but now I am
seventy-nine years of age, and a beggar, and my heart begins to fail me."

Still he was not a regular mendicant: it was not until recently that want
had driven him to this degradation; and he gave a touching picture of the
struggle between hunger and pride, when abject destitution first came upon
him. He was returning from Malaga without money; he had not tasted food
for some time, and was crossing one of the great plains of Spain, where
there were but few habitations. When almost dead with hunger, he applied
at the door of a venta or country inn. "_Perdon usted por Dios hermano!_"
(Excuse us, brother, for God's sake!) was the reply--the usual mode in
Spain of refusing a beggar. "I turned away," said he, "with shame greater
than my hunger, for my heart was yet too proud. I came to a river with
high banks, and deep, rapid current, and felt tempted to throw myself
in: 'What should such an old, worthless, wretched man as I live for?' But
when I was on the brink of the current, I thought on the blessed Virgin,
and turned away. I travelled on until I saw a country-seat at a little
distance from the road, and entered the outer gate of the court-yard.
The door was shut, but there were two young _señoras_ at a window. I
approached and begged;--'Perdon _usted por Dios hermano!_'--and the window
closed. I crept out of the court-yard, but hunger overcame me, and my
heart gave way: I thought my hour at hand, so I laid myself down at the
gate, commended myself to the Holy Virgin, and covered my head to die.
In a little while afterwards the master of the house came home: seeing me
lying at his gate, he uncovered my head, had pity on my gray hairs, took
me into his house, and gave me food. So, _señors_, you see that one should
always put confidence in the protection of the Virgin."


The old man was on his way to his native place, Archidona, which was in
full view on its steep and rugged mountain. He pointed to the ruins of its
castle. "That castle," he said, "was inhabited by a Moorish king at the
time of the wars of Granada. Queen Isabella invaded it with a great army;
but the king looked down from his castle among the clouds, and laughed
her to scorn! Upon this the Virgin appeared to the queen, and guided her
and her army up a mysterious path in the mountains, which had never before
been known. When the Moor saw her coming, he was astonished, and springing
with his horse from a precipice, was dashed to pieces! The marks of his
horse's hoofs," said the old man, "are to be seen in the margin of the
rock to this day. And see, _señors_, yonder is the road by which the queen
and her army mounted: you see it like a ribbon up the mountain's side; but
the miracle is, that, though it can be seen at a distance, when you come
near it disappears!"

The ideal road to which he pointed was undoubtedly a sandy ravine of the
mountain, which looked narrow and defined at a distance, but became broad
and indistinct on an approach.

As the old man's heart warmed with wine and wassail, he went on to tell us
a story of the buried treasure left under the castle by the Moorish king.
His own house was next to the foundations of the castle. The curate and
notary dreamed three times of the treasure, and went to work at the place
pointed out in their dreams. His own son-in-law heard the sound of their
pick-axes and spades at night. What they found, nobody knows; they became
suddenly rich, but kept their own secret. Thus the old man had once been
next door to fortune, but was doomed never to get under the same roof.


I have remarked that the stories of treasure buried by the Moors, so
popular throughout Spain, are most current among the poorest people. Kind
nature consoles with shadows for the lack of substantials. The thirsty man
dreams of fountains and running streams; the hungry man of banquets; and
the poor man of heaps of hidden gold: nothing certainly is more opulent
than the imagination of a beggar.

Our afternoon's ride took us through a steep and rugged defile of the
mountains, called _Puerta del Rey_, the Pass of the King; being one of
the great passes into the territories of Granada, and the one by which
King Ferdinand conducted his army. Towards sunset the road, winding round
a hill, brought us in sight of the famous little frontier city of Loxa,
which repulsed Ferdinand from its walls. Its Arabic name implies guardian,
and such it was to the _vega_ of Granada, being one of its advanced
guards. It was the stronghold of that fiery veteran, old Ali Atar, father
in-law of Boabdil; and here it was that the latter collected his troops,
and sallied forth on that disastrous foray which ended in the death of
the old _alcayde_ and his own captivity. From its commanding position at
the gate, as it were, of this mountain-pass, Loxa has not unaptly been
termed the key of Granada. It is wildly picturesque; built along the
face of an arid mountain. The ruins of a Moorish _alcazar_ or citadel
crown a rocky mound which rises out of the centre of the town. The river
Xenil washes its base, winding among rocks, and groves, and gardens, and
meadows, and crossed by a Moorish bridge. Above the city all is savage
and sterile, below is the richest vegetation and the freshest verdure. A
similar contrast is presented by the river: above the bridge it is placid
and grassy, reflecting groves and gardens; below it is rapid, noisy, and
tumultuous. The Sierra Nevada, the royal mountains of Granada, crowned
with perpetual snow, form the distant boundary to this varied landscape,
one of the most characteristic of romantic Spain.


Alighting at the entrance of the city, we gave our horses to Sancho to
lead them to the inn, while we strolled about to enjoy the singular beauty
of the environs. As we crossed the bridge to a fine _alameda_, or public
walk, the bells tolled the hour of orison. At the sound the wayfarers,
whether on business or pleasure, paused, took off their hats, crossed
themselves, and repeated their evening prayer: a pious custom still
rigidly observed in retired parts of Spain. Altogether it was a solemn
and beautiful evening scene, and we wandered on as the evening gradually
closed, and the new moon began to glitter between the high elms of the
_alameda_. We were roused from this quiet state of enjoyment by the voice
of our trusty squire hailing us from a distance. He came up to us, out
of breath. "_Ah, señores_" cried he, "_el pobre Sancho no es nada sin
Don Quixote._" (Ah, señors, poor Sancho is nothing without Don Quixote.)
He had been alarmed at our not coming to the inn; Loxa was such a wild
mountain place, full of _contrabandistas_, enchanters, and _infiernos_;
he did not well know what might have happened, and set out to seek us,
inquiring after us of every person he met, until he traced us across
the bridge, and, to his great joy, caught sight of us strolling in the


The inn to which he conducted us was called the _Corona_, or Crown,
and we found it quite in keeping with the character of the place, the
inhabitants of which seem still to retain the bold, fiery spirit of the
olden time. The hostess was a young and handsome Andalusian widow, whose
trim _basquiña_ of black silk, fringed with bugles, set off the play of
a graceful form and round pliant limbs. Her step was firm and elastic;
her dark eye was full of fire and the coquetry of her air, and varied
ornaments of her person, showed that she was accustomed to be admired.

She was well matched by a brother, nearly about her own age; they were
perfect models of the Andalusian Majo and Maja. He was tall, vigorous,
and well-formed, with a clear olive complexion, a dark beaming eye,
and curling chestnut whiskers that met under his chin. He was gallantly
dressed in a short green velvet jacket, fitted to his shape, profusely
decorated with silver buttons, with a white handkerchief in each pocket.
He had breeches of the same, with rows of buttons from the hips to the
knees; a pink silk handkerchief round his neck, gathered through a ring,
on the bosom of a neatly plaited shirt; a sash round the waist to match;
_bottinas_, or spatterdashes, of the finest russet leather, elegantly
worked, and open at the calf to show his stocking; and russet shoes,
setting off a well-shaped foot.

As he was standing at the door, a horseman rode up and entered into low
and earnest conversation with him. He was dressed in a similar style, and
almost with equal finery; a man about thirty, square-built, with strong
Roman features, handsome, though slightly pitted with the small-pox;
with a free, bold, and somewhat daring air. His powerful black horse
was decorated with tassels and fanciful trappings, and a couple of
broad-mouthed blunderbusses hung behind the saddle. He had the air of
one of those _contrabandistas_ I have seen in the mountains of Ronda,
and evidently had a good understanding with the brother of mine hostess;
nay, if I mistake not, he was a favoured admirer of the widow. In fact,
the whole inn and its inmates had something of a _contrabandista_ aspect,
and a blunderbuss stood in a corner beside the guitar. The horseman
I have mentioned passed his evening in the _posada_, and sang several
bold mountain romances with great spirit. As we were at supper, two poor
Asturians put in, in distress, begging food and a night's lodging. They
had been waylaid by robbers as they came from a fair among the mountains,
robbed of a horse which carried all their stock in trade, stripped
of their money, and most of their apparel, beaten for having offered
resistance, and left almost naked in the road. My companion, with a prompt
generosity natural to him, ordered them a supper and a bed, and gave them
a sum of money to help them forward towards their home.

  [Illustration: _Moorish Gate, Ronda._]

As the evening advanced, the _dramatis personæ_ thickened. A large man,
about sixty years of age, of powerful frame, came strolling in, to gossip
with mine hostess. He was dressed in the ordinary Andalusian costume,
but had a huge sabre tucked under his arm; wore large moustaches, and had
something of a lofty swaggering air. Every one seemed to regard him with
great deference.

Our man Sancho whispered to us that he was Don Ventura Rodriguez, the
hero and champion of Loxa, famous for his prowess and the strength of his
arm. In the time of the French invasion he surprised six troopers who were
asleep; he first secured their horses, then attacked them with his sabre,
killed some, and took the rest prisoners. For this exploit the king allows
him a peseta (the fifth of a duro, or dollar) per day, and has dignified
him with the title of Don.

I was amused to behold his swelling language and demeanour. He was
evidently a thorough Andalusian, boastful as brave. His sabre was always
in his hand or under his arm. He carries it always about with him as a
child does its doll, calls it his Santa Teresa, and says, "When I draw
it, the earth trembles" (_tiembla la tierra_).

I sat until a late hour listening to the varied themes of this motley
group, who mingled together with the unreserve of a Spanish _posada_. We
had _contrabandista_ songs, stories of robbers, guerrilla exploits, and
Moorish legends. The last were from our handsome landlady, who gave a
poetical account of the _infiernos_, or infernal regions of Loxa,--dark
caverns, in which subterranean streams and waterfalls make a mysterious
sound. The common people say that there are money-coiners shut up
there from the time of the Moors; and that the Moorish kings kept their
treasures in those caverns.

I retired to bed with my imagination excited by all that I had seen and
heard in this old warrior city. Scarce had I fallen asleep when I was
aroused by a horrid din and uproar, that might have confounded the hero
of La Mancha himself, whose experience of Spanish inns was a continual
uproar. It seemed for a moment as if the Moors were once more breaking
into the town; or the _infiernos_ of which mine hostess talked had broken
loose. I sallied forth, half dressed, to reconnoitre. It was nothing more
nor less than a _charivari_ to celebrate the nuptials of an old man with
a buxom damsel. Wishing him joy of his bride and his serenade, I returned
to my more quiet bed, and slept soundly until morning.

While dressing, I amused myself in reconnoitring the populace from my
window. There were groups of fine-looking young men in the trim fanciful
Andalusian costume, with brown cloaks, thrown about them in true Spanish
style, which cannot be imitated, and little round majo hats stuck on
with a peculiar knowing air. They had the same galliard look which I have
remarked among the dandy mountaineers of Ronda. Indeed, all this part of
Andalusia abounds with such game-looking characters. They loiter about
the towns and villages; seem to have plenty of time and plenty of money;
"horse to ride and weapon to wear." Great gossips, great smokers, apt at
touching the guitar, singing couplets to their maja belles, and famous
dancers of the _bolero_. Throughout all Spain the men, however poor, have
a gentlemanlike abundance of leisure; seeming to consider it the attribute
of a true _cavaliero_ never to be in a hurry; but the Andalusians are
gay as well as leisurely, and have none of the squalid accompaniments
of idleness. The adventurous contraband trade which prevails throughout
these mountain regions, and along the maritime borders of Andalusia, is
doubtless at the bottom of this galliard character.

In contrast to the costume of these groups was that of two long-legged
Valencians conducting a donkey, laden with articles of merchandise; their
muskets slung crosswise over his back, ready for action. They wore round
jackets (_jalecos_), wide linen _bragas_ or drawers scarce reaching to
the knees and looking like kilts, red _fajas_ or sashes swathed tightly
round their waists, sandals of _espartal_ or bass weed, coloured kerchiefs
round their heads somewhat in the style of turbans, but leaving the top
of the head uncovered; in short, their whole appearance having much of
the traditional Moorish stamp.

On leaving Loxa we were joined by a cavalier, well mounted and well
armed, and followed on foot by an _escopetero_ or musketeer. He saluted
us courteously, and soon let us into his quality. He was chief of the
customs, or rather, I should suppose, chief of an armed company whose
business it is to patrol the roads and look out for _contrabandistas_. The
_escopetero_ was one of his guards. In the course of our morning's ride I
drew from him some particulars concerning the smugglers, who have risen to
be a kind of mongrel chivalry in Spain. They come into Andalusia, he said,
from various parts, but especially from La Mancha; sometimes to receive
goods, to be smuggled on an appointed night across the line at the _plaza_
or strand of Gibraltar; sometimes to meet a vessel, which is to hover on a
given night off a certain part of the coast. They keep together and travel
in the night. In the daytime they lie quiet in _barrancos_, gullies of the
mountains, or lonely farmhouses; where they are generally well received,
as they make the family liberal presents of their smuggled wares. Indeed,
much of the finery and trinkets worn by the wives and daughters of the
mountain hamlets and farm-houses are presents from the gay and open-handed

Arrived at the part of the coast where a vessel is to meet them, they look
out at night from some rocky point or headland. If they descry a sail
near the shore they make a concerted signal; sometimes it consists in
suddenly displaying a lantern three times from beneath the folds of the
cloak. If the signal is answered, they descend to the shore and prepare
for quick work. The vessel runs close in; all her boats are busy landing
the smuggled goods, made up into snug packages for transportation on
horseback. These are hastily thrown on the beach, as hastily gathered up
and packed on the horses, and then the _contrabandistas_ clatter off to
the mountains. They travel by the roughest, wildest, and most solitary
roads, where it is almost fruitless to pursue them. The custom-house
guards do not attempt it: they take a different course. When they hear
of one of these bands returning full freighted through the mountains,
they go out in force, sometimes twelve infantry and eight horsemen, and
take their station where the mountain defile opens into the plain. The
infantry, who lie in ambush some distance within the defile, suffer the
band to pass, then rise and fire upon them. The _contrabandistas_ dash
forward, but are met in front by the horsemen. A wild skirmish ensues.
The _contrabandistas_, if hard pressed, become desperate. Some dismount,
use their horses as breastworks, and fire over their backs; others cut
the cords, let the packs fall off to delay the enemy, and endeavour
to escape with their steeds. Some get off in this way with the loss of
their packages; some are taken, horses, packages, and all; others abandon
everything, and make their escape by scrambling up the mountains. "And
then," cried Sancho, who had been listening with a greedy ear, "_se hacen
ladrones legitimos_,"--and then they become legitimate robbers.


I could not help laughing at Sancho's idea of a legitimate calling of
the kind; but the chief of customs told me it was really the case that
the smugglers, when thus reduced to extremity, thought they had a kind
of right to take to the road, and lay travellers under contribution,
until they had collected funds enough to mount and equip themselves in
_contrabandista_ style.

Towards noon our wayfaring companion took leave of us and turned up a
steep defile, followed by his _escopetero_; and shortly afterwards we
emerged from the mountains, and entered upon the far-famed _vega_ of

Our last mid-day's repast was taken under a grove of olive-trees on the
border of a rivulet. We were in a classical neighbourhood; for not far
off were the groves and orchards of the Soto de Roma. This, according to
fabulous tradition, was a retreat founded by Count Julian to console his
daughter Florinda. It was a rural resort of the Moorish kings of Granada;
and has in modern times been granted to the Duke of Wellington.


Our worthy squire made a half melancholy face as he drew forth, for the
last time, the contents of his _alforjas_, lamenting that our expedition
was drawing to a close, for, with such cavaliers, he said, he could travel
to the world's end. Our repast, however, was a gay one; made under such
delightful auspices. The day was without a cloud. The heat of the sun
was tempered by cool breezes from the mountains. Before us extended the
glorious _vega_. In the distance was romantic Granada surmounted by the
ruddy towers of the Alhambra, while far above it the snowy summits of the
Sierra Nevada shone like silver.

Our repast finished, we spread our cloaks and took our last siesta _al
fresco_, lulled by the humming of bees among the flowers and the notes
of doves among the olive-trees. When the sultry hours were passed we
resumed our journey. After a time we overtook a pursy little man, shaped
not unlike a toad and mounted on a mule. He fell into conversation with
Sancho, and finding we were strangers, undertook to guide us to a good
_posada_. He was an _escribano_ (notary), he said, and knew the city as
thoroughly as his own pocket. "_Ah Dios, Señores!_ what a city you are
going to see. Such streets! such squares! such palaces! and then the
women--ah, _Santa Maria purisima_--what women!" "But the _posada_ you talk
of," said I, "are you sure it is a good one?"


"Good! _Santa Maria!_ the best in Granada, _Salones grandes--camas de
luxo--colchones de pluma_ (grand saloons--luxurious sleeping-rooms--beds
of down). Ah, _Señores_, you will fare like King Chico in the Alhambra."

"And how will my horses fare?" cried Sancho.

"Like King Chico's horses. _Chocolate con leche y bollos para almuerza_"
(chocolate and milk with sugar cakes for breakfast), giving the squire a
knowing wink and a leer.

After such satisfactory accounts, nothing more was to be desired on that
head. So we rode quietly on, the squab little notary taking the lead, and
turning to us every moment with some fresh exclamation about the grandeurs
of Granada and the famous times we were to have at the _posada_.


Thus escorted, we passed between hedges of aloes and Indian figs, and
through that wilderness of gardens with which the _vega_ is embroidered,
and arrived about sunset at the gates of the city. Our officious little
conductor conveyed us up one street and down another, until he rode
into the court-yard of an inn where he appeared to be perfectly at home.
Summoning the landlord by his Christian name, he committed us to his care
as two _cavalleros de mucho valor_, worthy of his best apartments and most
sumptuous fare. We were instantly reminded of the patronising stranger
who introduced Gil Blas with such a flourish of trumpets to the host
and hostess of the inn at Pennaflor, ordering trouts for his supper, and
eating voraciously at his expense. "You know not what you possess," cried
he to the innkeeper and his wife. "You have a treasure in your house.
Behold in this young gentleman the eighth wonder of the world--nothing in
this house is too good for Señor Gil Blas of Santillane, who deserves to
be entertained like a prince."

Determined that the little notary should not eat trouts at our expense,
like his prototype of Pennaflor, we forbore to ask him to supper; nor
had we reason to reproach ourselves with ingratitude, for we found before
morning the little varlet, who was no doubt a good friend of the landlord,
had decoyed us into one of the shabbiest _posadas_ in Granada.



    [1] It may be as well to note here, that the _alforjas_ are square
    pockets at each end of a long cloth about a foot and a half
    wide, formed by turning up its extremities. The cloth is then
    thrown over the saddle, and the pockets hang on each side like
    saddle-bags. It is an Arab invention. The _bota_ is a leathern bag
    or bottle, of portly dimensions, with a narrow neck. It is also
    Oriental. Hence the scriptural caution which perplexed me in my
    boyhood, not to put new wine into old bottles.

  [Illustration: _Piedralga Cassla._]



To the traveller imbued with a feeling for the historical and poetical,
so inseparately intertwined in the annals of romantic Spain, the Alhambra
is as much an object of devotion as is the Caaba to all true Moslems.
How many legends and traditions, true and fabulous,--how many songs and
ballads, Arabian and Spanish, of love and war and chivalry, are associated
with this Oriental pile! It was the royal abode of the Moorish kings,
where, surrounded with the splendours and refinements of Asiatic luxury,
they held dominion over what they vaunted as a terrestrial paradise, and
made their last stand for empire in Spain. The royal palace forms but
a part of a fortress, the walls of which, studded with towers, stretch
irregularly round the whole crest of a hill, a spur of the Sierra Nevada
or Snowy Mountains, and overlook the city; externally it is a rude
congregation of towers and battlements, with no regularity of plan nor
grace of architecture, and giving little promise of the grace and beauty
which prevail within.




In the time of the Moors the fortress was capable of containing within its
outward precincts an army of forty thousand men, and served occasionally
as a stronghold of the sovereigns against their rebellious subjects. After
the kingdom had passed into the hands of the Christians, the Alhambra
continued to be a royal demesne, and was occasionally inhabited by the
Castilian monarchs. The emperor Charles V. commenced a sumptuous palace
within its walls, but was deterred from completing it by repeated shocks
of earthquakes. The last royal residents were Philip V. and his beautiful
queen, Elizabetta of Parma, early in the eighteenth century. Great
preparations were made for their reception. The palace and gardens were
placed in a state of repair, and a new suite of apartments erected, and
decorated by artists brought from Italy. The sojourn of the sovereigns was
transient, and after their departure the palace once more became desolate.
Still the place was maintained with some military state. The governor
held it immediately from the crown, its jurisdiction extended down into
the suburbs of the city, and was independent of the captain-general
of Granada. A considerable garrison was kept up; the governor had his
apartments in the front of the old Moorish palace, and never descended
into Granada without some military parade. The fortress, in fact, was a
little town of itself, having several streets of houses within its walls,
together with a Franciscan convent and a parochial church.



The desertion of the court, however, was a fatal blow to the Alhambra.
Its beautiful halls became desolate, and some of them fell to ruin; the
gardens were destroyed, and the fountains ceased to play. By degrees
the dwellings became filled with a loose and lawless population:
_contrabandistas_, who availed themselves of its independent jurisdiction
to carry on a wide and daring course of smuggling, and thieves and rogues
of all sorts, who made this their place of refuge whence they might
depredate upon Granada and its vicinity. The strong arm of government
at length interfered; the whole community was thoroughly sifted; none
were suffered to remain but such as were of honest character, and had
legitimate right to a residence; the greater part of the houses were
demolished and a mere hamlet left, with the parochial church and the
Franciscan convent. During the recent troubles in Spain, when Granada was
in the hands of the French, the Alhambra was garrisoned by their troops,
and the palace was occasionally inhabited by the French commander. With
that enlightened taste which has ever distinguished the French nation
in their conquests, this monument of Moorish elegance and grandeur was
rescued from the absolute ruin and desolation that were overwhelming
it. The roofs were repaired, the saloons and galleries protected from
the weather, the gardens cultivated, the watercourses restored, the
fountains once more made to throw up their sparkling showers; and Spain
may thank her invaders for having preserved to her the most beautiful and
interesting of her historical monuments.


On the departure of the French they blew up several towers of the outer
wall, and left the fortifications scarcely tenable. Since that time the
military importance of the post is at an end. The garrison is a handful
of invalid soldiers, whose principal duty is to guard some of the outer
towers, which serve occasionally as a prison of state; and the governor,
abandoning the lofty hill of the Alhambra, resides in the centre of
Granada, for the more convenient despatch of his official duties.

Our first object of course, on the morning after our arrival, was a visit
to this time-honoured edifice; it has been so often, however, and so
minutely described by travellers, that I shall not undertake to give a
comprehensive and elaborate account of it, but merely occasional sketches
of parts, with the incidents and associations connected with them.


Leaving our _posada_, and traversing the renowned square of the
Vivarrambla, once the scene of Moorish jousts and tournaments, now a
crowded market-place, we proceeded along the Zacatin, the main street
of what, in the time of the Moors, was the Great Bazaar, and where
small shops and narrow alleys still retain the Oriental character.
Crossing an open place in front of the palace of the captain-general,
we ascended a confined and winding street, the name of which reminded
us of the chivalric days of Granada. It is called the Calle, or street
of the Gomeres, from a Moorish family famous in chronicle and song. This
street led up to the Puerta de las Granadas, a massive gateway of Grecian
architecture, built by Charles V., forming the entrance to the domains of
the Alhambra.

At the gate were two or three ragged superannuated soldiers, dozing on
a stone bench, the successors of the Zegris and the Abencerrages; while
a tall meagre varlet, whose rusty-brown cloak was evidently intended
to conceal the ragged state of his nether garments, was lounging in the
sunshine and gossiping with an ancient sentinel on duty. He joined us as
we entered the gate, and offered his services to show us the fortress.


I have a traveller's dislike to officious ciceroni, and did not altogether
like the garb of the applicant.

"You are well acquainted with the place, I presume?"

"_Ninguno mas; pues señor, soy hijo de la Alhambra._"

(Nobody better; in fact, sir, I am a son of the Alhambra!)

The common Spaniards have certainly a most poetical way of expressing
themselves. "A son of the Alhambra!" the appellation caught me at once;
the very tattered garb of my new acquaintance assumed a dignity in my
eyes. It was emblematic of the fortunes of the place, and befitted the
progeny of a ruin.


I put some further questions to him, and found that his title was
legitimate. His family had lived in the fortress from generation to
generation ever since the time of the Conquest. His name was Mateo
Ximenes. "Then, perhaps," said I, "you may be a descendant from the great
Cardinal Ximenes?"--"_Dios sabe!_ God knows, Señor! It may be so. We are
the oldest family in the Alhambra,--_Christianos viejos_, old Christians,
without any taint of Moor or Jew. I know we belong to some great family or
other, but I forgot whom. My father knows all about it: he has the coat
of arms hanging up in his cottage, up in the fortress." There is not any
Spaniard, however poor, but has some claim to high pedigree. The first
title of this ragged worthy, however, had completely captivated me; so I
gladly accepted the services of the "son of the Alhambra."




We now found ourselves in a deep narrow ravine, filled with beautiful
groves, with a steep avenue, and various footpaths winding through it,
bordered with stone seats, and ornamented with fountains. To our left we
beheld the towers of the Alhambra beetling above us; to our right, on the
opposite side of the ravine, we were equally dominated by rival towers
on a rocky eminence. These, we were told, were the Torres Vermejos, or
vermilion towers, so called from their ruddy hue. No one knows their
origin. They are of a date much anterior to the Alhambra: some suppose
them to have been built by the Romans; others, by some wandering colony
of Phœnicians. Ascending the steep and shady avenue, we arrived at the
foot of a huge square Moorish tower, forming a kind of barbican, through
which passed the main entrance to the fortress. Within the barbican was
another group of veteran invalids, one mounting guard at the portal, while
the rest, wrapped in their tattered cloaks, slept on the stone benches.
This portal is called the Gate of Justice, from the tribunal held within
its porch during the Moslem domination, for the immediate trial of petty
causes: a custom common to the Oriental nations, and occasionally alluded
to in the sacred Scriptures. "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee
_in all thy gates_, and they shall judge the people with just judgment."


The great vestibule, or porch of the gate, is formed by an immense Arabian
arch, of the horseshoe form, which springs to half the height of the
tower. On the keystone of this arch is engraven a gigantic hand. Within
the vestibule, on the keystone of the portal, is sculptured, in like
manner, a gigantic key. Those who pretend to some knowledge of Mohammedan
symbols, affirm that the hand is the emblem of doctrine; the five fingers
designating the five principal commandments of the creed of Islam,
fasting, pilgrimage, alms-giving, ablution, and war against infidels. The
key, say they, is the emblem of the faith or of power; the key of Daoud,
or David, transmitted to the prophet. "And the key of the house of David
will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut, and
he shall shut, and none shall open." (Isaiah xxii. 22.) The key we are
told was emblazoned on the standard of the Moslems in opposition to the
Christian emblem of the cross, when they subdued Spain or Andalusia. It
betokened the conquering power invested in the prophet. "He that hath the
key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no
man openeth." (Rev. iii. 7.)


A different explanation of these emblems, however, was given by the
legitimate son of the Alhambra, and one more in unison with the notions of
the common people, who attach something of mystery and magic to everything
Moorish, and have all kinds of superstitions connected with this old
Moslem fortress. According to Mateo, it was a tradition handed down from
the oldest inhabitants, and which he had from his father and grandfather,
that the hand and key were magical devices on which the fate of the
Alhambra depended. The Moorish king who built it was a great magician, or,
as some believed, had sold himself to the devil, and had laid the whole
fortress under a magic spell. By this means it had remained standing, for
several years, in defiance of storms and earthquakes, while almost all
other buildings of the Moors had fallen to ruin and disappeared. This
spell, the tradition went on to say, would last until the hand on the
outer arch should reach down and grasp the key, when the whole pile would
tumble to pieces, and all the treasures buried beneath it by the Moors
would be revealed.


Notwithstanding this ominous prediction, we ventured to pass through
the spell-bound gateway, feeling some little assurance against magic art
in the protection of the Virgin, a statue of whom we observed above the


After passing through the barbican, we ascended a narrow lane, winding
between walls, and came on an open esplanade within the fortress, called
the Plaza de los Algibes, or Place of the Cisterns, from great reservoirs
which undermine it, cut in the living rock by the Moors to receive the
water brought by conduits from the Darro, for the supply of the fortress.
Here, also, is a well of immense depth, furnishing the purest and coldest
of water,--another monument of the delicate taste of the Moors, who were
indefatigable in their exertions to obtain that element in its crystal

In front of this esplanade is the splendid pile commenced by Charles V.,
and intended, it is said, to eclipse the residence of the Moorish kings.
Much of the Oriental edifice intended for the winter season was demolished
to make way for this massive pile. The grand entrance was blocked up;
so that the present entrance to the Moorish palace is through a simple
and almost humble portal in a corner. With all the massive grandeur and
architectural merit of the palace of Charles V., we regarded it as an
arrogant intruder, and passing by it with a feeling almost of scorn, rang
at the Moslem portal.


While waiting for admittance, our self-imposed cicerone, Mateo Ximenes,
informed us that the royal palace was intrusted to the care of a worthy
old maiden dame called Doña Antonia-Molina, but who, according to Spanish
custom, went by the more neighbourly appellation of Tia Antonia (Aunt
Antonia), who maintained the Moorish halls and gardens in order and showed
them to strangers. While we were talking, the door was opened by a plump
little black-eyed Andalusian damsel, whom Mateo addressed as Dolores, but
who from her bright looks and cheerful disposition evidently merited a
merrier name. Mateo informed me in a whisper that she was the niece of Tia
Antonia, and I found she was the good fairy who was to conduct us through
the enchanted palace. Under her guidance we crossed the threshold, and
were at once transported, as if by magic wand, into other times and an
oriental realm, and were treading the scenes of Arabian story. Nothing
could be in greater contrast than the unpromising exterior of the pile
with the scene now before us. We found ourselves in a vast _patio_ or
court, one hundred and fifty feet in length, and upwards of eighty feet
in breadth, paved with white marble, and decorated at each end with
light Moorish peristyles, one of which supported an elegant gallery of
fretted architecture. Along the mouldings of the cornices and on various
parts of the walls were escutcheons and ciphers, and cufic and Arabic
characters in high relief, repeating the pious mottoes of the Moslem
monarchs, the builders of the Alhambra, or extolling their grandeur and
munificence. Along the centre of the court extended an immense basin or
tank (_estanque_), a hundred and twenty-four feet in length, twenty-seven
in breadth, and five in depth, receiving its water from two marble vases.
Hence it is called the Court of the Alberca (from _al beerkah_, the Arabic
for a pond or tank). Great numbers of gold-fish were to be seen gleaming
through the waters of the basin, and it was bordered by hedges of roses.



  [Illustration: _The Gardens_]

  [Illustration: _Court of the Tank._]

  [Illustration: _Fishponds of the Alhambra._]

Passing from the court of the Alberca under a Moorish archway, we entered
the renowned court of Lions. No part of the edifice gives a more complete
idea of its original beauty than this, for none has suffered so little
from the ravages of time. In the centre stands the fountain famous in
song and story. The alabaster basins still shed their diamond drops; the
twelve lions which support them, and give the court its name, still cast
forth crystal streams as in the days of Boabdil. The lions, however, are
unworthy of their fame, being of miserable sculpture, the work probably of
some Christian captive. The court is laid out in flower-beds, instead of
its ancient and appropriate pavement of tiles or marble; the alteration,
an instance of bad taste was made by the French when in possession of
Granada. Round the four sides of the court are light Arabian arcades of
open filigree work, supported by slender pillars of white marble, which
it is supposed were originally gilded. The architecture, like that in
most parts of the interior of the palace, is characterised by elegance
rather than grandeur, bespeaking a delicate and graceful taste, and a
disposition to indolent enjoyment. When one looks upon the fairy traces
of the peristyles, and the apparently fragile fretwork of the walls, it
is difficult to believe that so much has survived the wear and tear of
centuries, the shocks of earthquakes, the violence of war, and the quiet,
though no less baneful, pilferings of the tasteful traveller: it is almost
sufficient to excuse the popular tradition, that the whole is protected
by a magic charm.

  [Illustration: _Tower of Comares._]

  [Illustration: _The Court of Myrtles._]

On one side of the court a rich portal opens into the Hall of the
Abencerrages: so called from the gallant cavaliers of that illustrious
line who were here perfidiously massacred. There are some who doubt the
whole story, but our humble cicerone Mateo pointed out the very wicket of
the portal through which they were introduced one by one into the court
of Lions, and the white marble fountain in the centre of the hall beside
which they were beheaded. He showed us also certain broad ruddy stains on
the pavement, traces of their blood, which, according to popular belief,
can never be effaced.

  [Illustration: _Alhambra from Mountain of the Sun._]


Finding we listened to him apparently with easy faith, he added, that
there was often heard at night, in the court of Lions, a low confused
sound, resembling the murmuring of a multitude, and now and then a faint
tinkling, like the distant clank of chains. These sounds were made by the
spirits of the murdered Abencerrages, who nightly haunt the scene of their
suffering and invoke the vengeance of Heaven on their destroyer.


The sounds in question had no doubt been produced, as I had afterwards an
opportunity of ascertaining, by the bubbling currents and tinkling falls
of water conducted under the pavement through pipes and channels to supply
the fountains; but I was too considerate to intimate such an idea to the
humble chronicler of the Alhambra.

  [Illustration: _Entrance to Hall of Abencerrages._]

Encouraged by my easy credulity, Mateo gave me the following as an
undoubted fact, which he had from his grandfather:--

There was once an invalid soldier, who had charge of the Alhambra to show
it to strangers; as he was one evening, about twilight, passing through
the court of Lions, he heard footsteps on the hall of the Abencerrages;
supposing some strangers to be lingering there, he advanced to attend
upon them, when to his astonishment he beheld four Moors richly dressed,
with gilded cuirasses and cimeters, and poniards glittering with precious
stones. They were walking to and fro, with solemn pace; but paused and
beckoned to him. The old soldier, however, took to flight, and could never
afterwards be prevailed upon to enter the Alhambra. Thus it is that men
sometimes turn their backs upon fortune; for it is the firm opinion of
Mateo, that the Moors intended to reveal the place where their treasures
lay buried. A successor to the invalid soldier was more knowing; he came
to the Alhambra poor; but at the end of a year went off to Malaga, bought
houses, set up a carriage, and still lives there, one of the richest as
well as oldest men of the place; all which, Mateo sagely surmised, was in
consequence of his finding out the golden secret of these phantom Moors.

  [Illustration: _Court of Lions._]

I now perceived I had made an invaluable acquaintance in this son of the
Alhambra, one who knew all the apocryphal history of the place and firmly
believed in it, and whose memory was stuffed with a kind of knowledge
for which I have a lurking fancy, but which is too apt to be considered
rubbish by less indulgent philosophers. I determined to cultivate the
acquaintance of this learned Theban.

  [Illustration: _Fountain of Abencerrages._]

Immediately opposite the hall of the Abencerrages, a portal, richly
adorned, leads into a hall of less tragical associations. It is light
and lofty, exquisitely graceful in its architecture, paved with white
marble, and bears the suggestive name of the Hall of the Two Sisters. Some
destroy the romance of the name by attributing it to two enormous slabs of
alabaster which lie side by side, and form a great part of the pavement:
an opinion strongly supported by Mateo Ximenes. Others are disposed to
give the name a more poetical significance, as the vague memorial of
Moorish beauties who once graced this hall, which was evidently a part
of the royal harem. This opinion I was happy to find entertained by
our little bright-eyed guide, Dolores, who pointed to a balcony over an
inner porch, which gallery, she had been told, belonged to the women's
apartment. "You see, _señor_," said she, "it is all grated and latticed,
like the gallery in a convent chapel where the nuns hear mass; for the
Moorish kings," added she, indignantly, "shut up their wives just like


The latticed _jalousies_, in fact, still remain, whence the dark-eyed
beauties of the harem might gaze unseen upon the _zambras_ and other
dances and entertainments of the hall below.


On each side of this hall are recesses or alcoves for ottomans and
couches, on which the voluptuous lords of the Alhambra indulged in that
dreamy repose so dear to the Orientalists. A cupola or lantern admits a
tempered light from above and a free circulation of air; while on one
side is heard the refreshing sound of waters from the fountain of the
lions, and on the other side the soft plash from the basin in the garden
of Lindaraxa.

  [Illustration: _Alcove, Hall of Two Sisters._]

It is impossible to contemplate this scene, so perfectly Oriental, without
feeling the early associations of Arabian romance, and almost expecting to
see the white arm of some mysterious princess beckoning from the gallery,
or some dark eye sparkling through the lattice. The abode of beauty is
here as if it had been inhabited but yesterday; but where are the two
sisters, where the Zoraydas and Lindaraxas!

An abundant supply of water, brought from the mountains by old Moorish
aqueducts, circulates throughout the palace, supplying its baths and
fish-pools, sparkling in jets within its halls or murmuring in channels
along the marble pavements. When it has paid its tribute to the royal
pile, and visited its gardens and parterres, it flows down the long
avenue leading to the city, tinkling in rills, gushing in fountains, and
maintaining a perpetual verdure in those groves that embower and beautify
the whole hill of the Alhambra.


Those only who have sojourned in the ardent climates of the South can
appreciate the delights of an abode combining the breezy coolness of
the mountain with the freshness and verdure of the valley. While the
city below pants with the noontide heat, and the parched Vega trembles
to the eye, the delicate airs from the Sierra Nevada play through these
lofty halls, bringing with them the sweetness of the surrounding gardens.
Everything invites to that indolent repose, the bliss of southern climes;
and while the half-shut eye looks out from shaded balconies upon the
glittering landscape, the ear is lulled by the rustling of groves and the
murmur of running streams.

I forbear for the present, however, to describe the other delightful
apartments of the palace. My object is merely to give the reader a general
introduction into an abode where, if so disposed, he may linger and
loiter with me day by day until we gradually become familiar with all its


  [Illustration: _Cabra._]


The day was nearly spent before we could tear ourselves from this region
of poetry and romance to descend to the city and return to the forlorn
realities of a Spanish _posada_. In a visit of ceremony to the Governor of
the Alhambra, to whom we had brought letters, we dwelt with enthusiasm on
the scenes we had witnessed, and could not but express surprise that he
should reside in the city when he had such a paradise at his command. He
pleaded the inconvenience of a residence in the palace from its situation
on the crest of a hill, distant from the seat of business and the resorts
of social intercourse. It did very well for monarchs, who often had need
of castle walls to defend them from their own subjects. "But, _señors_,"
added he, smiling, "if you think a residence there so desirable, my
apartments in the Alhambra are at your service."

It is a common and almost indispensable point of politeness in a Spaniard,
to tell you his house is yours.--"_Esta casa es siempre à la disposicion
de Vm._"--"This house is always at the command of your Grace." In fact,
anything of his which you admire, is immediately offered to you. It is
equally a mark of good breeding in you not to accept it; so we merely
bowed our acknowledgments of the courtesy of the Governor in offering us
a royal palace. We were mistaken, however. The Governor was in earnest.
"You will find a rambling set of empty, unfurnished rooms," said he; "but
Tia Antonia, who has charge of the palace, may be able to put them in
some kind of order, and to take care of you while you are there. If you
can make any arrangement with her for your accommodation, and are content
with scanty fare in a royal abode, the palace of King Chico is at your


We took the Governor at his word, and hastened up the steep Calle de los
Gomeres, and through the Great Gate of Justice, to negotiate with Dame
Antonia,--doubting at times if this were not a dream, and fearing at times
that the sage _Dueña_ of the fortress might be slow to capitulate. We knew
we had one friend at least in the garrison, who would be in our favour,
the bright-eyed little Dolores, whose good graces we had propitiated
on our first visit; and who hailed our return to the palace with her
brightest looks.

All, however, went smoothly. The good Tia Antonia had a little furniture
to put in the rooms, but it was of the commonest kind. We assured her
we could bivouac on the floor. She could supply our table, but only in
her own simple way;--we wanted nothing better. Her niece, Dolores, would
wait upon us; and at the word we threw up our hats and the bargain was


The very next day we took up our abode in the palace, and never did
sovereigns share a divided throne with more perfect harmony. Several days
passed by like a dream, when my worthy associate, being summoned to Madrid
on diplomatic duties, was compelled to abdicate, leaving me sole monarch
of this shadowy realm. For myself, being in a manner a haphazard loiterer
about the world, and prone to linger in its pleasant places, here have I
been suffering day by day to steal away unheeded, spell-bound, for aught
I know, in this old enchanted pile. Having always a companionable feeling
for my reader, and being prone to live with him on confidential terms, I
shall make it a point to communicate to him my reveries and researches
during this state of delicious thraldom. If they have the power of
imparting to his imagination any of the witching charms of the place, he
will not repine at lingering with me for a season in the legendary halls
of the Alhambra.

  [Illustration: _Gate of the Alhambra_]

And first it is proper to give him some idea of my domestic arrangements:
they are rather of a simple kind for the occupant of a regal palace; but
I trust they will be less liable to disastrous reverses than those of my
royal predecessors.


My quarters are at one end of the Governor's apartment, a suite of
empty chambers, in front of the palace, looking out upon the great
esplanade called _la plaza de los algibes_ (the place of the cisterns);
the apartment is modern, but the end opposite to my sleeping-room
communicates with a cluster of little chambers, partly Moorish, partly
Spanish, allotted to the _châtelaine_ Doña Antonia and her family. In
consideration of keeping the palace in order, the good dame is allowed
all the perquisites received from visitors, and all the produce of the
gardens; excepting that she is expected to pay an occasional tribute of
fruits and flowers to the Governor. Her family consists of a nephew and
niece, the children of two different brothers. The nephew, Manuel Molina,
is a young man of sterling worth and Spanish gravity. He had served in the
army, both in Spain and the West Indies, but is now studying medicine in
the hope of one day or other becoming physician to the fortress, a post
worth at least one hundred and forty dollars a year. The niece is the
plump little black-eyed Dolores already mentioned; and who, it is said,
will one day inherit all her aunt's possessions, consisting of certain
petty tenements in the fortress, in a somewhat ruinous condition it is
true, but which, I am privately assured by Mateo Ximenes, yield a revenue
of nearly one hundred and fifty dollars; so that she is quite an heiress
in the eyes of the ragged son of the Alhambra. I am also informed by the
same observant and authentic personage, that a quiet courtship is going on
between the discreet Manuel and his bright-eyed cousin, and that nothing
is wanting to enable them to join their hands and expectations but his
doctor's diploma, and a dispensation from the Pope on account of their


The good dame Antonia fulfils faithfully her contract in regard to my
board and lodging; and as I am easily pleased, I find my fare excellent;
while the merry-hearted little Dolores keeps my apartment in order, and
officiates as handmaid at meal-times. I have also at my command a tall,
stuttering, yellow-haired lad, named Pépe, who works in the gardens, and
would fain have acted as valet; but in this he was forestalled by Mateo
Ximenes, the "son of the Alhambra." This alert and officious wight has
managed, somehow or other, to stick by me ever since I first encountered
him at the outer gate of the fortress, and to weave himself into all my
plans, until he has fairly appointed and installed himself my valet,
cicerone, guide, guard, and historiographic squire; and I have been
obliged to improve the state of his wardrobe, that he may not disgrace his
various functions; so that he has cast his old brown mantle, as a snake
does his skin, and now appears about the fortress with a smart Andalusian
hat and jacket, to his infinite satisfaction, and the great astonishment
of his comrades. The chief fault of honest Mateo is an over-anxiety to
be useful. Conscious of having foisted himself into my employ, and that
my simple and quiet habits render his situation a sinecure, he is at his
wits' ends to devise modes of making himself important to my welfare. I
am in a manner the victim of his officiousness; I cannot put my foot over
the threshold of the palace to stroll about the fortress, but he is at
my elbow, to explain everything I see; and if I venture to ramble among
the surrounding hills, he insists upon attending me as a guard, though I
vehemently suspect he would be more apt to trust to the length of his legs
than the strength of his arms, in case of attack. After all, however, the
poor fellow is at times an amusing companion; he is simple-minded and of
infinite good humour, with the loquacity and gossip of a village barber,
and knows all the small-talk of the place and its environs; but what he
chiefly values himself on, is his stock of local information, having the
most marvellous stories to relate of every tower, and vault, and gateway
of the fortress, in all of which he places the most implicit faith.


Most of these he has derived, according to his own account, from his
grandfather, a little legendary tailor, who lived to the age of nearly
a hundred years, during which he made but two migrations beyond the
precincts of the fortress. His shop, for the greater part of a century,
was the resort of a knot of venerable gossips, where they would pass half
the night talking about old times, and the wonderful events and hidden
secrets of the place. The whole living, moving, thinking, and acting of
this historical little tailor had thus been bounded by the walls of the
Alhambra; within them he had been born, within them he lived, breathed,
and had his being; within them he died and was buried. Fortunately for
posterity his traditionary lore died not with him. The authentic Mateo,
when an urchin, used to be an attentive listener to the narratives of his
grandfather, and of the gossiping group assembled round the shop-board,
and is thus possessed of a stock of valuable knowledge concerning the
Alhambra, not to be found in books, and well worthy the attention of every
curious traveller.

  [Illustration: _The Surrounding Hills._]

Such are the personages that constitute my regal household; and I question
whether any of the potentates, Moslem or Christian, who have preceded me
in the palace, have been waited upon with greater fidelity, or enjoyed a
serener sway.

When I rise in the morning, Pépe, the stuttering lad from the gardens,
brings me a tribute of fresh-culled flowers, which are afterwards arranged
in vases by the skilful hand of Dolores, who takes a feminine pride in the
decoration of my chambers. My meals are made wherever caprice dictates;
sometimes in one of the Moorish halls, sometimes under the arcades of the
court of Lions, surrounded by flowers and fountains: and when I walk out,
I am conducted by the assiduous Mateo to the most romantic retreats of
the mountains, and delicious haunts of the adjacent valleys, not one of
which but is the scene of some wonderful tale.



Though fond of passing the greater part of my day alone, yet I
occasionally repair in the evenings to the little domestic circle of
Doña Antonia. This is generally held in an old Moorish chamber, which
serves the good dame for parlour, kitchen, and hall of audience, and
which must have boasted of some splendour in the time of the Moors, if
we may judge from the traces yet remaining; but a rude fireplace has been
made in modern times in one corner, the smoke from which has discoloured
the walls, and almost obliterated the ancient arabesques. A window,
with a balcony overhanging the valley of the Darro, lets in the cool
evening breeze; and here I take my frugal supper of fruit and milk, and
mingle with the conversation of the family. There is a natural talent
or mother-wit, as it is called, about the Spaniards, which renders them
intellectual and agreeable companions, whatever may be their condition in
life, or however imperfect may have been their education: add to this,
they are never vulgar; nature has endowed them with an inherent dignity
of spirit. The good Tia Antonia is a woman of strong and intelligent,
though uncultivated mind; and the bright-eyed Dolores, though she has read
but three or four books in the whole course of her life, has an engaging
mixture of naïveté and good sense, and often surprises me by the pungency
of her artless sallies. Sometimes the nephew entertains us by reading some
old comedy of Calderon or Lope de Vega, to which he is evidently prompted
by a desire to improve as well as amuse his cousin Dolores; though, to
his great mortification, the little damsel generally falls asleep before
the first act is completed. Sometimes Tia Antonia has a little levée of
humble friends and dependants, the inhabitants of the adjacent hamlet,
or the wives of the invalid soldiers. These look up to her with great
deference, as the custodian of the palace, and pay their court to her by
bringing the news of the place, or the rumours that may have straggled
up from Granada. In listening to these evening gossipings I have picked
up many curious facts illustrative of the manners of the people and the
peculiarities of the neighbourhood.

These are simple details of simple pleasures; it is the nature of the
place alone that gives them interest and importance. I tread haunted
ground, and am surrounded by romantic associations. From earliest boyhood,
when, on the banks of the Hudson, I first pored over the pages of old
Gines Perez de Hytas's apocryphal but chivalresque history of the civil
wars of Granada, and the feuds of its gallant cavaliers, Zegries and
Abencerrages, that city has ever been a subject of my waking dreams; and
often have I trod in fancy the romantic halls of the Alhambra. Behold
for once a day-dream realised; yet I can scarce credit my senses, or
believe that I do indeed inhabit the palace of Boabdil, and look down
from its balconies upon chivalric Granada. As I loiter through these
Oriental chambers, and hear the murmur of fountains and the song of the
nightingale; as I inhale the odour of the rose, and feel the influence of
the balmy climate, I am almost tempted to fancy myself in the paradise
of Mahomet, and that the plump little Dolores is one of the bright-eyed
houris, destined to administer to the happiness of true believers.

  [Illustration: _Alcandite._]

  [Illustration: _A Moorish Mill._]


I have often observed that the more proudly a mansion has been tenanted
in the day of its prosperity, the humbler are its inhabitants in the day
of its decline, and that the palace of a king commonly ends in being the
nestling-place of the beggar.

The Alhambra is in a rapid state of similar transition. Whenever a
tower falls to decay, it is seized upon by some tatterdemalion family,
who become joint-tenants, with the bats and owls, of its gilded halls;
and hang their rags, those standards of poverty, out of its windows and

I have amused myself with remarking some of the motley characters that
have thus usurped the ancient abode of royalty, and who seem as if placed
here to give a farcical termination to the drama of human pride. One of
these even bears the mockery of a regal title. It is a little old woman
named Maria Antonia Sabonea, but who goes by the appellation of _la Reyna
Coquina_, or the Cockle-queen. She is small enough to be a fairy; and a
fairy she may be for aught I can find out, for no one seems to know her
origin. Her habitation is in a kind of closet under the outer staircase
of the palace, and she sits in the cool stone corridor, plying her needle
and singing from morning till night, with a ready joke for every one that
passes; for though one of the poorest, she is one of the merriest little
women breathing. Her great merit is a gift for story-telling, having,
I verily believe, as many stories at her command as the inexhaustible
Scheherezade of the Thousand and One Nights. Some of these I have heard
her relate in the evening tertulias of Dame Antonia, at which she is
occasionally a humble attendant.


That there must be some fairy gift about this mysterious little old
woman, would appear from her extraordinary luck, since, notwithstanding
her being very little, very ugly, and very poor, she has had, according
to her own account, five husbands and a half, reckoning as a half one a
young dragoon, who died during courtship. A rival personage to this little
fairy queen is a portly old fellow with a bottle-nose, who goes about in
a rusty garb, with a cocked hat of oil-skin and a red cockade. He is one
of the legitimate sons of the Alhambra, and has lived here all his life,
filling various offices, such as deputy alguazil, sexton of the parochial
church, and marker of a fives-court, established at the foot of one of the
towers. He is as poor as a rat, but as proud as he is ragged, boasting
of his descent from the illustrious house of Aguilar, from which sprang
Gonzalvo of Cordova, the grand captain. Nay, he actually bears the name
of Alonzo de Aguilar, so renowned in the history of the Conquest; though
the graceless wags of the fortress have given him the title of _el padre
santo_, or the holy father, the usual appellation of the Pope, which I had
thought too sacred in the eyes of true Catholics to be thus ludicrously
applied. It is a whimsical caprice of fortune to present, in the grotesque
person of this tatterdemalion, a namesake and descendant of the proud
Alonzo de Aguilar, the mirror of Andalusian chivalry, leading an almost
mendicant existence about this once haughty fortress, which his ancestor
aided to reduce; yet such might have been the lot of the descendants of
Agamemnon and Achilles, had they lingered about the ruins of Troy!


Of this motley community, I find the family of my gossiping squire, Mateo
Ximenes, to form, from their numbers at least, a very important part.
His boast of being a son of the Alhambra is not unfounded. His family has
inhabited the fortress ever since the time of the Conquest, handing down
an hereditary poverty from father to son; not one of them having ever been
known to be worth a _maravedi_. His father, by trade a ribbon-weaver, and
who succeeded the historical tailor as the head of the family, is now near
seventy years of age, and lives in a hovel of reeds and plaster, built
by his own hands, just above the iron gate. The furniture consists of a
crazy bed, a table, and two or three chairs; a wooden chest, containing,
besides his scanty clothing, the "archives of the family." These are
nothing more nor less than the papers of various lawsuits sustained
by different generations; by which it would seem that, with all their
apparent carelessness and good-humour, they are a litigious brood. Most of
the suits have been brought against gossiping neighbours for questioning
the purity of their blood, and denying their being _Christianos viejos_,
_i.e._ old Christians, without Jewish or Moorish taint. In fact, I doubt
whether this jealousy about their blood has not kept them so poor in
purse: spending all their earnings on _escribanos_ and _alguazils_. The
pride of the hovel is an escutcheon suspended against the wall, in which
are emblazoned quarterings of the arms of the Marquis of Caiesedo, and of
various other noble houses, with which this poverty-stricken brood claim


As to Mateo himself, who is now about thirty-five years of age, he has
done his utmost to perpetuate his line and continue the poverty of the
family, having a wife and a numerous progeny, who inhabit an almost
dismantled hovel in the hamlet. How they manage to subsist, He only who
sees into all mysteries can tell; the subsistence of a Spanish family of
the kind is always a riddle to me; yet they do subsist, and what is more,
appear to enjoy their existence. The wife takes her holiday stroll on the
Paseo of Granada, with a child in her arms and half a dozen at her heels;
and the eldest daughter, now verging into womanhood, dresses her hair with
flowers, and dances gaily to the castanets.


There are two classes of people to whom life seems one long holiday,--the
very rich and the very poor; one, because they need do nothing; the other,
because they have nothing to do; but there are none who understand the art
of doing nothing and living upon nothing, better than the poor classes of
Spain. Climate does one half, and temperament the rest. Give a Spaniard
the shade in summer and the sun in winter, a little bread, garlic, oil,
and _garbances_, an old brown cloak and a guitar, and let the world roll
on as it pleases. Talk of poverty! with him it has no disgrace. It sits
upon him with a grandiose style, like his ragged cloak. He is a _hidalgo_,
even when in rags.

The "sons of the Alhambra" are an eminent illustration of this practical
philosophy. As the Moors imagined that the celestial paradise hung over
this favoured spot, so I am inclined at times to fancy that a gleam of
the golden age still lingers about this ragged community. They possess
nothing, they do nothing, they care for nothing. Yet, though apparently
idle all the week, they are as observant of all holy days and saints' days
as the most laborious artisan. They attend all _fêtes_ and dancings in
Granada and its vicinity, light bonfires on the hills on St. John's eve,
and dance away the moonlight nights on the harvest-home of a small field
within the precincts of the fortress, which yield a few bushels of wheat.

Before concluding these remarks, I must mention one of the amusements of
the place, which has particularly struck me. I had repeatedly observed a
long lean fellow perched on the top of one of the towers, manœuvring
two or three fishing-rods, as though he were angling for the stars. I
was for some time perplexed by the evolutions of this aërial fisherman,
and my perplexity increased on observing others employed in like manner
on different parts of the battlements and bastions; it was not until I
consulted Mateo Ximenes that I solved the mystery.

It seems that the pure and airy situation of this fortress has rendered
it, like the castle of Macbeth, a prolific breeding-place for swallows
and martlets, who sport about its towers in myriads, with the holiday
glee of urchins just let loose from school. To entrap these birds in
their giddy circlings, with hooks baited with flies, is one of the
favourite amusements of the ragged "sons of the Alhambra," who, with the
good-for-nothing ingenuity of arrant idlers, have thus invented the art
of angling in the sky.



In one of my visits to the old Moorish chamber where the good Tia Antonia
cooks her dinner and receives her company, I observed a mysterious
door in one corner, leading apparently into the ancient part of the
edifice. My curiosity being aroused, I opened it, and found myself in
a narrow, blind corridor, groping along which I came to the head of a
dark winding staircase, leading down an angle of the tower of Comares.
Down this staircase I descended darkling, guiding myself by the wall
until I came to a small door at the bottom, throwing which open, I was
suddenly dazzled by emerging into the brilliant antechamber of the Hall
of Ambassadors; with the fountain of the court of the Alberca sparkling
before me. The antechamber is separated with the court by an elegant
gallery, supported by slender columns with spandrels of openwork in the
Morisco style. At each end of the antechamber are alcoves, and its ceiling
is richly stuccoed and painted. Passing through a magnificent portal, I
found myself in the far-famed Hall of Ambassadors, the audience chamber
of the Moslem monarchs. It is said to be thirty-seven feet square, and
sixty feet high; occupies the whole interior of the Tower of Comares; and
still bears the traces of past magnificence. The walls are beautifully
stuccoed and decorated with Morisco fancifulness; the lofty ceiling was
originally of the same favourite material, with the usual frostwork
and pensile ornaments or stalactites; which, with the embellishments
of vivid colouring and gilding, must have been gorgeous in the extreme.
Unfortunately it gave way during an earthquake, and brought down with it
an immense arch which traversed the hall. It was replaced by the present
vault or dome of larch or cedar, with intersecting ribs, the whole
curiously wrought and richly coloured; still Oriental in its character,
reminding one of "those ceilings of cedar and vermilion that we read of
in the Prophets and the _Arabian Nights_."[2]

From the great height of the vault above the windows, the upper part of
the hall is almost lost in obscurity; yet there is a magnificence as well
as solemnity in the gloom, as through it we have gleams of rich gilding
and the brilliant tints of the Moorish pencil.



The royal throne was placed opposite the entrance in a recess, which still
bears an inscription intimating that Yusef I. (the monarch who completed
the Alhambra) made this the throne of his empire. Everything in this noble
hall seems to have been calculated to surround the throne with impressive
dignity and splendour; there was none of the elegant voluptuousness which
reigns in other parts of the palace. The tower is of massive strength,
domineering over the whole edifice and overhanging the steep hillside. On
three sides of the Hall of Ambassadors are windows cut through the immense
thickness of the walls and commanding extensive prospects. The balcony
of the central window especially looks down upon the verdant valley
of the Darro, with its walks, its groves, and gardens. To the left it
enjoys a distant prospect of the Vega; while directly in front rises the
rival height of the Albaycin, with its medley of streets, and terraces,
and gardens, and once crowned by a fortress that vied in power with the
Alhambra. "Ill fated the man who lost all this!" exclaimed Charles V., as
he looked forth from this window upon the enchanting scenery it commands.


The balcony of the window where this royal exclamation was made, has of
late become one of my favourite resorts. I have just been seated there,
enjoying the close of a brilliant long day. The sun, as he sank behind
the purple mountains of Alhama, sent a stream of effulgence up the valley
of the Darro, that spread a melancholy pomp over the ruddy towers of the
Alhambra; while the Vega, covered with a slight sultry vapour that caught
the setting ray, seemed spread out in the distance like a golden sea.
Not a breath of air disturbed the stillness of the hour, and though the
faint sound of music and merriment now and then rose from the gardens of
the Darro, it but rendered more impressive the monumental silence of the
pile which overshadowed me. It was one of those hours and scenes in which
memory asserts an almost magical power: and, like the evening sun beaming
on these mouldering towers, sends back her retrospective rays to light up
the glories of the past.

  [Illustration: Mountains of Alhambra.]

As I sat watching the effect of the declining daylight upon this Moorish
pile, I was led into a consideration of the light, elegant, and voluptuous
character prevalent throughout its internal architecture, and to contrast
it with the grand but gloomy solemnity of the Gothic edifices reared by
the Spanish conquerors. The very architecture thus bespeaks the opposite
and irreconcilable natures of the two warlike people who so long battled
here for the mastery of the Peninsula. By degrees I fell into a course
of musing upon the singular fortunes of the Arabian or Morisco-Spaniards,
whose whole existence is as a tale that is told, and certainly forms one
of the most anomalous yet splendid episodes in history. Potent and durable
as was their dominion, we scarcely know how to call them. They were a
nation without a legitimate country or name. A remote wave of the great
Arabian inundation, cast upon the shores of Europe, they seem to have all
the impetus of the first rush of the torrent. Their career of conquest,
from the rock of Gibraltar to the cliffs of the Pyrenees, was as rapid and
brilliant as the Moslem victories of Syria and Egypt. Nay, had they not
been checked on the plains of Tours, all France, all Europe, might have
been overrun with the same facility as the empires of the East, and the
Crescent at this day have glittered on the fanes of Paris and London.

  [Illustration: _Tomb of St. Ferdinand, Seville._]


Repelled within the limits of the Pyrenees, the mixed hordes of Asia and
Africa, that formed this great irruption, gave up the Moslem principle
of conquest, and sought to establish in Spain a peaceful and permanent
dominion. As conquerors, their heroism was only equalled by their
moderation; and in both, for a time, they excelled the nations with whom
they contended. Severed from their native homes, they loved the land given
them as they supposed by Allah, and strove to embellish it with everything
that could administer to the happiness of man. Laying the foundations of
their power in a system of wise and equitable laws, diligently cultivating
the arts and sciences, and promoting agriculture, manufactures, and
commerce, they gradually formed an empire unrivalled for its prosperity
by any of the empires of Christendom; and diligently drawing round them
the graces and refinements which marked the Arabian empire in the East, at
the time of its greatest civilisation, they diffused the light of Oriental
knowledge through the western regions of benighted Europe.

The cities of Arabian Spain became the resort of Christian artisans,
to instruct themselves in the useful arts. The universities of Toledo,
Cordova, Seville, and Granada were sought by the pale student from other
lands to acquaint himself with the sciences of the Arabs and the treasured
lore of antiquity; the lovers of the gay science resorted to Cordova and
Granada, to imbibe the poetry and music of the East; and the steel-clad
warriors of the North hastened thither to accomplish themselves in the
graceful exercises and courteous usages of chivalry.

  [Illustration: _Court of Mosque, Cordova._]

If the Moslem monuments in Spain, if the Mosque of Cordova, the Alcazar
of Seville, and the Alhambra of Granada, still bear inscriptions fondly
boasting of the power and permanency of their dominion, can the boast
be derided as arrogant and vain? Generation after generation, century
after century, passed away, and still they maintained possession of the
land. A period elapsed longer than that which has passed since England
was subjugated by the Norman Conqueror, and the descendants of Musa and
Taric might as little anticipate being driven into exile across the same
straits, traversed by their triumphant ancestors, as the descendants of
Rollo and William, and their veteran peers, may dream of being driven back
to the shores of Normandy.

With all this, however, the Moslem empire in Spain was but a brilliant
exotic, that took no permanent root in the soil it embellished. Severed
from all their neighbours in the West by impassable barriers of faith and
manners, and separated by seas and deserts from their kindred of the East,
the Morisco-Spaniards were an isolated people. Their whole existence was
a prolonged, though gallant and chivalric struggle for a foothold in a
usurped land.

  [Illustration: _Garden of Alcazar, Seville._]

They were the outposts and frontiers of Islamism. The Peninsula was the
great battle-ground where the Gothic conquerors of the north and the
Moslem conquerors of the East met and strove for mastery; and the fiery
courage of the Arab was at length subdued by the obstinate and persevering
valour of the Goth.

Never was the annihilation of a people more complete than that of
the Morisco-Spaniards. Where are they? Ask the shores of Barbary and
its desert places. The exiled remnant of their once powerful empire
disappeared among the barbarians of Africa, and ceased to be a nation.
They have not even left a distinct name behind them, though for nearly
eight centuries they were a distinct people. The home of their adoption,
and of their occupation for ages, refuses to acknowledge them, except as
invaders and usurpers. A few broken monuments are all that remain to bear
witness to their power and dominion, as solitary rocks, left far in the
interior, bear testimony to the extent of some vast inundation. Such is
the Alhambra;--a Moslem pile in the midst of a Christian land; an Oriental
palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the West; an elegant memento of a
brave, intelligent, and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, flourished,
and passed away.

  [Illustration: _Cadiz._]


  [2] Urquhart's _Pillars of Hercules_.



As I was rambling one day about the Moorish halls, my attention was, for
the first time, attracted to a door in a remote gallery, communicating
apparently with some part of the Alhambra which I had not yet explored. I
attempted to open it, but it was locked. I knocked, but no one answered,
and the sound seemed to reverberate through empty chambers. Here then was
a mystery. Here was the haunted wing of the castle. How was I to get at
the dark secrets here shut up from the public eye? Should I come privately
at night with lamp and sword, according to the prying custom of heroes of
romance; or should I endeavour to draw the secret from Pépe the stuttering
gardener; or the ingenuous Dolores, or the loquacious Mateo? Or should
I go frankly and openly to Dame Antonia the chatelaine, and ask her all
about it? I chose the latter course, as being the simplest though the
least romantic; and found, somewhat to my disappointment, that there was
no mystery in the case. I was welcome to explore the apartment, and there
was the key.


Thus provided, I returned forthwith to the door. It opened, as I had
surmised, to a range of vacant chambers; but they were quite different
from the rest of the palace. The architecture, though rich and antiquated,
was European. There was nothing Moorish about it. The first two rooms were
lofty; the ceilings, broken in many places, were of cedar, deeply panelled
and skilfully carved with fruits and flowers, intermingled with grotesque
masks or faces.

The walls had evidently in ancient times been hung with damask; but now
were naked, and scrawled over by that class of aspiring travellers who
defile noble monuments with their worthless names. The windows, dismantled
and open to wind and weather, looked out into a charming little secluded
garden, where an alabaster fountain sparkled among roses and myrtles,
and was surrounded by orange and citron trees, some of which flung their
branches into the chambers. Beyond these rooms were two saloons, longer
but less lofty, looking also into the garden. In the compartments of
the panelled ceilings were baskets of fruit and garlands of flowers,
painted by no mean hand, and in tolerable preservation. The walls also
had been painted in fresco in the Italian style, but the paintings were
nearly obliterated; the windows were in the same shattered state with
those of the other chambers. This fanciful suite of rooms terminated in
an open gallery with balustrades, running at right angles along another
side of the garden. The whole apartment, so delicate and elegant in its
decorations, so choice and sequestered in its situation along this retired
little garden, and so different in architecture from the neighbouring
halls, awakened an interest in its history. I found on inquiry that it was
an apartment fitted up by Italian artists in the early part of the last
century, at the time when Philip V. and his second wife, the beautiful
Elizabetta of Farnese, daughter of the Duke of Parma, were expected at the
Alhambra. It was destined for the queen and the ladies of her train. One
of the loftiest chambers had been her sleeping-room. A narrow staircase,
now walled up, led up to a delightful belvidere, originally a mirador of
the Moorish sultanas, communicating with the harem; but which was fitted
up as a boudoir for the fair Elizabetta, and still retains the name of
_el tocador de la Reyna_, or the queen's toilette.


  [Illustration: _Garden of Lindaraxa_]

  [Illustration: _Fountain of Lindaraxa._]

One window of the royal sleeping-room commanded a prospect of the
Generalife and its embowered terraces; another looked out into the
little secluded garden I have mentioned, which was decidedly Moorish
in its character, and also had its history. It was in fact the garden
of Lindaraxa, so often mentioned in descriptions of the Alhambra, but
who this Lindaraxa was I had never heard explained. A little research
gave me the few particulars known about her. She was a Moorish beauty
who flourished in the court of Muhamed the Left-Handed, and was the
daughter of his loyal adherent, the _alcayde_ of Malaga, who sheltered
him in his city when driven from the throne. On regaining his crown, the
_alcayde_ was rewarded for his fidelity. His daughter had her apartment
in the Alhambra, and was given by the king in marriage to Nasar, a young
Cetimerien prince descended from Aben Hud the Just. Their espousals were
doubtless celebrated in the royal palace and their honeymoon may have
passed among these very bowers.[3]

Four centuries had elapsed since the fair Lindaraxa passed away, yet
how much of the fragile beauty of the scenes she inhabited remained! The
garden still bloomed in which she delighted; the fountain still presented
the crystal mirror in which her charms may once have been reflected;
the alabaster, it is true, had lost its whiteness; the basin beneath,
overrun with weeds, had become the lurking-place of the lizard, but there
was something in the very decay that enhanced the interest of the scene,
speaking as it did of that mutability, the irrevocable lot of man and all
his works.

The desolation too of these chambers, once the abode of the proud and
elegant Elizabetta, had a more touching charm for me than if I had beheld
them in their pristine splendour, glittering with the pageantry of a

When I returned to my quarters, in the governor's apartment, everything
seemed tame and commonplace after the poetic region I had left. The
thought suggested itself: Why could I not change my quarters to these
vacant chambers? that would indeed be living in the Alhambra, surrounded
by its gardens and fountains, as in the time of the Moorish sovereigns. I
proposed the change to Dame Antonia and her family, and it occasioned vast
surprise. They could not conceive any rational inducement for the choice
of an apartment so forlorn, remote, and solitary. Dolores exclaimed at
its frightful loneliness; nothing but bats and owls flitting about,--and
then a fox and wildcat, kept in the vaults of the neighbouring baths,
roamed about at night. The good Tia had more reasonable objections. The
neighbourhood was infested by vagrants: gipsies swarmed in the caverns
of the adjacent hills; the palace was ruinous and easy to be entered in
many places; the rumour of a stranger quartered alone in one of the remote
and ruined apartments, out of the hearing of the rest of the inhabitants,
might tempt unwelcome visitors in the night, especially as foreigners were
always supposed to be well stocked with money. I was not to be diverted
from my humour, however, and my will was law with these good people. So,
calling in the assistance of a carpenter, and the ever officious Mateo
Ximenes, the doors and windows were soon placed in a state of tolerable
security, and the sleeping-room of the stately Elizabetta prepared for
my reception. Mateo kindly volunteered as a body-guard to sleep in my
antechamber; but I did not think it worth while to put his valour to the


  [Illustration: _Prospect from the Hall of Ambassadors._]

With all the hardihood I had assumed and all the precautions I had taken,
I must confess the first night passed in these quarters was inexpressibly
dreary. I do not think it was so much the apprehension of dangers from
without that affected me, as the character of the place itself, with
all its strange associations: the deeds of violence committed there; the
tragical ends of many of those who had once reigned there in splendour. As
I passed beneath the fated halls of the tower of Comares on the way to my
chamber, I called to mind a quotation that used to thrill me in the days
of boyhood:

     "Fate sits on these dark battlements and frowns;
     And, as the portal opens to receive me,
     A voice in sullen echoes through the courts
     Tells of a nameless deed!"

The whole family escorted me to my chamber, and took leave of me as of one
engaged in a perilous enterprise; and when I heard their retreating steps
die away along the waste antechambers and echoing galleries, and turned
the key of my door, I was reminded of those hobgoblin stories, where the
hero is left to accomplish the adventure of an enchanted house.

Even the thoughts of the fair Elizabetta and the beauties of her court,
who had once graced these chambers, now, by a perversion of fancy, added
to the gloom. Here was the scene of their transient gaiety and loveliness;
here were the very traces of their elegance and enjoyment; but what and
where were they? Dust and ashes! tenants of the tomb! phantoms of the

A vague and indescribable awe was creeping over me. I would fain
have ascribed it to the thoughts of robbers awakened by the evening's
conversation, but I felt it was something more unreal and absurd. The
long-buried superstitions of the nursery were reviving, and asserting
their power over my imagination. Everything began to be affected by the
working of my mind. The whispering of the wind among the citron-trees
beneath my window had something sinister. I cast my eyes into the garden
of Lindaraxa; the groves presented a gulf of shadows; the thickets,
indistinct and ghastly shapes. I was glad to close the window, but
my chamber itself became infected. There was a slight rustling noise
overhead; a bat suddenly emerged from a broken panel of the ceiling,
flitting about the room and athwart my solitary lamp; and as the fateful
bird almost flouted my face with his noiseless wing, the grotesque faces
carved in high relief in the cedar ceiling, whence he had emerged, seemed
to mope and mow at me.


Rousing myself, and half smiling at this temporary weakness, I resolved
to brave it out in the true spirit of the hero of the enchanted house;
so, taking lamp in hand, I sallied forth to make a tour of the palace.
Notwithstanding every mental exertion the task was a severe one. I had
to traverse waste halls and mysterious galleries, where the rays of the
lamp extended but a short distance around me. I walked, as it were, in
a mere halo of light, walled in by impenetrable darkness. The vaulted
corridors were as caverns; the ceilings of the halls were lost in gloom.
I recalled all that had been said of the danger from interlopers in these
remote and ruined apartments. Might not some vagrant foe be lurking before
or behind me, in the outer darkness? My own shadow, cast upon the wall,
began to disturb me. The echoes of my own footsteps along the corridors
made me pause and look around. I was traversing scenes fraught with dismal
recollections. One dark passage led down to the mosque where Yusef, the
Moorish monarch, the finisher of the Alhambra, had been basely murdered.
In another place I trod the gallery where another monarch had been struck
down by the poniard of a relative whom he had thwarted in his love.

A low murmuring sound, as of stifled voices and clanking chains, now
reached me. It seemed to come from the Hall of the Abencerrages. I knew
it to be the rush of water through subterranean channels, but it sounded
strangely in the night, and reminded me of the dismal stories to which it
had given rise.

Soon, however, my ear was assailed by sounds too fearfully real to be
the work of fancy. As I was crossing the Hall of Ambassadors, low moans
and broken ejaculations rose, as it were, from beneath my feet. I paused
and listened. They then appeared to be outside of the tower--then again
within. Then broke forth howlings as of an animal--then stifled shrieks
and inarticulate ravings. Heard in that dead hour and singular place,
the effect was thrilling. I had no desire for further perambulation; but
returned to my chamber with infinitely more alacrity than I had sallied
forth, and drew my breath more freely when once more within its walls
and the door bolted behind me. When I awoke in the morning, with the sun
shining in at my window and lighting up every part of the building with
his cheerful and truth-telling beams, I could scarcely recall the shadows
and fancies conjured up by the gloom of the preceding night; or believe
that the scenes around me, so naked and apparent, could have been clothed
with such imaginary horrors.

Still, the dismal howlings and ejaculations I had heard were not ideal;
they were soon accounted for, however, by my handmaid Dolores: being
the ravings of a poor maniac, a brother of her aunt, who was subject to
violent paroxysms, during which he was confined in a vaulted room beneath
the Hall of Ambassadors.

In the course of a few evenings a thorough change took place in the scene
and its associations. The moon, which when I took possession of my new
apartments was invisible, gradually gained each evening upon the darkness
of the night, and at length rolled in full splendour above the towers,
pouring a flood of tempered light into every court and hall. The garden
beneath my window, before wrapped in gloom, was gently lighted up; the
orange and citron trees were tipped with silver; the fountain sparkled in
the moonbeams, and even the blush of the rose was faintly visible.

I now felt the poetic merit of the Arabic inscription on the walls,--"How
beauteous is this garden; where the flowers of the earth vie with the
stars of heaven. What can compare with the vase of yon alabaster fountain
filled with crystal water? nothing but the moon in her fulness, shining
in the midst of an unclouded sky!"


On such heavenly nights I would sit for hours at my window inhaling the
sweetness of the garden, and musing on the chequered fortunes of those
whose history was dimly shadowed out in the elegant memorials around.
Sometimes, when all was quiet, and the clock from the distant cathedral of
Granada struck the midnight hour, I have sallied out on another tour and
wandered over the whole building; but how different from my first tour!
No longer dark and mysterious; no longer peopled with shadowy foes; no
longer recalling scenes of violence and murder; all was open, spacious,
beautiful; everything called up pleasing and romantic fancies; Lindaraxa
once more walked in her garden; the gay chivalry of Moslem Granada once
more glittered about the Court of Lions! Who can do justice to a moonlight
night in such a climate and such a place? The temperature of a summer
midnight in Andalusia is perfectly ethereal. We seem lifted up into a
purer atmosphere; we feel a serenity of soul, a buoyancy of spirits,
an elasticity of frame, which render mere existence happiness. But when
moonlight is added to all this, the effect is like enchantment. Under its
plastic sway the Alhambra seems to regain its pristine glories. Every rent
and chasm of time; every mouldering tint and weather-stain is gone; the
marble resumes its original whiteness; the long colonnades brighten in the
moonbeams; the halls are illuminated with a softened radiance,--we tread
the enchanted palace of an Arabian tale!

  [Illustration: _El Tocador de la Reyna._]



What a delight, at such a time, to ascend to the little airy pavilion of
the queen's toilette (_el tocador de la reyna_), which, like a bird-cage,
overhangs the valley of the Darro, and gaze from its light arcades upon
the moonlight prospect! To the right, the swelling mountains of the Sierra
Nevada, robbed of their ruggedness and softened into a fairy land, with
their snowy summits gleaming like silver clouds against the deep blue
sky. And then to lean over the parapet of the Tocador and gaze down upon
Granada and the Albaycin spread out like a map below; all buried in deep
repose; the white palaces and convents sleeping in the moonshine, and
beyond all these the vapoury Vega fading away like a dreamland in the

  [Illustration: _House of the Grand Captain._]

Sometimes the faint click of castanets rise from the Alameda, where some
gay Andalusians are dancing away the summer night. Sometimes the dubious
tones of a guitar and the notes of an amorous voice, tell perchance the
whereabout of some moonstruck lover serenading his lady's window.

Such is a faint picture of the moonlight nights I have passed loitering
about the courts and halls and balconies of this most suggestive pile;
"feeding my fancy with sugared suppositions," and enjoying that mixture
of reverie and sensation which steal away existence in a southern climate;
so that it has been almost morning before I have retired to bed, and been
lulled to sleep by the falling waters of the fountain of Lindaraxa.

  [Illustration: _Tower of Iron_]


    [3] Una de las cosas en que tienen precisa intervencion los Reyes
    Moros as en el matrimonio de sus grandes: de aqui nace que todos
    los señores llegadas à la persona real si casan en palacio, y
    siempre huvo su quarto destinado para esta ceremonia.

    One of the things in which the Moorish kings interfered was in
    the marriage of their nobles: hence it came that all the señors
    attached to the royal person were married in the palace; and
    there was always a chamber destined for the ceremony.--_Paseos
    por Granada_, Paseo XXI.



It is a serene and beautiful morning: the sun has not gained sufficient
power to destroy the freshness of the night. What a morning to mount to
the summit of the Tower of Comares, and take a bird's-eye view of Granada
and its environs!

Come then, worthy reader and comrade, follow my steps into this vestibule,
ornamented with rich tracery, which opens into the Hall of Ambassadors. We
will not enter the hall, however, but turn to this small door opening into
the wall. Have a care! here are steep winding steps and but scanty light;
yet up this narrow, obscure, and spiral staircase, the proud monarchs
of Granada and their queens have often ascended to the battlements to
watch the approach of invading armies, or gaze with anxious hearts on the
battles in the Vega.

At length we have reached the terraced roof, and may take breath for a
moment, while we cast a general eye over the splendid panorama of city and
country; of rocky mountain, verdant valley, and fertile plain; of castle,
cathedral, Moorish towers, and Gothic domes, crumbling ruins, and blooming
groves. Let us approach the battlements, and cast our eyes immediately
below. See, on this side we have the whole plain of the Alhambra laid
open to us, and can look down into its courts and gardens. At the foot of
the tower is the Court of the Alberca, with its great tank or fishpool,
bordered with flowers; and yonder is the Court of Lions, with its famous
fountain, and its light Moorish arcades; and in the centre of the pile is
the little garden of Lindaraxa, buried in the heart of the building, with
its roses and citrons and shrubbery of emerald green.


That belt of battlements, studded with square towers, straggling round
the whole brow of the hill, is the outer boundary of the fortress. Some
of the towers, you may perceive, are in ruins, and their massive fragments
buried among vines, fig-trees, and aloes.


Let us look on this northern side of the tower. It is a giddy height;
the very foundations of the tower rise above the groves of the steep
hill-side. And see! a long fissure in the massive walls shows that the
tower has been rent by some of the earthquakes which from time to time
have thrown Granada into consternation; and which, sooner or later,
must reduce this crumbling pile to a mere mass of ruin. The deep narrow
glen below us, which gradually widens as it opens from the mountains,
is the valley of the Darro; you see the little river winding its way
under embowered terraces, and among orchards and flower-gardens. It is
a stream famous in old times for yielding gold, and its sands are still
sifted occasionally, in search of the precious ore. Some of those white
pavilions, which here and there gleam from among groves and vineyards,
were rustic retreats of the Moors, to enjoy the refreshment of their
gardens. Well have they been compared by one of their poets to so many
pearls set in a bed of emeralds.



The airy palace, with its tall white towers and long arcades, which
breasts yon mountain, among pompous groves and hanging gardens, is the
Generalife, a summer palace of the Moorish kings, to which they resorted
during the sultry months to enjoy a still more breezy region than that
of the Alhambra. The naked summit of the height above it, where you
behold some shapeless ruins, is the Silla del Moro, or seat of the Moor,
so called from having been a retreat of the unfortunate Boabdil during
the time of an insurrection, where he seated himself and looked down
mournfully upon his rebellious city.

A murmuring sound of water now and then rises from the valley. It is
from the aqueduct of yon Moorish mill, nearly at the foot of the hill.
The avenue of trees beyond is the Alameda, along the bank of the Darro;
a favourite resort in evenings, and a rendezvous of lovers in the summer
nights, when the guitar may be heard at a late hour from the benches
along its walks. At present you see none but a few loitering monks there,
and a group of water-carriers. The latter are burdened with water-jars
of ancient Oriental construction, such as were used by the Moors. They
have been filled at the cold and limpid spring called the fountain of
Avellanos. Yon mountain path leads to the fountain, a favourite resort
of Moslems as well as Christians; for this is said to be the Adinamar
(_Aynu-l-adamar_), the "Fountain of Tears," mentioned by Ibn Batuta the
traveller, and celebrated in the histories and romances of the Moors.


You start! 'tis nothing but a hawk that we have frightened from his nest.
This old tower is a complete breeding-place for vagrant birds; the swallow
and martlet abound in every chink and cranny, and circle about it the
whole day long; while at night, when all other birds have gone to rest,
the moping owl comes out of its lurking-place, and utters its boding cry
from the battlements. See how the hawk we have dislodged sweeps away below
us, skimming over the tops of the trees, and sailing up to the ruins above
the Generalife!

  [Illustration: _Puente Pinos._]

I see you raise your eyes to the snowy summit of yon pile of mountains,
shining like a white summer cloud in the blue sky. It is the Sierra
Nevada, the pride and delight of Granada; the source of her cooling
breezes and perpetual verdure; of her gushing fountains and perennial
streams. It is this glorious pile of mountains which gives to Granada that
combination of delights so rare in a southern city,--the fresh vegetation
and temperate airs of a northern climate, with the vivifying ardour of a
tropical sun, and the cloudless azure of a southern sky. It is this aërial
treasury of snow, which, melting in proportion to the increase of the
summer heat, sends down rivulets and streams through every glen and gorge
of the Alpuxarras, diffusing emerald verdure and fertility throughout a
chain of happy and sequestered valleys.

Those mountains may be well called the glory of Granada. They dominate the
whole extent of Andalusia, and may be seen from its most distant parts.
The muleteer hails them, as he views their frosty peaks from the sultry
level of the plain; and the Spanish mariner on the deck of his bark,
far, far off on the bosom of the blue Mediterranean, watches them with a
pensive eye, thinks of delightful Granada, and chants, in low voice, some
old romance about the Moors.


See to the south at the foot of those mountains a line of arid hills,
down which a long train of mules is slowly moving. Here was the closing
scene of Moslem domination. From the summit of one of those hills the
unfortunate Boabdil cast back his last look upon Granada, and gave vent
to the agony of his soul. It is the spot famous in song and story, "The
last sigh of the Moor."

  [Illustration: _Santa Fe._]

Further this way these arid hills slope down into the luxurious Vega, from
which he had just emerged: a blooming wilderness of grove and garden,
and teeming orchard, with the Xenil winding through it in silver links,
and feeding innumerable rills; which, conducted through ancient Moorish
channels, maintain the landscape in perpetual verdure. Here were the
beloved bowers and gardens, and rural pavilions, for which the unfortunate
Moors fought with such desperate valour. The very hovels and rude granges,
now inhabited by boors, show, by the remains of arabesques and other
tasteful decoration, that they were elegant residences in the days of the
Moslems. Behold, in the very centre of this eventful plain, a place which
in a manner links the history of the Old World with that of the New. Yon
line of walls and towers gleaming in the morning sun, is the city of Santa
Fe, built by the Catholic sovereigns during the siege of Granada, after a
conflagration had destroyed their camp. It was to these walls Columbus was
called back by the heroic queen, and within them the treaty was concluded
which led to the discovery of the Western World. Behind yon promontory to
the west is the bridge of Pinos, renowned for many a bloody fight between
Moors and Christians. At this bridge the messenger overtook Columbus when,
despairing of success with the Spanish sovereigns, he was departing to
carry his project of discovery to the court of France.

  [Illustration: _Pass of Elvira._]

  [Illustration: _Alcala._]

Above the bridge a range of mountains bounds the Vega to the west,--the
ancient barrier between Granada and the Christian territories. Among
their heights you may still discern warrior towns; their gray walls and
battlements seeming of a piece with the rocks on which they are built.
Here and there a solitary _atalaya_, or watchtower, perched on a mountain
peak, looks down as it were from the sky into the valley on either side.
How often have these _atalayas_ given notice, by fire at night or smoke
by day, of an approaching foe! It was down a cragged defile of these
mountains, called the Pass of Lope, that the Christian armies descended
into the Vega. Round the base of yon gray and naked mountain (the
mountain of Elvira), stretching its bold rocky promontory into the bosom
of the plain, the invading squadrons would come bursting into view, with
flaunting banners and clangour of drum and trumpet.

  [Illustration: _Alcaudete._]

Five hundred years have elapsed since Ismael ben Ferrag, a Moorish king
of Granada, beheld from this very tower an invasion of the kind, and an
insulting ravage of the Vega; on which occasion he displayed an instance
of chivalrous magnanimity, often witnessed in the Moslem princes; "whose
history," says an Arabian writer, "abounds in generous actions and noble
deeds that will last through all succeeding ages, and live for ever in the
memory of man."--But let us sit down on this parapet, and I will relate
the anecdote.

  [Illustration: _Illora._]

It was in the year of Grace 1319, that Ismael ben Ferrag beheld from this
tower a Christian camp whitening the skirts of yon mountain of Elvira.
The royal princes, Don Juan and Don Pedro, regents of Castile during
the minority of Alphonso XI., had already laid waste the country from
Alcaudete to Alcalá la Real, capturing the castle of Illora, and setting
fire to its suburbs, and they now carried their insulting ravages to
the very gates of Granada, defying the king to sally forth and give them

Ismael, though a young and intrepid prince, hesitated to accept the
challenge. He had not sufficient force at hand, and awaited the arrival
of troops summoned from the neighbouring towns. The Christian princes,
mistaking his motives, gave up all hope of drawing him forth, and having
glutted themselves with ravage, struck their tents and began their
homeward march. Don Pedro led the van, and Don Juan brought up the
rear, but their march was confused and irregular, the army being greatly
encumbered by the spoils and captives they had taken.


By this time King Ismael had received his expected resources, and putting
them under the command of Osmyn, one of the bravest of his generals, sent
them forth in hot pursuit of the enemy. The Christians were overtaken in
the defiles of the mountains. A panic seized them; they were completely
routed, and driven with great slaughter across the borders. Both of the
princes lost their lives. The body of Don Pedro was carried off by his
soldiers, but that of Don Juan was lost in the darkness of the night. His
son wrote to the Moorish king, entreating that the body of his father
might be sought and honourably treated. Ismael forgot in a moment that
Don Juan was an enemy, who had carried ravage and insult to the very gate
of his capital; he only thought of him as a gallant cavalier and a royal
prince. By his command diligent search was made for the body. It was found
in a _barranco_ and brought to Granada. There Ismael caused it to be laid
out in state on a lofty bier, surrounded by torches and tapers, in one of
these halls of the Alhambra. Osmyn and other of the noblest cavaliers were
appointed as a guard of honour, and the Christian captives were assembled
to pray around it.

In the meantime, Ismael wrote to the son of Prince Juan to send a convoy
for the body, assuring him it should be faithfully delivered up. In due
time, a band of Christian cavaliers arrived for the purpose. They were
honourably received and entertained by Ismael, and, on their departure
with the body, the guard of honour of Moslem cavaliers escorted the
funeral train to the frontier.

But enough; the sun is high above the mountains, and pours his full
fervour on our heads. Already the terraced roof is hot beneath our feet;
let us abandon it, and refresh ourselves under the Arcades by the Fountain
of the Lions.




I have spoken of a balcony of the central window of the Hall of
Ambassadors. It served as a kind of observatory, where I used often to
take my seat, and consider not merely the heaven above but the earth
beneath. Besides the magnificent prospect which it commanded of mountain,
valley, and Vega, there was a little busy scene of human life laid open to
inspection immediately below. At the foot of the hill was an _alameda_,
or public walk, which, though not so fashionable as the more modern and
splendid _paseo_ of the Xenil, still boasted a varied and picturesque
concourse. Hither resorted the small gentry of the suburbs, together with
priests and friars, who walked for appetite and digestion; _majos_ and
_majas_, the beaux and belles of the lower classes, in their Andalusian
dresses; swaggering _contrabandistas_, and sometimes half-muffled and
mysterious loungers of the higher ranks, on some secret assignation.

It was a moving picture of Spanish life and character, which I delighted
to study; and as the astronomer has his grand telescope with which
to sweep the skies, and, as it were, bring the stars nearer for his
inspection, so I had a smaller one, of pocket size, for the use of my
observatory, with which I could sweep the regions below, and bring the
countenances of the motley groups so close as almost, at times, to make
me think I could divine their conversation by the play and expression
of their features. I was thus, in a manner, an invisible observer, and,
without quitting my solitude, could throw myself in an instant into the
midst of society,--a rare advantage to one of somewhat shy and quiet
habits, and fond, like myself, of observing the drama of life without
becoming an actor in the scene.


There was a considerable suburb lying below the Alhambra, filling the
narrow gorge of the valley, and extending up the opposite hill of the
Albaycin. Many of the houses were built in the Moorish style, round
_patios_, or courts, cooled by fountains and open to the sky; and as the
inhabitants passed much of their time in these courts, and on the terraced
roofs during the summer season, it follows that many a glance of their
domestic life might be obtained by an aërial spectator like myself, who
could look down on them from the clouds.

I enjoyed in some degree the advantages of the student in the famous old
Spanish story, who beheld all Madrid unroofed for his inspection; and my
gossiping squire, Mateo Ximenes, officiated occasionally as my Asmodeus,
to give me anecdotes of the different mansions and their inhabitants.


I preferred, however, to form conjectural histories for myself, and thus
would sit for hours, weaving, from casual incidents and indications
passing under my eye, a whole tissue of schemes, intrigues, and
occupations of the busy mortals below. There was scarce a pretty face or
a striking figure that I daily saw, about which I had not thus gradually
framed a dramatic story, though some of my characters would occasionally
act in direct opposition to the part assigned them, and disconcert the
whole drama. Reconnoitring one day with my glass the streets of the
Albaycin, I beheld the procession of a novice about to take the veil; and
remarked several circumstances which excited the strongest sympathy in the
fate of the youthful being thus about to be consigned to a living tomb.
I ascertained to my satisfaction that she was beautiful, and, from the
paleness of her cheek, that she was a victim rather than a votary. She was
arrayed in bridal garments, and decked with a chaplet of white flowers,
but her heart evidently revolted at this mockery of a spiritual union, and
yearned after its earthly loves. A tall stern-looking man walked near her
in the procession: it was, of course, the tyrannical father, who, from
some bigoted or sordid motive, had compelled this sacrifice. Amid the
crowd was a dark handsome youth, in Andalusian garb, who seemed to fix on
her an eye of agony. It was doubtless the secret lover from whom she was
for ever to be separated. My indignation rose as I noted the malignant
expression painted on the countenances of the attendant monks and friars.
The procession arrived at the chapel of the convent; the sun gleamed for
the last time upon the chaplet of the poor novice, as she crossed the
fatal threshold and disappeared within the building. The throng poured
in with cowl, and cross, and minstrelsy; the lover paused for a moment
at the door. I could divine the tumult of his feelings; but he mastered
them, and entered. There was a long interval. I pictured to myself the
scene passing within: the poor novice despoiled of her transient finery,
and clothed in the conventual garb; the bridal chaplet taken from her
brow, and her beautiful head shorn of its long silken tresses. I heard her
murmur the irrevocable vow. I saw her extended on a bier; the death pall
spread over her; the funeral service performed that proclaimed her dead
to the world; her sighs were drowned in the deep tones of the organ, and
the plaintive requiem of the nuns; the father looked on, unmoved, without
a tear; the lover--no--my imagination refused to portray the anguish of
the lover--there the picture remained a blank.

After a time the throng again poured forth, and dispersed various ways, to
enjoy the light of the sun and mingle with the stirring scenes of life;
but the victim, with her bridal chaplet, was no longer there. The door
of the convent closed that severed her from the world for ever. I saw
the father and the lover issue forth; they were in earnest conversation.
The latter was vehement in his gesticulations; I expected some violent
termination to my drama; but an angle of a building interfered and closed
the scene. My eye afterwards was frequently turned to that convent with
painful interest. I remarked late at night a solitary light twinkling from
a remote lattice of one of its towers. "There," said I, "the unhappy nun
sits weeping in her cell, while perhaps her lover paces the street below
in unavailing anguish."


The officious Mateo interrupted my meditations and destroyed in an instant
the cobweb tissue of my fancy. With his usual zeal he had gathered facts
concerning the scene, which put my fictions all to flight. The heroine
of my romance was neither young nor handsome; she had no lover; she had
entered the convent of her own free will, as a respectable asylum, and
was one of the most cheerful residents within its walls.

It was some little while before I could forgive the wrong done me by the
nun in being thus happy in her cell, in contradiction to all the rules
of romance; I diverted my spleen, however, by watching, for a day or two,
the pretty coquetries of a dark-eyed brunette, who, from the covert of a
balcony shrouded with flowering shrubs and a silken awning, was carrying
on a mysterious correspondence with a handsome, dark, well-whiskered
cavalier, who lurked frequently in the street beneath her window.
Sometimes I saw him at an early hour stealing forth wrapped to the eyes
in a mantle. Sometimes he loitered at a corner, in various disguises,
apparently waiting for a private signal to slip into the house. Then there
was the tinkling of a guitar at night and a lantern shifted from place to
place in the balcony. I imagined another intrigue like that of Almaviva,
but was again disconcerted in all my suppositions. The supposed lover
turned out to be the husband of the lady, and a noted _contrabandista_;
and all his mysterious signs and movements had doubtless some smuggling
scheme in view.

I occasionally amused myself with noting from this balcony the gradual
changes of the scenes below, according to the different stages of the day.

Scarce has the gray dawn streaked the sky, and the earliest cock crowed
from the cottages of the hill-side, when the suburbs give sign of reviving
animation; for the fresh hours of dawning are precious in the summer
season in a sultry climate. All are anxious to get the start of the sun,
in the business of the day. The muleteer drives forth his loaded train
for the journey; the traveller slings his carbine behind his saddle, and
mounts his steed at the gate of the hostel; the brown peasant from the
country urges forward his loitering beasts, laden with panniers of sunny
fruit and fresh dewy vegetables, for already the thrifty housewives are
hastening to the market.

The sun is up and sparkles along the valley, tipping the transparent
foliage of the groves. The matin bells resound melodiously through the
pure bright air, announcing the hour of devotion. The muleteer halts his
burdened animals before the chapel, thrusts his staff through his belt
behind, and enters with hat in hand, smoothing his coal-black hair to
hear a mass, and to put up a prayer for a prosperous wayfaring across
the _sierra_. And now steals forth on fairy foot the gentle _señora_, in
trim _basquiña_, with restless fan in hand, and dark eye flashing from
beneath the gracefully folded mantilla; she seeks some well-frequented
church to offer up her morning orisons; but the nicely adjusted dress, the
dainty shoe and cobweb stocking, the raven tresses exquisitely braided,
the fresh-plucked rose, gleaming among them like a gem, show that earth
divides with Heaven the empire of her thoughts. Keep an eye upon her,
careful mother, or virgin aunt, or vigilant _duenna_, whichever you may
be, that walk behind!

  [Illustration: _The Market._]

As the morning advances, the din of labour augments on every side; the
streets are thronged with man, and steed, and beast of burden, and there
is a hum and murmur, like the surges of the ocean. As the sun ascends to
his meridian, the hum and bustle gradually decline; at the height of noon
there is a pause. The panting city sinks into lassitude, and for several
hours there is a general repose. The windows are closed, the curtains
drawn, the inhabitants retire into the coolest recesses of their mansions;
the full-fed monk snores in his dormitory; the brawny porter lies
stretched on the pavement beside his burden; the peasant and the labourer
sleep beneath the trees of the Alameda, lulled by the sultry chirping of
the locust. The streets are deserted, except by the water-carrier, who
refreshes the ear by proclaiming the merits of his sparkling beverage,
"colder than the mountain snow (_mas fria que la nieve_)."

  [Illustration: _House of the Darro._]

As the sun declines, there is again a gradual reviving, and when the
vesper bell rings out his sinking knell, all nature seems to rejoice that
the tyrant of the day has fallen. Now begins the bustle of enjoyment, when
the citizens pour forth to breathe the evening air, and revel away the
brief twilight in the walks and gardens of the Darro and Xenil.

  [Illustration: _The Convent._]

As night closes, the capricious scene assumes new features. Light after
light gradually twinkles forth; here a taper from a balconied window;
there a votive lamp before the image of a saint. Thus, by degrees, the
city emerges from the pervading gloom, and sparkles with scattered lights,
like the starry firmament. Now break forth from court and garden, and
street and lane, the tinkling of innumerable guitars, and the clicking of
castanets; blending, at this lofty height, in a faint but general concert.
"Enjoy the moment" is the creed of the gay and amorous Andalusian, and
at no time does he practise it more zealously than on the balmy nights
of summer, wooing his mistress with the dance, the love-ditty, and the
passionate serenade.

I was one evening seated in the balcony, enjoying the light breeze that
came rustling along the side of the hill, among the tree-tops, when my
humble historiographer Mateo, who was at my elbow, pointed out a spacious
house, in an obscure street of the Albaycin, about which he related, as
nearly as I can recollect, the following anecdote.

  [Illustration: _In the Sierras._]

  [Illustration: _Mosque._]


There was once upon a time a poor mason, or bricklayer, in Granada, who
kept all the saints' days and holidays, and Saint Monday into the bargain,
and yet, with all his devotion, he grew poorer and poorer, and could
scarcely earn bread for his numerous family. One night he was roused from
his first sleep by a knocking at his door. He opened it, and beheld before
him a tall, meagre cadaverous-looking priest.

"'Hark ye, honest friend!' said the stranger; 'I have observed that you
are a good Christian, and one to be trusted; will you undertake a job this
very night?'

"'With all my heart, _Señor_ Padre, on condition that I am paid

"'That you shall be; but you must suffer yourself to be blindfolded.'

  [Illustration: _House of the Priests._]

"To this the mason made no objection. So, being hoodwinked, he was led
by the priest through various rough lanes and winding passages, until
they stopped before the portal of a house. The priest then applied a key,
turned a creaking lock, and opened what sounded like a ponderous door.
They entered, the door was closed and bolted, and the mason was conducted
through an echoing corridor and a spacious hall to an interior part of the
building. Here the bandage was removed from his eyes, and he found himself
in a _patio_, or court, dimly lighted by a single lamp. In the centre
was the dry basin of an old Moorish fountain, under which the priest
requested him to form a small vault, bricks and mortar being at hand for
the purpose. He accordingly worked all night, but without finishing the
job. Just before daybreak the priest put a piece of gold into his hand,
and having again blindfolded him, conducted him back to his dwelling.


"'Are you willing,' said he, 'to return and complete your work?'

"'Gladly, Señor Padre, provided I am so well paid.'

"'Well, then, to-morrow at midnight I will call again.'

"He did so, and the vault was completed.

"'Now, 'said the priest, 'you must help me to bring forth the bodies that
are to be buried in this vault.'


"The poor mason's hair rose on his head at these words: he followed the
priest, with trembling steps, into a retired chamber of the mansion,
expecting to behold some ghastly spectacle of death, but was relieved on
perceiving three or four portly jars standing in one corner. They were
evidently full of money, and it was with great labour that he and the
priest carried them forth and consigned them to their tomb. The vault
was then closed, the pavement replaced, and all traces of the work were
obliterated. The mason was again hoodwinked and led forth by a route
different from that by which he had come. After they had wandered for a
long time through a perplexed maze of lanes and alleys, they halted. The
priest then put two pieces of gold into his hand: 'Wait here,' said he,
'until you hear the cathedral bell toll for matins. If you presume to
uncover your eyes before that time, evil will befall you:' so saying, he
departed. The mason waited faithfully, amusing himself by weighing the
gold pieces in his hand, and clinking them against each other. The moment
the cathedral bell rang its matin peal, he uncovered his eyes, and found
himself on the banks of the Xenil; whence he made the best of his way
home, and revelled with his family for a whole fortnight on the profits
of his two nights' work; after which he was as poor as ever.

  [Illustration: _The Moorish Fountain._]

"He continued to work a little, and pray a good deal, and keep saints'
days and holidays, from year to year, while his family grew up as gaunt
and ragged as a crew of gipsies. As he was seated one evening at the door
of his hovel, he was accosted by a rich old curmudgeon, who was noted for
owning many houses, and being a griping landlord. The man of money eyed
him for a moment from beneath a pair of anxious shagged eyebrows.

"'I am told, friend, that you are very poor.'

"'There is no denying the fact, _señors_,--it speaks for itself.'

"'I presume, then, that you will be glad of a job, and will work cheap.'

"'As cheap, my master, as any mason in Granada.'

  [Illustration: _Banks of Xenil._]

"'That's what I want. I have an old house fallen into decay, which costs
me more money than it is worth to keep it in repair, for nobody will live
in it; so I must contrive to patch it up and keep it together at as small
expense as possible.'

"The mason was accordingly conducted to a large deserted house that
seemed going to ruin. Passing through several empty halls and chambers,
he entered an inner court, where his eye was caught by an old Moorish
fountain. He paused for a moment, for a dreaming recollection of the place
came over him.

"'Pray,' said he, 'who occupied this house formerly?'

"'A pest upon him!' cried the landlord; 'it was an old miserly priest,
who cared for nobody but himself. He was said to be immensely rich, and,
having no relations, it was thought he would leave all his treasures to
the Church. He died suddenly, and the priests and friars thronged to take
possession of his wealth; but nothing could they find but a few ducats in
a leathern purse. The worst luck has fallen on me, for, since his death,
the old fellow continues to occupy my house without paying rent, and
there is no taking the law of a dead man. The people pretend to hear the
clinking of gold all night in the chamber where the old priest slept, as
if he were counting over his money, and sometimes a groaning and moaning
about the court. Whether true or false, these stories have brought a bad
name on my house, and not a tenant will remain in it.'

"'Enough,' said the mason sturdily: 'let me live in your house rent-free
until some better tenant present, and I will engage to put it in repair,
and to quiet the troubled spirit that disturbs it. I am a good Christian
and a poor man, and am not to be daunted by the Devil himself, even though
he should come in the shape of a big bag of money!'

"The offer of the honest mason was gladly accepted; he moved with his
family into the house, and fulfilled all his engagements. By little and
little he restored it to its former state; the clinking of gold was no
more heard at night in the chamber of the defunct priest, but began to be
heard by day in the pocket of the living mason. In a word, he increased
rapidly in wealth, to the admiration of all his neighbours, and became one
of the richest men in Granada: he gave large sums to the Church, by way,
no doubt, of satisfying his conscience, and never revealed the secret of
the vault until on his death-bed to his son and heir."



The peculiar charm of this old dreamy palace is its power of calling
up vague reveries and picturings of the past, and thus clothing naked
realities with the illusions of the memory and the imagination. As I
delight to walk in these "vain shadows," I am prone to seek those parts
of the Alhambra which are most favourable to this phantasmagoria of the
mind; and none are more so than the Court of Lions, and its surrounding
halls. Here the hand of time has fallen the lightest, and the traces of
Moorish elegance and splendour exist in almost their original brilliancy.
Earthquakes have shaken the foundations of this pile, and rent its rudest
towers; yet see! not one of those slender columns has been displaced,
not an arch of that light and fragile colonnade given way, and all the
fairy fretwork of these domes, apparently as unsubstantial as the crystal
fabrics of a morning's frost, exist after the lapse of centuries, almost
as fresh as if from the hand of the Moslem artist. I write in the midst
of these mementoes of the past, in the fresh hour of early morning, in the
fated Hall of the Abencerrages. The blood-stained fountain, the legendary
monument of their massacre, is before me; the lofty jet almost casts its
dew upon my paper. How difficult to reconcile the ancient tale of violence
and blood with the gentle and peaceful scene around! Everything here
appears calculated to inspire kind and happy feelings, for everything is
delicate and beautiful. The very light falls tenderly from above, through
the lantern of a dome tinted and wrought as if by fairy hands. Through
the ample and fretted arch of the portal I behold the Court of Lions,
with brilliant sunshine gleaming along its colonnades and sparkling in
its fountains. The lively swallow dives into the court, and, rising with
a surge, darts away twittering over the roofs; the busy bee toils humming
among the flower-beds; and painted butterflies hover from plant to plant,
and flutter up and sport with each other in the sunny air. It needs but a
slight exertion of the fancy to picture some pensive beauty of the harem,
loitering in these secluded haunts of Oriental luxury.

He, however, who would behold this scene under an aspect more in unison
with its fortunes, let him come when the shadows of evening temper the
brightness of the court, and throw a gloom into the surrounding halls.
Then nothing can be more serenely melancholy, or more in harmony with the
tale of departed grandeur.

  [Illustration: _Court of Lions._]

At such times I am apt to seek the Hall of Justice, whose deep shadowy
arcades extend across the upper end of the court. Here was performed,
in presence of Ferdinand and Isabella and their triumphant court, the
pompous ceremonial of high mass, on taking possession of the Alhambra.
The very cross is still to be seen upon the wall, where the altar was
erected, and where officiated the Grand Cardinal of Spain, and others of
the highest religious dignitaries of the land. I picture to myself the
scene when this place was filled with the conquering host, that mixture
of mitred prelate and shaven monk, and steel-clad knight and silken
courtier; when crosses and crosiers and religious standards were mingled
with proud armorial-ensigns and the banners of the haughty chiefs of
Spain, and flaunted in triumph through these Moslem halls. I picture to
myself Columbus, the future discoverer of a world, taking his modest stand
in a remote corner, the humble and neglected spectator of the pageant. I
see in imagination the Catholic sovereigns prostrating themselves before
the altar, and pouring forth thanks for their victory; while the vaults
resound with sacred minstrelsy, and the deep-toned _Te Deum_.

  [Illustration: _Hall of Justice._]

The transient illusion is over,--the pageant melts from the
fancy,--monarch, priest, and warrior return into oblivion with the poor
Moslems over whom they exulted. The hall of their triumph is waste and
desolate. The bat flits about its twilight vault, and the owl hoots from
the neighbouring tower of Comares.

  [Illustration: _Hall of Justice._]

Entering the Court of the Lions a few evenings since, I was almost
startled at beholding a turbaned Moor quietly seated near the fountain.
For a moment one of the fictions of the place seemed realised: an
enchanted Moor had broken the spell of centuries, and become visible.
He proved, however, to be a mere ordinary mortal: a native of Tetuan in
Barbary, who had a shop in the Zacatin of Granada, where he sold rhubarb,
trinkets, and perfumes. As he spoke Spanish fluently, I was enabled to
hold conversation with him, and found him shrewd and intelligent. He told
me that he came up the hill occasionally in the summer, to pass a part of
the day in the Alhambra, which reminded him of the old palaces in Barbary,
being built and adorned in similar style, though with more magnificence.

As we walked about the palace, he pointed out several of the Arabic
inscriptions, as possessing much poetic beauty.


"Ah, _señors_," said he, "when the Moors held Granada, they were a gayer
people than they are nowadays. They thought only of love, music, and
poetry. They made stanzas upon every occasion, and set them all to music.
He who could make the best verses, and she who had the most tuneful voice,
might be sure of favour and preferment. In those days, if any one asked
for bread, the reply was, make me a couplet; and the poorest beggar, if
he begged in rhyme, would often be rewarded with a piece of gold."

"And is the popular feeling for poetry," said I, "entirely lost among you?"

"By no means, _señors_; the people of Barbary, even those of the lower
classes, still make couplets, and good ones too, as in old times; but
talent is not rewarded as it was then; the rich prefer the jingle of their
gold to the sound of poetry or music."

As he was talking, his eye caught one of the inscriptions which foretold
perpetuity to the power and glory of the Moslem monarchs, the masters
of this pile. He shook his head, and shrugged his shoulders, as he
interpreted it. "Such might have been the case," said he; "the Moslems
might still have been reigning in the Alhambra, had not Boabdil been a
traitor, and given up his capital to the Christians. The Spanish monarchs
would never have been able to conquer it by open force."

  [Illustration: _A Window in the Hall of Justice._]

I endeavoured to vindicate the memory of the unlucky Boabdil from this
aspersion, and to show that the dissensions which led to the downfall of
the Moorish throne originated in the cruelty of his tiger-hearted father;
but the Moor would admit of no palliation.

"Muley Abul Hassan," said he, "might have been cruel; but he was brave,
vigilant, and patriotic. Had he been properly seconded, Granada would
still have been ours; but his son Boabdil thwarted his plans, crippled
his power, sowed treason in his palace, and dissension in his camp. May
the curse of God light upon him for his treachery!" With these words the
Moor left the Alhambra.

The indignation of my turbaned companion agrees with an anecdote related
by a friend, who, in the course of a tour in Barbary, had an interview
with the Pacha of Tetuan. The Moorish governor was particular in his
inquiries about Spain, and especially concerning the favoured region of
Andalusia, the delights of Granada, and the remains of its royal palace.
The replies awakened all those fond recollections, so deeply cherished by
the Moors, of the power and splendour of their ancient empire in Spain.
Turning to his Moslem attendants, the Pacha stroked his beard, and broke
forth in passionate lamentations, that such a sceptre should have fallen
from the sway of true believers. He consoled himself, however, with the
persuasion, that the power and prosperity of the Spanish nation were on
the decline; that a time would come when the Moors would conquer their
rightful domains; and that the day was perhaps not far distant when
Mohammedan worship would again be offered up in the mosque of Cordova,
and a Mohammedan prince sit on his throne in the Alhambra.

Such is the general aspiration and belief among the Moors of Barbary; who
consider Spain, or Andaluz, as it was anciently called, their rightful
heritage, of which they have been despoiled by treachery and violence.
These ideas are fostered and perpetuated by the descendants of the exiled
Moors of Granada, scattered among the cities of Barbary. Several of these
reside in Tetuan, preserving their ancient names, such as Paez and Medina,
and refraining from intermarriage with any families who cannot claim
the same high origin. Their vaunted lineage is regarded with a degree of
popular deference rarely shown in Mohammedan communities to any hereditary
distinction, excepting in the royal line.

These families, it is said, continue to sigh after the terrestrial
paradise of their ancestors, and to put up prayers in their mosques
on Fridays, imploring Allah to hasten the time when Granada shall be
restored to the faithful: an event to which they look forward as fondly
and confidently as did the Christian Crusaders to the recovery of the Holy
Sepulchre. Nay, it is added, that some of them retain the ancient maps
and deeds of the estates and gardens of their ancestors at Granada, and
even the keys of the houses; holding them as evidences of their hereditary
claims, to be produced at the anticipated day of restoration.

  [Illustration: _Mosque Cordova._]

My conversation with the Moor set me to musing on the fate of Boabdil.
Never was surname more applicable than that bestowed upon him by his
subjects of el Zogoybi, or the Unlucky. His misfortunes began almost in
his cradle, and ceased not even with his death. If ever he cherished the
desire of leaving an honourable name on the historic page, how cruelly has
he been defrauded of his hopes! Who is there that has turned the least
attention to the romantic history of the Moorish domination in Spain,
without kindling with indignation at the alleged atrocities of Boabdil?
Who has not been touched with the woes of his lovely and gentle queen,
subjected by him to a trial of life and death, on a false charge of
infidelity? Who has not been shocked by his alleged murder of his sister
and her two children, in a transport of passion? Who has not felt his
blood boil at the inhuman massacre of the gallant Abencerrages, thirty-six
of whom, it is affirmed, he ordered to be beheaded in the Court of Lions?
All these charges have been reiterated in various forms; they have passed
into ballads, dramas, and romances, until they have taken too thorough
possession of the public mind to be eradicated. There is not a foreigner
of education that visits the Alhambra, but asks for the fountain where the
Abencerrages were beheaded; and gazes with horror at the grated gallery
where the queen is said to have been confined; not a peasant of the Vega
or the Sierra, but sings the story in rude couplets, to the accompaniment
of his guitar, while his hearers learn to execrate the very name of

Never, however, was name more foully and unjustly slandered. I have
examined all the authentic chronicles and letters written by Spanish
authors, contemporary with Boabdil; some of whom were in the confidence of
the Catholic sovereigns, and actually present in the camp throughout the
war. I have examined all the Arabian authorities I could get access to,
through the medium of translation, and have found nothing to justify these
dark and hateful accusations. The most of these tales may be traced to a
work commonly called _The Civil Wars of Granada_, containing a pretended
history of the feuds of the Zegries and Abencerrages, during the last
struggle of the Moorish empire. The work appeared originally in Spanish,
and professed to be translated from the Arabic by one Gines Perez de Hita,
an inhabitant of Murcia. It has since passed into various languages, and
Florian has taken from it much of the fable of his Gonsalvo of Cordova:
it has thus, in a great measure, usurped the authority of real history,
and is currently believed by the people, and especially the peasantry of
Granada. The whole of it, however, is a mass of fiction, mingled with
a few disfigured truths, which give it an air of veracity. It bears
internal evidence of its falsity; the manners and customs of the Moors
being extravagantly misrepresented in it, and scenes depicted totally
incompatible with their habits and their faith, and which never could have
been recorded by a Mohammedan writer.


I confess there seems to me something almost criminal in the wilful
perversions of this work: great latitude is undoubtedly to be allowed to
romantic fiction, but there are limits which it must not pass; and the
names of the distinguished dead, which belong to history, are no more
to be calumniated than those of the illustrious living. One would have
thought, too, that the unfortunate Boabdil had suffered enough for his
justifiable hostility to the Spaniards, by being stripped of his kingdom,
without having his name thus wantonly traduced, and rendered a byword
and a theme of infamy in his native land, and in the very mansion of his

  [Illustration: _Entrance to Hall of Abencerrages_]



While my mind was still warm with the subject of the unfortunate Boabdil,
I set forth to trace the mementoes of him still existing in this scene
of his sovereignty and misfortunes. In the tower of Comares, immediately
under the Hall of Ambassadors, are two vaulted rooms, separated by a
narrow passage; these are said to have been the prisons of himself and his
mother, the virtuous Ayxa la Horra; indeed, no other part of the tower
would have served for the purpose. The external walls of these chambers
are of prodigious thickness, pierced with small windows secured by iron
bars. A narrow stone gallery, with a low parapet, extends along three
sides of the tower just below the windows, but at a considerable height
from the ground. From this gallery, it is presumed, the queen lowered
her son with the scarves of herself and her female attendants during
the darkness of the night to the hill-side, where some of his faithful
adherents waited with fleet steeds to bear him to the mountains.

Between three and four hundred years have elapsed, yet this scene of the
drama remains almost unchanged. As I paced the gallery, my imagination
pictured the anxious queen leaning over the parapet, listening, with the
throbbings of a mother's heart, to the last echoes of the horse's hoofs
as her son scoured along the narrow valley of the Darro.


I next sought the gate by which Boabdil made his last exit from the
Alhambra, when about to surrender his capital and kingdom. With the
melancholy caprice of a broken spirit, or perhaps with some superstitious
feeling, he requested of the Catholic monarchs that no one afterwards
might be permitted to pass through it. His prayer, according to ancient
chronicles, was complied with, through the sympathy of Isabella, and the
gate was walled up.

I inquired for some time in vain for such a portal; at length my humble
attendant, Mateo Ximenes, said it must be one closed up with stones,
which, according to what he had heard from his father and grandfather,
was the gateway by which King Chico had left the fortress. There was a
mystery about it, and it had never been opened within the memory of the
oldest inhabitant.

He conducted me to the spot. The gateway is in the centre of what was
once an immense pile, called the Tower of the Seven Floors (_la Torre
de los siete suelos_). It is famous in the neighbourhood as the scene
of strange apparitions and Moorish enchantments. According to Swinburne
the traveller, it was originally the great gate of entrance. The
antiquaries of Granada pronounce it the entrance to that quarter of the
royal residence where the king's bodyguards were stationed. It therefore
might well form an immediate entrance and exit to the palace; while the
grand Gate of Justice served as the entrance of state to the fortress.
When Boabdil sallied by this gate to descend to the Vega, where he was
to surrender the keys of the city to the Spanish sovereigns, he left his
vizier Aben Comixa to receive, at the gate of Justice, the detachment from
the Christian army and the officers to whom the fortress was to be given


The once redoubtable Tower of the Seven Floors is now a mere wreck,
having been blown up with gunpowder by the French, when they abandoned
the fortress. Great masses of the wall lie scattered about, buried in
luxuriant herbage, or overshadowed by vines and fig-trees. The arch of
the gateway, though rent by the shock, still remains; but the last wish
of poor Boabdil has again, though unintentionally, been fulfilled, for
the portal has been closed up by loose stones gathered from the ruins,
and remains impassable.


Mounting my horse, I followed up the route of the Moslem monarch from this
place of his exit. Crossing the hill of Los Martyros, and keeping along
the garden-wall of a convent bearing the same name, I descended a rugged
ravine beset by thickets of aloes and Indian figs, and lined with caves
and hovels swarming with gipsies. The descent was so steep and broken
that I was fain to alight and lead my horse. By this _via dolorosa_ poor
Boabdil took his sad departure to avoid passing through the city; partly,
perhaps, through unwillingness that its inhabitants should behold his
humiliation; but chiefly, in all probability, lest it might cause some
popular agitation. For the last reason, undoubtedly, the detachment sent
to take possession of the fortress ascended by the same route.


Emerging from this rough ravine, so full of melancholy associations, and
passing by the _puerta de los molinos_ (the gate of the mills), I issued
forth upon the public promenade called the Prado; and pursuing the course
of the Xenil, arrived at a small chapel, once a mosque, now the Hermitage
of San Sebastian. Here, according to tradition, Boabdil surrendered
the keys of Granada to King Ferdinand. I rode slowly thence across the
Vega to a village where the family and household of the unhappy king
awaited him, for he had sent them forward on the preceding night from the
Alhambra, that his mother and wife might not participate in his personal
humiliation, or be exposed to the gaze of the conquerors. Following on in
the route of the melancholy band of royal exiles, I arrived at the foot of
a chain of barren and dreary heights, forming the skirt of the Alpuxarra
Mountains. From the summit of one of these the unfortunate Boabdil took
his last look at Granada; it bears a name expressive of his sorrows, _La
Cuesta de las Lagrimas_ (the hill of tears). Beyond it, a sandy road winds
across a rugged cheerless waste, doubly dismal to the unhappy monarch, as
it led to exile.


I spurred my horse to the summit of a rock, where Boabdil uttered his last
sorrowful exclamation, as he turned his eyes from taking their farewell
gaze: it is still denominated _el ultimo suspiro del Moro_ (the last sigh
of the Moor). Who can wonder at his anguish at being expelled from such a
kingdom and such an abode? With the Alhambra he seemed to be yielding up
all the honours of his line, and all the glories and delights of life.


It was here, too, that his affliction was embittered by the reproach of
his mother, Ayxa, who had so often assisted him in times of peril, and had
vainly sought to instil into him her own resolute spirit. "You do well,"
said she, "to weep as a woman over what you could not defend as a man;"
a speech savouring more of the pride of the princess than the tenderness
of the mother.

When this anecdote was related to Charles V., by Bishop Guevara, the
emperor joined in the expression of scorn at the weakness of the wavering
Boabdil. "Had I been he, or he been I," said the haughty potentate,
"I would rather have made this Alhambra my sepulchre than have lived
without a kingdom in the Alpuxarra." How easy it is for those in power
and prosperity to preach heroism to the vanquished! how little can they
understand that life itself may rise in value with the unfortunate when
naught but life remains!



Slowly descending the "Hill of Tears," I let my horse take his own
loitering gait back to Granada, while I turned the story of the
unfortunate Boabdil over in my mind. In summing up the particulars, I
found the balance inclining in his favour. Throughout the whole of his
brief, turbulent, and disastrous reign, he gives evidence of a mild and
amiable character. He, in the first instance, won the hearts of his people
by his affable and gracious manners; he was always placable, and never
inflicted any severity of punishment upon those who occasionally rebelled
against him. He was personally brave, but wanted moral courage; and, in
times of difficulty and perplexity, was wavering and irresolute. This
feebleness of spirit hastened his downfall, while it deprived him of that
heroic grace which would have given grandeur and dignity to his fate, and
rendered him worthy of closing the splendid drama of the Moslem domination
in Spain.

  [Illustration: _Rubbing from the Commemorative Plaque in the wall of the
   Hermitage of San Sebastian._]

  [Illustration: _Pass of Lope._]


On the brow of the lofty hill of the Albaycin, the highest part of
Granada, and which rises from the narrow valley of the Darro, directly
opposite to the Alhambra, stands all that is left of what was once a
royal palace of the Moors. It has, in fact, fallen into such obscurity,
that it cost me much trouble to find it, though aided in my researches by
the sagacious and all-knowing Mateo Ximenes. This edifice has borne for
centuries the name of "The House of the Weathercock" (_La casa del Gallo
de Viento_), from a bronze figure on one of its turrets, in ancient times,
of a warrior on horseback, and turning with every breeze. This weathercock
was considered by the Moslems of Granada a portentous talisman. According
to some traditions, it bore the following Arabic inscription:

     _Calet el Bedici Aben Habuz,
     Quidat ehahet Lindabuz._

Which has been rendered into Spanish:

     _Dice el sabio Aben Habuz,
     Que asi se defiende el Anduluz._

And into English:

     In this way, says Aben Habuz the Wise,
     Andaluz guards against surprise.

This Aben Habuz, according to some of the old Moorish chronicles, was a
captain in the invading army of Taric, one of the conquerors of Spain,
who left him as _Alcayde_ of Granada. He is supposed to have intended this
effigy as a perpetual warning to the Moslems of Andaluz, that, surrounded
by foes, their safety depended upon their being always on their guard and
ready for the field.

  [Illustration: _The Alhambra, from the Albaycin._]


Others, among whom is the Christian historian Marmol, affirms "_Badis Aben
Habus_" to have been a Moorish sultan of Granada, and that the weathercock
was intended as a perpetual admonition of the instability of Moslem power,
bearing the following words in Arabic:

"Thus _Ibn Habus al badise_ predicts Andaluz shall one day vanish and pass

Another version of this portentous inscription is given by a Moslem
historian, on the authority of Sidi Hasan, a _faquir_ who flourished about
the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, and who was present at the taking down
of the weathercock, when the old Kassaba was undergoing repairs.

"I saw it," says the venerable _faquir_, "with my own eyes; it was of a
heptagonal shape, and had the following inscription in verse:

    "The palace at fair Granada presents a talisman."
    "The horseman, though a solid body, turns with every wind."
    "This to a wise man reveals a mystery. In a little while comes a
     calamity to ruin both the palace and its owner."

In effect it was not long after this meddling with the portentous
weathercock that the following event occurred. As old Muley Abul Hassan,
the king of Granada, was seated under a sumptuous pavilion, reviewing his
troops, who paraded before him in armour of polished steel and gorgeous
silken robes, mounted on fleet steeds, and equipped with swords, spears,
and shields embossed with gold and silver,--suddenly a tempest was seen
hurrying from the south-west. In a little while black clouds overshadowed
the heavens and burst forth with a deluge of rain. Torrents came roaring
down from the mountains, bringing with them rocks and trees; the Darro
overflowed its banks; mills were swept away, bridges destroyed, gardens
laid waste; the inundation rushed into the city, undermining houses,
drowning their inhabitants, and overflowing even the square of the Great
Mosque. The people rushed in affright to the mosques to implore the
mercy of Allah, regarding this uproar of the elements as the harbinger of
dreadful calamities; and, indeed, according to the Arabian historian Al
Makkari, it was but a type and prelude of the direful war which ended in
the downfall of the Moslem kingdom of Granada.

I have thus given historic authorities sufficient to show the portentous
mysteries connected with the House of the Weathercock, and its talismanic

I now proceed to relate still more surprising things about Aben Habuz and
his palace; for the truth of which, should any doubt be entertained, I
refer the dubious reader to Mateo Ximenes and his fellow-historiographers
of the Alhambra.

  [Illustration: _Among the Hills._]


In old times, many hundred years ago, there was a Moorish king named
Aben Habuz, who reigned over the kingdom of Granada. He was a retired
conqueror, that is to say, one who, having in his more youthful days led a
life of constant foray and depredation, now that he was grown feeble and
superannuated, "languished for repose," and desired nothing more than to
live at peace with all the world, to husband his laurels, and to enjoy in
quiet the possessions he had wrested from his neighbours.

It so happened, however, that this most reasonable and pacific old monarch
had young rivals to deal with; princes full of his early passion for fame
and fighting, and who were disposed to call him to account for the scores
he had run up with their fathers. Certain distant districts of his own
territories, also, which during the days of his vigour he had treated
with a high hand, were prone, now that he languished for repose, to rise
in rebellion and threaten to invest him in his capital. Thus he had foes
on every side; and as Granada is surrounded by wild and craggy mountains,
which hide the approach of an enemy, the unfortunate Aben Habuz was kept
in a constant state of vigilance and alarm, not knowing in what quarter
hostilities might break out.

  [Illustration: _The Tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella._]

It was in vain that he built watch-towers on the mountains, and stationed
guards at every pass with orders to make fires by night and smoke by day,
on the approach of an enemy. His alert foes, baffling every precaution,
would break out of some unthought-of defile, ravage his lands beneath his
very nose, and then make off with prisoners and booty to the mountains.
Was ever peaceable and retired conqueror in a more uncomfortable

While Aben Habuz was harassed by these perplexities and molestations, an
ancient Arabian physician arrived at his court. His gray beard descended
to his girdle, and he had every mark of extreme age, yet he had travelled
almost the whole way from Egypt on foot, with no other aid than a staff,
marked with hieroglyphics. His fame had preceded him. His name was Ibrahim
Ebn Abu Ayub; he was said to have lived ever since the days of Mahomet,
and to be son of Abu Ayub; the last of the companions of the Prophet. He
had, when a child, followed the conquering army of Amru into Egypt, where
he had remained many years studying the dark sciences, and particularly
magic, among the Egyptian priests.

It was, moreover, said that he had found out the secret of prolonging
life by means of which he had arrived to the great age of upwards of two
centuries, though, as he did not discover the secret until well stricken
in years, he could only perpetuate his gray hairs and wrinkles.

This wonderful old man was honourably entertained by the king; who, like
most superannuated monarchs, began to take physicians into great favour.
He would have assigned him an apartment in his palace, but the astrologer
preferred a cave in the side of the hill which rises above the city of
Granada, being the same on which the Alhambra has since been built. He
caused the cave to be enlarged so as to form a spacious and lofty hall,
with a circular hole at the top, through which, as through a well, he
could see the heavens and behold the stars even at mid-day. The walls
of this hall were covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics with cabalistic
symbols, and with the figures of the stars in their signs. This hall he
furnished with many implements, fabricated under his directions by cunning
artificers of Granada, but the occult properties of which were known only
to himself.

  [Illustration: _The Road up to the Alhambra._]

In a little while the sage Ibrahim became the bosom counsellor of the
king, who applied to him for advice in every emergency. Aben Habuz was
once inveighing against the injustice of his neighbours, and bewailing
the restless vigilance he had to observe to guard himself against their
invasions; when he had finished, the astrologer remained silent for a
moment, and then replied, "Know, O king, that, when I was in Egypt, I
beheld a great marvel devised by a pagan priestess of old. On a mountain,
above the city of Borsa, and overlooking the great valley of the Nile,
was a figure of a ram, and above it a figure of a cock, both of molten
brass, and turning upon a pivot. Whenever the country was threatened with
invasion, the ram would turn in the direction of the enemy, and the cock
would crow; upon this the inhabitants of the city knew of the danger, and
of the quarter from which it was approaching, and could take timely means
to guard against it."

"God is great!" exclaimed the pacific Aben Habuz, "what a treasure would
be such a ram to keep an eye upon these mountains around me; and then such
a cock, to crow in time of danger! _Allah Akbah!_ how securely I might
sleep in my palace with such sentinels on the top!"

The astrologer waited until the ecstasies of the king had subsided, and
then proceeded:

"After the victorious Amru (may he rest in peace!) had finished his
conquest of Egypt, I remained among the priests of the land, studying the
rites and ceremonies of their idolatrous faith, and seeking to make myself
master of the hidden knowledge for which they are renowned. I was one day
seated on the banks of the Nile, conversing with an ancient priest, when
he pointed to the mighty pyramids which rose like mountains out of the
neighbouring desert. 'All that we can teach thee,' said he, 'is nothing
to the knowledge locked up in those mighty piles. In the centre of the
central pyramid is a sepulchral chamber, in which is enclosed the mummy
of the high priest who aided in rearing that stupendous pile; and with
him is buried a wondrous book of knowledge, containing all the secrets of
magic and art. This book was given to Adam after his fall, and was handed
down from generation to generation to King Solomon the Wise, and by its
aid he built the Temple of Jerusalem. How it came into the possession of
the builder of the pyramids is known to Him alone who knows all things.'

"When I heard these words of the Egyptian priest, my heart burned to
get possession of that book. I could command the services of many of
the soldiers of our conquering army, and of a number of the native
Egyptians: with these I set to work, and pierced the solid mass of the
pyramid, until, after great toil, I came upon one of its interior and
hidden passages. Following this up, and threading a fearful labyrinth, I
penetrated into the very heart of the pyramids, even to the sepulchral
chamber, where the mummy of the high-priest had lain for ages. I broke
through the outer cases of the mummy, unfolded its many wrappers and
bandages, and at length found the precious volume on its bosom. I seized
it with a trembling hand, and groped my way out of the pyramid, leaving
the mummy in its dark and silent sepulchre, there to await the final day
of resurrection and judgment."

"Son of Abu Ayub," exclaimed Aben Habuz, "thou hast been a great
traveller, and seen marvellous things; but of what avail to me is the
secret of the pyramid, and the volume of knowledge of the wise Solomon?"

"This it is, O king! By the study of that book I am instructed in all
magic arts, and can command the assistance of genii to accomplish my
plans. The mystery of the Talisman of Borsa is therefore familiar to me,
and such a talisman can I make, nay, one of greater virtues."

"O wise son of Abu Ayub," cried Aben Habuz, "better were such a talisman
than all the watch towers on the hills, and sentinels upon the borders.
Give me such a safeguard, and the riches of my treasury are at thy

The astrologer immediately set to work to gratify the wishes of the
monarch. He caused a great tower to be erected upon the top of the royal
palace, which stood on the brow of the hill of the Albaycin. The tower was
built of stones brought from Egypt, and taken, it is said, from one of the
pyramids. In the upper part of the tower was a circular hall, with windows
looking towards every point of the compass, and before each window was a
table on which was arranged, as on a chess-board, a mimic army of horse
and foot, with the effigy of the potentate that ruled in that direction,
all carved of wood. To each of these tables there was a small lance, no
bigger than a bodkin, on which were engraved certain Chaldaic characters.
This hall was kept constantly closed, by a gate of brass, with a great
lock of steel, the key of which was in possession of the king.

On the top of the tower was a bronze figure of a Moorish horseman,
fixed on a pivot, with a shield on one arm, and his lance elevated
perpendicularly. The face of this horseman was towards the city, as if
keeping guard over it; but if any foe were at hand, the figure would turn
in that direction, and would level the lance as if for action.

When this talisman was finished, Aben Habuz was all impatient to try its
virtues, and longed as ardently for an invasion as he had ever sighed
after repose. His desire was soon gratified. Tidings were brought, early
one morning, by the sentinel appointed to watch the tower, that the face
of the bronze horseman was turned towards the mountains of Elvira, and
that his lance pointed directly against the Pass of Lope.

"Let the drums and trumpets sound to arms, and all Granada be put on the
alert," said Aben Habuz.

"O king," said the astrologer, "let not your city be disquieted, nor your
warriors called to arms; we need no aid of force to deliver you from your
enemies. Dismiss your attendants, and let us proceed alone to the secret
hall of the tower."

  [Illustration: _The Gate of Justice._]

The ancient Aben Habuz mounted the staircase of the tower, leaning on
the arm of the still more ancient Ibrahim Ebn Abu Ayub. They unlocked the
brazen door and entered. The window that looked towards the Pass of Lope
was open.

"In this direction," said the astrologer, "lies the danger; approach, O
king, and behold the mystery of the table."

King Aben Habuz approached the seeming chessboard, on which were arranged
the small wooden effigies, when, to his surprise, he perceived that
they were all in motion. The horses pranced and curveted, the warriors
brandished their weapons, and there was a faint sound of drums and
trumpets, and the clang of arms, and neighing of steeds; but all no
louder, nor more distinct, than the hum of the bee, or the summer-fly, in
the drowsy ear of him who lies at noontide in the shade.

"Behold, O king," said the astrologer, "a proof that thy enemies are even
now in the field. They must be advancing through yonder mountains, by the
Pass of Lope. Would you produce a panic and confusion amongst them, and
cause them to retreat without loss of life, strike these effigies with
the butt-end of this magic lance; would you cause bloody feud and carnage,
strike with the point."

A livid streak passed across the countenance of Aben Abuz; he seized the
lance with trembling eagerness; his gray beard wagged with exultation
as he tottered toward the table: "Son of Abu Ayub," exclaimed he, in
chuckling tone, "I think we will have a little blood!"

So saying, he thrust the magic lance into some of the pigmy effigies, and
belaboured others with the butt-end, upon which the former fell as dead
upon the board, and the rest turning upon each other, began, pell-mell,
a chance-medley fight.

It was with difficulty the astrologer could stay the hand of the most
pacific of monarchs and prevent him from absolutely exterminating his
foes; at length he prevailed upon him to leave the tower, and to send out
scouts to the mountains by the Pass of Lope.

They returned with the intelligence that a Christian army had advanced
through the heart of the Sierra, almost within sight of Granada, where
a dissension had broken out among them; they had turned their weapons
against each other, and after much slaughter had retreated over the

Aben Habuz was transported with joy on thus proving the efficacy of the
talisman. "At length," said he, "I shall lead a life of tranquillity, and
have all my enemies in my power. O wise son of Abu Ayub, what can I bestow
on thee in reward for such a blessing?"

"The wants of an old man and a philosopher, O king, are few and simple;
grant me but the means of fitting up my cave as a suitable hermitage, and
I am content."

"How noble is the moderation of the truly wise!" exclaimed Aben Habuz,
secretly pleased at the cheapness of the recompense. He summoned his
treasurer, and bade him dispense whatever sums might be required by
Ibrahim to complete and furnish his hermitage.

The astrologer now gave orders to have various chambers hewn out of
the solid rock, so as to form ranges of apartments connected with his
astrological hall; these he caused to be furnished with luxurious ottomans
and divans, and the walls to be hung with the richest silks of Damascus.
"I am an old man," said he, "and can no longer rest my bones on stone
couches, and these damp walls require covering."

He had baths too constructed, and provided with all kinds of perfumes
and aromatic oils. "For a bath," said he, "is necessary to counteract
the rigidity of age, and to restore freshness and suppleness to the frame
withered by study."

He caused the apartments to be hung with innumerable silver and crystal
lamps, which he filled with a fragrant oil prepared according to a receipt
discovered by him in the tombs of Egypt. This oil was perpetual in its
nature, and diffused a soft radiance like the tempered light of day. "The
light of the sun," said he, "is too garish and violent for the eyes of an
old man, and the light of the lamp is more congenial to the studies of a

The treasurer of King Aben Habuz groaned at the sums daily demanded to fit
up this hermitage, and he carried his complaints to the king. The royal
word, however, had been given; Aben Habuz shrugged his shoulders: "We must
have patience," said he; "this old man has taken his idea of a philosophic
retreat from the interior of the pyramids, and of the vast ruins of Egypt;
but all things have an end, and so will the furnishing of his cavern."

The king was in the right; the hermitage was at length complete, and
formed a sumptuous subterranean palace. The astrologer expressed himself
perfectly content, and, shutting himself up, remained for three whole days
buried in study. At the end of that time he appeared again before the
treasurer. "One thing more is necessary," said he, "one trifling solace
for the intervals of mental labour."

"O wise Ibrahim, I am bound to furnish everything necessary for thy
solitude; what more dost thou require?"

"I would fain have a few dancing-women."

"Dancing-women," echoed the treasurer, with surprise.

"Dancing-women," replied the sage gravely; "and let them be young and fair
to look upon; for the sight of youth and beauty is refreshing. A few will
suffice, for I am a philosopher of simple habits and easily satisfied."

While the philosophic Ibrahim Ebn Abu Ayub passed his time thus sagely
in his hermitage, the pacific Aben Habuz carried on furious campaigns in
effigy in his tower. It was a glorious thing for an old man, like himself,
of quiet habits, to have war made easy, and to be enabled to amuse himself
in his chamber by brushing away whole armies like so many swarms of flies.

For a time he rioted in the indulgence of his humours, and even taunted
and insulted his neighbours, to induce them to make incursions; but by
degrees they grew wary from repeated disasters, until no one ventured
to invade his territories. For many months the bronze horseman remained
on the peace establishment, with his lance elevated in the air; and the
worthy old monarch began to repine at the want of his accustomed sport,
and to grow peevish at his monotonous tranquillity.

At length, one day, the talismanic horseman veered suddenly round, and
lowering his lance, made a dead point towards the mountains of Guadix.
Aben Habuz hastened to his tower, but the magic table in that direction
remained quiet: not a single warrior was in motion. Perplexed at the
circumstance, he sent forth a troop of horse to scour the mountains and
reconnoitre. They returned after three days' absence.

"We have searched every mountain pass," said they, "but not a helm nor
spear was stirring. All that we have found in the course of our foray,
was a Christian damsel of surpassing beauty, sleeping at noontide beside
a fountain, whom we have brought away captive."

"A damsel of surpassing beauty!" exclaimed Aben Habuz, his eyes gleaming
with animation; "let her be conducted into my presence."

The beautiful damsel was accordingly conducted into his presence. She
was arrayed with all the luxury of ornament that had prevailed among the
Gothic Spaniards at the time of the Arabian conquest. Pearls of dazzling
whiteness were entwined with her raven tresses; and jewels sparkled on her
forehead, rivalling the lustre of her eyes. Around her neck was a golden
chain, to which was suspended a silver lyre, which hung by her side.

The flashes of her dark refulgent eye were like sparks of fire on
the withered, yet combustible, heart of Aben Habuz; the swimming
voluptuousness of her gait made his senses reel. "Fairest of women," cried
he, with rapture, "who and what art thou?"

"The daughter of one of the Gothic princes, who but lately ruled over
this land. The armies of my father have been destroyed, as if by magic,
among these mountains; he has been driven into exile, and his daughter is
a captive."

"Beware, O king!" whispered Ibrahim Ebn Abu Ayub, "this may be one of
those northern sorceresses of whom we have heard, who assume the most
seductive forms to beguile the unwary. Methinks I read witchcraft in her
eye, and sorcery in every movement. Doubtless this is the enemy pointed
out by the talisman."

"Son of Abu Ayub," replied the king, "thou art a wise man, I grant, a
conjuror for aught I know; but thou art little versed in the ways of
woman. In that knowledge will I yield to no man; no, not to the wise
Solomon himself, notwithstanding the number of his wives and concubines.
As to this damsel, I see no harm in her; she is fair to look upon, and
finds favour in my eyes."

"Hearken, O king!" replied the astrologer. "I have given thee many
victories by means of my talisman, but have never shared any of the spoil.
Give me then this stray captive, to solace me in my solitude with her
silver lyre. If she be indeed a sorceress, I have counter spells that set
her charms at defiance."

"What! more women!" cried Aben Habuz. "Hast thou not already dancing-women
enough to solace thee?"

"Dancing-women have I, it is true, but no singing-women. I would fain
have a little minstrelsy to refresh my mind when weary with the toils of

"A truce with thy hermit cravings," said the king, impatiently. "This
damsel have I marked for my own. I see much comfort in her: even such
comfort as David, the father of Solomon the Wise, found in the society of
Abishag the Shunammite."

Further solicitations and remonstrances of the astrologer only provoked
a more peremptory reply from the monarch, and they parted in high
displeasure. The sage shut himself up in his hermitage to brood over
his disappointment; ere he departed, however, he gave the king one more
warning to beware of his dangerous captive. But where is the old man in
love that will listen to counsel? Aben Habuz resigned himself to the full
sway of his passion. His only study was how to render himself amiable in
the eyes of the Gothic beauty. He had not youth to recommend him, it is
true, but then he had riches; and when a lover is old, he is generally
generous. The Zacatin of Granada was ransacked for the most precious
merchandise of the East; silks, jewels, precious gems, exquisite perfumes,
all that Asia and Africa yielded of rich and rare, were lavished upon the
princess. All kinds of spectacles and festivities were devised for her
entertainment; minstrelsy, dancing, tournaments, bull-fights;--Granada
for a time was a scene of perpetual pageant. The Gothic princess regarded
all this splendour with the air of one accustomed to magnificence. She
received everything as a homage due to her rank, or rather to her beauty;
for beauty is more lofty in its exactions even than rank. Nay, she seemed
to take a secret pleasure in exciting the monarch to expenses that made
his treasury shrink, and then treating his extravagant generosity as a
mere matter of course. With all his assiduity and munificence, also, the
venerable lover could not flatter himself that he had made any impression
on her heart. She never frowned on him, it is true, but then she never
smiled. Whenever he began to plead his passion, she struck her silver
lyre. There was a mystic charm in the sound. In an instant the monarch
began to nod; a drowsiness stole over him, and he gradually sank into a
sleep, from which he awoke wonderfully refreshed, but perfectly cooled
for the time of his passion. This was very baffling to his suit; but then
these slumbers were accompanied by agreeable dreams, which completely
enthralled the senses of the drowsy lover; so he continued to dream on,
while all Granada scoffed at his infatuation, and groaned at the treasures
lavished for a song.

At length a danger burst on the head of Aben Habuz, against which his
talisman yielded him no warning. An insurrection broke out in his very
capital; his palace was surrounded by an armed rabble, who menaced his
life and the life of his Christian paramour. A spark of his ancient
warlike spirit was awakened in the breast of the monarch. At the head of
a handful of his guards he sallied forth, put the rebels to flight, and
crushed the insurrection in the bud.

When quiet was again restored, he sought the astrologer, who still
remained shut up in his hermitage, chewing the bitter cud of resentment.

Aben Habuz approached him with a conciliatory tone. "O wise son of Abu
Ayub," said he, "well didst thou predict dangers to me from this captive
beauty: tell me then, thou who art so quick at foreseeing peril, what I
should do to avert it."

"Put from thee the infidel damsel who is the cause."

"Sooner would I part with my kingdom," cried Aben Habuz.

"Thou art in danger of losing both," replied the astrologer.

"Be not harsh and angry, O most profound of philosophers; consider
the double distress of a monarch and a lover, and devise some means
of protecting me from the evils by which I am menaced. I care not for
grandeur, I care not for power, I languish only for repose; would that I
had some quiet retreat where I might take refuge from the world, and all
its cares, and pomps, and troubles, and devote the remainder of my days
to tranquillity and love."

The astrologer regarded him for a moment from under his bushy eyebrows.

"And what wouldst thou give, if I could provide thee such a retreat?"

"Thou shouldst name thy own reward; and whatever it might be, if within
the scope of my power, as my soul liveth, it should be thine."

"Thou hast heard, O king, of the garden of Irem, one of the prodigies of
Arabia the happy."

"I have heard of that garden; it is recorded in the Koran, even in the
chapter entitled 'The Dawn of Day.' I have, moreover, heard marvellous
things related of it by pilgrims who had been to Mecca; but I considered
them wild fables, such as travellers are wont to tell who have visited
remote countries."

"Discredit not, O king, the tales of travellers," rejoined the astrologer,
gravely, "for they contain precious rarities of knowledge brought from the
ends of the earth. As to the palace and garden of Irem, what is generally
told of them is true; I have seen them with mine own eyes;--listen to my
adventure, for it has a bearing upon the object of your request.

"In my younger days, when a mere Arab of the desert, I tended my father's
camels. In traversing the desert of Aden, one of them strayed from the
rest, and was lost. I searched after it for several days, but in vain,
until, wearied and faint, I laid myself down at noontide, and slept under
a palm-tree by the side of a scanty well. When I awoke I found myself at
the gate of a city. I entered, and beheld noble streets, and squares,
and market-places; but all were silent and without an inhabitant. I
wandered on until I came to a sumptuous palace, with a garden adorned with
fountains and fish-ponds, and groves and flowers, and orchards laden with
delicious fruit; but still no one was to be seen. Upon which, appalled at
this loneliness, I hastened to depart; and, after issuing forth at the
gate of the city, I turned to look upon the place, but it was no longer
to be seen: nothing but the silent desert extended before my eyes.

"In the neighbourhood I met with an aged dervise, learned in the
traditions and secrets of the land, and related to him what had befallen
me. 'This,' said he, 'is the far-famed garden of Irem, one of the wonders
of the desert. It only appears at times to some wanderer like thyself,
gladdening him with the sight of towers and palaces and garden-walls
overhung with richly-laden fruit trees, and then vanishes, leaving nothing
but a lonely desert. And this is the story of it. In old times, when
this country was inhabited by the Addites, King Sheddad, the son of Ad,
the great grandson of Noah, founded here a splendid city. When it was
finished, and he saw its grandeur, his heart was puffed up with pride and
arrogance, and he determined to build a royal palace, with gardens which
should rival all related in the Koran of the celestial paradise. But the
curse of heaven fell upon him for his presumption. He and his subjects
were swept from the earth, and his splendid city, and palace, and gardens,
were laid under a perpetual spell, which hides them from human sight,
excepting that they are seen at intervals, by way of keeping his sin in
perpetual remembrance.'

"This story, O king, and the wonders I had seen, ever dwelt in my mind;
and in after years, when I had been in Egypt, and was possessed of the
book of knowledge of Solomon the Wise, I determined to return and revisit
the garden of Irem. I did so, and found it revealed to my instructed
sight. I took possession of the palace of Sheddad, and passed several days
in his mock paradise. The genii who watch over the place were obedient
to my magic power, and revealed to me the spells by which the whole
garden had been, as it were, conjured into existence, and by which it was
rendered invisible. Such a palace and garden, O king, can I make for thee,
even here, on the mountain above thy city. Do I not know all the secret
spells? and am I not in possession of the book of knowledge of Solomon
the Wise?"

"O wise son of Abu Ayub!" exclaimed Aben Habuz, trembling with eagerness,
"thou art a traveller indeed, and hast seen and learned marvellous things!
Contrive me such a paradise, and ask any reward, even to the half of my

"Alas!" replied the other, "thou knowest I am an old man, and a
philosopher, and easily satisfied; all the reward I ask is the first
beast of burden, with its load, which shall enter the magic portal of the

The monarch gladly agreed to so moderate a stipulation, and the
astrologer began his work. On the summit of the hill, immediately above
his subterranean hermitage, he caused a great gateway or barbican to be
erected, opening through the centre of a strong tower.

There was an outer vestibule or porch, with a lofty arch, and within it
a portal secured by massive gates. On the keystone of the portal the
astrologer, with his own hand, wrought the figure of a huge key; and
on the keystone of the outer arch of the vestibule, which was loftier
than that of the portal, he carved a gigantic hand. These were potent
talismans, over which he repeated many sentences in an unknown tongue.

When this gateway was finished, he shut himself up for two days in
his astrological hall, engaged in secret incantations; on the third he
ascended the hill, and passed the whole day on its summit. At a late hour
of the night he came down, and presented himself before Aben Habuz. "At
length, O king," said he, "my labour is accomplished. On the summit of
the hill stands one of the most delectable palaces that ever the head of
man devised, or the heart of man desired. It contains sumptuous halls and
galleries, delicious gardens, cool fountains, and fragrant baths; in a
word, the whole mountain is converted into a paradise. Like the garden of
Irem, it is protected by a mighty charm, which hides it from the view and
search of mortals, excepting such as possess the secret of its talismans."

"Enough!" cried Aben Habuz, joyfully, "to-morrow morning with the first
light we will ascend and take possession." The happy monarch slept but
little that night. Scarcely had the rays of the sun begun to play about
the snowy summit of the Sierra Nevada, when he mounted his steed, and,
accompanied only by a few chosen attendants, ascended a steep and narrow
road leading up the hill. Beside him, on a white palfrey, rode the Gothic
princess, her whole dress sparkling with jewels, while round her neck
was suspended her silver lyre. The astrologer walked on the other side of
the king, assisting his steps with his hieroglyphic staff, for he never
mounted steed of any kind.

  [Illustration: _The Mystic Hand._]

Aben Habuz looked to see the towers of the palace brightening above
him, and the embowered terraces of its gardens stretching along the
heights; but as yet nothing of the kind was to be descried. "That is the
mystery and safeguard of the place," said the astrologer, "nothing can be
discerned until you have passed the spell-bound gateway, and been put in
possession of the place."

As they approach the gateway, the astrologer paused, and pointed out to
the king the mystic hand and key carved upon the portal of the arch.
"These," said he, "are the talismans which guard the entrance to this
paradise. Until yonder hand shall reach down and seize that key, neither
mortal power nor magic artifice can prevail against the lord of this

While Aben Habuz was gazing, with open mouth and silent wonder, at these
mystic talismans, the palfrey of the princess proceeded and bore her in
at the portal, to the very centre of the barbican.

"Behold," cried the astrologer, "my promised reward; the first animal with
its burden which should enter the magic gateway."

Aben Habuz smiled at what he considered a pleasantry of the ancient man;
but when he found him to be in earnest, his gray beard trembled with

"Son of Abu Ayub," said he, sternly, "what equivocation is this? Thou
knowest the meaning of my promise: the first beast of burden, with
its load, that should enter this portal. Take the strongest mule in my
stables, load it with the most precious things of my treasury, and it is
thine; but dare not raise thy thoughts to her who is the delight of my

"What need I of wealth?" cried the astrologer, scornfully; "have I not the
book of knowledge of Solomon the Wise, and through it the command of the
secret treasures of the earth? The princess is mine by right; thy royal
word is pledged; I claim her as my own."

The princess looked down haughtily from her palfrey, and a light smile of
scorn curled her rosy lip at this dispute between two gray beards for the
possession of youth and beauty. The wrath of the monarch got the better of
his discretion. "Base son of the desert," cried he, "thou mayst be master
of many arts, but know me for thy master, and presume not to juggle with
thy king."

"My master! my king!" echoed the astrologer,--"the monarch of a mole-hill
to claim sway over him who possesses the talismans of Solomon! Farewell,
Aben Habuz; reign over thy petty kingdom, and revel in thy paradise of
fools; for me I will laugh at thee in my philosophic retirement."

So saying, he seized the bridle of the palfrey, smote the earth with
his staff, and sank with the Gothic princess through the centre of the
barbican. The earth closed over them, and no trace remained of the opening
by which they had descended.

Aben Habuz was struck dumb for a time with astonishment. Recovering
himself, he ordered a thousand workmen to dig, with pickaxe and spade,
into the ground where the astrologer had disappeared. They digged
and digged, but in vain; the flinty bosom of the hill resisted their
implements; or if they did penetrate a little way, the earth filled in
again as fast as they threw it out. Aben Habuz sought the mouth of the
cavern at the foot of the hill, leading to the subterranean palace of
the astrologer; but it was nowhere to be found. Where once had been an
entrance, was now a solid surface of primeval rock. With the disappearance
of Ibrahim Ebn Abu Ayub ceased the benefit of his talismans. The bronze
horseman remained fixed, with his face turned toward the hill, and his
spear pointed to the spot where the astrologer had descended, as if there
still lurked the deadliest foe of Aben Habuz.

From time to time the sound of music, and the tones of a female voice,
could be faintly heard from the bosom of the hill; and a peasant one
day brought word to the king, that in the preceding night he had found a
fissure in the rock, by which he had crept in, until he looked down into
a subterranean hall, in which sat the astrologer, on a magnificent divan,
slumbering and nodding to the silver lyre of the princess, which seemed
to hold a magic sway over his senses.

Aben Habuz sought the fissure in the rock, but it was again closed. He
renewed the attempt to unearth his rival, but all in vain. The spell of
the hand and key was too potent to be counteracted by human power. As to
the summit of the mountain, the site of the promised palace and garden,
it remained a naked waste; either the boasted elysium was hidden from
sight by enchantment, or was a mere fable of the astrologer. The world
charitably supposed the latter, and some used to call the place "The
King's Folly"; while others named it "The Fool's Paradise."

To add to the chagrin of Aben Habuz, the neighbours whom he had defied
and taunted, and cut up at his leisure while master of the talismanic
horseman, finding him no longer protected by magic spell, made inroads
into his territories from all sides, and the remainder of the life of the
most pacific of monarchs was a tissue of turmoils.

At length Aben Habuz died, and was buried. Ages have since rolled away.
The Alhambra has been built on the eventful mountain, and in some measure
realises the fabled delights of the garden of Irem. The spellbound gateway
still exists entire, protected no doubt by the mystic hand and key, and
now forms the Gate of Justice, the grand entrance to the fortress. Under
that gateway, it is said, the old astrologer remains in his subterranean
hall, nodding on his divan lulled by the silver lyre of the princess.

The old invalid sentinels who mount guard at the gate hear the strains
occasionally in the summer nights; and, yielding to their soporific
power, doze quietly at their posts. Nay, so drowsy an influence pervades
the place, that even those who watch by day may generally be seen
nodding on the stone benches of the barbican, or sleeping under the
neighbouring trees; so that in fact it is the drowsiest military post
in all Christendom. All this, say the ancient legends, will endure from
age to age. The princess will remain captive to the astrologer; and the
astrologer, bound up in magic slumber by the princess, until the last day,
unless the mystic hand shall grasp the fated key, and dispel the whole
charm of this enchanted mountain.




For nearly three months had I enjoyed undisturbed my dream of sovereignty
in the Alhambra,--a longer term of quiet than had been the lot of many
of my predecessors. During this lapse of time the progress of the season
had wrought the usual change. On my arrival I had found everything in
the freshness of May; the foliage of the trees was still tender and
transparent; the pomegranate had not yet shed its brilliant crimson
blossoms; the orchards of the Xenil and the Darro were in full bloom;
the rocks were hung with wild-flowers, and Granada seemed completely
surrounded by a wilderness of roses; among which innumerable nightingales
sang, not merely in the night, but all day long.

Now the advance of summer had withered the rose and silenced the
nightingale, and the distant country began to look parched and sunburnt;
though a perennial verdure reigned immediately round the city and in the
deep narrow valleys at the foot of the snow-capped mountains.

  [Illustration: _Sanctum Sanctorum._]

The Alhambra possesses retreats graduated to the heat of the weather,
among which the most peculiar is the almost subterranean apartment of
the baths. This still retains its ancient Oriental character, though
stamped with the touching traces of decline. At the entrance, opening
into a small court formerly adorned with flowers, is a hall, moderate in
size, but light and graceful in architecture. It is overlooked by a small
gallery supported by marble pillars and moresco arches. An alabaster
fountain in the centre of the pavement still throws up a jet of water
to cool the place. On each side are deep alcoves with raised platforms,
where the bathers, after their ablutions, reclined on cushions, soothed
to voluptuous repose by the fragrance of the perfumed air and the
notes of soft music from the gallery. Beyond this hall are the interior
chambers, still more retired; the _sanctum sanctorum_ of female privacy;
for here the beauties of the Harem indulged in the luxury of the baths.
A soft mysterious light reigns through the place, admitted through small
apertures (_lumbreras_) in the vaulted ceiling. The traces of ancient
elegance are still to be seen; and the alabaster baths in which the
sultanas once reclined. The prevailing obscurity and silence have made
these vaults a favourite resort of bats, who nestle during the day in the
dark nooks and corners, and on being disturbed, flit mysteriously about
the twilight chambers, heightening, in an indescribable degree, their air
of desertion and decay.

  [Illustration: _The Small Court._]

In this cool and elegant, though dilapidated retreat, which had the
freshness and seclusion of a grotto, I passed the sultry hours of the
day as summer advanced, emerging towards sunset; and bathing, or rather
swimming, at night in the great reservoir of the main court. In this
way I was enabled in a measure to counteract the relaxing and enervating
influence of the climate.

My dream of absolute sovereignty, however, came at length to an end. I was
roused one morning by the report of firearms, which reverberated among the
towers as if the castle had been taken by surprise. On sallying forth, I
found an old cavalier with a number of domestics in possession of the Hall
of Ambassadors. He was an ancient count who had come up from his palace
in Granada to pass a short time in the Alhambra for the benefit of purer
air; and who, being a veteran and inveterate sportsman, was endeavouring
to get an appetite for his breakfast by shooting at swallows from the
balconies. It was a harmless amusement; for though, by the alertness of
his attendants in loading his pieces, he was enabled to keep up a brisk
fire, I could not accuse him of the death of a single swallow. Nay, the
birds themselves seemed to enjoy the sport, and to deride his want of
skill, skimming in circles close to the balconies, and twittering as they
darted by.

  [Illustration: _The Great Reservoir._]

  [Illustration: _Entrance to Hall of Ambassadors._]

The arrival of this old gentleman changed essentially the aspect of
affairs, but caused no jealousy nor collision. We tacitly shared the
empire between us, like the last kings of Granada, excepting that we
maintained a most amicable alliance. He reigned absolute over the Court of
the Lions and its adjacent halls, while I maintained peaceful possession
of the regions of the baths and the little garden of Lindaraxa. We took
our meals together under the arcades of the court, where the fountains
cooled the air, and bubbling rills ran along the channels of the marble

  [Illustration: _Garden of Lindaraxa._]

In the evenings a domestic circle would gather about the worthy old
cavalier. The countess, his wife by a second marriage, would come up
from the city accompanied by her step-daughter Carmen, an only child, a
charming little being, still in her girlish years. Then there were always
some of his official dependants, his chaplain, his lawyer, his secretary,
his steward, and other officers and agents of his extensive possessions,
who brought him up the news or gossip of the city, and formed his evening
party of _tresillo_ or _ombre_. Thus he held a kind of domestic court,
where each one paid him deference, and sought to contribute to his
amusement, without, however, any appearance of servility, or any sacrifice
of self-respect. In fact, nothing of the kind was exacted by the demeanour
of the count; for whatever may be said of Spanish pride, it rarely chills
or constrains the intercourse of social or domestic life. Among no people
are the relations between kindred more unreserved and cordial, or between
superior and dependant more free from haughtiness on the one side, and
obsequiousness on the other. In these respects there still remains in
Spanish life, especially in the provinces, much of the vaunted simplicity
of the olden time.


The most interesting member of this family group, in my eyes, was the
daughter of the count, the lovely little Carmen. She was but about
sixteen years of age, and appeared to be considered a mere child, though
the idol of the family, going generally by the childlike but endearing
appellation of _la Niña_. Her form had not yet attained full maturity
and development, but possessed already the exquisite symmetry and pliant
grace so prevalent in this country. Her blue eyes, fair complexion, and
light hair, were unusual in Andalusia, and gave a mildness and gentleness
to her demeanour in contrast to the usual fire of Spanish beauty, but in
unison with the guileless and confiding innocence of her manners. She had
at the same time the innate aptness and versatility of her fascinating
countrywomen. Whatever she undertook to do she did well and apparently
without effort. She sang, played the guitar and other instruments, and
danced the picturesque dances of her country to admiration, but never
seemed to seek admiration. Everything was spontaneous, prompted by her
own gay spirits and happy temper.

The presence of this fascinating little being spread a new charm about
the Alhambra, and seemed to be in unison with the place. While the count
and countess, with the chaplain or secretary, were playing their game
of _tresillo_ under the vestibule of the Court of Lions, she, attended
by Dolores, who acted as her maid of honour, would sit by one of the
fountains, and accompanying herself on the guitar, would sing some of
those popular romances which abound in Spain, or, what was still more to
my taste, some traditional ballad about the Moors.

Never shall I think of the Alhambra without remembering this lovely little
being, sporting in happy and innocent girlhood in its marble halls,
dancing to the sound of the Moorish castanets, or mingling the silver
warbling of her voice with the music of its fountains.





High above the Alhambra, on the breast of the mountain, amidst embowered
gardens and stately terraces, rise the lofty towers and white walls of the
Generalife; a fairy palace full of storied recollections. Here are still
to be seen the famous cypresses of enormous size which flourished in the
time of the Moors, and which tradition has connected with the fabulous
story of Boabdil and his sultana.

  [Illustration: _Hall of Portraits._]

Here are preserved the portraits of many who figured in the romantic
drama of the Conquest. Ferdinand and Isabella, Ponce de Leon, the
gallant Marquis of Cadiz, and Garcilaso de la Vega, who slew in desperate
fight Tarfe the Moor, a champion of Herculean strength. Here too hangs
a portrait which has long passed for that of the unfortunate Boabdil,
but which is said to be that of Aben Hud, the Moorish king from whom
descended the princes of Almeria. From one of these princes, who joined
the standard of Ferdinand and Isabella towards the close of the Conquest,
and was Christianised by the name of Don Pedro de Granada Venegas, was
descended the present proprietor of the palace, the Marquis of Campotejar.
The proprietor, however, dwells in a foreign land, and the palace has no
longer a princely inhabitant.

  [Illustration: _Outer Court of the Generalife._]

  [Illustration: _Generalife from Alhambra._]

Yet here is everything to delight a southern voluptuary: fruits, flowers,
fragrance, green arbours and myrtle hedges, delicate air and gushing
waters. Here I had an opportunity of witnessing those scenes which
painters are fond of depicting about southern palaces and gardens. It was
the saint's day of the count's daughter, and she had brought up several of
her youthful companions from Granada, to sport away a long summer's day
among the breezy halls and bowers of the Moorish palaces. A visit to the
Generalife was the morning's entertainment. Here some of the gay company
dispersed itself in groups about the green walks, the bright fountains,
the flights of Italian steps, the noble terraces and marble balustrades.
Others, among whom I was one, took their seats in an open gallery or
colonnade commanding a vast prospect; with the Alhambra, the city, and
the Vega, far below, and the distant horizon of mountains--a dreamy
world, all glimmering to the eye in summer sunshine. While thus seated,
the all-pervading tinkling of the guitar and click of the castanets came
stealing up from the valley of the Darro, and half-way down the mountain
we descried a festive party under the trees, enjoying themselves in true
Andalusian style; some lying on the grass, others dancing to the music.

  [Illustration: _Alhambra from Generalife._]


  [Illustration: _The Red Palace._]


All these sights and sounds together with the princely seclusion of the
place, the sweet quiet which prevailed around, and the delicious serenity
of the weather, had a witching effect upon the mind, and drew from some
of the company, versed in local story, several of the popular fancies
and traditions connected with this old Moorish palace; they were "such
stuff as dreams are made of," but out of them I have shaped the following
legend, which I hope may have the good fortune to prove acceptable to the

  [Illustration: _Court of the Aqueduct._]

  [Illustration: _The Cypress Walk, Generalife, destroyed in 1896._]





There was once a Moorish king of Granada, who had but one son, whom he
named Ahmed, to which his courtiers added the surname of _al Kamel_, or
the Perfect, from the indubitable signs of super-excellence which they
perceived in him in his very infancy. The astrologers countenanced them
in their foresight, predicting everything in his favour that could make a
perfect prince and a prosperous sovereign. One cloud only rested upon his
destiny, and even that was of a roseate hue: he would be of an amorous
temperament, and run great perils from the tender passion. If, however,
he could be kept from the allurements of love until of mature age, these
dangers would be averted, and his life thereafter be one uninterrupted
course of felicity.

To prevent all danger of the kind, the king wisely determined to rear the
prince in a seclusion where he should never see a female face, nor hear
even the name of love. For this purpose he built a beautiful palace on the
brow of the hill above the Alhambra, in the midst of delightful gardens,
but surrounded by lofty walls, being, in fact, the same palace known at
the present day by the name of the Generalife. In this palace the youthful
prince was shut up, and intrusted to the guardianship and instruction
of Eben Bonabben, one of the wisest and dryest of Arabian sages, who had
passed the greater part of his life in Egypt, studying hieroglyphics, and
making researches among the tombs and pyramids, and who saw more charms in
an Egyptian mummy than in the most tempting of living beauties. The sage
was ordered to instruct the prince in all kinds of knowledge but one,--he
was to be kept utterly ignorant of love. "Use every precaution for the
purpose you may think proper," said the king, "but remember, O Eben
Bonabben, if my son learns aught of that forbidden knowledge while under
your care, your head shall answer for it." A withered smile came over the
dry visage of the wise Bonabben at the menace. "Let your majesty's heart
be as easy about your son, as mine is about my head: am I a man likely to
give lessons in the idle passion?"

Under the vigilant care of the philosopher, the prince grew up in the
seclusion of the palace and its gardens. He had black slaves to attend
upon him--hideous mutes who knew nothing of love, or if they did, had not
words to communicate it. His mental endowments were the peculiar care of
Eben Bonabben, who sought to initiate him into the abstruse lore of Egypt;
but in this the prince made little progress, and it was soon evident that
he had no turn for philosophy.

He was, however, amazingly ductile for a youthful prince, ready to follow
any advice, and always guided by the last counsellor. He suppressed
his yawns, and listened patiently to the long and learned discourses of
Eben Bonabben, from which he imbibed a smattering of various kinds of
knowledge, and thus happily attained his twentieth year, a miracle of
princely wisdom--but totally ignorant of love.

  [Illustration: _Fountain of the Generalife._]

About this time, however, a change came over the conduct of the prince. He
completely abandoned his studies, and took to strolling about the gardens,
and musing by the sides of the fountains. He had been taught a little
music among his various accomplishments; it now engrossed a great part of
his time, and a turn for poetry became apparent. The sage Eben Bonabben
took the alarm, and endeavoured to work these idle humours out of him by
a severe course of Algebra; but the prince turned from it with distaste.
"I cannot endure algebra," said he; "it is an abomination to me. I want
something that speaks more to the heart."

The sage Eben Bonabben shook his dry head at the words.

"Here is an end to philosophy," thought he. "The prince has discovered
he has a heart!" He now kept anxious watch upon his pupil, and saw that
the latent tenderness of his nature was in activity, and only wanted an
object. He wandered about the gardens of the Generalife in an intoxication
of feelings of which he knew not the cause. Sometimes he would sit plunged
in a delicious reverie; then he would seize his lute and draw from it the
most touching notes, and then throw it aside, and break forth into sighs
and ejaculations.

By degrees this loving disposition began to extend to inanimate objects;
he had his favourite flowers, which he cherished with tender assiduity;
then he became attached to various trees, and there was one in particular,
of a graceful form and drooping foliage, on which he lavished his amorous
devotion, carving his name on its bark, hanging garlands on its branches,
and singing couplets in its praise, to the accompaniment of his lute.

Eben Bonabben was alarmed at this excited state of his pupil. He saw him
on the very brink of forbidden knowledge--the least hint might reveal
to him the fatal secret. Trembling for the safety of the prince and the
security of his own head, he hastened to draw him from the seductions
of the garden, and shut him up in the highest tower of the Generalife.
It contained beautiful apartments, and commanded an almost boundless
prospect, but was elevated far above that atmosphere of sweets and those
witching bowers so dangerous to the feelings of the too susceptible Ahmed.

What was to be done, however, to reconcile him to this restraint and to
beguile the tedious hours? He had exhausted almost all kinds of agreeable
knowledge; and algebra was not to be mentioned. Fortunately Eben Bonabben
had been instructed, when in Egypt, in the language of birds by a Jewish
Rabbin, who had received it in lineal transmission from Solomon the Wise,
who had been taught it by the queen of Sheba. At the very mention of such
a study, the eyes of the prince sparkled with animation, and he applied
himself to it with such avidity, that he soon became as great an adept as
his master.

  [Illustration: _The highest Tower._]

The tower of the Generalise was no longer a solitude; he had companions
at hand with whom he could converse. The first acquaintance he formed was
with a hawk, who built his nest in a crevice of the lofty battlements,
whence he soared far and wide in quest of prey. The prince, however,
found little to like or esteem in him. He was a mere pirate of the air,
swaggering and boastful, whose talk was all about rapine and carnage, and
desperate exploits.

His next acquaintance was an owl, a mighty wise-looking bird, with a
huge head and staring eyes, who sat blinking and goggling all day in a
hole in the wall, but roamed forth at night. He had great pretensions to
wisdom, talked something of astrology and the moon, and hinted at the dark
sciences; he was grievously given to metaphysics, and the prince found
his prosings even more ponderous than those of the sage Eben Bonabben.

Then there was a bat, that hung all day by his heels in the dark corner of
a vault, but sallied out in slipshod style at twilight. He, however, had
but twilight ideas on all subjects, derided things of which he had taken
but an imperfect view, and seemed to take delight in nothing.

Besides these there was a swallow, with whom the prince was at first much
taken. He was a smart talker, but restless, bustling, and for ever on
the wing; seldom remaining long enough for any continued conversation.
He turned out in the end to be a mere smatterer, who did but skim over
the surface of things, pretending to know everything, but knowing nothing

These were the only feathered associates with whom the prince had any
opportunity of exercising his newly acquired language; the tower was
too high for any other birds to frequent it. He soon grew weary of his
new acquaintances, whose conversation spoke so little to the head and
nothing to the heart, and gradually relapsed into his loneliness. A
winter passed away, spring opened with all its bloom and verdure and
breathing sweetness, and the happy time arrived for birds to pair and
build their nests. Suddenly, as it were, a universal burst of song and
melody broke forth from the groves and gardens of the Generalife, and
reached the prince in the solitude of his tower. From every side he heard
the same universal theme--love--love--love--chanted forth, and responded
to in every variety of note and tone. The prince listened in silence and
perplexity. "What can be this love," thought he, "of which the world seems
so full, and of which I know nothing?" He applied for information to his
friend the hawk. The ruffian bird answered in a tone of scorn: "You must
apply," said he, "to the vulgar peaceable birds of earth, who are made
for the prey of us princes of the air. My trade is war, and fighting my
delight. I am a warrior, and know nothing of this thing called love."

The prince turned from him with disgust, and sought the owl in his
retreat. "This is a bird," said he, "of peaceful habits, and may be able
to solve my question." So he asked the owl to tell him what was this love
about which all the birds in the groves below were singing.


Upon this the owl put on a look of offended dignity. "My nights," said he,
"are taken up in study and research, and my days in ruminating in my cell
upon all that I have learnt. As to these singing birds of whom you talk, I
never listen to them--I despise them and their themes. Allah be praised,
I cannot sing; I am a philosopher, and know nothing of this thing called

The prince now repaired to the vault, where his friend the bat was hanging
by the heels, and propounded the same question. The bat wrinkled up
his nose into a most snappish expression. "Why do you disturb me in my
morning's nap with such an idle question?" said he, peevishly. "I only
fly by twilight, when all birds are asleep, and never trouble myself with
their concerns. I am neither bird nor beast, and I thank heaven for it.
I have found out the villainy of the whole of them, and hate them one and
all. In a word, I am a misanthrope--and know nothing of this thing called

As a last resort, the prince now sought the swallow, and stopped him just
as he was circling about the summit of the tower. The swallow, as usual,
was in a prodigious hurry, and had scarce time to make a reply. "Upon my
word," said he, "I have so much public business to attend to, and so many
pursuits to follow, that I have had no time to think on the subject. I
have every day a thousand visits to pay; a thousand affairs of importance
to examine into, that leave me not a moment of leisure for these little
sing-song matters. In a word, I am a citizen of the world--I know nothing
of this thing called love." So saying, the swallow dived into the valley,
and was out of sight in a moment.

The prince remained disappointed and perplexed, but with his curiosity
still more piqued by the difficulty of gratifying it. While in this mood,
his ancient guardian entered the tower. The prince advanced eagerly to
meet him. "O Eben Bonabben," cried he, "thou hast revealed to me much of
the wisdom of the earth; but there is one thing of which I remain in utter
ignorance, and would fain be informed."

"My prince has but to make the inquiry, and everything within the limited
range of his servant's intellect is at his command."

"Tell me then, O most profound of sages, what is the nature of this thing
called love?"

Eben Bonabben was struck as with a thunderbolt. He trembled and turned
pale, and felt as if his head sat but loosely on his shoulders.

"What could suggest such a question to my prince,--where could he have
learnt so idle a word?"

The prince led him to the window of the tower. "Listen, Eben Bonabben,"
said he. The sage listened. The nightingale sat in a thicket below the
tower, singing to his paramour the rose; from every blossomed spray and
tufted grove rose a strain of melody; and love--love--love was still the
unvarying strain.

"Allah Akbar! God is great!" exclaimed the wise Bonabben. "Who shall
pretend to keep this secret from the heart of man, when even the birds of
the air conspire to betray it?"

Then turning to Ahmed--"O my prince," cried he, "shut thine ears to these
seductive strains. Close thy mind against this dangerous knowledge. Know
that this love is the cause of half the ills of wretched mortality. It is
this which produces bitterness and strife between brethren and friends;
which causes treacherous murder and desolating war. Care and sorrow, weary
days and sleepless nights, are its attendants. It withers the bloom and
blights the joy of youth, and brings on the ills and griefs of premature
old age. Allah preserve thee, my prince, in total ignorance of this thing
called love!"

The sage Eben Bonabben hastily retired, leaving the prince plunged in
still deeper perplexity. It was in vain he attempted to dismiss the
subject from his mind; it still continued uppermost in his thoughts,
and teased and exhausted him with vain conjectures. Surely, said he to
himself, as he listened to the tuneful strains of the birds, there is no
sorrow in those notes; everything seems tenderness and joy. If love be a
cause of such wretchedness and strife, why are not these birds drooping
in solitude, or tearing each other in pieces, instead of fluttering
cheerfully about the groves, or sporting with each other among the

He lay one morning on his couch, meditating on this inexplicable matter.
The window of his chamber was open to admit the soft morning breeze, which
came laden with the perfume of orange-blossoms from the valley of the
Darro. The voice of the nightingale was faintly heard, still chanting the
wonted theme. As the prince was listening and sighing, there was a sudden
rushing noise in the air; a beautiful dove, pursued by a hawk, darted in
at the window, and fell panting on the floor, while the pursuer, balked
of his prey, soared off to the mountains.

  [Illustration: _Bridge on the Darro._]

The prince took up the gasping bird, smoothed its feathers, and nestled
it in his bosom. When he had soothed it by his caresses, he put it in a
golden cage, and offered it, with his own hands, the whitest and finest
of wheat and the purest of water. The bird, however, refused food, and
sat drooping and pining, and uttering piteous moans.

"What aileth thee?" said Ahmed. "Hast thou not everything thy heart can

"Alas, no!" replied the dove; "am I not separated from the partner of my
heart, and that too in the happy spring-time, the very season of love!"

"Of love!" echoed Ahmed. "I pray thee, my pretty bird, canst thou then
tell me what is love?"

  [Illustration: _The Moorish Mint._]

"Too well can I, my prince. It is the torment of one, the felicity of
two, the strife and enmity of three. It is a charm which draws two beings
together, and unites them by delicious sympathies, making it happiness to
be with each other, but misery to be apart. Is there no being to whom you
are drawn by these ties of tender affection?"

"I like my old teacher Eben Bonabben better than any other being; but
he is often tedious, and I occasionally feel myself happier without his

"That is not the sympathy I mean. I speak of love, the great mystery and
principle of life: the intoxicating revel of youth; the sober delight of
age. Look forth, my prince, and behold how at this blest season all nature
is full of love. Every created being has its mate; the most insignificant
bird sings to its paramour; the very beetle woos its lady-beetle in the
dust, and yon butterflies which you see fluttering high above the tower
and toying in the air, are happy in each other's loves. Alas, my prince!
hast thou spent so many of the precious days of youth without knowing
anything of love? Is there no gentle being of another sex--no beautiful
princess nor lovely damsel who has ensnared your heart, and filled your
bosom with a soft tumult of pleasing pains and tender wishes?"

"I begin to understand," said the prince, sighing; "such a tumult I have
more than once experienced, without knowing the cause; and where should
I seek for an object such as you describe in this dismal solitude?"

A little further conversation ensued, and the first amatory lesson of the
prince was complete.

"Alas!" said he, "if love be indeed such a delight, and its interruption
such a misery, Allah forbid that I should mar the joy of any of its
votaries." He opened the cage, took out the dove, and having fondly kissed
it, carried it to the window. "Go, happy bird," said he, "rejoice with
the partner of thy heart in the days of youth and spring-time. Why should
I make thee a fellow-prisoner in this dreary tower, where love can never

The dove flapped its wings in rapture, gave one vault into the air, and
then swooped downward on whistling wings to the blooming bowers of the

The prince followed him with his eyes, and then gave way to bitter
repining. The singing of the birds, which once delighted him, now added
to his bitterness. Love! love! love! Alas, poor youth! he now understood
the strain.

His eyes flashed fire when next he beheld the sage Bonabben. "Why hast
thou kept me in this abject ignorance?" cried he. "Why has the great
mystery and principle of life been withheld from me, in which I find
the meanest insect is so learned? Behold all nature is in a revel of
delight. Every created being rejoices with its mate. This--this is the
love about which I have sought instruction. Why am I alone debarred its
enjoyment? Why has so much of my youth been wasted without a knowledge of
its raptures?"

  [Illustration: _Generalife. The First Court's Cool Canal._]

The sage Bonabben saw that all further reserve was useless; for the
prince had acquired the dangerous and forbidden knowledge. He revealed
to him, therefore, the predictions of the astrologers and the precautions
that had been taken in his education to avert the threatened evils. "And
now, my prince," added he, "my life is in your hands. Let the king your
father discover that you have learned the passion of love while under my
guardianship, and my head must answer for it."

The prince was as reasonable as most young men of his age, and easily
listened to the remonstrances of his tutor, since nothing pleaded against
them. Besides, he really was attached to Eben Bonabben, and being as yet
but theoretically acquainted with the passion of love, he consented to
confine the knowledge of it to his own bosom, rather than endanger the
head of the philosopher.

His discretion was doomed, however, to be put to still further proofs. A
few mornings afterwards, as he was ruminating on the battlements of the
tower, the dove which had been released by him came hovering in the air,
and alighted fearlessly upon his shoulder.

The prince fondled it to his heart. "Happy bird," said he, "who can fly,
as it were, with the wings of the morning to the uttermost parts of the
earth. Where hast thou been since we parted?"

  [Illustration: _Seville Cathedral._]

"In a far country, my prince, whence I bring you tidings in reward for
my liberty. In the wild compass of my flight, which extends over plain
and mountain, as I was soaring in the air, I beheld below me a delightful
garden with all kinds of fruits and flowers. It was in a green meadow,
on the banks of a wandering stream: and in the centre of the garden was a
stately palace. I alighted in one of the bowers to repose after my weary
flight. On the green bank below me was a youthful princess, in the very
sweetness and bloom of her years. She was surrounded by female attendants,
young like herself, who decked her with garlands and coronets of flowers;
but no flower of field or garden could compare with her for loveliness.
Here, however, she bloomed in secret, for the garden was surrounded by
high walls, and no mortal man was permitted to enter. When I beheld this
beauteous maid, thus young and innocent and unspotted by the world, I
thought, here is the being formed by heaven to inspire my prince with

The description was a spark of fire to the combustible heart of Ahmed; all
the latent amorousness of his temperament had at once found an object, and
he conceived an immeasurable passion for the princess. He wrote a letter,
couched in the most impassioned language, breathing his fervent devotion,
but bewailing the unhappy thraldom of his person, which prevented him
from seeking her out and throwing himself at her feet. He added couplets
of the most tender and moving eloquence, for he was a poet by nature, and
inspired by love. He addressed his letter--"To the Unknown Beauty, from
the captive Prince Ahmed;" then perfuming it with musk and roses, he gave
it to the dove.

"Away, trustiest of messengers!" said he. "Fly over mountain, and valley,
and river, and plain; rest not in bower, nor set foot on earth, until thou
hast given this letter to the mistress of my heart."

The dove soared high in air, and taking his course darted away in one
undeviating direction. The prince followed him with his eye until he was
a mere speck on a cloud, and gradually disappeared behind a mountain.

Day after day he watched for the return of the messenger of love, but he
watched in vain. He began to accuse him of forgetfulness, when towards
sunset one evening the faithful bird fluttered into his apartment, and
falling at his feet expired. The arrow of some wanton archer had pierced
his breast, yet he had struggled with the lingerings of life to execute
his mission. As the prince bent with grief over this gentle martyr to
fidelity, he beheld a chain of pearls round his neck, attached to which,
beneath his wing, was a small enamelled picture. It represented a lovely
princess in the very flower of her years. It was doubtless the unknown
beauty of the garden; but who and where was she?--how had she received
his letter? and was this picture sent as a token of her approval of his
passion? Unfortunately the death of the faithful dove left everything in
mystery and doubt.

The prince gazed on the picture till his eyes swam with tears. He pressed
it to his lips and to his heart; he sat for hours contemplating it almost
in an agony of tenderness. "Beautiful image!" said he, "alas, thou art
but an image! Yet thy dewy eyes beam tenderly upon me; those rosy lips
look as though they would speak encouragement: vain fancies! Have they
not looked the same on some more happy rival? But where in this wide world
shall I hope to find the original? Who knows what mountains, what realms
may separate us; what adverse chances may intervene? Perhaps now, even
now, lovers may be crowding around her, while I sit here a prisoner in a
tower, wasting my time in adoration of a painted shadow."

The resolution of Prince Ahmed was taken. "I will fly from this palace,"
said he, "which has become an odious prison; and, a pilgrim of love,
will seek this unknown princess throughout the world." To escape from the
tower in the day when every one was awake, might be a difficult matter;
but at night the palace was slightly guarded; for no one apprehended any
attempt of the kind from the prince, who had always been so passive in his
captivity. How was he to guide himself, however, in his darkling flight,
being ignorant of the country? He bethought him of the owl, who was
accustomed to roam at night, and must know every by-lane and secret pass.
Seeking him in his hermitage, he questioned him touching his knowledge
of the land. Upon this the owl put on a mighty self-important look. "You
must know, O prince," said he, "that we owls are of a very ancient and
extensive family, though rather fallen to decay, and possess ruinous
castles and palaces in all parts of Spain. There is scarcely a tower of
the mountains, or a fortress of the plains, or an old citadel of a city,
but has some brother, or uncle, or cousin, quartered in it; and in going
the rounds to visit this my numerous kindred, I have pried into every nook
and corner, and made myself acquainted with every secret of the land."

The prince was overjoyed to find the owl so deeply versed in topography,
and now informed him, in confidence, of his tender passion and his
intended elopement, urging him to be his companion and counsellor.

"Go to!" said the owl, with a look of displeasure; "am I a bird to engage
in a love-affair?--I, whose whole time is devoted to meditation and the

"Be not offended, most solemn owl," replied the prince; "abstract thyself
for a time from meditation and the moon, and aid me in my flight, and thou
shalt have whatever heart can wish."

"I have that already," said the owl: "a few mice are sufficient for my
frugal table, and this hole in the wall is spacious enough for my studies;
and what more does a philosopher like myself desire?"

"Bethink thee, most wise owl, that while moping in thy cell and gazing
at the moon, all thy talents are lost to the world. I shall one day
be a sovereign prince, and may advance thee to some post of honour and

The owl, though a philosopher and above the ordinary wants of life, was
not above ambition, so he was finally prevailed on to elope with the
prince, and be his guide and mentor in his pilgrimage.

The plans of a lover are promptly executed. The prince collected all his
jewels, and concealed them about his person as travelling funds. That
very night he lowered himself by his scarf from a balcony of the tower,
clambered over the outer walls of the Generalife, and, guided by the owl,
made good his escape before morning to the mountains.

He now held a council with his mentor as to his future course.

  [Illustration: _The Giralda Tower, Seville._]

  [Illustration: _The Alcazar, Seville._]

"Might I advise," said the owl, "I would recommend you to repair to
Seville. You must know that many years since I was on a visit to an uncle,
an owl of great dignity and power, who lived in a ruined wing of the
Alcazar of that place. In my hoverings at night over the city I frequently
remarked a light burning in a lonely tower. At length I alighted on the
battlements, and found it to proceed from the lamp of an Arabian magician:
he was surrounded by his magic books, and on his shoulder was perched
his familiar, an ancient raven who had come with him from Egypt. I am
acquainted with that raven, and owe to him a great part of the knowledge
I possess. The magician is since dead, but the raven still inhabits the
tower, for these birds are of wonderful long life. I would advise you, O
prince, to seek that raven, for he is a soothsayer and a conjurer, and
deals in the black art, for which all ravens, and especially those of
Egypt, are renowned."

The prince was struck with the wisdom of this advice, and accordingly bent
his course towards Seville. He travelled only in the night to accommodate
his companion, and lay by during the day in some dark cavern or mouldering
watch-tower, for the owl knew every hiding-hole of the kind, and had a
most antiquarian taste for ruins.

At length one morning at daybreak they reached the city of Seville, where
the owl, who hated the glare and bustle of crowded streets, halted without
the gate, and took up his quarters in a hollow tree.

The prince entered the gate, and readily found the magic tower, which
rose above the houses of the city, as a palm-tree rises above the shrubs
of the desert; it was in fact the same tower standing at the present day,
and known as the Giralda, the famous Moorish tower of Seville.

The prince ascended by a great winding staircase to the summit of
the tower, where he found the cabalistic raven,--an old, mysterious,
gray-headed bird, ragged in feather, with a film over one eye that gave
him the glare of a spectre. He was perched on one leg, with his head
turned on one side, poring with his remaining eye on a diagram described
on the pavement.

The prince approached him with the awe and reverence naturally inspired by
his venerable appearance and supernatural wisdom. "Pardon me, most ancient
and darkly wise raven," exclaimed he, "if for a moment I interrupt those
studies which are the wonder of the world. You behold before you a votary
of love, who would fain seek your counsel how to obtain the object of his

"In other words," said the raven, with a significant look, "you seek to
try my skill in palmistry. Come, show me your hand, and let me decipher
the mysterious lines of fortune."

"Excuse me," said the prince, "I come not to pry into the decrees of fate,
which are hidden by Allah from the eyes of mortals; I am a pilgrim of
love, and seek but to find a clue to the object of my pilgrimage."

"And can you be at any loss for an object in amorous Andalusia?" said the
old raven, leering upon him with his single eyes; "above all, can you be
at a loss in wanton Seville, where black-eyed damsels dance _the zambra_
under every orange grove?"

The prince blushed, and was somewhat shocked at hearing an old bird with
one foot in the grave talk thus loosely. "Believe me," said he gravely,
"I am on no such light and vagrant errand as thou dost insinuate. The
black-eyed damsels of Andalusia who dance among the orange groves of
the Guadalquivir are as nought to me. I seek one unknown but immaculate
beauty, the original of this picture; and I beseech thee, most potent
raven, if it be within the scope of thy knowledge or the reach of thy
heart, inform me where she may be found?"

The gray-headed raven was rebuked by the gravity of the prince.

"What know I," replied he, dryly, "of youth and beauty? my visits are to
the old and withered, not the fresh and fair; the harbinger of fate am I;
who croak bodings of death from the chimney-top, and flap my wings at the
sick man's window. You must seek elsewhere for tidings of your unknown

"And where can I seek if not among the sons of wisdom, versed in the book
of destiny? Know that I am a royal prince, fated by the stars, and sent
on a mysterious enterprise on which may hang the destiny of empires."

  [Illustration: _The Palm Tree, Cordova._]

When the raven heard that it was a matter of vast moment, in which the
stars took interest, he changed his tone and manner, and listened with
profound attention to the story of the prince. When it was concluded,
he replied, "Touching this princess, I can give thee no information of
myself, for my flight is not among gardens, or around ladies' bowers; but
hie thee to Cordova, seek the palm-tree of the great Abderahman, which
stands in the court of the principal mosque: at the foot of it thou wilt
find a great traveller who has visited all countries and courts, and been
a favourite with queens and princesses. He will give thee tidings of the
object of thy search."

"Many thanks for this precious information," said the prince. "Farewell,
most venerable conjurer."

"Farewell, pilgrim of love," said the raven, dryly, and again fell to
pondering on the diagram.

The prince sallied forth from Seville, sought his fellow-traveller the
owl, who was still dozing in the hollow tree, and set off for Cordova.

He approached it along hanging gardens, and orange and citron groves,
overlooking the fair valley of the Guadalquivir. When arrived at its gates
the owl flew up to a dark hole in the wall, and the prince proceeded in
quest of the palm-tree planted in days of yore by the great Abderahman. It
stood in the midst of the great court of the mosque, towering from amidst
orange and cypress trees. Dervishes and Faquirs were seated in groups
under the cloisters of the court, and many of the faithful were performing
their ablutions at the fountains before entering the mosque.

At the foot of the palm-tree was a crowd listening to the words of one
who appeared to be talking with great volubility. "This," said the prince
to himself, "must be the great traveller who is to give me tidings of the
unknown princess." He mingled in the crowd, but was astonished to perceive
that they were all listening to a parrot, who with his bright-green coat,
pragmatical eye, and consequential top-knot, had the air of a bird on
excellent terms with himself.

"How is this," said the prince to one of the by-standers, "that so many
grave persons can be delighted with the garrulity of a chattering bird?"

  [Illustration: _Entrance to Mosque, Cordova._]

"You know not whom you speak of," said the other; "this parrot is a
descendant of the famous parrot of Persia, renowned for his story-telling
talent. He has all the learning of the East at the tip of his tongue, and
can quote poetry as fast as he can talk. He has visited various foreign
courts, where he has been considered an oracle of erudition. He has been
a universal favourite also with the fair sex, who have a vast admiration
for erudite parrots that can quote poetry."

"Enough," said the prince, "I will have some private talk with this
distinguished traveller."

He sought a private interview, and expounded the nature of his errand.
He had scarcely mentioned it when the parrot burst into a fit of dry
rickety laughter, that absolutely brought tears into his eyes. "Excuse
my merriment," said he, "but the mere mention of love always sets me

The prince was shocked at this ill-timed mirth. "Is not love," said he,
"the great mystery of nature, the secret principle of life, the universal
bond of sympathy?"

"A fig's end!" cried the parrot, interrupting him; "prithee where
hast thou learned this sentimental jargon? trust me, love is quite out
of vogue; one never hears of it in the company of wits and people of

The prince sighed as he recalled the different language of his friend the
dove. But this parrot, thought he, has lived about the court, he affects
the wit and the fine gentleman, he knows nothing of the thing called
love. Unwilling to provoke any more ridicule of the sentiment which filled
his heart, he now directed his inquiries to the immediate purport of his

"Tell me," said he, "most accomplished parrot, thou who hast everywhere
been admitted to the most secret bowers of beauty, hast thou in the course
of thy travels met with the original of this portrait?"

The parrot took the picture in his claw, turned his head from side to
side, and examined it curiously with either eye. "Upon my honour," said
he, "a very pretty face, very pretty; but then one sees so many pretty
women in one's travels that one can hardly--but hold--bless me! now I
look at it again--sure enough, this is the Princess Aldegonda: how could
I forget one that is so prodigious a favourite with me!"

"The Princess Aldegonda!" echoed the prince; "and where is she to be

"Softly, softly," said the parrot, "easier to be found than gained. She
is the only daughter of the Christian king who reigns at Toledo, and is
shut up from the world until her seventeenth birthday, on account of some
prediction of those meddlesome fellows the astrologers. You'll not get a
sight of her; no mortal man can see her. I was admitted to her presence
to entertain her, and I assure you, on the word of a parrot who has seen
the world, I have conversed with much sillier princesses in my time."

"A word in confidence, my dear parrot," said the prince. "I am heir to a
kingdom, and shall one day sit upon a throne. I see that you are a bird
of parts, and understand the world. Help me to gain possession of this
princess, and I will advance you to some distinguished place about court."

"With all my heart," said the parrot; "but let it be a sinecure if
possible, for we wits have a great dislike to labour."

Arrangements were promptly made: the prince sallied forth from Cordova
through the same gate by which he had entered; called the owl down from
the hole in the wall, introduced him to his new travelling companion as
a brother savant, and away they set off on their journey.

They travelled much more slowly than accorded with the impatience of the
prince; but the parrot was accustomed to high life, and did not like to
be disturbed early in the morning. The owl, on the other hand, was for
sleeping at mid-day, and lost a great deal of time by his long siestas.
His antiquarian taste also was in the way; for he insisted on pausing
and inspecting every ruin, and had long legendary tales to tell about
every old tower and castle in the country. The prince had supposed that
he and the parrot, being both birds of learning, would delight in each
other's society, but never had he been more mistaken. They were eternally
bickering. The one was a wit, the other a philosopher. The parrot quoted
poetry, was critical on new readings and eloquent on small points of
erudition; the owl treated all such knowledge as trifling, and relished
nothing but metaphysics. Then the parrot would sing songs and repeat _bons
mots_ and crack jokes upon his solemn neighbour, and laugh outrageously
at his own wit; all which proceedings the owl considered as a grievous
invasion of his dignity, and would scowl and sulk and swell, and be
silent for a whole day together. The prince heeded not the wranglings
of his companions being wrapped up in the dreams of his own fancy and
the contemplation of the portrait of the beautiful princess. In this
way they journeyed through the stern passes of the Sierra Morena, across
the sunburnt plains of La Mancha and Castile, and along the banks of the
"Golden Tagus," which winds its wizard mazes over one half of Spain and
Portugal. At length they came in sight of a strong city with walls and
towers built on a rocky promontory, round the foot of which the Tagus
circled with brawling violence.



"Behold," exclaimed the owl, "the ancient and renowned city of Toledo; a
city famous for its antiquities. Behold those venerable domes and towers,
hoary with time and clothed with legendary grandeur in which so many of
my ancestors have meditated."

"Pish!" cried the parrot, interrupting his solemn antiquarian rapture,
"what have we to do with antiquities, and legends, and your ancestry?
Behold what is more to the purpose--behold the abode of youth and
beauty--behold at length, O prince, the abode of your long-sought

  [Illustration: _Toledo._]

The prince looked in the direction indicated by the parrot, and beheld,
in a delightful green meadow on the banks of the Tagus, a stately palace
rising from amidst the bowers of a delicious garden. It was just such a
place as had been described by the dove as the residence of the original
of the picture. He gazed at it with a throbbing heart; "perhaps at this
moment," thought he, "the beautiful princess is sporting beneath those
shady bowers, or pacing with delicate step those stately terraces, or
reposing beneath those lofty roofs!" As he looked more narrowly, he
perceived that the walls of the garden were of great height, so as to defy
access, while numbers of armed guards patrolled around them.

The prince turned to the parrot. "O most accomplished of birds," said
he, "thou hast the gift of human speech. Hie thee to yon garden; seek the
idol of my soul, and tell her that Prince Ahmed, a pilgrim of love, and
guided by the stars, has arrived in quest of her on the flowery banks of
the Tagus."


The parrot, proud of his embassy, flew away to the garden, mounted above
its lofty walls, and after soaring for a time over the lawns and groves,
alighted on the balcony of a pavilion that overhung the river. Here,
looking in at the casement, he beheld the princess reclining on a couch,
with her eyes fixed on a paper, while tears gently stole after each other
down her pallid cheek.

Pluming his wings for a moment, adjusting his bright-green coat, and
elevating his top-knot, the parrot perched himself beside her with a
gallant air; then assuming a tenderness of tone, "Dry thy tears, most
beautiful of princesses," said he; "I come to bring solace to thy heart."

The princess was startled on hearing a voice, but turning and seeing
nothing but a little green-coated bird bobbing and bowing before her,
"Alas! what solace canst thou yield," said she, "seeing thou art but a

The parrot was nettled at the question. "I have consoled many beautiful
ladies in my time," said he; "but let that pass. At present I come as
ambassador from a royal prince. Know that Ahmed, the prince of Granada,
has arrived in quest of thee, and is encamped even now on the flowery
banks of the Tagus."

The eyes of the beautiful princess sparkled at these words even brighter
than the diamonds in her coronet. "O sweetest of parrots," cried she,
"joyful indeed are thy tidings, for I was faint and weary, and sick almost
unto death with doubt of the constancy of Ahmed. Hie thee back, and tell
him that the words of his letter are engraven in my heart, and his poetry
has been the food of my soul. Tell him, however, that he must prepare to
prove his love by force of arms; to-morrow is my seventeenth birthday,
when the king my father holds a great tournament; several princes are to
enter the lists, and my hand is to be the prize of the victor."

The parrot again took wing, and rustling through the groves, flew back to
where the prince awaited his return. The rapture of Ahmed on finding the
original of his adored portrait, and finding her kind and true, can only
be conceived by those favoured mortals who have had the good fortune to
realise daydreams and turn a shadow into substance: still there was one
thing that alloyed his transport--this impending tournament. In fact, the
banks of the Tagus were already glittering with arms, and resounding with
trumpets of the various knights, who, with proud retinues, were prancing
on towards Toledo to attend the ceremonial. The same star that had
controlled the destiny of the prince had governed that of the princess,
and until her seventeenth birthday she had been shut up from the world, to
guard her from the tender passion. The fame of her charms, however, had
been enhanced rather than obscured by this seclusion. Several powerful
princes had contended for her hand; and her father, who was a king of
wondrous shrewdness, to avoid making enemies by showing partiality, had
referred them to the arbitrament of arms. Among the rival candidates were
several renowned for strength and prowess. What a predicament for the
unfortunate Ahmed, unprovided as he was with weapons, and unskilled in the
exercise of chivalry! "Luckless prince that I am!" said he, "to have been
brought up in seclusion under the eye of a philosopher! Of what avail are
algebra and philosophy in affairs of love? Alas, Eben Bonabben! why hast
thou neglected to instruct me in the management of arms?" Upon this the
owl broke silence, preluding his harangue with a pious ejaculation, for
he was a devout Mussulman.

"_Allah Akbar!_ God is great!" exclaimed he; "in his hands are all secret
things--he alone governs the destiny of princes! Know, O prince, that this
land is full of mysteries, hidden from all but those who, like myself,
can grope after knowledge in the dark. Know that in the neighbouring
mountains there is a cave, and in that cave there is an iron table, and
on that table there lies a suit of magic armour, and beside that table
there stands a spell-bound steed, which have been shut up there for many

The prince stared with wonder, while the owl, blinking his huge round
eyes, and erecting his horns, proceeded.

"Many years since I accompanied my father to these parts on a tour of
his estates, and we sojourned in that cave; and thus became I acquainted
with the mystery. It is a tradition in our family which I have heard
from my grandfather, when I was yet but a very little owlet, that this
armour belonged to a Moorish magician, who took refuge in this cavern when
Toledo was captured by the Christians, and died here, leaving his steed
and weapons under a mystic spell, never to be used but by a Moslem, and
by him only from sunrise to mid-day. In that interval, whoever uses them
will overthrow every opponent."

"Enough: let us seek this cave!" exclaimed Ahmed.


Guided by his legendary mentor, the prince found the cavern, which was
in one of the wildest recesses of those rocky cliffs which rise around
Toledo; none but the mousing eye of an owl or an antiquary could have
discovered the entrance to it. A sepulchral lamp of everlasting oil shed
a solemn light through the place. On an iron table in the centre of the
cavern lay the magic armour, against it leaned the lance, and beside it
stood an Arabian steed, caparisoned for the field, but motionless as a
statue. The armour was bright and unsullied as it had gleamed in days of
old; the steed in as good condition as if just from the pasture; and when
Ahmed laid his hand upon his neck, he pawed the ground and gave a loud
neigh of joy that shook the walls of the cavern. Thus amply provided with
"horse and rider and weapon to wear," the prince determined to defy the
field in the impending tourney.

The eventful morning arrived. The lists for the combat were prepared in
the _Vega_, or plain, just below the cliff-built walls of Toledo, where
stages and galleries were erected for the spectators, covered with rich
tapestry, and sheltered from the sun by silken awnings. All the beauties
of the land were assembled in those galleries, while below pranced plumed
knights with their pages and esquires, among whom figured conspicuously
the princes who were to contend in the tourney. All the beauties of the
land, however, were eclipsed when the Princess Aldegonda appeared in
the royal pavilion, and for the first time broke forth upon the gaze
of an admiring world. A murmur of wonder ran through the crowd at her
transcendent loveliness; and the princes who were candidates for her hand,
merely on the faith of her reported charms, now felt tenfold ardour for
the conflict.

  [Illustration: _Toledo._]

The princess, however, had a troubled look. The colour came and went from
her cheek, and her eye wandered with a restless and unsatisfied expression
over the plumed throng of knights. The trumpets were about sounding for
the encounter, when the herald announced the arrival of a strange knight;
and Ahmed rode into the field. A steel helmet studded with gems rose
above his turban; his cuirass was embossed with gold; his cimeter and
dagger were of the workmanship of Fez, and flamed with precious stones.
A round shield was at his shoulder, and in his hand he bore the lance of
charmed virtue. The caparison of his Arabian steed was richly embroidered
and swept the ground, and the proud animal pranced and sniffed the air,
and neighed with joy at once more beholding the array of arms. The lofty
and graceful demeanour of the prince struck every eye, and when his
appellation was announced, "The Pilgrim of Love," a universal flutter and
agitation prevailed among the fair dames in the galleries.

  [Illustration: _The Castle, Toledo._]

When Ahmed presented himself at the lists, however, they were closed
against him: none but princes, he was told, were admitted to the contest.
He declared his name and rank. Still worse!--he was a Moslem, and could
not engage in a tourney where the hand of a Christian princess was the

The rival princes surrounded him with haughty and menacing aspects;
and one of insolent demeanour and herculean frame sneered at his light
and youthful form, and scoffed at his amorous appellation. The ire of
the prince was roused. He defied his rival to the encounter. They took
distance, wheeled, and charged; and at the first touch of the magic lance,
the brawny scoffer was tilted from his saddle. Here the prince would have
paused, but, alas! he had to deal with a demoniac horse and armour; once
in action, nothing could control them. The Arabian steed charged into the
thickest of the throng; the lance overturned everything that presented;
the gentle prince was carried pell-mell about the field, strewing it
with high and low, gentle and simple, and grieving at his own involuntary
exploits. The king stormed and raged at this outrage on his subjects and
his guests. He ordered out all his guards--they were unhorsed as fast as
they came up. The king threw off his robes, grasped buckler and lance,
and rode forth to awe the stranger with the presence of majesty itself.
Alas! majesty fared no better than the vulgar; the steel and lance were
no respecters of persons; to the dismay of Ahmed, he was borne full tilt
against the king, and in a moment the royal heels were in the air, and
the crown was rolling in the dust.

At this moment the sun reached the meridian; the magic spell resumed
its power; the Arabian steed scoured across the plain, leaped the
barrier, plunged into the Tagus, swam its raging current, bore the prince
breathless and amazed to the cavern, and resumed his station, like a
statue, beside the iron table. The prince dismounted right gladly, and
replaced the armour, to abide the further decrees of fate. Then seating
himself in the cavern, he ruminated on the desperate state to which this
demoniac steed and armour had reduced him. Never should he dare to show
his face at Toledo after inflicting such disgrace upon its chivalry,
and such an outrage on its king. What too would the princess think of
so rude and riotous an achievement? Full of anxiety, he sent forth his
winged messengers to gather tidings. The parrot resorted to all the
public places and crowded resorts of the city, and soon returned with a
world of gossip. All Toledo was in consternation. The princess had been
borne off senseless to the palace; the tournament had ended in confusion;
every one was talking of the sudden apparition, prodigious exploits, and
strange disappearance of the Moslem knight. Some pronounced him a Moorish
magician; others thought him a demon who had assumed a human shape, while
others related traditions of enchanted warriors hidden in the caves of
the mountains, and thought it might be one of these, who had made a sudden
irruption from his den. All agreed that no mere ordinary mortal could have
wrought such wonders, or unhorsed such accomplished and stalwart Christian

  [Illustration: _The Royal Palace._]

The owl flew forth at night and hovered about the dusky city, perching on
roofs and chimneys. He then wheeled his flight up to the royal palace,
which stood on a rocky summit of Toledo, and went prowling about its
terraces and battlements, eavesdropping at every cranny, and glaring in
with his big goggling eyes at every window where there was a light, so as
to throw two or three maids of honour into fits. It was not until the grey
dawn began to peer above the mountains that he returned from his mousing
expedition, and related to the prince what he had seen.

"As I was prying about one of the loftiest towers of the palace," said
he, "I beheld through a casement a beautiful princess. She was reclining
on a couch with attendants and physicians around her, but she would
none of their ministry and relief. When they retired, I beheld her draw
forth a letter from her bosom, and read and kiss it, and give way to
loud lamentations; at which, philosopher as I am, I could but be greatly

The tender heart of Ahmed was distressed at these tidings. "Too true
were thy words, O sage Eben Bonabben," cried he; "care and sorrow and
sleepless nights are the lot of lovers. Allah preserve the princess from
the blighting influence of this thing called love!"

Further intelligence from Toledo corroborated the report of the owl. The
city was a prey to uneasiness and alarm. The princess was conveyed to the
highest tower of the palace, every avenue to which was strongly guarded.
In the meantime a devouring melancholy had seized upon her, of which no
one could divine the cause--she refused food and turned a deaf ear to
every consolation. The most skilful physicians had essayed their art in
vain; it was thought some magic spell had been practised upon her, and
the king made proclamation, declaring that who ever should effect her cure
should receive the richest jewel in the royal treasury.

When the owl, who was dozing in a corner, heard of this proclamation, he
rolled his large eyes and looked more mysterious than ever.

"_Allah Akbar!_" exclaimed he, "happy the man that shall effect that cure,
should he but know what to choose from the royal treasury."

"What mean you, most reverend owl?" said Ahmed.

"Hearken, O prince, to what I shall relate. We owls, you must know, are a
learned body, and much given to dark and dusty research. During my late
prowling at night about the domes and turrets of Toledo, I discovered a
college of antiquarian owls, who hold their meetings in a great vaulted
tower where the royal treasury is deposited. Here they were discussing
the forms and inscriptions and designs of ancient gems and jewels, and of
golden and silver vessels, heaped up in the treasury, the fashion of every
country and age; but mostly they were interested about certain relics and
talismans that have remained in the treasury since the time of Roderick
the Goth. Among these was a box of sandal-wood secured by bands of steel
of Oriental workmanship, and inscribed with mystic characters known only
to the learned few. This box and its inscription had occupied the college
for several sessions, and had caused much long and grave dispute. At the
time of my visit a very ancient owl, who had recently arrived from Egypt,
was seated on the lid of the box, lecturing upon the inscription, and he
proved from it that the coffer contained the silken carpet of the throne
of Solomon the wise; which doubtless had been brought to Toledo by the
Jews who took refuge there after the downfall of Jerusalem."

When the owl had concluded his antiquarian harangue, the prince remained
for a time absorbed in thought. "I have heard," said he, "from the sage
Eben Bonabben, of the wonderful properties of that talisman, which
disappeared at the fall of Jerusalem, and was supposed to be lost to
mankind. Doubtless it remains a sealed mystery to the Christians of
Toledo. If I can get possession of that carpet, my fortune is secure."

The next day the prince laid aside his rich attire, and arrayed himself
in the simple guard of an Arab of the desert. He dyed his complexion to a
tawny hue, and no one could have recognised in him the splendid warrior
who had caused such admiration and dismay at the tournament. With staff
in hand, and scrip by his side, and a small pastoral reed, he repaired
to Toledo, and presenting himself at the gate of the royal palace,
announced himself as a candidate for the reward offered for the cure of
the princess. The guards would have driven him away with blows. "What can
a vagrant Arab like thyself pretend to do," said they, "in a case where
the most learned of the land have failed?" The king, however, overheard
the tumult, and ordered the Arab to be brought into his presence.

"Most potent king," said Ahmed, "you behold before you a Bedouin Arab,
the greater part of whose life has been passed in the solitudes of the
desert. These solitudes, it is well known, are the haunts of demons and
evil spirits, who beset us poor shepherds in our lonely watchings, enter
into and possess our flocks and herds, and sometimes render even the
patient camel furious; against these, our counter-charm is music; and we
have legendary airs handed down from generation to generation, that we
chant and pipe, to cast forth these evil spirits. I am of a gifted line,
and possess this power in its fullest force. If it be any evil influence
of the kind that holds a spell over thy daughter, I pledge my head to free
her from its sway."

The king, who was a man of understanding, and knew the wonderful secrets
possessed by the Arabs, was inspired with hope by the confident language
of the prince. He conducted him immediately to the lofty tower, secured
by several doors, in the summit of which was the chamber of the princess.
The windows opened upon a terrace with balustrades, commanding a view
over Toledo and all the surrounding country. The windows were darkened,
for the princess lay within, a prey to a devouring grief that refused all

The prince seated himself on the terrace, and performed several wild
Arabian airs on his pastoral pipe, which he had learnt from his attendants
in the Generalife at Granada. The princess continued insensible, and the
doctors who were present shook their heads, and smiled with incredulity
and contempt: at length the prince laid aside the reed, and, to a simple
melody, chanted the amatory verses of the letter which had declared his

The princess recognised the strain--a fluttering joy stole to her heart;
she raised her head and listened; tears rushed to her eyes and streamed
down her cheeks; her bosom rose and fell with a tumult of emotions. She
would have asked for the minstrel to be brought into her presence, but
maiden coyness held her silent. The king read her wishes, and at his
command Ahmed was conducted into the chamber. The lovers were discreet:
they but exchanged glances, yet those glances spoke volumes. Never was
triumph of music more complete. The rose had returned to the soft cheek
of the princess, the freshness to her lip, and the dewy light to her
languishing eyes.

All the physicians present stared at each other with astonishment. The
king regarded the Arab minstrel with admiration mixed with awe. "Wonderful
youth!" exclaimed he, "thou shalt henceforth be the first physician of
my court, and no other prescription will I take but thy melody. For the
present receive thy reward, the most precious jewel in my treasury."

"O king," replied Ahmed, "I care not for silver or gold or precious
stones. One relic hast thou in thy treasury, handed down from the Moslems
who once owned Toledo--a box of sandal-wood containing a silken carpet:
give me that box, and I am content."

All present were surprised at the moderation of the Arab, and still more
when the box of sandal-wood was brought and the carpet drawn forth. It was
of fine green silk, covered with Hebrew and Chaldaic characters. The court
physicians looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and smiled
at the simplicity of this new practitioner, who could be content with so
paltry a fee.

"This carpet," said the prince, "once covered the throne of Solomon the
Wise; it is worthy of being placed beneath the feet of beauty."

So saying, he spread it on the terrace beneath an ottoman that had been
brought forth for the princess; then seating himself at her feet--

"Who," said he, "shall counteract what is written in the book of fate?
Behold the prediction of the astrologers verified. Know, O king, that
your daughter and I have long loved each other in secret. Behold in me
the Pilgrim of Love!"

These words were scarcely from his lips when the carpet rose in the air,
bearing off the prince and princess. The king and the physicians gazed
after it with open mouths and straining eyes until it became a little
speck on the white bosom of a cloud, and then disappeared in the blue
vault of heaven.

The king in a rage summoned his treasurer. "How is this," said he, "that
thou hast suffered an infidel to get possession of such a talisman?"

"Alas, sir, we knew not its nature, nor could we decipher the inscription
of the box. If it be indeed the carpet of the throne of the wise Solomon,
it is possessed of magic power, and can transport its owner from place to
place through the air."

The king assembled a mighty army, and set off for Granada in pursuit of
the fugitives. His march was long and toilsome. Encamping in the Vega,
he sent a herald to demand restitution of his daughter. The king himself
came forth with all his court to meet him. In the king he beheld the
real minstrel, for Ahmed had succeeded to the throne on the death of his
father, and the beautiful Aldegonda was his sultana.

The Christian king was easily pacified when he found that his daughter was
suffered to continue in her faith; not that he was particularly pious, but
religion is always a point of pride and etiquette with princes. Instead
of bloody battles, there was a succession of feasts and rejoicings, after
which the king returned well pleased to Toledo, and the youthful couple
continued to reign as happily as wisely, in the Alhambra.

It is proper to add, that the owl and the parrot had severally followed
the prince by easy stages to Granada; the former travelling by night, and
stopping at the various hereditary possessions of his family; the latter
figuring in gay circles of every town and city on his route.

Ahmed gratefully requited the services which they had rendered on his
pilgrimage. He appointed the owl his prime minister, the parrot his master
of ceremonies. It is needless to say that never was a realm more sagely
administered, nor a court conducted with more exact punctilio.




I used frequently to amuse myself towards the close of the day, when
the heat had subsided, with taking long rambles about the neighbouring
hills, and the deep umbrageous valleys, accompanied by my historiographic
squire, Mateo, to whose passion for gossiping I on such occasions gave the
most unbounded license; and there was scarce a rock, or ruin, or broken
fountain, or lonely glen, about which he had not some marvellous story;
or, above all, some golden legend; for never was poor devil so munificent
in dispensing hidden treasures.

In the course of one of these strolls Mateo was more than usually
communicative. It was toward sunset that we sallied forth from the great
Gate of Justice, and ascended an alley of trees until we came to a clump
of figs and pomegranates at the foot of the Tower of the Seven Floors (_de
los siete suelos_), the identical tower whence Boabdil is said to have
issued, when he surrendered his capital. Here, pointing to a low archway
in the foundation, Mateo informed me of a monstrous sprite or hobgoblin,
said to infest this tower, ever since the time of the Moors, and to guard
the treasures of a Moslem king. Sometimes it issues forth in the dead
of the night, and scours the avenues of the Alhambra, and the streets
of Granada, in the shape of a headless horse, pursued by six dogs with
terrible yells and howlings.

"But have you ever met with it yourself, Mateo, in any of your rambles?"
demanded I.

  [Illustration: _Among the Hills._]

"No, _Señor_, God be thanked! but my grandfather, the tailor, knew several
persons that had seen it, for it went about much oftener in his time
than at present; sometimes in one shape, sometimes in another. Everybody
in Granada has heard of the _Belludo_, for the old women and the nurses
frighten the children with it when they cry. Some say it is the spirit
of a cruel Moorish king, who killed his six sons and buried them in these
vaults, and that they hunt him at nights in revenge."

I forbear to dwell upon the marvellous details given by the simple-minded
Mateo about this redoubtable phantom, which has, in fact, been time
out of mind a favourite theme of nursery tales and popular tradition in
Granada, and of which honourable mention is made by an ancient and learned
historian and topographer of the place.

  [Illustration: _Among the Hills._]

Leaving this eventful pile, we continued our course, skirting the fruitful
orchards of the Generalife, in which two or three nightingales were
pouring forth a rich strain of melody. Behind these orchards we passed
a number of Moorish tanks, with a door cut into the rocky bosom of the
hill, but closed up. These tanks, Mateo informed me, were favourite
bathing-places of himself and his comrades in boyhood, until frightened
away by a story of a hideous Moor, who used to issue forth from the door
in the rock to entrap unwary bathers.

  [Illustration: _Fruitful Orchards._]

Leaving these haunted tanks behind us, we pursued our ramble up a solitary
mule-path winding among the hills, and soon found ourselves amidst wild
and melancholy mountains, destitute of trees, and here and there tinted
with scanty verdure. Everything within sight was severe and sterile, and
it was scarcely possible to realise the idea that, but a short distance
behind us was the Generalife, with its blooming orchards and terraced
gardens, and that we were in the vicinity of delicious Granada, that city
of groves and fountains. But such is the nature of Spain; wild and stern
the moment it escapes from cultivation, the desert and the garden are ever
side by side.

The narrow defile up which we were passing is called, according to Mateo,
_el Barranco de la tinaja_, or the ravine of the jar, because a jar full
of Moorish gold was found here in old time. The brain of poor Mateo was
continually running upon these golden legends.

"But what is the meaning of the cross I see yonder upon a heap of stones,
in that narrow part of the ravine?"

  [Illustration: _The Desert and the Garden._]

"Oh, that's nothing--a muleteer was murdered there some years since."

"So then, Mateo, you have robbers and murderers even at the gates of the

"Not at present, _Señor_; that was formerly, when there used to be many
loose fellows about the fortress; but they've all been weeded out. Not
but that the gypsies who live in caves in the hill-sides, just out of the
fortress, are many of them fit for anything; but we have had no murder
about here for a long time past. The man who murdered the muleteer was
hanged in the fortress."

Our path continued up the barranco, with a bold, rugged height to
our left, called the _Silla del Moro_, or Chair of the Moor, from the
tradition already alluded to, that the unfortunate Boabdil fled thither
during a popular insurrection, and remained all day seated on the rocky
summit, looking mournfully down on his factious city.

  [Illustration: _Garden at Seville._]

  [Illustration: _Silla del Moro._]

We at length arrived on the highest part of the promontory above Granada,
called the mountain of the sun. The evening was approaching; the setting
sun just gilded the loftiest heights. Here and there a solitary shepherd
might be descried driving his flock down the declivities, to be folded for
the night; or a muleteer and his lagging animals, threading some mountain
path to arrive at the city gates before nightfall.

Presently the deep tones of the Cathedral bell came swelling up the
defiles, proclaiming the hour of _oration_ or prayer. The note was
responded to from the belfry of every church, and from the sweet bells
of the convents among the mountains. The shepherd paused on the fold of
the hill, the muleteer in the midst of the road; each took off his hat
and remained motionless for a time, murmuring his evening prayer. There
is always something pleasingly solemn in this custom, by which, at a
melodious signal, every human being throughout the land unites at the
same moment in a tribute of thanks to God for the mercies of the day.
It spreads a transient sanctity over the land, and the sight of the sun
sinking in all his glory adds not a little to the solemnity of the scene.

In the present instance the effect was heightened by the wild and lonely
nature of the place. We were on the naked and broken summit of the haunted
mountain of the sun, where ruined tanks and cisterns, and the mouldering
foundations of extensive buildings, spoke of former populousness, but
where all was now silent and desolate.

As we were wandering about among these traces of old times, we came to
a circular pit, penetrating deep into the bosom of the mountain; which
Mateo pointed out as one of the wonders and mysteries of the place. I
supposed it to be a well dug by the indefatigable Moors, to obtain their
favourite element in its greatest purity. Mateo, however, had a different
story, and one much more to his humour. According to a tradition, in which
his father and grandfather firmly believed, this was an entrance to the
subterranean caverns of the mountain, in which Boabdil and his court lay
bound in magic spell; and whence they sallied forth at night, at allotted
times, to revisit their ancient abodes.

"Ah, _Señor_, this mountain is full of wonders of the kind. In another
place there was a hole somewhat like this, and just within it hung an
iron pot by a chain; nobody knew what was in that pot, for it was always
covered up; but everybody supposed it full of Moorish gold. Many tried
to draw it forth, for it seemed just within reach; but the moment it was
touched it would sink far, far down, and not come up again for some time.
At last one who thought it must be enchanted touched it with the cross,
by way of breaking the charm; and faith he did break it, for the pot sank
out of sight and never was seen any more.

"All this is a fact, _Señor_; for my grandfather was an eyewitness."

"What! Mateo; did he see the pot?"

"No, _Señor_, but he saw the hole where the pot had hung."

"It's the same thing, Mateo."

The deepening twilight, which in this climate is of short duration,
admonished us to leave this haunted ground. As we descended the mountain
defile, there was no longer herdsman nor muleteer to be seen, nor
anything to be heard but our own footsteps and the lonely chirping of
the cricket. The shadows of the valley grew deeper and deeper, until all
was dark around us. The lofty summit of the Sierra Nevada alone retained
a lingering gleam of daylight; its snowy peaks glaring against the dark
blue firmament, and seeming close to us, from the extreme purity of the

"How near the Sierra looks this evening!" said Mateo; "it seems as if you
could touch it with your hand; and yet it is many long leagues off." While
he was speaking, a star appeared over the snowy summit of the mountain,
the only one yet visible in the heavens, and so pure, so large, so bright
and beautiful, as to call forth ejaculations of delight from honest Mateo.

"_Que estrella hermosa! que clara y limpia es!--No pueda ser estrella mas

(What a beautiful star! how clear and lucid--a star could not be more

I have often remarked this sensibility of the common people of Spain
to the charms of natural objects. The lustre of a star, the beauty or
fragrance of a flower, the crystal purity of a fountain, will inspire
them with a kind of poetical delight; and then, what euphonious words
their magnificent language affords, with which to give utterance to their

"But what lights are those, Mateo, which I see twinkling along the Sierra
Nevada, just below the snowy region, and which might be taken for stars,
only that they are ruddy, and against the dark side of the mountain?"

"Those, _Señor_, are fires, made by the men who gather snow and ice for
the supply of Granada. They go up every afternoon with mules and asses,
and take turns, some to rest and warm themselves by the fires, while
others fill the panniers with ice. They then set off down the mountains,
so as to reach the gates of Granada before sunrise. That Sierra Nevada,
_Señor_, is a lump of ice in the middle of Andalusia, to keep it all cool
in summer."

It was now completely dark; we were passing through the _barranco_, where
stood the cross of the murdered muleteer, when I beheld a number of lights
moving at a distance, and apparently advancing up the ravine. On nearer
approach, they proved to be torches borne by a train of uncouth figures
arrayed in black: it would have been a procession dreary enough at any
time, but was peculiarly so in this wild and solitary place.

Mateo drew near, and told me, in a low voice, that it was a funeral train
bearing a corpse to the burying-ground among the hills.

As the procession passed by, the lugubrious light of the torches, falling
on the rugged features and funeral weeds of the attendants, had the
most fantastic effect, but was perfectly ghastly, as it revealed the
countenance of the corpse, which according to the Spanish custom, was
borne uncovered on an open bier. I remained for some time gazing after
the dreary train as it wound up the dark defile of the mountain. It put
me in mind of the old story of a procession of demons bearing the body of
a sinner up the crater of Stromboli.

"Ah! _Señor_," cried Mateo, "I could tell you a story of a procession once
seen among these mountains, but then you'd laugh at me, and say it was
one of the legacies of my grandfather the tailor."

"By no means, Mateo. There is nothing I relish more than a marvellous

"Well, _Señor_, it is about one of those very men we have been talking
of, who gather snow on the Sierra Nevada.

"You must know, that a great many years since, in my grandfather's time,
there was an old fellow, _Tio Nicolo_ [Uncle Nicholas] by name, who had
filled the panniers of his mule with snow and ice, and was returning
down the mountain. Being very drowsy, he mounted upon the mule, and soon
falling asleep, went with his head nodding and bobbing about from side to
side, while his surefooted old mule stepped along the edge of precipices,
and down steep and broken _barrancos_, just as safe and steady as if it
had been on plain ground. At length _Tio Nicolo_ awoke, and gazed about
him, and rubbed his eyes--and, in good truth, he had reason. The moon
shone almost as bright as day, and he saw the city below him, as plain as
your hand, and shining with its white buildings, like a silver platter,
in the moonshine; but, Lord! _Señor_, it was nothing like the city he had
left a few hours before! Instead of the cathedral, with its great dome
and turrets, and the churches with their spires, and the convents with
their pinnacles, all surmounted with the blessed cross, he saw nothing
but Moorish mosques, and minarets, and cupolas, all topped off with
glittering crescents, such as you see on the Barbary flags. Well, _Señor_,
as you may suppose, _Tio Nicolo_ was mightily puzzled at all this, but
while he was gazing down upon the city, a great army came marching up
the mountains, winding along the ravines, sometimes in the moonshine,
sometimes in the shade. As it drew nigh, he saw that there were horse
and foot, all in Moorish armour. _Tio Nicolo_ tried to scramble out of
their way, but his old mule stood stock still, and refused to budge,
trembling at the same time, like a leaf,--for dumb beasts, _Señor_, are
just as much frightened at such things as human beings. Well, _Señor_,
the hobgoblin army came marching by; there were men that seemed to blow
trumpets, and others to beat drums and strike cymbals, yet never a sound
did they make; they all moved on without the least noise, just as I have
seen painted armies move across the stage in the theatre of Granada, and
all looked as pale as death. At last, in the rear of the army, between
two black Moorish horsemen, rode the Grand Inquisitor of Granada, on a
mule as white as snow. _Tio Nicolo_ wondered to see him in such company,
for the Inquisitor was famous for his hatred of Moors, and, indeed, of
all kinds of Infidels, Jews, and heretics, and used to hunt them out
with fire and scourge. However, _Tio Nicolo_ felt himself safe, now that
there was a priest of such sanctity at hand. So making the sign of the
cross, he called out for his benediction, when, _hombre!_ he received a
blow that sent him and his old mule over the edge of a steep bank, down
which they rolled, head-over-heels, to the bottom! _Tio Nicolo_ did not
come to his senses until long after sunrise, when he found himself at the
bottom of a deep ravine, his mule grazing beside him, and his panniers
of snow completely melted. He crawled back to Granada sorely bruised and
battered, but was glad to find the city looking as usual, with Christian
churches and crosses. When he told the story of his night's adventure,
every one laughed at him; some said he had dreamed it all, as he dozed
on his mule; others thought it all a fabrication of his own; but what was
strange, _Señor_, and made people afterwards think more seriously of the
matter, was, that the Grand Inquisitor died within the year. I have often
heard my grandfather, the tailor, say, that there was more meant by that
hobgoblin army bearing off the resemblance of the priest, than folks dared
to surmise."

"Then you would insinuate, friend Mateo, that there is a kind of Moorish
limbo, or purgatory, in the bowels of these mountains, to which the padre
Inquisitor was borne off."

"God forbid, _Señor_! I know nothing of the matter. I only relate what I
heard from my grandfather."

By the time Mateo had finished the tale, which I have more succinctly
related, and which was interlarded with many comments, and spun out with
minute details, we reached the gate of the Alhambra.

The marvellous stories hinted at by Mateo, in the early part of our
ramble about the Tower of the Seven Floors, set me as usual upon my goblin
researches. I found that the redoubtable phantom, the _Belludo_, had been
time out of mind a favourite theme of nursery tales and popular traditions
in Granada, and that honourable mention had even been made of it by an
ancient historian and topographer of the place. The scattered members of
one of these popular traditions I have gathered together, collated them
with infinite pains, and digested them into the following legend; which
only wants a number of learned notes and references at bottom to take its
rank among those concrete productions gravely passed upon the world for
Historical Facts.


  [Illustration: _La Plaza de los Algibes._]


Just within the fortress of the Alhambra, in front of the royal palace,
is a broad open esplanade, called the Place or Square of the Cisterns,
(_La Plaza de los Algibes_), so called from being undermined by reservoirs
of water, hidden from sight, and which have existed from the time of the
Moors. At one corner of this esplanade is a Moorish well, cut through the
living rock to a great depth, the water of which is cold as ice and clear
as crystal. The wells made by the Moors are always in repute, for it is
well known what pains they took to penetrate to the purest and sweetest
springs and fountains. The one of which we now speak is famous throughout
Granada, insomuch that water-carriers, some bearing great water-jars on
their shoulders, others driving asses before them laden with earthern
vessels, are ascending and descending the steep woody avenues of the
Alhambra, from early dawn until a late hour of the night.

Fountains and wells, ever since the scriptural days, have been noted
gossiping-places in hot climates; and at the well in question there is a
kind of perpetual club kept up during the livelong day, by the invalids,
old women, and other curious do-nothing folk of the fortress, who sit here
on the stone benches, under an awning spread over the well to shelter the
toll-gatherer from the sun, and dawdle over the gossip of the fortress,
and question every water-carrier that arrives about the news of the
city, and make long comments on everything they hear and see. Not an
hour of the day but loitering housewives and idle maid-servants may be
seen, lingering, with pitcher on head or in hand, to hear the last of the
endless tattle of these worthies.


Among the water-carriers who once resorted to this well, there was a
sturdy, strong-backed, bandy-legged little fellow, named Pedro Gil, but
called Peregil for shortness. Being a water-carrier, he was a _Gallego_,
or native of Gallicia, of course. Nature seems to have formed races of
men, as she has of animals, for different kinds of drudgery. In France
the shoeblacks are all Savoyards, the porters of hotels all Swiss, and
in the days of hoops and hair-powder in England, no man could give the
regular swing to a sedan-chair but a bog-trotting Irishman. So in Spain,
the carriers of water and bearers of burdens are all sturdy little natives
of Gallicia. No man says, "Get me a porter," but, "call a _Gallego_."

To return from this digression, Peregil the _Gallego_ had begun business
with merely a great earthen jar which he carried upon his shoulder; by
degrees he rose in the world, and was enabled to purchase an assistant
of a correspondent class of animals, being a stout shaggy-haired donkey.
On each side of this his long-eared aide-de-camp, in a kind of pannier,
were slung his water-jars, covered with fig leaves to protect them from
the sun. There was not a more industrious water-carrier in all Granada,
nor one more merry withal. The streets rang with his cheerful voice as
he trudged after his donkey, singing forth the usual summer note that
resounds through the Spanish towns: "_Quien quiere agua--agua mas fria
que la nieve?_"--"Who wants water--water colder than snow? Who wants
water from the well of the Alhambra, cold as ice and clear as crystal?"
When he served a customer with a sparkling glass, it was always with a
pleasant word that caused a smile; and if, perchance, it was a comely
dame or dimpling damsel, it was always with a sly leer and a compliment
to her beauty that was irresistible. Thus Peregil the _Gallego_ was noted
throughout all Granada for being one of the civilest, pleasantest, and
happiest of mortals. Yet it is not he who sings loudest and jokes most
that has the lightest heart. Under all this air of merriment, honest
Peregil had his cares and troubles. He had a large family of ragged
children to support, who were hungry and clamorous as a nest of young
swallows, and beset him with their outcries for food whenever he came
home of an evening. He had a helpmate, too, who was anything but a help
to him. She had been a village beauty before marriage, noted for her
skill at dancing the bolero and rattling the castanets; and she still
retained her early propensities, spending the hard earnings of honest
Peregil in frippery, and laying the very donkey under requisition for
junketing parties into the country on Sundays and saints' days, and
those innumerable holidays, which are rather more numerous in Spain
than the days of the week. With all this she was a little of a slattern,
something more of a lie-abed, and, above all, a gossip of the first water;
neglecting house, household, and everything else, to loiter slipshod in
the houses of her gossip neighbours.

He, however, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, accommodates the
yoke of matrimony to the submissive neck. Peregil bore all the heavy
dispensations of wife and children with as meek a spirit as his donkey
bore the water-jars; and, however he might shake his ears in private,
never ventured to question the household virtues of his slattern spouse.

He loved his children, too, even as an owl loves its owlets, seeing in
them his own image multiplied and perpetuated; for they were a sturdy,
long-backed, bandy-legged little brood. The great pleasure of honest
Peregil was, whenever he could afford himself a scanty holiday, and had a
handful of maravedis to spare, to take the whole litter forth with him,
some in his arms, some tugging at his skirts, and some trudging at his
heels, and to treat them to a gambol among the orchards of the Vega, while
his wife was dancing with her holiday friends in the _Angosturas_ of the

It was a late hour one summer night, and most of the water-carriers had
desisted from their toils. The day had been uncommonly sultry; the night
was one of those delicious moonlights which tempt the inhabitants of
southern climes to indemnify themselves for the heat and inaction of the
day, by lingering in the open air, and enjoying its tempered sweetness
until after midnight. Customers for water were therefore still abroad.
Peregil, like a considerate, painstaking father, thought of his hungry
children. "One more journey to the well," said he to himself, "to earn a
Sunday's _puchero_ for the little ones." So saying, he trudged manfully
up the steep avenue of the Alhambra, singing as he went, and now and
then bestowing a hearty thwack with a cudgel on the flanks of his donkey,
either by way of cadence to the song, or refreshment to the animal; for
dry blows serve in lieu of provender in Spain for all beasts of burden.

When arrived at the well, he found it deserted by every one except
a solitary stranger in Moorish garb, seated on a stone bench in the
moonlight. Peregil paused at first and regarded him with surprise, not
unmixed with awe, but the Moor feebly beckoned him to approach. "I am
faint and ill," said he; "aid me to return to the city, and I will pay
thee double what thou couldst gain by thy jars of water."

The honest heart of the little water-carrier was touched with compassion
at the appeal of the stranger. "God forbid," said he, "that I should ask
fee or reward for doing a common act of humanity." He accordingly helped
the Moor on his donkey, and set off slowly for Granada, the poor Moslem
being so weak that it was necessary to hold him on the animal to keep him
from falling to the earth.

When they entered the city, the water-carrier demanded whither he should
conduct him. "Alas!" said the Moor, faintly, "I have neither home nor
habitation; I am a stranger in the land. Suffer me to lay my head this
night beneath thy roof, and thou shalt be amply repaid."

Honest Peregil thus saw himself unexpectedly saddled with an infidel
guest, but he was too humane to refuse a night's shelter to a fellow-being
in so forlorn a plight; so he conducted the Moor to his dwelling. The
children, who had sallied forth open-mouthed as usual on hearing the
tramp of the donkey, ran back with affright when they beheld the turbaned
stranger, and hid themselves behind their mother. The latter stepped
forth intrepidly, like a ruffling hen before her brood when a vagrant dog

"What infidel companion," cried she, "is this you have brought home at
this late hour, to draw upon us the eyes of the inquisition?"

"Be quiet, wife," replied the _Gallego_; "here is a poor sick stranger,
without friend or home; wouldst thou turn him forth to perish in the

The wife would still have remonstrated for although she lived in a hovel,
she was a furious stickler for the credit of her house; the little
water-carrier, however, for once was stiffnecked, and refused to bend
beneath the yoke. He assisted the poor Moslem to alight, and spread a mat
and a sheepskin for him, on the ground, in the coolest part of the house;
being the only kind of bed that his poverty afforded.

In a little while the Moor was seized with violent convulsions, which
defied all the ministering skill of the simple water-carrier. The eye of
the poor patient acknowledged his kindness. During an interval of his
fits he called him to his side, and addressing him in a low voice, "My
end," said he, "I fear is at hand. If I die, I bequeath you this box as a
reward for your charity:" so saying, he opened his albornoz, or cloak, and
showed a small box of sandal-wood, strapped round his body. "God grant,
my friend," replied the worthy little _Gallego_, "that you may live many
years to enjoy your treasure, whatever it may be." The Moor shook his
head; he laid his hand upon the box, and would have said something more
concerning it, but his convulsions returned with increasing violence, and
in a little while he expired.

The water-carrier's wife was now as one distracted. "This comes," said
she, "of your foolish good-nature, always running into scrapes to oblige
others. What will become of us when this corpse is found in our house?
We shall be sent to prison as murderers; and if we escape with our lives,
shall be ruined by notaries and alguazils."

Poor Peregil was in equal tribulation, and almost repented himself of
having done a good deed. At length a thought struck him. "It is not yet
day," said he; "I can convey the dead body out of the city, and bury it
in the sands on the banks of the Xenil. No one saw the Moor enter our
dwelling, and no one will know anything of his death."

So said, so done. The wife aided him; they rolled the body of the
unfortunate Moslem in the mat on which he had expired, laid it across the
ass, and Peregil set out with it for the banks of the river.

As ill luck would have it, there lived opposite to the water-carrier
a barber named Pedrillo Pedrugo, one of the most prying, tattling, and
mischief-making of his gossip tribe. He was a weasel-faced, spider-legged
varlet, supple and insinuating; the famous barber of Seville could not
surpass him for his universal knowledge of the affairs of others, and he
had no more power of retention than a sieve. It was said that he slept
but with one eye at a time, and kept one ear uncovered, so that even in
his sleep he might see and hear all that was going on. Certain it is, he
was a sort of scandalous chronicle for the quidnuncs of Granada, and had
more customers than all the rest of his fraternity.

The meddlesome barber heard Peregil arrive at an unusual hour at night,
and the exclamations of his wife and children. His head was instantly
popped out of a little window which served as a look-out, and he saw
his neighbour assist a man in Moorish garb into his dwelling. This was
so strange an occurrence, that Pedrillo Pedrugo slept not a wink that
night. Every five minutes he was at his loophole, watching the lights that
gleamed through the chinks of his neighbour's door, and before daylight
he beheld Peregil sally forth with his donkey unusually laden.

The inquisitive barber was in a fidget; he slipped on his clothes, and,
stealing forth silently, followed the water-carrier at a distance, until
he saw him dig a hole in the sandy bank of the Xenil, and bury something
that had the appearance of a dead body.

The barber hied him home, and fidgeted about his shop, setting everything
upside down, until sunrise. He then took a basin under his arm, and
sallied forth to the house of his daily customer the _alcalde_.

The _alcalde_ was just risen. Pedrillo Pedrugo seated him in a chair,
threw a napkin round his neck, put a basin of hot water under his chin,
and began to mollify his beard with his fingers.

"Strange doings!" said Pedrugo, who played barber and newsmonger at the
same time,--"strange doings! Robbery, and murder, and burial all in one

"Hey!--how!--what is that you say?" cried the _alcalde_.

"I say," replied the barber, rubbing a piece of soap over the nose
and mouth of the dignitary, for a Spanish barber disdains to employ
a brush,--"I say that Peregil the _Gallego_ has robbed and murdered a
Moorish Mussulman, and buried him, this blessed night. _Maldita sea la
noche_;--Accursed be the night for the same!"

"But how do you know all this?" demanded the _alcalde_.

"Be patient, _Señor_, and you shall hear all about it," replied Pedrillo,
taking him by the nose and sliding a razor over his cheek. He then
recounted all that he had seen, going through both operations at the same
time, shaving his beard, washing his chin, and wiping him dry with a dirty
napkin, while he was robbing, murdering, and burying the Moslem.

Now it so happened that this _alcalde_ was one of the most overbearing,
and at the same time most griping and corrupt curmudgeons in all Granada.
It could not be denied, however, that he set a high value upon justice,
for he sold it at its weight in gold. He presumed the case in point to
be one of murder and robbery; doubtless there must be a rich spoil; how
was it to be secured into the legitimate hands of the law? for as to
merely entrapping the delinquent--that would be feeding the gallows;
but entrapping the booty--that would be enriching the judge, and such,
according to his creed, was the great end of justice. So thinking, he
summoned to his presence his truest _alguazil_--a gaunt, hungry-looking
varlet, clad, according to the custom of his order, in the ancient Spanish
garb, a broad black beaver turned up at its sides; a quaint ruff; a small
black cloak dangling from his shoulders; rusty black underclothes that
set off his spare wiry frame, while in his hand he bore a slender white
wand, the dreaded insignia of his office. Such was the legal bloodhound
of the ancient Spanish breed, that he put upon the traces of the unlucky
water-carrier, and such was his speed and certainty, that he was upon
the haunches of poor Peregil before he had returned to his dwelling, and
brought both him and his donkey before the dispenser of justice.

The _alcalde_ bent upon him one of the most terrific frowns. "Hark
ye, culprit!" roared he, in a voice that made the knees of the little
_Gallego_ smite together,--"hark ye, culprit! there is no need of denying
thy guilt, everything is known to me. A gallows is the proper reward
for the crime thou hast committed, but I am merciful, and readily listen
to reason. The man that has been murdered in thy house was a Moor, and
infidel, the enemy of our faith. It was doubtless in a fit of religious
zeal that thou hast slain him. I will be indulgent, therefore; render up
the property of which thou hast robbed him, and we will hush the matter

The poor water-carrier called upon all the saints to witness his
innocence; alas! not one of them appeared; and if they had, the _alcalde_
would have disbelieved the whole calendar. The water-carrier related
the whole story of the dying Moor with the straightforward simplicity of
truth, but it was all in vain. "Wilt thou persist in saying," demanded
the judge, "that this Moslem had neither gold nor jewels, which were the
object of thy cupidity?"

"As I hoped to be saved, your worship," replied the water-carrier, "he
had nothing but a small box of sandal-wood, which he bequeathed to me in
reward for my services."

"A box of sandal-wood! a box of sandal-wood!" exclaimed the _alcalde_,
his eyes sparkling at the idea of precious jewels. "And where is this box?
where have you concealed it?"

"An' it please your grace," replied the water-carrier, "it is in one of
the panniers of my mule, and heartily at the service of your worship."

He had hardly spoken the words, when the keen _alguazil_ darted off,
and reappeared in an instant with the mysterious box of sandal-wood. The
_alcalde_ opened it with an eager and trembling hand; all pressed forward
to gaze upon the treasure it was expected to contain; when, to their
disappointment, nothing appeared within, but a parchment scroll, covered
with Arabic characters, and an end of a waxen taper.

When there is nothing to be gained by the conviction of a prisoner,
justice, even in Spain, is apt to be impartial. The _alcalde_, having
recovered from his disappointment, and found that there was really no
booty in the case, now listened dispassionately to the explanation of the
water-carrier, which was corroborated by the testimony of his wife. Being
convinced, therefore, of his innocence, he discharged him from arrest;
nay more, he permitted him to carry off the Moor's legacy, the box of
sandal-wood and its contents, as the well-merited reward of his humanity;
but he retained his donkey in payment of costs and charges.

Behold the unfortunate little _Gallego_ reduced once more to the necessity
of being his own water-carrier, and trudging up to the well of the
Alhambra with a great earthen jar upon his shoulder.

As he toiled up the hill in the heat of a summer noon, his usual
good-humour forsook him. "Dog of an _alcalde_!" would he cry, "to rob a
poor man of the means of his subsistence, of the best friend he had in
the world!" And then at the remembrance of the beloved companion of his
labours, all the kindness of his nature would break forth. "Ah, donkey of
my heart!" would he exclaim, resting his burden on a stone, and wiping the
sweat from his brow,--"ah, donkey of my heart! I warrant me thou thinkest
of thy old master! I warrant me thou missest the water-jars--poor beast."

To add to his afflictions, his wife received him, on his return home, with
whimperings and repinings; she had clearly the vantage-ground of him,
having warned him not to commit the egregious act of hospitality which
had brought on him all these misfortunes; and, like a knowing woman, she
took every occasion to throw her superior sagacity in his teeth. If her
children lacked food, or needed a new garment, she could answer with a
sneer, "Go to your father--he is heir to king Chico of the Alhambra: ask
him to help you out of the Moor's strong box."

Was ever poor mortal so soundly punished for having done a good action?
The unlucky Peregil was grieved in flesh and spirit, but still he bore
meekly with the railings of his spouse. At length, one evening, when,
after a hot day's toil, she taunted him in the usual manner, he lost all
patience. He did not venture to retort upon her, but his eye rested upon
the box of sandal-wood, which lay on a shelf with lid half open, as if
laughing in mockery at his vexation. Seizing it up, he dashed it with
indignation to the floor. "Unlucky was the day that I ever set eyes on
thee," he cried, "or sheltered thy master beneath my roof!"

As the box struck the floor, the lid flew wide open, and the parchment
scroll rolled forth.

Peregil sat regarding the scroll for some time in moody silence. At length
rallying his ideas, "Who knows," thought he, "but this writing may be of
some importance, as the Moor seems to have guarded it with such care?"
Picking it up therefore, he put it in his bosom, and the next morning as
he was crying water through the streets, he stopped at the shop of a Moor,
a native of Tangiers, who sold trinkets and perfumery in the Zacatin, and
asked him to explain the contents.


The Moor read the scroll attentively, then stroked his beard and smiled.
"This manuscript," said he, "is a form of incantation for the recovery
of hidden treasure that is under the power of enchantment. It is said to
have such virtue that the strongest bolts and bars, nay, the adamantine
rock itself, will yield before it!"

"Bah!" cried the little _Gallego_, "what is all that to me? I am no
enchanter, and know nothing of buried treasure." So saying, he shouldered
his water-jar, left the scroll in the hands of the Moor, and trudged
forward on his daily rounds.

That evening, however, as he rested himself about twilight at the well of
the Alhambra, he found a number of gossips assembled at the place, and
their conversation, as is not unusual in that shadowy hour, turned upon
old tales and traditions of a supernatural nature. Being all poor as rats,
they dwelt with peculiar fondness upon the popular theme of enchanted
riches left by the Moors in various parts of the Alhambra. Above all, they
concurred in the belief that there were great treasures buried deep in
the earth under the tower of the seven floors.

These stories made an unusual impression on the mind of the honest
Peregil, and they sank deeper and deeper into his thoughts as he returned
alone down the darkling avenues. "If, after all, there should be treasure
hid beneath that tower; and if the scroll I left with the Moor should
enable me to get at it!" In the sudden ecstasy of the thought he had
well-nigh let fall his water-jar.

That night he tumbled and tossed, and could scarcely get a wink of sleep
for the thoughts that were bewildering his brain. Bright and early he
repaired to the shop of the Moor, and told him all that was passing in
his mind. "You can read Arabic," said he; "suppose we go together to the
tower, and try the effect of the charm; if it fails, we are no worse off
than before; but if it succeeds, we will share equally all the treasure
we may discover."

"Hold," replied the Moslem; "this writing is not sufficient of itself; it
must be read at midnight, by the light of a taper singularly compounded
and prepared, the ingredients of which are not within my reach. Without
such a taper the scroll is of no avail."

"Say no more!" cried the little _Gallego_; "I have such a taper at hand,
and will bring it here in a moment." So saying, he hastened home, and soon
returned with the end of yellow wax taper that he had found in the box of

The Moor felt it and smelt to it. "Here are rare and costly perfumes,"
said he, "combined with this yellow wax. This is the kind of taper
specified in the scroll. While this burns, the strongest walls and most
secret caverns will remain open. Woe to him, however, who lingers within
until it be extinguished. He will remain enchanted with the treasure."

It was now agreed between them to try the charm that very night. At a
late hour, therefore, when nothing was stirring but bats and owls, they
ascended the woody hill of the Alhambra, and approached that awful tower,
shrouded by trees and rendered formidable by so many traditionary tales.
By the light of a lantern they groped their way through bushes, and over
fallen stones, to the door of a vault beneath the tower. With fear and
trembling they descended a flight of steps cut into the rock. It led
to an empty chamber, damp and drear, from which another flight of steps
led to a deeper vault. In this way they descended four several flights,
leading into as many vaults, one below the other, but the floor of the
fourth was solid; and though, according to tradition, there remained three
vaults still below, it was said to be impossible to penetrate further,
the residue being shut up by strong enchantment. The air of this vault was
damp and chilly, and had an earthy smell, and the light scarce cast forth
any rays. They paused here for a time, in breathless suspense, until they
faintly heard the clock of the watch-tower strike midnight; upon this they
lit the waxen taper, which diffused an odour of myrrh and frankincense
and storax.

The Moor began to read in a hurried voice. He had scarce finished when
there was a noise as of subterraneous thunder. The earth shook, and the
floor, yawning open, disclosed a flight of steps. Trembling with awe, they
descended, and by the light of the lantern found themselves in another
vault covered with Arabic inscriptions. In the centre stood a great chest,
secured with seven bands of steel, at each end of which sat an enchanted
Moor in armour, but motionless as a statue, being controlled by the power
of the incantation. Before the chest were several jars filled with gold
and silver and precious stones. In the largest of these they thrust their
arms up to the elbow, and at every dip hauled forth handfuls of broad
yellow pieces of Moorish gold, or bracelets and ornaments of the same
precious metal, while occasionally a necklace of Oriental pearl would
stick to their fingers. Still they trembled and breathed short while
cramming their pockets with the spoils; and cast many a fearful glance at
the two enchanted Moors, who sat grim and motionless, glaring upon them
with unwinking eyes. At length, struck with a sudden panic at some fancied
noise, they both rushed up the staircase, tumbled over one another into
the upper apartment, overturned and extinguished the waxen taper, and the
pavement again closed with a thundering sound.

Filled with dismay, they did not pause until they had groped their way
out of the tower, and beheld the stars shining through the trees. Then
seating themselves upon the grass, they divided the spoil, determining to
content themselves for the present with this mere skimming of the jars,
but to return on some future night and drain them to the bottom. To make
sure of each other's good faith, also, they divided the talismans between
them, one retaining the scroll and the other the taper; this done, they
set off with light hearts and well-lined pockets for Granada.

As they wended their way down the hill, the shrewd Moor whispered a word
of counsel in the ear of the simple little water-carrier.

"Friend Peregil," said he, "all this affair must be kept a profound secret
until we have secured the treasure, and conveyed it out of harm's way. If
a whisper of it gets to the ear of the _alcalde_, we are undone!"

"Certainly," replied the _Gallego_, "nothing can be more true."

"Friend Peregil," said the Moor, "you are a discreet man, and I make no
doubt can keep a secret; but you have a wife."

"She shall not know a word of it," replied the little water-carrier,

"Enough," said the Moor, "I depend upon thy discretion and thy promise."

Never was promise more positive and sincere; but, alas! what man can
keep a secret from his wife? Certainly not such a one as Peregil the
water-carrier, who was one of the most loving and tractable of husbands.
On his return home, he found his wife moping in a corner. "Mighty well,"
cried she as he entered, "you've come at last, after rambling about until
this hour of the night. I wonder you have not brought home another Moor
as a house-mate." Then bursting into tears, she began to wring her hands
and smite her breast. "Unhappy woman that I am!" exclaimed she, "what will
become of me? My house stripped and plundered by lawyers and _alguazils_;
my husband a do-no-good, that no longer brings home bread to his family,
but goes rambling about day and night, with infidel Moors! O my children!
my children! what will become of us? We shall all have to beg in the

Honest Peregil was so moved by the distress of his spouse, that he could
not help whimpering also. His heart was as full as his pocket, and not to
be restrained. Thrusting his hand into the latter he hauled forth three
or four broad gold pieces, and slipped them into her bosom. The poor
woman stared with astonishment, and could not understand the meaning of
this golden shower. Before she could recover her surprise, the little
_Gallego_ drew forth a chain of gold and dangled it before her, capering
with exultation, his mouth distended from ear to ear.

"Holy Virgin protect us!" exclaimed the wife. "What hast thou been doing,
Peregil? surely thou hast not been committing murder and robbery!"

The idea scarce entered the brain of the poor woman, than it became a
certainty with her. She saw a prison and a gallows in the distance, and
a little bandy-legged _Gallego_ hanging pendent from it; and, overcome by
the horrors conjured up by imagination, fell into violent hysterics.

What could the poor man do? He had no other means of pacifying his wife,
and dispelling the phantoms of her fancy, than by relating the whole story
of his good fortune. This, however, he did not do until he had exacted
from her the most solemn promise to keep it a profound secret from every
living being.

To describe her joy would be impossible. She flung her arms round the neck
of her husband, and almost strangled him with her caresses. "Now, wife,"
exclaimed the little man with honest exultation, "what say you now to the
Moor's legacy? Henceforth never abuse me for helping a fellow-creature in

The honest _Gallego_ retired to his sheepskin mat, and slept as soundly
as if on a bed of down. Not so his wife; she emptied the whole contents
of his pockets upon the mat, and sat counting gold pieces of Arabic coin,
trying on necklaces and earrings, and fancying the figure she should one
day make when permitted to enjoy her riches.

On the following morning the honest _Gallego_ took a broad golden coin,
and repaired with it to a jeweller's shop in the Zacatin to offer it for
sale, pretending to have found it among the ruins of the Alhambra. The
jeweller saw that it had an Arabic inscription, and was of the purest
gold; he offered, however, but a third of its value, with which the
water-carrier was perfectly content. Peregil now bought new clothes for
his little flock, and all kinds of toys, together with ample provisions
for a hearty meal, and returning to his dwelling, set all his children
dancing around him, while he capered in the midst, the happiest of

The wife of the water-carrier kept her promise of secrecy with surprising
strictness. For a whole day and a half she went about with a look of
mystery and a heart swelling almost to bursting, yet she held her peace,
though surrounded by her gossips. It is true, she could not help giving
herself a few airs, apologized for her ragged dress, and talked of
ordering a new basquina all trimmed with gold lace and bugles, and a new
lace mantilla. She threw out hints of her husband's intention of leaving
off his trade of water-carrying, as it did not altogether agree with his
health. In fact she thought they should all retire to the country for the
summer, that the children might have the benefit of the mountain air, for
there was no living in the city in this sultry season.

The neighbours stared at each other, and thought the poor woman had lost
her wits; and her airs and graces and elegant pretensions were the theme
of universal scoffing and merriment among her friends, the moment her back
was turned.

If she restrained herself abroad, however, she indemnified herself at
home, and putting a string of rich Oriental pearls round her neck, Moorish
bracelets on her arms, and an aigrette of diamonds on her head, sailed
backwards and forwards in her slattern rags about the room, now and then
stopping to admire herself in a broken mirror. Nay, in the impulse of her
simple vanity, she could not resist, on one occasion, showing herself at
the window to enjoy the effect of her finery on the passers-by.

As the fates would have it, Pedrillo Pedrugo, the meddlesome barber,
was at this moment sitting idly in his shop on the opposite side of the
street, when his ever-watchful eye caught the sparkle of a diamond. In an
instant he was at the loophole reconnoitring the slattern spouse of the
water-carrier, decorated with the splendour of an eastern bride. No sooner
had he taken an accurate inventory of her ornaments, than he posted off
with all speed to the _alcalde_. In a little while the hungry _alguazil_
was again on the scent, and before the day was over the unfortunate
Peregil was once more dragged into the presence of the judge.

"How is this, villain!" cried the _alcalde_, in a furious voice. "You
told me that the infidel who died in your house left nothing behind but
an empty coffer, and now I hear of your wife flaunting in her rags decked
out with pearls and diamonds. Wretch that thou art! prepare to render up
the spoils of thy miserable victim, and to swing on the gallows that is
already tired of waiting for thee."

The terrified water-carrier fell on his knees, and made a full relation of
the marvellous manner in which he had gained his wealth. The _alcalde_,
the _alguazil_, and the inquisitive barber listened with greedy ears to
this Arabian tale of enchanted treasure. The _alguazil_ was despatched to
bring the Moor who had assisted in the incantation. The Moslem entered
half frightened out of his wits at finding himself in the hands of
the harpies of the law. When he beheld the water-carrier standing with
sheepish looks and downcast countenance, he comprehended the whole matter.
"Miserable animal," said he, as he passed near him, "did I not warn thee
against babbling to thy wife?"

The story of the Moor coincided exactly with that of his colleague; but
the _alcalde_ affected to be slow of belief, and threw out menaces of
imprisonment and rigorous investigation.

"Softly, good _Señor Alcalde_," said the Mussulman, who by this time
had recovered his usual shrewdness and self-possession. "Let us not mar
fortune's favours in the scramble for them. Nobody knows anything of
this matter but ourselves; let us keep the secret. There is wealth enough
in the cave to enrich us all. Promise a fair division, and all shall be
produced; refuse, and the cave shall remain forever closed."

The _alcalde_ consulted apart with the _alguazil_. The latter was an
old fox in his profession. "Promise anything," said he, "until you get
possession of the treasure. You may then seize upon the whole, and if he
and his accomplice dare to murmur, threaten them with the fagot and the
stake as infidels and sorcerers."

The alcalde relished the advice. Smoothing his brow and turning to the
Moor, "This is a strange story," said he, "and may be true, but I must
have ocular proof of it. This very night you must repeat the incantation
in my presence. If there be really such treasure, we will share it
amicably between us, and say nothing further of the matter; if ye have
deceived me, expect no money at my hands. In the meantime you must remain
in custody."

The Moor and the water-carrier cheerfully agreed to these conditions,
satisfied that the event would prove the truth of their words.

Towards midnight the _alcalde_ sallied forth secretly, attended by the
_alguazil_ and the meddlesome barber, all strongly armed. They conducted
the Moor and the water-carrier as prisoners, and were provided with the
stout donkey of the latter to bear off the expected treasure. They arrived
at the tower without being observed, and tying the donkey to a fig-tree,
descended into the fourth vault of the tower.

The scroll was produced, the yellow waxen taper lighted, and the Moor read
the form of incantation. The earth trembled as before, and the pavement
opened with a thundering sound, disclosing the narrow flight of steps. The
_alcalde_, the _alguazil_, and the barber were struck aghast, and could
not summon courage to descend. The Moor and the water-carrier entered
the lower vault, and found the two Moors seated as before, silent and
motionless. They removed two of the great jars filled with golden coin
and precious stones. The water-carrier bore them up one by one upon his
shoulders, but though a strong-backed little man, and accustomed to carry
burdens, he staggered beneath their weight, and found, when slung on each
side of his donkey, they were as much as the animal could bear.

"Let us be content for the present," said the Moor; "here is as much
treasure as we can carry off without being perceived, and enough to make
us all wealthy to our heart's desire."

"Is there more treasure remaining behind?" demanded the _alcalde_.

"The greatest prize of all," said the Moor, "a huge coffer bound with
bands of steel, and filled with pearls and precious stones."

"Let us have up the coffer by all means," cried the grasping _alcalde_.

"I will descend for no more," said the Moor, doggedly; "enough is enough
for a reasonable man--more is superfluous."

"And I," said the water-carrier, "will bring up no further burden to break
the back of my poor donkey."

Finding commands, threats, and entreaties equally vain, the _alcalde_
turned to his two adherents. "Aid me," said he, "to bring up the coffer,
and its contents shall be divided between us." So saying, he descended
the steps, followed with trembling reluctance by the _alguazil_ and the

No sooner did the Moor behold them fairly earthed than he extinguished
the yellow taper; the pavement closed with its usual crash, and the three
worthies remained buried in its womb.

He then hastened up the different flight of steps, nor stopped until in
the open air. The little water-carrier followed him as fast as his short
legs would permit.

"What hast thou done?" cried Peregil, as soon as he could recover breath.
"The _alcalde_ and the other two are shut up in the vault."

"It is the will of Allah!" said the Moor, devoutly.

"And will you not release them?" demanded the Gallego.

"Allah forbid!" replied the Moor, smoothing his beard. "It is written
in the book of fate that they shall remain enchanted until some future
adventurer arrive to break the charm. The will of God be done!" so saying,
he hurled the end of the waxen taper far among the gloomy thickets of the

There was now no remedy; so the Moor and the water-carrier proceeded with
the richly-laden donkey toward the city, nor could honest Peregil refrain
from hugging and kissing his long-eared fellow-labourer, thus restored to
him from the clutches of the law; and, in fact, it is doubtful which gave
the simple-hearted little man most joy at the moment, the gaining of the
treasure, or the recovery of the donkey.

The two partners in good luck divided their spoil amicably and fairly,
except that the Moor, who had a little taste for trinketry, made out to
get into his heap the most of the pearls and precious stones and other
baubles, but then he always gave the water-carrier in lieu magnificent
jewels of massy gold, of five times the size, with which the latter was
heartily content. They took care not to linger within reach of accidents,
but made off to enjoy their wealth undisturbed in other countries. The
Moor returned to Africa, to his native city of Tangiers, and the Gallego,
with his wife, his children, and his donkey, made the best of his way to
Portugal. Here, under the admonition and tuition of his wife, he became a
personage of some consequence, for she made the worthy little man array
his long body and short legs in doublet and hose, with a feather in his
hat and a sword by his side, and laying aside his familiar appellation of
Peregil, assume the more sonorous title of _Don Pedro Gil_: his progeny
grew up a thriving and merry-hearted, though short and bandy-legged
generation, while _Señora Gil_, befringed, belaced, and betasselled from
her head to her heels, with glittering rings on every finger, became a
model of slattern fashion and finery.

As to the _alcalde_ and his adjuncts, they remained shut up under the
great tower of the seven floors, and there they remain spellbound at the
present day. Whenever there shall be a lack in Spain of pimping barbers,
sharking _alguazils_, and corrupt _alcaldes_, they may be sought after;
but if they have to wait until such time for their deliverance, there is
danger of their enchantment enduring until doomsday.




In an evening's stroll up a narrow glen, overshadowed by fig-trees,
pomegranates, and myrtles, which divides the lands of the fortress from
those of the Generalife, I was struck with the romantic appearance
of a Moorish tower in the outer wall of the Alhambra, rising high
above the tree-tops, and catching the ruddy rays of the setting sun. A
solitary window at a great height commanded a view of the glen; and as
I was regarding it, a young female looked out, with her head adorned
with flowers. She was evidently superior to the usual class of people
inhabiting the old towers of the fortress; and this sudden and picturesque
glimpse of her reminded me of the descriptions of captive beauties in
fairy tales. These fanciful associations were increased on being informed
by my attendant Mateo, that this was the Tower of the Princesses (_La
Torre de las Infantas_); so called, from having been, according to
tradition, the residence of the daughters of the Moorish kings. I have
since visited the tower. It is not generally shown to strangers, though
well worthy of attention, for the interior is equal, for beauty of
architecture and delicacy of ornament, to any part of the palace. The
elegance of the central hall, with its marble fountain, its lofty arches,
and richly fretted dome; the arabesques and stucco-work of the small but
well-proportioned chambers, though injured by time and neglect, all accord
with the story of its being anciently the abode of royal beauty.


The little old fairy queen who lives under the staircase at the Alhambra,
and frequents the evening tertulias of Dame Antonia, tells some fanciful
traditions about three Moorish princesses who were once shut up in this
tower by their father, a tyrant king of Granada, and were only permitted
to ride out at night about the hills, when no one was permitted to come in
their way under pain of death. They still, according to her account, may
be seen occasionally when the moon is in the full, riding in lonely places
along the mountain-side, on palfreys richly caparisoned and sparkling with
jewels, but they vanish on being spoken to.


But before I relate anything further respecting these princesses, the
reader may be anxious to know something about the fair inhabitant of the
tower, with her head dressed with flowers, who looked out from the lofty
window. She proved to be the newly-married spouse of the worthy adjutant
of invalids; who, though well stricken in years, had had the courage to
take to his bosom a young and buxom Andalusian damsel. May the good old
cavalier be happy in his choice, and find the Tower of the Princesses a
more secure residence for female beauty than it seems to have proved in
the time of the Moslems, if we may believe the following legend.

  [Illustration: _Torre de las Infantas._]



In old times there reigned a Moorish king in Granada, whose name was
Mohamed, to which his subjects added the appellation of _El Hayzari_,
or "The Left-handed." Some say he was so called on account of his being
really more expert with his sinister than his dexter hand; others, because
he was prone to take everything by the wrong end, or, in other words,
to mar wherever he meddled. Certain it is, either through misfortune or
mismanagement, he was continually in trouble: thrice was he driven from
his throne, and on one occasion barely escaped to Africa with his life, in
the disguise of a fisherman. Still he was as brave as he was blundering;
and though left-handed, wielded his cimeter to such purpose, that he each
time re-established himself upon his throne by dint of hard fighting.
Instead, however, of learning wisdom from adversity, he hardened his neck,
and stiffened his left arm in wilfulness. The evils of a public nature
which he thus brought upon himself and his kingdom may be learned by those
who will delve into the Arabian annals of Granada; the present legend
deals but with his domestic policy.

As this Mohamed was one day riding forth with a train of his courtiers,
by the foot of the mountain of Elvira, he met a band of horsemen returning
from a foray into the land of the Christians. They were conducting a long
string of mules laden with spoil, and many captives of both sexes, among
whom the monarch was struck with the appearance of a beautiful damsel,
richly attired, who sat weeping on a low palfrey, and heeded not the
consoling words of a duenna who rode beside her.

The monarch was struck with her beauty, and, on inquiring of the captain
of the troop, found that she was the daughter of the _alcayde_ of a
frontier fortress, that had been surprised and sacked in the course of the
foray. Mohamed claimed her as his royal share of the booty, and had her
conveyed to his harem in the Alhambra. There everything was devised to
soothe her melancholy; and the monarch, more and more enamoured, sought
to make her his queen. The Spanish maid at first repulsed his addresses:
he was an infidel; he was the open foe of her country; what was worse, he
was stricken in years!


The monarch, finding his assiduities of no avail, determined to enlist in
his favour the _duenna_, who had been captured with the lady. She was an
Andalusian by birth, whose Christian name is forgotten, being mentioned in
Moorish legends by no other appellation than that of the discreet Kadiga;
and discreet in truth she was, as her whole history makes evident. No
sooner had the Moorish king held a little private conversation with her,
that she saw at once the cogency of his reasoning, and undertook his cause
with her young mistress.

"Go to, now!" cried she; "what is there in all this to weep and wail
about? Is it not better to be mistress of this beautiful palace, with all
its gardens and fountains, than to be shut up within your father's old
frontier tower? As to this Mohamed being an infidel, what is that to the
purpose? You marry him, not his religion; and if he is waxing a little
old, the sooner will you be a widow, and mistress of yourself; at any
rate, you are in his power, and must either be a queen or a slave. When in
the hands of a robber, it is better to sell one's merchandise for a fair
price, than to have it taken by main force."

The arguments of the discreet Kadiga prevailed. The Spanish lady dried
her tears, and became the spouse of Mohamed the Left-handed; she even
conformed, in appearance, to the faith of her royal husband; and her
discreet _duenna_ immediately became a zealous convert to the Moslem
doctrines; it was then the latter received the Arabian name of Kadiga,
and was permitted to remain in the confidential employ of her mistress.

In due process of time the Moorish king was made the proud and happy
father of three lovely daughters, all born at a birth: he could have
wished they had been sons, but consoled himself with the idea that three
daughters at a birth were pretty well for a man somewhat stricken in
years, and left-handed!

As usual with all Moslem monarchs, he summoned his astrologers on this
happy event. They cast the nativities of the three princesses, and shook
their heads. "Daughters, O king!" said they, "are always precarious
property; but these will most need your watchfulness when they arrive at
a marriageable age; at that time gather them under your wings, and trust
them to no other guardianship."

Mohamed the Left-handed was acknowledged to be a wise king by his
courtiers, and was certainly so considered by himself. The prediction of
the astrologers caused him but little disquiet, trusting to his ingenuity
to guard his daughters and outwit the Fates.

The threefold birth was the last matrimonial trophy of the monarch; his
queen bore him no more children, and died within a few years, bequeathing
her infant daughters to his love, and to the fidelity of the discreet

Many years had yet to elapse before the Princesses would arrive at that
period of danger--the marriageable age. "It is good, however, to be
cautious in time," said the shrewd monarch; so he determined to have them
reared in the royal castle of Salobreña. This was a sumptuous palace,
incrusted, as it were, in a powerful Moorish fortress on the summit of a
hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea. It was a royal retreat, in which
the Moslem monarchs shut up such of their relatives as might endanger
their safety; allowing them all kinds of luxuries and amusements, in the
midst of which they passed their lives in voluptuous indolence. Here the
princesses remained, immured from the world, but surrounded by enjoyment,
and attended by female slaves who anticipated their wishes. They had
delightful gardens for their recreation, filled with the rarest fruits
and flowers, with aromatic groves and perfumed baths. On three sides
the castle looked down upon a rich valley, enamelled with all kinds of
culture, and bounded by the lofty Alpuxarra mountains; on the other side
it overlooked the broad sunny sea.


In this delicious abode, in a propitious climate, and under a cloudless
sky, the three princesses grew up into wondrous beauty; but, though all
reared alike, they gave early tokens of diversity of character. Their
names were Zayda, Zorayda, and Zorahayda; and such was their order of
seniority, for there had been precisely three minutes between their

Zayda, the eldest, was of an intrepid spirit, and took the lead of her
sisters in everything, as she had done in entering into the world. She
was curious and inquisitive, and fond of getting at the bottom of things.

Zorayda had a great feeling for beauty, which was the reason, no doubt,
of her delighting to regard her own image in a mirror or a fountain, and
of her fondness for flowers, and jewels, and other tasteful ornaments.

As to Zorahayda, the youngest, she was soft and timid, and extremely
sensitive, with a vast deal of disposable tenderness, as was evident from
her number of pet-flowers, and pet-birds, and pet-animals, all of which
she cherished with the fondest care. Her amusements, too, were of a gentle
nature, and mixed up with musing and reverie. She would sit for hours in
a balcony, gazing on the sparkling stars of a summer's night, or on the
sea when lit up by the moon; and at such times, the song of a fisherman,
faintly heard from the beach, or the notes of a Moorish flute from some
gliding bark, sufficed to elevate her feelings into ecstasy. The least
uproar of the elements, however, filled her with dismay; and a clap of
thunder was enough to throw her into a swoon.

Years rolled on smoothly and serenely; the discreet Kadiga, to whom the
princesses were confided, was faithful to her trust, and attended them
with unremitting care.

The castle of Salobreña, as has been said, was built upon a hill on
the sea coast. One of the exterior walls straggled down the profile of
the hill, until it reached a jutting rock overhanging the sea, with a
narrow sandy beach at its foot, laved by the rippling billows. A small
watch-tower on this rock had been fitted up as a pavilion, with latticed
windows to admit the sea-breeze. Here the princesses used to pass the
sultry hours of mid-day.

The curious Zayda was one day seated at a window of the pavilion, as
her sisters, reclining on ottomans, were taking the siesta or noontide
slumber. Her attention was attracted to a galley which came coasting
along, with measured strokes of the oar. As it drew near, she observed
that it was filled with armed men. The galley anchored at the foot of the
tower: a number of Moorish soldiers landed on the narrow beach, conducting
several Christian prisoners. The curious Zayda awakened her sisters, and
all three peeped cautiously through the close jalousies of the lattice
which screened them from sight. Among the prisoners were three Spanish
cavaliers, richly dressed. They were in the flower of youth, and of noble
presence; and the lofty manner in which they carried themselves, though
loaded with chains and surrounded with enemies, bespoke the grandeur of
their souls. The princesses gazed with intense and breathless interest.
Cooped up as they had been in this castle among female attendants, seeing
nothing of the male sex but black slaves, or the rude fishermen of the
sea-coast, it is not to be wondered at that the appearance of three
gallant cavaliers, in the pride of youth and manly beauty, should produce
some commotion in their bosoms.

"Did ever nobler being tread the earth than that cavalier in crimson?"
cried Zayda, the eldest of the sisters. "See how proudly he bears himself,
as though all around him were his slaves!"

"But notice that one in green!" exclaimed Zorayda. "What grace! what
elegance! what spirit!"

The gentle Zorahayda said nothing, but she secretly gave preference to
the cavalier in blue.

The princesses remained gazing until the prisoners were out of sight; then
heaving long-drawn sighs, they turned round, looked at each other for a
moment, and sat down, musing and pensive, on their ottomans.

The discreet Kadiga found them in this situation; they related what they
had seen, and even the withered heart of the _duenna_ was warmed. "Poor
youths!" exclaimed she, "I'll warrant their captivity makes many a fair
and high-born lady's heart ache in their native land! Ah! my children, you
have little idea of the life these cavaliers lead in their own country.
Such prankling at tournaments! such devotion to the ladies! such courting
and serenading!"

The curiosity of Zayda was fully aroused; she was insatiable in her
inquiries, and drew from the _duenna_ the most animated pictures of the
scenes of her youthful days and native land. The beautiful Zorayda bridled
up, and slyly regarded herself in a mirror, when the theme turned upon
the charms of the Spanish ladies; while Zorahayda suppressed a struggling
sigh at the mention of moonlight serenades.

Every day the curious Zayda renewed her inquiries, and every day the
sage _duenna_ repeated her stories, which were listened to with profound
interest, though with frequent sighs, by her gentle auditors. The discreet
old woman awoke at length to the mischief she might be doing. She had
been accustomed to think of the princesses only as children; but they had
imperceptibly ripened beneath her eye, and now bloomed before her three
lovely damsels of the marriageable age. It is time, thought the _duenna_,
to give notice to the king.

Mohamed the Left-handed was seated one morning on a divan in a cool hall
of the Alhambra, when a slave arrived from the fortress of Salobreña, with
a message from the sage Kadiga, congratulating him on the anniversary of
his daughters' birthday. The slave at the same time presented a delicate
little basket decorated with flowers, within which, on a couch of vine and
fig-leaves, lay a peach, an apricot, and a nectarine, with their bloom and
down and dewy sweetness upon them, and all in the early stage of tempting
ripeness. The monarch was versed in the Oriental language of fruits and
flowers, and rapidly divined the meaning of this emblematical offering.

"So," said he, "the critical period pointed out by the astrologers is
arrived: my daughters are at a marriageable age. What is to be done? They
are shut up from the eyes of men; they are under the eyes of the discreet
Kadiga,--all very good,--but still they are not under my own eye, as was
prescribed by the astrologers: I must gather them under my wing, and trust
to no other guardianship."

So saying, he ordered that a tower of the Alhambra should be prepared for
their reception, and departed at the head of his guards for the fortress
of Salobreña, to conduct them home in person.

About three years had elapsed since Mohamed had beheld his daughters,
and he could scarcely credit his eyes at the wonderful change which that
small space of time had made in their appearance. During the interval,
they had passed that wondrous boundary line in female life which separates
the crude, unformed, and thoughtless girl from the blooming, blushing,
meditative woman. It is like passing from the flat, bleak, uninteresting
plains of La Mancha to the voluptuous valleys and swelling hills of

Zayda was tall and finely formed, with a lofty demeanour and a penetrating
eye. She entered with a stately and decided step, and made a profound
reverence to Mohamed, treating him more as her sovereign than her father.
Zorayda was of the middle height, with an alluring look and swimming gait,
and a sparkling beauty, heightened by the assistance of the toilette.
She approached her father with a smile, kissed his hand, and saluted him
with several stanzas from a popular Arabian poet, with which the monarch
was delighted. Zorahayda was shy and timid, smaller than her sisters, and
with a beauty of that tender beseeching kind which looks for fondness and
protection. She was little fitted to command, like her elder sister, or
to dazzle like the second, but was rather formed to creep to the bosom
of manly affection, to nestle within it, and be content. She drew near to
her father, with a timid and almost faltering step, and would have taken
his hand to kiss, but on looking up into his face, and seeing it beaming
with a paternal smile, the tenderness of her nature broke forth, and she
threw herself upon his neck.

Mohamed the Left-handed surveyed his blooming daughters with mingled pride
and perplexity, for while he exulted in their charms, he bethought himself
of the prediction of the astrologers. "Three daughters! three daughters!"
muttered he repeatedly to himself, "and all of a marriageable age! Here's
tempting Hesperian fruit, that requires a dragon watch!"

He prepared for his return to Granada, by sending heralds before him,
commanding every one to keep out of the road by which he was to pass,
and that all doors and windows should be closed at the approach of the
princesses. This done, he set forth, escorted by a troop of black horsemen
of hideous aspect, and clad in shining armour.

The princesses rode beside the king, closely veiled, on beautiful white
palfreys, with velvet caparisons, embroidered with gold, and sweeping the
ground; the bits and stirrups were of gold, and the silken bridles adorned
with pearls and precious stones. The palfreys were covered with little
silver bells, which made the most musical tinkling as they ambled gently
along. Woe to the unlucky wight, however, who lingered in the way when
he heard the tinkling of these bells!--the guards were ordered to cut him
down without mercy.

The cavalcade was drawing near to Granada, when it overtook, on the banks
of the river Xenil, a small body of Moorish soldiers with a convoy of
prisoners. It was too late for the soldiers to get out of the way, so they
threw themselves on their faces on the earth, ordering their captives to
do the like. Among the prisoners were the three identical cavaliers whom
the princesses had seen from the pavilion. They either did not understand,
or were too haughty to obey the order, and remained standing and gazing
upon the cavalcade as it approached.

The ire of the monarch was kindled at this flagrant defiance of his
orders. Drawing his cimeter, and pressing forward, he was about to deal
a left-handed blow that might have been fatal to at least one of the
gazers, when the princesses crowded round him, and implored mercy for
the prisoners; even the timid Zorahayda forgot her shyness, and became
eloquent in their behalf. Mohamed paused, with uplifted cimeter, when the
captain of the guard threw himself at his feet. "Let not your highness,"
said he, "do a deed that may cause great scandal throughout the kingdom.
These are three brave and noble Spanish knights, who have been taken in
battle, fighting like lions; they are of high birth, and may bring great

"Enough!" said the king. "I will spare their lives, but punish their
audacity--let them be taken to the Vermilion Towers, and put to hard

  [Illustration: _Vermilion Towers_.]

Mohamed was making one of his usual left-handed blunders. In the tumult
and agitation of this blustering scene, the veils of the three princesses
had been thrown back, and the radiance of their beauty revealed; and in
prolonging the parley, the king had given that beauty time to have its
full effect. In those days people fell in love much more suddenly than
at present, as all ancient stories make manifest: it is not a matter of
wonder, therefore, that the hearts of the three cavaliers were completely
captured; especially as gratitude was added to their admiration; it is a
little singular, however, though no less certain, that each of them was
enraptured with a several beauty. As to the princesses, they were more
than ever struck with the noble demeanour of the captives, and cherished
in their breasts all that they had heard of their valour and noble


The cavalcade resumed its march; the three princesses rode pensively
along on their tinkling palfreys, now and then stealing a glance behind in
search of the Christian captives, and the latter were conducted to their
allotted prison in the Vermilion Towers.

The residence provided for the princesses was one of the most dainty that
fancy could devise. It was in a tower somewhat apart from the main palace
of the Alhambra, though connected with it by the wall which encircled
the whole summit of the hill. On one side it looked into the interior
of the fortress, and had, at its foot, a small garden filled with the
rarest flowers. On the other side it overlooked a deep embowered ravine
separating the grounds of the Alhambra from those of the Generalife. The
interior of the tower was divided into small fairy apartments, beautifully
ornamented in the light Arabian style, surrounding a lofty hall, the
vaulted roof of which rose almost to the summit of the tower. The walls
and the ceilings of the hall were adorned with arabesque and fretwork,
sparkling with gold and with brilliant pencilling. In the centre of the
marble pavement was an alabaster fountain, set round with aromatic shrubs
and flowers, and throwing up a jet of water that cooled the whole edifice
and had a lulling sound. Round the hall were suspended cages of gold and
silver wire, containing singing-birds of the finest plumage or sweetest


The princesses had been represented as always cheerful when in the Castle
of the Salobreña; the king had expected to see them enraptured with
the Alhambra. To his surprise, however, they began to pine, and grow
melancholy, and dissatisfied with everything around them. The flowers
yielded them no fragrance, the song of the nightingale disturbed their
night's rest, and they were out of all patience with the alabaster
fountain, with its eternal drop-drop and splash-splash, from morning till
night and from night till morning.

The king, who was of a somewhat testy, tyrannical disposition, took
this at first in high dudgeon; but he reflected that his daughters had
arrived at an age when the female mind expands and its desires augment.
"They are no longer children," said he to himself, "they are women grown,
and require suitable objects to interest them." He put in requisition,
therefore, all the dressmakers, and the jewellers, and the artificers
in gold and silver throughout the Zacatin of Granada, and the princesses
were overwhelmed with robes of silk, and tissue, and brocade, and cashmere
shawls, and necklaces of pearls and diamonds, and rings, and bracelets,
and anklets, and all manner of precious things.


All, however, was of no avail; the princesses continued pale and languid
in the midst of their finery, and looked like three blighted rose-buds,
drooping from one stalk. The king was at his wits' end. He had in general
a laudable confidence in his own judgment, and never took advice.
"The whims and caprices of three marriageable damsels, however, are
sufficient," said he, "to puzzle the shrewdest head." So for once in his
life he called in the aid of counsel.

The person to whom he applied was the experienced duenna.

"Kadiga," said the king, "I know you to be one of the most discreet women
in the whole world, as well as one of the most trustworthy; for these
reasons I have always continued you about the persons of my daughters.
Fathers cannot be too wary in whom they repose such confidence; I now wish
you to find out the secret malady that is preying upon the princesses,
and to devise some means of restoring them to health and cheerfulness."

Kadiga promised implicit obedience. In fact she knew more of the malady
of the princesses than they themselves. Shutting herself up with them,
however, she endeavoured to insinuate herself into their confidence.

"My dear children, what is the reason you are so dismal and downcast in
so beautiful a place, where you have everything that heart can wish?"

The princesses looked vacantly round the apartment and sighed.

"What more then would you have? Shall I get you the wonderful parrot that
talks all languages, and is the delight of Granada?"

"Odious!" exclaimed the princess Zayda. "A horrid screaming bird, that
chatters words without ideas: one must be without brains to tolerate such
a pest."

"Shall I send for a monkey from the rock of Gibraltar, to divert you with
his antics?"

"A monkey! faugh!" cried Zorayda; "the detestable mimic of man. I hate
the nauseous animal."

"What say you to the famous black singer Casem, from the royal harem, in
Morocco? They say he has a voice as fine as a woman's."

"I am terrified at the sight of these black slaves," said the delicate
Zorahayda; "besides I have lost all relish for music."

"Ah! my child, you would not say so," replied the old woman slyly, "had
you heard the music I heard last evening, from the three Spanish cavaliers
whom we met on our journey. But bless me, children; what is the matter
that you blush so and are in such a flutter?"

"Nothing, nothing, good mother; pray proceed."

"Well; as I was passing by the Vermilion Towers last evening, I saw the
three cavaliers resting after their day's labour. One was playing on the
guitar, so gracefully, and the others sang by turns; and they did it in
such style, that the very guards seemed like statues, or men enchanted.
Allah forgive me! I could not help being moved at hearing the songs of my
native country. And then to see three such noble and handsome youths in
chains and slavery!"

  [Illustration: _Gibraltar._]

Here the kind-hearted old woman could not restrain her tears.

"Perhaps, mother, you could manage to procure us a sight of these
cavaliers," said Zayda.

"I think," said Zorayda, "a little music would be quite reviving."

The timid Zorahayda said nothing, but threw her arms round the neck of

"Mercy on me!" exclaimed the discreet old woman, "what are you talking
of, my children? Your father would be the death of us all if he heard of
such a thing. To be sure, these cavaliers are evidently well-bred, and
high-minded youths; but what of that? they are the enemies of our faith,
and you must not even think of them but with abhorrence."

There is an admirable intrepidity in the female will, particularly when
about the marriageable age, which is not to be deterred by dangers and
prohibitions. The princesses hung round their old _duenna_, and coaxed,
and entreated and declared that a refusal would break their hearts.

What could she do? She was certainly the most discreet old woman in the
whole world, and one of the most faithful servants to the king; but
was she to see three beautiful princesses break their hearts for the
mere tinkling of a guitar? Besides, though she had been so long among
the Moors, and changed her faith in imitation of her mistress, like a
trusty follower, yet she was a Spaniard born, and had the lingerings of
Christianity in her heart. So she set about to contrive how the wish of
the princesses might be gratified.

The Christian captives, confined in the Vermilion Towers, were under the
charge of a big-whiskered, broad-shouldered _renegado_, called Hussein
Baba, who was reputed to have a most itching palm. She went to him
privately, and slipping a broad piece of gold into his hand, "Hussein
Baba," said she, "my mistresses, the three princesses who are shut up in
the tower, and in sad want of amusement; have heard of the musical talents
of the three Spanish cavaliers, and are desirous of hearing a specimen of
their skill. I am sure you are too kind-hearted to refuse them so innocent
a gratification."

  [Illustration: _Night on the Sea-front of Algeciras._]

"What! and to have my head set grinning over the gate of my own tower;
for that would be the reward, if the king should discover it."

"No danger of anything of the kind; the affair may be managed so that
the whim of the princesses may be gratified, and their father be never
the wiser. You know the deep ravine outside of the walls which passes
immediately below the tower. Put the three Christians to work there, and
at the intervals of their labour, let them play and sing, as if for their
own recreation. In this way the princesses will be able to hear them from
the windows of the tower, and you may be sure of their paying well for
your compliance."

As the good old woman concluded her harangue, she kindly pressed the rough
hand of the _renegado_, and left within it another piece of gold.

Her eloquence was irresistible. The very next day the three cavaliers
were put to work in the ravine. During the noontide heat, when their
fellow-labourers were sleeping in the shade, and the guard nodding
drowsily at his post, they seated themselves among the herbage at the foot
of the tower, and sang a Spanish roundelay to the accompaniment of the

The glen was deep, the tower was high, but their voices rose distinctly
in the stillness of the summer noon. The princesses listened from their
balcony, they had been taught the Spanish language by their duenna, and
were moved by the tenderness of the song. The discreet Kadiga, on the
contrary, was terribly shocked. "Allah preserve us!" cried she, "they
are singing a love-ditty, addressed to yourselves. Did ever mortal hear
of such audacity? I will run to the slave-master, and have them soundly

"What! bastinado such gallant cavaliers, and for singing so charmingly!"
The three beautiful princesses were filled with horror at the idea. With
all her virtuous indignation, the good old woman was of a placable nature,
and easily appeased. Besides, the music seemed to have a beneficial effect
upon her young mistresses. A rosy bloom had already come to their cheeks,
and their eyes began to sparkle. She made no further objection, therefore
to the amorous ditty of the cavaliers.

When it was finished, the princesses remained silent for a time; at length
Zorayda took up a lute, and with a sweet, though faint and trembling
voice, warbled a little Arabian air, the burden of which was, "The rose
is concealed among her leaves, but she listens with delight to the song
of the nightingale."


From this time forward the cavaliers worked almost daily in the ravine.
The considerate Hussein Baba became more and more indulgent, and daily
more prone to sleep at his post. For some time a vague intercourse was
kept up by popular songs and romances, which in some measure responded
to each other, and breathed the feelings of the parties. By degrees the
princesses showed themselves at the balcony, when they could do so without
being perceived by the guards. They conversed with the cavaliers also, by
means of flowers, with the symbolical language of which they were mutually
acquainted; the difficulties of their intercourse added to its charms,
and strengthened the passion they had so singularly conceived; for love
delights to struggle with difficulties, and thrives the most hardily on
the scantiest soil.

The change effected in the looks and spirits of the princesses by this
secret intercourse, surprised and gratified the left-handed king; but no
one was more elated than the discreet Kadiga, who considered it all owing
to her able management.

At length there was an interruption in this telegraphic correspondence:
for several days the cavaliers ceased to make their appearance in the
glen. The princesses looked out from the tower in vain. In vain they
stretched their swan-like necks from the balcony; in vain they sang like
captive nightingales in their cage: nothing was to be seen of their
Christian lovers; not a note responded from the groves. The discreet
Kadiga sallied forth in quest of intelligence, and soon returned with a
face full of trouble. "Ah, my children!" cried she, "I saw what all this
would come to, but you would have your way; you may now hang up your lutes
on the willows. The Spanish cavaliers are ransomed by their families; they
are down in Granada, and preparing to return to their native country."

The three beautiful princesses were in despair at the tidings. Zayda was
indignant at the slight put upon them, in thus being deserted without a
parting word. Zorayda wrung her hands and cried, and looked in the glass,
and wiped away her tears, and cried afresh. The gentle Zorahayda leaned
over the balcony and wept in silence, and her tears fell drop by drop
among the flowers of the bank, where the faithless cavaliers had so often
been seated.

The discreet Kadiga did all in her power to soothe their sorrow. "Take
comfort, my children," she said, "this is nothing when you are used to
it. This is the way of the world. Ah! when you are as old as I am, you
will know how to value these men. I'll warrant these cavaliers have their
loves among the Spanish beauties of Cordova and Seville, and will soon
be serenading under their balconies, and thinking no more of the Moorish
beauties in the Alhambra. Take comfort, therefore, my children, and drive
them from your hearts."

The comforting words of the discreet Kadiga only redoubled the distress
of the three princesses, and for two days they continued inconsolable. On
the morning of the third the good old woman entered their apartment, all
ruffling with indignation.

"Who would have believed such insolence in mortal man!" exclaimed she, as
soon as she could find words to express herself; "but I am rightly served
for having connived at this deception of your worthy father. Never talk
more to me of your Spanish cavaliers."

"Why, what has happened, good Kadiga?" exclaimed the princesses in
breathless anxiety.

"What has happened?--treason has happened! or, what is almost as bad,
treason has been proposed; and to me, the most faithful of subjects, the
trustiest of _duennas_! Yes, my children, the Spanish cavaliers have dared
to tamper with me, that I should persuade you to fly with them to Cordova,
and become their wives!"

Here the excellent old woman covered her face with her hands, and gave
way to a violent burst of grief and indignation. The three beautiful
princesses turned pale and red, pale and red, and trembled, and looked
down, and cast shy looks at each other, but said nothing. Meantime the
old woman sat rocking backward and forward in violent agitation, and now
and then breaking out into exclamations,--"That ever I should live to be
so insulted!--I, the most faithful of servants!"

At length the eldest princess, who had most spirit and always took the
lead, approached her, and laying her hand upon her shoulder, "Well,
mother," said she, "supposing we were willing to fly with these Christian
cavaliers--is such a thing possible?"

The good old woman paused suddenly in her grief, and looking up,
"Possible," echoed she; "to be sure it is possible. Have not the cavaliers
already bribed Hussein Baba, the renegado captain of the guard, and
arranged the whole plan? But, then, to think of deceiving your father!
your father, who has placed such confidence in me!" Here the worthy woman
gave way to a fresh burst of grief, and began again to rock backward and
forward, and to wring her hands.

"But our father has never placed any confidence in us," said the eldest
princess, "but has trusted to bolts and bars, and treated us as captives."

"Why, that is true enough," replied the old woman, again pausing in her
grief; "he has indeed treated you most unreasonably, keeping you shut up
here, to waste your bloom in a moping old tower, like roses left to wither
in a flower-jar. But, then, to fly from your native land!"

"And is not the land we fly to the native land of our mother, where we
shall live in freedom? And shall we not each have a youthful husband in
exchange for a severe old father?"

"Why, that again is all very true; and your father, I must confess, is
rather tyrannical; but what then," relapsing into her grief, "would you
leave me behind to bear the brunt of his vengeance?"

"By no means, my good Kadiga; cannot you fly with us?"

"Very true, my child; and, to tell the truth, when I talked the matter
over with Hussein Baba, he promised to take care of me, if I would
accompany you in your flight; but then, bethink you, my children, are you
willing to renounce the faith of your father?"

"The Christian faith was the original faith of our mother," said the
eldest princess; "I am ready to embrace it, and so, I am sure, are my

"Right again," exclaimed the old woman, brightening up; "it was the
original faith of your mother, and bitterly did she lament, on her
death-bed, that she had renounced it. I promised her then to take care of
your souls, and I rejoice to see that they are now in a fair way to be
saved. Yes, my children, I too was born a Christian, and have remained
a Christian in my heart, and am resolved to return to the faith. I have
talked on the subject with Hussein Baba, who is a Spaniard by birth, and
comes from a place not far from my native town. He is equally anxious
to see his own country, and to be reconciled to the Church; and the
cavaliers have promised that, if we are disposed to become man and wife,
on returning to our native land, they will provide for us handsomely."

In a word, it appeared that this extremely discreet and provident old
woman had consulted with the cavaliers and the renegado, and had concerted
the whole plan of escape. The eldest princess immediately assented to it;
and her example, as usual, determined the conduct of her sisters. It is
true the youngest hesitated, for she was gentle and timid of soul, and
there was a struggle in her bosom between filial feeling and youthful
passion: the latter, however, as usual, gained the victory, and with
silent tears and stifled sighs she prepared herself for flight.

The rugged hill on which the Alhambra is built was, in old times,
perforated with subterranean passages, cut through the rock, and leading
from the fortress to various parts of the city, and to distant sally-ports
on the banks of the Darro and the Xenil. They had been constructed at
different times by the Moorish kings, as means of escape from sudden
insurrections, or of secretly issuing forth on private enterprises. Many
of them are now entirely lost, while others remain, partly choked with
rubbish, and partly walled up,--monuments of the jealous precautions and
warlike stratagems of the Moorish government. By one of these passages
Hussein Baba had undertaken to conduct the princesses to a sally-port
beyond the walls of the city, where the cavaliers were to be ready with
fleet steeds, to bear the whole party over the borders.


The appointed night arrived; the tower of the princesses had been locked
up as usual, and the Alhambra was buried in deep sleep. Towards midnight
the discreet Kadiga listened from the balcony of a window that looked
into the garden. Hussein Baba, the _renegado_, was already below, and gave
the appointed signal. The _duenna_ fastened the end of a ladder of ropes
to the balcony, lowered it into the garden and descended. The two eldest
princesses followed her with beating hearts; but when it came to the turn
of the youngest princess, Zorahayda, she hesitated and trembled. Several
times she ventured a delicate little foot upon the ladder, and as often
drew it back, while her poor little heart fluttered more and more the
longer she delayed. She cast a wistful look back into the silken chamber;
she had lived in it, to be sure, like a bird in a cage; but within it
she was secure; who could tell what dangers might beset her, should she
flutter forth into the wide world! Now she bethought her of her gallant
Christian lover, and her little foot was instantly upon the ladder; and
anon she thought of her father, and shrank back. But fruitless is the
attempt to describe the conflict in the bosom of one so young and tender
and loving, but so timid and so ignorant of the world.

In vain her sisters implored, the _duenna_ scolded, and the renegado
blasphemed beneath the balcony: the gentle little Moorish maid stood
doubting and wavering on the verge of elopement; tempted by the sweetness
of the sin, but terrified at its perils.

Every moment increased the danger of discovery. A distant tramp was heard.
"The patrols are walking their rounds," cried the _renegado_; "if we
linger, we perish. Princess, descend instantly, or we leave you."

Zorahayda was for a moment in fearful agitation; then loosening the ladder
of ropes, with desperate resolution she flung it from the balcony.

"It is decided!" cried she; "flight is now out of my power! Allah guide
and bless ye, my dear sisters!"

The two eldest princesses were shocked at the thoughts of leaving her
behind, and would fain have lingered, but the patrol was advancing; the
renegado was furious, and they were hurried away to the subterraneous
passage. They groped their way through a fearful labyrinth, cut through
the heart of the mountain, and succeeded in reaching, undiscovered, an
iron gate that opened outside of the walls. The Spanish cavaliers were
waiting to receive them, disguised as Moorish soldiers of the guard,
commanded by the _renegado_.

The lover of Zorahayda was frantic when he learned that she had refused
to leave the tower; but there was no time to waste in lamentations.
The two princesses were placed behind their lovers, the discreet Kadiga
mounted behind the _renegado_, and they all set off at a round pace in the
direction of the Pass of Lope, which leads through the mountains towards

They had not proceeded far when they heard the noise of drums and trumpets
from the battlements of the Alhambra.

"Our flight is discovered!" said the _renegado_.

"We have fleet steeds, the night is dark, and we may distance all
pursuit," replied the cavaliers.


They put spurs to their horses, and scoured across the Vega. They attained
the foot of the mountains of Elvira, which stretches like a promontory
into the plain. The _renegado_ paused and listened. "As yet," said he,
"there is no one on our traces, we shall make good our escape to the
mountains." While he spoke, a light blaze sprang up on the top of the
watch-tower of the Alhambra.

"Confusion!" cried the _renegado_, "that bale fire will put all the guards
of the passes on the alert. Away! away! Spur like mad,--there is no time
to be lost."

Away they dashed--the clattering of their horses' hoofs echoed from rock
to rock, as they swept along the road that skirts the rocky mountain of
Elvira. As they galloped on, the bale fire of the Alhambra was answered
in every direction; light after light blazed on the _Atalayas_, or
watch-towers of the mountains.

"Forward! forward!" cried the _renegado_, with many an oath, "to the
bridge,--to the bridge, before the alarm has reached there!"

They doubled the promontory of the mountains, and arrived in sight of
the famous Bridge of Pinos, that crosses a rushing stream often dyed with
Christian and Moslem blood. To their confusion, the tower on the bridge
blazed with lights and glittered with armed men. The _renegado_ pulled
up his steed, rose in his stirrups and looked about him for a moment;
then beckoning to the cavaliers, he struck off from the road, skirted the
river for some distance, and dashed into its waters. The cavaliers called
upon the princesses to cling to them, and did the same. They were borne
for some distance down the rapid current, the surges roared round them,
but the beautiful princesses clung to their Christian knights, and never
uttered a complaint. The cavaliers attained the opposite bank in safety
and were conducted by the _renegado_, by rude and unfrequented paths and
wild _barrancos_, through the heart of the mountains, so as to avoid all
the regular passes. In a word, they succeeded in reaching the ancient
city of Cordova; where their restoration to their country and friends was
celebrated with great rejoicings, for they were of the noblest families.
The beautiful princesses were forthwith received into the bosom of the
Church, and, after being in all due form made regular Christians, were
rendered happy wives.

In our hurry to make good the escape of the princesses across the river,
and up the mountains, we forgot to mention the fate of the discreet
Kadiga. She had clung like a cat to Hussein Baba in the scamper across
the Vega, screaming at every bound, and drawing many an oath from the
whiskered _renegado_; but when he prepared to plunge his steed into the
river, her terror knew no bounds. "Grasp me not so tightly," cried Hussein
Baba; "hold on by my belt and fear nothing." She held firmly with both
hands by the leathern belt that girded the broad-backed _renegado_; but
when he halted with the cavaliers to take breath on the mountain summit,
the _duenna_ was no longer to be seen.

"What has become of Kadiga?" cried the princesses in alarm.

"Allah alone knows!" replied the _renegado_; "my belt came loose when
in the midst of the river, and Kadiga was swept with it down the stream.
The will of Allah be done! but it was an embroidered belt, and of great

There was no time to waste in idle regrets; yet bitterly did the
princesses bewail the loss of their discreet counsellor. That excellent
old woman, however, did not lose more than half of her nine lives in
the water: a fisherman, who was drawing his nets some distance down
the stream, brought her to land, and was not a little astonished at his
miraculous draught. What further became of the discreet Kadiga, the legend
does not mention; certain it is that she evinced her discretion in never
venturing within the reach of Mohamed the Left-handed.

Almost as little is known of the conduct of that sagacious monarch when
he discovered the escape of his daughters, and the deceit practised
upon him by the most faithful of servants. It was the only instance in
which he had called in the aid of counsel, and he was never afterwards
known to be guilty of a similar weakness. He took good care, however,
to guard his remaining daughter, who had no disposition to elope; it
is thought, indeed, that she secretly repented having remained behind:
now and then she was seen leaning on the battlements of the tower, and
looking mournfully towards the mountains in the direction of Cordova, and
sometimes the notes of her lute were heard accompanying plaintive ditties,
in which she was said to lament the loss of her sisters and her lover, and
to bewail her solitary life. She died young, and, according to popular
rumour, was buried in a vault beneath the tower, and her untimely fate
has given rise to more than one traditionary fable.

The following legend, which seems in some measure to spring out of the
foregoing story, is too closely connected with high historic names to be
entirely doubted. The Count's daughter, and some of her young companions,
to whom it was read in one of the evening _tertulias_, thought certain
parts of it had much appearance of reality; and Dolores, who was much more
versed than they in the improbable truths of the Alhambra, believed every
word of it.




For some time after the surrender of Granada by the Moors, that delightful
city was a frequent and favourite residence of the Spanish sovereigns,
until they were frightened away by successive shocks of earthquakes, which
toppled down various houses, and made the old Moslem towers rock to their



Many, many years then rolled away, during which Granada was rarely
honoured by a royal guest. The palaces of the nobility remained silent
and shut up; and the Alhambra, like a slighted beauty, sat in mournful
desolation among her neglected gardens. The tower of the _Infantas_, once
the residence of the three beautiful Moorish princesses, partook of the
general desolation; the spider spun her web athwart the gilded vault,
and bats and owls nestled in those chambers that had been graced by the
presence of Zayda, Zorayda, and Zorahayda. The neglect of this tower may
have been partly owing to some superstitious notions of the neighbours. It
was rumoured that the spirit of the youthful Zorahayda, who had perished
in that tower, was often seen by moonlight seated beside the fountain in
the hall, or moaning about the battlements, and that the notes of her
silver lute would be heard at midnight by wayfarers passing along the


At length the city of Granada was once more welcomed by the royal
presence. All the world knows that Philip V. was the first Bourbon that
swayed the Spanish sceptre. All the world knows that he married, in
second nuptials, Elizabetta or Isabella (for they are the same), the
beautiful princess of Parma; and all the world knows that by this chain
of contingencies a French prince and an Italian princess were seated
together on the Spanish throne. For a visit of this illustrious pair,
the Alhambra was repaired and fitted up with all possible expedition.
The arrival of the court changed the whole aspect of the lately deserted
palace. The clangor of drum and trumpet, the tramp of steed about the
avenues and outer court, the glitter of arms and display of banners about
barbican and battlement, recalled the ancient and warlike glories of the
fortress. A softer spirit, however, reigned within the royal palace. There
was the rustling of robes and the cautious tread and murmuring voice of
reverential courtiers about the ante-chambers; a loitering of pages and
maids of honour about the gardens, and the sound of music stealing from
open casements.

Among those who attended in the train of the monarchs was a favourite page
of the queen, named _Ruyz de Alarcon_. To say that he was a favourite
page of the queen was at once to speak his eulogium, for every one in
the suite of the stately Elizabetta was chosen for grace, and beauty,
and accomplishments. He was just turned of eighteen, light and lithe of
form, and graceful as a young Antinous. To the queen he was all deference
and respect, yet he was at heart a roguish stripling, petted and spoiled
by the ladies about the court, and experienced in the ways of women far
beyond his years.

This loitering page was one morning rambling about the groves of the
Generalife, which overlook the grounds of the Alhambra. He had taken with
him for his amusement a favourite ger-falcon of the queen. In the course
of his rambles, seeing a bird rising from a thicket, he unhooded the
hawk and let him fly. The falcon towered high in the air, made a swoop at
his quarry, but missing it, soared away, regardless of the calls of the
page. The latter followed the truant bird with his eye, in its capricious
flight, until he saw it alight upon the battlements of a remote and lonely
tower, in the outer wall of the Alhambra, built on the edge of a ravine
that separated the royal fortress from the grounds of the Generalife. It
was in fact the "Tower of the Princesses."


The page descended into the ravine and approached the tower, but it had
no entrance from the glen, and its lofty height rendered any attempt to
scale it fruitless. Seeking one of the gates of the fortress, therefore,
he made a wide circuit to that side of the tower facing within the walls.

A small garden, enclosed by a trellis-work of reeds overhung with myrtle,
lay before the tower. Opening a wicket, the page passed between beds of
flowers and thickets of roses to the door. It was closed and bolted.
A crevice in the door gave him a peep into the interior. There was a
small Moorish hall with fretted walls, light marble columns, and an
alabaster fountain surrounded with flowers. In the centre hung a gilt cage
containing a singing-bird; beneath it, on a chair, lay a tortoise-shell
cat among reels of silk and other articles of female labour, and a guitar
decorated with ribbons leaned against the fountain.

_Ruyz de Alarcon_ was struck with these traces of female taste and
elegance in a lonely, and, as he had supposed, deserted tower. They
reminded him of the tales of enchanted halls current in the Alhambra; and
the tortoise-shell cat might be some spell-bound princess.

He knocked gently at the door. A beautiful face peeped out from a little
window above, but was instantly withdrawn. He waited, expecting that the
door would be opened, but he waited in vain; no footstep was to be heard
within--all was silent. Had his senses deceived him, or was this beautiful
apparition the fairy of the tower? He knocked again, and more loudly.
After a little while the beaming face once more peeped forth; it was that
of a blooming damsel of fifteen.

The page immediately doffed his plumed bonnet, and entreated in the most
courteous accents to be permitted to ascend the tower in pursuit of his

"I dare not open the door, _Señor_," replied the little damsel, blushing,
"my aunt has forbidden it."

"I do beseech you, fair maid--it is the favourite falcon of the queen: I
dare not return to the palace without it."

"Are you then one of the cavaliers of the court?"

"I am, fair maid; but I shall lose the queen's favour and my place, if I
lose this hawk."

"_Santa Maria!_ It is against you cavaliers of the court my aunt has
charged me especially to bar the door."

"Against wicked cavaliers doubtless, but I am none of these, but a simple,
harmless page, who will be ruined and undone if you deny me this small

The heart of the little damsel was touched by the distress of the page.
It was a thousand pities he should be ruined for the want of so trifling
a boon. Surely too he could not be one of those dangerous beings whom
her aunt had described as a species of cannibal, ever on the prowl to
make prey of thoughtless damsels; he was gentle and modest, and stood so
entreatingly with cap in hand, and looked so charming.

The sly page saw that the garrison began to waver, and redoubled his
entreaties in such moving terms that it was not in the nature of mortal
maiden to deny him; so the blushing little warden of the tower descended,
and opened the door with a trembling hand, and if the page had been
charmed by a mere glimpse of her countenance from the window, he was
ravished by the full-length portrait now revealed to him.

Her Andalusian bodice and trim _basquiña_ set off the round but delicate
symmetry of her form, which was as yet scarce verging into womanhood. Her
glossy hair was parted on her forehead with scrupulous exactness, and
decorated with a fresh-plucked rose, according to the universal custom
of the country. It is true her complexion was tinged by the ardour of a
southern sun, but it served to give richness to the mantling bloom of her
cheek, and to heighten the lustre of her melting eyes.

_Ruyz de Alarcon_ beheld all this with a single glance, for it became him
not to tarry; he merely murmured his acknowledgments, and then bounded
lightly up the spiral staircase in quest of his falcon.

He soon returned with the truant bird upon his fist. The damsel, in the
meantime, had seated herself by the fountain in the hall, and was winding
silk; but in her agitation she let fall the reel upon the pavement. The
page sprang and picked it up, then dropping gracefully on one knee,
presented it to her; but, seizing the hand extended to receive it,
imprinted on it a kiss more fervent and devout than he had ever imprinted
on the fair hand of his sovereign.

"_Ave Maria Señor!_" exclaimed the damsel, blushing still deeper
with confusion and surprise, for never before had she received such a

The modest page made a thousand apologies, assuring her it was the way at
court of expressing the most profound homage and respect.

Her anger, if anger she felt, was easily pacified, but her agitation and
embarrassment continued, and she sat blushing deeper and deeper, with her
eyes cast down upon her work, entangling the silk which she attempted to

The cunning page saw the confusion in the opposite camp, and would fain
have profited by it, but the fine speeches he would have uttered died
upon his lips; his attempts at gallantry were awkward and ineffectual;
and to his surprise, the adroit page, who had figured with such grace and
effrontery among the most knowing and experienced ladies of the court,
found himself awed and abashed in the presence of a simple damsel of

In fact, the artless maiden, in her own modesty and innocence, had
guardians more effectual than the bolts and bars prescribed by her
vigilant aunt. Still, where is the female bosom proof against the
first whisperings of love? The little damsel, with all her artlessness,
instinctively comprehended all that the faltering tongue of the page
failed to express, and her heart was fluttered at beholding, for the first
time, a lover at her feet--and such a lover!

The diffidence of the page, though genuine, was short-lived, and he was
recovering his usual ease and confidence, when a shrill voice was heard
at a distance.

"My aunt is returning from mass!" cried the damsel in affright: "I pray
you, _Señor_, depart."

"Not until you grant me that rose from your hair as a remembrance."

She hastily untwisted the rose from her raven locks. "Take it," cried she,
agitated and blushing, "but pray begone."

The page took the rose, and at the same time covered with kisses the fair
hand that gave it. Then, placing the flower in his bonnet, and taking the
falcon upon his fist he bounded off through the garden, bearing away with
him the heart of the gentle Jacinta.

When the vigilant aunt arrived at the tower, she remarked the agitation of
her niece, and an air of confusion in the hall; but a word of explanation
sufficed. "A ger-falcon had pursued his prey into the hall."

"Mercy on us! to think of a falcon flying into the tower. Did ever one
hear of so saucy a hawk? Why, the very bird in the cage is not safe!"

The vigilant Fredegonda was one of the most wary of ancient spinsters. She
had a becoming terror and distrust of what she denominated "the opposite
sex," which had gradually increased through a long life of celibacy. Not
that the good lady had ever suffered from their wiles, nature having set
up a safeguard in her face that forbade all trespass upon her premises;
but ladies who have least cause to fear for themselves are most ready to
keep a watch over their more tempting neighbours.

The niece was the orphan of an officer who had fallen in the wars. She
had been educated in a convent, and had recently been transferred from
her sacred asylum to the immediate guardianship of her aunt, under
whose overshadowing care she vegetated in obscurity, like an opening
rose blooming beneath a brier. Nor indeed is this comparison entirely
accidental; for, to tell the truth, her fresh and dawning beauty had
caught the public eye, even in her seclusion, and, with that poetical turn
common to the people of Andalusia, the peasantry of the neighbourhood had
given her the appellation of "the Rose of the Alhambra."

The wary aunt continued to keep a faithful watch over her tempting little
niece as long as the court continued at Granada, and flattered herself
that her vigilance had been successful. It is true the good lady was
now and then discomposed by the tinkling of guitars and chanting of
love-ditties from the moonlit groves beneath the tower; but she would
exhort her niece to shut her ears against such idle minstrelsy, assuring
her that it was one of the arts of the opposite sex, by which simple maids
were often lured to their undoing. Alas! what chance with a simple maid
has a dry lecture against a moonlight serenade?

At length king Philip cut short his sojourn at Granada, and suddenly
departed with all his train. The vigilant Fredegonda watched the royal
pageant as it issued forth from the Gate of Justice, and descended the
great avenue leading to the city. When the last banner disappeared from
her sight, she returned exulting to her tower, for all her cares were
over. To her surprise, a light Arabian steed pawed the ground at the
wicket-gate of the garden;--to her horror she saw through the thickets
of roses a youth in gaily embroidered dress, at the feet of her niece. At
the sounds of her footsteps he gave a tender adieu, bounded lightly over
the barrier of reeds and myrtles, sprang upon his horse, and was out of
sight in an instant.

The tender Jacinta, in the agony of her grief, lost all thought of her
aunt's displeasure. Throwing herself into her arms, she broke forth into
sobs and tears.

"_Ay de mi!_" cried she; "he's gone!--he's gone!--he's gone! and I shall
never see him more!"

"Gone!--who is gone?--what youth is that I saw at your feet?"

"A queen's page, aunt, who came to bid me farewell."

"A queen's page, child!" echoed the vigilant Fredegonda, faintly, "and
when did you become acquainted with the queen's page?"

"The morning that the ger-falcon came into the tower. It was the queen's
ger-falcon, and he came in pursuit of it."

"Ah silly, silly girl! know that there are no ger-falcons half so
dangerous as these young prankling pages, and it is precisely such simple
birds as thee that they pounce upon."

The aunt was at first indignant at learning that in despite of her boasted
vigilance, a tender intercourse had been carried on by the youthful
lovers, almost beneath her eye; but when she found that her simple-hearted
niece, though thus exposed, without the protection of bolt or bar, to all
the machinations of the opposite sex, had come forth unsinged from the
fiery ordeal, she consoled herself with the persuasion that it was owing
to the chaste and cautious maxims in which she had, as it were, steeped
her to the very lips.

While the aunt laid this soothing unction to her pride, the niece
treasured up the oft-repeated vows of fidelity of the page. But what is
the love of restless, roving man? A vagrant stream that dallies for a time
with each flower upon its bank, then passes on, and leaves them all in

Days, weeks, months elapsed, and nothing more was heard of the page. The
pomegranate ripened, the vine yielded up its fruit, the autumnal rains
descended in torrents from the mountains; the Sierra Nevada became covered
with a snowy mantle, and wintry blasts howled through the halls of the
Alhambra--still he came not. The winter passed away. Again the genial
spring burst forth with song and blossom and balmy zephyr; the snows
melted from the mountains, until none remained but on the lofty summit of
Nevada, glistening through the sultry summer air. Still nothing was heard
of the forgetful page.

In the meantime the poor little Jacinta grew pale and thoughtful. Her
former occupations and amusements were abandoned, her silk lay entangled,
her guitar unstrung, her flowers were neglected, the notes of her bird
unheeded, and her eyes, once so bright, were dimmed with secret weeping.
If any solitude could be devised to foster the passion of a lovelorn
damsel it would be such a place as the Alhambra, where everything seems
disposed to produce tender and romantic reveries. It is a very paradise
for lovers: how hard then to be alone in such a paradise--and not merely
alone, but forsaken!

"Alas, silly child!" would the staid and immaculate Fredegonda say, when
she found her niece in one of her desponding moods--"did I not warn thee
against the wiles and deceptions of these men? What couldst thou expect,
too, from one of a haughty and aspiring family--thou an orphan, the
descendant of a fallen and impoverished line? Be assured, if the youth
were true, his father, who is one of the proudest nobles about the court,
would prohibit his union with one so humble and portionless as thou. Pluck
up thy resolution, therefore, and drive these idle notions from thy mind."

The words of the immaculate Fredegonda only served to increase the
melancholy of her niece, but she sought to indulge it in private.
At a late hour one midsummer night, after her aunt had retired to
rest, she remained alone in the hall of the tower, seated beside the
alabaster fountain. It was here that the faithless page had first
knelt and kissed her hand; it was here that he had often vowed eternal
fidelity. The poor little damsel's heart was overladen with sad and
tender recollections, her tears began to flow, and slowly fell drop by
drop into the fountain. By degrees the crystal water became agitated,
and--bubble--bubble--bubble--boiled up and was tossed about, until a
female figure, richly clad in Moorish robes, slowly rose to view.

Jacinta was so frightened that she fled from the hall, and did not venture
to return. The next morning she related what she had seen to her aunt, but
the good lady treated it as a fantasy of her troubled mind, or supposed
she had fallen asleep and dreamt beside the fountain. "Thou hast been
thinking of the story of the three Moorish princesses that once inhabited
this tower," continued she, "and it has entered into thy dreams."

"What story, aunt? I know nothing of it."

"Thou hast certainly heard of the three princesses, Zayda, Zorayda, and
Zorahayda, who were confined in this tower by the king their father, and
agreed to fly with three Christian cavaliers. The two first accomplished
their escape, but the third failed in her resolution, and, it is said,
died in this tower."

"I now recollect to have heard of it," said Jacinta, "and to have wept
over the fate of the gentle Zorahayda."

"Thou mayest well weep over her fate," continued the aunt, "for the lover
of Zorahayda was thy ancestor. He long bemoaned his Moorish love: but time
cured him of his grief, and he married a Spanish lady, from whom thou art

Jacinta ruminated upon these words. "That what I have seen is no fantasy
of the brain," said she to herself, "I am confident. If indeed it be
the spirit of the gentle Zorahayda, which I have heard lingers about
this tower, of what should I be afraid? I'll watch by the fountain
to-night--perhaps the visit will be repeated."

Towards midnight, when everything was quiet, she again took her seat
in the hall. As the bell in the distant watch-tower of the Alhambra
struck the midnight hour, the fountain was again agitated; and
bubble--bubble--bubble--it tossed about the waters until the Moorish
female again rose to view. She was young and beautiful; her dress was rich
with jewels, and in her hand she held a silver lute. Jacinta trembled
and was faint, but was reassured by the soft and plaintive voice of the
apparition, and the sweet expression of her pale, melancholy countenance.

"Daughter of mortality," said she, "what aileth thee? Why do thy tears
trouble my fountain, and thy sighs and plaints disturb the quiet watches
of the night?"

"I weep because of the faithlessness of man, and I bemoan my solitary and
forsaken state."

"Take comfort; thy sorrows may yet have an end. Thou beholdest a Moorish
princess, who, like thee, was unhappy in her love. A Christian knight,
thy ancestor, won my heart, and would have borne me to his native land
and to the bosom of his church. I was a convert in my heart, but I lacked
courage equal to my faith, and lingered till too late. For this the evil
genii are permitted to have power over me, and I remain enchanted in this
tower until some pure Christian will deign to break the magic spell. Wilt
thou undertake the task?"

"I will," replied the damsel, trembling.

"Come hither then, and fear not; dip thy hand in the fountain, sprinkle
the water over me, and baptize me after the manner of thy faith; so shall
the enchantment be dispelled, and my troubled spirit have repose."

The damsel advanced with faltering steps, dipped her hand in the fountain,
collected water in the palm, and sprinkled it over the pale face of the

The latter smiled with ineffable benignity. She dropped her silver lute
at the feet of Jacinta, crossed her white arms upon her bosom, and melted
from sight, so that it seemed merely as if a shower of dewdrops had fallen
into the fountain.

Jacinta retired from the hall filled with awe and wonder. She scarcely
closed her eyes that night; but when she awoke at daybreak out of a
troubled slumber, the whole appeared to her like a distempered dream.
On descending into the hall, however, the truth of the vision was
established, for beside the fountain she beheld the silver lute glittering
in the morning sunshine.

She hastened to her aunt, to relate all that had befallen her, and called
her to behold the lute as a testimonial of the reality of her story. If
the good lady had any lingering doubts, they were removed when Jacinta
touched the instrument, for she drew forth such ravishing tones as to
thaw even the frigid bosom of the immaculate Fredegonda, that region of
eternal winter, into a genial flow. Nothing but supernatural melody could
have produced such an effect.

The extraordinary power of the lute became every day more and more
apparent. The wayfarer passing by the tower was detained, and, as it
were, spell-bound in breathless ecstasy. The very birds gathered in the
neighbouring trees, and hushing their own strains, listened in charmed

Rumour soon spread the news abroad. The inhabitants of Granada thronged to
the Alhambra to catch a few notes of the transcendent music that floated
about the tower of Las Infantas.

The lovely little minstrel was at length drawn forth from her retreat.
The rich and powerful of the land contended who should entertain and do
honour to her; or rather, who should secure the charms of her lute to
draw fashionable throngs to their saloons. Wherever she went her vigilant
aunt kept a dragon watch at her elbow, awing the throngs of impassioned
admirers who hung in raptures on her strains. The report of her wonderful
powers spread from city to city. Malaga, Seville, Cordova, all became
successively mad on the theme; nothing was talked of throughout Andalusia
but the beautiful minstrel of the Alhambra. How could it be otherwise
among a people so musical and gallant as the Andalusians, when the lute
was magical in its powers, and the minstrel inspired by love!

While all Andalusia was thus music mad, a different mood prevailed
at the court of Spain. Philip V., as is well known, was a miserable
hypochondriac, and subject to all kinds of fancies. Sometimes he would
keep to his bed for weeks together, groaning under imaginary complaints.
At other times he would insist upon abdicating his throne, to the great
annoyance of his royal spouse, who had a strong relish for the splendours
of a court and the glories of a crown, and guided the sceptre of her
imbecile lord with an expert and steady hand.

Nothing was found to be so efficacious in dispelling the royal megrims
as the power of music; the queen took care, therefore, to have the best
performers, both vocal and instrumental, at hand, and retained the famous
Italian singer Farinelli about the court as a kind of royal physician.

At the moment we treat of, however, a freak had come over the mind of this
sapient and illustrious Bourbon that surpassed all former vagaries. After
a long spell of imaginary illness, which set all the strains of Farinelli
and the consultations of a whole orchestra of court fiddlers at defiance,
the monarch fairly, in idea, gave up the ghost, and considered himself
absolutely dead.

This would have been harmless enough, and even convenient both to his
queen and courtiers, had he been content to remain in the quietude
befitting a dead man; but to their annoyance he insisted upon having
the funeral ceremonies performed over him, and, to their inexpressible
perplexity, began to grow impatient, and to revile bitterly at them for
negligence and disrespect, in leaving him unburied. What was to be done?
To disobey the king's positive commands was monstrous in the eyes of the
obsequious courtiers of a punctilious court--but to obey him, and bury
him alive would be downright regicide!

In the midst of this fearful dilemma a rumour reached the court of the
female minstrel who was turning the brains of all Andalusia. The queen
despatched missions in all haste to summon her to St. Ildefonso, where
the court at that time resided.

Within a few days, as the queen with her maids of honour was walking
in those stately gardens, intended, with their avenues and terraces and
fountains, to eclipse the glories of Versailles, the far-famed minstrel
was conducted into her presence. The imperial Elizabetta gazed with
surprise at the youthful and unpretending appearance of the little being
that had set the world madding. She was in her picturesque Andalusian
dress, her silver lute in hand, and stood with modest and downcast eyes,
but with a simplicity and freshness of beauty that still bespoke her "the
Rose of the Alhambra."

As usual she was accompanied by the ever-vigilant Fredegonda, who gave
the whole history of her parentage and descent to the inquiring queen. If
the stately Elizabetta had been interested by the appearance of Jacinta,
she was still more pleased when she learnt that she was of a meritorious
though impoverished line, and that her father had bravely fallen in the
service of the crown. "If thy powers equal thy renown," said she, "and
thou canst cast forth this evil spirit that possesses thy sovereign, thy
fortunes shall henceforth be my care, and honours and wealth attend thee."

Impatient to make trial of her skill, she led the way at once to the
apartment of the moody monarch.

Jacinta followed with downcast eyes through files of guards and crowds of
courtiers. They arrived at length at a great chamber hung with black. The
windows were closed to exclude the light of day: a number of yellow wax
tapers in silver sconces diffused a lugubrious light, and dimly revealed
the figures of mutes in mourning dresses, and courtiers who glided about
with noiseless step and woe-begone visage. In the midst of a funeral bed
or bier, his hands folded on his breast, and the tip of his nose just
visible, lay extended this would-be-buried monarch.

The queen entered the chamber in silence, and pointing to a footstool in
an obscure corner, beckoned to Jacinta to sit down and commence.

At first she touched her lute with a faltering hand, but gathering
confidence and animation as she proceeded, drew forth such soft aërial
harmony, that all present could scarce believe it mortal. As to the
monarch, who had already considered himself in the world of spirits,
he set it down for some angelic melody or the music of the sphere. By
degrees the theme was varied, and the voice of the minstrel accompanied
the instrument. She poured forth one of the legendary ballads treating of
the ancient glories of the Alhambra and the achievements of the Moors.
Her whole soul entered into the theme, for with the recollections of
the Alhambra was associated the story of her love. The funeral-chamber
resounded with the animating strain. It entered into the gloomy heart of
the monarch. He raised his head and gazed around: he sat up on his couch,
his eye began to kindle--at length, leaping upon the floor, he called for
sword and buckler.

The triumph of music, or rather of the enchanted lute, was complete; the
demon of melancholy was cast forth; and, as it were, a dead man brought
to life. The windows of the apartment were thrown open; the glorious
effulgence of Spanish sunshine burst into the late lugubrious chamber;
all eyes sought the lovely enchantress, but the lute had fallen from her
hand, she had sunk upon the earth, and the next moment was clasped to the
bosom of Ruyz de Alarcon.

The nuptials of the happy couple were celebrated soon afterwards with
great splendour, and "the Rose of the Alhambra" became the ornament and
delight of the court. "But hold--not so fast"--I hear the reader exclaim;
"this is jumping to the end of a story at a furious rate! First let
us know how Ruyz de Alarcon managed to account to Jacinta for his long
neglect?" Nothing more easy; the venerable, time-honoured excuse, the
opposition to his wishes by a proud, pragmatical old father: besides,
young people who really like one another soon come to an amicable
understanding, and bury all past grievances when once they meet.

But how was the proud, pragmatical old father reconciled to the match?

Oh! as to that, his scruples were easily overcome by a word or two from
the queen; especially as dignities and rewards were showered upon the
blooming favourite of royalty. Besides, the lute of Jacinta, you know,
possessed a magic power, and could control the most stubborn head and
hardest breast.

And what came of the enchanted lute?

Oh, that is the most curious matter of all, and plainly proves the truth
of the whole story. That lute remained for some time in the family, but
was purloined and carried off, as was supposed, by the great singer
Farinelli, in pure jealousy. At his death it passed into other hands
in Italy, who were ignorant of its mystic powers, and melting down the
silver, transferred the strings to an old Cremona fiddle. The strings
still retain something of their magic virtues. A word in the reader's
ear, but let it go no further: that fiddle is now bewitching the whole
world,--it is the fiddle of Paganini!




Among the curious acquaintances I made in my rambles about the fortress,
was a brave and battered old colonel of Invalids, who was nestled like
a hawk in one of the Moorish towers. His history, which he was fond of
telling, was a tissue of those adventures, mishaps, and vicissitudes that
render the life of almost every Spaniard of note as varied and whimsical
as the pages of Gil Blas.

He was in America at twelve years of age, and reckoned among the
most signal and fortunate events of his life, his having seen General
Washington. Since then he had taken a part in all the wars of his country;
he could speak experimentally of most of the prisons and dungeons of the
Peninsula; had been lamed of one leg, crippled in his hands, and so cut up
and carbonadoed that he was a kind of walking monument of the troubles of
Spain, on which there was a scar for every battle and broil, as every year
of captivity was notched upon the tree of Robinson Crusoe. The greatest
misfortune of the brave old cavalier, however, appeared to have been
his having commanded at Malaga during a time of peril and confusion, and
been made a general by the inhabitants, to protect them from the invasion
of the French. This had entailed upon him a number of just claims upon
government, that I feared would employ him until his dying day in writing
and printing petitions and memorials, to the great disquiet of his mind,
exhaustion of his purse, and penance of his friends; not one of whom
could visit him without having to listen to a mortal document of half an
hour in length, and to carry away half a dozen pamphlets in his pocket.
This, however, is the case throughout Spain; everywhere you meet with
some worthy wight brooding in a corner, and nursing up some pet grievance
and cherished wrong. Besides, a Spaniard who has a lawsuit, or a claim
upon government, may be considered as furnished with employment for the
remainder of his life.


I visited the veteran in his quarters in the upper part of the _Torre
del Vino_, or Wine Tower. His room was small but snug, and commanded a
beautiful view of the Vega. It was arranged with a soldier's precision.
Three muskets and a brace of pistols, all bright and shining, were
suspended against the wall, with a sabre and a cane hanging side by side,
and above them two cocked hats, one for parade, and one for ordinary use.
A small shelf, containing some half dozen books, formed his library, one
of which, a little old mouldy volume of philosophical maxims, was his
favourite reading. This he thumbed and pondered over day by day; applying
every maxim to his own particular case, provided it had a little tinge of
wholesome bitterness, and treated of the injustice of the world.


Yet he was social and kind-hearted, and, provided he could be diverted
from his wrongs and his philosophy, was an entertaining companion. I
like these old weather-beaten sons of fortune, and enjoy their rough
campaigning anecdotes. In the course of my visits to the one in question,
I learnt some curious facts about an old military commander of the
fortress, who seems to have resembled him in some respects, and to have
had similar fortunes in the wars. These particulars have been augmented
by inquiries among some of the old inhabitants of the place, particularly
the father of Mateo Ximenes, of whose traditional stories the worthy I am
about to introduce to the reader was a favourite hero.


  [Illustration: _A Beetling Bastion._]


In former times there ruled, as governor of the Alhambra, a doughty old
cavalier, who, from having lost one arm in the wars, was commonly known
by the name of _el Gobernador Manco_, or "the one-armed governor." He in
fact prided himself upon being an old soldier, wore his moustaches curled
up to his eyes, a pair of campaigning boots, and a toledo as long as a
spit, with his pocket-handkerchief in the basket-hilt.

He was, moreover, exceedingly proud and punctilious, and tenacious of
all his privileges and dignities. Under his sway the immunities of the
Alhambra, as a royal residence and domain, were rigidly exacted. No one
was permitted to enter the fortress with fire-arms, or even with a sword
or staff, unless he were of a certain rank; and every horseman was obliged
to dismount at the gate, and lead his horse by the bridle. Now as the
hill of the Alhambra rises from the very midst of the city of Granada,
being, as it were, an excrescence of the capital, it must at all times
be somewhat irksome to the captain-general, who commands the province, to
thus have an _imperium in imperio_, a petty independent post in the very
centre of his domains. It was rendered the more galling, in the present
instance, from the irritable jealousy of the old governor, that took fire
on the least question of authority and jurisdiction; and from the loose
vagrant character of the people who had gradually nestled themselves
within the fortress, as in a sanctuary, and thence carried on a system of
roguery and depredation at the expense of the honest inhabitants of the


Thus there was a perpetual feud and heart-burning between the
captain-general and the governor, the more virulent on the part of
the latter, inasmuch as the smallest of two neighbouring potentates is
always the most captious about his dignity. The stately palace of the
captain-general stood in the Plaza Nueva, immediately at the foot of the
hill of the Alhambra; and here was always a bustle and parade of guards,
and domestics, and city functionaries. A beetling bastion of the fortress
overlooked the palace and public square in front of it; and on this
bastion the old governor would occasionally strut backwards and forwards,
with his toledo girded by his side, keeping a wary eye down upon his
rival, like a hawk reconnoitring his quarry from his nest in a dry tree.

Whenever he descended into the city, it was in grand parade; on horseback,
surrounded by his guards; or in his state coach, an ancient and unwieldy
Spanish edifice of carved timber and gilt leather, drawn by eight mules,
with running footmen, outriders, and lackeys; on which occasions he
flattered himself he impressed every beholder with awe and admiration as
vicegerent of the king; though the wits of Granada, particularly those who
loitered about the palace of the captain-general, were apt to sneer at his
petty parade, and, in allusion to the vagrant character of his subjects,
to greet him with the appellation of "the king of the beggars." One of
the most fruitful sources of dispute between these two doughty rivals
was the right claimed by the governor to have all things passed free of
duty through the city that were intended for the use of himself or his
garrison. By degrees this privilege had given rise to extensive smuggling.
A nest of _contrabandistas_ took up their abode in the hovels of the
fortress and the numerous caves in its vicinity, and drove a thriving
business under the connivance of the soldiers of the garrison.

The vigilance of the captain-general was aroused. He consulted his
legal adviser and factotum, a shrewd meddlesome _escribano_, or notary,
who rejoiced in an opportunity of perplexing the old potentate of the
Alhambra, and involving him in a maze of legal subtleties. He advised
the captain-general to insist upon the right of examining every convoy
passing through the gates of his city, and penned a long letter for
him in vindication of the right. Governor Manco was a straightforward
cut-and-thrust old soldier, who hated an _escribano_ worse than the devil,
and this one in particular worse than all other _escribanos_.

"What!" said he, curling up his moustaches fiercely, "does the
captain-general set his man of the pen to practise confusions upon me?
I'll let him see an old soldier is not to be baffled by schoolcraft."

  [Illustration: _The Gate of Xenil._]

He seized his pen and scrawled a short letter in a crabbed hand, in
which, without deigning to enter into argument, he insisted on the right
of transit free of search, and denounced vengeance on any custom-house
officer who should lay his unhallowed hand on any convoy protected by the
flag of the Alhambra. While this question was agitated between the two
pragmatical potentates, it so happened that a mule laden with supplies
for the fortress arrived one day at the gate of Xenil, by which it was to
traverse a suburb of the city on its way to the Alhambra. The convoy was
headed by a testy old corporal, who had long served under the governor,
and was a man after his own heart; as rusty and staunch as an old toledo

As they approached the gate of the city, the corporal placed the banner
of the Alhambra on the pack-saddle of the mule, and drawing himself up
to a perfect perpendicular, advanced with his head dressed to the front,
but with the wary side-glance of a cur passing through hostile ground and
ready for a snap and a snarl.

"Who goes there?" said the sentinel at the gate.

"Soldier of the Alhambra!" said the corporal, without turning his head.

"What have you in charge?"

"Provisions for the garrison."


The corporal marched straight forward, followed by the convoy, but had not
advanced many paces before a posse of custom-house officers rushed out of
a small toll-house.

"Hallo there!" cried the leader. "Muleteer, halt, and open those packages."

The corporal wheeled round and drew himself up in battle array. "Respect
the flag of the Alhambra," said he; "these things are for the governor."

"A _figo_ for the governor and a _figo_ for his flag. Muleteer, halt, I

"Stop the convoy at your peril!" cried the corporal, cocking his musket.
"Muleteer, proceed."

The muleteer gave his beast a hearty thwack; the custom-house officer
sprang forward and seized the halter; whereupon the corporal levelled his
piece and shot him dead.

The street was immediately in an uproar.

The old corporal was seized, and after undergoing sundry kicks, and cuffs,
and cudgellings, which are generally given impromptu by the mob in Spain
as a foretaste of the after penalties of the law, he was loaded with irons
and conducted to the city prison, while his comrades were permitted to
proceed with the convoy, after it had been well rummaged, to the Alhambra.

The old governor was in a towering passion when he heard of this insult
to his flag and capture of his corporal. For a time he stormed about the
Moorish halls, and vapoured about the bastions, and looked down fire and
sword upon the palace of the captain-general. Having vented the first
ebullition of his wrath, he despatched a message demanding the surrender
of the corporal, as to him alone belonged the right of sitting in judgment
on the offences of those under his command. The captain-general, aided by
the pen of the delighted _escribano_, replied at great length, arguing,
that, as the offence had been committed within the walls of his city,
and against one of his civil officers, it was clearly within his proper
jurisdiction. The governor rejoined by a repetition of his demand; the
captain-general gave a sur-rejoinder of still greater length and legal
acumen; the governor became hotter and more peremptory in his demands, and
the captain-general cooler and more copious in his replies; until the old
lion-hearted soldier absolutely roared with fury at being thus entangled
in the meshes of legal controversy.

While the subtle _escribano_ was thus amusing himself at the expense of
the governor, he was conducting the trial of the corporal, who, mewed up
in a narrow dungeon of the prison, had merely a small grated window at
which to show his iron-bound visage and receive the consolations of his

A mountain of written testimony was diligently heaped up, according
to Spanish form, by the indefatigable _escribano_; the corporal was
completely overwhelmed by it. He was convicted of murder, and sentenced
to be hanged.

It was in vain the governor sent down remonstrance and menace from
the Alhambra. The fatal day was at hand, and the corporal was put _in
capilla_, that is to say, in the chapel of the prison, as is always done
with culprits the day before execution, that they may meditate on their
approaching end and repent them of their sins.

Seeing things drawing to extremity, the old governor determined to attend
to the affair in person. For this purpose he ordered out his carriage
of state, and, surrounded by his guards, rumbled down the avenue of
the Alhambra into the city. Driving to the house of the _escribano_, he
summoned him to the portal.

The eye of the old governor gleamed like a coal at beholding the smirking
man of the law advancing with an air of exultation.

"What is this I hear," cried he, "that you are about to put to death one
of my soldiers?"

"All according to law--all in strict form of justice," said the
self-sufficient _escribano_, chuckling and rubbing his hands; "I can show
your Excellency the written testimony in the case."

"Fetch it hither," said the governor. The _escribano_ bustled into his
office, delighted with having another opportunity of displaying his
ingenuity at the expense of the hard-headed veteran. He returned with
a satchel full of papers, and began to read a long deposition with
professional volubility. By this time a crowd had collected, listening
with outstretched necks and gaping mouths.

"Prithee, man, get into the carriage, out of this pestilent throng, that
I may the better hear thee," said the governor.

The _escribano_ entered the carriage, when, in a twinkling, the door was
closed, the coachman smacked his whip,--mules, carriage, guards, and all
dashed off at a thundering rate, leaving the crowd in gaping wonderment;
nor did the governor pause until he had lodged his prey in one of the
strongest dungeons of the Alhambra.

He then sent down a flag of truce in military style, proposing a cartel,
or exchange of prisoners,--the corporal for the notary. The pride of
the captain-general was piqued; he returned a contemptuous refusal, and
forthwith caused a gallows, tall and strong, to be erected in the centre
of the Plaza Nueva for the execution of the corporal.


"Oho! is that the game?" said Governor Manco. He gave orders, and
immediately a gibbet was reared on the verge of the great beetling
bastion that overlooked the Plaza. "Now," said he, in a message to the
captain-general, "hang my soldier when you please; but at the same time
that he is swung off in the square, look up to see your _escribano_
dangling against the sky."

The captain-general was inflexible; troops were paraded in the square;
the drums beat, the bell tolled. An immense multitude of amateurs gathered
together to behold the execution. On the other hand, the governor paraded
his garrison on the bastion, and tolled the funeral dirge of the notary
from the _Torre de la Campana_, or Tower of the Bell.

The notary's wife pressed through the crowd, with a whole progeny of
little embryo _escribanos_ at her heels, and throwing herself at the feet
of the captain-general, implored him not to sacrifice the life of her
husband, and the welfare of herself and her numerous little ones, to a
point of pride; "for you know the old governor too well," said she, "to
doubt that he will put his threat in execution, if you hang the soldier."

The captain-general was overpowered by her tears and lamentations, and the
clamours of her callow brood. The corporal was sent up to the Alhambra,
under a guard, in his gallows garb, like a hooded friar, but with head
erect and a face of iron. The _escribano_ was demanded in exchange,
according to the cartel. The once bustling and self-sufficient man of
the law was drawn forth from his dungeon more dead than alive. All his
flippancy and conceit had evaporated; his hair, it is said, had nearly
turned gray with affright, and he had a downcast, dogged look, as if he
still felt the halter round his neck.

The old governor stuck his one arm akimbo, and for a moment surveyed him
with an iron smile. "Henceforth, my friend," said he, "moderate your zeal
in hurrying others to the gallows; be not too certain of your safety, even
though you should have the law on your side; and above all, take care how
you play off your schoolcraft another time upon an old soldier."




While Governor Manco, or "the one-armed," kept up a show of military state
in the Alhambra, he became nettled at the reproaches continually cast upon
his fortress, of being a nestling-place of rogues and _contrabandistas_.
On a sudden, the old potentate determined on reform, and setting
vigorously to work, ejected whole nests of vagabonds out of the fortress
and the gipsy caves with which the surrounding hills are honeycombed. He
sent out soldiers, also, to patrol the avenues and footpaths, with orders
to take up all suspicious persons.

One bright summer morning a patrol, consisting of the testy old corporal
who had distinguished himself in the affair of the notary, a trumpeter,
and two privates, was seated under the garden-wall of the Generalife,
beside the road which leads down from the Mountain of the Sun, when they
heard the tramp of a horse, and a male voice singing in rough, though not
unmusical tones, an old Castilian campaigning-song.

Presently they beheld a sturdy, sunburnt fellow, clad in the ragged garb
of a foot-soldier, leading a powerful Arabian horse caparisoned in the
ancient Morisco fashion.

Astonished at the sight of a strange soldier descending, steed in hand,
from that solitary mountain, the corporal stepped forth and challenged

"Who goes there?"

"A friend."

"Who and what are you?"

"A poor soldier just from the wars, with a cracked crown and empty purse
for a reward."

By this time they were enabled to view him more narrowly. He had a black
patch across his forehead, which, with a grizzled beard, added to a
certain dare-devil cast of countenance, while a slight squint threw into
the whole an occasional gleam of roguish good-humour.

Having answered the questions of the patrol, the soldier seemed to
consider himself entitled to make others in return. "May I ask," said he,
"what city is that which I see at the foot of the hill?"

"What city!" cried the trumpeter; "come, that's too bad. Here's a fellow
lurking about the Mountain of the Sun, and demands the name of the great
city of Granada!"

"Granada! _Madre di Dios!_ can it be possible?"

"Perhaps not!" rejoined the trumpeter; "and perhaps you have no idea that
yonder are the towers of the Alhambra."

"Son of a trumpet," replied the stranger, "do not trifle with me; if
this be indeed the Alhambra, I have some strange matters to reveal to the

"You will have an opportunity," said the corporal, "for we mean to take
you before him." By this time the trumpeter had seized the bridle of
the steed, the two privates had each secured an arm of the soldier, the
corporal put himself in front, gave the word, "Forward--march!" and away
they marched for the Alhambra.

The sight of a ragged foot-soldier and a fine Arabian horse, brought
in captive by the patrol, attracted the attention of all the idlers of
the fortress, and of those gossip groups that generally assemble about
wells and fountains at early dawn. The wheel of the cistern paused in its
rotations, and the slip-shod servant-maid stood gaping, with pitcher in
hand, as the corporal passed by with his prize. A motley train gradually
gathered in the rear of the escort.

Knowing nods and winks and conjectures passed from one to another.
"It is a deserter," said one; "A _contrabandista_," said another; "A
_bandolero_," said a third;--until it was affirmed that a captain of a
desperate band of robbers had been captured by the prowess of the corporal
and his patrol. "Well, well," said the old crones, one to another,
"captain or not, let him get out of the grasp of old Governor Manco if he
can, though he is but one-handed."

Governor Manco was seated in one of the inner halls of the Alhambra,
taking his morning's cup of chocolate in company with his confessor,--a
fat Franciscan friar from the neighbouring convent. A demure, dark-eyed
damsel of Malaga, the daughter of his housekeeper, was attending upon
him. The world hinted that the damsel, who, with all her demureness was
a sly buxom baggage, had found out a soft spot in the iron heart of the
old governor, and held complete control over him. But let that pass--the
domestic affairs of these mighty potentates of the earth should not be
too narrowly scrutinised.

When word was brought that a suspicious stranger had been taken lurking
about the fortress, and was actually in the outer court, in durance of
the corporal, waiting the pleasure of his Excellency, the pride and
stateliness of office swelled the bosom of the governor. Giving back
his chocolate-cup into the hands of the demure damsel, he called for his
basket-hilted sword, girded it to his side, twirled up his moustaches,
took his seat in a large high-backed chair, assumed a bitter and
forbidding aspect, and ordered the prisoner into his presence. The soldier
was brought in, still closely pinioned by his captors, and guarded by
the corporal. He maintained, however, a resolute self-confident air, and
returned the sharp, scrutinising look of the governor with an easy squint,
which by no means pleased the punctilious old potentate.

"Well, culprit," said the governor, after he had regarded him for a moment
in silence, "what have you to say for yourself--who are you?"

"A soldier, just from the wars, who has brought away nothing but scars
and bruises."

"A soldier--humph--a foot-soldier by your garb. I understand you have a
fine Arabian horse. I presume you brought him too from the wars, besides
your scars and bruises."

"May it please your Excellency, I have something strange to tell about
that horse. Indeed I have one of the most wonderful things to relate.
Something too that concerns the security of this fortress, indeed of all
Granada. But it is a matter to be imparted only to your private ear, or
in presence of such only as are in your confidence."

The governor considered for a moment, and then directed the corporal and
his men to withdraw, but to post themselves outside of the door, and be
ready at a call. "This holy friar," said he, "is my confessor, you may say
anything in his presence;--and this damsel," nodding towards the handmaid,
who had loitered with an air of great curiosity, "this damsel is of great
secrecy and discretion, and to be trusted with anything."

The soldier gave a glance between a squint and a leer at the demure
handmaid. "I am perfectly willing," said he, "that the damsel should

When all the rest had withdrawn, the soldier commenced his story. He was
a fluent smooth-tongued varlet, and had a command of language above his
apparent rank.

"May it please your Excellency," said he, "I am, as I before observed, a
soldier, and have seen some hard service, but my term of enlistment being
expired, I was discharged, not long since, from the army at Valladolid,
and set out on foot for my native village in Andalusia. Yesterday evening
the sun went down as I was traversing a great dry plain of Old Castile."

"Hold!" cried the governor, "what is this you say? Old Castile is some
two or three hundred miles from this."

"Even so," replied the soldier, coolly. "I told your Excellency I
had strange things to relate; but not more strange than true, as your
Excellency will find, if you will deign me a patient hearing."

"Proceed, culprit," said the governor, twirling up his moustaches.

"As the sun went down," continued the soldier, "I cast my eyes about in
search of quarters for the night, but as far as my sight could reach there
were no signs of habitation. I saw that I should have to make my bed on
the naked plain, with my knapsack for a pillow; but your Excellency is
an old soldier, and knows that to one who has been in the wars, such a
night's lodging is no great hardship."

The governor nodded assent, as he drew his pocket-handkerchief out of the
basket-hilt to drive away a fly that buzzed about his nose.

"Well, to make a long story short," continued the soldier, "I trudged
forward for several miles until I came to a bridge over a deep ravine,
through which ran a little thread of water, almost dried up by the summer
heat. At one end of the bridge was a Moorish tower, the upper end all in
ruins, but a vault in the foundation quite entire. Here, thinks I, is a
good place to make a halt; so I went down to the stream, and took a hearty
drink, for the water was pure and sweet, and I was parched with thirst;
then, opening my wallet, I took out an onion and a few crusts, which were
all my provisions, and seating myself on a stone on the margin of the
stream, began to make my supper,--intending afterwards to quarter myself
for the night in the vault of the tower; and capital quarters they would
have been for a campaigner just from the wars, as your Excellency, who is
an old soldier, may suppose."

"I have put up gladly with worse in my time," said the governor, returning
his pocket-handkerchief into the hilt of his sword.

"While I was quietly crunching my crust," pursued the soldier, "I heard
something stir within the vault; I listened--it was the tramp of a horse.
By-and-by a man came forth from a door in the foundation of the tower,
close by the water's edge, leading a powerful horse by the bridle. I could
not well make out what he was, by the starlight. It had a suspicious look
to be lurking among the ruins of a tower, in that wild solitary place. He
might be a mere wayfarer, like myself; he might be a _contrabandista_; he
might be a _bandolero_! what of that? thank heaven and my poverty, I had
nothing to lose; so I sat still and crunched my crust.

"He led his horse to the water, close by where I was sitting, so that I
had a fair opportunity of reconnoitring him. To my surprise he was dressed
in a Moorish garb, with a cuirass of steel, and a polished skull-cap that
I distinguished by the reflection of the stars upon it. His horse, too,
was harnessed in the Morisco fashion, with great shovel stirrups. He led
him, as I said, to the side of the stream, into which the animal plunged
his head almost to the eyes, and drank until I thought he would have

"'Comrade,' said I, 'your steed drinks well; it's a good sign when a horse
plunges his muzzle bravely into the water.'

"'He may well drink,' said the stranger, speaking with a Moorish accent;
'it is a good year since he had his last draught.'

"'By _Santiago_,' said I, 'that beats even the camels I have seen in
Africa. But come, you seem to be something of a soldier, will you sit
down and take part of a soldier's fare?' In fact, I felt the want of a
companion in this lonely place, and was willing to put up with an infidel.
Besides, as your Excellency well knows, a soldier is never very particular
about the faith of his company, and soldiers of all countries are comrades
on peaceable ground."

The governor again nodded assent.

"Well, as I was saying, I invited him to share my supper, such as it
was, for I could not do less in common hospitality. 'I have no time to
pause for meat or drink,' said he, 'I have a long journey to make before

"'In what direction?' said I.

"'Andalusia,' said he.

"'Exactly my route,' said I; 'so, as you won't stop and eat with me,
perhaps you will let me mount and ride with you. I see your horse is of
a powerful frame; I'll warrant he'll carry double.'

"'Agreed,' said the trooper; and it would not have been civil and
soldierlike to refuse, especially as I had offered to share my supper with
him. So up he mounted, and up I mounted behind him.

"'Hold fast,' said he, 'my steed goes like the wind.'

"'Never fear me,' said I, and so off we set.

"From a walk the horse soon passed to a trot, from a trot to a gallop,
and from a gallop to a harum-scarum scamper. It seemed as if rocks, trees
houses, everything flew hurry-scurry behind us.

"'What town is this?' said I.

"'Segovia,' said he; and before the word was out of his mouth, the towers
of Segovia were out of sight. We swept up the Guadarama mountains, and
down by the Escurial; and we skirted the walls of Madrid, and we scoured
away across the plains of La Mancha. In this way we went up hill and
down dale, by towers and cities, all buried in deep sleep, and across
mountains, and plains, and rivers, just glimmering in the starlight.

"To make a long story short, and not to fatigue your Excellency, the
trooper suddenly pulled up on the side of a mountain. 'Here we are,'
said he, 'at the end of our journey.' I looked about, but could see no
signs of habitation; nothing but the mouth of a cavern. While I looked I
saw multitudes of people in Moorish dresses, some on horseback, some on
foot, arriving as if borne by the wind from all points of the compass,
and hurrying into the mouth of the cavern like bees into a hive. Before I
could ask a question, the trooper struck his long Moorish spurs into the
horse's flanks, and dashed in with the throng. We passed along a steep
winding way, that descended into the very bowels of the mountain. As we
pushed on, a light began to glimmer up, by little and little, like the
first glimmerings of day, but what caused it I could not discern. It grew
stronger and stronger, and enabled me to see everything around. I now
noticed, as we passed along, great caverns, opening to the right and left,
like halls in an arsenal. In some there were shields, and helmets, and
cuirasses, and lances, and cimeters, hanging against the walls; in others
there were great heaps of warlike munitions and camp-equipage lying upon
the ground.

"It would have done your Excellency's heart good, being an old soldier, to
have seen such grand provision for war. Then, in other caverns, there were
long rows of horsemen armed to the teeth, with lances raised and banners
unfurled, all ready for the field; but they all sat motionless in their
saddles, like so many statues. In other halls were warriors sleeping on
the ground beside their horses, and foot-soldiers in groups ready to fall
into the ranks. All were in old-fashioned Moorish dresses and armour.

"Well, your Excellency, to cut a long story short, we at length entered an
immense cavern, or I may say palace, of grotto-work, the walls of which
seemed to be veined with gold and silver, and to sparkle with diamonds
and sapphires and all kinds of precious stones. At the upper end sat
a Moorish king on a golden throne, with his nobles on each side, and a
guard of African blacks with drawn cimeters. All the crowd that continued
to flock in, and amounted to thousands and thousands, passed one by one
before his throne, each paying homage as he passed. Some of the multitude
were dressed in magnificent robes, without stain or blemish, and sparkling
with jewels, others in burnished and enamelled armour; while others were
in mouldered and mildewed garments, and in armour all battered and dented
and covered with rust.

"I had hitherto held my tongue, for your Excellency well knows it is not
for a soldier to ask many questions when on duty, but I could keep silent
no longer.

"'Prithee, comrade,' said I, 'what is the meaning of all this?'

"'This,' said the trooper, 'is a great and fearful mystery. Know, O
Christian, that you see before you the court and army of Boabdil the last
king of Granada.'

"'What is this you tell me?' cried I. 'Boabdil and his court were exiled
from the land hundreds of years agone, and all died in Africa.'

"'So it is recorded in your lying chronicles,' replied the Moor; 'but know
that Boabdil and the warriors who made the last struggle for Granada were
all shut up in the mountain by powerful enchantment. As for the king and
army that marched forth from Granada at the time of the surrender, they
were a mere phantom train of spirits and demons, permitted to assume those
shapes to deceive the Christian sovereigns. And furthermore let me tell
you, friend, that all Spain is a country under the power of enchantment.
There is not a mountain cave, not a lonely watch-tower in the plains,
nor ruined castle on the hills, but has some spellbound warrior, sleeping
from age to age within its vaults, until the sins are expiated for which
Allah permitted the dominion to pass for a time out of the hands of the
faithful. Once every year, on the eve of St. John, they are released from
enchantment, from sunset to sunrise, and permitted to repair here to pay
homage to their sovereign! and the crowds which you beheld swarming into
the cavern are Moslem warriors from their haunts in all parts of Spain.
For my own part, you saw the ruined tower of the bridge in Old Castile,
where I have now wintered and summered for many hundred years, and where
I must be back again by daybreak. As to the battalions of horse and foot
which you beheld drawn up in array in the neighbouring caverns, they
are the spellbound warriors of Granada. It is written in the book of
fate, that when the enchantment is broken, Boabdil will descend from the
mountain at the head of this army, resume his throne in the Alhambra and
his sway of Granada, and gathering together the enchanted warriors from
all parts of Spain, will re-conquer the Peninsula and restore it to Moslem

"'And when shall this happen?' said I.

"'Allah alone knows: we had hoped the day of deliverance was at hand; but
there reigns at present a vigilant governor in the Alhambra, a stanch old
soldier, well known as Governor Manco. While such a warrior holds command
of the very outpost, and stands ready to check the first irruption from
the mountain, I fear Boabdil and his soldiery must be content to rest upon
their arms.'"

Here the governor raised himself somewhat perpendicularly, adjusted his
sword, and twirled up his moustaches.

"To make a long story short, and not to fatigue your Excellency, the
trooper, having given me this account, dismounted from his steed.

"'Tarry here,' said he, 'and guard my steed while I go and bow the knee to
Boabdil.' So saying, he strode away among the throng that pressed forward
to the throne.

"'What's to be done?' thought I, when thus left to myself, 'shall I wait
here until this infidel returns to whisk me off on his goblin steed, the
Lord knows where; or shall I make the most of my time and beat a retreat
from this hobgoblin community?' A soldier's mind is soon made up, as your
Excellency well knows. As to the horse, he belonged to an avowed enemy
of the faith and the realm, and was a fair prize according to the rules
of war. So hoisting myself from the crupper into the saddle, I turned
the reins, struck the Moorish stirrups into the sides of the steed, and
put him to make the best of his way out of the passage by which he had
entered. As we scoured by the halls where the Moslem horsemen sat in
motionless battalions, I thought I heard the clang of armour and a hollow
murmur of voices. I gave the steed another taste of the stirrups and
doubled my speed. There was now a sound behind me like a rushing blast;
I heard the clatter of a thousand hoofs; a countless throng overtook me.
I was borne along in the press, and hurled forth from the mouth of the
cavern, while thousands of shadowy forms were swept off in every direction
by the four winds of heaven.

"In the whirl and confusion of the scene I was thrown senseless to the
earth. When I came to myself, I was lying on the brow of a hill, with
the Arabian steed standing beside me; for in falling, my arm had slipped
within the bridle, which, I presume, prevented his whisking off to Old

"Your Excellency may easily judge of my surprise, on looking round, to
behold hedges of aloes and Indian figs and other proofs of a southern
climate, and to see a great city below me, with towers, and palaces, and
a grand cathedral.

"I descended the hill cautiously, leading my steed, for I was afraid
to mount him again, lest he should play me some slippery trick. As I
descended I met with your patrol, who let me into the secret that it was
Granada that lay before me, and that I was actually under the walls of the
Alhambra, the fortress of the redoubted Governor Manco, the terror of all
enchanted Moslems. When I heard this, I determined at once to seek your
Excellency, to inform you of all that I had seen, and to warn you of the
perils that surround and undermine you, that you may take measures in time
to guard your fortress, and the kingdom itself, from this intestine army
that lurks in the very bowels of the land."

"And prithee, friend, you who are a veteran campaigner, and have seen so
much service," said the governor, "how would you advise me to proceed, in
order to prevent this evil?"

"It is not for a humble private of the ranks," said the soldier, modestly,
"to pretend to instruct a commander of your Excellency's sagacity, but it
appears to me that your Excellency might cause all the caves and entrances
into the mountains to be walled up with solid mason-work, so that
Boabdil and his army might be completely corked up in their subterranean
habitation. If the good father, too," added the soldier, reverently
bowing to the friar, and devoutly crossing himself, "would consecrate the
_barricados_ with his blessing, and put up a few crosses and relics and
images of saints, I think they might withstand all the power of infidel

"They doubtless would be of great avail," said the friar.

The governor now placed his arm akimbo, with his hand resting on the hilt
of his toledo, fixed his eye upon the soldier, and gently wagging his head
from one side to the other,--

"So, friend," said he, "then you really suppose I am to be gulled with
this cock-and-bull story about enchanted mountains and enchanted Moors?
Hark ye, culprit!--not another word. An old soldier you may be, but
you'll find you have an older soldier to deal with, and one not easily
outgeneralled. Ho! guards there! put this fellow in irons."

The demure handmaid would have put in a word in favour of the prisoner,
but the governor silenced her with a look.

As they were pinioning the soldier, one of the guards felt something of
bulk in his pocket, and drawing it forth, found a long leathern purse that
appeared to be well filled. Holding it by one corner, he turned out the
contents upon the table before the governor, and never did freebooter's
bag make more gorgeous delivery. Out tumbled rings, and jewels, and
rosaries of pearls, and sparkling diamond crosses, and a profusion of
ancient golden coin, some of which fell jingling to the floor, and rolled
away to the uttermost parts of the chamber.

For a time the functions of justice were suspended; there was a universal
scramble after the glittering fugitives. The governor alone, who was
imbued with true Spanish pride, maintained his stately decorum, though his
eye betrayed a little anxiety until the last coin and jewel was restored
to the sack.

The friar was not so calm; his whole face glowed like a furnace, and his
eyes twinkled and flashed at sight of the rosaries and crosses.

"Sacrilegious wretch that thou art!" exclaimed he; "what church or
sanctuary hast thou been plundering of these sacred relics?"

"Neither one nor the other, holy father. If they be sacrilegious spoils,
they must have been taken, in times long past, by the infidel trooper
I have mentioned. I was just going to tell his Excellency when he
interrupted me, that, on taking possession of the trooper's horse, I
unhooked a leathern sack which hung at the saddle-bow, and which I presume
contained the plunder of his campaignings in days of old, when the Moors
overran the country."

"Mighty well; at present you will make up your mind to take up your
quarters in a chamber of the Vermilion Tower, which, though not under a
magic spell, will hold you as safe as any cave of your enchanted Moors."

"Your Excellency will do as you think proper," said the prisoner, coolly.
"I shall be thankful to your Excellency for any accommodation in the
fortress. A soldier who has been in the wars, as your Excellency well
knows, is not particular about his lodgings. Provided I have a snug
dungeon and regular rations, I shall manage to make myself comfortable.
I would only entreat that while your Excellency is so careful about me,
you would have an eye to your fortress, and think on the hint I dropped
about stopping up the entrances to the mountain."

Here ended the scene. The prisoner was conducted to a strong dungeon in
the Vermilion Tower, the Arabian steed was led to his Excellency's stable,
and the trooper's sack was deposited in his Excellency's strong box. To
the latter, it is true--the friar made some demur, questioning whether
the sacred relics, which were evidently sacrilegious spoils, should not
be placed in custody of the church; but as the governor was peremptory on
the subject, and was absolute lord in the Alhambra, the friar discreetly
dropped the discussion, but determined to convey intelligence of the fact
to the church dignitaries in Granada.

To explain these prompt and rigid measures on the part of old Governor
Manco, it is proper to observe, that about this time the Alpuxarra
mountains in the neighbourhood of Granada were terribly infested by a gang
of robbers, under the command of a daring chief named Manuel Borasco,
who were accustomed to prowl about the country, and even to enter the
city in various disguises, to gain intelligence of the departure of
convoys of merchandise, or travellers with well-lined purses, whom they
took care to waylay in distant and solitary passes of the road. These
repeated and daring outrages had awakened the attention of government,
and the commanders of the various posts had received instructions to be
on the alert, and to take up all suspicious stragglers. Governor Manco
was particularly zealous in consequence of the various stigmas that had
been cast upon his fortress, and he now doubted not he had entrapped some
formidable desperado of this gang.

In the meantime the story took wind, and became the talk not merely of
the fortress, but of the whole city of Granada. It was said that the
noted robber Manuel Borasco, the terror of the Alpuxarras, had fallen
into the clutches of old Governor Manco, and been cooped up by him in a
dungeon of the Vermilion Tower; and every one who had been robbed by him
flocked to recognize the marauder. The Vermilion Tower, as is well known,
stands apart from the Alhambra on a sister hill, separated from the main
fortress by the ravine down which passes the main avenue. There were no
outer walls, but a sentinel patrolled before the tower. The window of
the chamber in which the soldier was confined was strongly grated, and
looked upon a small esplanade. Here the good folks of Granada repaired to
gaze at him, as they would at a laughing hyena, grinning through the cage
of a menagerie. Nobody, however, recognized him for Manuel Borasco, for
that terrible robber was noted for a ferocious physiognomy, and had by no
means the good-humoured squint of the prisoner. Visitors came not merely
from the city, but from all parts of the country; but nobody knew him,
and there began to be doubts in the minds of the common people whether
there might not be some truth in his story. That Boabdil and his army were
shut up in the mountain, was an old tradition which many of the ancient
inhabitants had heard from their fathers. Numbers went up to the Mountain
of the Sun, or rather of St. Elena, in search of the cave mentioned by
the soldier; and saw and peeped into the deep dark pit, descending, no one
knows how far, into the mountain, and which remains there to this day--the
fabled entrance to the subterranean abode of Boabdil.

By degrees the soldier became popular with the common people. A freebooter
of the mountains is by no means the opprobrious character in Spain that a
robber is in any other country, on the contrary he is a kind of chivalrous
personage in the eyes of the lower classes. There is always a disposition,
also, to cavil at the conduct of those in command; and many began to
murmur at the high-handed measures of old Governor Manco, and to look upon
the prisoner in the light of a martyr.

The soldier, moreover, was a merry, waggish fellow, that had a joke for
every one who came near his window, and a soft speech for every female.
He had procured an old guitar also, and would sit by his window and sing
ballads and love-ditties to the delight of the women of the neighbourhood,
who would assemble on the esplanade in the evening and dance boleros to
his music. Having trimmed off his rough beard, his sunburnt face found
favour in the eyes of the fair, and the demure handmaid of the governor
declared that his squint was perfectly irresistible. This kind-hearted
damsel had from the first evinced a deep sympathy in his fortunes, and
having in vain tried to mollify the governor, had set to work privately
to mitigate the rigour of his dispensations. Every day she brought the
prisoner some crumbs of comfort which had fallen from the governor's
table, or been abstracted from his larder, together with, now and then,
a consoling bottle of choice _Val de Peñas_, or rich Malaga.

While this petty treason was going on in the very centre of the old
governor's citadel, a storm of open war was brewing up among his
external foes. The circumstance of a bag of gold and jewels having been
found upon the person of the supposed robber, had been reported, with
many exaggerations, in Granada. A question of territorial jurisdiction
was immediately started by the governor's inveterate rival, the
captain-general. He insisted that the prisoner had been captured without
the precincts of the Alhambra, and within the rules of his authority.
He demanded his body therefore, and the _spolia opima_ taken with him.
Due information having been carried likewise by the friar to the grand
inquisitor of the crosses and rosaries, and other relics contained in
the bag, he claimed the culprit as having been guilty of sacrilege, and
insisted that his plunder was due to the church, and his body to the
next _auto-da-fe_. The feuds ran high; the governor was furious, and
swore, rather than surrender his captive, he would hang him up within the
Alhambra, as a spy caught within the purlieus of the fortress.

The captain-general threatened to send a body of soldiers to transfer
the prisoner from the Vermilion Tower to the city. The grand inquisitor
was equally bent upon despatching a number of the familiars of the
Holy Office. Word was brought late at night to the governor of these
machinations. "Let them come," said he, "they'll find me beforehand with
them; he must rise bright and early who would take in an old soldier." He
accordingly issued orders to have the prisoner removed, at daybreak, to
the donjon-keep within the walls of the Alhambra. "And d'ye hear, child,"
said he to his demure handmaid, "tap at my door, and wake me before
cock-crowing, that I may see to the matter myself."

The day dawned, the cock crowed, but nobody tapped at the door of the
governor. The sun rose high above the mountain-tops, and glittered in at
his casement, ere the governor was awakened from his morning dreams by his
veteran corporal, who stood before him with terror stamped upon his iron

"He's off! he's gone!" cried the corporal, gasping for breath.

"Who's off--who's gone?"

"The soldier--the robber--the devil, for aught I know; his dungeon is
empty, but the door locked: no one knows how he has escaped out of it."

"Who saw him last?"

"Your handmaid; she brought him his supper."

"Let her be called instantly."

Here was new matter of confusion. The chamber of the demure damsel was
likewise empty, her bed had not been slept in: she had doubtless gone
off with the culprit, as she had appeared, for some days past, to have
frequent conversations with him.

This was wounding the old governor in a tender part, but he had scarce
time to wince at it, when new misfortune broke upon his view. On going
into his cabinet he found his strong box open, the leather purse of the
trooper abstracted and with it a couple of corpulent bags of doubloons.

But how, and which way had the fugitives escaped? An old peasant who lived
in a cottage by the road-side leading up into the Sierra, declared that
he had heard the tramp of a powerful steed just before daybreak, passing
up into the mountains. He had looked out at his casement, and could just
distinguish a horseman, with a female seated before him.

"Search the stables!" cried Governor Manco. The stables were searched;
all the horses were in their stalls, excepting the Arabian steed. In his
place was a stout cudgel, tied to the manger, and on it a label bearing
these words, "A Gift to Governor Manco, from an Old Soldier."

  [Illustration: _The Mosque._]



The Saint's day of my neighbour and rival potentate, the count, took place
during his sojourn in the Alhambra, on which occasion he gave a domestic
_fête_; assembling round him the members of his family and household,
while the stewards and old servants from his distant possessions came
to pay him reverence and partake of the good cheer which was sure to
be provided. It presented a type, though doubtless a faint one, of the
establishment of a Spanish noble in the olden time.

The Spaniards were always grandiose in their notions of style. Huge
palaces; lumbering equipages, laden with footmen and lackeys; pompous
retinues, and useless dependents of all kinds; the dignity of a noble
seemed commensurate with the legions who loitered about his halls, fed
at his expense, and seemed ready to devour him alive. This, doubtless,
originated in the necessity of keeping up hosts of armed retainers during
the wars with the Moors; wars of inroads and surprises; when a noble was
liable to be suddenly assailed in his castle by a foray of the enemy, or
summoned to the field by his sovereign.

The custom remained after the wars were at an end; and what originated
in necessity was kept up through ostentation. The wealth which flowed
into the country from conquests and discoveries fostered the passion for
princely establishments. According to magnificent old Spanish usage, in
which pride and generosity bore equal parts, a superannuated servant was
never turned off, but became a charge for the rest of his days; nay, his
children, and his children's children, and often their relatives to the
right and left, became gradually entailed upon the family. Hence the
huge palaces of the Spanish nobility, which have such an air of empty
ostentation from the greatness of their size compared with the mediocrity
and scantiness of their furniture, were absolutely required, in the golden
days of Spain, by the patriarchal habits of their possessors. They were
little better than vast barracks for their hereditary generations of
hangers-on that battened at the expense of a Spanish noble.

These patriarchal habits of the Spanish nobility have declined with their
revenues; though the spirit which prompted them remains, and wars sadly
with their altered fortunes. The poorest among them have always some
hereditary hangers-on, who live at their expense, and make them poorer.
Some who, like my neighbour the count, retain a modicum of their once
princely possessions, keep up a shadow of the ancient system, and their
estates are overrun and the produce consumed by generations of idle

The count held estates in various parts of the kingdom, some including
whole villages; yet the revenues collected from them were comparatively
small; some of them, he assured me barely fed the hordes of dependents
nestled upon them, who seemed to consider themselves entitled to live
rent-free and be maintained into the bargain, because their forefathers
had been so since time immemorial.

The saint's day of the old count gave me a glimpse into a Spanish
interior. For two or three days previous preparations were made for
the _fête_. Viands of all kinds were brought up from town, greeting
the olfactory nerves of the old invalid guards, as they were borne past
them through the Gate of Justice. Servants hurried officiously about the
courts; the ancient kitchen of the palace was again alive with the tread
of cooks and scullions, and blazed with unwonted fires.

When the day arrived I beheld the old count in patriarchal state, his
family and household around him, with functionaries who mismanaged his
estates at a distance and consumed the proceeds; while numerous old
worn-out servants and pensioners were loitering about the courts and
keeping within smell of the kitchen.

It was a joyous day in the Alhambra. The guests dispersed themselves about
the palace before the hour of dinner, enjoying the luxuries of its courts
and fountains, and embosomed gardens, and music and laughter resounded
through its late silent halls.

The feast, for a set dinner in Spain is literally a feast, was served in
the beautiful _Morisco_ Hall of "_Las dos Hermanas_." The table was loaded
with all the luxuries of the season: there was an almost interminable
succession of dishes; showing how truly the feast at the rich Camachos'
wedding in "Don Quixote" was a picture of a Spanish banquet. A joyous
conviviality prevailed round the board; for though Spaniards are generally
abstemious, they are complete revellers on occasions like the present,
and none more so than the Andalusians. For my part, there was something
peculiarly exciting in thus sitting at a feast in the royal halls of the
Alhambra, given by one who might claim remote affinity with its Moorish
kings, and who was a lineal representative of Gonsalvo of Cordova, one of
the most distinguished of the Christian conquerors.

The banquet ended, the company adjourned to the Hall of Ambassadors. Here
every one endeavoured to contribute to the general amusement, singing,
improvising, telling wonderful tales, or dancing popular dances to that
all-pervading talisman of Spanish pleasure, the guitar.

The count's gifted little daughter was as usual the life and delight
of the assemblage, and I was more than ever struck with her aptness and
wonderful versatility. She took a part in two or three scenes of elegant
comedy with some of her companions, and performed them with exquisite
point and finished grace; she gave imitations of the popular Italian
singers, some serious, some comic, with a rare quality of voice, and, I
was assured, with singular fidelity; she imitated the dialects, dances,
ballads, and movements and manners of the gypsies and the peasants of the
Vega with equal felicity; but everything was done with an all-pervading
grace and a ladylike tact perfectly fascinating.

The great charm of everything she did was its freedom from pretension
or ambitious display, its happy spontaneity. Everything sprang from the
impulse of the moment; or was in prompt compliance with a request. She
seemed unconscious of the rarity and extent of her own talent, and was
like a child at home revelling in the buoyancy of its own gay and innocent
spirits. Indeed I was told she had never exerted her talents in general
society, but only, as at present, in the domestic circle.

Her faculty of observation and her perception of character must have been
remarkably quick, for she could have had only casual and transient glances
at the scenes, manners, and customs depicted with such truth and spirit.
"Indeed it is a caluntnio wonder to us," said the countess, "where the
child [_la Niña_] has picked up these things, her life being passed almost
entirely at home, in the bosom of the family."

Evening approached; twilight began to throw its shadows about the halls,
and the bats to steal forth from their lurking-place and flit about. A
notion seized the little damsel and some of her youthful companions, to
set out, under the guidance of Dolores, and explore the less frequented
parts of the palace in quest of mysteries and enchantments. Thus
conducted, they peeped fearfully into the gloomy old mosque, but quickly
drew back on being told that a Moorish king had been murdered there; they
ventured into the mysterious regions of the bath, frightening themselves
with the sounds and murmurs of hidden aqueducts, and flying with mock
panic at the alarm of phantom Moors. They then undertook the adventure of
the Iron Gate, a place of baleful note in the Alhambra. It is a postern
gate, opening into a dark ravine; a narrow covered way leads down to it,
which used to be the terror of Dolores and her playmates in childhood, as
it was said a hand without a body would sometimes be stretched out from
the wall and seize hold of the passers-by.

The little party of enchantment-hunters ventured to the entrance of
the covered way, but nothing would tempt them to enter, in this hour of
gathering gloom; they dreaded the grasp of the phantom arm.

At length they came running back into the Hall of Ambassadors in a mock
paroxysm of terror: they had positively seen two spectral figures all in
white. They had not stopped to examine them; but could not be mistaken,
for they glared distinctly through the surrounding gloom. Dolores soon
arrived and explained the mystery. The spectres proved to be two statues
of nymphs in white marble, placed at the entrance of a vaulted passage.
Upon this a grave, but, as I thought, somewhat sly old gentleman present,
who, I believe, was the count's advocate or legal adviser, assured them
that these statues were connected with one of the greatest mysteries
of the Alhambra; that there was a curious history concerning them, and,
moreover, that they stood a living monument in marble of female secrecy
and discretion. All present entreated him to tell the history of the
statues. He took a little time to recollect the details, and then gave
them in substance the following legend.




There lived once in a waste apartment of the Alhambra a merry little
fellow, named Lope Sanchez, who worked in the gardens, and was as brisk
and as blithe as a grasshopper, singing all day long. He was the life and
soul of the fortress; when his work was over, he would sit on one of the
stone benches of the esplanade, strum his guitar, and sing long ditties
about the Cid, and Bernardo del Carpio, and Fernando del Pulgar, and other
Spanish heroes, for the amusement of the old soldiers of the fortress; or
would strike up a merrier tune, and set the girls dancing _boleros_ and

Like most little men, Lope Sanchez had a strapping buxom dame for a wife,
who could almost have put him in her pocket; but he lacked the usual poor
man's lot--instead of ten children he had but one. This was a little
black-eyed girl about twelve years of age, named Sanchica, who was as
merry as himself, and the delight of his heart. She played about him as he
worked in the gardens, danced to his guitar as he sat in the shade, and
ran as wild as a young fawn about the groves and alleys and ruined halls
of the Alhambra.

It was now the eve of the blessed St. John, and the holiday-loving
gossips of the Alhambra, men, women, and children, went up at night to
the Mountain of the Sun, which rises above the Generalife, to keep their
midsummer vigil on its level summit. It was a bright moonlight night, and
all the mountains were gray and silvery, and the city, with its domes and
spires, lay in shadows below, and the Vega was like a fairy land, with
haunted streams gleaming among its dusky groves. On the highest part of
the mountain they lit up a bonfire, according to an old custom of the
country handed down from the Moors. The inhabitants of the surrounding
country were keeping a similar vigil, and bonfires, here and there in
the Vega, and along the folds of the mountains, blazed up palely in the

The evening was gayly passed in dancing to the guitar of Lope Sanchez,
who was never so joyous as when on a holiday revel of the kind. While
the dance was going on, the little Sanchica with some of her playmates
sported among the ruins of an old Moorish fort that crowns the mountain,
when, in gathering pebbles in the fosse, she found a small hand curiously
carved of jet, the fingers closed, and the thumb firmly clasped upon
them. Overjoyed with her good fortune, she ran to her mother with her
prize. It immediately became a subject of sage speculation, and was eyed
by some with superstitious distrust. "Throw it away," said one; "it's
Moorish,--depend upon it, there's mischief and witchcraft in it." "By no
means," said another; "you may sell it for something to the jewellers of
the Zacatin." In the midst of this discussion an old tawny soldier drew
near, who had served in Africa, and was as swarthy as a Moor. He examined
the hand with a knowing look. "I have seen things of this kind," said he,
"among the Moors of Barbary. It is a great virtue to guard against the
evil eye, and all kinds of spells and enchantments. I give you joy, friend
Lope, this bodes good luck to your child."

Upon hearing this, the wife of Lope Sanchez tied the little hand of jet
to a ribbon, and hung it round the neck of her daughter.

The sight of this talisman called up all the favourite superstitions
about the Moors. The dance was neglected, and they sat in groups on the
ground, telling old legendary tales handed down from their ancestors.
Some of their stories turned upon the wonders of the very mountain upon
which they were seated, which is a famous hobgoblin region. One ancient
crone gave a long account of the subterranean palace in the bowels of
that mountain where Boabdil and all his Moslem court are said to remain
enchanted. "Among yonder ruins," said she, pointing to some crumbling
walls and mounds of earth on a distant part of the mountain, "there is a
deep-black pit that goes down, down into the very heart of the mountain.
For all the money in Granada I would not look down into it. Once upon
a time a poor man of the Alhambra, who tended goats upon this mountain,
scrambled down into that pit after a kid that had fallen in. He came out
again all wild and staring, and told such things of what he had seen, that
every one thought his brain was turned. He raved for a day or two about
the hobgoblin Moors that had pursued him in the cavern, and could hardly
be persuaded to drive his goats up again to the mountain. He did so at
last, but, poor man, he never came down again. The neighbours found his
goats browsing about the Moorish ruins, and his hat and mantle lying near
the mouth of the pit, but he was never more heard of."

The little Sanchica listened with breathless attention to this story. She
was of a curious nature, and felt immediately a great hankering to peep
into this dangerous pit. Stealing away from her companions, she sought
the distant ruins, and, after groping for some time among them, came to
a small hollow, or basin, near the brow of the mountain, where it swept
steeply down into the valley of the Darro. In the centre of this basin
yawned the mouth of the pit. Sanchica ventured to the verge, and peeped
in. All was as black as pitch, and gave an idea of immeasurable depth. Her
blood ran cold; she drew back, then peeped in again, then would have run
away, then took another peep,--the very horror of the thing was delightful
to her. At length she rolled a large stone, and pushed it over the brink.
For some time it fell in silence; then struck some rocky projection with
a violent crash; then rebounded from side to side, rumbling and tumbling,
with a noise like thunder; then made a final splash into water, far, far
below,--and all was again silent.

The silence, however, did not long continue. It seemed as if something
had been awakened within this dreary abyss. A murmuring sound gradually
rose out of the pit like the hum and buzz of a beehive. It grew louder
and louder, there was the confusion of voices as of a distant multitude,
together with the faint din of arms, clash of cymbals and clangor of
trumpets, as if some army were marshalling for battle in the very bowels
of the mountain.

The child drew off with silent awe, and hastened back to the place
where she had left her parents and their companions. All were gone. The
bonfire was expiring, and its last wreath of smoke curling up in the
moonshine. The distant fires that had blazed along the mountains and in
the Vega were all extinguished, and everything seemed to have sunk to
repose. Sanchica called her parents and some of her companions by name,
but received no reply. She ran down the side of the mountain, and by the
gardens of the Generalife, until she arrived in the alley of trees leading
to the Alhambra, when she seated herself on a bench of a woody recess,
to recover breath. The bell from the watch-tower of the Alhambra tolled
midnight. There was a deep tranquillity as if all nature slept; excepting
the low tinkling sound of an unseen stream that ran under the covert of
the bushes. The breathing sweetness of the atmosphere was lulling her to
sleep, when her eye was caught by something glittering at a distance, and
to her surprise she beheld a long cavalcade of Moorish warriors pouring
down the mountain-side and along the leafy avenues. Some were armed
with lances and shields; others, with cimeters and battle-axes, and with
polished cuirasses that flashed in the moonbeams. Their horses pranced
proudly and champed upon their bits, but their tramp caused no more sound
than if they had been shod with felt, and the riders were all as pale as
death. Among them rode a beautiful lady, with a crowned head and long
golden locks entwined with pearls. The housings of her palfrey were of
crimson velvet embroidered with gold, and swept the earth; but she rode
all disconsolate, with her eyes ever fixed upon the ground.

Then succeeded a train of courtiers magnificently arrayed in robes and
turbans of divers colours, and amidst them, on a cream-coloured charger,
rode king Boabdil el Chico, in a royal mantle covered with jewels, and a
crown sparkling with diamonds. The little Sanchica knew him by his yellow
beard, and his resemblance to his portrait, which she had often seen in
the picture-gallery of the Generalife. She gazed in wonder and admiration
at this royal pageant, as it passed glistening among the trees; but
though she knew these monarchs and courtiers and warriors, so pale and
silent, were out of the common course of nature, and things of magic and
enchantment, yet she looked on with a bold heart, such courage did she
derive from the mystic talisman of the hand, which was suspended about
her neck.

The cavalcade having passed by, she rose and followed. It continued on
to the great Gate of Justice, which stood wide open; the old invalid
sentinels on duty lay on the stone benches of the barbican, buried in
profound and apparently charmed sleep, and the phantom pageant swept
noiselessly by them with flaunting banner and triumphant state. Sanchica
would have followed; but to her surprise she beheld an opening in the
earth, within the barbican, leading down beneath the foundations of the
tower. She entered for a little distance, and was encouraged to proceed
by finding steps rudely hewn in the rock, and a vaulted passage here
and there lit up by a silver lamp, which, while it gave light, diffused
likewise a grateful fragrance. Venturing on, she came at last to a great
hall, wrought out of the heart of the mountain, magnificently furnished
in the Moorish style, and lighted up by silver and crystal lamps. Here,
on an ottoman, sat an old man in Moorish dress, with a long white beard,
nodding and dozing, with a staff in his hand, which seemed ever to be
slipping from his grasp; while at a little distance sat a beautiful lady,
in ancient Spanish dress, with a coronet all sparkling with diamonds,
and her hair entwined with pearls, who was softly playing on a silver
lyre. The little Sanchica now recollected a story she had heard among the
old people of the Alhambra, concerning a Gothic princess confined in the
centre of the mountain by an old Arabian magician, whom she kept bound up
in magic sleep by the power of music.

The lady paused with surprise at seeing a mortal in that enchanted hall.
"Is it the eve of the blessed St. John?" said she.

"It is," replied Sanchica.

"Then for one night the magic charm is suspended. Come hither, child, and
fear not. I am a Christian like thyself, though bound here by enchantment.
Touch my fetters with the talisman that hangs about thy neck, and for this
night I shall be free."

So saying, she opened her robes and displayed a broad golden band round
her waist, and a golden chain that fastened her to the ground. The child
hesitated not to apply the little hand of jet to the golden band, and
immediately the chain fell to the earth. At the sound the old man woke
and began to rub his eyes; but the lady ran her fingers over the chords
of the lyre, and again he fell into a slumber and began to nod, and his
staff to falter in his hand. "Now," said the lady, "touch his staff with
the talismanic hand of jet." The child did so, and it fell from his grasp,
and he sank in a deep sleep on the ottoman. The lady gently laid the
silver lyre on the ottoman, leaning it against the head of the sleeping
magician; then touching the chords until they vibrated in his ear,--"O
potent spirit of harmony," said she, "continue thus to hold his senses in
thraldom till the return of day. Now follow me, my child," continued she,
"and thou shalt behold the Alhambra as it was in the days of its glory,
for thou hast a magic talisman that reveals all enchantments." Sanchica
followed the lady in silence. They passed up through the entrance of the
cavern into the barbican of the Gate of Justice, and thence to the _Plaza
de los Algibes_, or esplanade within the fortress.

This was all filled with Moorish soldiery, horse and foot, marshalled
in squadrons, with banners displayed. There were royal guards also
at the portal, and rows of African blacks with drawn cimeters. No one
spoke a word, and Sanchica passed on fearlessly after her conductor. Her
astonishment increased on entering the royal palace, in which she had been
reared. The broad moonshine lit up all the halls and courts and gardens
almost as brightly as if it were day, but revealed a far different scene
from that to which she was accustomed. The walls of the apartments were
no longer stained and rent by time. Instead of cobwebs, they were now hung
with rich silks of Damascus, and the gildings and arabesque paintings were
restored to their original brilliancy and freshness. The halls, no longer
naked and unfurnished, were set out with divans and ottomans of the rarest
stuffs, embroidered with pearls and studded with precious gems, and all
the fountains in the courts and gardens were playing.

The kitchens were again in full operation: cooks were busy preparing
shadowy dishes, and roasting and boiling the phantoms of pullets and
partridges; servants were hurrying to and fro with silver dishes heaped up
with dainties, and arranging a delicious banquet. The Court of Lions was
thronged with guards, and courtiers, and alfaquis, as in the old times of
the Moors; and at the upper end, in the saloon of judgment, sat Boabdil
on his throne, surrounded by his court, and swaying a shadowy sceptre
for the night. Notwithstanding all this throng and seeming bustle, not
a voice nor a footstep was to be heard; nothing interrupted the midnight
silence but the splashing of the fountains. The little Sanchica followed
her conductress in mute amazement about the palace, until they came to a
portal opening to the vaulted passages beneath the great tower of Comares.
On each side of the portal sat the figure of a nymph, wrought out of
alabaster. The heads were turned aside, and their regards fixed upon the
same spot within the vault. The enchanted lady paused, and beckoned the
child to her. "Here," said she, "is a great secret, which I will reveal
to thee in reward for thy faith and courage. These discreet statues
watch over a treasure hidden in old times by a Moorish king. Tell thy
father to search the spot on which their eyes are fixed, and he will find
what will make him richer than any man in Granada. Thy innocent hands
alone, however, gifted as thou art also with the talisman, can remove
the treasure. Bid thy father use it discreetly, and devote a part of it
to the performance of daily masses for my deliverance from this unholy

When the lady had spoken these words, she led the child onward to the
little garden of Lindaraxa, which is hard by the vault of the statues. The
moon trembled upon the waters of the solitary fountain in the centre of
the garden, and shed a tender light upon the orange and citron trees. The
beautiful lady plucked a branch of myrtle and wreathed it round the head
of the child. "Let this be a memento," said she, "of what I have revealed
to thee, and a testimonial of its truth. My hour is come; I must return
to the enchanted hall; follow me not, lest evil befall thee;--farewell.
Remember what I have said, and have masses performed for my deliverance."
So saying, the lady entered a dark passage leading beneath the tower of
Comares, and was no longer seen.

The faint crowing of a cock was now heard from the cottages below the
Alhambra, in the valley of the Darro, and a pale streak of light began
to appear above the eastern mountains. A slight wind arose, there was a
sound like the rustling of dry leaves through the courts and corridors,
and door after door shut to with a jarring sound.

Sanchica returned to the scenes she had so lately beheld thronged with
the shadowy multitude, but Boabdil and his phantom court were gone. The
moon shone into empty halls and galleries stripped of their transient
splendour, stained and dilapidated by time, and hung with cobwebs. The
bat flitted about in the uncertain light, and the frog croaked from the

Sanchica now made the best of her way to a remote staircase that led up to
the humble apartment occupied by her family. The door as usual was open,
for Lope Sanchez was too poor to need bolt or bar; she crept quietly to
her pallet, and, putting the myrtle wreath beneath her pillow, soon fell

In the morning she related all that had befallen her to her father. Lope
Sanchez, however, treated the whole as a mere dream, and laughed at the
child for her credulity. He went forth to his customary labours in the
garden, but had not been there long when his little daughter came running
to him almost breathless. "Father! father!" cried she, "behold the myrtle
wreath which the Moorish lady bound round my head!"

Lope Sanchez gazed with astonishment, for the stalk of the myrtle was
of pure gold, and every leaf was a sparkling emerald! Being not much
accustomed to precious stones, he was ignorant of the real value of the
wealth, but he saw enough to convince him that it was something more
substantial than the stuff of which dreams are generally made, and that
at any rate the child had dreamt to some purpose. His first care was
to enjoin the most absolute secrecy upon his daughter; in this respect,
however, he was secure, for she had discretion far beyond her years or
sex. He then repaired to the vault, where stood the statues of the two
alabaster nymphs. He remarked that their heads were turned from the
portal, and that the regards of each were fixed upon the same point in
the interior of the building. Lope Sanchez could not but admire this most
discreet contrivance for guarding a secret. He drew a line from the eyes
of the statues to the point of regard, made a private mark on the wall,
and then retired.

All day, however, the mind of Lope Sanchez was distracted with a thousand
cares. He could not help hovering within distant view of the two statues,
and became nervous from the dread that the golden secret might be
discovered. Every footstep that approached the place made him tremble.
He would have given anything could he but have turned the heads of the
statues, forgetting that they had looked precisely in the same direction
for some hundreds of years, without any person being the wiser.

"A plague upon them," he would say to himself, "they'll betray all; did
ever mortal hear of such a mode of guarding a secret?" Then on hearing
any one advance, he would steal off, as though his very lurking near the
place would awaken suspicion. Then he would return cautiously, and peep
from a distance to see if everything was secure, but the sight of the
statues would again call forth his indignation. "Ay, there they stand,"
would he say, "always looking, and looking, and looking, just where they
should not. Confound them! they are just like all their sex; if they have
not tongues to tattle with, they'll be sure to do it with their eyes."

At length, to his relief, the long anxious day drew to a close. The sound
of footsteps was no longer heard in the echoing halls of the Alhambra;
the last stranger passed the threshold, the great portal was barred and
bolted, and the bat and the frog and the hooting owl gradually resumed
their nightly vocations in the deserted palace.

Lope Sanchez waited, however, until the night was far advanced before
he ventured with his little daughter to the hall of the two nymphs. He
found them looking as knowingly and mysteriously as ever at the secret
place of deposit. "By your leaves, gentle ladies," thought Lope Sanchez,
as he passed between them, "I will relieve you from this charge that must
have set so heavy in your minds for the last two or three centuries." He
accordingly went to work at the part of the wall which he had marked,
and in a little while laid open a concealed recess, in which stood two
great jars of porcelain. He attempted to draw them forth, but they were
immovable, until touched by the innocent hand of his little daughter. With
her aid he dislodged them from their niche, and found, to his great joy,
that they were filled with pieces of Moorish gold, mingled with jewels
and precious stones. Before daylight he managed to convey them to his
chamber, and left the two guardian statues with their eyes still fixed on
the vacant wall.

Lope Sanchez had thus on a sudden become a rich man; but riches, as usual,
brought a world of cares to which he had hitherto been a stranger. How
was he to convey away his wealth with safety? How was he even to enter
upon the enjoyment of it without awakening suspicion? Now, too, for the
first time in his life the dread of robbers entered into his mind. He
looked with terror at the insecurity of his habitation, and went to work
to barricade the doors and windows; yet after all his precautions he could
not sleep soundly. His usual gaiety was at an end, he had no longer a joke
or a song for his neighbours, and, in short, became the most miserable
animal in the Alhambra. His old comrades remarked this alteration, pitied
him heartily, and began to desert him; thinking he must be falling into
want, and into danger of looking to them for assistance. Little did they
suspect that his only calamity was riches.

The wife of Lope Sanchez shared his anxiety, but then she had ghostly
comfort. We ought before this to have mentioned that Lope, being rather
a light inconsiderate little man, his wife was accustomed, in all grave
matters, to seek the counsel and ministry of her confessor Fray Simon,
a sturdy, broad-shouldered blue-bearded, bullet-headed friar of the
neighbouring convent of San Francisco, who was in fact the spiritual
comforter of half the good wives of the neighbourhood. He was moreover
in great esteem among divers sisterhoods of nuns; who requited him for
his ghostly services by frequent presents of those little dainties and
knick-knacks manufactured in convents, such as delicate confections,
sweet biscuits, and bottles of spiced cordials, found to be marvellous
restoratives after fasts and vigils.

Fray Simon thrived in the exercise of his functions. His oily skin
glistened in the sunshine as he toiled up the hill of the Alhambra on
a sultry day. Yet notwithstanding his sleek condition, the knotted rope
round his waist showed the austerity of his self-discipline; the multitude
doffed their caps to him as a mirror of piety, and even the dogs scented
the odour of sanctity that exhaled from his garments, and howled from
their kennels as he passed.

Such was Fray Simon, the spiritual counsellor of the comely wife of Lope
Sanchez; and as the father confessor is the domestic confidant of women
in humble life in Spain, he was soon acquainted, in great secrecy, with
the story of the hidden treasure.

The friar opened his eyes and mouth, and crossed himself a dozen times at
the news. After a moment's pause, "Daughter of my soul!" said he, "know
that thy husband has committed a double sin--a sin against both state and
church! The treasure he hath thus seized upon for himself, being found
in the royal domains, belongs of course to the crown; but being infidel
wealth, rescued as it were from the very fangs of Satan, should be devoted
to the church. Still, however, the matter may be accommodated. Bring
hither thy myrtle wreath."

When the good father beheld it, his eyes twinkled more than ever with
admiration of the size and beauty of the emeralds. "This," said he, "being
the first-fruits of this discovery, should be dedicated to pious purposes.
I will hang it up as a votive offering before the image of San Francisco
in our chapel, and will earnestly pray to him, this very night, that your
husband be permitted to remain in quiet possession of your wealth."

The good dame was delighted to make her peace with heaven at so cheap a
rate, and the friar, putting the wreath under his mantle, departed with
saintly steps towards his convent.

When Lope Sanchez came home, his wife told him what had passed. He was
excessively provoked, for he lacked his wife's devotion, and had for some
time groaned in secret at the domestic visitations of the friar. "Woman,"
said he, "what hast thou done? thou hast put everything at hazard by thy

"What!" cried the good woman, "would you forbid my disburdening my
conscience to my confessor?"

"No, wife! confess as many of your own sins as you please; but as to this
money-digging, it is a sin of my own, and my conscience is very easy under
the weight of it."

There was no use, however, in complaining; the secret was told, and, like
water spilled on the sand, was not again to be gathered. Their only chance
was, that the friar would be discreet.

The next day, while Lope Sanchez was abroad, there was an humble knocking
at the door, and Fray Simon entered with meek and demure countenance.

"Daughter," said he, "I have earnestly prayed to San Francisco, and he
has heard my prayer. In the dead of the night the saint appeared to me in
a dream, but with a frowning aspect. 'Why,' said he, 'dost thou pray to
me to dispense with this treasure of the Gentiles, when thou seest the
poverty of my chapel? Go to the house of Lope Sanchez, crave in my name
a portion of the Moorish gold, to furnish two candlesticks for the main
altar, and let him possess the residue in peace.'"

When the good woman heard of this vision, she crossed herself with awe,
and going to the secret place where Lope had hid the treasure, she filled
a great leathern purse with pieces of Moorish gold, and gave it to the
friar. The pious monk bestowed upon her, in return, benedictions enough,
if paid by Heaven, to enrich her race to the latest posterity; then
slipping the purse into the sleeve of his habit, he folded his hands upon
his breast, and departed with an air of humble thankfulness.

When Lope Sanchez heard of this second donation to the church, he had
well-nigh lost his senses. "Unfortunate man," cried he, "what will become
of me? I shall be robbed by piecemeal; I shall be ruined and brought to

It was with the utmost difficulty that his wife could pacify him,
by reminding him of the countless wealth that yet remained, and how
considerate it was for San Francisco to rest contented with so small a

Unluckily, Fray Simon had a number of poor relations to be provided
for, not to mention some half-dozen sturdy bullet-headed orphan children
and destitute foundlings that he had taken under his care. He repeated
his visits, therefore, from day to day, with solicitations on behalf of
Saint Dominick, Saint Andrew, Saint James, until poor Lope was driven to
despair, and found that unless he got out of the reach of this holy friar,
he should have to make peace-offerings to every saint in the calendar.
He determined, therefore, to pack up his remaining wealth, beat a secret
retreat in the night, and make off to another part of the kingdom.

Full of his project, he bought a stout mule for the purpose, and tethered
it in a gloomy vault underneath the tower of the seven floors; the very
place whence the _Belludo_, or goblin horse, is said to issue forth
at midnight, and scour the streets of Granada, pursued by a pack of
hell-hounds. Lope Sanchez had little faith in the story, but availed
himself of the dread occasioned by it, knowing that no one would be likely
to pry into the subterranean stable of the phantom steed. He sent off his
family in the course of the day, with orders to wait for him at a distant
village of the Vega. As the night advanced, he conveyed his treasure to
the vault under the tower, and having loaded his mule, he led it forth,
and cautiously descended the dusky avenue.

Honest Lope had taken his measures with the utmost secrecy, imparting
them to no one but the faithful wife of his bosom. By some miraculous
revelation, however, they became known to Fray Simon. The zealous friar
beheld these infidel treasures on the point of slipping forever out of
his grasp, and determined to have one more dash at them for the benefit
of the church and San Francisco. Accordingly, when the bells had rung
for animas, and all the Alhambra was quiet, he stole out of his convent,
and descending through the Gate of Justice, concealed himself among
the thickets of roses and laurels that border the great avenue. Here he
remained, counting the quarters of hours as they were sounded on the bell
of the watch-tower, and listening to the dreary hootings of owls, and the
distant barking of dogs from the gypsy caverns.

At length he heard the tramp of hoofs, and, through the gloom of the
overshading trees, imperfectly beheld a steed descending the avenue. The
sturdy friar chuckled at the idea of the knowing turn he was about to
serve honest Lope.

Tucking up the skirts of his habit, and wriggling like a cat watching
a mouse, he waited until his prey was directly before him, when darting
forth from his leafy covert, and putting one hand on the shoulder and the
other on the crupper, he made a vault that would not have disgraced the
most experienced master of equitation, and alighted well-forked astride
the steed. "Ah ha!" said the sturdy friar, "we shall now see who best
understands the game." He had scarce uttered the words when the mule
began to kick, and rear, and plunge, and then set off full speed down
the hill. The friar attempted to check him, but in vain. He bounded from
rock to rock, and bush to bush; the friar's habit was torn to ribbons and
fluttered in the wind, his shaven poll received many a hard knock from
the branches of the trees, and many a scratch from the brambles. To add
to his terror and distress, he found a pack of seven hounds in full cry
at his heels, and perceived, too late, that he was actually mounted upon
the terrible Belludo!

Away then they went, according to the ancient phrase, "pull devil, pull
friar," down the great avenue, across the Plaza Nueva, along the Zacatin,
around the Vivarrambla--never did huntsman and hound make a more furious
run, or more infernal uproar. In vain did the friar invoke every saint
in the calendar, and the holy Virgin into the bargain; every time he
mentioned a name of the kind it was like a fresh application of the spur,
and made the Belludo bound as high as a house. Through the remainder
of the night was the unlucky Fray Simon carried hither and thither, and
whither he would not, until every bone in his body ached, and he suffered
a loss of leather too grievous to be mentioned. At length the crowing of
a cock gave the signal of returning day. At the sound the goblin steed
wheeled about, and galloped back for his tower. Again he scoured the
Vivarrambla, the Zacatin, the Plaza Nueva, and the avenue of fountains,
the seven dogs yelling, and barking, and leaping up, and snapping at the
heels of the terrified friar. The first streak of day had just appeared
as they reached the tower; here the goblin steed kicked up his heels,
sent the friar a summerset through the air, plunged into the dark vault
followed by the infernal pack, and a profound silence succeeded to the
late deafening clamour.

Was ever so diabolical a trick played off upon a holy friar? A peasant
going to his labours at early dawn found the unfortunate Fray Simon lying
under a fig-tree at the foot of the tower, but so bruised and bedevilled
that he could neither speak nor move. He was conveyed with all care and
tenderness to his cell, and the story went that he had been waylaid and
maltreated by robbers. A day or two elapsed before he recovered the use of
his limbs; he consoled himself, in the meantime, with the thoughts that
though the mule with the treasure had escaped him, he had previously had
some rare pickings at the infidel spoils. His first care on being able to
use his limbs, was to search beneath his pallet, where he had secreted the
myrtle wreath and the leathern pouches of gold extracted from the piety of
dame Sanchez. What was his dismay at finding the wreath, in effect, but a
withered branch of myrtle, and the leathern pouches filled with sand and

Fray Simon, with all his chagrin, had the discretion to hold his tongue,
for to betray the secret might draw on him the ridicule of the public and
the punishment of his superior. It was not until many years afterwards,
on his death-bed, that he revealed to his confessor his nocturnal ride on
the Belludo.

Nothing was heard of Lope Sanchez for a long time after his disappearance
from the Alhambra. His memory was always cherished as that of a merry
companion, though it was feared, from the care and melancholy observed
in his conduct shortly before his mysterious departure, that poverty and
distress had driven him to some extremity. Some years afterwards one of
his old companions, an invalid soldier, being at Malaga, was knocked
down and nearly run over by a coach and six. The carriage stopped; an
old gentleman, magnificently dressed, with a bag-wig and sword, stepped
out to assist the poor invalid. What was the astonishment of the latter
to behold in this grand cavalier his old friend Lope Sanchez, who was
actually celebrating the marriage of his daughter Sanchica with one of
the first grandees in the land.

The carriage contained the bridal party. There was Dame Sanchez, now
grown as round as a barrel, and dressed out with feathers and jewels, and
necklaces of pearls, and necklaces of diamonds, and rings on every finger,
altogether a finery of apparel that had not been seen since the days of
Queen Sheba. The little Sanchica had now grown to be a woman, and for
grace and beauty might have been mistaken for a duchess, if not a princess
outright. The bridegroom sat beside her--rather a withered spindle-shanked
little man, but this only proved him to be of the true-blue blood; a
legitimate Spanish grandee being rarely above three cubits in stature.
The match had been of the mother's making.

Riches had not spoiled the heart of honest Lope. He kept his old comrade
with him for several days; feasted him like a king, took him to plays
and bull-fights, and at length sent him away rejoicing, with a big bag
of money for himself, and another to be distributed among his ancient
messmates of the Alhambra.

Lope always gave out that a rich brother had died in America and left
him heir to a copper mine; but the shrewd gossips of the Alhambra insist
that his wealth was all derived from his having discovered the secret
guarded by the two marble nymphs of the Alhambra. It is remarked that
these very discreet statues continue, even unto the present day, with
their eyes fixed most significantly on the same part of the wall; which
leads many to suppose there is still some hidden treasure remaining there
well worthy the attention of the enterprising traveller. Though others,
and particularly all female visitors, regard them with great complacency
as lasting monuments of the fact that women can keep a secret.

  [Illustration: _Gate of Elvira._]



In the course of a morning's research among the old chronicles in the
Library of the University, I came upon a little episode in the history
of Granada, so strongly characteristic of the bigot zeal which sometimes
inflamed the Christian enterprises against this splendid but devoted city,
that I was tempted to draw it forth from the parchment-bound volume in
which it lay entombed, and submit it to the reader.

In the year of redemption, 1394, there was a valiant and devout grand
master of Alcántara, named Martin Yañez de Barbudo, who was inflamed
with a vehement desire to serve God, and fight the Moors. Unfortunately
for this brave and pious cavalier, a profound peace existed between the
Christian and Moslem powers. Henry III. had just ascended the throne of
Castile, and Yusef ben Mohammed had succeeded to the throne of Granada,
and both were disposed to continue the peace which had prevailed between
their fathers. The grand master looked with repining at Moorish banners
and weapons, which decorated his castle-hall, trophies of the exploits
of his predecessors; and repined at his fate to exist in a period of such
inglorious tranquillity.


At length his impatience broke through all bounds, and seeing that he
could find no public war in which to engage, he resolved to carve out a
little war for himself. Such at least is the account given by some ancient
chronicles, though others give the following as the motive for this sudden
resolution to go campaigning.


As the grand master was one day seated at table with several of his
cavaliers, a man suddenly entered the hall,--tall, meagre, and bony, with
haggard countenance and fiery eye. All recognized him for a hermit, who
had been a soldier in his youth, but now led a life of penitence in a
cave. He advanced to the table and struck upon it with a fist that seemed
of iron. "Cavaliers," said he, "why sit ye here idly, with your weapons
resting against the wall, while the enemies of the faith lord it over the
fairest portion of the land?"

"Holy father, what wouldst thou have us do," asked the grand master,
"seeing the wars are over and our swords bound up by treaties of peace?"

"Listen to my words," replied the hermit. "As I was seated late at night
at the entrance of my cave, contemplating the heavens, I fell into a
reverie, and a wonderful vision was presented to me. I beheld the moon, a
mere crescent, yet luminous as the brightest silver, and it hung in the
heavens over the kingdom of Granada. While I was looking at it, behold
there shot forth from the firmament a blazing star, which, as it went,
drew after it all the stars of heaven; and they assailed the moon and
drove it from the skies; and the whole firmament was filled with the glory
of the blazing star. While mine eyes were yet dazzled by this wondrous
sight, some one stood by me with snowy wings and a shining countenance.
'Oh man of prayer,' said he, 'get thee to the grand master of Alcántara
and tell him of the vision thou hast beheld. He is the blazing star,
destined to drive the crescent, the Moslem emblem, from the land. Let him
boldly draw the sword and continue the good work begun by Pelazo of old,
and victory will assuredly attend his banner.'"

The grand master listened to the hermit as to a messenger from heaven,
and followed his counsel in all things. By his advice he despatched
two of his stoutest warriors, armed _cap-à-pie_, on an embassy to the
Moorish king. They entered the gates of Granada without molestation,
as the nations were at peace; and made their way to the Alhambra, where
they were promptly admitted to the king, who received them in the Hall of
Ambassadors. They delivered their message roundly and hardly. "We come,
O King, from Don Martin Yañez de Barbudo, grand master of Alcántara; who
affirms the faith of Jesus Christ to be true and holy, and that of Mahomet
false and detestable, and he challenges thee to maintain the contrary,
hand to hand, in single combat. Shouldst thou refuse, he offers to combat
with one hundred cavaliers against two hundred; or, in like proportion,
to the number of one thousand, always allowing thy faith a double number
of champions. Remember, O King, that thou canst not refuse this challenge;
since thy prophet, knowing the impossibility of maintaining his doctrines
by argument, has commanded his followers to enforce them with the sword."


The beard of king Yusef trembled with indignation. "The master of
Alcántara," said he, "is a madman to send such a message, and ye are saucy
knaves to bring it."

So saying, he ordered the ambassadors to be thrown into a dungeon, by way
of giving them a lesson in diplomacy; and they were roughly treated on
their way thither by the populace, who were exasperated at this insult to
their sovereign and their faith.

The grand master of Alcántara could scarcely credit the tidings of the
maltreatment of his messengers; but the hermit rejoiced when they were
repeated to him. "God," said he, "has blinded this infidel king for
his downfall. Since he has sent no reply to thy defiance, consider it
accepted. Marshal thy forces, therefore; march forward to Granada; pause
not until thou seest the gate of Elvira. A miracle will be wrought in thy
favour. There will be a great battle; the enemy will be overthrown; but
not one of thy soldiers will be slain."

The grand master called upon every warrior zealous in the Christian cause
to aid him in this crusade. In a little while three hundred horsemen and
a thousand foot-soldiers rallied under his standard. The horsemen were
veterans, seasoned to battle and well armed; but the infantry were raw
and undisciplined. The victory, however, was to be miraculous; the grand
master was a man of surpassing faith, and knew that the weaker the means
the greater the miracle. He sallied forth confidently, therefore, with
his little army, and the hermit strode ahead, bearing a cross on the end
of a long pole, and beneath it the pennon of the order of Alcántara.

As they approached the city of Cordova they were overtaken by messengers,
spurring in all haste, bearing missives from the Castilian monarch,
forbidding the enterprise. The grand master was a man of a single mind
and a single will; in other words, a man of one idea. "Were I on any other
errand," said he, "I should obey these letters as coming from my lord the
king; but I am sent by a higher power than the king. In compliance with
its commands I have advanced the cross thus far against the infidels;
and it would be treason to the standard of Christ to turn back without
achieving my errand."


So the trumpets were sounded; the cross was again reared aloft, and the
band of zealots resumed their march. As they passed through the streets of
Cordova the people were amazed at beholding a hermit bearing a cross at
the head of a warlike multitude; but when they learnt that a miraculous
victory was to be effected and Granada destroyed, labourers and artisans
threw by the implements of their handicrafts and joined in the crusade;
while a mercenary rabble followed on with a view of plunder.

A number of cavaliers of rank who lacked faith in the promised miracle,
and dreaded the consequences of this unprovoked irruption into the
country of the Moor, assembled at the bridge of the Guadalquivir and
endeavoured to dissuade the grand master from crossing. He was deaf to
prayers, expostulations, or menaces; his followers were enraged at this
opposition to the cause of the faith; they put an end to the parley by
their clamours; the cross was again reared and borne triumphantly across
the bridge.


The multitude increased as it proceeded; by the time the grand master had
reached Alcala la Real, which stands on a mountain overlooking the Vega
of Granada, upwards of five thousand men on foot had joined his standard.

At Alcala came forth Alonzo Fernandez de Cordova, Lord of Aguilar, his
brother Diego Fernandez, Marshal of Castile, and other cavaliers of valour
and experience. Placing themselves in the way of the grand master, "What
madness is this, Don Martin?" said they; "the Moorish king has two hundred
thousand foot soldiers and five thousand horse within his walls; what can
you and your handful of cavaliers and your noisy rabble do against such
force? Bethink you of the disasters which have befallen other Christian
commanders who have crossed these rocky borders with ten times your force.
Think, too, of the mischief that will be brought upon this kingdom by
an outrage of the kind committed by a man of your rank and importance, a
grand master of Alcántara. Pause, we entreat you, while the truce is yet
unbroken. Await within the borders the reply of the king of Granada to
your challenge. If he agree to meet you singly, or with champions two or
three, it will be your individual contest, and fight it out in God's name;
if he refuse, you may return home with great honour and the disgrace will
fall upon the Moors."

Several cavaliers, who had hitherto followed the grand master with devoted
zeal, were moved by these expostulations, and suggested to him the policy
of listening to this advice.

"Cavaliers," said he, addressing himself to Alonzo Fernandez de Cordova
and his companions, "I thank you for the counsel you have so kindly
bestowed upon me, and if I were merely in pursuit of individual glory
I might be swayed by it. But I am engaged to achieve a great triumph of
the faith, which God is to effect by miracle through my means. As to you,
cavaliers," turning to those of his followers who had wavered, "if your
hearts fail you, or you repent of having put your hands to this good work,
return, in God's name, and my blessing go with you. For myself, though
I have none to stand by me but this holy hermit, yet will I assuredly
proceed; until I have planted this sacred standard on the walls of
Granada, or perished in the attempt."

"Don Martin Yañez de Barbudo," replied the cavaliers, "we are not men to
turn our backs upon our commander, however rash his enterprise. We spoke
but in caution. Lead on, therefore, and if it be to the death, be assured
to the death we will follow thee."

By this time the common soldiers became impatient. "Forward! forward!"
shouted they. "Forward in the cause of faith." So the grand master gave
signal, the hermit again reared the cross aloft, and they poured down a
defile of the mountain, with solemn chants of triumph.

That night they encamped at the river of Azores, and the next morning,
which was Sunday, crossed the borders. Their first pause was at an
_atalaya_ or solitary tower; built upon a rock; a frontier post to keep a
watch upon the border, and give notice of invasion. It was thence called
_el Torre del Exea_ (the tower of the spy). The grand master halted before
it and summoned its petty garrison to surrender. He was answered by a
shower of stones and arrows, which wounded him in the hand and killed
three of his men.

"How is this, father?" said he to the hermit; "you assured me that not
one of my followers would be slain!"

"True, my son, but I meant in the great battle of the infidel king; what
need is there of miracle to aid in the capture of a petty tower?"

The grand master was satisfied. He ordered wood to be piled against
the door of the tower to burn it down. In the meantime provisions were
unloaded from the sumpter-mules, and the crusaders, withdrawing beyond
bow-shot, sat down on the grass to a repast to strengthen them for the
arduous day's work before them. While thus engaged, they were startled by
the sudden appearance of a great Moorish host. The _atalayas_ had given
the alarm by fire and smoke from the mountain-tops of "an enemy across the
border," and the king of Granada had sallied forth with a great force to
the encounter.

The crusaders, nearly taken by surprise, flew to arms and prepared for
battle. The grand master ordered his three hundred horsemen to dismount
and fight on foot in support of the infantry. The Moors however, charged
so suddenly that they separated the cavaliers from the foot-soldiers
and prevented their uniting. The grand master gave the old war-cry,
"_Santiago!_ _Santiago!_ and close Spain!" He and his knights breasted the
fury of the battle, but were surrounded by a countless host and assailed
with arrows, stones, darts, and arquebuses. Still they fought fearlessly,
and made prodigious slaughter. The hermit mingled in the hottest of the
fight. In one hand he bore the cross, in the other he brandished a sword,
with which he dealt about him like a maniac, slaying several of the enemy,
until he sank to the ground covered with wounds. The grand master saw him
fall, and saw too late the fallacy of his prophecies. Despair, however,
only made him fight the more fiercely, until he also fell overpowered by
numbers. His devoted cavaliers emulated his holy zeal. Not one turned
his back nor asked for mercy; all fought until they fell. As to the
foot-soldiers, many were killed, many were taken prisoners; the residue
escaped to Alcala la Real. When the Moors came to strip the slain, the
wounds of the cavaliers were all found to be in front.

Such was the catastrophe of this fanatic enterprise. The Moors vaunted it
as a decisive proof of the superior sanctity of their faith, and extolled
their king to the skies when he returned in triumph to Granada.

As it was satisfactorily shown that this crusade was the enterprise of
an individual, and contrary to the express orders of the king of Castile,
the peace of the two kingdoms was not interrupted. Nay, the Moors evinced
a feeling of respect for the valour of the unfortunate grand master, and
readily gave up his body to Don Alonzo Fernandez de Cordova, who came from
Alcala to seek it. The Christians of the frontier united in paying the
last sad honours to his memory. His body was placed upon a bier, covered
with the pennon of the order of Alcántara; and the broken cross, the
emblem of his confident hopes and fatal disappointment, was borne before
it. In this way his remains were carried back in funeral procession,
through the mountain tract which he had traversed so resolutely. Wherever
it passed, through a town or village, the populace followed, with tears
and lamentations, bewailing him as a valiant knight and a martyr to the
faith. His body was interred in the chapel of the convent of Santa Maria
de Almocovara, and on his sepulchre may still be seen engraven in quaint
and antique Spanish the following testimonial to his bravery:--


   (_Aqui yaz aquel, que par neua cosa nunca eve pavor en seu corazon._)




One of the most important occurrences in the domestic life of the
Alhambra, was the departure of Manuel, the nephew of Doña Antonia, for
Malaga, to stand examination as a physician. I have already informed the
reader that, on his success in obtaining a degree depended in a great
measure the union and future fortunes of himself and his cousin Dolores;
at least so I was privately informed by Mateo Ximenes, and various
circumstances occurred to corroborate his information. Their courtship,
however, was carried on very quietly and discreetly, and I scarce think
I should have discovered it, if I had not been put on the alert by the
all-observant Mateo.

In the present instance, Dolores was less on the reserve, and had busied
herself for several days in fitting out honest Manuel for his expedition.
All his clothes had been arranged and packed in the neatest order, and
above all she had worked a smart Andalusian travelling-jacket for him with
her own hands. On the morning appointed for his departure, a stout mule
on which he was to perform the journey was paraded at the portal of the
Alhambra, and _Tio Polo_ (Uncle Polo), an old invalid soldier, attended
to caparison him. This veteran was one of the curiosities of the place.
He had a leathern lantern visage tanned in the tropics, a long Roman nose,
and a black beetle eye. I had frequently observed him reading, apparently
with intense interest, an old parchment-bound volume; sometimes he would
be surrounded by a group of his brother invalids; some seated on the
parapets, some lying on the grass, listening with fixed attention, while
he read slowly and deliberately out of his favourite work, sometimes
pausing to explain or expound for the benefit of his less enlightened

I took occasion one day to inform myself of this ancient book, which
appeared to be his _vade mecum_, and found it to be an odd volume of the
works of Padre Benito Geronymo Feyjoo; and that one which treats about
the Magic of Spain, the mysterious caves of Salamanca and Toledo, the
Purgatory of _San Patricio_ (St. Patrick), and other mystic subjects of
the kind. From that time I kept my eye upon the veteran.

On the present occasion I amused myself with watching him fit out the
steed of Manuel with all the forecast of an old campaigner. First he
took a considerable time in adjusting to the back of the mule a cumbrous
saddle of antique fashion, high in front and behind, with Moorish stirrups
like shovels; the whole looking like a relic of the old armoury of the
Alhambra; then a fleecy sheepskin was accommodated to the deep seat of
the saddle; then a _maleta_, neatly packed by the hand of Dolores, was
buckled behind; then a _manta_ was thrown over it to serve as either
cloak or couch; then the all-important _alforjas_ carefully stocked with
provant, were hung in front, together with the _bota_, or leathern bottle
for either wine or water, and lastly the _trabuco_, which the old soldier
slung behind, giving it his benediction. It was like the fitting out in
old times of a Moorish cavalier for a foray or a joust in the Vivarrambla.
A number of the lazzaroni of the fortress had gathered round, with some
of the invalids, all looking on, all offering their aid, and all giving
advice, to the great annoyance of _Tio Polo_.

When all was ready Manuel took leave of the household; _Tio Polo_ held his
stirrup while he mounted, adjusted the girths and saddle, and cheered him
off in military style; then turning to Dolores, who stood admiring her
cavalier as he trotted off, "Ah, Dolorocita," exclaimed he, with a nod
and a wink, "_es muy guapo Manuelito in su Xaqueta_" (Ah Dolores, Manuel
is mighty fine in his jacket). The little damsel blushed and laughed, and
ran into the house.

Days elapsed without tidings from Manuel, though he had promised to write.
The heart of Dolores began to misgive her. Had anything happened to him
on the road? Had he failed in his examination? A circumstance occurred
in her little household to add to her uneasiness and fill her mind with
foreboding. It was almost equal to the _escapado_ of her pigeon. Her
tortoise-shell cat eloped at night and clambered to the tiled roof of
the Alhambra. In the dead of the night there was a fearful caterwauling;
some grimalkin was uncivil to her; then there was a scramble; then a
clapper-clawing; then both parties rolled off the roof and tumbled from
a great height among the trees on the hill-side. Nothing more was seen or
heard of the fugitive, and poor Dolores considered it but the prelude to
greater calamities.

At the end of ten days, however, Manuel returned in triumph, duly
authorised to kill or cure; and all Dolores' cares were over. There was
a general gathering in the evening of the humble friends and hangers-on
of Dame Antonia to congratulate her and pay their respects to _el Señor
Medico_, who, peradventure, at some future day might have all their lives
in his hands. One of the most important of these guests was old _Tio
Polo_; and I gladly seized the occasion to prosecute my acquaintance with
him. "Oh Señor," cried Dolores, "you who are so eager to learn all the old
histories of the Alhambra, _Tio Polo_ knows more about them than any one
else about the place. More than Mateo Ximenes and his whole family put
together. _Vaya--Vaya--Tio Polo_, tell the Señor all those stories you
told us one evening, about enchanted Moors, and the haunted bridge over
the Darro, and the old stone pomegranates, that have been there since the
days of King Chico."

It was some time before the old invalid could be brought into a narrative
vein. He shook his head--they were all idle tales; not worthy of being
told to a _cavallero_ like myself. It was only by telling some stories of
the kind myself I at last got him to open his budget. It was a whimsical
farrago, partly made up of what he had heard at the Alhambra, partly of
what he had read in _Padre Feyjoo_. I will endeavour to give the reader
the substance of it, but I will not promise to give it in the very words
of _Tio Polo_.




Everybody has heard of the Cave of St. Cyprian at Salamanca, where in
old times judicial astronomy, necromancy, chiromancy, and other dark and
damnable arts were secretly taught by an ancient sacristan; or, as some
will have it, by the devil himself, in that disguise. The cave has long
been shut up and the very site of it forgotten; though, according to
tradition, the entrance was somewhere about where the stone cross stands
in the small square of the seminary of Carvajal; and this tradition
appears in some degree corroborated by the circumstances of the following

There was at one time a student of Salamanca, Don Vicente by name, of that
merry but mendicant class, who set out on the road to learning without a
penny in pouch for the journey, and who, during college vacations, beg
from town to town and village to village to raise funds to enable them
to pursue their studies through the ensuing term. He was now about to set
forth on his wanderings; and being somewhat musical, slung on his back a
guitar with which to amuse the villagers, and pay for a meal or a night's

As he passed by the stone cross in the seminary square, he pulled off
his hat and made a short invocation to St. Cyprian, for good luck; when
casting his eyes upon the earth, he perceived something glitter at the
foot of the cross. On picking it up, it proved to be a seal-ring of mixed
metal, in which gold and silver appeared to be blended. The seal bore as
a device two triangles crossing each other, so as to form a star. This
device is said to be a cabalistic sign, invented by king Solomon the Wise,
and of mighty power in all cases of enchantment; but the honest student,
being neither sage nor conjurer, knew nothing of the matter. He took the
ring as a present from St. Cyprian in reward of his prayer; slipped it
on his finger, made a bow to the cross, and strumming his guitar, set off
merrily on his wandering.

The life of a mendicant student in Spain is not the most miserable in
the world; especially if he has any talent at making himself agreeable.
He rambles at large from village to village, and city to city, wherever
curiosity or caprice may conduct him. The country curates, who, for the
most part, have been mendicant students in their time, give him shelter
for the night, and a comfortable meal, and often enrich him with several
quartos, or halfpence in the morning. As he presents himself from door
to door in the streets of the cities, he meets with no harsh rebuff, no
chilling contempt, for there is no disgrace attending his mendicity, many
of the most learned men in Spain having commenced their career in this
manner; but if, like the student in question, he is a good-looking varlet
and a merry companion; and, above all, if he can play the guitar, he is
sure of a hearty welcome among the peasants, and smiles and favours from
their wives and daughters.

In this way, then, did our ragged and musical son of learning make his
way over half the kingdom; with fixed determination to visit the famous
city of Granada before his return. Sometimes he was gathered for the night
into the fold of some village pastor; sometimes he was sheltered under
the humble, but hospitable roof of the peasant. Seated at the cottage
door with his guitar, he delighted the simple folk with his ditties;
or striking up a _fandango_ or _bolero_, set the brown country lads and
lasses dancing in the mellow twilight. In the morning he departed with
kind words from host and hostess, and kind looks and, peradventure, a
squeeze of the hand from the daughter.

At length he arrived at the great object of his musical vagabondising, the
far-famed city of Granada, and hailed with wonder and delight its Moorish
towers, its lovely _vega_, and its snowy mountains glistening through
a summer atmosphere. It is needless to say with what eager curiosity he
entered its gates and wandered through its streets, and gazed upon its
oriental monuments. Every female face peering through a window or beaming
from a balcony was to him a Zorayda or a Zelinda, nor could he meet
a stately dame on the Alameda but he was ready to fancy her a Moorish
princess, and to spread his student's robe beneath her feet.

His musical talent, his happy humour, his youth and his good looks, won
him a universal welcome in spite of his ragged robes, and for several days
he led a gay life in the old Moorish capital and its environs. One of his
occasional haunts was the fountain of Avellanos, in the valley of Darro.
It is one of the popular resorts of Granada, and has been so since the
days of the Moors; and here the student had an opportunity of pursuing
his studies of female beauty; a branch of study to which he was a little

Here he would take his seat with his guitar, improvise love-ditties to
admiring groups of _majos_ and _majas_, or prompt with his music the
ever-ready dance. He was thus engaged one evening when he beheld a _padre_
of the church advancing, at whose approach every one touched the hat. He
was evidently a man of consequence; he certainly was a mirror of good if
not of holy living; robust and rosy-faced, and breathing at every pore
with the warmth of the weather and the exercise of the walk. As he passed
along he would every now and then draw a _maravedi_ out of his pocket
and bestow it on a beggar with an air of signal beneficence. "Ah, the
blessed father!" would be the cry; "long life to him, and may he soon be
a bishop!"

To aid his steps in ascending the hill he leaned gently now and then on
the arm of a handmaid, evidently the pet-lamb of this kindest of pastors.
Ah, such a damsel! Andalus from head to foot; from the rose in her hair,
to the fairy shoe and lacework stocking; Andalus in every movement;
in every undulation of the body:--ripe, melting Andalus!--But then so
modest!--so shy!--ever, with downcast eyes, listening to the words of the
_padre_; or, if by chance she let flash a side glance, it was suddenly
checked and her eyes once more cast to the ground.

The good _padre_ looked benignantly on the company about the fountain,
and took his seat with some emphasis on a stone bench, while the
handmaid hastened to bring him a glass of sparkling water. He sipped it
deliberately and with a relish, tempering it with one of those spongy
pieces of frosted eggs and sugar so dear to Spanish epicures, and on
returning the glass to the hand of the damsel pinched her cheek with
infinite loving-kindness.

"Ah, the good pastor!" whispered the student to himself; "what a happiness
would it be to be gathered into his fold with such a pet-lamb for a

But no such good fare was likely to befall him. In vain he essayed those
powers of pleasing which he had found so irresistible with country curates
and country lasses. Never had he touched his guitar with such skill;
never had he poured forth more soul-moving ditties, but he had no longer
a country curate or country lass to deal with. The worthy priest evidently
did not relish music, and the modest damsel never raised her eyes from the
ground. They remained but a short time at the fountain; the good _padre_
hastened their return to Granada. The damsel gave the student one shy
glance in retiring; but it plucked the heart out of his bosom!

He inquired about them after they had gone. _Padre Tomás_ was one of the
saints of Granada, a model of regularity; punctual in his hour of rising;
his hour of taking a _paseo_ for an appetite; his hours of eating; his
hour of taking his _siesta_; his hour of playing his game of _tresillo_,
of an evening, with some of the dames of the Cathedral circle; his hour
of supping, and his hour of retiring to rest, to gather fresh strength
for another day's round of similar duties. He had an easy sleek mule for
his riding; a matronly housekeeper skilled in preparing tit-bits for his
table; and the pet-lamb, to smooth his pillow at night and bring him his
chocolate in the morning.

Adieu now to the gay, thoughtless life of the student; the side-glance
of a bright eye had been the undoing of him. Day and night he could not
get the image of this most modest damsel out of his mind. He sought the
mansion of the _padre_. Alas! it was above the class of houses accessible
to a strolling student like himself. The worthy _padre_ had no sympathy
with him; he had never been _Estudiante sopista_, obliged to sing for his
supper. He blockaded the house by day, catching a glance of the damsel now
and then as she appeared at a casement; but these glances only fed his
flame without encouraging his hope. He serenaded her balcony at night,
and at one time was flattered by the appearance of something white at a
window. Alas, it was only the night-cap of the _padre_.

Never was lover more devoted; never damsel more shy: the poor student was
reduced to despair. At length arrived the eve of St. John, when the lower
classes of Granada swarm into the country, dance away the afternoon, and
pass midsummer's night on the banks of the Darro and the Xenil. Happy are
they who on this eventful night can wash their faces in those waters just
as the cathedral bell tells midnight, for at that precise moment they
have a beautifying power. The student, having nothing to do, suffered
himself to be carried away by the holiday-seeking throng until he found
himself in the narrow valley of the Darro, below the lofty hill and ruddy
towers of the Alhambra. The dry bed of the river; the rocks which border
it; the terraced gardens which overhang it, were alive with variegated
groups, dancing under the vines and fig-trees to the sound of the guitar
and castanets.


The student remained for some time in doleful dumps, leaning against one
of the huge misshapen stone pomegranates which adorn the ends of the
little bridge over the Darro. He cast a wistful glance upon the merry
scene, where every cavalier had his dame; or, to speak more appropriately,
every Jack his Jill; sighed at his own solitary state, a victim to the
black eye of the most unapproachable of damsels, and repined at his ragged
garb, which seemed to shut the gate of hope against him.

By degrees his attention was attracted to a neighbour equally solitary
with himself. This was a tall soldier, of a stern aspect and grizzled
beard, who seemed posted as a sentry at the opposite pomegranate. His
face was bronzed by time; he was arrayed in ancient Spanish armour, with
buckler and lance, and stood immovable as a statue. What surprised the
student was, that though thus strangely equipped, he was totally unnoticed
by the passing throng, albeit that many almost brushed against him.


"This is a city of old time peculiarities," thought the student, "and
doubtless this is one of them with which the inhabitants are too familiar
to be surprised." His own curiosity, however, was awakened and being of
a social disposition, he accosted the soldier.


"A rare old suit of armour that which you wear, comrade. May I ask what
corps you belong to?"

The soldier gasped out a reply from a pair of jaws which seemed to have
rusted on their hinges.

"The royal guard of Ferdinand and Isabella."

"Santa Maria! Why, it is three centuries since that corps was in service."

"And for three centuries have I been mounting guard. Now I trust my tour
of duty draws to a close. Dost thou desire fortune?"

The student held up his tattered cloak in reply.

"I understand thee. If thou hast faith and courage, follow me, and thy
fortune is made."

"Softly, comrade, to follow thee would require small courage in one who
has nothing to lose but life and an old guitar, neither of much value;
but my faith is of a different matter, and not to be put in temptation.
If it be any criminal act by which I am to mend my fortune, think not my
ragged cloak will make me undertake it."

The soldier turned on him a look of high displeasure. "My sword," said he,
"has never been drawn but in the cause of the faith and the throne. I am
a _Cristiano viejo_; trust in me and fear no evil."

The student followed him wondering. He observed that no one heeded their
conversation, and that the soldier made his way through the various groups
of idlers unnoticed, as if invisible.

Crossing the bridge, the soldier led the way by a narrow and steep path
past a Moorish mill and aqueduct, and up the ravine which separates the
domains of the Generalife from those of the Alhambra. The last ray of
the sun shone upon the red battlements of the latter, which beetled far
above; and the convent-bells were proclaiming the festival of the ensuing
day. The ravine was overshadowed by fig-trees, vines, and myrtles, and the
outer towers and walls of the fortress. It was dark and lonely, and the
twilight-loving bats began to flit about. At length the soldier halted
at a remote and ruined tower, apparently intended to guard a Moorish
aqueduct. He struck the foundation with the butt-end of his spear. A
rumbling sound was heard, and the solid stones yawned apart, leaving an
opening as wide as a door.


"Enter in the name of the Holy Trinity," said the soldier, "and fear
nothing." The student's heart quaked, but he made the sign of the cross,
muttered his Ave Maria, and followed his mysterious guide into a deep
vault cut out of the solid rock under the tower, and covered with Arabic
inscriptions. The soldier pointed to a stone seat hewn along one side
of the vault. "Behold," said he, "my couch for three hundred years." The
bewildered student tried to force a joke. "By the blessed St. Anthony,"
said he, "but you must have slept soundly, considering the hardness of
your couch."

"On the contrary, sleep has been a stranger to these eyes; incessant
watchfulness has been my doom. Listen to my lot. I was one of the
royal guards of Ferdinand and Isabella; but was taken prisoner by the
Moors in one of their sorties, and confined a captive in this tower.
When preparations were made to surrender the fortress to the Christian
sovereigns, I was prevailed upon by an _Alfaqui_, a Moorish priest, to aid
him in secreting some of the treasures of Boabdil in this vault. I was
justly punished for my fault. The _Alfaqui_ was an African necromancer,
and by his infernal arts cast a spell upon me--to guard his treasures.
Something must have happened to him, for he never returned, and here have
I remained ever since, buried alive. Years and years have rolled away;
earthquakes have shaken this hill; I have heard stone by stone of the
tower above tumbling to the ground, in the natural operation of time;
but the spell-bound walls of this vault set both time and earthquakes at

"Once every hundred years, on the festival of St. John, the enchantment
ceases to have thorough sway; I am permitted to go forth and post myself
upon the bridge of the Darro, where you met me, waiting until some one
shall arrive who may have power to break this magic spell. I have hitherto
mounted guard there in vain. I walk as in a cloud, concealed from mortal
sight. You are the first to accost me for now three hundred years. I
behold the reason. I see on your finger the seal-ring of Solomon the Wise,
which is proof against all enchantment. With you it remains to deliver
me from this awful dungeon, or to leave me to keep guard here for another
hundred years."

The student listened to this tale in mute wonderment. He had heard many
tales of treasures shut up under strong enchantment in the vaults of the
Alhambra, but had treated them as fables. He now felt the value of the
seal-ring, which had, in a manner, been given to him by St. Cyprian.
Still, though armed by so potent a talisman, it was an awful thing to
find himself _tête-à-tête_ in such a place with an enchanted soldier, who,
according to the laws of nature, ought to have been quietly in his grave
for nearly three centuries.

A personage of this kind, however, was quite out of the ordinary run,
and not to be trifled with, and he assured him he might rely upon
his friendship and good will to do everything in his power for his

"I trust to a motive more powerful than friendship," said the soldier.

He pointed to a ponderous iron coffer, secured by locks, inscribed with
Arabic characters. "That coffer," said he, "contains countless treasure
in gold and jewels and precious stones. Break the magic spell by which I
am enthralled, and one half of this treasure shall be thine."

"But how am I to do it?"

"The aid of a Christian priest and a Christian maid is necessary. The
priest to exorcise the powers of darkness; the damsel to touch this chest
with the seal of Solomon. This must be done at night. But have a care.
This is solemn work, and not to be effected by the carnal-minded. The
priest must be a _Cristiano viejo_, a model of sanctity; and must mortify
the flesh before he comes here, by a rigorous fast of four-and-twenty
hours: and as to the maiden, she must be above reproach, and proof against
temptation. Linger not in finding such aid. In three days my furlough is
at an end; if not delivered before midnight of the third, I shall have to
mount guard for another century."

"Fear not," said the student, "I have in my eye the very priest and damsel
you describe; but how am I to regain admission to this tower?"

"The seal of Solomon will open the way for thee."

The student issued forth from the tower much more gaily than he had
entered. The wall closed behind him, and remained solid as before.

The next morning he repaired boldly to the mansion of the priest, no
longer a poor strolling student, thrumming his way with a guitar; but an
ambassador from the shadowy world, with enchanted treasures to bestow. No
particulars are told of his negotiation, excepting that the zeal of the
worthy priest was easily kindled at the idea of rescuing an old soldier of
the faith and a strong-box of King Chico from the very clutches of Satan;
and then what alms might be dispensed, what churches built, and how many
poor relatives enriched with the Moorish treasure!

As to the immaculate handmaid, she was ready to lend her hand, which was
all that was required, to the pious work; and if a shy glance now and then
might be believed, the ambassador began to find favour in her modest eyes.

The greatest difficulty, however, was the fast to which the good Padre had
to subject himself. Twice he attempted it, and twice the flesh was too
strong for the spirit. It was only on the third day that he was enabled
to withstand the temptations of the cupboard; but it was still a question
whether he would hold out until the spell was broken.

At a late hour of the night the party groped their way up the ravine
by the light of a lantern, and bearing a basket with provisions for
exorcising the demon of hunger so soon as the other demons should be laid
in the Red Sea.

The seal of Solomon opened their way into the tower. They found the
soldier seated on the enchanted strong-box, awaiting their arrival. The
exorcism was performed in due style. The damsel advanced and touched the
locks of the coffer with the seal of Solomon. The lid flew open; and such
treasures of gold and jewels and precious stones as flashed upon the eye!

"Here's cut and come again!" cried the student exultingly, as he proceeded
to cram his pockets.

"Fairly and softly," exclaimed the soldier. "Let us get the coffer out
entire, and then divide."

They accordingly went to work with might and main; but it was a difficult
task; the chest was enormously heavy, and had been imbedded there for
centuries. While they were thus employed the good _dominie_ drew on one
side and made a vigorous onslaught on the basket, by way of exorcising
the demon of hunger which was raging in his entrails. In a little while
a fat capon was devoured, and washed down by a deep potation of _Val de
peñas_; and, by way of grace after meat, he gave a kind-hearted kiss to
the pet-lamb who waited on him. It was quietly done in a corner, but the
tell-tale walls babbled it forth as if in triumph. Never was chaste salute
more awful in its effects. At the sound the soldier gave a great cry of
despair; the coffer, which was half raised, fell back in its place and was
locked once more. Priest, student, and damsel, found themselves outside
of the tower, the wall of which closed with a thundering jar. Alas! the
good _Padre_ has broken his fast too soon!

When recovered from his surprise, the student would have re-entered the
tower, but learnt to his dismay that the damsel, in her fright, had let
fall the seal of Solomon; it remained within the vault.

In a word, the cathedral bell tolled midnight; the spell was renewed; the
soldier was doomed to mount guard for another hundred years, and there
he and the treasure remain to this day--and all because the kind-hearted
_Padre_ kissed his handmaid. "Ah father! father!" said the student,
shaking his head ruefully, as they returned down the ravine, "I fear there
was less of the saint than the sinner in that kiss!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus ends the legend as far as it has been authenticated. There is a
tradition, however, that the student had brought off treasure enough in
his pocket to set him up in the world; that he prospered in his affairs,
that the worthy _Padre_ gave him the pet-lamb in marriage, by way of
amends for the blunder in the vault; that the immaculate damsel proved a
pattern for wives as she had been for handmaids, and bore her husband a
numerous progeny; that the first was a wonder; it was born seven months
after her marriage, and though a seven-month's boy, was the sturdiest of
the flock. The rest were all born in the ordinary course of time.

The story of the enchanted soldier remains one of the popular traditions
of Granada, though told in a variety of ways; the common people affirm
that he still mounts guard on midsummer eve, beside the gigantic stone
pomegranate on the Bridge of the Darro; but remains invisible excepting
to such lucky mortals as may possess the seal of Solomon.




My serene and happy reign in the Alhambra was suddenly brought to a close
by letters which reached me, while indulging in oriental luxury in the
cool hall of the baths, summoning me away from my Moslem elysium, to
mingle once more in the bustle and business of the dusty world. How was
I to encounter its toils and turmoils, after such a life of repose and
reverie! How was I to endure its commonplace, after the poetry of the

But little preparation was necessary for my departure. A two-wheeled
vehicle, called a _tartana_, very much resembling a covered cart, was
to be the travelling equipage of a young Englishman and myself through
Murcia, to Alicant and Valencia, on our way to France; and a long-limbed
varlet, who had been a _contrabandista_, and, for aught I knew, a robber,
was to be our guide and guard. The preparations were soon made, but the
departure was the difficulty. Day after day was it postponed; day after
day was spent in lingering about my favourite haunts, and day after day
they appeared more delightful in my eyes.

The social and domestic little world also, in which I had been moving, had
become singularly endeared to me; and the concern evinced by them at my
intended departure, convinced me that my kind feelings were reciprocated.
Indeed, when at length the day arrived, I did not dare venture upon a
leave-taking at the good dame Antonia's; I saw the soft heart of little
Dolores, at least, was brim full and ready for an overflow. So I bade a
silent adieu to the palace and its inmates, and descended into the city as
if intending to return. There, however, the _tartana_ and the guide were
ready; so, after taking a noon-day's repast with my fellow-traveller at
the _Posada_, I set out with him on our journey.

Humble was the cortège and melancholy the departure of _El Rey Chico_
the Second! Manuel, the nephew of _Tia Antonia_, Mateo, my officious but
now disconsolate squire, and two or three old invalids of the Alhambra
with whom I had grown into gossiping companionship, had come down to see
me off; for it is one of the good old customs of Spain to sally forth
several miles to meet a coming friend, and to accompany him as far on his
departure. Thus then we set out, our long-legged guard striding ahead,
with his _escopeta_ on his shoulder; Manuel and Mateo on each side of the
_tartana_, and the old invalids behind.

At some little distance to the north of Granada, the road gradually
ascends the hills; here I alighted and walked up slowly with Manuel, who
took this occasion to confide to me the secret of his heart and of all
those tender concerns between himself and Dolores, with which I had been
already informed by the all-knowing and all-revealing Mateo Ximenes.
His doctor's diploma had prepared the way for their union, and nothing
more was wanting but the dispensation of the Pope, on account of their
consanguinity. Then, if he could get the post of Medico of the fortress,
his happiness would be complete! I congratulated him on the judgment and
good taste he had shown in his choice of a helpmate; invoked all possible
felicity on their union, and trusted that the abundant affections of the
kind-hearted little Dolores would in time have more stable objects to
occupy them than recreant cats and truant pigeons.


It was indeed a sorrowful parting when I took leave of these good people
and saw them slowly descend the hills; now and then turning round to wave
me a last adieu. Manuel, it is true, had cheerful prospects to console
him, but poor Mateo seemed perfectly cast down. It was to him a grievous
fall from the station of prime minister and historiographer, to his old
brown cloak and his starveling mystery of ribbon-weaving; and the poor
devil, notwithstanding his occasional officiousness, had, somehow or
other, acquired a stronger hold on my sympathies than I was aware of. It
would have really been a consolation in parting, could I have anticipated
the good fortune in store for him, and to which I had contributed; for
the importance I had appeared to give to his tales and gossip and local
knowledge, and the frequent companionship in which I had indulged him in
the course of my strolls, had elevated his idea of his own qualifications
and opened a new career to him; and the son of the Alhambra has since
become its regular and well-paid cicerone; insomuch that I am told he has
never been obliged to resume the ragged old brown cloak in which I first
found him.

Towards sunset I came to where the road wound into the mountains, and
here I paused to take a last look at Granada. The hill on which I stood
commanded a glorious view of the city, the Vega, and the surrounding
mountains. It was at an opposite point of the compass from _La cuesta de
las lagrimas_ (the hill of tears) noted for the "last sigh of the Moor."
I now could realize something of the feelings of poor Boabdil when he
bade adieu to the paradise he was leaving behind, and beheld before him
a rugged and sterile road conducting him to exile.

The setting sun as usual shed a melancholy effulgence on the ruddy towers
of the Alhambra. I could faintly discern the balconied window of the
tower of Comares, where I had indulged in so many delightful reveries.
The bosky groves and gardens about the city were richly gilded with the
sunshine, the purple haze of a summer evening was gathering over the Vega;
everything was lovely, but tenderly and sadly so, to my parting gaze.

"I will hasten from this prospect," thought I, "before the sun is set. I
will carry away a recollection of it clothed in all its beauty."

With these thoughts I pursued my way among the mountains. A little further
and Granada, the Vega, and the Alhambra, were shut from my view; and thus
ended one of the pleasantest dreams of a life, which the reader perhaps
may think has been but too much made up of dreams.


_Richard Clay and Sons, Ltd., Brunswick St., Stamford St., S. E._


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The Border Waverley

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     Collected Edition


















18. WESSEX POEMS, and other Verses.




HYPATIA; or, New Foes with an old Face.


ALTON LOCKE, Tailor and Poet. An Autobiography.

HEREWARD THE WAKE, "Last of the English."

YEAST: A Problem.

POEMS: including The Saint's Tragedy, Andromeda, Songs, Ballads, etc.

THE WATER-BABIES: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby. With Illustrations by

THE HEROES; or, Greek Fairy Tales for my Children. With Illustrations by
the Author.

GLAUCUS; or, The Wonders of the Shore. With Illustrations.

MADAM HOW AND LADY WHY; or, First Lessons in Earth Lore for Children. With

AT LAST. A Christmas in the West Indies. With Illustrations.



PLAYS AND PURITANS, and other Historical Essays.


PROSE IDYLLS, New and Old.



ALL SAINTS' DAY: and other Sermons.

DISCIPLINE: and other Sermons.







1. MR. ISAACS: A Tale of Modern India.









10. TAQUISARA: A Novel.




14. KHALED: A Tale of Arabia.



17. MARION DARCHE: A Story without Comment.








25. CORLEONE: A Tale of Sicily.

26. VIA CRUCIS: A Romance of the Second Crusade.

27. IN THE PALACE OF THE KING: A Love Story of Old Madrid.

28. CECILIA: A Story of Modern Rome.

29. MARIETTA: A Maid of Venice.


31. SOPRANO: A Portrait.







38. STRADELLA: An Old Italian Love Tale.


1. ROBBERY UNDER ARMS: A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in
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3. THE MINER'S RIGHT: A Tale of the Australian Gold-fields.





8. PLAIN LIVING: A Bush Idyll.


10. THE CROOKED STICK; or, Pollie's Probation.


12. WAR TO THE KNIFE; or, Tangata Maori.


14. IN BAD COMPANY, and other Stories.

     By H. G. WELLS



THE STOLEN BACILLUS: and other Incidents.

THE INVISIBLE MAN. A Grotesque Romance.

LOVE AND MR. LEWISHAM. A Story of a very Young Couple.





KIPPS: The Story of a Simple Soul.



     By A. E. W. MASON





"LA BELLA": and others.




THE PRIDE OF JENNICO. Being a Memoir of Captain Basil Jennico.



_WESTMINSTER GAZETTE._--"A clever delineator of character, possessed of
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_STANDARD._--"Miss Carey has the gift of writing naturally and simply,
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Nearly 800,000 of these works have been printed.

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2. WEE WIFIE. 42nd Thousand.


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29. THE KEY OF THE UNKNOWN. 15th Thousand.



HEARTSEASE; or, the Brother's Wife. New Edition. With Illustrations by

HOPES AND FEARS; or, Scenes from the Life of a Spinster. With
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DYNEVOR TERRACE; or, the Clue of Life. With Illustrations by ADRIAN STOKES.

THE DAISY CHAIN; or, Aspirations. A Family Chronicle. With Illustrations

THE TRIAL: More Links of the Daisy Chain. With Illustrations by J. P.

THE PILLARS OF THE HOUSE; or, Under Wode, under Rode. Two Vols. With
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THE YOUNG STEPMOTHER; or, a Chronicle of Mistakes. With Illustrations by



MY YOUNG ALCIDES: A Faded Photograph. With Illustrations by ADRIAN STOKES.

THE CAGED LION. With Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.


THE CHAPLET OF PEARLS; or, the White and Black Ribaumont. With
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LADY HESTER; or, Ursula's Narrative; and THE DANVERS PAPERS. With
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MAGNUM BONUM; or, Mother Carey's Brood. With Illustrations by W. J.

LOVE AND LIFE: an Old Story in Eighteenth Century Costume. With
Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.

UNKNOWN TO HISTORY. A Story of the Captivity of Mary of Scotland. With
Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.


SCENES AND CHARACTERS; or, Eighteen Months at Beechcroft. With
Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.

CHANTRY HOUSE. With Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.

A MODERN TELEMACHUS. With Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.

BYWORDS. A collection of Tales new and old.



A REPUTED CHANGELING; or, Three Seventh Years Two Centuries Ago.


THE LANCES OF LYNWOOD. With Illustrations by J. B.

THE PRINCE AND THE PAGE: A Story of the Last Crusade. With Illustrations




GRISLY GRISELL; or, The Laidly Lady of Whitburn. A Tale of the Wars of
the Roses.

HENRIETTA'S WISH. Second Edition.


THE RELEASE; or, Caroline's French Kindred.


THE TWO GUARDIANS; or, Home in this World. Second Edition.


MODERN BROODS; or, Developments Unlooked for.

STROLLING PLAYERS: A Harmony of Contrasts. By C. M. YONGE and C. R.

STRAY PEARLS. Memoirs of Margaret de Ribaumont, Viscountess of Bellaise.
With Illustrations by W. J. HENNESSY.

     Works by Mrs. Craik

Olive: A Novel. With Illustrations by G. BOWERS.

Agatha's Husband: A Novel. With Illustrations by WALTER CRANE.

The Head of the Family: A Novel. With Illustrations by WALTER CRANE.

Two Marriages.

The Laurel Bush.

King Arthur: Not a Love Story.

About Money, and other Things.

Concerning Men, and other Papers.

     Works by Mrs. Oliphant

Neighbours on the Green.

Kirsteen: the Story of a Scotch Family Seventy Years Ago.

A Beleaguered City: A Story of the Seen and the Unseen.

Hester: a Story of Contemporary Life.

He that Will Not when He May.

The Railway Man and his Children.

The Marriage of Elinor.

Sir Tom.

The Heir-Presumptive and the Heir-Apparent.

A Country Gentleman and his Family.

A Son of the Soil.

The Second Son.

The Wizard's Son: A Novel.

Lady William.

Young Musgrave.

     The Works of Dean Farrar

SEEKERS AFTER GOD. The Lives of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

ETERNAL HOPE. Sermons preached in Westminster Abbey.

THE FALL OF MAN: and other Sermons.


THE SILENCE AND VOICES OF GOD, with other Sermons.

"IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH." Sermons on Practical Subjects.

SAINTLY WORKERS. Five Lenten Lectures.

EPHPHATHA; or, the Amelioration of the World.

MERCY AND JUDGMENT: a few last words on Christian Eschatology.


     Frederick Denison Maurice



CHRISTMAS DAY: and other Sermons.







THE FRIENDSHIP OF BOOKS: and other Lectures.


THE DOCTRINE OF SACRIFICE. Deduced from the Scriptures.


THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST; or, Hints to a Quaker respecting the Principles,
Constitution, and Ordinances of the Catholic Church. 2 vols.



SIR PERCIVAL: a Story of the Past and of the Present.















CASTLE DALY: the Story of an Irish Home thirty years ago.

















     By E. WERNER


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