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Title: With a Camera in Majorca
Author: D'Este, Margaret
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Libraries.)



                           Transcriber Notes

 ● Obvious printer errors corrected.
 ● Variations in spelling, accents and hyphenation left as in the
     original.
 ● Italics are represented by underscores surrounding the _italic text_.
 ● Bold text is represented by equals signs surrounding the =bold text=.
 ● Small capitals have been converted to ALL CAPS.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             WITH A CAMERA
                               IN MAJORCA

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration: MAJORCAN COUNTRY GIRLS.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             WITH A CAMERA
                               IN MAJORCA

                                   BY

                            MARGARET D’ESTE

               AUTHOR OF “THROUGH CORSICA WITH A CAMERA”


              _Kennst Du das Land wo die Citronen blühn,
              Im dunklen Laub die Gold-Orangen glühn,
              Ein sanfter Wind vom blauen Himmel weht,
              Die Myrte still und hoch der Lorbeer steht,
                                      Kennst Du es wohl?_


                  With Illustrations from Photographs
                           by Mrs. R. M. King


                          G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                          NEW YORK AND LONDON
                        The Knickerbocker Press
                                  1907

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                        (_All rights reserved._)

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                Contents


                                                         PAGE

                                PART I

          PALMA AND ITS IMMEDIATE VICINITY—PORTO PI—        1
            BELLVER—CASTLE OF ALARÓ—RAXA


                                PART II

          OUR FIRST TOUR IN THE ISLAND:—FELANITX—          44
            SANTUIRI CASTLE—ORATORIO DE SAN SALVADOR—
            PORT OF MANACÓR—DRAGON CAVES—CAVES OF ARTA—
            CAP DE PERA

          SECOND TOUR:—ANDRAITX—SAN TELMO—ESTALLENCHS—     66
            BAÑALBUFÁR

          THIRD TOUR:—VALLDEMÓSA—MIRAMAR—SOLLÉR—           78
            FORNALUTX

          FOURTH TOUR:—ALCUDIA—POLLENSA—CASTILLO DEL       94
            REY—MONASTERY OF LLUCH—GORCH BLAU—INCA


                               PART III

          ISLAND OF IVIZA—SANTA EULALIA—PHŒNICIAN         121
            NECROPOLIS—SALT WORKS


                                PART IV

          MINORCA—PORT MAHON—PREHISTORIC ALTARS—          142
            CIUDADÉLA—ROCK DWELLINGS

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         List of Illustrations


        MAJORCAN COUNTRY GIRLS                   _Frontispiece_
        VIEW OF PALMA                            _Face p._     2
        SIGNAL TOWER AT PORTO PI                     ”         3
        PUERTA SANTA MARGARITA                       ”         8
        PUERTA SANTA CATALINA                        ”         9
        VIEW FROM THE GRAND HOTEL                    ”        10
        SENTRY BOX ON THE RAMPARTS                   ”        11
        PATIO WITH BANANA CLUMP                      ”        12
        STREET IN PALMA                              ”        13
        PATIO WITH WELL                              ”        14
        PATIO IN THE CALLE ZAVELLA                   ”        15
        ARAB BATHS                                   ”        16
        DOOR OF MONTESION CHURCH                     ”        17
        CLOISTERS OF S. FRANCISCO                    ”        18
        CLOISTERS, UPPER CORRIDOR                    ”        19
        STAIRCASE OF PRIVATE HOUSE                   ”        20
        STREET OF THE ALMUDAINA                      ”        21
        LONJA                                        ”        22
        DOOR OF S. FRANCISCO                         ”        23
        GIRL WEARING THE REBOSILLO                   ”        28
        IVIZAN HOUND                                 ”        29
        PATIO IN BELLVER CASTLE                      ”        32
        IN THE GARDEN OF RAXA                        ”        33
        CURIOUS OLIVE-TREE                           ”        36
        GATE-TOWER AT ALARÓ CASTLE                   ”        37
        CURIOUS OLIVE-TREE                           ”        38
        CURIOUS OLIVE-TREE                           ”        39
        A WIND-WHEEL                                 ”        46
        GROUP OF WINDMILLS                           ”        47
        A WINDMILL                                   ”        52
        SANTUIRI CASTLE, INTERIOR                    ”        53
        SANTUIRI CASTLE, EXTERIOR                    ”        54
        ORATORIO OF OUR LADY OF S. SALVADOR          ”        55
        VIEW OF ARTA                                 ”        60
        WOMEN WEEDING A WHEATFIELD                   ”        61
        ENTRANCE TO THE CAVES OF ARTA                ”        64
        FISHERMAN IN PHRYGIAN CAP                    ”        65
        VIEW OF ESTALLENCHS                          ”        74
        INTERIOR OF HOUSE IN VILLAGE                 ”        75
        GEORGE SAND’S ROOMS AT VALLDEMÓSA            ”        80
        VIEW ON NORTH COAST OF MAJORCA               ”        81
        STREET AT THE PORT OF SOLLÉR                 ”        86
        PALMER FROM THE HOLY LAND                    ”        87
        VIEW OF SOLLÉR                               ”        90
        OLD HOUSE AT FORNALUTX                       ”        91
        COURTYARD AT ALFÁDIA                         ”        94
        ROMAN GATE, ALCÚDIA                          ”        95
        BAY OF ALCÚDIA                               ”        96
        MOORISH WATERWHEEL                           ”        97
        BAY OF SAN VICENTE                           ”       100
        ANCIENT COSTUME OF MAJORCA                   ”       101
        COCK FOUNTAIN AT POLLENSA                    ”       104
        ROMAN BRIDGE, POLLENSA                       ”       105
        CASTILLO DEL REY                             ”       108
        GORCH BLAU                                   ”       109
        PLA DE CUBA                                  ”       116
        VIEW OF THE PLAIN AROUND INCA                ”       117
        TOWN OF IVIZA                                ”       124
        BAY OF IVIZA                                 ”       125
        A PURVEYOR OF DRINKING WATER                 ”       126
        MOORISH TYPE OF HOUSE                        ”       127
        IVIZAN PEASANTS                              ”       130
        VIEW OF SANTA EULÁLIA                        ”       131
        PORCH OF CHURCH, S. EULÁLIA                  ”       134
        PHŒNICIAN TOMBS                              ”       135
        FORTIFIED CHURCH OF SAN JORGE                ”       138
        SALT WORKS, IVIZA                            ”       139
        TALAYOT OF TORELLO, MINORCA                  ”       148
        PREHISTORIC ALTAR, TALÁTO-DE-DALT            ”       149
        OUR GALARÉTA                                 ”       152
        A WILD OLIVE-TREE                            ”       153
        NAU-DE-TUDONS                                ”       156
        ALTAR OF TORRE TRENCADO                      ”       157
        PIGS’ PALACE AND PREHISTORIC PYLON           ”       158
        MEGALITHIC DWELLING                          ”       159
        ROCK-CUT DWELLINGS, SAN MORELL               ”       164
        INTERIOR OF ROCK-CUT DWELLING                ”       165

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             AUTHOR’S NOTE


To those who are unacquainted with the Spanish language, the
pronunciation of Majorcan names is such a stumbling block that the
following phonetic rendering of some of those most frequently met with
may be found useful:—

      Jaime                  = Ha-eé-may

      Lonja                  = Loan-ha

      Andraitx               = An-dreítsch

      Lluch                  = Lee-oók

      Sollér                 = Sole-yair

      Iviza                  = Evéess-a

      Mahon                  = M’hone

      Aubercuix              = O-ber-cóotsh

      Puig (signifying Peak) = Póotsch

      Bañalbufar             = Ban-yal-boo-fár

      Felanitx               = Fay-la-néetsch

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration: Map of =Majorca=]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 PART I


In the spring of 1906 we found ourselves with three months to devote to
foreign travel, and after some deliberation we decided to spend them in
exploring those “_Iles oubliées_” of the Mediterranean—Majorca, Minorca,
and Iviza—and in ascertaining for ourselves whether they were worth
visiting and what were the possibilities of a stay there.

Their names, it is true, lingered in our memories like some familiar
echo from far-off schoolroom days, but with regard to all practical
details we were extremely ignorant, and it was without knowing a soul in
the islands or a soul who had ever been there, that we set out on the
last day of January to visit the Balearics—those homes of famous
slingers.

A railway journey of twenty-two hours takes the traveller from Paris to
Barcelona by way of Toulouse. The change from France to Spain is an
abrupt one. After racing through flat lands of vine, through sand dunes
and salt lagoons, one crosses the frontier into a dry place of red and
orange hills, where stone villages stand bare and unshrinking in the
strong sunlight, and here and there a palm—solitary outpost of the
south—waves her dusty plumes; and the night falls suddenly upon a sky
crystal clear, as the sun slips in glory behind the strong outline of
the purple Pyrenees.

                  *       *       *       *       *

An old writer has left it on record that the thing which chiefly
repented him in his life was having gone anywhere by sea when he might
have gone by land. Since it is decreed, however, that islands shall be
reached by water, one subject of remorse was spared us as we boarded the
steamship _Miramar_ at half-past six on the evening of February 5th. And
so great is the power of comparatives to cheer, that though the worst of
sailors, we derived a certain happiness from the reflection that we had
at any rate chosen the lesser evil in sailing from Barcelona instead of
taking the twenty-four hour crossing from Marseilles.

Behold us then at dawn gliding into the Bay of Palma and gazing around
us with that undefined expectancy that even in these prosaic days of
travel tinges with romance the landing on an unknown shore.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_From the grounds round the Castle of Bellver a most
  lovely view of Palma is obtained through the pine-trees_....”

                                                (page 31)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _the little harbour of Porto Pi, guarded by an old
  Moorish signal tower_.”

                                                (page 32)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is nothing of the wild and rugged mountain scenery that meets the
eye on approaching Ajaccio. Rather like some Fortunate Isle safe from
the reach of tempests does Majorca lie serene and dreaming upon the
water. The great bay opening to the south is enclosed upon the east by a
level shore terminating far out at sea in the blue headland of Cape
Blanco, while closer at hand the western coast line is indented with
many a rocky promontory and wooded headland curving down to the
harbour’s rim. A low cliff of orange sandstone encircles like a sea wall
the head of the bay, and upon this cliff stands Palma, a sea of
colourless houses massed upon the water’s edge and stretching backwards
to the wide plain—deep blue and level well-nigh as the sea itself—that
forms the background to the town and to the great cathedral that towers
high above all other buildings.

At its eastern rim the plain rises slightly to the double peaks of the
Puig de Randa, far inland; on the west the panorama is closed by a
distant range of sapphire blue mountains, the Sierra of the interior.

We land, and are rattled quickly away in an omnibus to the Grand Hotel—
but a few minutes distant from the quay. It was no small relief to find
that we were spared a further encounter with the Spanish _douane_, for
the ruthless violation of our trunks at the frontier station of Port Bou
was still fresh in our memory, while the very hour of our sailing from
Barcelona had been marked by a last attempt at extortion. A Customs
official who was patrolling the wharf in all the glory of helmet and
sword, took upon himself to detain a packing case of ours, containing a
saddle, and, on the ground that he could not see what was inside, he
forbade it to be put on board.

It was late—it was dark—the boat was about to sail, and we had retired
to our cabin. Our hired porter raved and shrieked upon the quay, then
came to us and said we must have the case opened or it would be left
behind. I stumbled upstairs again, my Spanish deserting me at such a
rate that by the time I reached the shore my vocabulary was literally
reduced to the one word, _sombrero_—which, unhappily, did not bear upon
the matter. The _douanier_ was polite, but firm. With shrugged shoulders
he said the Senorita would comprehend that with the best will in the
world he could not see through a deal board.

At that moment the gleam of a street lamp fell upon an upturned palm
protruding from beneath the military cape—and into it I slipped a
peseta, which produced such a furious access of shrugging and
protestation that for one brief moment I thought I had insulted the man.
But on looking round I saw that all was well, porter and case being
already half-way on deck—and with a sense of deep annoyance at having
tipped a person I would willingly have fined, I followed them and went
to bed.

On the Palma quay all is peace. By a simple arrangement involving a
certain annual subsidy to the Customs officials, the proprietor of the
Grand Hotel has ensured protection for his guests’ luggage, which
escapes even the most nominal examination. The hotel omnibus merely
draws up for a moment in front of the _Douane_ on entering the town; the
officials, armed with long probing rods, saunter out, open the carriage
door and wish us good day—and on we go again.

The town is still half asleep, and as we drive up to the hotel its
shutters are being unshipped by yawning faquins. We find a large and
handsome five-storied building with an imposing façade, and balconied
windows that look out upon the small central square of the town. The
interior conveys a truly southern impression of silence and space, due
to the great expanses of marble pavement and to the cool stone walls and
passages which prevent the conveyance of sound. The dining hall is
immense; so are the lobbies that run round the central well of the
house, and off which the bedrooms open. We go upstairs, and within an
hour of our arrival have become _pensionnaires_ of the hotel at 10s. a
head a day, and are installed in two excellent rooms on the third floor,
comfortably furnished, fitted with electric bells and light, heated by
hot water, and reached by a lift, while our wants are being ministered
to by a cheerful white-capped chambermaid answering to the name of
Dolores.

                  *       *       *       *       *

With brains still jumbled by travel it is almost impossible to realise,
in the midst of such up-to-date comfort, that we are really and actually
in Majorca—an island that might, for all we knew to the contrary a few
weeks ago, have proved an inhospitable rock. Memories recur of nights
spent _en route_ at Paris and Toulouse, and we go to the window half-
expecting to see a vista of wide boulevards and to hear the familiar
clanging of electric trams as they glide up and down some arcaded street
of cafés and shopfronts.

We are sharply recalled from such visions: a sea of pale yellow-ochre
tiles, unbroken, though intersected by narrow crevasse-like streets,
stretches down to a strip of brilliant blue water in the harbour below.
On flat house tops lines of wet linen flap wildly in sun and wind.
Jutting up above the mass of irregular roofs are fantastic turrets and
aviaries, painted blue and red, the homes of innumerable pigeons now
wheeling in flocks over the town, their wings singing as they cleave the
air above our heads. From scattered belfrys and towers unmelodious bells
clash out wildly for a few moments and then relapse into silence; and
like a running accompaniment to the murmur of the streets is heard the
gobble, gobble of many turkeys, and the bright eye of one of these birds
is seen watching us fixedly through the Venetian shutters of a small
upper room across the way. No, truly! this is all very unlike a northern
city.

Majorca is in fact a stepping-stone between Europe and Africa, where the
East and West—rather than the north and south of her geographical
position—may be said to meet.

She has had many masters in her day: the earliest colonists of whom we
have any record were the sea-faring Rhodians, who were said to build “as
though for eternity.” But not the faintest trace of their occupation
survives. Their successors were the Carthaginians, who left footprints
in Minorca by founding Mahon, the capital, the reputed birthplace of
Hannibal. Then came the Romans, who in 123 B.C. founded Palma and
Pollensa; Balearic slingers fought under Julius Cæsar in Gaul as they
had done under Hannibal at Cannæ. Five hundred years later the islands
were captured by the Vandals—were retaken by the Byzantine general
Belisarius, and fell subsequently with the greater part of Spain into
the hands of the Visigoths.

In the eighth century came the resistless tide of the Saracens, who held
the island for an uninterrupted period of nearly five hundred years, and
might have kept it longer had they not strained the patience of their
Christian neighbours to breaking point by their piratical habits. They
had become such a menace to the marine commerce of Europe that the then
Pope preached a crusade against the Balearic bandits, and an allied
fleet sailed from Pisa and Catalonia in the twelfth century. The
pirates’ nest was smoked out, Palma succumbing after a long and stubborn
siege. The allies, however, proved unable to retain their prize, and the
island relapsed to the Moors, who so far took their lesson to heart as
to somewhat amend their ways.

But the great assault was yet to come. On Sept. 6, 1229, Don Jaime I—
King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona—destined to live in history by the
title of _El Conquistador_, set sail for Palma with 150 galleys and
18,000 soldiers, besides a great company of Spanish knights aflame with
religious zeal, the lust of conquest, and the hope of glory. We are told
that the Christian host encountered a great storm on the way, and that
they were grievously sick before they landed near Porto Pi to the west
of the town.

Here the infidels attacked them, but were beaten back and besieged
within the city, which fell some three months later after a desperate
resistance, and was entered by the victorious Spanish army on December
31, 1229.

From that memorable day may be said to date modern Palma. Everything
around one testifies to the break that separates the history of the town
since the conquest from the old period of Arab domination. The names of
the streets immortalise the Conqueror and succeeding sovereigns or
notables of the invading race. The scutcheons that ornament the public
buildings display the arms granted to Palma by Don Jaime—a castle in the
sea, with a palm-tree issuant, quartered with the arms of Aragon and
surmounted by the Bat, cognisance of the Counts of Barcelona.

The town houses of the aristocracy are the old palaces of the nine noble
families whose ancestors accompanied the Conqueror and settled in the
island. The Governor’s residence stands where did the Moorish sheikh’s
palace; the Cathedral occupies the site of the principal mosque. So
thorough were the invaders in destroying or converting to other uses the
Moorish buildings, so fierce was their Christian zeal—“which spared not
even stones”—that hardly a trace remains of the oriental Palma, that
city crowned with minarets and peopled with 80,000 souls, which attained
under the Moors a glory and magnificence that have never since been
equalled.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Palma of the present day is a prosperous town of some 60,000
inhabitants. She has burst her ancient limits, and her eastern outskirts
are thick with factories and windmills extending to the plain, while
outside her western fortifications has sprung up a large residential
suburb, and the wooded slopes above the bay are thronged for miles with
villas and summer residences. Only the town that lies inside the walls
is the old Palma, and this—in its main features—has probably altered
little since the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The gateway by which Don Jaime is said to have made
  his triumphal entry into Palma in the year 1229._”

                                                (page 10)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The Riéra is seen flowing beneath the bridge that leads
  from the gate of Santa Catalina to the suburb of the same
  name._”

                                                (page 9)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A wide thoroughfare divides the town into the upper and lower _Villas_,
and starting from the harbour, takes a right angle near the Grand Hotel
and makes its exit through the Porte Jésus in the north-west walls. This
is the principal artery of the town, and was originally—like the Rambla
of many another Spanish city—the bed by which the river found its way to
the sea; but in the year 1403 a disastrous flood, causing the loss of
hundreds of houses and lives, so alarmed the inhabitants that the river
was turned from its course and conducted into the moat that surrounds
the town. Spanish rivers are proverbial for their lack of water, and it
is difficult to credit the Riéra—which in its normal state suggests
nothing more dangerous than a gravel pit after rain—with such powers of
destruction in bygone days.

The gigantic scale of Palma’s encircling fortifications may perhaps best
be realised by a glance at the accompanying picture, where the Riéra is
seen flowing beneath the bridge that leads from the gate of Santa
Catalina to the suburb of the same name.

The fortifications date from very different periods. The completed
design of moat and rampart as it now stands was originated in the
sixteenth century and only finished a hundred years ago; but remains of
the old Moorish defences still exist, though they suffered severely in
the great siege of 1229, and were strengthened and largely rebuilt by
the Spanish conquerors.

A picturesque gateway on the north of the town, now called Santa
Margarita, but dubbed by the Moors the Gate of the Christians, is
pointed out as having been the one by which Don Jaime made his
triumphant entry into Palma. This gateway, like the other survivals of
the ancient fortifications, stands some way within the _Muralla_ of the
present day, which encompasses the town as with a raised highway—one
might almost say a common, so incredibly vast are the earthworks within
the walls. Hither the townsfolk ascend at evening to enjoy the sea
breeze and the glorious view over land and sea. Cows graze peacefully
along the ramparts, surrounded by children at play; and wheeling flights
of pigeons execute aerial manœuvres overhead, while squads of new
recruits march unendingly backwards and forwards from morning to night
in the dry bed of the moat below, and the bastions re-echo the sharp
words of command.

The moat on the eastern side is devoted to rope-making, and there men
are seen walking backwards all day long, spinning as they go, and the
dull thud of heavy mallets is heard as they beat out the bundles of
esparto grass.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _the_ Plaza del Mercádo, _lying in the shadow of the
  old hexagonal tower of San Nicolas, and flanked by the
  great balconied house of the Zafortéza family_.”

                                                (page 12)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_At intervals along the ramparts stand ancient sentry
  boxes of weathered sandstone_....”

                                                (page 11)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the southern ramparts overlooking the harbour and immediately beneath
the cathedral, is the broad terraced walk that forms Palma’s most
beautiful promenade. At intervals along the low parapet stand ancient
sentry-boxes of weathered sandstone, and one looks past them out to sea,
with a bird’s-eye view of the harbour and its shipping backed by the
white suburb of Santa Catalina and the pinewoods of Bellver. Above us
rise clustered houses, with here and there a group of slender palm-trees
leaning from some garden, and crowning all stands the great cathedral,
rich with pinnacles and flying buttresses, and turning to the harbour a
cliff-like face of sandstone deep tanned by centuries of sun and sea.

Small wonder that the townspeople love to stroll on their beautiful
_Muralla de Mar_. It is probably the only portion of the ramparts that
will survive the work of destruction now proceeding—for the doom of the
fortifications is sealed. The last part they played in history was
during the Spanish war of succession in 1715, when Palma hotly espoused
the cause of the Austrian archduke and was reduced by General Aspheld
with an army of 10,000 men. Modern science has rendered the old walls
useless as a defence—modern hygiene considers them an undesirable
barrier to fresh air.

And so they are to go.

For the last thirty years the work of pulling them down has proceeded
with but occasional pauses from lack of funds. Already a wide breach has
been made on the side next the sea; to the north a large section of the
moat has been filled in and converted into a square with gardens; and
workmen are now engaged in throwing down the eastern walls. The outer
casing of masonry is being gradually stripped off and the vast
earthworks shovelled into the moat. To the onlooker it seems as if ants
had been set to remove a mountain as he watches one trolley-load of
rubbish after another slide down to the glacis below without making the
slightest perceptible difference.

Yet it is only a question of a few years before walls and moat alike
shall have vanished. Gone will be the old entrance gates with their
scutcheons and turrets and their deep archways of black shadow where
lurks the _douanier_ watching for his prey. Gone will be the bridges
with their ceaseless stream of passengers plying to and from the town.
Gone—alas! will be one of Palma’s most picturesque features.

                  *       *       *       *       *

A cheerful scene greets the eye of the stranger who starts out on a
voyage of exploration the morning after his arrival at the Grand Hotel.
Facing him, as he emerges into the street, is the _Plaza del Mercádo_,
lying in the shadow of the old hexagonal tower of the church of San
Nicolas, and flanked by the great balconied house of the Zafortéza
family. If it happen to be a Saturday morning a busy throng is
congregated on the square; the ground is strewn with displays of glass
and crockery, of coarse green and brown pottery and graceful waterjars,
while the sellers of young orange-trees, of toys and jewellery, of cheap
rocking chairs and folding trestle bedsteads, vie with one another in
attracting the attention of possible purchasers.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ patio _in some houses is merely a plain courtyard
  enclosed by whitewashed walls, with perhaps a clump of
  bananas growing in the centre_.”

                                                (page 14)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Long flights of steps lead to the higher part of the town,
  some broad and shallow, the playground of innumerable
  boys_....”

                                                (page 13)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Long flights of steps lead to the higher part of the town—some broad and
shallow, the playground of innumerable boys; others steep and so narrow
that the tall houses almost meet overhead.

The cobbled streets of the oldest and most aristocratic quarters of
Palma resemble ravines, and are barely wide enough to admit of the
passage of the heavy two-wheeled carts that come lumbering through,
scraping either wall with their axles and compelling foot passengers to
seek the shelter of the nearest archway. An oriental atmosphere of
mystery hangs about the massive, fortress-like walls of the great houses
that tower on either side, turning to the outer world a blank and
inscrutable face of reserve that offers not the faintest indication of
the life existing within. External windows are represented by a few
heavily-barred apertures high overhead, but if you chance to find the
great nail-studded _porte-cochère_ standing open you are at perfect
liberty to go in and look about you.

The universal plan of all the better houses is that inherited from the
Arabs—of a _patio_ or open courtyard in the centre of the building, from
which a staircase ascends to the dwelling rooms on the first floor. In
some houses this _patio_ consists of nothing more than a plain courtyard
enclosed by whitewashed walls, with perhaps a clump of bananas growing
in the centre; but in the palaces inhabited by the nobility and dating
back some centuries the courtyard is frequently of great beauty and
constitutes the chief architectural feature of the house.

The residence of the Oleza family in the _Calle de Moréy_ has a fine
courtyard in Rénaissance style; handsome pillars of red marble support
the vaultings of the house, and the gallery that spans the marble
staircase rests upon a wide flattened arch bearing the family coat of
arms. The ground floor is devoted to stables, coach-house, and domestic
offices, and in the court stands that characteristic feature of Moorish
and Spanish _patios_—the well, from which the household draws its water
supply. The bucket is lowered from a wrought-iron support in the form of
a crozier, and on being brought up brimming its contents are upset into
the font-shaped receptacle of stone close by, from which they flow
through an orifice into the water jar placed on a slab below.

The palace of the Marquis de Vivot in the _Calle Zavella_ is not as
ancient as many another, dating as it does from the beginning of the
eighteenth century only, but its _patio_ is the largest in Palma and
certainly one of the most beautiful. It is approached by fine _portes-
cochères_ and has in the centre a paved space where carriages stand at
the foot of the great staircase. From eight beautiful marble columns
spring the graceful arches that uphold the house, and in brilliant
relief against the black shadows of the recess stands out the clear red
of two immense oil-jars containing palms.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_In the court stands that characteristic feature of Moorish
  and Spanish_ patios—_the well_.”

                                                (page 14)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ patio _in the palace of the Marquis de Vivot is one
  of the most beautiful in Palma_....”

                                                (page 14)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am not competent to enter into the details of wrought work and
sculpture with which the _patios_ of Palma abound, but even to the
visitor unversed in architecture a voyage of discovery in the older
quarters is full of interest. The meanest back street may produce a
richly-carved window frame or a staircase with a stone balustrade of
quaint and original design. The _Calle de Sol_ boasts a house front in
purest Rénaissance style, five big windows on the first floor being
wreathed in gargoyles and strange stone monsters.

In the _Calle de la Almudaina_ we come upon an ancient machicolated
archway spanning the street. This once formed part of the wall that
encircled the very kernel of the old Moorish city, and is the only
survival of the five gateways that afforded entrance to the Citadel.

Not far from here is the equally ancient Moorish Bath, a small building
some twenty feet square standing in an orange garden. It is in the
Byzantine style, and is built of small bricks scarcely thicker than the
intervening layers of mortar. The circular basin which no doubt occupied
the floor of the building has disappeared, and the interior contains
nothing but twelve much-worn pillars standing in a square, the eight
centre ones supporting the cupola of the roof, while the four corner
columns are by an ingenious—and I believe very unusual—arrangement
omitted from the circle and left standing back in the angles of the
building.

An air of incredible age pervades this blackened and cobwebbed relic of
Islamism that lingers, unaltered and half forgotten, in the very heart
of the Christian city. It forms—with the Almudaina arch and the signal
tower of Porto Pi—the only authentic memorial of the race which occupied
Majorca for a period of five hundred years.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The churches of Palma are many. One of the oldest is that of Monte Sion,
which is said to have adopted both the site and the name of a still
older Jewish synagogue: as one skirts its walls, huge, blank, and
dungeon-like, one is quite unprepared for its exquisite doorway—one of
the richest pieces of sculpture in Palma. It is a fine specimen of
rococo, dating from 1683, and constituting in its delicacy of detail and
beauty of proportion one of the finest of the many beautiful church
doors for which Palma is famed.

Scarcely less magnificent is the west front of the great church of San
Francisco, with its immense doorway in late Rénaissance style,
surmounted by an exquisite rose window. This church contains the tomb of
a scion of a noble Catalonian house—the famous Rámon Lull, warrior,
scholar, and saint—who in the reign of Jaime II. founded a college for
the instruction of twelve monks in oriental tongues, and was himself
martyred in Algeria by the infidels whom he went forth to convert. His
body was secured by some Genoese fishermen, who set sail for Italy with
their precious burden; but when off the coast of Majorca their boat
refused to advance till the martyr’s body was brought on shore, where it
was laid to rest in its native soil by the monks of San Francisco.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_An air of incredible age pervades this blackened and cobwebbed
  relic of Islamism_....”

                                                (page 16)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The exquisite doorway of Montesion is one of the richest
  pieces of sculpture in Palma._”

                                                (page 16)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The tomb is a beautiful Gothic monument of red marble, but the effigy of
Rámon Lull, surrounded by fretted canopies and fantastic heraldic
beasts, is only dimly visible in the deep gloom of the church.

A trap door leads down to an immense crypt, where a huddled-up human
skeleton is pointed out and the story told of a bloody tragedy enacted
in the church in the year 1490. Two of Palma’s greatest families were at
deadly feud, and while attending the ceremonies of the _Jour des Morts_,
upon some slight pretext came to blows. The church became a slaughter-
house, and before swords were sheathed more than three hundred dead and
wounded were left on the field of battle.

Whether the skeleton in the crypt is one of those that fell that
memorable day may be doubted; but it is not improbable, for the church
and its monastery were founded shortly after the conquest—by monks of
the order of St. Francis of Assisi—and were from earliest times one of
the chief places of burial for the nobility. The walls of the adjoining
cloisters are thick with scutcheons and memorial tablets to those who
were once the greatest in the land.

A beautiful colonnade of slender Gothic pillars encloses the monks’
garden, where two geese—sole occupants of the _Paradiso_—chatter angrily
at the intruder. No other sound but the soft rustlings of palm branches
and the whispers of the wind in the orange-trees breaks the silence of
the long galleries and deserted cells.

From the upper corridor with its broken pavement chequered with dazzling
patches of sunshine one looks out from under the deep overshadowing
eaves to where the cathedral spires rise dim and distant across half the
city. The atmosphere of infinite peace that pervades these cloisters—the
sense of seclusion, although so near the busy life outside the walls—
must have appealed deeply to the brown-frocked friars who once paced
these beautiful walks “revolving many memories.”

Bitter must have been the day of expulsion when this monastery, like all
the others in the island, was suppressed in 1835.

The church of San Nicolas contains a statue of Santa Catalina, a
Majorcan saint of great fame, and—incorporated in the outer wall, is the
rock on which she was sitting in the bed of the Riéra at the moment when
she was informed of her admission into the convent of St. Magdalen. The
interiors of these southern churches are so dark that it is with
difficulty possible to make out the statues that occupy the side
chapels; here may be seen a black Madonna and child of miraculous power;
there a group of saints laden with ex-votos in the shape of flat silver
images of men and women and models of human limbs, hung upon their arms
by grateful devotees; in another niche is a life-sized Christ upon the
cross—wearing a fringed crimson petticoat to the knees and a broad
silver girdle with a bunch of artificial roses stuck in it, while matted
locks of real hair straggle out from beneath the crown of thorns.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_In the ancient monastery of S. Francisco a beautiful
  colonnade of slender gothic pillars encloses the monks’
  garden_....”

                                                (page 18)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_From the upper corridor one looks out to where the
  cathedral spires rise dim and distant across half the city._”

                                                (page 18)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the Cathedral the darkness is so intense by contrast with the
blinding light outside that it is some considerable time before one’s
eyes become sufficiently accustomed to the gloom to perceive the details
of the rich interior. The roof of the nave rises 150 feet above the
level of the pavement, and is divided from the side aisles by fourteen
great columns 70 feet in height, slender and stately as the shafts of
forest trees. High overhead—where the delicate ribs of the vaulting
cross—are carved the armorial shields of knights, who for this privilege
paid heavy sums in bygone days towards the building of the church. Eight
chapels, gorgeous with statues and gilding, occupy either side aisle,
and above them are Gothic windows—so little suited to this land of
fierce light that they have had to be bricked up, with the exception of
a few tiny apertures through which the sun shoots golden arrows. The
faint light that penetrates the rich rose windows above the choir lies
in jewelled stains upon the pavement, and does little to dispel the
solemn gloom.

From the dim east end, far away, where wreaths of incense rise and the
high altar is outlined in brilliant points of light, comes the distant
chanting of priests and the response of choir boys—and suddenly a great
rush of harmony fills the cathedral as the voice of the organ sinks and
swells like a storm-wind among the columns, and dies trembling away in
the uttermost recesses of the great building.

Worshippers move to and fro in constant succession; men spread their
handkerchiefs upon the stone floor and remain upon their knees in
prayer, wholly oblivious of the coming and going around them. Women,
dressed in deepest black, kneel motionless at the _grilles_ of the
various chapels, where lamps burn with a dull red spark before the image
of saint or Saviour. A stately _Suisse_ in wig and gown paces up and
down and receives the visitor desirous of seeing the treasures of the
sacristy; here are exhibited heavy silver candelabra, embroidered
vestments, jewelled crosses, and reliquaries—and in company with these
may be seen, bedizened with tawdry velvet and sham ermine, the mummified
body of Majorca’s second king, Don Jaime II., who died in the year 1311.

It was in the old church of Santa Eulalia, not far away, that in 1256 a
general assembly was called to proclaim this Don Jaime—the second son of
the Conqueror—heir to the crown of Majorca, his elder brother’s
inheritance being the throne of Aragon, which carried with it a merely
nominal suzerainty over the island kingdom. Before long, however, a
dispute arose over the terms of allegiance due to the King of Aragon,
and in 1285 Don Jaime was dispossessed of his kingdom by Alfonso III.
for thirteen years, after which time it was restored to him by the
usurper’s son, and retained till his death.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ patios _of Palma abound in sculpture and wrought-iron
  work_....”

                                                (page 15)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The machicolated archway spanning the street of the
  Almudaina is the only survival of the five gateways that
  afforded entrance to the Citadel._”

                                                (page 15)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

He was succeeded by his son Sancho, who died without children, and the
crown then passed to his uncle, the fourth son of the Conqueror, and
through him to Don Jaime III., the last King of Majorca, who fell upon
the field of Lluchmayor in 1349, in a last attempt to regain the crown
wrested from him by Pedro IV. of Aragon.

So ended—within little more than a hundred years of its creation—the
independent monarchy founded by Jaime the Conqueror, and the islands
have from that time been incorporated with the kingdom of Aragon.

In the fine sixteenth-century town hall is preserved a full-length
portrait of the Conqueror, which represents him as a grave-faced man
with a pointed beard and hair cut square upon the shoulders, robed in
crimson mantle, ermine collar, crown, and sword. For many centuries it
was the custom to celebrate the anniversary of the capture of Palma by
exhibiting this portrait outside the town hall, surmounted by the royal
standard of Aragon and surrounded by the portraits of eminent Majorcans.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The town contains innumerable other features of interest, but before
leaving this portion of my subject I must not omit a mention of the
_Lónja_—the Exchange—a large building standing near the harbour, and one
of the first objects to attract the attention of the traveller as he
nears the quay. Its keep-like walls and turreted parapets are usually
the subject of much admiration, but I must confess that to us the great
building seemed too symmetrically square and too conspicuously new to
awaken in us any enthusiasm for its exterior.

Severely rectangular it undoubtedly is—but its appearance of newness is
misleading, for it dates from the fifteenth century, when it was the
custom for Spanish towns to vie with one another in the splendour of
their Exchanges; its claim, therefore, to be one of the finest _Lónjas_
in Spain is a legitimate source of pride.

It is said to have been begun in 1409, when the merchants of Palma,
having rendered the King of Aragon great aid in the conquest of
Sardinia, received permission to levy a tax on all the outgoing and
incoming wares of foreigners and pirate persons; and so large was the
sum accruing from this protective toll that after applying part of it to
the defence of their commerce at sea they devoted the remainder to
building this splendid Exchange—a testimony to future generations of the
extent and prosperity of Palma’s trade in the Middle Ages.

The interior is extremely striking, containing nine fluted and twisted
columns of great height, their delicate groinings spreading in palm-like
tracery over the roof. The building has long been disused, and the light
that enters as the shutters are flung wide of the great windows looking
out to sea discloses nothing but some old paintings upon the walls and a
jumble of sculptured fragments piled upon the stone seats that surround
the hall.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The interior of the Lonja—Palma’s ancient Exchange—contains
  six fluted columns of great height_....”

                                                (page 22)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The great church of S. Francisco has a doorway in late
  Rénaissance style_....”

                                                (page 16)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

It will perhaps be thought strange that a town so comparatively easy of
access as Palma, and possessing so much to attract the artist and the
antiquarian, should be so little known to the world at large. Yet if we
reflect how small a distance from the beaten track will suffice to
deflect ninety-nine per cent of the travelling public, it is no subject
for wonder that Majorca is still an unknown isle.

A certain number of travellers pass through Palma on their way to and
from Algiers, but the island in general is as yet barely aware of the
existence of the tourist, and he is quite a recent institution even in
Palma itself, where the opening of the Grand Hotel three years ago may
be said to have inaugurated a new era.

Viewed in the light of a tourist resort the old town is so far behind
the times that she brings me in mind of some old-fashioned châtelaine
who with dignity offers her guests of her best, without in any way
altering her mode of life to suit the standard of modern requirements. I
can recall but two shopkeepers in Palma who knew any language but
Spanish, and at the Bank a special clerk is hastily summoned if an
Englishman chances to enter the door. An English church—the earliest
sign of a recurring visitors’ season—is as yet only represented by a
mission-room in the suburb of Santa Catalina, where the Church of
England service is read every Sunday by a Wesleyan minister.

To the globe-trotter it will come as a surprise to find that he is no
longer under the world-wide ægis of Thomas Cook, and that that name by
which he has hitherto conjured conveys nothing whatever to a Majorcan
official. The foreigner who visits the remoter villages of the interior
is still looked upon as something of a curiosity; he will have to drive
in native carriages, live on native food, and bid a temporary farewell
to that cosmopolitan standard of comfort provided for all who travel the
world’s highways. But he will at least be sure of one thing—an unfailing
welcome by an island race noted for its charming manners.

I think the courtesy of the natives is one of the first things to strike
the new-comer in Palma. Many a time as we rambled about the labyrinthine
streets of the town did a Spanish lady come out of her way to ask if she
could be of any use in directing us; in any difficulty you may apply
without hesitation to one of the common soldiers with which the town
swarms, and with all the instinct of a well-bred man he will immediately
do his utmost to be of assistance, nor would his own colonel more deeply
resent the inference of inferiority conveyed by the offer of a tip.

The bow with which a native gentleman asks you to enter his _patio_ and
photograph what you will is only equalled by that of the peasant who
rises from table at a wayside cottage to ask the passing stranger to be
seated and to share his meal.

In a country where manners cease to form a distinction between the
classes social intercourse becomes easy and natural. A market-woman will
enter the democratic tram, dragging with her an unmanageable and
overflowing basket, and the gentleman seated next her will without
hesitation accept half of it on his knees, hand it after her when she
rises, and raise his hat as she turns to thank him. There is neither
thought of condescension on his part nor of presumption on hers.

School attendance is not compulsory in Majorca, and many of the peasants
with whom we came in contact were wholly illiterate; yet in no instance
had the proverbial twopence extra for manners been spared in their
education. I remember how when talking to a muleteer we once regretted
our inability to speak Spanish more fluently.

“Ah, but the Señora speaks well!” he said quickly; “think how difficult
I should find it if it was I who had to learn _her_ language!” And an
old man chimed in, “And I, Señora, cannot even write!”

The _patois_ spoken by the peasants is a dialect composed of the old
Catalonian tongue alloyed with a strong dash of Provençal French, and it
bears very little resemblance to the Spanish of Castile, which became
the language of the educated classes after the union of Ferdinand and
Isabella. The latter is, however, the tongue taught in the schools, and
the stranger who can speak “castelláno” will find himself understood
throughout the Balearic Islands, barring by a few of the older and more
illiterate peasants.

The people of Palma are so little accustomed to Spanish-speaking
foreigners that some of the shopkeepers cannot be brought to mention the
price of an article to their customers, but persist in counting out the
required sum into their own hand and exhibiting it in dumb show—to the
exasperation of a certain German lady who objected to being “treated
like a child.”

The shopping expeditions of more or less speechless tourists must
necessarily be productive of many a laughable incident, yet I never saw
a native betray the slightest amusement at the mistakes committed; I
have indeed had my hand wrung with heartfelt sympathy by a good woman to
whom I was struggling to explain myself.

The chief shopping centre for visitors is perhaps the _Platería_—a
narrow street occupied by working silver-smiths—where gold and silver
chains are measured off and sold by the palm, and bits of old enamel and
peasant jewellery, in the shape of antique pendants and crosses, are
displayed in the little windows. Amongst the most fascinating objects
are clusters of silver-gilt buttons set with amethyst and garnet, such
as are worn by the countrywomen on _fête_ days, and dozens of minute
silver charms representing baskets, lanterns, tubs, and other familiar
objects, reduced to the scale of a mouse’s belongings; while hanging
everywhere, of all sizes and shapes, are the silver chain purses used by
every Majorcan, and exported by the thousand—to be sold at double the
price by fashionable jewellers in London.

Few foreigners leave Palma without a souvenir in the form of a piece of
old-fashioned faïence or majolica—the latter an imitation of the Arab
lustre ware—manufactured at the neighbouring _fabrique_, along with the
pretty glazed tiles, originally introduced from Valencia, with which the
Majorcans face the steps of their staircases. Other local industries
include lace-making and embroidery, basket-weaving, the plaiting of
complicated string seats and backs to the native chairs, tanning and
shoemaking—in which latter branch a large export trade is carried on
with South America. Shoes are cheap, and it is quite noticeable how
neatly shod the Majorcans of all classes are.

The Majorcans are good workers, and their charges moderate. The scale of
wages is low, but so is the cost of living, and it would be difficult to
find a more contented and prosperous-looking race than these islanders.

Extreme cleanliness is one of their most salient characteristics; they
are noted too for their good looks, and it is indeed rare to find a
plain face among them; and this, combined with a sensible, cheerful
expression and a natural talent for effective colouring in dress,
renders them a remarkably picturesque and attractive people. The country
girls still retain the muslin coif, or _rebosillo_, which once formed
the universal female headgear, but in Palma this has given way to a
handkerchief worn somewhat far back on the head over beautifully dressed
hair.

Scarlet skirts are much in vogue among the working classes, but, on the
whole, soft half-tones are preferred to the primary colours, and a crowd
of market-women presents a gay kaleidoscopic scene in which lemon-
yellows, sage-greens, salmon-pinks, brown-reds, and turquoise blues are
worn side by side with charming and harmonious effect.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In the early morning the big market-place in the upper town is the
_rendezvous_ of countless housewives, bargaining busily, basket on arm,
for the day’s provisions. Under the long arcades bordering the cobbled
square are installed the sellers of fruit and vegetables, with plaited
ropes of garlic, pans of fresh olives, strings of scarlet capsicums and
bitter tomatoes, hampers of newly picked oranges, bunches of pale
Majorcan dates and still paler bananas, and masses of figs turned out
_en bloc_ from big rush baskets lined with leaves. A neighbouring booth
supplies flat fig cakes stuffed with almonds and aniseed, and slices of
dark red _Carne de Membrillo_—an excellent quince preserve, in
consistency like damson cheese.

From the fish market, where the morning’s catch is displayed upon marble
slabs, rises a very babel of voices. Loud and shrill is the clamour of
the fishwives as they detain the passer-by with a scaly hand, and seek
to repair the mischief with a no less scaly apron. Crabs and lobsters
lie sprawling upon their backs, and wave stemmy legs amongst marine
creatures never seen upon a hotel table—giant shell-fish, octopuses
lying in knotted heaps, jelly-like squids, ugly thorny monsters who are
all head, and gorgeous little fishes coloured like macaws—scarlet, blue,
yellow, or glittering with metallic greens and reds.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The country girls still retain the pretty muslin coif or_
  rébosillo....”

                                                (page 27)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_These dogs can boast a longer pedigree than any dogs
  under the sun, for they are descended from the hunting dogs
  of the old Egyptians_....”

                                                (page 29)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

By midday all will have been sold, and the market square given up to
tall, cadaverous-looking dogs that saunter round the deserted stalls and
pick up what fragments remain. Gaunt, listless, and apparently starving,
these dogs of Palma attract the attention of every new-comer; and thanks
to a fellow-guest at the Grand Hotel, our own interest in them was
specially aroused. This Swiss scientist had come to Majorca to study the
domestic animals of the island, and the result of his researches had
proved a theory he had long held—that somewhere on the shores of the
Mediterranean would be found descendants of the dogs of ancient Egypt.

This island breed, known locally as Iviza dogs—but dubbed by the
unappreciative foreigner “degenerate greyhounds” and “pariahs”—can boast
a longer pedigree than any dogs under the sun, for they are descended
from the much-prized hunting dogs of the old Egyptians. Introduced ages
ago by Greek or Phœnician colonists, they are now peculiar to the
Balearics, where they are found in great numbers.

They are the size of a large greyhound, with smooth coats usually yellow
and white. Nothing will fatten them: the pampered favourite of a great
house is as lean as his scavenging _confrère_ of the market-place, and,
like him, he wears a look of melancholy weariness not unfitting an old,
old race that has existed since the dawn of history. The chief
characteristic of the breed is their long, pointed ears, which when
pricked stand stiffly erect, and never droop as do those of the somewhat
similar hounds imported from Algeria and Morocco. These ears, with the
long, narrow muzzle, give the dogs a striking resemblance to the jackal-
headed god Anubis of Egyptian sculpture.

They are mild, timid creatures, quite useless as watchdogs, but popular
as pets, and—like their original ancestors—much valued for purposes of
the chase. Landowners keep them for coursing hares and rabbits, of which
they catch extraordinary quantities; and so devoted are the dogs to this
sport that those belonging to peasants on large estates have frequently
to be hobbled, and are seen wearing steel bracelets on their fore and
hind leg, connected with a light chain.

Another interesting relic of a bygone race is seen in the survival in
the Balearics—so our Swiss professor pointed out—of the Greek type of
horse familiar to travellers who have seen the statues of Balbus—_père
et fils_—in the Naples Museum. These animals are not very common, but
here and there one comes across a horse differing utterly from the
prevailing Andalusian type. Round and compact, often black in colour,
and with stiff mane and tail, these horses have a remarkably arched
crest and a slightly convex outline of nose—the profile of head and neck
being represented rather by the segment of a circle than by the right
angle formed at the apex of the skull by the lines of the slender
Spanish horse.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Mules are largely used in the Balearics, Majorca being especially
celebrated for its breed. They are big, handsome animals, unusually
docile, owing to the gentle treatment they receive, and a good pair of
carriage mules is more sought after and more valuable than is a pair of
the best Continental horses. Nearly all the carriages of the Palma
gentry are drawn by fast-trotting mules, and towards evening a perfect
procession of _galarétas_ wends its way westward along the sea road,
each with its match pair of strong, sure-footed beasts that make nothing
of the hills to be encountered.

Half an hour’s drive along this road brings one to the wooded knoll
beyond Santa Catalina, on which stands the old castle of Bellver, a
well-preserved thirteenth-century fortress, whose yellow walls rise
above the surrounding pines, foursquare and stately. In olden days it
was used as a residence by the Kings of Majorca—in later times it served
as a state prison—and now it stands empty, the last use it was put to
having been as an astronomical station for the English expedition which
went out to Palma in 1905 to observe the solar eclipse. From the grounds
round the castle a most lovely view of the town is obtained through the
pine-trees, and it is amongst these woods that a new hotel is now being
built, to be opened this year under the name of Hotel Victoria. It will
be under the same management as the Grand Hotel in Palma, and being
connected with the town by a service of trams it will no doubt prove
extremely popular with visitors who prefer life amid country
surroundings.

A mile or so beyond Bellver we come to the little harbour of Porto Pi,
the mouth of the creek guarded by an old Moorish signal tower, now
converted into a lighthouse, though still used for signalling purposes.

It is not till we get beyond Porto Pi that we reach the real country and
find ourselves amongst olives and asphodel; and here the Spanish ladies
descend from their carriages and stroll bareheaded along the road—the
only form of exercise in which they indulge. The Majorcan roads are upon
the whole very good, though dusty in dry weather; and they are kept in
far better repair than one would be led to expect from watching the
leisurely procedure of the _Péon caminéro_, who brings stones and earth
upon the scene in small basketfuls, moistens them with a watering-pot,
and stamps them in patiently with a small rammer. When, however, he has
occasion to spread road metal in greater quantities he takes a high hand
with the public, and procuring large boulders he arranges them on
alternate sides of the road, so as to compel passing vehicles to drive
over the fresh stone; he is considerate enough to remove these
stumbling-blocks at nightfall, but it is a ludicrous sight to see a
whole string of smart carriages twisting in and out of these obstacles
as if in a driving competition, in obedience to the arbitrary behest of
the road-maker.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The Castle of Bellver is a thirteenth century fortress, and
  has a circular_ patio _with an upper and lower colonnade_.”

                                                (page 31)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_At the château of Raxa the grounds are laid out in
  Italian fashion, with orange and cypress terraces, and
  splendid flights of marble steps._”

                                                (page 35)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The almost universal type of native carriage is the _galaréta_, a light-
running covered vehicle, in appearance not unlike a baker’s cart on four
wheels. The hinder part is entered from the rear, and is seated like a
wagonette; there is a window on either side, and another dividing it
from the broad hooded seat in front on which the driver sits.

To the foreigner these covered carriages appear intensely uncomfortable;
if he be above the medium height his head comes in irritating contact
with the roof; he can see hardly anything of the landscape from the
windows, and he never ceases to marvel at the natives who can pack
themselves in incredible numbers into one of these little-eases and
emerge unruffled and cheerful at the end of a long drive. Yet it must be
admitted that in its own country the _galaréta_ possesses several
distinct advantages over the open carriage; its occupants are
indifferent to sun and rain, and can protect themselves from both dust
and wind; on the hottest summer’s day a draught can be created by
lowering the glasses and drawing the Venetian shutters with which each
window is fitted, while upon the homeward drive the chilly night air can
be as easily excluded.

Like all Southerners the Majorcans dread the change of temperature that
takes place at sundown, and towards evening they wrap themselves in
cloaks and mufflers, while the fearless foreigner sits out on a terrace
to enjoy the sunset and is extremely indignant at waking next morning
with a sore throat.

In a land where the new-born year is so amazingly precocious it is
difficult to remember that in England he is still in his white swaddling
clothes; by the end of January the plain around Palma is decked with
miles of almond orchards in full bloom, their faint scent filling the
air and their laden branches covering the country with billowy white
masses. The wind has forestalled the date of the Carnival, and his last
night’s Battle of Flowers has flung deep drifts of snowy confetti upon
the sprouting wheat beneath the trees. But there are still snow-caps on
the blue hills away to the north, and a sudden rattling storm of hail
reminds us that even in Majorca Spring is not yet fully enthroned.

By February a vast expanse of young wheat has clothed the land in a
garment of the crudest Pre-Raphaelite green—almost startling in its
intensity when seen in contrast with sea or sky.

By the first week in March new potatoes and green peas are in the
market, the orchards are knee-deep in beans, and the whole island is
fragrant with bean blossom. In the carob groves—where the knotted trunks
and twisted limbs of the old trees cast strange shadows on the swaying
corn—are purple anemones, pink gladiolus, and a blue shimmer of honey-
scented grape-hyacinths.

The long days of unbroken sunshine are now devoted to excursions into
the surrounding country, and visitors begin to leave the town in which
they have wintered and to roam further afield.

A favourite drive is to the neighbouring Château of Raxa, a country seat
belonging to the Count of Montenegro, where the grounds are laid out in
Italian fashion with orange and cypress terraces, stone vases and
statues, and splendid flights of marble steps. Roses, violets, freesias,
and heliotrope were in full bloom in the gardens on March 3rd, and the
women engaged on the orange harvest handed down to us branches heavy
with fragrant golden fruit. Oranges are nothing accounted of in Majorca,
and lemons are looked upon as so far below all price that they are given
one for the asking, any idea of payment being vigorously scouted.

The road to Raxa runs for many miles through a red plain given up to
olive culture; whether it is the soil of Majorca that is responsible for
the extraordinary grotesqueness of the olive-trees I cannot say, but
they resemble nothing I have ever seen in other lands. Stretching away
in quaint perspective on either hand are distorted grey forms suggestive
of an enchanted forest; many of the old trees stand on a kind of tripod
formed by the splitting and shrinking of their own trunk; here a hoary
veteran of many centuries has wound himself into an excellent imitation
of a corkscrew; a group of twisted crones appears to gossip together
with uplifted hands, while two sprawling wrestlers are locked as in a
death-struggle in each other’s arms. Here squats a gnarled mass like
nothing so much as a gigantic toad; there a boa-constrictor twines
itself in folds about its prey, and an antediluvian monster stoops to
examine with interest the strange human insect that has adventured
itself within reach.

So endless are the variations of form assumed by these extraordinary
trees, so fascinating is each fresh discovery, that one wanders on and
on, like children in a bewitched wood, and a determined effort of will
is required to tear oneself away from such a scene and return to the
carriage awaiting one on the prosaic high-road.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The same weird olive groves will be found on the way to Alaró, a small
inland town lying at the foot of the mountains, near which are the ruins
of the castle—famous in Majorcan history—which one morning in March we
set out by rail to visit.

Majorcan trains are not fashionable in their hours, and it was little
after daybreak that we steamed out of the Palma station and glided away
through richly cultivated fields of beans and wheat, where pleasant
homesteads stood embowered in almond orchards and fat yellow lemons
bobbed over the garden walls. As the line approaches the mountains the
country becomes wilder and more open; vast undulating expanses of stony
red ground are being slowly ploughed by mule teams, and miles upon miles
of fig-trees cast a white shimmer over the plain—their leafless branches
so pale as in the distance to resemble blossoming orchards. The dark
glistening green of carob groves contrasts vividly with the feathery
grey of the olive, and as a background to the scene a dark belt of pine-
trees crowns the red slope and stands out in brilliant relief against
the indigo blue ranges of the Sierra.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _an antediluvian monster stoops to examine the
  strange human insect that has adventured itself within
  reach_.”

                                                (page 36)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_One enters the precincts of the old fortress of Alaró
  through a Moorish gate-tower with a curious double
  archway_....”

                                                (page 38)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Within an hour we descend at Consell and change to the branch line
forming the connection with Alaró; a small tram was awaiting us outside
the station, and this proved to be the branch line. No road was in
sight, but the tram lines vanished into an endless perspective of
beanfields, and through these we were slowly drawn by two horses
harnessed tandem fashion. Our only fellow-travellers in the tiny front
compartment—reserved for the rich who could afford to pay threepence—
were a couple of buxom market-women, most deeply interested in our
appearance.

Quaint things happen so easily in Majorca that we were not much
surprised on reaching Alaró when the tram conductor got down, shouldered
our camera and the heavy luncheon basket, and without a word marched
away towards the village inn as though it were his business in life to
conduct strange ladies there. Setting rocking chairs for us among the
wine barrels, he lit a cigar and proceeded to assist in the saddling of
the two donkeys that had been ordered overnight for our ascent to the
castle of Alaró. One was a riding donkey for my companion, the other a
pack animal to carry our impedimenta, its pack saddle being furnished
with panniers and fitted with the native breeching strap—a wooden
contrivance shaped like a Cupid’s bow, which fits across the donkey’s
hind legs and rubs off all the hair.

Away we started in brilliant sunshine with an old man and a boy in
attendance, and turning into a narrow track between stone walls we
followed a babbling torrent through carob and orange gardens and began
to wind up the hillside by a steep zigzag path. Innumerable sheep-bells
tinkled among the olive yards, and the voice of a herdsman rang out in a
Gregorian chant from far up the heights where he tended his goats among
holm oak and pine. Sheer above us towered the perpendicular red scarp of
the cliff on which the castle stands, a small white speck upon its edge
the _Hospedéria_ of the summit.

A couple of hours’ stiff climb brings one to the back of the cliff, and
scaling a rough rock staircase one enters the precincts of the old
fortress through a Moorish gate tower with a curious double archway—the
outer arch being round-headed and the inner one pointed.

Like a great wedge of cheese with straight cut sides does the cliff of
Alaró stand out into the plain; its perpendicular front rises sheer in a
terrific precipice, its only approach a steep ascent commanded by a
fortified tower. Small need to be told that by assault the castle was
impregnable; but it was subdued by siege and starvation in 1285, when
Alfonso the Beneficent of Aragon warred with Jaime II. of Majorca. What
followed the surrender of Alaró is known to every Majorcan; the
Conqueror, exasperated by the vain but most gallant defence of the
castle, had its two governors burnt alive at the stake in the presence
of his whole army.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Many of the old olive trees stand on a kind of tripod
  formed by the splitting and shrinking of their own
  trunk._”

                                                (page 35)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _running a nightmare race with each foot rooted to
  the ground_.”

                                                (page 35)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

So perished the heroes Cabrit and Bassa, leaving their names to be
handed down through the centuries as the names of men who died loyal to
their king at a time when the greater part of the island had gone over
to the usurper.

When Majorca again came into the hands of the legitimate line the ashes
of the canonised heroes were placed in an urn and deposited beneath an
altar in Palma Cathedral, where they remain to this day; and every
succeeding generation hears from childhood up the stirring tale of how
the two patriots fought and how they died.

The little oratory of Our Lady of Refuge stands upon the summit of the
cliff, and no doubt originated as the chapel of the fortress.
Subsequently it became a renowned sanctuary, and attached to it, as is
usual in Majorca, is a small _hospéderia_, or hostelry, where pilgrims
and visitors can obtain a night’s shelter. The view from this point is
worth coming far to see; unrolled like a map at one’s feet, far, far
below, is the great southern plain, from the Bay of Palma on the west,
where the dark mass of the cathedral still shows just visible above the
faint haze enveloping the city, to the glittering Bay of Alcúdia upon
the far east coast. All the cities of the plain—Inca, Benisalém, La
Puebla, Múro, and Lluchmayór, lie outspread before us. Behind us, range
upon range, are the wooded slopes of the Sierra, the topmost peaks still
crowned with snow; threads of quicksilver flash down the mountainsides,
and valley, plain, and hill alike are enveloped in a grey sea of olive-
trees, dwarfed by distance to the semblance of lavender bushes.

Some idea of the height of the rock on which we stand is obtained by
dropping a stone over the edge; peering over the abyss as we lay full
length on the ground we launched a small boulder into space, and, watch
in hand, timed its descent.

“One, two, three,” the seconds ticked away, and still the stone fell,
though to our eyes it appeared already to have reached the olive groves;
“four, five, six,” and not till now did a dull crash come up from below
to tell us that the stone was at its journey’s end. We arose cautiously
and walked back along the very centre of the cliff, feeling in every
nerve that were we to stumble nothing could save us from covering fully
thirty feet in our fall and disappearing over the edge of the precipice.

Rejoining our donkeys, we set off on our downward ride. Midway we were
overtaken by a party of boisterous young men who tore down the
mountainside laughing and shouting, gave us a breathless good-day in
passing, and vanished with giant strides down a precipitous shortcut,
apparently intent on breaking their necks. We looked on aghast, but our
guides evidently considered it no abnormal way of descending a mountain.

“Going downhill no one is old,” says the island proverb reassuringly; no
doubt the subsequent stiffness of our own knees was the result of not
having gone down sufficiently fast.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Palma carnival differs so greatly from that function as celebrated
on the Riviera as to be worthy of mention. There the tourist element and
its accompanying ostentation of wealth are the most conspicuous features
of the performance. Here, in Palma, all this is wholly lacking, and the
carnival has retained its native character to a truly refreshing degree.
It is essentially a people’s festival, with hardly a foreigner present.

From three o’clock in the afternoon till late at night the whole town is
_en fête_; all the shops are shut, and the shop people sit in merry
groups before their doors; the balconies overlooking the Borne are
crowded, and the wide Borne itself is a seething throng of people on
foot sauntering up and down, and chaffing one another in high good-
humour.

The troops—of which five or six thousand are quartered at Palma—send a
large contingent to the crowd of holiday-makers; infantrymen in long,
blue coats, crimson trousers, and bright green gloves, mingle with
pretty girls in kerchief and _rebosillo_, whose hair is powdered thick
with coloured confetti. Here is an old peasant, come in from the
country, wearing under his hat a handkerchief wound round his head in
the style of his Catalonian ancestors; his wife has donned her gayest
shawl, and has brought the baby, who chuckles with delight at the
festive scene and wears a funny little straw hat shaped like a Saracen
turban trimmed with scarlet pompoms.

Tiny maidens of four and five are costumed as grand ladies, and walk
about, quaintly dignified, with proudly trailing train and flaunting
fan, in rich brocade skirts and velvet bodices, with long, white gloves,
and hair elaborately dressed with flowers and high tortoise-shell combs.
A party of Arabs, draped in white sheets and armed with spears, lead
about an unfortunate comrade disguised as a dancing bear, who is
vigorously kept up to his part throughout the day; and small boys,
dressed as Pierrots, or rejoicing simply in the disguise afforded by a
pasteboard nose and a high falsetto voice, caper unrestrained through
the crowd.

Towards evening a couple of hundred carriages turn out into the streets;
galarétas, landaus, dogcarts, and wagons form into line and follow each
other in slow procession round and round the Borne. The smart barouche
and pair of the Captain-General is preceded by a humble donkey-cart, and
followed by a heavy country _charrette_ overflowing with clowns. Every
one is dressed according to taste, and every one is free to throw things
at every one else. The imperturbably correct coachman of a stylish turn-
out gets hit on the nose by an egg-shell stuffed with confetti; the
gentleman seated beside him—who wears a mask and an amazing tow-wig—
replies with a well-directed volley, and a furious fusillade ensues, the
enemy coming up to the very windows of the galarétas to pour in a deadly
fire among the occupants.

Mounted officers, armed with paper rockets, do battle with the people in
the balconies, who, in return, hail down missiles and torrents of
confetti upon their assailants. Eggshells fly in showers from carriage
to carriage, smashing upon any head they meet with. On the wide Place
Weyler the confetti lie so thick that the square resembles some
cathedral floor—tinted by stained glass windows, and the carriages and
horses are so tangled up in coloured streamers that they appear to have
broken through a great rainbow spider’s web and carried it bodily away
with them.

By eight o’clock the Carnival is a thing of the past, and the gay, good-
humoured crowd is in full retreat, thoroughly tired out.

And at midnight the stars look down upon a sleeping city, whose
stillness is only broken by the sonorous chant of the watchmen going
their rounds with lantern and staff. The familiar cry—so associated with
Palma—again rings out beneath our windows:—

           “_Alobado sea el Señor! Las doce—y sereno!_”
           (Praised be the Lord! Midnight, and a clear sky!)

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                PART II


Although it falls to the lot of few of us to remain as sublimely
unconscious of geography as was Charles Lamb—who asserts that though he
held a correspondence with a very dear friend in New South Wales he was
unable to form the remotest conjecture as to the position of that _Terra
Incognita_—yet I think I may safely assume that not many of my readers
are familiar with the geography of Majorca, and a glance at the sketch-
map given in this volume may be of service in acquainting them with the
principal places of interest in the island.

The fact which perhaps chiefly strikes one is the miniature scale of
distances. Just as the mouse occupies the same space on the page of a
book on natural history as does the elephant, so does Majorca appear in
its own particular map to be as large as Ceylon; and it gives one
repeated shocks of surprise to find that what looks like a day’s journey
is a matter of two hours by rail, or a morning’s carriage drive. There
are half a dozen excursions which visitors to the island rarely fail to
make; one is to Sollér, only a day’s expedition by carriage from Palma—
though, as it possesses a comfortable little hotel and is in the midst
of beautiful scenery, it is a favourite place for a lengthened stay. The
old towns of Pollensa and Alcúdia upon the east coast attract a certain
number of foreigners every season; and the fame of Arta’s stalactite
caves draws thither a large number of sightseers, being easy of reach
from the railhead at Manacór.

But with these exceptions the interior of Majorca enjoys an almost
perpetual immunity from tourists, most of whom are far from
enterprising.

It was to Arta that we ourselves were bound when we quitted Palma on
March 12th, but having plenty of time before us, and being fond of
driving tours, open air, and scenery, we decided to do the whole journey
by road, and to spend as many nights _en route_ as we found desirable.
Our carriage was one of the hotel victorias, drawn by an excellent pair
of little grey horses; our luggage was of the most modest description,
consisting of two of those feather-weight valises, made of brown
cardboard, that can be bought for a few shillings in most Continental
towns, and that belie their frail appearance by resisting ill-usage to
an almost incredible degree. Our driver was a friendly and reliable
native, who in all the years he had driven hotel carriages had never
been asked to conduct anybody across the island. It was indeed an
unheard-of thing to do. Was not the railway there to take people to
Arta? and was it not well known that the southern districts of the
island contained nothing that could be of any possible interest to any
one? However, it was no affair of his if English ladies were eccentric;
his not to question why. Their motives might be inscrutable, but he was
there to carry out their wishes, whether wise or foolish.

No June morning could have been more glorious than the one on which we
left the Grand Hotel, and, rattling over the cobbles down to the
harbour, struck out southwards towards Lluchmayór. For a couple of hours
we crossed a great plain, carefully tilled and tended. In the orange
gardens the golden crop was being gathered by peasants mounted on easel-
shaped ladders. Stretches of corn and beans alternated with extensive
fig orchards, which in July supply a harvest so bounteous that even the
pigs fare sumptuously upon the fruit. Thick as faggots of dead wood were
the leafless branches of the old trees—their elbows stuck out at an
aggressive angle as though resenting the proximity of their somewhat
heathenish-looking neighbour, the prickly pear, which in Majorca is
termed the “Moorish fig,” as opposed to the “Christian fig” of
cultivation.

Standing up above the level of the orchards, and extending over the
plain in numbers that suggest an immense pyrotechnic display in
preparation, are countless wind wheels, twenty or thirty feet in
diameter, furnished with a tail to keep their heads to the wind, and
with sets of wooden slats that furl and unfurl like a fan, according to
the strength of the breeze. Raised upon stone platforms and spinning
round rapidly, these wheels are engaged in raising water from wells and
pumping it into the great reservoirs that in summer supply the
irrigation aqueducts intersecting the fields.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _countless windwheels, twenty feet or more in
  diameter, engaged in raising water from wells_....”

                                                (page 46)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_On some of the hills windmills are massed in a gregarious
  manner characteristic of Majorca_....”

                                                (Page 51)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

At noon we reached Lluchmayór, and after lunching at the inn we visited
the great high-backed church that prides itself on being the largest in
the island outside Palma. It was deserted save for the presence of three
old charwomen, who alternately chatted and laughed or piously mumbled
_Ave Marias_ and _Pater nosters_ as they plied their flappers about the
pulpit and the quaint old pews, resembling settees, with curved backs
and deep seats inlaid with scenes in coloured woods. A wax figure of
Santa Candida in a glass case, and some marvellous embroideries with
inch-deep scrolls of gold thread set with precious stones, are amongst
the most treasured possessions of this church.

On again, through Campos, whence we look back to catch a last glimpse of
the Palma Cathedral—far away across the plain; and the evening shadows
are lengthening fast as we drive into Santagný, where we are to spend
the night.

Santagný is the southernmost town in Majorca, and as such suffered
sorely in bygone time from the Algerian and Moroccan pirates who
infested the neighbouring islet of Cabréra. In the sixteenth century the
town was encircled with walls, to prevent the repetition of a raid that
devastated the whole countryside and forced the inhabitants to fly for
safety to the interior of the island. But centuries of safety have razed
the fortifications more surely than any piratical attack, and one
massive gateway—standing in the market-place—alone remains to testify to
the dangers run by the townspeople in olden days.

The _fonda_, or inn, at Santagný proved to be one of those truly
primitive establishments that cause one to ponder the eternal question
as to which comes first—the tourist or the inn. The problem regarding
the hen and the egg is itself not more elusive than the vicious circle
in which one becomes involved when dwelling on this subject. It is
highly improbable that the accommodation at Santagný will undergo any
improvement until visitors have shown some sign of wishing to come to
the town; it is equally improbable that visitors will show any signs of
wishing to come to Santagný until the accommodation has been improved.

I must admit that the supper passed off in comparative style. We sat in
a small, whitewashed room downstairs—our driver and a soldier also
supping there at another table—and in place of the bell of
conventionality we clapped our hands between the courses, which
consisted of an excellent omelette, a dish of meat and rice, and oranges
sliced with sugar. Our hostess’s attentions were somewhat spasmodic
owing to the periodical raids she made on certain small boys whose noses
were flattened on the window-pane, and at whom she dashed out very
suddenly—belabouring such as came under her hand with a large market
basket. In the outer room a guitar was being strummed, and the voices of
the men sitting drinking there broke out now and then in a resonant
chorus. All this was very nice and native; but when we went upstairs to
our bedrooms it was still very native—only not so nice.

Three small and stuffy cubicles opened off the landing at the head of
the stairs; the only one that obtained any light or air was the end one,
which had a small window in the outer wall of the house, but—as if to
compensate for this advantage—it lacked a door, the privacy of its
occupant being dependant upon a flimsy curtain that fluttered airily to
and fro in the doorway. Each cubicle contained a bed, a chair, and a
straw mat on the floor; and outside, on the landing, stood one small
washstand, with a set of toilet appliances destined to be shared by all
the occupants of the bedrooms. That the centre room was already engaged
was evident from an unmistakably masculine snore that proceeded from it.
Horses munched loudly in a stall below, and the petulant voices of
dreaming pigs rose to the skies from an adjoining farmyard. Even our
driver—who never considered his duties at an end until he had personally
inspected our sleeping quarters for the night—expressed disapproval at
the prospect, although his sympathetic shrugs plainly intimated that as
we had made our beds so must we lie upon them. I speak figuratively, for
as a matter of fact our beds were not made at all, though we had been
more than two hours in the house.

Amidst such unpromising surroundings did we eventually retire for the
night, waking to find that our neighbour of the middle room had most
opportunely taken himself off in the small hours of the morning, leaving
us in sole possession of the washstand, so that our toilet was
accomplished in comparative safety, and with no other interruption than
the sudden appearance of our hostess on her way upstairs to fetch a
sausage from the attic. It is but fair to say that this was the only
_fonda_ we met with in the whole of our wanderings that was so primitive
in its arrangements.

On going down to breakfast our hostess presents us each with a thick
tumbler containing a species of strong, brown broth, very nourishing, I
should suppose, for an invalid; swelling with pride, she reveals the
fact that the strange beverage we are drinking is _tea_—and it is
doubtless on the strength of this compliment to our nationality that she
presently tenders us a bill for fourteen pesetas—ten shillings and
sixpence—a sum not overwhelming in itself, but absurdly high according
to the standard of charges current in Majorcan inns.

Five pesetas—four shillings—a day for each person is the recognised
charge for board and lodging at all the best _fondas_ in Majorca. At a
little hotel, such as that of Sollér or Alcúdia, one’s _pension_ may run
as high as six or even seven and a half pesetas; but these are the
outside prices; and one’s driver’s food—for which one is expected to pay
while on tour—should never exceed two pesetas a day.

At small native inns an arrangement as to terms should always be made on
arrival. Particularly is this the case in out-of-the-way villages where
strangers are rarely seen, and where the innkeeper will occasionally
endeavour to make a profit out of all proportion to the accommodation
provided for his guests. This sharp dealing is so little in keeping with
the character of the average Majorcan that I can only explain it by
quoting the people’s own saying, to the effect that there is not room
for honour and profit in the same pocket. I think that the opportunity
offered of enriching themselves easily at the expense of well-to-do
foreigners proves too great a temptation for certain _fondistas_ who
have lost the finer feelings possessed by their compatriots not engaged
in trade.

Quitting Santagný we drove on to Felanitx, a pretty little town
surrounded by low hills whose crests are occupied by many windmills
frantically waving their arms on the sky line. Windmills are everywhere.
Some stand singly upon barrow-like mounds crowned with cactus tangles,
others are massed upon ridges in the gregarious manner characteristic of
Majorcan corn mills. All have either six or eight sails, which gives
them a very full-bodied appearance; and some are furnished with tail
feathers, and resemble large dragon-flies that have interrupted their
whirring flight to settle for an instant with outspread gauzy wings upon
a little tower of dazzling whiteness. An old miller leans out of a
little upper window in one of the mills, filling it up so completely
that we wonder if he will ever get back again.

“_Buena vista!_” we call up to him as he watches us from his lofty
perch.

“Ah, yes!” he replies, looking far out over the sunny landscape, “from
here one sees all the world!”

It is in truth a very lovely world upon which he looks down this bright
March morning. The almond orchards are streaming down the hill slopes
and invading the town in torrents of young spring verdure; the houses
are screwing up their eyes in the sunshine, even the tiniest windows
being half built up with slabs of freestone, while many are closed
entirely. Old women sit at their doorways plaiting and spinning, and
greet us cheerfully as we pass, and leaving the town we take a pretty
road through pine and heath, almond and olive, arbutus and carob, and
set out to visit the old castle of Santuíri. Within half an hour of our
destination the carriage halts, and a rocky goat-path leads us to the
summit of the crag upon which the ruins stand.

Santuíri was one of the great mediæval burgs of Majorca, and is in far
better preservation than either of its fellows of Alaró or Pollensa. In
the fifteenth century its walls were strengthened against an expected
attack of the Moors, and much of these defences still remains.

Proud, and most desolate, is this old sentinel of the southern coast.
Buzzards hang in mid-air beneath the battlements—brown specks against
the dim blue plain below; sheep graze amongst spurge and St. John’s wort
on the grassy knolls within the fortress. The old gray walls are trimmed
with golden patches of coronilla and crowned with a _chevaux-de-frise_
of bristling aloe spikes. A narrow path cut in the face of the crag, and
unprotected by any parapet, leads to the machicolated gate tower; above
your head there are slits for boiling oil, and at your back is sudden
death in the shape of a precipice, with nothing to break your fall but
the fixed bayonets of some huge aloes rooted in the crevices of the
cliff below. Assuredly it was well to be on good terms with its lord
when craving admittance to the Castle of Santuíri.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_All the windmills have either six or eight sails, and some
  are furnished with tail-feathers._”

                                                (page 51)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Santuiri was one of the great mediæval burgs of Majorca,
  and is in better preservation than either of its fellows of
  Alaró or Pollensa._”

                                                (page 52)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A twin height across a little valley is occupied by the Oratorio of San
Salvadór—the shrine of a wonder-working Madonna whose fame dates from
the Middle Ages, and who is visited annually by thousands of pilgrims
from all parts of the island.

To this shrine we ascended in the afternoon, the latter part of the
route being a steep hillside, clothed with prickly pear and a sweet-
smelling dwarf gorse, up which we slowly toiled on foot, the zigzag path
marked out with twelve stations of the Cross, depicted in faïence tiles
upon freestone pillars. Attached to the Oratorio upon the summit is a
large _hospedéria_ containing some forty bedrooms, built for the
reception of pilgrims; the four brown-frocked friars who minister to the
wants of visitors were busily engaged in sawing timber in the entrance-
hall amidst a litter of fresh shavings, and one of them interrupted his
work to take us into the adjoining chapel. In pitch darkness we groped
our way to a niche at the back of the high altar, and were shown by the
light of a match a little old stone statue—the Blessed Virgin of San
Salvadór—only second in power to Our Lady of Lluch.

A special room is set aside for the votive offerings presented to her:
the walls are thickly hung with uniforms, children’s garments, and
bridal gowns; there are toys and medals, and stacks of crutches; there
are rows of photographs of the Virgin’s _protégés_, who attribute their
escape from accident and illness to her shielding power; there are crude
childish representations of fires, shipwrecks, thunderbolts, runaway
horses, and all the perils that humanity is heir to. Some of the ex-
votos date from the attack of the Moors in 1737; others come from far
countries—such as the one “promised to Our Lady in the fire of
Santiago.”

One of the most pathetic offerings that I saw at another Majorcan shrine
was a thick plait of long black hair—“promised to Our Lady” on such and
such a date, doubtless by some soul in sore need. The belief in
miraculous intervention as an answer to personal sacrifice is deeply
ingrained in the islanders, and is, I should imagine, a source of much
consolation to them.

After buying a few rosaries and ribbons bearing the name of Our Lady of
San Salvadór we walked to the end of a hill-spur where stone seats
invite the wayfarer to rest before beginning the steep descent. The sun
was setting, and the scene before us recalled some Egyptian evening in
its strength of colouring; far beneath us lay the great dim plain with
its white towns, wrapped in the violet mists of sunset and melting away
into the transparent blues and purples of the distant sierra. The roofs
and walls of the Oratorio and the pine-trees upon the hilltop stood out
in inky relief against a sky stained with orange and crimson, fiery lake
and scarlet; the clouds were black, glowing coals backed with gold—the
whole heavens were aflame in conflagration.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The old grey walls of Santuiri are trimmed with golden
  patches of coronilla and crowned with a_ chevaux de frise _of
  bristling aloe spikes_.”

                                                (page 52)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Far beneath us lay the great plain, wrapped in the violet
  mists of evening.... The Oratorio de San Salvador will
  for ever be associated with the most beautiful sunset we ever
  witnessed in Majorca._”

                                                (page 54)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Long after the glory had faded away a pure, brilliant glow illuminated
the sky and lighted us on our homeward way, and we returned to Felanitx
with the memory of San Salvadór for ever associated in our minds with
the most beautiful sunset we ever saw in Majorca.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On March 15th we left Felanitx and continued our journey across the
great southern plain. The road to Manacór runs along a low ridge and
commands extensive views on either hand; asphodels fringed the wayside,
and every patch of waste ground displayed the Spanish colours in gay
yellow daisies and a tiny scarlet ranunculus, the Adonis vernalis. The
weather was glorious; a shower during the night had laid the dust and
cleared the air, and blue cloud-shadows chased merrily across the
landscape.

“_Bon dia tengan!_” comes in cheerful greeting from the fields where
groups of peasant women, in big straw hats, ply their hoes among the
wheat. When they found we wished to take a photograph of them their
amusement was unbounded, and their merry laughter was quite infectious.

Unceasing is the care of the crops, and unremitting is the labour
bestowed upon the land before it assumes that market-garden-like
neatness that is the ideal of the Majorcan peasant. Centuries of
cultivation have converted much of the land into rich, productive soil,
but a glance at a recently reclaimed field shows one the difficulties
with which the original cultivator has to contend, difficulties that
would surely daunt a less stout-hearted race. Slabs of bed-rock and
countless myriads of loose stones cover the surface of the ground: by
blasting and patient excavation a certain proportion of these are
removed, and the intervening patches of earth are dug by hand, the first
harvest being represented by a scanty crop of wheat sprouting in the
interstices of the rock paving. The second or third year it will perhaps
be possible to drive a narrow sharp-pointed ploughshare between the
stones, lifting it briskly out of the ground when the shaft mule is
brought up with a jerk by a more than usually stubborn boulder. Each
year hundreds of tons of loose stone are collected and disposed of in
one way or another; some are stacked in cairns among the crops and go by
the name of _clápers_; others are carried with infinite toil to the
boundaries of the field and built into a dry wall a yard or more thick—
coped with the masses of rock that work up through the soil almost as
quickly as they are removed from the surface; others again are thrown
into great stone reservoirs built for the purpose and filled to the brim
with blocks big and little. Gradually the plague of stones begins to
abate. What one generation has begun, a future one will accomplish, and
eventually the land will assume the appearance of a rich alluvial plain,
and Dame Nature will put on as benevolent a smile as though she had
proposed from the very first to bountifully reward the industrious
peasant.

But always there will be miles upon miles of beautifully built stone
walls to tell a different tale. Truly may it be said of the Majorcans,
as of their Catalonian forefathers—that from stones they produce bread.

All the morning we drove, and by noon we had passed the town of Manacór
and were descending towards the sea through a silent, sun-steeped land
of rock and asphodel. Asphodels surrounded us for miles, their starry
sceptres swaying in the wind and shining like silver where the sunlight
struck through them. It is strange that no southern artist has painted
us a Madonna of the Asphodels.

Down by the seashore stands a small group of freestone houses called the
Port of Manacór, and after lunching at the _fonda_ we set off on foot to
visit the famous stalactite caves close by. There is nothing in the
surface of the surrounding country to suggest the existence of vast
subterranean caverns; the guide simply leads the way across the wide
moor to a walled enclosure, where, half concealed by boulders and scrub,
a flight of rock steps leads down to the _Cuevas del Drach_—the Dragon
Caves of Manacór.

Armed with acetylene lanterns we descend, and plunge into a perfect
labyrinth of halls and passages; some of the scenes are very beautiful;
there are “cascades of diamonds”—frozen falls that sparkle like hoar
frost in the sun—and wonderful statuesque formations under fretted
canopies fringed with glittering icicles; there are myriads of
stalactites hanging from the roof, some snow-white and thorny, others
like pink glass, that ring musically when struck with a stone. There is
an immense cavern where one sits down to rest; weird shadows cast by the
lamps dance upon the walls, and falling drops of water tinkle loudly in
the silence. There are precipices and bottomless pits—into which the
guide tosses stones—and atmospheric lakes, into which one is liable to
walk unawares—the surface of the water being invisible to the sharpest
scrutiny. There are bright blue pools, crystal clear, in the depths of
which stalagmites appear like white sea-anemones and seem to mirror back
the pendant bosses of the roof. One may walk for miles and not have seen
all, but the heat in these caves is trying to many people, and one is
not sorry to come out into the cold upper air after spending an hour or
two in a temperature of nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many years ago some Spaniards were lost for days in the Drach caves, and
the spot is still shown where in their despair they scratched upon the
walls: _No hay esperanza_—There is no hope!

In the caves of Arta, people are said to have entered who have never
been seen again, alive or dead.

The little inn at the _Puerto de Manacór_ is a typical Majorcan _fonda_.
Our rooms were floored with cheerful red tiles, and the walls were
almost awe-inspiring in their spotlessness; it is a popular saying that
on Saturdays the Majorcans whitewash everything within reach. From our
windows—furnished with wooden shutters in place of glass—we looked down
upon a vine-covered pergola and a little bright blue bay encircled by a
snow-white beach. Our beds were good, and the bed-linen excellent—the
lace-trimmed pillow-cases and beautifully embroidered monograms
testifying to the skill with which the women ply their needle. Supper
was served on the first-floor landing, and consisted of fish, omelette,
chicken and rice, and dessert; and at nine o’clock our hostess mounted
the stairs to inform us that there would be no milk for our morning
coffee unless some could be procured from Manacór (an hour distant)—the
local dairy being inconsiderate enough to have two fine kids at the
moment.

She bade us a friendly good-night, and as an afterthought pointed out
that being in the country here, it was the custom to empty bedroom
basins out of the window. We promised to avail ourselves of the
permission, and retiring, were gently lulled to sleep by the rhythmic
breathing of the tide below.

                  *       *       *       *       *

It is strange to hear of snow and frost at home while we are living in a
long succession of June days. Under a cloudless expanse of blue—unbroken
save by a transparent white moon in the eastern sky—did we leave the
_Puerto_ on the morning of March 16th. Retracing the road to Manacór, we
drove through tracts of pine wood and rosemary, and at midday reached
Arta—an oriental-looking town of white houses and palm-trees—the
_Yartan_ of the Moors, in whose day it was an important colony. Their
principal mosque was converted by the Conqueror into the great church
that stands upon the hillside and with fortress-like walls and wide-
arched upper gallery dominates the town. Crowning the same hill is the
wall-encircled church of San Salvadór, used in olden times as a refuge
for non-combatants during Saracen attacks, and in more recent days as a
lazaretto in time of pestilence—which led to its being pulled down and
rebuilt about a hundred years ago.

In the vicinity of Arta are to be found certain tumuli of unknown
origin, that correspond more or less to those monuments of a pre-
historic race which exist in most of the islands of the Mediterranean.
In a deserted olive-yard—where the poisonous _solanum sodomacum_ trailed
its miniature yellow and green melons among the stones and big, pale
periwinkles grew—we came upon the _Clápers de Gegants_, or Giants’
Cairns. A ring wall of large stones weighing several tons apiece had
evidently existed at one time; but most of the blocks had fallen in, and
the central mound—whether watch tower or burial tumulus—was a mere chaos
of stones and brambles. To any one who has seen the far finer megalithic
monuments of Minorca, no Majorcan remains will appear of much
importance.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Arta is an oriental-looking town of white houses and
  palm trees—the Yartan of the Moors._”

                                                (page 60)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Groups of peasant women were plying their hoes among
  the wheat_....”

                                                (page 55)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

From Arta it is a pretty drive to the castle of Cap de Péra, an old
fortress with portcullised gateway and peaked Moorish battlements,
around which one can walk on a narrow ledge laid on stone brackets.
Prickly pear and masses of crimson and white stocks run riot within the
walls and cluster about the little chapel of the summit. Beyond the
castle the road winds by a steep ascent to the lighthouse of the Cap de
Péra—built upon the extreme eastern point of the island, whence a
splendid view is obtained, the low coastline of Minorca being dimly
discernible far out at sea.

At nine o’clock the following morning we set out for the stalactite
caves of Arta—said to be the most wonderful ones in the world, with the
exception of certain caverns in New South Wales. For an hour and a half
we descended towards the coast through a plain of fig orchards and
palmetto clumps—the latter portion of the route being a mere cart-track
of surprising badness—and finally drew up under a grove of picturesque
old _Pinus maritima_ near the seashore—the finest trees we had yet seen
in an island where good timber is rare.

Fifteen minutes’ walk along a cliff path, with a turquoise blue sea
below, and the scent of pines and gorse filling the warm air, and we
come to the entrance to the caves. A great cleft opens in the face of
the cliff overhead—a natural ante-chamber to the caves, supported by
Herculean pillars of live rock, and to this we ascend by a long flight
of massive stone steps, as though to the portals of some grand old
Egyptian temple. Following our guide we pass through an iron _grille_
and descend through cool depths of grey rock till we seem to have
reached the very heart of the hills.

So strange is the under world through which one is led for the next two
hours that at times one doubts whether it is not all a dream. Now we
wander through lofty halls hung from roof to floor with stony curtain
folds, where tall stalagmitic palm-trees stand in groups—their rugged
stems hard as marble, white as though bleached by long confinement in
these sunless caves. Now we seem to be exploring a coral world in the
depths of the sea, and half expect to meet startled fishes darting
hither and thither among the fantastically sculptured grots and low-
fretted arches through which we creep. Now we enter the great hall of
columns, and wait in darkness upon a high rock-platform, while our
invisible guide busies himself below with Bengal lights. Suddenly a
vista of gigantic columns leaps out of black space, monstrous shadows
retreat into a perspective of infinite extent, and—as though in some
strange operatic scene—we find ourselves standing in a great vaulted
crypt, Gothic in its indescribable richness of architectural detail,
Egyptian in its gigantic proportions and massive grandeur. Still larger
is the great cavern known as the Cathedral, the roof of which attains a
height of a hundred and fifty feet; so weird and grand beyond belief is
the effect created by this vast interior when lighted up—so wonderful is
the mimicry of hangings and sculpture—so regular the slender turrets and
fretted pinnacles that enrich the structure, that it is difficult to
realise that the scene before one is Nature’s own handiwork.

Wending our way down the Devil’s Staircase we next descend to a spot
below sea-level to visit the “lost souls”—a company of black and burnt-
up looking little figures seated beside a salt-water pool that goes by
the name of the Styx. Endless is the imagery suggested by the stalactite
formations; some resemble isolated statues, others intricate groups of
Hindu gods. There is an organ with musical pipes, there are strange
echoes that live far away among the rock caverns of the roof, and huge
lurking shadows that—startled by the light of our lanterns—glide swiftly
out of their recesses and disappear into the darkness ahead. But always
we return to the aisles of ghostly columns that distinguish these caves
from all others I have ever seen.

Questioned as to the presumed age of these columns our guide throws up
his hands in despair, and, leading us to a small stalagmite in process
of formation, shows us a couple of copper _sous_ embedded in its glassy
surface; it is twenty years since they were placed there, and in that
time the stalagmite has risen to the rims of the coins and they are now
fixed in their place by the most delicate silver film. Allowing fifteen
_sous_ to the inch, a rough computation sets the rate of growth of this
particular stalagmite at something between three and four thousand years
to the foot—a period doubtless considerably exceeded in the case of the
larger columns.

The gem of the whole collection is the great palm-tree that stands alone
in one of the outer courts. There are others that equal it in girth—its
stem measures little more than three feet in diameter—but its splendid
shaft ascends flawless, joint above joint of white coral-like
stalagmite, till it unites with the roof sixty or seventy feet above the
level of the floor. Since the world was young it has stood in these
Halls of Silence—a silence of æons, broken only by dropping water and
occasional earthquake shocks that have flung masses of stalactite to the
ground. These horizontal rings in its stem may have been deposited in
the days of palæolithic man; while that joint was being formed Babylon
and Nineveh rose and passed away, and the Pharaohs in long procession
filed across the world’s stage and vanished.

The falling drop has now finished its work and has shifted to another
spot where it has begun the base of a second column. Some day the
capital of this one also will be completed....

It is a glimpse into Eternity that appals one.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On March 18th we left Arta. A hum and a buzz in the street proclaimed it
Sunday morning, and on emerging from our inn we found a couple of
hundred people—including two Civil Guards and all the elders of the
place—assembled to see us off. This interest was centred less in
ourselves than in our victoria, for to people whose only notion of a
carriage is the Spanish one of the baker’s-cart pattern, the sight of so
long, low, and altogether remarkable looking a vehicle was of thrilling
interest. It was probably the first ever seen in this part of the
island, and had it been a motor-car it could not have made a greater
sensation. Beasts of burden bolted at so novel an apparition, mules in
carts swerved violently; children would drag their small brothers and
sisters half a mile across country to catch a glimpse of us, and we
brought whole village populations running to their doors.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_A cliff path with the turquoise-blue sea below leads to the
  entrance to the caves of Arta_....”

                                                (page 61)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_At the port of Andraitx fishermen in red Phrygian caps
  were mending their nets_....”

                                                (page 67)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stepping into our carriage with a gracious and comprehensive bow to the
throng around, we were whirled away at a gallop down the crowded street,
and quitting the town we struck out for Santa Margarita on our return to
Palma. Long processions of country carts were returning from Mass, with
men and women seated upon sacks at the bottom of the vehicles; but the
fields were deserted save for an occasional swineherd tending his beasts
among the carob groves.

Near Sineu we passed a large corral of young mules with their mothers;
so proudly do these quaint, long-eared infants follow the handsome black
mares that one is irresistibly reminded of the inquiry put by an
interested listener to the man who was boasting of his mother’s beauty—
“C’était donc Monsieur votre père qui n’était pas beau?”

The night was spent at Sineu, and returning to Palma the following
morning we settled down at the Grand Hotel for a week before starting on
our second driving tour, which was to introduce us to the North-western
corner of the island.

                  *       *       *       *       *

For the next few days the weather behaved as badly as it occasionally
will do in southern lands where its reputation is at stake. The Palma
natives became first apologetic, then exasperated;—“Fie, for shame!”
screamed an old woman angrily, addressing the rain from her shop door
where we had taken shelter in a downpour—“Fie, for shame! What, then,
will the English ladies think of us!”

But the spirit of perversity had entered into the Spring; she sprinkled
snow upon the mountains, and kept the mail-boats imprisoned at
Barcelona; she drenched the shivering population till the very swallows
sat disconsolately on the clothes lines, drooping their wet wings; and
she persisted in making such ugly threatening faces that it looked as if
we should never start for Andraitx at all. Reason certainly pointed to
our remaining at Palma; we were warm and comfortable at the Grand Hotel—
we got far better food than we ever did on our travels, and the Dark-
room itself was more commodious than might be our future quarters in
some village _fonda_. On the other hand time was passing, and we had yet
much to see; finally we decided to risk all and to go.

The heavens were black with clouds when we set off on the morning of
March 27th, but before we had been gone half an hour our lucky star
shone out, and the weather executed a complete _volte-face_ such as one
is led to believe any climate but our own would be ashamed of. Brilliant
sunshine dried up the puddles with that amazing rapidity peculiar to
porous soils, and the day suddenly decided to be quite, quite fine.

So excellent may be the results obtained from flying in the face of
Providence—if only it be done at the right moment.

Merrily our little horses jingled along the splendid _carretera real_—
the royal road—that leads to Andraitx; now we follow the coastline and
catch glimpses of blue waves and fringes of white foam between the stems
of the pine-trees; now we turn inland among the olive groves—where the
old trees pirouette airily or stand with feet gracefully crossed upon
the hill slopes, amidst pink and white cistus and bushes of wild
mignonette. In three hours we reach Andraitx, where the carriage road
terminates, and having no further use for our victoria we send it back
to Palma, with instructions to meet us the next day but one at the
village of Estallenchs beyond the mountains.

Andraitx, the old Andrachium of the Romans, is a prosperous-looking town
lying in a green valley of almond orchards; most of the inhabitants are
sea-faring folk, and down by the shore—five miles distant—we found a
little colony of houses where fishermen in red Phrygian caps were
mending their nets until the gale should abate. It was assuredly no day
to put out to sea so long as white foam was running up the face of the
cliffs, driven by a wild west wind.

The church of Andraitx is one of the oldest in the island; it stands
upon rising ground above the town, its great blank walls plain—even in a
land of plain exteriors; and beside it stands the fine old Possession-
house of _Son Mās_, said to date back to the time of the Moors. The
Possession-houses of Majorca were originally the country seats of the
Spanish nobility; once inhabited by the great landowners, they have now
descended to the level of farmhouses and have become the residence of
the principal tenant farmer upon the estate, who goes by the name of the
Amo, or master. These fine old buildings usually stand in the centre of
some large property, and are almost invariably fortified and adapted to
stand a siege.

Very picturesque is the straggling yellow pile of _Son Mās_, with its
high walls and machicolated tower. Passing under a heavy stone archway
we cross a large courtyard, where pigeons are stepping through stately
minuets upon a vine pergola, and ascend by a flight of steps to a broad
open gallery, supported on pillars, that runs along the front of the
house. We are shown the spacious kitchen and living rooms of the present
occupants, and are then led through suite after suite of disused
apartments—whitewashed, stone-flagged, shuttered, given up to bats and
cobwebs. In the rooms occupied by the Señor, when on rare occasions he
pays a visit to his estate, are a few pieces of the old furniture—some
wooden chests, such as take the place of wardrobes in Majorcan
households, a carved bedstead, and a few old paintings—fast going to
decay. Soon there will be nothing save the stone scutcheon in the
courtyard to preserve the memory of the founder of _Son Mās_.

Behind the house is an enormous reservoir containing a water supply that
would outlast any conceivable siege to which the inhabitants might be
subjected. The cement roof of the tank forms a wide terrace—some ninety
by thirty feet—and two well-shafts, thickly lined with maidenhair fern,
give access to the water.

A winding staircase leads to the summit of the old watch-tower, where
from an open _loggia_ under the roof the besieged could hurl down
missiles upon the foe before the gate. In an unguarded moment I
attempted the ascent of this tower, and never shall I forget the
sensation of that climb; losing sight of my feet from the very start—my
head being always three turns higher up the steps—and momentarily
expecting to stick fast for good, I thrust myself in spirals up the
narrowest corkscrew stairs it has ever been my fate to encounter.
Judging by my own sensations I should guess the staircase to have
measured nine inches in width—but it is possible it may have been rather
more.

As we sat at supper that evening there came a knock at the door and the
_Alcalde_ was announced; a shy little man fingering a felt hat slipped
into the room and made us a low bow; he was the Burgomaster, come to pay
his respects and to inquire if we had all we wanted. While entirely
appreciating the kindness that prompted his visit we could willingly
have dispensed with it, on account of the immense exertion required to
express ourselves in Spanish at all, and the impossibility of doing so
as we should wish. We gathered that he was placing himself and all he
possessed at our disposal, and we did our best to rise to the occasion;
but sentiments of gratitude are sadly lamed by a limited vocabulary. We
tried to improve our position by asking if he could speak French, and
expressing our disappointment when he negatived the question. The
interview was punctuated by rather painful silences—and it was with a
certain sense of relief that we saw our friendly visitor bow himself out
again on being assured there was nothing he could do for us.

All that night a terrific storm raged. Mingled with the rattling of hail
and the crash of thunder came the sound of the _Sereno_ hammering at the
house door to wake the _fondista_, and shortly afterwards we heard the
latter come upstairs and pound lustily upon the door of an adjoining
bedroom; some señor had to be called to catch the diligence, which—
according to Spanish custom—leaves Andraitx at the extraordinary hour of
two o’clock in the morning.

By the time we had finished breakfast the sun was shining hotly once
more, and we were able to start for San Telmo. Seated in a small
_carreta_—a very light skeleton cart on two wheels, with rush mats
spread over the bars of the bottom and sides—we set out at a foot’s pace
to visit the old castle on the coast, an hour and a half distant. For a
mile or so one ascends by a very steep mountain road, but after crossing
the _col_ this road deteriorates into the roughest of cart tracks,
winding down to the sea through a valley of pine-trees, olives, and
carobs.

A country road in Majorca may mean anything—from a tract of bedrock
scattered with loose stones of any size, to a soft, uneven hill-path,
barely wide enough for a wheeled vehicle to pass. Short of coming to
actual steps, a _carreta_ is expected to follow anywhere where a pony
can obtain a footing, and many a time did the bumps and lurches to which
we were subjected recall George Sand’s driving experiences in the year
1838.

Speaking of what is now one of the finest roads in the island she
narrates in lively French how in her day the journey was perilously
accomplished—“with one wheel on the mountain and one in the ravine....
The jolting is indescribable ... yet however frightful a concussion the
driver receives, he sings all the time in a loud voice—only breaking off
to bestow curses upon his horse if the animal hesitates for an instant
before plunging down some precipice or climbing some rock wall.... For
it is thus one proceeds—ravines, torrents, quagmires, ditches, hedges,
all present themselves in vain—one does not stop for so little. Besides,
it is all part of the road; at first you think you must be
steeplechasing for a wager, and you ask your driver what possesses him.
This is the road, he replies. But that river? It is the road. And this
deep pit? The road. And that bush also? Always the road.... _A la bonne
heure!_ And all that remains for you to do is to commend your soul to
God and to contemplate the landscape, while awaiting death or a
miracle.”

Descending from the _carreta_ shortly after starting, to lighten the
load of the floundering pony, I had at first persuaded the stout
proprietor to follow my example; but within a very short time he had
climbed in again, observing with a loud gasp that the way was long. It
was not the first time he had been to San Telmo; only a year ago he had
driven two English ladies there, and they too had had a camera, and on
the way it fell out of the cart and was lost. To this day he could
remember their lamentable cries of “La máquina, la máquina!” But five
days later it was picked up by an old man, who thought it was a bomb and
carried it home very cautiously. The ladies were very pleased—oh yes,
they gave him more than a day’s wages for it.

The little castle of San Telmo was built in the sixteenth century for
the protection of Andraitx. It stands on a rocky prominence by the
seashore, and is in good preservation, its barrel-vaulted dining hall
serving as a workshop for the old man who lives there. From the flat
roof of the tower, where rusty cannon still occupy the embrasures, one
looks down upon a pretty beach, where long green waves, lit up by the
sun, break gently upon the sand, and great conch shells are sometimes
found amongst the foam fringes of the surf. Some three hundred yards out
from the shore is the low turtle-backed rock Pentaleu, where the
Conqueror first set foot on quitting his storm-tossed galley; and
screening the northern side of the little bay are the bare grey flanks—
dreaded by sailors—of the Dragonéra, Majorca’s westernmost outpost. A
lighthouse occupies the knife-like ridge of the summit, and cutting
along through the Freu—the narrow strait between the island rock and the
mainland—comes a little white steamer, the Barcelona boat, bringing a
welcome cargo of mails after a silence that has lasted more than a week.

The following morning, March 29th, we set out for Estallenchs, our
cavalcade consisting of one riding mule and a sturdy donkey to carry the
luggage. No expedition could have offered a greater contrast to our tour
of the preceding week than did this journey across the mountains. On the
southern plain a whole day’s march of thirty miles is accomplished in a
morning’s drive; in the Sierra we take four hours to cover a distance of
twelve miles. Up and down among the hills winds the mule track; now we
are high above the lapis lazuli sea, on a mountain path knee deep in
palmetto fans and the red-velvet flower of lentiscus bushes; now we
descend to a torrent bed hemmed in by great grey cliffs scarred with red
scarps where part of the hillside has broken off and poured like an
avalanche into the bed of the valley. Now we enter the pine woods where
the white allium and many orchises grow, and the air is fragrant with
rosemary and gorse. Further on we come to a winding rock staircase cut
in the face of the cliff, down which, our guide tells us, it is not safe
to ride; the only surprising thing is that any animal except a goat
should be expected to descend it; and here our baggage donkey
distinguished himself by slipping down and lying motionless, but quite
unhurt, till he was unloaded and dragged on to his legs again.

A rough cart track winds for some way into these lonely hills, and we
meet timber carts descending with loads of fir-trees, the mules
stumbling and sliding on their haunches down the steep hillside—the
heavy two-wheeled carts, with powerful brakes on, crashing and jolting
behind them over boulders and tree-stumps.

As we approach human habitations again, traces of cultivation once more
appear; small terraces are levelled on the mountain side and planted
with almond-trees, from which our men snatch handfuls of young milky
nuts in passing—a universal habit that has given rise to the sarcastic
proverb, “The laden almond-tree by the wayside is sure to be bitter.” At
last, after a long and fatiguing descent by shallow paved steps, we come
in sight of Estallenchs—a pretty village nestling in a fold of the
hills, backed by cliffs, grey peaks of sun and shadow; in front a valley
opening down to the sea, with hill slopes clothed in almond, olive, and
fir.

The inn is a very humble building, and does not even entitle itself a
_fonda_. The master of the house was absent, and the old woman left in
charge spoke no Spanish; we spoke no Majorcan, and by way of
facilitating conversation she suddenly sent an urgent message to the
village doctor, who arrived post haste, thinking that some accident had
befallen the English señoras. Somewhat dashed at finding us both
uninjured and in good health, he yet conversed with us very pleasantly
in our attic chamber, offered to show us the place, translated various
requests for us, and before leaving ordered our dinner. Thanks to his
ministrations we lacked for nothing that night, the only hitch occurring
at bedtime, when our best efforts to obtain candles resulted in a dish
of olives being set before us.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _the pretty village of Estallenchs, backed by great
  grey cliffs, and with a valley in front opening down to the sea_.”

                                                (page 74)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The light streaming through the great outer door
  revealed the usual spotless interior of a Majorcan house._”

                                                (page 75)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following morning a cheerful jingle of bells announces the arrival
of our good Pépé and the victoria; the approach to the inn being too
narrow for a carriage to pass, our belongings are carried up to the main
road and there bestowed upon the box. Village dames look on from their
doorways and nod affably, and one of them invited us to come in while
waiting for the carriage to be packed, and took the deepest interest in
our proceedings when we proposed photographing her room—only regretful
that her floor was not yet covered with the tiles she showed us stacked
in readiness. The only light streamed through the great stone archway of
the outer door, and revealed the usual spotless interior of a Majorcan
house, the walls snowy with repeated coats of whitewash. Good string-
seated chairs and stools were ranged neatly round the room, and on the
shelves stood the graceful water-jars in daily use among the people.
Boxwood spoons and forks hung in a rack by the chimney corner, and over
a clear fire of almond-shells upon the hearth bubbled a pot of bean
soup; nothing would content the good housewife but that we should taste
it—and most excellent it was. Everything about the place was tidy and
exquisitely clean.

You might search in Majorca for a long time I fancy before you would
find a slattern.

The scale of wages in the island is low—a labourer rarely earning more
than eighteen pence a day; but there is every sign of general
prosperity. The necessaries of life are very cheap, and a well-built
stone house can be obtained in country villages at a rental of from two
to three pounds a year.

The drive from Estallenchs to Bañalbufár is—from the point of view of
scenery—one of the finest in the island; high above the sea runs the
road, following every curve of the rugged coast; dark, fir-crowned
cliffs tower overhead, and mountain ranges in splendid perspective jut
out into the blue Mediterranean. Headland upon headland, point upon
point—each intervening bay outlined with a semicircle of snow-white
foam—they stretch back to where the faint blue battering-ram of the
Dragonéra is still dimly visible in the haze of distance.

Perched on a rock pinnacle above the sea stand the yellow walls of an
old watch tower; these towers, or _ataláyas_ as they are called, were in
olden days tenanted by coastguards, who from their lofty eyries watched
the sea and gave the alarm to the countryside when any suspicious sail
appeared on the horizon; a system of smoke-signals was in use by which
the movements of a hostile fleet could be communicated to all the other
_ataláyas_ along the coast and to the inhabitants of the interior.

Bañalbufár is a small village built upon a mountain slope high above the
sea, chiefly noticeable for the marvellous terracing of the surrounding
hillsides; the terraces are so narrow and the walls so high that seen
from below the effect is that of an unbroken stone wall several hundred
feet in height, while from a little distance they resemble a gigantic
flight of curved steps or an inverted amphitheatre upon the hillside.
Vines and tomatoes are largely grown by the industrious inhabitants.

Down by the sea, in the cavernous recesses of overhanging rocks, are
some curious corn mills, to which one descends by a steep paved path,
the tiny mountain stream that works the mills raging and sluicing
alongside in a polished aqueduct at such prodigious speed that upon
touching the water your hand receives a smart blow.

Here upon a small headland below the village we ate our luncheon, among
clumps of purple stock and bushes of bright green spurge—devouring the
while a week’s budget of letters that Pépé had brought out with him;
after which we rejoined our carriage and began the long ascent of the
Col that lay between us and Palma. Like a snake does the white road wind
in loops up the mountain side; the _Pinus maritima_ clothes the hill
slopes to the very summit, but rarely attains an even respectable size.
In this respect Majorca differs strikingly from Corsica, where grand
forests of Laricio pine flourish in the rockiest of soils. Natural
timber is indeed a feature entirely lacking in the greater part of
Majorca, owing to the fact that whenever it is in any way possible to
utilise the ground it is devoted to the more profitable culture of the
olive and almond.

Leaving the mountains behind us we presently pass Esporlás, with its
rushing stream bordered by Lombardy poplars, and its great cloth
factory, where hanks of dyed cotton are hanging out to dry; and soon
after reaching Establiments—a trim and prosperous townlet nine
kilometres from Palma—the rain comes down in torrents. We meet flocks of
drenched sheep, and tilted country carts returning from market, each
carter fast asleep inside, with his head on a pile of sacks and a
blanket drawn up to his chin, leaving all responsibility to the
sagacious mule who steps aside to let us pass. The wheat fields are
dripping, the wet air is heavy with the scent of flowering may, and
Palma itself is spanned by a bright rainbow. Let it rain! we are back in
comfortable quarters once more!

                  *       *       *       *       *

On the 2nd of April we went to spend a few days at Sollér—the one
inevitable expedition for all visitors to Palma. By the most direct
route the drive only occupies three hours, but it is best to make a
_détour_ by way of Valldemósa and Miramár, so as to include the
beautiful scenery of the north coast.

Long and straight and flat is the road to Valldemósa, the cornfields on
either side decked out with blue borage, gladiolus, and pink allium, and
bordered with a fringe of flaring yellow daisies—the kind known in
English gardens as annual chrysanthemums. A brilliant touch of colour is
given by a row of bright vermilion flower-pots, set out on the snow-
white parapet of a country house; but actual flower gardens are as
lacking among the homesteads of Majorca as among those of most southern
lands—and the peasants would no doubt marvel greatly at the sentiment
which induces an English cottager to allot so much valuable space to
flowers when he might devote it to the utilitarian onion or the
practical potato.

A couple of hours’ drive brings one to the foot of the mountains, and
passing through a fine gorge the road ascends to the village of
Valldemósa, perched upon a saddle among the hills. It was here that in
the sixteenth century Santa Catalina was born—the pious maiden who on
her walks used the leaves of the olive and lentisk as rosaries, and who
from her cell heard mass being celebrated in Palma Cathedral, ten miles
distant; but Valldemósa’s chief claim to fame lies in her great
Carthusian monastery, a huge yellow pile occupying the ridge above the
village. Originating as the summer palace of the Moorish rulers of
Majorca, the great building was subsequently used as a residence by the
kings of Aragon, and it was not till the year 1400 that it fell into the
hands of the monks; fortified, restored, and added to at various times,
the monastery eventually covered an enormous area of ground, and
sufficient still remains to amaze us at the lavish style in which twelve
Carthusian friars and their Father Superior were housed.

When the monastery was suppressed in 1835, the Spanish government made
over the newer wing of the building to private persons, and nine
Majorcan families occupy the monks’ old quarters to this day. Very
charming are these monastic residences, entered from the cool,
whitewashed cloisters; each set of rooms is quite secluded from the
rest, and each has its small terrace garden to the south, where lemon-
trees bask in the sunshine, screened by the high walls that divide each
monk’s territory from that of his neighbour on either side. From the low
parapet in front one looks out over a steep declivity of orange groves
and ranges of hills stretching down to the gorge—the gate of the plains.

It was in one of these apartments that George Sand passed the winter
when she visited the island with her two children in the year 1838,
accompanied by the invalid Chopin. The accommodation provided for one
Carthusian friar—three good-sized rooms and a kitchen on the ground
floor, with as many bedrooms above stairs—afforded ample living room for
the party of four; but the winter proved bitterly cold, and all the
comforts of a northern home were lacking in an island where open
fireplaces are unknown, and a brazier filled with charcoal is the only
means of warming a room. At great expense an iron stove was brought up
to Valldemósa and installed in one of the rooms, where it smelt
abominably. In other matters the unfortunate strangers were no happier;
the grand piano—imported from France—gave such endless trouble at the
Palma customs that they would willingly have had it sunk in the harbour—
but even that was not permitted. It was only after protracted wrangling
that it was finally liberated upon the payment of four hundred francs.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_It was here that George Sand passed the winter when
  she visited the island with her two children in 1838, accompanied
  by the invalid Chopin._”

                                                (page 80)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The mountain ranges stretch back in splendid perspective
  to where the faint blue battering-ram of the Dragonéra is
  dimly visible in the distance._”

                                                (page 76)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The attitude of the Valldemósans too was anything but pleasant or
conciliatory to the French exiles; the expulsion of the monks was too
recent for them to have become reconciled to the occupation of the
monastery by lay residents, and they looked with intense suspicion on
these foreigners who never came to church and who scandalised society by
allowing a little girl of nine to roam the country attired in rational
costume.

There were doubtless faults on both sides; if the peasants regarded
George Sand as a heathen, she looked upon them as uncharitable and
bigoted barbarians, and she contrasts the result of their so-called
religion with the abomination of desolation of philosophy in which—as
she ironically remarks—her own children were brought up.

Life in Majorca seems to have offered few attractions to the foreigner
in those days; setting aside the difficulties of transit—difficulties
rendered doubly trying in the case of an invalid—the discomfort of the
pig-boat by which one came to Palma, and the shocking state of the
roads, to which I have previously alluded—setting all this aside, the
very character of the islanders seems to have been radically different
when George Sand sojourned amongst them from what it is now. According
to her, the Majorcans were dirty and impertinent; they cheated one
shamelessly at every turn; they were calculating, selfish, and utterly
heartless where their own interest was concerned; letters of
recommendation to twenty Palma residents would hardly suffice to prevent
a stranger from wandering homeless about the town on arrival; and if any
luckless foreigner presumed to complain of the treatment he received, or
so much as ventured to express disapproval at the presence of scorpions
in his soup, a torrent of indignation and contempt descended on his
head.

Now our own impressions of the Majorcans differed so wholly from the
above description that it is difficult to realise that the writer was
referring to the same people. Our experience of the island was, however,
necessarily a brief and superficial one—and though I have endeavoured
faithfully to record all that befell us on our travels I am open to the
charge of having taken too _couleur-de-rose_ a view, or—in the more
pithy Minorcan phrase—of having unconsciously resembled “the ass of
Moro, who was enchanted with everything.”

I therefore quote the following words written by one not open to this
charge—the Austrian Archduke Louis Salvator, who for more than twenty
years made the island his home, who travelled about among the peasants,
and who probably knows the island and its inhabitants more intimately
than do most of the natives themselves:—

“The Majorcans,” he writes, “are gentle, cheerful, open-hearted,
compassionate, and charitable to the poor; faithful in friendship, and
extremely attached to their wives and children; _very hospitable, like
all the Balearic peoples_—this applies to rich and poor alike, who all
heap kindness upon the stranger and entertain him with their best.”

How to reconcile this opinion with that of George Sand I do not know—for
it is not usual for the racial characteristics of an island people to
alter so completely in fifty years. I can only imagine that the French
authoress must have arrived in Majorca at an inauspicious moment; that
she unintentionally roused the animosity of her neighbours, and that she
may have been actually unlucky in the people with whom she came in
contact; while anxiety over the condition of her sick friend did not
improve her temper. It must not be supposed, however, that her winter at
Valldemósa was one long Jeremiad; she thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of
the scenery and the flowers, and her vivid imagination, her spirit, and
her sense of humour carried her through trials that would have depressed
many another person.

An apology is due to her memory for the deliberate charge brought
against her in Murray’s guide-book of having damaged a certain
“priceless historical document” during her stay in the island. The
document in question is a curious illuminated map of Europe and the
north coast of Africa, made for Amerigo Vespucci in the year 1439 by a
Majorcan draughtsman; and George Sand is most unjustly held up to the
reprobation of all future travellers as having obtained permission to
copy this map, and as having upset her inkpot over it.

That an inkpot _was_ upset over it she herself records in dramatic
narration, but her account of the affair goes to show that she had
neither part nor lot in bringing about the accident; her hair stands on
end with horror as she recalls the scene....

She was being shown the library collected by Cardinal Despuig, uncle to
the then Count of Montenegro, when the house-chaplain volunteered to
show her the precious map—the gem of the collection. Spreading it on a
table he unrolled the beautiful illuminated parchment—whereon large
cities share the Sahara with equally large savages mounted on camels;
but the vellum was reluctant to remain flat, seeing which, a servant
placed a full inkstand upon a corner of the map to keep it open. But
alas! its weight was insufficient! The scroll gave a crack—a leap—and
lo! it was again rolled up, _with the inkstand inside_!

Horror and confusion reigned; the chaplain fainted away; the servants
were petrified—and then, losing their heads, dashed up with sponges,
brooms, and pails of water, and fell upon the map with zeal so fatal
that kingdoms, oceans, isles, and continents were overwhelmed in common
ruin.

George Sand declares she was not even touching the table at the moment
of the catastrophe—but adds prophetically that she quite supposes the
blame of it will to all time be laid at her door. The map was
subsequently restored by skilful hands to nearly its pristine glory, and
is now to be seen under glass in the house of the Count of Montenegro at
Palma.

The big monastery-church of Valldemósa contains little of interest
beyond some good marble mosaics, and hanging on the wall is a curious
apparatus not unlike a pool-marker, with lettered pegs that fit into
holes—the talking board used by the silent monks when they wished to
communicate with one another.

From Valldemósa an hour’s drive brings one to Miramár, the large estate
purchased in 1872 by the Archduke Louis Salvator. Before arriving at the
house itself one passes the roadside _hospedéria_, kept up—with true
Majorcan hospitality—by the lord of the manor for the benefit of
travellers: free quarters for three days, with firing, salt, and olives,
are offered to all comers, and the woman in charge cooks the food that
visitors bring with them. This hospice makes an excellent centre from
which to explore the north coast of the island, and good walkers would
discover countless delightful rambles amongst the pinewoods that clothe
the cliffs down to the water’s edge.

The Archduke’s own house is a plain building standing 2,000 feet above
sea-level; the name Miramár—Sea View—has attached to the site ever since
the thirteenth century, when Don Jaime II.—acting on the recommendation
of Rámon Lull, his seneschal—founded a college there. Never was a name
better deserved; like a silver mirror the placid Mediterranean lies
outspread below one, its motionless surface flecked with tiny fishing
boats; dark, fir-clad cliffs slope precipitously to the sea, and far
below lies the red rock Foradada like some gigantic saurian in the blue
water. Look-out points, or _Miradórs_, are constructed in various parts
of the grounds, commanding glorious views; and perched upon a rocky spur
lower down the hill is a tiny chapel, recently built, dedicated to St.
Rámon Lull. One of its foundation stones was brought from Bougie in
Algeria—where the saint met his death by stoning—and another from San
Francisco, in memory of the missionary Juan Serra, the Majorcan founder
of the Pacific city.

For the last eight years the Archduke has not resided at his Majorcan
home, greatly to the regret of the people; the house is uninhabited, but
is shown to visitors by the caretaker.

Its chief interest consists in the entirely native character of its
contents; everything in the house is Majorcan—the thick, soft matting on
the floors, the string-seated rocking-chairs and the fat stools of
stuffed basket-work; the handsome brass braziers and the carved four-
post bedsteads; the inlaid chests and cabinets, and the splendid
collection of faïence ware, of which the owner is a connoisseur.
Majorcan too is the vulture in the garden—a fierce, brown bird, who
hisses at visitors, and jumps wrathfully from branch to branch of the
aviary in which he has lived for seventeen long years.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The port of Soller is a fishing village of narrow
  streets_....”

                                                (page 89)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_We came up with a palmer from the Holy Land, posting
  along at five miles an hour._”

                                                (page 87)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Archduke is the author of a very exhaustive and profusely
illustrated work on the Balearics, “_Die Balearen in Wort und Bild_”;
but unfortunately it is too costly a work to become generally known, or
it would bring many travellers to visit the islands which the author
loves so well.

On leaving Miramár we continue along the coast to Deya, a picturesque
village of clustered houses and steep streets of steps, perched upon an
isolated peak and backed by high mountains. Here we caught sight of a
strange figure striding along the road ahead of us, and presently we
came up with a holy palmer, who might have stepped straight out of the
twelfth century—with cockleshells and staff, and with his sandal shoon.
He was posting along at five miles an hour with a dog at his heels.

“Whither away, O Father?” we asked with respectful salutation.

“Over the whole world, my children,” replied the old man, turning upon
us a rugged face framed in long grey locks.

We learnt that he was a native of Spain, and had for years been on a
pilgrimage to the most sacred shrines in all lands; he had been in the
Holy Land and in Egypt—had visited St. James of Compostella, and Rome,
and Lourdes—and now was on his way to the shrine of Our Lady of Lluch.
His wallet contained his papers—viséd at his various halting places—
together with a few treasured relics from the Holy Sepulchre; of money
he had no need, since the faithful everywhere would give him food and a
night’s lodging, for the labourer is worthy of his hire. But he dare not
tarry, for he had yet far to go, and with a “_Buen viaje!_” we drove on
and soon lost sight of the solitary pilgrim who in this strange fashion
was working out his own salvation.

The town of Sollér lies almost at sea-level, in a spacious valley ringed
round with mountains around whose grey peaks buzzards and ravens—dwarfed
by distance to the size of midges—circle and slant for ever to and fro.

Warm and sheltered, rich with orange and lemon groves, date palms and
loquats, and entirely enclosed with hills but for an opening down to the
little port on the north, Sollér is Majorca’s garden of the Hesperides.
Though it is only April 3rd, the roses are running riot in the gardens
of _Son Angelāts_, a fine house on the outskirts of the town belonging
to a Marchésa who only resides there in summer time; it has terraces
overlooking Sollér, and large grounds laid out with orange groves, tall
palms, and flowering shrubs; roses cover the terrace walls and climb up
into the grey olive-trees from whence they fall back in festoons—and the
gardener breaks off branch after branch for us as we go along, great
yellow Marshal Niels, pink La France, crimson tea roses, butter-coloured
Banksias, miniature _roses de Meaux_, and fragrant Madame Falcot; we
have more roses than we can carry. The borders are full of pansies and
polyanthus, Parma violets and carnations; we are given bouquets of
spirea, freesias, peonies, and heliotrope, and we drive away with our
little _carreta_ decked out as if for the Carnival.

The Marchésa has beautiful grounds—carriages and horses, and many
servants; and to these possessions she adds, with true Southern
incongruity, a most remarkable approach to her entrance gate; several
yards of decayed cobble paving—bestrewn with loose blocks of stone and
full of deep holes—over which a small stream swirls rapidly, intervene
between her carriage gate and the road outside. The bumps and crashes
with which our cart forded the water nearly threw the pony down, and we
feared at one time that a wheel was coming off, but we got through
intact. That the marchioness should enjoy this episode as part of her
daily drive strikes even the natives, I think, as a little strange.

The modest little hotel _La Marina_ at Sollér is a great improvement on
the ordinary village _fonda_; the cooking is good, the bedrooms plainly
but suitably furnished, and the proprietor and his daughters spare no
pains to make their guests happy. Mules can be procured in the town for
mountain expeditions, a carriage and pair is kept for hire, and there is
a toy _carreton_ belonging to the hotel in which one may drive out
alone—feeling somewhat like a coster going to the Derby; the minute
white pony hurries one along at extraordinary speed and stops for
nothing but the Majorcan word of command—Poke-a-parg!

The port of Sollér, about half an hour distant, is a little land-locked
harbour with a fishing village of narrow streets and picturesque houses.
Majorca’s northern coast is in general so precipitous and inhospitable
that the safe anchorage offered by the Sollér harbour was a great
attraction to the corsairs of the Middle Ages, and many and terrible
were the struggles that took place in the sixteenth century between them
and the inhabitants of Sollér; on one of these occasions they sacked and
then burnt to the ground the great Oratory of Santa Catalina, which
stands on a headland at the mouth of the harbour. After this a castle
was built, whose guns commanded the entrance to the port; but of this
nothing remains except part of a tower, now incorporated in a modern
dwelling-house.

There are many expeditions to be made on foot and on muleback into the
mountains that surround Sollér; stalwarts can make the ascent of the
snow-crowned _Puig Mayor_—Majorca’s highest peak, five thousand feet
above sea-level—or visit the _Gorch Blau_, a ten hours’ expedition, with
several miles of rock steps to come down on the way back, but both of
these require strength and endurance. Then there is the _Barránco_, a
ravine, clean cut as with a knife, upon the summit of a grey mountain
ridge from whence a splendid view is obtained; and there is the _Torrent
de Pareys_ on the north coast, to be reached by boat on a calm day in
about two hours.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The white town of Soller lying in the lap of the hills,
  framed by converging mountain slopes_ ...”

                                                (page 92)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Many of the houses at Fornalutx are extremely old, with
  quaint staircases and old stone archways._”

                                                (page 91)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Of the shorter excursions one well worth making is to the hill village
of Fornalutx; the road runs up the valley of the Torriente, a bubbling
hill stream with banks of blue and white periwinkle and a masonry bed
overhung with thousands of orange and lemon trees, beneath which lie
oranges in golden mounds, like cider apples in a Somerset orchard. In
spite of the scale disease, which in latter years has wrought havoc in
many groves—blackening the fruit and destroying the foliage—the oranges
of Sollér are still famous, and fetch market prices ranging from a penny
to fivepence a dozen, according to quality, while a dozen of the best
lemons are here sold for twopence.

The streets of Fornalutx are principally flights of broad cobbled steps,
and many of the houses are extremely ancient and fascinating, with
quaint wooden balustrades, carved window frames, and old stone archways.
One of those we visited had an oil mill on the premises, and we were
shown the stone bins into which the panniers of olives are first
emptied, and the great trough in which they are subsequently crushed
with a millstone turned by a mule; the olive pulp is then placed in
flat, circular baskets, and when these are piled up in layers to a
considerable height, boiling water is poured over them and they are
crushed flat by an immense baulk of timber that descends upon them from
above. The exuding liquid flows into a tank below, where by the happy
provision of Nature the oil is able to be drawn off by a surface pipe
while the water is carried away by one at the bottom. The olive harvest
takes place in October and November; the oil is much used in Majorcan
cookery—though not to any unpleasant extent—and children are often seen
eating slices of bread spread with oil in place of the jam or dripping
with which it would be flavoured in our own country.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Our stay at Sollér was cut short by the unkindness of the weather. For
two days the rain held off, grudgingly; but on the third we awoke to
find the whole valley enveloped in a dense Scotch mist; our host looked
up at the blurred outlines of the mountains, and he looked at the gusts
of cloud that were blowing through the _barranco_, and he shook his
head; he was honest, and he confessed that the prospect was not hopeful.
A rain wind sobbed round the house as we sat over the wood fire that
evening, and from an adjoining room came the singularly monotonous
chant—high, nasal, and quavering—with which a Majorcan servant girl can
accompany her sweeping for hours at a time. The effect was indescribably
triste, and our thoughts turned to the flesh pots of Palma.

The following morning showed no improvement, so our host’s victoria was
requisitioned and we set out on our return to the Grand Hotel. For an
hour and a half our two sturdy horses toiled up out of the valley, the
winding zigzags of the road affording us now and again a backward glance
at the little white town lying in the lap of the hills, framed by
converging mountain slopes. On reaching the top of the pass we met a
fresher air, and we rattled merrily down the beautifully graded road
towards the plain, drawing up presently at the wayside villa of Alfádia.

Alfádia is an ancient caravanserai that still bears traces of its
Moorish origin; passing under the high entrance gateway, which has a
Moorish ceiling of carved and painted wood, one enters a vast courtyard,
surrounded by stables and containing a fountain and a pepper-tree of
immense size and age. When first we entered the great quadrangle it was
absolutely deserted, but no sooner did our camera mount its tripod than
with the mysterious suddenness of Roderick Dhu’s men figures emerged
from all sides, anxious to be included in the picture.

Hardly had we regained our carriage when the rain that had long been
threatening began to come down—first gently, then harder, and finally
with a terrific clap of thunder we were overtaken by a kind of
cloudburst. Whipping up the horses our driver made a dash for a wayside
inn on the Palma road, and driving in under the deep verandah-like porch
running along the whole front of the building we drew up and were
gradually joined by other refugees till every inch of standing room was
taken up. Cheek by jowl with us were white-tilted orange carts from
Sollér, a countryman and his cow, a post cart, sundry mules, and a
number of pedestrians who arrived half drowned beneath their umbrellas;
and in this most welcome shelter we all remained imprisoned while for
the next half hour it rained as I have never seen it rain before.
Cascades fell from the edge of the verandah roof, the road became a
river, and from the olive grounds gory floods were descending and were
struggling and leaping through the culverts like the legions of red rats
charmed out of Hamelin by the pied piper.

It is with diffidence that I venture to observe that a _very unusual_
amount of rain fell around Palma this spring—for there is a growing
feeling of incredulity on the subject of unusual seasons. I have heard
of a man who had lived for thirty years in Algiers, and who asserted
that in that time he had experienced thirty unusual seasons. Few winter
resorts perhaps could equal this record, but I fancy that in most places
abnormal seasons of one kind or another are sufficiently common for the
really normal one—when it does make its appearance—to be almost, if not
quite, as unusual as the rest.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On April 16th we took the train for Alcúdia and set out on our fourth
and final tour in Majorca. When I say that we took the train for Alcúdia
I mean that we went as far in that direction as the train would carry
us, for with a strange perversity the railway line, instead of running
right across the island from Palma to Alcúdia and so connecting the
latter and its Minorcan service of boats with the rest of the world,
stops short some ten miles from the coast, perhaps with a view to
annoying possible invaders.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Alfadia is an old caravanserai.... In its great courtyard
  is a fountain and an enormous pepper tree_....”

                                                (page 93)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_We passed out of the town of Alcúdia by the Roman gate
  called the Puerta del Muelle._”

                                                (page 95)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two hours after leaving Palma we descended at the terminus of La Puébla,
where we and five other persons scrambled with difficulty into an
immensely high two-wheeled carrier’s cart covered with a canvas tilt.
For an hour and a half the stout horse jogged slowly along a flat road,
and then we drove under the great fortified gateway of San Sebastian and
entered Alcúdia, an ancient town of dingy-looking houses, with paved
alleys so narrow that our horse had to put his head right in at people’s
front doors in order to turn the sharp street corners.

Alcúdia is still surrounded by strong walls and a moat, fortifications
dating partly from Roman and partly from Moorish days. During the great
peasant revolt of the sixteenth century the Aragonese nobles came here
for refuge; their yoke had been a heavy one, and since the annexation of
the island by the crown of Aragon discontent and unrest had filled the
population. Oppressed and heavily taxed, they at last rose in
insurrection, and forming themselves into armed bands laid siege to
Alcúdia till the arrival of a Spanish fleet turned the scales against
them. Their leader, Colom, was beheaded, and his head sent to Palma,
where for more than two hundred years it hung in an iron cage at the
_Puerta Margarita_, near to which is a square that still bears his name.

We did not stop in Alcúdia, but passing out of the town by the fine
Roman gate called the _Puerta del Muelle_ we drove on to the harbour,
about a mile distant.

The _Fonda de la Marina_ on the seashore is a large and quite civilised
inn, with whitewashed corridors and rows of numbered deal doors; it is a
very marine _fonda_ indeed, being situated actually on the water’s edge,
so that our driver before putting us down takes a short turn in the sea
to wash his cart wheels. Fishing-smacks lie under our windows, and
Francisca the general servant—in whose absence everything is at a
standstill and who is being perpetually screeched for from the front
door—comes up hurriedly in a small boat from the mole where she has been
buying fish for our dinner.

Our host informed us that two visitors were already installed in the
house, but when we inquired their names and nationality he was
hopelessly vague. To the Majorcan innkeeper foreigners are foreigners,
and as such will naturally know all other foreigners; and he describes
bygone guests by their appearance, age, and such traits as he has
observed in them, confident that they will be at once recognised by the
person to whom he speaks. To his disappointment, however, we entirely
failed—in spite of his most graphic description—to identify our fellow
guests, and it was not till we were sitting at table that evening, over
our raisins and cabbages, our lobster salad and cutlets, that we saw two
strangers enter whom we perceived to be English. They told us they had
been here more than a week, and had thoroughly enjoyed their stay.

Very peaceful is the great bay of Alcúdia, with its sand dunes and pine
woods, its reedy marshes, and its sickle-curve of dazzling white sand
encircling the deep blue water. One may wander for miles along the
lonely shore, watching the ways of the burying-beetles that live in
large colonies among the bee orchises and cistus bushes above high-water
mark, or searching for shells and fragments of coral among the seaweed
rissoles of the _Poseidonia oceanica_ that bestrew the beach in
countless numbers.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Very peaceful is the bay of Alcúdia with its sickle curve
  of snow-white sand encircling the turquoise-blue water._”

                                                (page 96)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _one of the_ norias _introduced by the Moors, and
  still used in Majorca for raising water from wells_.”

                                                (page 99)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are many excursions in the neighbourhood that good walkers can
easily accomplish on foot. Between the harbour and the town of Alcúdia
are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, supposed to mark the site of
the old Pollentia—long disappeared; on a rocky slope, converted into a
wild flower garden by a gorgeous tangle of yellow daisies, convolvulus,
borage, asphodel and mallow, can be traced partial tiers of seats and
flights of steps cut in the rock; and in a depression of the ground are
seen the caves originally destined for wild beasts, but now inhabited by
nothing more ferocious than a family of black pigs couched upon a bed of
seaweed.

Here and there among the flowers one stumbles into a grave; there are
rows upon rows of these Roman graves—narrow, shallow tombs cut in the
surface of the rock and half filled with earth. Fragments of Roman
pottery, broken lamps, skulls and bones are constantly picked up, and
two years ago a grave was found intact by some men who were quarrying
freestone. Like the rest, it was quite shallow, and in it was found a
quantity of gold jewellery that had evidently belonged to a Roman lady.
We were shown the ornaments, which comprised a brooch set with rubies,
an oval locket—which at one time had apparently contained a portrait—a
long chain necklace with clasps, set with small pearls and two emeralds;
two handsome gold and pearl earrings, and a few smaller trinkets. In
another tomb was found a gold bracelet, and a silver coin said to be of
the reign of Tiberius. All these are now in the possession of the
finder.

Close to the Roman cemetery are some other graves, half hidden by rough
grass. As our guide turned over the earth with his foot he disclosed a
jawbone furnished with a row of splendid molars; from the style of
burial and other indications these graves have been decided to be
Moorish, but as far as we could learn no systematic investigation of the
ground has yet been attempted.

The following morning we drove to the _Castillo de Moros_, in one of the
usual tilted carts, drawn by a big mule that for some time showed no
sign of being able to go at any pace but a walk; our remark, however,
that a horse would have been swifter, put the driver on his mettle, and,
declaring that his mule had great velocity, he urged the animal into a
fast trot which was kept up as long as the condition of the road
rendered it in any degree possible.

Skirting the town by an arrow track cut in the bedrock, and dating
probably from Roman times, we struck out across country to the Moorish
fort that stands on a promontory overlooking the bay of Pollensa. In
spite of its age the little _Castillo_ is in good preservation; moat and
bastions are almost intact, and a squat pylon of yellow freestone gives
entrance to the building and to a broad, flagged terrace on the side
towards the sea. Goats browse around the ramparts among palmetto and
lentisk, cactus and asphodel; and framed in the embrasures of the
masonry is the gorgeous blue of the bay, with the long serrated ranges
of Cap Formentór visible in the far distance.

Below us, silhouetted against the distant headland of the Cap de Pinár,
stood one of the _nórias_, or Persian wheels, introduced by the Moors
and still used in the island for raising water from wells. Bushes of
pink stock clambered into the ancient stone aqueduct, which led away
from the nória across the bean fields; some sheep were grazing the stony
ground, watched by a boy in an enormous straw hat, who stood in the
shade of a clump of pines. It was a pretty pastoral scene, typical of
the peaceful tide of life that flows on around the Moors’ old fort.

The southern shore of the Bay of Pollensa is very beautiful, and by an
amazingly bad road it is possible to drive a considerable way along it,
to the Cap de Pinar, a wild headland where we spent a delightful hour;
at our feet—far, far below—lay the waters of the bay, and beyond it the
trackless sierra of Cap Formentór stretches its arm northwards till it
ends in a bold cliff that plunges sheer into the sea. Behind us is a
mountain range, on the slopes of which is visible the pilgrimage church
of Our Lady of Victory, and looking inland we can see the pale blue
pyramid of the Puig Mayór.

It was a _fête_ day, and crowds of holiday makers were returning from
the Cap—whole family parties laden with palmetto roots slung over their
shoulders; the heart of this dwarf palm is considered a delicacy by the
Majorcans; the plant is chopped out of the ground with an axe, and the
lower leaves trimmed off close, leaving only a tuft of young shoots at
the top, which gives the root an almost precise resemblance to a
pineapple. But it is a woody form of nourishment, and not a taste to be
acquired after childhood I should imagine.

On April 18th we left Alcúdia for Pollensa. A gale had arisen in the
night, and we awoke to find the bay flecked with foam caps and the white
sand flying like smoke along the shore. The Barcelona boat was many
hours overdue, and the fishing fleet could not put out to sea, so that
the men, who had stocked their boats overnight with kegs of water and
provisions, instead of being off at daybreak as was their wont, were
reduced to mending their nets and splitting firewood while they waited,
with all the philosophic patience of their kind, for the wind to abate.

Pollensa is about an hour and a half’s drive from Alcúdia. Surrounded by
ancient olive groves and rockeries planted with patches of beans and
wheat, the old town lies secluded among the hills, out of sight and out
of sound of the sea—only three miles distant. On one side of the town
rises the green Calvary hill, on the other the bare grey _Puig de
Pollensa_, crowned by a pilgrimage church and _hospedéria_; this passion
for building a church on the highest and most inaccessible spot
attainable is a really curious phenomenon.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Very picturesque is the little blue bay of San Vicente,
  with its cliff walls and jagged peaks._”

                                                (page 103)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The generation now dying out is the last that will be
  seen in the dress worn by their forefathers for a thousand
  years past._”

                                                (page 101)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

An atmosphere of old-world tranquillity pervades the place; undisturbed
by railways, approached by only one good road—that from La Puebla—and
brought in touch hardly at all with the outside world, Pollensa is the
most characteristically Majorcan town in the whole island. The older men
still wear the wide Moorish breeches, the woollen stockings and strong
leather shoes latched across with a bow, which the younger ones have
forsaken in favour of the less picturesque modern garb. The generation
now dying out is the last that will be seen in the dress worn by their
forefathers for a thousand years past, and I am glad to have visited the
island before the costume has become a mere tradition.

Castillian is little spoken in Pollensa, and our stay at the inn of
Antonio de Sollér was complicated by the fact that our good host and his
daughter knew rather less Spanish than we did ourselves. The old woman
who swept the floors was, I think, a little touched in the head, and she
annoyed us considerably for some time by pausing in front of us with
uplifted broom—as we sat in our rocking chairs, peacefully reading—and
haranguing us in Majorcan, of which she knew we did not understand a
word.

“_Les silents ont toujours tort_”—and at last we turned the tables on
her by suddenly bursting forth in emphatic English, which had the effect
of silencing her completely, and she departed, muttering darkly, no
doubt more convinced than ever that we were mad.

We found our inn to be comfortable, and, in spite of being in the middle
of the town, exceedingly quiet. The Majorcan cookery is always good, and
though liable to become monotonous, a certain variety of diet is
obtained by moving from place to place. Chicken stewed with rice, or a
ragout, supplemented by fish and an omelette, form the staple dishes of
Majorcan _fondas_; and each inn has its own idea of what a sweet course
should be, to which it rigorously adheres; at Felanitx we got into a
stratum of enormous jam puffs—larger than I could have conceived
possible; at Arta it was figs, stuffed with aniseed; at Alcúdia, slabs
of quince jelly; at Pollensa heavy pastry starfish, which made their
appearance twice a day with unfailing regularity.

For breakfast coffee can always be obtained—although it must be
remembered that coffee does not necessarily imply milk, unless specially
ordered; and with the coffee it is the custom to eat an _ensaimáda_—a
kind of sweet sugar-besprinkled bun. Except at Palma and Sollér, butter
is not to be had; we usually supplied its place with jam we carried with
us, but at Pollensa we found ourselves reduced to our last pot, and that
pot we decided to save up as emergency rations, for rumour had it that
at Lluch, whither we were bound, we might be glad of anything at all.

The morning after our arrival at Pollensa we drove out to the _Cala de
San Vicente_, a bay on the north coast of the island; after driving over
a bad road for some miles we left the _galaréta_ and walked down to the
sea by a charming path leading through pine woods and a wild rock-garden
of pink and white cistus and yellow broom, where for the first time we
heard the nightingale. Near the shore are large freestone quarries—
smooth-walled pits of cream-coloured stone—where men are employed in
detaching great blocks with wedges, and shaping them with saw and axe;
so plentiful is the freestone in many parts of the island that not only
the houses, but the field-walls and even the pigstyes are built of it.
It is extremely soft and easy to work when first quarried, and has the
invaluable property of hardening more and more as time goes on, when
exposed to the air. This causes many of the ancient buildings—such as
the Lonja and others—to look quite disappointingly modern, owing to the
smooth, unweathered surface of the walls and the sharp lines of all
angles.

Exceedingly picturesque is the little blue bay of St. Vincent, with its
enclosing cliff walls and jagged peaks; on a small headland stands a
ruined _ataláya_ of curious construction, the tower being rounded on the
land side, but forming an acute angle towards the sea.

Amongst the prickly pear and boulders of this headland we noticed a
large, almost circular, block of stone that attracted our attention from
its bearing traces of a rude square cut in its upper surface. We asked
the daughter of our _fondista_, who was with us, whether there was any
legend attaching to the ancient stone, but she was interested not at all
in pre-historic man:

“That _mésa_,” she explained—_mésa_ means table, and is the term applied
to all the megalithic altars in the Balearics—“that _mésa_ is there for
visitors to have their luncheon upon.”

This lack of observation and of intelligent interest in their
surroundings we found not uncommon among the people, who have an almost
Oriental incuriosity with regard to things that do not practically
concern them. Many a time did we draw the attention of a native to some
conspicuous plant growing in profusion around his home, and ask him what
kind of flower it bore when in bloom; whereupon he would reply without
hesitation that that particular plant never flowered at all, and
consider himself well out of the matter.

I remember being told by a traveller in Spain that once when in the very
centre of the liquorice industry he inquired of his landlord what part
of the plant was used, to which he replied that it was the root:

“And what kind of plant is it that supplies these roots?”

“Oh, there is no plant at all—nothing to be seen above ground.”

Pursuing his inquiries further, he found a man who admitted that there
was certainly a plant, but he maintained that it never flowered. This
was in the neighbourhood of acres of the plant, then in full flower!

In the afternoon our host drove us to Aubercuix in a tilted cart, with
an old flea-bitten Rosinante in the shafts. Passing the quaint _Fuente
de Gallo_—an urn-shaped stone fountain presided over by a spruce cock,
where all day long the women fill their water jars—we had not proceeded
more than half a mile on our way when the back bench of our conveyance,
on which we both were sitting, broke down with a loud crack, and in the
confusion our best umbrella fell out in front and got badly kicked by
the horse. Our host was aghast; he jumped down and repaired the damage
as quickly as possible—propped up the seat with some chunks of firewood
that happened to be in the cart—disengaged the umbrella from the horse’s
hind leg—and tried to assure us that all was well. But it was far from
well. Our appearance had for some time past not been our strong point;
repeated wettings and dryings had not improved our hats; our clothes
were almost worn out—and now the best umbrella was just as baggy and
bent and stained as the other, and, moreover, would only open in a lop-
sided way.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ Fuente de Gallo, _an urn-shaped stone fountain,
  presided over by a spruce cock_.”

                                                (page 104)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _the fine old Roman bridge at the entrance to
  Pollensa_.”

                                                (page 107)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

We were not a little annoyed at this mishap, but our annoyance was soon
quenched in amusement, so curiously unconventional was our host’s style
of driving; hollerin’ and bellerin’ like Prince Giglio of immortal fame,
as though driving half a dozen plough teams at once, our good host urged
the old horse to speed with a running accompaniment of vituperation and
ceaseless objurgations, ranging from threats to cajolements, thence to
sarcasm, and occasionally rising to heights of scathing laughter, which
startled the old horse more than anything else. It must not be imagined,
however, that our progress was rapid; the noise served to clear the road
for half a mile ahead of us, it is true, but the old horse had to be
allowed to walk down every descent, while on the flat he was not
expected to exceed a gentle trot; he understood his master perfectly,
and feared him not at all. Never did we see an animal ill-treated in
Majorca.

The road to Aubercuix takes one down to the port of Pollensa, and thence
round the bay as far as the little lighthouse on the opposite point;
beyond this one can only penetrate into the _Cap de Formentór_ by a bad
mule track, or by taking a sailing boat and landing in some little cove
along the coast.

Wonderful was the view, glorified by the golden evening light, that we
obtained as we wound along the water’s edge and followed the gravelled
causeway leading to the _Fáro_; across the bay shone the white town of
Alcúdia, seemingly built on the seashore, though in reality far inland;
looking back towards Pollensa the scene was of marvellous beauty—in the
foreground the curve of the shore, broken by black clumps of rushes, a
few stunted trees, and an upturned boat lying on the sand; beyond, some
fishermen’s huts, with here and there a dark pine-tree, sharp-cut
against the dim distance of the sierra. Rank behind rank, their planes
parted by the evening mist, veiled in shimmering tints of pink and
violet, dove colour and indigo, and melting away into the sunset sky
itself, stretched the mountain chains behind Pollensa. Their peaks were
tinged with flame, and the rays of the setting sun descended like fire-
escapes of golden web into the azure mist that filled the valleys.

For a few minutes the unearthly light lingered, and then the sun sank
out of sight; a chill sea-breeze sprang up as we set our faces homeward,
and the stars were shining serenely before we regained our _fonda_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The following morning we rode to the _Castillo del Rey_, the route
taking us, soon after starting, over the fine old Roman bridge at the
entrance of the town. For an hour and a half we pursued a good mule-
track up the gorge of the Ternallas, a mountain stream dashing down
through woods of ilex and pine, with bare grey peaks towering overhead;
leaving the forest we came out into a grassy and boulder-strewn trough
among the hills, and presently arrived at the foot of the crag on which
the castle stands. So inaccessible does the rock look, crowned by the
skeleton ribs of the old banqueting hall—yellow rock and yellow masonry
welded in one—that at first sight one wonders how the ascent is to be
even attempted. Up a steep hillside, covered with rocks, loose stones,
and prickly shrubs, we scrambled and toiled on foot for nearly half an
hour; more and more desperate grew the path as we advanced, larger and
larger the rocks to be surmounted; but at last, with a final effort, we
scaled a boulder over six feet in height and were hauled up by our
muleteers into the arched doorway of the old fortress.

The origin of the castle is lost in the mists of antiquity; it is
supposed to have existed in the time of the Romans, and under the Moors
it formed an important stronghold to which they retreated after
evacuating Palma. Later on the flag of Jaime III. still waved over the
_Castillo del Rey_ after the whole of the rest of the island had gone
over to Pedro of Aragon, but in the year 1343 the loyal garrison was
forced to surrender after a siege of more than two months.

Not much of the fortress survives at the present time; three pointed
freestone arches belonging to the central hall form the most conspicuous
feature of the ruins. Beyond this there is little except some
subterranean chambers, and a few fragments of rock-like wall and pointed
battlement, still untouched by time, that survive amidst a chaos of
masonry. From the northern edge of the cliff—an appalling precipice
descending sheer to the sea—a magnificent view over the coast and the
surrounding mountains is to be had on a clear day, but on the occasion
of our own visit ominous stormclouds were closing in around us, and the
horizon was a blank pall of rain.

Hardly had we sat down to luncheon when heavy drops began to fall;
seizing our cutlets and oranges we fled to the rock tunnel leading from
the entrance to the interior of the castle, and in that narrow and
draughty passage continued our interrupted meal; but to our dismay
rivulets soon began to invade our retreat, the heavens poured down water
through a machicolation overhead, and before long we were sitting, like
the Blessed Catalina, on stones in the middle of a river bed, while a
growing torrent flowed beneath our feet. Our men wrapped their blankets
around them and squatted patiently in the doorway. Presently footsteps
were heard, and a wet stranger scrambled breathlessly in at the tunnel’s
mouth, accompanied by a guide in wide indigo breeches soaked to the
consistency of jelly bags, while rivulets ran from the brim of his felt
hat.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Presently we came in sight of the Castillo del Rey
  ... built upon a crag crowned by the skeleton ribs of the
  ancient banqueting hall—yellow rock and yellow masonry
  welded in one._”

                                                (page 108)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_We found the Gorch Blau filled with a rushing whirl of
  foaming, emerald-green water_....”

                                                (page 115)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Still it poured—steadily—without intermission; the landscape below us
was blotted out by a veil of driving rain; banks of cloud were sweeping
in from the sea and settling in woolly folds upon the hills, which
appeared and disappeared as one storm after another broke over them and
passed on. For two hours we waited, and then there came a lull; sallying
out in desperation we slid and scrambled down the slippery rocks and
soaking vegetation of the steep hillside, and rejoining our equally wet
mules set out for home. The red path was now a quagmire under foot, and
the little watercourses were leaping and chasing down the hills to join
the river; but the rain held off and we got back in safety, being met at
the inn door by a chorus of inquiries as to how we had fared, laments
over our wetting, and an optimistic assurance that on the morrow the
weather would be very _bonito_ indeed.

But when morning dawned it was far from being _bonito_—it could hardly
look worse. Nevertheless we determined on making the march to Lluch—a
ride of about four hours across the mountains. The charge for a mule
with its attendant muleteer is six pesetas for this journey if they
return the same day; but if, as in our case, they are retained at Lluch
for further expeditions, an additional five pesetas is asked for the
return trip to Pollensa. One of our mules was a very smart-looking
beast, ridden with the iron noseband which in Majorca usually takes the
place of a bit, and carrying the English side-saddle we had brought with
us, covered with a sheepskin to lessen the slipperiness so fatiguing to
the rider when going up or down a steep mountain path for hours at a
time. The other one was a sturdy pack animal, bridled in inferior manner
with a hemp halter and furnished with pack saddle and panniers.

These pack saddles are extremely comfortable to ride on if they are well
balanced; one sits as on a broad, soft platform between the panniers,
dangling a foot on either side of the mule’s neck, the idea being that
if the beast falls you will alight on your feet and get clear of him
whichever way he rolls. As a matter of fact you find it impossible to
move at all, partly owing to the adhesive nature of the sheepskin on
which you are seated, and partly to a heterogeneous mass of luggage—
rugs, valises, and fodder bags—piled high on either hand, while
umbrellas and tripod-legs close your last avenue of escape.

The mounting of a laden pack-saddle is a problem in itself, and to the
last I could discover no system upon which the feat is accomplished; a
wild, spasmodic leap, taken from some wall near the animal, usually—but
not always—lands one in the saddle, and once in position a fatalistic
calm is the best attitude with which to confront the perils of the
ensuing ride. The most well-meaning of mules has habits which do not
conduce to the happiness of his rider upon a mountain track; he will
pause on a hogsback ridge of slippery cobbles in the middle of a swift
stream, to gaze entranced, with pricked ears, at the distant landscape;
with an absolutely expressionless countenance he carries one under a low
bough—or anchors himself in front by fixing his teeth firmly in a tough
shrub as he strides by, and then falls over himself as his stern
overtakes him. In short he awakens in his rider a lively sympathy with
Dr. Johnson, who was carried as uncontrollably on a horse as in a
balloon.

The paths were in an unusually bad state that day owing to the recent
heavy rain; great parts of the track were under water; every torrent was
swelled to twice its normal size, and miniature Lauterbrunnen falls were
leaping down the faces of the cliffs. We forded several streams,
slithered down causeways of loose sliding blocks, and scrambled up
slippery rock steps where it was all the mules could do to keep their
feet and avoid falling backwards.

For the first hour we rode in drenching rain through dark ilex woods and
fine mountain scenery; but as we got higher the weather improved—the sun
came out, the birds began to sing, the scent of wet cistus bushes filled
the air, and emerging on to a grassy plateau we presently came in sight
of the monastery of Lluch, lying in a level valley high up among the
hills—a great pile of yellow buildings backed by grey rocks and ilex-
trees.

Crossing the wide green, with its long range of stabling, its poplar-
trees and fountain, we dismount—wet and tired—under the entrance
archway, and pass into a large quadrangle formed by the college, the
_hospedéria_, the priests’ house, and the oratory, an ornate chapel hung
with embroidered banners presented to Our Lady of Lluch.

The history of this oratory goes back to a date shortly after the
conquest in the thirteenth century, when a herd-boy named Lluch—or
Lucas—while driving his flock home one night, noticed a strange light
upon the mountain side; on relating this to a priest, the latter went to
examine the spot whence the light proceeded, and there discovered a
stone statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child, which was installed
forthwith in a little chapel built for the purpose; and this Virgin of
Lluch—the _Máre de Deu_ as she is called—became in course of time the
patroness of the Majorcans, and a great power in the land. Bequests of
money and land were made to her, and in the fifteenth century the
Oratory was founded, together with a college for the instruction of
twelve poor children. The original college now forms the _hospedéria_
for visitors, having been superseded by a newer building where to this
day twelve boys receive education and instruction in church singing from
the four priests who inhabit the _rectoria_.

The wants of visitors are attended to by six lay brothers, and at times
the resources of the establishment are strained to their utmost. We were
told that at Easter no fewer than six hundred people had made the
pilgrimage hither, coming from all parts of the island and staying two
or even three nights; those for whom there was no room in the
_hospedéria_ were bedded in the corridors and stables, while the rest
slept in their carts and carriages outside.

Until recently all comers had to bring their own food, but some few
years ago a kind of restaurant—independent of the monastery—was
established, where visitors can get simple meals at a very moderate
charge. The wife of the _fondista_ cooks well, and though neither meat,
milk, nor butter are to be had, the staple provisions of sausage,
sardines, cheese, bread, coffee, and condensed milk—with the addition of
a fowl or an omelette—constitute a diet with which any traveller may be
content. After supper one crosses the great quadrangle to the
_hospedéria_, which contains some fifty beds, placed two, three, and
even four in a room.

In answer to the bell at the iron grille a lay brother made his
appearance and took us upstairs and down a long, spacious, echoing
corridor to one of the whitewashed cells, where he presented us with a
key and a pair of damp sheets and left us to our own devices. The room
was sparsely furnished, and contained two beds, with a pile of
mattresses and blankets, a small table, a chair, a diminutive tripod
supporting a basin, an equally diminutive towel, and an earthenware jar
with some water.

For the moment it did not strike us that we were expected to make our
own beds, and after waiting some time we sent an urgent message to our
friar by a young man we met on the stairs and who seemed faintly amused
at the errand. No one came, however—and neither on that nor on any
subsequent occasion did Brother Bartholomew condescend to attend to us
in any way whatever, or even supply us with more water, so that on the
second morning we were reduced to a kind of _nettoyage à sec_. The only
thing he did for us was to come and rattle our door loudly at five
o’clock in the morning to make us get up—and failing in his attempt, to
go away, having either by accident or with malice aforethought turned
the key in the door and locked us in.

It was not till breakfast time that we discovered our plight, and we
should have been constrained ignominiously to call for help from the
window had we not succeeded in picking the lock with a buttonhook and so
regained our freedom.

At nine o’clock we set out on our mules for the _Gorch Blau_, a two
hours’ ride from the monastery. It is hopeless to ascertain beforehand
from one’s muleteers the nature of the road that lies before one, for
they admit no difference between one mountain path and another, and
assure one invariably that the road will be good the whole way; nor are
they in any way abashed when presently you come to a slippery rock
staircase, so impossible that they advise you—in your own interest—to
dismount and proceed on foot. The ride to the Gorge includes, as far as
I can remember, only one really _mauvais quart d’heure_—but the rain had
converted the paths into sloughs, and our poor men soon had their shoes
soaked through and through, in spite of making _détours_ wherever
possible to avoid the floods through which our mules splashed
recklessly.

But if all this water increased the difficulties of the march it also
added immensely to the beauty of the landscape. As we wound along the
heights we could hear the _Torrent de Pareys_ in its deep cañon bed,
thundering down in flood to the sea, and we found the _Gorch Blau_
filled with a rushing whirl of foaming emerald-green water instead of
containing—as it often does—a supply so scanty as hardly to deserve the
name of torrent at all.

Towering fern-clad cliffs close in upon a ravine a few yards only in
width, through which the water dashes at racing speed with a noise that
prevents one from hearing oneself speak. An ancient pack-bridge spans
the stream, and a path cut in the side of the water-worn cliff leads
through the gorge into a broad open valley—a valley of desolation,
ringed round with walls of bare grey rock, and strewn with innumerable
stones, amongst which sheep and goats pick up a scanty living. For
another hour we followed the course of the stream, now flowing
tranquilly over a pebbly bed, and then reached a spot known as the _Pla
de Cuba_—a higher valley among the hills, through which runs the path to
Sollér, five hours distant. Here we made a two hours’ halt, and while
the mules ate carob beans and cropped the coarse _carritx_ grass
covering the hillside, we explored the rocky slopes in search of the
pink orchises and white cyclamen that grow here in profusion.

These high regions have a far larger annual rainfall than the rest of
the island, and the comparative dampness of the atmosphere is seen in
the mossy trunks and fern-clad limbs of the ilex woods, as also in the
unusual girth of the trees—one grand old ilex, said to be the largest
tree in Majorca, having a diameter of fully eight feet.

Clouds gather every evening upon the mountain tops around Lluch, and the
plateau itself, sixteen hundred feet above sea-level, is often shrouded
in fog for days together. In bad weather a stay at the monastery is by
no means enjoyable, and when we woke on the second morning and found the
rain falling fast, we were not sorry to think that the _galaréta_ we had
ordered from Inca to fetch us would arrive in an hour or so. Our shoes
and skirts had never dried thoroughly since the soaking they got on our
ride from Pollensa, and the unwarmed rooms felt miserably chilly.

Going across to the restaurant, where we breakfasted at an icy marble-
topped table, we found four young Frenchmen, who had arrived overnight,
stamping their feet on the cold stone floor and bitterly bewailing their
fate; they had come with the sole object of seeing the Gorch Blau—and
now, not only was the expedition out of the question, but they were
imprisoned in this dismal place—for _voila!_ by this frightful weather
it was impossible even to depart. What to do! _Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!_

We could offer little comfort beyond suggesting that some misguided
visitor might turn up during the morning, in whose conveyance they could
make their escape—a contingency which both they and we felt to be very
unlikely ... but even as we spoke, we saw to our surprise _two_ empty
carriages cross the green and draw up before the monastery.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ Pla de Cuba _is a high valley through which runs
  the mule path to Soller, five hours distant_.”

                                                (page 115)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Now and again we got a peep of the plain and its white
  town far below_....”

                                                (page 117)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two blacks may not make a white—but two mistakes may result in a
remarkably good arrangement. Owing to a misunderstanding with our late
host of Pollensa—who, it must be remembered, spoke nothing but Majorcan—
a _galaréta_ had been sent up from La Puebla for us, besides the one
which we ourselves had ordered from Inca. Behold, then, a solution of
the difficulty! We stowed ourselves into one carriage—our four enchanted
fellow-visitors into the other—and away we bowled towards Inca, a two
hours’ drive on a splendid road engineered in giddy spirals down the
mountain side, with ever and again a peep of the plain and its white
town far below us, seen through a break in the hills.

As we get down into the zone of olives again, a warmer air meets us—the
rain has been left behind, and we are once more in sunshine; passing the
picturesque village of Selva, with its church perched on the very top of
a hill, we soon find ourselves at Inca—a large and prosperous-looking
town of fine stone houses and shops.

Here we took the train for Palma, and packed ourselves and our valises
into a little first-class compartment which we shared with an
aristocratic-looking old gentleman travelling with a large wicker
basket, apparently containing the week’s wash, and with a lady in a
graceful black mantilla, who had a market basket, and a big bundle done
up in a check tablecloth. She was evidently leaving home for a few days,
and many and anxious were the parting messages given to the two honest
servant-girls who stood at the carriage window and with a hearty embrace
bade their mistress goodbye before the train started.

The terms upon which master and servant meet in Majorca—and I fancy all
over Spain—are very much freer than with us.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Palma at the end of April is a very different town from the Palma of a
few weeks ago; the trees along the Borne are greening fast, and the
country is a mass of leafage. The swifts have arrived, and are wheeling
and screaming over the town in thousands; the masses of dwarf blue iris
by the seashore are over, but the waist-high corn is spangled with
poppies and corn daisies, gladioli, and a handsome crimson and yellow
scrophularia. The roads are deep in dust—the river dry as a bone. Our
rooms maintain a steady temperature of 66° Fahrenheit, and the heat in
the middle of the day is already sufficient to make us appreciate the
draughtiness of the cool, narrow streets of the town.

Palm Sunday is celebrated by a palm service in the cathedral, and by a
palm fair—the _Fiesta de Rámos_. At the palm service the bishop, mitred
and coped, and accompanied by priests, choristers, mace-bearers, and all
the dignitaries of the cathedral, processes around the outside of the
building—and all carry consecrated palm branches in their hands. These
palms are afterwards distributed amongst the townspeople, who fasten
them to their house-fronts and balconies as a protection against
lightning.

The _Fiesta de Rámos_ takes place in the Rambla, where for three days
the wide gravelled walk is occupied by a double row of wooden booths,
between which a seething throng of townspeople streams up and down;
there are toys and sweets and fruit stalls—dolls and dolls’ furniture,
and charming baskets of all sizes, down to the familiar covered market
basket made in smallest miniature by the neatest of fingers; there are
merry-go-rounds and a Japanese giant, drums, trumpets, and squeaking
whistles, and for three days there is a pandemonium of noisy instruments
which to the children is the seventh heaven of delight.

In the spring, too, the annual swearing-in of the new recruits takes
place, and is a picturesque sight; all the troops in the town—cavalry,
infantry, and artillery—are assembled on the great Plaza Santa Catalina
outside the walls, where is erected a large red and yellow marquee
surmounted by a royal crown and flanked by cannon, stacked rifles, and
warlike trophies of swords and bayonets. Inside the tent is an altar
with lighted candles, and when all the high civil and military officials
of the town have arrived, mass is celebrated—the elevation of the Host
being marked by three shrill bugle calls, at which the whole body of
troops and spectators fall on one knee and uncover—the cavalry lowering
their swords.

After this, a priest walks round the lines, and halting opposite each
regiment reads a short address, at the close of which a simultaneous
assent bursts forth from the ranks of the new conscripts. When all have
been sworn in, the recruits—who on this occasion numbered three or four
hundred—defile in front of the colours, kissing the flag and uncovering
as they go by.

And with this the ceremony is over for the year.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                PART III

                                 IVIZA


The small steamer that plies three times a week—weather permitting—
between Palma and the island of Iviza does so wholly in vain as far as
foreign visitors are concerned. I think if the whole annals of the Grand
Hotel were searched they would hardly produce a single record of a
stranger having gone to Iviza, or, if he did, of having ever come back
to tell the tale.

It was obvious that the only way of finding out anything about the
island and its inhabitants was to go there ourselves, and, prompted by
curiosity, we one fine day boarded the noonday boat and set forth on our
voyage of exploration, our only life-line a letter of introduction to
one Sebastian Roig, keeper of the _Fonda de la Marina_ at Iviza—a letter
full of greeting and amiability, with a civil postscript to the effect
that our blood would be required at his hands if evil befell us during
our stay in the island.

Away we went. Once outside the bay the little _Isleño_ rolled horribly,
and we ourselves remained prostrate below, till at eight o’clock in the
evening we felt the boat come to a standstill and heard the anchor being
let down; whereupon we arose and came on deck, thinking that the worst
was over and that we could now step on shore.

Bitterly were we disappointed!

Neither quay nor shore was in sight, for owing to the rough sea we had
not been able to enter the harbour at all, but were tossing up and down
half a mile from the pier. It was pitch dark and raining hard. Some
fishermen in glistening oilskins were unloading tunny from a bobbing,
lateen-sailed felucca alongside, and we could hear the thuds of the
stiff, heavy fish being thrown on board. The dim light of a lantern fell
upon a party of broad-hatted peasants collected on the wet deck, who one
by one were vanishing over the ship’s side and dropping into a
cockleshell of a boat that pranced about below. Presently it was full,
and backing away from the steamer it disappeared, with a steady splash
of oars, into the darkness.

Such, then, was to be our landing at Iviza! For three-quarters of an
hour we waited, looking out at the slashing rain and feeling so
unutterably miserable that, had it been possible—even at this eleventh
hour—to turn back to Palma, we should assuredly have turned. But it was
not possible, as the _Isleño_ was bound for Valencia, and when the boat
came back for the third time to fetch us and one native gentleman—the
only passengers left on board—there was nothing for it but to grope our
way to the wet, slippery ladder and from thence to drop either into the
tossing boat, or, as seemed far more probable, into the sea.

And now, in this blackest moment of our whole journey, appeared a _deus
ex machina_ in the shape of the aforementioned señor; prompted by the
kindness of his heart, and perhaps not unmoved by the sight of two very
forlorn strangers, he took us in charge and reassured us; there would be
no danger at all, he said, if we would cling firmly to the chain at the
foot of the steps and wait for the boatmen to catch us; he would tell
them to be careful, and as for our valises, a boy would come up and
fetch them when we were safely in the boat. He helped us down the
swaying ladder, and unseen arms clutched us and dropped us on to a seat,
where we sat down in two large puddles. Our unknown friend jumped in
after us, and the silent oarsmen pulled away from the black hull looming
overhead, and rowed us across the inky, swirling water to the quay,
where a row of twinkling lights along the harbour’s edge heralded the
town.

Landing at a flight of steps, we paid the boatmen their fee of two and a
half pesetas, and then splashed away in mud and darkness to the inn,
where our new acquaintance left us after promising to look us up on the
morrow. Dinner was going on in the big _comedór_ on the ground floor—the
company consisting of a number of Ivizan residents and some officers in
uniform, with all of whom we exchanged salutations as we took our seats
at the long _table d’hôte_. Never was food more welcome than that set
before us. Half an hour later—wet and tired, but no longer hungry—we
went upstairs, and were shown into a large red-tiled room, arranged in
the Spanish fashion with two alcoves, shut off by glass doors,
containing each an excellent bed. Unpacking our valises, we were soon
fast asleep, fully prepared to take a more cheerful view of things on
the morrow.

But, alas and alas! when we woke and went to the window the prospect was
as dispiriting as ever. The _fonda_ stood on the very edge of the water,
and we looked out upon a landlocked port shrouded in fog. It was still
raining, and the leaden sky was merged into a leaden sea spattered with
raindrops. A few seagulls drifted past the window, uttering melancholy
cries, and the only sign of human life was a solitary old woman who was
fishing patiently from her front doorstep, seated under a large
umbrella.

At this juncture a voice at the keyhole announced breakfast, and going
out on to the landing we found tea and hot buttered toast laid for us on
a little table. The tea possessed in a high degree the primary essential
of good drinking-water—absolute tastelessness; but the buttered toast
was comforting, and as we ate it we discussed the situation seriously.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Iviza is massed high above the harbour, the lower town
  separated by a sharply-marked line of fortification from the
  upper town—the old Jevitzah of the Moors._”

                                                (page 125)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _a good view is obtained over the bay to where the pale
  grey silhouette of the distant lighthouse divides sea and sky_.”

                                                (page 125)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here we were in Iviza, with no possibility of getting away for the next
thirty-six hours, when the _Isleño_ would call on her return from
Valencia. The weather looked hopeless, but if we were going to allow
ourselves to be influenced by it we should in all probability end by
seeing nothing at all, and our eight hours’ crossing would have been in
vain; our clothes were already so wet that they need not be taken into
account; and after considering all these points we decided to sally
forth and look about us.

Hardly had we defied the Fates when they relented. The sky became
lighter, the clouds began to clear away, and as we left our inn a
welcome gleam of sunshine broke out, at sight of which all the ships
lying at anchor in the harbour with one accord spread out their wet
sails to dry.

At the end of the mole a man was fishing in the shelter of the great
breakwater some twenty feet in height, and thinking that from the summit
we might obtain a good view of the town we asked him if there was any
means of scaling it. Courteously raising his hat, he replied that the
señoras would find no other _escalera_ than the broken end of the
breakwater itself—a nearly vertical face of stone blocks, each the size
of a grand piano—which he immediately proceeded to climb, carrying our
camera and tripod in one hand. With his help I also reached the top,
from whence a good general view of the town is obtained, as well as over
the bay to where the pale-grey silhouette of the distant lighthouse
divides sea and sky.

Very picturesque is Iviza, massed high above the harbour—the lower town,
chiefly inhabited by fishing folk, separated by a sharply marked line of
fortification from the upper town, the old Jevitzah of the Moors.
Crowning the highest point stands the fortified cathedral, built almost
immediately after the expulsion of the infidels, and adjoining it is the
citadel, enclosing within its walls the governor’s residence, and
barracks for a hundred men.

To the upper town we presently ascended, escorted by our waiter, who had
been sent by our host—mindful, probably, of the postscript to our letter
of introduction—to attend us. Inquisitive faces appeared at balconies
and doorways as we picked our way through the narrow, muddy streets of
the lower town. Purveyors of drinking water were going from house to
house with donkey-carts laden with earthenware jars; scores of cats
feasted on remnants of fish in the gutter, and the melancholy Ivizan
hound roamed his native alleys like some canine shade in search of the
happy hunting grounds. Crossing a drawbridge we pass under the fortified
gateway built in the reign of Philip II.—“Catholic and most invincible
king of Spain and the East and West Indies”—and ascend by a steep
cobbled path to the summit of the town. Many of the houses are extremely
ancient looking, and have carved lintels and mullions, or the arms of
Aragon cut in stone upon their walls. Passing the prison, where a bored
official was leaning out of the window and yawning heavily, we entered
the courtyard of the citadel—after giving up our camera to the sentry on
guard—and sat down on a low bastion carpeted with sweet alyssum to enjoy
the panorama around us.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Purveyors of drinking-water were going from house to
  house with donkey carts laden with jars of porous earthenware_....”

                                                (page 126)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “... _Flat-roofed, oriental-looking houses that resemble
  great cubes of chalk—a form of architecture which is a legacy
  from the Moors._”

                                                (page 127)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

From this height Formentara and all the lesser rocky islets that compose
the Pityusæ group are clearly discerned out at sea. The general aspect
of Iviza itself is that of low, wooded hills. Cutting straight across
the island is the long white road leading to St. Antonio on the western
coast, twelve miles distant, and some six miles to the south of us
glisten the great salt works, the famous _salinas_ of Iviza.

To St. Antonio we drove in the afternoon. It was Holy Week, during which
no carriage is allowed to enter the town, and we had to walk out to the
end of the street where a little _carréta_ awaited us; it was driven by
a comic looking countryman, and drawn by a spirited little grey horse, a
_caballo de carréra_, one of the racing trotters for which the islanders
have a great partiality. Packed into this small and fragile conveyance,
the driver and our invaluable waiter in front, ourselves squeezed into
the little side-seats behind, with every symptom of approaching cramp,
we announced ourselves ready to start.

Skirting the town we struck inland along a broad and splendid road,
which for the first few miles is comparatively flat and then rises to a
kind of table-land in the centre of the island, to fall away again
towards the further coast. The plain is thick with olive groves, date
palms, fig and almond orchards. Snow-white houses nestle amongst dark
clumps of pines—flat-roofed, oriental-looking houses that resemble great
cubes of chalk, with an arcade of roundheaded arches opening into a
court on the ground floor, and above this a broad, open gallery where
the inhabitants can sit during the noonday heat. This windowless form of
architecture is a legacy of the Moors, and the Ivizan peasants are said
to have preserved the characteristics of their Moorish predecessors to a
higher degree than the inhabitants of either of the sister isles have
done. The town-dweller or fisherman of Iviza—generally of Spanish
extraction—is said to draw a sharp distinction between himself and the
peasants of the interior, whom he looks upon as semi-barbarians. Their
boats are a subject of great merriment to him, and he makes a point of
laughing heartily if he meets a party of country-folk afloat.

“At sea,” says the fisherman, “I have no fear of the peasants—but
ashore! they are worse than the Moors!”

With a character for being turbulent, hot-tempered, and ill-educated,
the Ivizans present a great contrast to the mild Majorcans. Murders are
not infrequent among them, the almost invariable cause being a quarrel
over cards or the jealousy of rival suitors.

Poor and proud, the peasants look with scant favour on any member of
their community who may have grown rich and who sets up to be a person
of consequence on that account. “Heaven preserve us,” says the Ivizan,
“from the shoe that has become a boot!” There are no really wealthy
families in the island, and outside the capital we saw no good houses.
The ground is far less highly cultivated than the Majorcan plains, and
Dame Nature asserts herself in a wealth of wild flowers; the fields are
red with poppies and blue with grape-hyacinths, and on either side of
the road runs a brilliant border composed of pink tufts of allium
swaying on slender stalks, pale dandelions, dwarf iris, charlock, red
dwarf ranunculus, small yellow cistus and a bright blue borage. As the
road rises we drive through undulating slopes where the juniper and
various conifers grow. The hillsides are covered with the maritime pine—
whence the islands derived their old name of Pine islands—and large open
stretches of uncultivated ground, intersected by rough walls of reddish
stone, are given up to the great fennel, seen here for the first time,
heath, asphodel, pink and white cistus, and many other shrubs.

All this is very unlike a Majorcan landscape, but still more striking
are the parties of country folk that we meet upon the road. It is a
_fête_ day, and every one is in _grande tenue_; whole families are
coming to the town or walking back to their villages—bouquets of bright
colour, purple, blue, yellow, pink, green, and red—quaint figures, such
as one dimly remembers having met with in bygone days on nursery plates,
and having accepted as truthful representations of that romantic race—
the _foreign peasant_. Here they all were as large as life.

The women wear a dark bodice with long sleeves, over which is folded a
shawl with a border of gay-coloured embroidery worked on black silk. The
skirt is immensely full, and often accordion-pleated, and it is worn
over half a dozen petticoats which distend it to the dimensions of a
crinoline, and make the wearer look high waisted and very stout. It is
cut short in front, to display six inches of red or pink underskirt
ornamented with scrolls of black braid, and on top of all comes a very
short bright-coloured apron, which gives the women a three-decker
appearance. The hair is worn in a plait down the back and smoothly
parted on the forehead, the headkerchief being often embroidered with
gay silk flowers. A heavy gold chain is sometimes worn round the neck,
and the shoes are of white canvas and resemble Moorish slippers, being
turned up in a point at the toe.

The men are hardly less picturesque. Their velveteen trousers of
peacock-blue, brown, or purple are cut tight at the knee and spreading
at the foot, like those of our costers or sailors. The coat of dark-blue
cotton is very short and shaped something like a blouse, being gathered
into pleats at the collar and hanging loose and full all round. They
wear a white shirt with a vivid pink or blue sash, a broad-brimmed felt
hat with ribbons hanging down behind, and their costume is completed by
a fringed shawl in red and green plaid which they hang round their neck.

The little girls are precise replicas of their mothers—long skirt,
apron, headkerchief and all—so that at a distance it is impossible to
say whether it is a party of children or of women coming towards one,
and it was often a surprise to see a small matronly figure skip suddenly
across a ditch with an agility beyond her apparent years.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_It is a fête-day, and the Ivizan peasants are all_ en grande
  tenue....”

                                                (page 130)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Very Corot-like is the landscape, with Santa Eulália
  crowning a small eminence by the seashore._”

                                                (page 134)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

When we reached St. Antonio, a village of clean whitewashed houses, with
reefs of bedrock cropping up in the streets, we got out our camera, and
were soon surrounded by a friendly group of peasants fully as much
interested in our appearance as we were in theirs. Yet in no way did
their curiosity get the better of their manners. We found them quite
willing to be photographed if we wished it, but the posing of a group
was unaccompanied by any of the bashful giggling with which our own
yokels would meet such a request coming from a foreigner. Earnest and
dignified, quite devoid of self-consciousness, and not easily moved to
mirth, the Ivizans struck us as the most perfect-mannered people we had
yet met.

The mere fact of our being English was a great recommendation in the
eyes of the natives, for the forthcoming marriage of King Alfonso with
an English princess was of course the topic of the day, and all classes
were equally delighted with the match. As compatriots of their future
Queen we therefore met with an unusually favourable reception, and
though I am sure none of the peasants had the remotest idea where
England was situated we found a great bond of union to consist in the
fact that both we and they lived on an island.

Many were the questions we had to answer—Did one reach England before
getting to America? Was England far from London?

One man left his plough to come and tell us that he liked the English
very much, which was a little surprising when one considered that till
that moment he had probably never set eyes on any one of our
nationality. We heard subsequently, however, that some years ago an
Englishman hailing from Birmingham had stayed in the island, and though,
to our host’s surprise, we could not supply the unknown traveller’s
name, we were shown an unmistakable proof of his visit in the form of an
English book—the only existing specimen in Iviza.

We got back to our inn in time for dinner, and found the same company
again assembled at table. The _Fonda de la Marina_ is the fashionable
restaurant of the town, and it caters for a considerable _clientèle_
among the residents in addition to its own guests. The cookery was
doubtless excellent, but the dishes were so wholly native in character
that we perhaps failed to appreciate them as fully as did our fellow
convives. During Holy Week the fare is _maigre_, and our _menu_ that
night was the following:—

A tureen-full of shellfish, stewed—shells and all—with rice and
fragments of lobster.

A mess of pottage, very thick, containing white beans and cabbage.

Another mess—chunks of salt cod, with eggs, potatoes and peas.

Whole fishes, boiled, with yellow sauce.

A sweet cake.

Cheese, raisins, and oranges.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The following morning we drove to Santa Eulália. There are only two
really firstrate roads in Iviza—one to Sant Antonio, the twelve-mile
drive we had already taken, the other—slightly longer—to San Juan, at
the northeastern extremity of the island; it was in this direction that
we set off at eight o’clock.

The view of the town as we skirted the harbour was extremely striking.
The great sails of the merchantmen lying at anchor in the bay shone
white against the deep blue sea beyond, and the low sun was catching the
angles of the fortifications and casting cobalt shadows upon the snowy,
irregular houses clustering upon the hill crowned by the _campanile_ of
the cathedral. Market folk were coming into town—countrywomen in broad
be-ribboned hats of palmito plait, mounted on mules and donkeys with
laden panniers—a sight never seen in Majorca. Innumerable frogs croaked
with jangling grotesque jollity from hidden reservoirs in the rich
_huerta_, or garden, of vines and almonds, beans and wheat, through
which we were driving. Presently the road rises, and winds through
pretty wooded slopes and copses of conifers. Here and there are stacked
great heaps of pine bark, used for tanning the fishing nets. Sheep seek
invisible sustenance upon stony red ground, and young pigs sport in the
shade of budding fig-trees, the prevailing principle seeming to be to
turn beasts out to graze wherever they will do the least harm.

Turning aside from the main road we take a rough track leading down to
the coast. Very Corot-like is the landscape before us, framed by the
stems of gnarled olive or dark knotted carob. On a small eminence by the
seashore stands Santa Eulália—a frankly oriental-looking village of
blank white walls and blue shadows, ringed round with a fence of prickly
pear. By a steep zigzag path one climbs to the old fortress-church upon
the summit, and enters the building through an immense vaulted and
enclosed crypt-like porch, supported on massive pillars and capable of
holding a couple of hundred people. In the Middle Ages this church, like
most of those in the island, formed the stronghold of the villagers
during the frequent piratical raids, and inside the porch is the well
from which the besieged drew their water supply.

Stepping through a side door one enters the cemetery—a tiny enclosure
upon the hillside, with nameless wooden crosses half buried in grass and
a tangle of yellow daisies. Here the dead lie, under sunshine and sea-
breezes—and from here the eye ranges far over land and sea, over wooded
hills, undulating red plains, palm-trees and rocky islets. Commenting
upon the beauty of the scene to our faithful waiter, he admitted that it
was indeed a _precious_ one—a complimentary term which he applied
indiscriminately to views, roads, the weather, or the condition of the
sea—but far more precious, he hastened to assure us, would be the sight
of the river which we should presently be vouchsafed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The old fortress-church of S. Eulália has a vaulted porch
  capable of holding a couple of hundred people._”

                                                (page 134)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_These Phœnician tombs have a shaft cut in the live rock
  to a depth of some six feet, whence a low sloping gallery leads
  to the subterranean burial chamber._”

                                                (page 137)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The river was unfortunately not looking its best, being very nearly dry;
but we duly inspected its rocky bed, fringed with oleander and dotted
with water pools, and expressed our admiration of the fine stone bridge
that spans it. The pride with which the natives regard their _Rio de
Santa Eulália_ is due to the fact that it is the only river in the
island.

We went back to Iviza at racing speed, the little horse trotting fifteen
miles an hour on the flat, and straining every nerve to raise his
average. We feared that it would over tire him to take us to the Salt
Works in the afternoon, but his owner laughed at the idea, and assured
us that the good little beast would be quite ready to start again after
a two hours’ rest. We were somewhat amused when, at the end of our stay,
we received the bill for our three long drives—a bill for fifteen
pesetas, exactly the sum that we should have paid for a half-day’s
excursion at Palma, where carriage hire is by no means cheap.

“The donkey makes out a different bill from the driver,” says a Minorcan
proverb, and whether our little horse considered his three silver
_douros_ an adequate compensation for the work he had done I cannot say—
but his owner was completely satisfied. The Ivizans are as yet—and long
may they remain so!—too unsophisticated to charge special prices to a
foreigner. A striking instance of their natural honesty occurred on the
night of our arrival. I had given a _peseta_ to the sailor lad who had
brought down our luggage from the deck of the _Isleño_ and put it into
the boat, and to my surprise he handed me back the coin at once.
Thinking that it was either a bad one, or that he expected more, I asked
our friend who was with us in the boat, what I ought to give; but he
replied that the boy had already received threepence from himself for
carrying the luggage, that nothing further was expected, and that the
peseta had been returned because it was considered too much.

Our third and last expedition in Iviza was destined to be the most
enjoyable of all. Our kind friend—whom we found to be one of the
municipal officials of the town—volunteered to accompany us to the Salt
Works, and _en passant_ to show us the recently-discovered Phœnician
necropolis, in the excavation of which he was deeply interested.
Although it had long been known that the Phœnicians colonised the
Balearics—the very name of the islands being derived, as some think,
from their god Baal—it is only of late years that actual proofs of their
occupation have been obtained. Iviza was said to have remained under
their sway for a thousand years, and to have had a capital with a
population of a hundred thousand souls, and the Phœnician cemetery which
three years ago was discovered just outside the town goes far to
substantiate this theory.

Alighting from our _carréta_ at the foot of a rocky reef immediately to
the south of the town, we climbed the hillside and reached a grove of
ancient olive-trees growing in the crevices of a great granite outcrop.
The whole hillside is honeycombed with rock tombs—they are everywhere,
on the hill, and on the lower ground—filled in with earth, built over,
planted over; it is the burial ground of a nation. More than a thousand
tombs have already been located, and of these some sixty have been
investigated at the cost of two or three Ivizan gentlemen who are
interested in the subject.

The general type of tomb is an oblong hole or shaft, cut in the live
rock and descending to a depth of six to eight feet, whence a low
sloping gallery leads to the subterranean burial chamber. Each chamber
contains one, two, or even three massive stone sarcophagi, made from a
kind of white limestone found on the neighbouring island of Formentara.
Not a tomb has yet been opened but what it has already been violated—it
is presumed by the Vandals. The heavy sarcophagus lids have been pushed
aside or broken, and any contents of value—if such there were—long ago
abstracted. But of what the Vandals overlooked or despised, there yet
remains enough to rejoice the heart of an archæologist, and a small
museum has already been created in Iviza for the reception of the finds
as the work of excavation goes on. Bones and skulls, once clothed in
Tyrian purple and fine linen, are collected and ranged neatly upon
shelves. Hundreds of amphoræ are found, each sarcophagus containing two,
placed in a depression at the feet of the dead, while others seem to
have served as cinerary urns for the remains of children.

There is a large collection of red pottery—busts, statuettes, and masks—
some of the latter with an Egyptian cast of countenance, others of a
comic type with glass or metal rings in the nose. There are some
beautiful tear-bottles of iridescent glass, coloured with metallic
oxides, and delicate pottery jars for ointment. There are shallow open
oil lamps, shaped like a shell, and bronze rings and seals. That very
day the workmen had unearthed a pretty ram’s head with curling horns, of
fragile white earthenware, which our friend showed us. He also had in
his possession what I should suppose to be the most valuable find yet
made—an engraved scarab of dark green hæmatite, comprising on its tiny
surface the figure of a man on horseback, with a spear in his hand and a
dog by his side, the whole cut with the delicacy of the finest intaglio.

No inscriptions have as yet come to light, but as each tomb is opened
the hope revives that it may prove to be in an unrifled condition and
contain something that may throw a fresh light upon the burial customs
of a long-vanished people. An illustrated pamphlet dealing with the
Ivizan discoveries up to the present was in process of preparation at
the time of our visit, and I much regret not having received a copy in
time to acquaint my reader with fuller details regarding this necropolis
than we were able to gather during our very brief stay.

Continuing our drive to the Salt Works, we pass the old fortified church
of San Jorge, standing alone amongst the fields, its battlemented walls
glistening snow-white against the distant hills. This church was built
in the fourteenth century, and has withstood many an assault by the
Moors.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The old fortified church of San Jorge was built in the
  14th century, and has withstood many an assault by the
  Moors._”

                                                (page 138)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The salt pans cover an area of six square miles, ... and
  the shining islands of salt are stacked upon stone platforms
  in the water._”

                                                (page 139)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Another hour, over a ludicrously bad road, brings us to the low-lying
_Salinas_ near the coast; one might almost fancy oneself in a miniature
Switzerland, for these salt-pans—which are said to have been known to
the Phœnicians—cover an area of six square miles, and resemble inland
lakes in whose unruffled surface the surrounding hills are mirrored.
There are thirteen great _estancos_ or shallow basins, fringed with
glittering salt-crystals and intersected by sea-water canals, and
causeways along which a little train puffs breathlessly towards the
shining islands of salt stacked on stone platforms in the water; filling
its trucks—each of which contains a ton—it hurries back to the embarking
station, and pulling up on a staging running out into the sea, tips its
load down a wooden shoot into a barge below, where bare-legged men—half
salted up—are busy levelling the white mound, and presently convey it to
a big Norwegian steamer lying in the harbour. Other salt boats are bound
for Russia, or for America. One would think there was enough salt to
supply the whole world; it lies in deep snowdrifts on the quay and is
piled up into mountains by men who look like black flies beside it. The
busiest time is during the summer, when the water in the shallow basins
evaporates and the deposited salt is collected, but at that season the
locality is considered unhealthy—the combined heat and moisture breeding
malaria and a plague of mosquitoes.

By evening light the _Salinas_ are very beautiful. The colours of the
sunset are repeated in the water, and the dark banks and rushes stand
out in sharp-cut silhouette against the soft purple of the hills around.
Out at sea rises the double fang of the island rock _Détra_—an
inaccessible pinnacle, in the summit of which the wild bees have nested
from time immemorial; the whole rock is said to be sticky with honey,
which at times descends in rivulets even to the water’s edge.

It was dusk when we regained our inn, and at ten o’clock that same night
the red lights of the _Isleño_ were seen gliding into the bay, and we
were summoned to go on board. Taking leave of our most kind friend—who,
not content with having done the honours of his native island, insisted
upon our accepting some charming Phœnician relics as souvenirs of our
stay—we went down to the quay and were seen off by our host and the
faithful waiter, the latter remarking, as he shook hands with us, that
we might safely rely upon the night being a precious one.

The sea was indeed like glass. The little steamer lay within fifty yards
of the shore, and not a ripple stirred as we were rowed across in
company with a tunny boat just in from Formentara—the fish standing on
their heads in baskets on the deck, their big tails sticking up like
ammunition for some torpedo boat. On an even keel we glided out into the
night, and awoke at five the next morning to see the red watch tower of
Porto Pi slip past the port hole. A fiery dawn was breaking over Palma
as we went on shore; half a silver moon hung in the sky, and the masts
and rigging of the shipping in the harbour were cut like a fine etching
against the colourless mass of the town.

Even at this early hour the day’s work had begun; scavengers’ carts were
going their rounds; yawning octroi men were astir; women were already
fetching water from the tortoise-fountain on the Borne, and as we
reached the hotel a belated watchman was making off with lantern and
staff, to hide in some quiet retreat till dusk again brought him out to
his bat-like life.

Our visit to Iviza was already a thing of the past, but the little
island that had before been only a name to us was now a very definite
memory of pleasant days spent in the open air, of friendly and
picturesque natives, of sunshine and charming scenery—while even our
unpropitious landing had turned out to be a blessing in disguise, in
acquainting us with the resident whose kindness contributed so largely
to the pleasant recollections which we shall always retain of our stay
in Iviza.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                PART IV

                                MINORCA


April was now nearly over and our holiday in the Balearics was drawing
to its close. We had seen Majorca pretty thoroughly, we had had a
charming glimpse of Iviza, and it only remained to spend a few days in
Minorca to complete our tour of the islands. For fifty pesetas two
first-class passages were secured for us on the _Isla de Menorca_,
leaving Palma on April 26th, and at half-past six that evening we went
on board, prepared to endure the eleven hours’ crossing to Port Mahon.

To the last it was doubtful whether the boat would start that night; a
high west wind was blowing, the bay was flecked with white horses, and
the clothes hung out on the housetops were clapping wildly, as if in
exultation. But start we eventually did—perhaps owing to the fact that
the Governor of the Balearics was on board, a personage of sufficient
importance to allay any apprehension on our part as to the voyage, and
indeed to act as a practical guarantee of safety, since, though the wind
and the waves may be no respecters of persons, it remains an undoubted
fact that governors of provinces get drowned far less frequently than do
obscure individuals.

At half-past five the following morning we entered the famous Minorcan
port, and steamed up it for three miles before sighting Mahon, which
occupies a commanding position on the edge of the precipitous rock walls
of the harbour. Disembarking at a little quay below the town, we
confided our valises to a porter and followed him up a steep, cobbled
street to the Hotel Bustamante, a very respectable inn in the higher
quarter, where we were promptly accommodated with rooms and board at a
_pension_ of six pesetas a day.

Seen at close quarters, Mahon is singularly uninteresting and
commonplace. If the architecture of Palma is essentially Spanish, and
that of Iviza Moorish, Mahon must be put down as painfully and typically
English. The long, straight streets of ugly houses, without balconies or
outside shutters, the dreary vistas of grey cobbles and foot pavements
recall the outskirts of one of our own manufacturing towns; there are
the same mean-looking painted street doors, the same sash windows, even
the same lace curtains inside. We were shown the exercise ground, with
its row of British-built barracks, the hideous Paséo, or Promenade,
which resembles a cinder track, and the favourite drive along the
harbour, a dismally unattractive road. The sole trace of the picturesque
that the town can lay claim to consists of one small fragment of the old
fortifications that spans a modern street—a turreted archway known as
Barbarossa’s Gate, in memory of the corsair who sacked the city in the
sixteenth century.

The inhabitants of Mahon share the general commonplaceness of their
surroundings. They have neither the dignified bearing of the Majorcans
nor their good looks; the men are not clean shaven like those of the
other islands, but wear beards, and sometimes whiskers. The style of
dress is also very inferior, and here and there we met with signs of
actual untidiness among the women—frowsy heads and ill-fitting blouses,
such as we had not set eyes on since landing in the Balearics.

Something of this lack of personal neatness may perhaps be set down to
the tempestuous winds from which Mahon suffers almost perpetually, and
which nearly tore our hats from our heads and our clothes from our backs
as we drove out towards the mouth of the harbour to visit the ruined
fortress of San Felípe. San Felípe is a strong position commanding the
approach to Port Mahon upon the southern side, and it played an
important part in the English occupation of Minorca. Twice captured by
the British and twice retaken, it fell for the second time in the year
1782, when General Murray was forced to capitulate to a combined French
and Spanish force under De Crillon, after a long and tedious siege which
the allies had hoped to avoid by the offer of a bribe of £100,000 to the
English general.

It was during this siege that the cook of the Duc de Crillon earned for
himself undying fame by inventing as an adjunct to his master’s salads
the sauce termed _Mahonnaise_—the familiar mayonnaise of all cookery
books to come.

We had hoped to find objects of pictorial as well as sentimental value
among the ruined fortifications, rock galleries, and nameless British
graves at San Felípe, of which the guide book speaks, but our hopes were
destined to be rudely dashed, for after a most uninteresting drive of a
couple of miles between untidy stone walls we were unceremoniously
stopped by a sentry, who informed us that no one was allowed to approach
the fort without a permit from the commandant of Mahon. For our
consolation he added that in any case there was nothing to be seen, as
the ruins of the old fort had been replaced by modern defence works. A
more unpicturesque scene could indeed hardly be imagined than the site
of San Felípe now presents—a bleak headland traversed by long lines of
masonry and intersecting trenches, with grass-grown embankments sloping
down to the old sea wall on the side of the harbour, from whence one
looks across to the new fortress built on the opposite peninsula.

Disappointed, we retraced our steps. It was now evident that neither
Mahon nor its immediate surroundings would produce anything that need
detain us in the town, and we decided to set out without further delay
in search of those relics of a far older occupation than that of the
British—the menhirs and dolmens of a pre-historic race.

These megalithic remains—of which there are said to be some two hundred
groups in all—are found scattered over the whole of the southern half of
the island; but the average traveller will be wise to confine himself to
those specimens only which present most perfectly the different types of
monument erected, _i.e._, the tumulus or talayót, the altar, the
enclosure of monoliths, and the megalithic dwelling. Some of the finest
specimens of all occur in the neighbourhood of Mahon itself, and can be
visited in the course of a drive extending over some four hours. Acting
on the recommendation of our very friendly host we chartered a
_galaréta_ driven by a swarthy native who knew the country thoroughly.
Our host, to our great surprise, spoke very fair English, and even our
driver could say “Yes,” which was a great advance upon anything we had
yet met with.

It is singular that although so many English customs and traditions have
survived amongst the Mahonese—who are dubbed _Inglesos_ by the rest of
the island—yet the only island to agree with ourselves in its rule of
the road should be Majorca, both Minorca and Iviza following the
opposite and continental fashion.

Mounting our _galaréta_ we bumped and crashed away over the worn paving
of the town and emerged by the Barbarossa gate into the open country.
The surroundings of Mahon are not beautiful; flat, windswept, and
practically treeless, save where a stunted olive-tree hunches its back
to the blast, the most conspicuous feature of the landscape is its
countless miles of stone walls. If we had thought Majorca stony, it was
only because we had not seen Minorca. Majorca is a land of fields
intersected by walls—Minorca a land of walls interspersed with fields.
Once off the high road one becomes involved in a labyrinth of narrow
lanes bordered by stone walls four or five feet thick, and varying in
height from six to ten feet, between which one wanders as in an
overgrown aqueduct. Every field, however small—and some of them are
patches but a few yards square—is enclosed by a prodigious rampart of
loose stones, within which cows and donkeys graze as though at the
bottom of a quarry. These walls serve a double purpose in sheltering the
crops and the animals from the wind, and in relieving the land of a
certain proportion of superabundant stone.

As may be imagined, a cross-country tramp in Minorca is attended with
considerable difficulty, and in visiting the talayóts it is essential to
have a guide who knows his way about and who can direct one through the
maze of obstacles that has to be threaded in attaining some tumulus that
rises like a landmark half a mile away. Much of the land is under wheat—
the crop much behind that of Majorca—and this has to be carefully
skirted, or waded through with an eye to the barest patches of ground;
other fields are devoted to pasture, where handsome mauve thistles
flourish abundantly in the rocky soil, in company with periwinkles,
borage, yellow daisies, white clover, and sweet alyssum. As a rule the
enclosures can be entered and quitted by the _barréras_—light wooden
barriers kept in place by blocks of stone and removed for the passage of
cattle; but occasionally we were obliged to scale the walls by means of
projecting footholds built into their sides, whereat spotted cows ceased
grazing, to gaze with mild surprise at the unusual spectacle of two
ladies performing gymnastic feats in company with a camera and tripod.

A quarter of an hour’s arduous progression brought us to the _talayót_
of Trepúco, said to be one of the largest in the island, but by no means
that in the best preservation. The Minorcan _talayóts_—a word akin to
_atalaya_, a watch-tower—consist of solid cone-shaped cairns built of
roughly dressed stone blocks, often of gigantic size. These cairns range
from thirty to sixty feet in diameter, and from twenty to thirty feet in
height; but at close quarters they are far less conspicuous objects than
might be supposed, partly owing to their general resemblance to the
stone walls surrounding them, and partly to the enveloping scrub of
lentiscus and oleaster which conceals their outline and lends them the
appearance of a natural mound. Some of them are in an extremely
dilapidated condition—others again, like the _talayót_ of Toréllo of
which a picture is given, are in almost perfect preservation. It is
supposed that they are the burial cairns of chieftains, but though
cinerary urns are said to have been found inside them in one or two
instances, this theory alone does not satisfactorily account for other
features of these curious monuments. In some of them traces of interior
chambers have been discovered, others have a sloping ramp running round
the outside as a means of ascent, and the _talayót_ of Toréllo has an
aperture like a window, on a level with the summit of the mound, the
reason of which it is impossible to guess.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ talayot _of Torello is in almost perfect preservation
  ... it is supposed that they are the burial cairns of
  chieftains_.”

                                                (page 148)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The upright slab of the Talato-de-Dalt must be nearly
  twelve feet in height ... and surrounding it are traces of
  a circle of monoliths of about the same height._”

                                                (page 149)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not one of these tumuli has, I believe, yet been properly examined, and
their purpose—whether sepulchre, watch-tower, refuge, or accessory to
some strange religious rite—is still a secret, though the latter
supposition finds support in the fact that where there is a _talayót_
there is in many cases an altar in its immediate vicinity. These altars
or _mésas_—tables, as the natives call them—are composed of two gigantic
slabs of dressed stone, the one imbedded in an upright position in the
ground, the other balanced horizontally upon it. The altar of Trepúco
consists of two fine monoliths, the lower one measuring nearly nine feet
in width and standing over seven feet out of the ground; but that of the
Taláto-de-Dalt far exceeds these measurements, the upright slab being
nearer twelve feet in height and proportionately wide. When the upper
stone had been laid in its horizontal position it was apparently
considered ill-balanced, and a prop has been added in the shape of a
leaning slab surmounted by a wedge. The group of monuments at this spot
is the most complete that will be found in Minorca; the tumulus itself
is in a chaotic state, but the altar is of unusual size, and surrounding
it are seen traces of a circle of monoliths of nearly the same height as
the pedestal. Just outside this enclosure is a so-called megalithic
dwelling into which one can creep on hands and knees; the walls are of
rough stone, and two short, thick pillars, about three feet high, uphold
the large slabs that form the roof. The members of the priesthood—if
such they were who tenanted these modest habitations—certainly did not
err on the side of luxury in their homes.

In few countries perhaps would the splendid monoliths of these altars
and the tempting quarries of building material provided by these
_talayóts_ have survived destruction as they have in Minorca. The very
profusion of stone, constituting not merely a drug but a curse
throughout the island, has safeguarded these old monuments more
effectually than any protection founded on sentiment could have done,
for it has simply never been worth anybody’s while to utilise them.

All the Minorcan country-folk live in excellent stone houses, as might
be supposed, and before leaving the island we had the opportunity of
visiting a solitary outlying homestead tenanted by a peasant family of a
superior class. Although we were fully prepared to find signs of homely
comfort in the dwellings of so industrious a people as the Minorcans,
yet it was a surprise to see how excellent—not to say luxurious—were the
appointments of this house. Not a room but was better furnished than
those of any _fonda_ at which we had stayed. The spacious bedrooms had
handsome bedsteads, large wardrobes—an article of furniture never seen
in Majorca—and one of them actually contained a fine toilet-table _à
l’Anglaise_, with a marble top and sets of small drawers. The daughter
of the house showed us the kitchen, the dairy—with its big white cheeses
destined for the Mahon market—and then she took us upstairs to the
attics, where hanks of homespun yarn hung from the ceiling in company
with hundreds of dried sausages and home-cured hams. In one small and
otherwise empty room were half a dozen faggots carefully propped
together in the centre of the floor within a ring of sheeps’ wool—a
scene so suggestive of sorcery that our thoughts involuntarily turned to
some magic rite connected with the mysterious cromlechs of the land. But
the girl informed us that this was a depôt for live stock destined for
the table—and pointing out myriads of snails adhering to the sticks she
assured us that they were very excellent eating when fried.

The neatness and spotlessness of the whole place it would be impossible
to exaggerate. The Minorcan housewife is popularly supposed to live with
a broom in one hand and a pail of whitewash in the other, and the
industry and morality of the islanders make them valued colonists in any
land to which they may emigrate. Early trained to habits of thrift and
diligent labour in a hard school, the peasants have no sympathy with
those who think to sit under the _mañana_ tree and yet to prosper, and
the tragic fate awaiting them is thus recorded in an ancient Minorcan
verse:

                    Juan and Juanita
                    Go to the wood;
                    Monday they saddle,
                    Tuesday they start,
                    Wednesday they arrive,
                    Thursday they cut wood,
                    Friday they load it up,
                    Saturday they set off,
                    Sunday they come home;
                    That is why they died of hunger.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On April 28th we left Mahon and went to Ciudadéla on the west coast, the
town which formed the capital of Minorca up to the time of the English
occupation. The two towns are connected by a splendid road that runs
through the very centre of the island; and as the distance is little
more than thirty miles the journey can easily be accomplished by
carriage in a day. We started at nine o’clock in our _galaréta_ of the
previous day; our valises were bestowed upon the front seat beside the
driver, and we ourselves climbed into the closed part of the vehicle at
the back, not sorry to be sheltered from the wind. We had an excellent
mule, both strong and active, who trotted briskly on the flat and pegged
away up the hills as though walking for a wager—a characteristic which
we observed most of the mules to share.

Leaving the town we bowled away along the great main road of the island.
Seen in the brilliant sunshine of an April morning, with a blue sky
overhead, green crops in the fields and wild flowers spangling the
wayside, even the country around Mahon becomes invested with a kind of
fictitious beauty; but what the hideous desolation must be of these
endless stone walls seen on a grey winter’s day or under the parching
drought of summer it is hardly possible to conceive.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Our valises were on the front seat beside the driver, and
  we ourselves climbed into the closed part of the_ galareta _at
  the back_....”

                                                (page 152)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The prevailing tree of Minorca is the wild olive, which
  turns its back to the north ... and assumes the appearance
  of a crumb-brush._”

                                                (page 153)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

“When the North wind goes down the West wind is already knocking at the
door,” says a Minorcan proverb, and the few trees that grow in these
exposed regions are driven to the most ridiculous subterfuges in their
endeavours to protect their foliage from the blasts that sweep for ever
across the island. The prevailing tree is the oleaster, or wild olive,
which turns its back to the north, and with bent stem and long hair all
blown in one direction assumes as nearly as possible the appearance of
an attenuated crumb-brush. Some of the trees are absolutely ludicrous in
their contortions, and we could not help laughing at the sight of a
whole row of them growing beside a low stone wall, over which they had
flung themselves in their attempts to escape; falling on their hands and
knees, so to speak, in the next field, they had picked themselves up
again and gone on running, leaving their roots and trunks on the farther
side of the wall—quite content so long as the very tips of their
branches remained alive and out of reach of the dreaded north wind.

At the seventh kilometre stone out of Mahon our driver pulled up, and
tying the mule to a gate, he led us across a field to show us what he
called a _bonito casito_—a good little house—built by megalithic man.

At the base of a ruined _talayót_ constructed of enormous stones and
overgrown with ivy, we saw a small opening, about a yard in height,
leading into a low passage some eight feet long, at the further end of
which is a still smaller doorway, measuring only two feet six inches by
two feet. Once through this, however, one enters a palatial abode not
less than twenty feet long, seven wide, and nine high—which, although it
will hardly bear comparison in point of grandeur with the stone
dwellings built by the Minorcans nowadays for their pigs, was yet so
immeasurably superior to the modest priestly dwelling of Taláto-de-Dalt
that we concluded that we were looking upon the residence of none other
than the arch-druid or high-priest himself—and that it was through this
very doorway that the venerable personage used to emerge on all fours,
robed in full canonicals.

Of all the _talayóts_ that we examined this is the only one that
contained an inner chamber of any size, most of the so-called megalithic
dwellings consisting of small cavities or recesses that can only by a
stretch of imagination be supposed to have served as human habitations.

As one approaches the centre of the island the most conspicuous object
in the level landscape is the conical outline of Monte Toro, a mere
molehill less than twelve hundred feet in height, but raised to the
dignity of a mountain from the accident of having no rival in Minorca.
Upon its summit is seen the large convent and church of the Augustines,
a place of pilgrimage for the islanders. At noon we arrived at Mercadél,
a tidy and commonplace little village forming a half-way house between
Mahon and Ciudadéla, and here we put up for a couple of hours to rest
and have luncheon. The Governor of the Balearics who was making the tour
of Minorca in a steam diligence, arrived almost immediately after
ourselves, and from our window we could watch him being received in the
street by the local officials, between whom and the governor’s suite
there was much hat raising and clapping on the back—the latter form of
greeting being carried out mutually and simultaneously by both persons
concerned, with a peculiarly genial and happy effect. The governor’s
steam diligence overtook us again before we reached Ciudadéla, and our
mule, taking its snorting and rattling as a challenge, responded by
racing it frantically along the high road for more than a mile before he
would admit himself beaten.

On leaving Mercadél we made a _détour_ to the south by way of San
Cristobal, an hour distant, where Murray’s guide-book asserts that
certain “fine and curious _talayóts_” are to be found. Our search for
these, however, proved a wildgoose chase, for all our questioning of the
villagers produced nothing beyond four quite unimportant tumuli,
difficult of access and in no way worth visiting—our driver remarking
severely that he knew all along it would be so, since if he had not
heard of the monuments we were in quest of it was quite certain they did
not exist. In spite of this crushing observation we were not altogether
sorry to have come to San Cristobal, for the road passes through the
prettiest country we had yet seen in Minorca, undulating hills wooded
with pine and ilex, and ditches full of a handsome flowering reed not
unlike a small Pampas grass.

At Ferrerías, where we rejoined the high road, the whole soil is so
impregnated with iron that at a little distance one might have imagined
the landscape to be tinted by a Swiss _Alpenglūth_—the ruddy hillsides
and the dark red of the stone walls harmonising strikingly with the
crimson flower of a sheet of sainfoin in the foreground. The western
side of the island is in general more hilly and more timbered than the
eastern coast, some clumps of tall Aleppo pines forming picturesque
features in the scene.

When within a couple of miles of Ciudadéla our driver drew up, and
pointed out to us a large grey mass lying in a field some little
distance from the road. This was the _Nau de Tudons_, one of the most
remarkable monuments in the island, which our guide was particularly
anxious to show us; but after getting down and wrestling for a few
moments with a high field-gate he returned crestfallen to the carriage
to say that the gate was locked, and that it would, unfortunately, not
be possible for the señoras to visit the Nau, as there was no other way
of approach. Assuring him loftily that locked gates were as nothing in
our eyes we got over it, to his great astonishment, and made our way
across the fields towards a strange erection unlike any other we had
hitherto seen.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The_ Nau de Tudons _is one of the most remarkable of the
  monuments in Minorca_.”

                                                (page 156)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_A short walk brought us to the altar of Torre Trencado_....”

                                                (page 159)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Nau de Tudons—_nau_ is the patois for boat—is composed of enormous
blocks of stone and built in the form of an upturned boat about thirty
feet in length and twelve in height. The rounded bow points to the
north, and at the base of the square stern is a so-called dwelling—a
retreat barely large enough to accommodate a human being. It is supposed
that the interior of the Nau itself served originally as a habitation,
for the centre is partially hollow and is roofed over with gigantic
slabs, most of which have now fallen in. There is something strangely
pathetic about this old monument raised by a long vanished race that has
left memorials of imperishable stone without a sign or a word to record
who the builders were or whence they came. Mysterious and lonely the Nau
stands out against the sunset sky; a couple of donkeys graze amongst
clumps of spurge and asphodel, and a stonechat chacks sharply from the
topmost slab of the roof; but the tide of human life has long receded
from the spot—never to return.

At seven o’clock we reached Ciudadéla and drew up at the Fonda Feliciano
in the Plaza Alfonso III. The sunset had cast such a glamour of crimson
and gold over the white city on the seashore that we were a little
disappointed to find it so essentially unromantic-looking at close
quarters, but any haven was welcome after seven hours’ shaking in a
_galaréta_. We found the inn to be chiefly frequented by persons of the
class—as far as we could judge—of commercial travellers, several of whom
dined at the _table d’hôte_ that evening. The fare was ample, but the
cookery far more greasy and less refined than in Majorca; the strangest
medley of eatables made its appearance on the dish sometimes—the beef
being garnished with potatoes, fat bacon, hunks of stewed cabbage,
_garbanzos_—enormous white beans—aniseed cake, and goodness knows what
besides, so that during one course we had nine different things on our
plate at once, to only five of which could we put a name. Being very
tired we went to bed early, our host informing us in bad English as he
lighted us upstairs that as the inn was very full he could not give us a
second bedroom till the following day. The fact that the house was being
rebuilt, and that we should be waked at five o’clock by workmen pulling
down a floor overhead, he prudently left us to find out for ourselves.

There are several excursions to be made from Ciudadéla, and the two days
we spent there were amply occupied in visiting the principal megalithic
remains in the neighbourhood. The _talayóts_ of Hostal which Murray’s
guide-book mentions, we found uninteresting, besides being troublesome
to get to—much traversing of rocky wheatfields and stone walls being
necessary before reaching them. But the drive to Torre Trencáda is well
worth taking, and can be combined with a visit to Llafúda.

Starting at nine o’clock, we retraced our steps along the high road for
a few miles and then turned off sharply by a cart track leading across
the fields. The pastures were studded with outcrops of live rock turned
to gold by a brilliant orange-coloured lichen, and innumerable tiny
field flowers, red and blue pimpernels, vetches, and a minute orange
marigold, spread a gay little carpet under foot. The common daisy of the
Balearics is not the crimson-tipped flower of our lawns, though quite as
wee and modest; it is a more fragile plant, and its flower has a faint
mauve tinge which on being dried becomes a bright blue. A friend of ours
at Kew told us it was the _Bellium bellidioides_ of Linnæus.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_Acting as a kind of pylon to the pigs’ palace at Son Saura
  is a megalithic monument, unlike any other we saw_....”

                                                (page 163)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_In the immense stone wall at Llafuda are built two or
  three small megalithic dwellings_....”

                                                (page 159)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A short walk brought us to the altar of Torre Trencádo, which is a very
fine one. The horizontal stone has in its lower surface a clean cut
socket which receives the head of the upright slab, but in spite of this
it has needed additional support in the shape of a pillar and wedge like
the _mésa_ at Taláto-de-Dalt. One would give much to penetrate the
secret of this old-world altar standing in its great solitude, wrapped
in the silence of the ages. For what strange worship of sun or moon was
it erected? What implacable deity demanded a human sacrifice? Does the
spirit of priest or victim ever haunt the lonely monument at twilight
and hovering around the symbol of an out-worn faith realise that the
gods themselves have passed away in the _Götterdämmerung_ that has
descended upon the land?

The monuments at Llafúda, although exceedingly extensive, are in a state
of chaotic ruin, the monoliths lying in confusion as though flung to the
ground by an earthquake. The position is partially encircled by an
immense stone wall, ten feet in height, in which are built two or three
small megalithic dwellings. This wall is absolutely typical of those
built at the present day by the Minorcans, barring the fact that its
thickness is in places not less than fifteen feet.

From the neighbouring _talayót_ a fine view over the surrounding country
is obtained—even the faint blue mountains of Majorca being visible
across the water. I had a somewhat ludicrous _rencontre_ upon the summit
of the cairn, for just as I reached the top I came face to face with a
big brown and white buzzard who was skimming over it from the opposite
side. It would be hard to say which of us was the most startled; we both
stepped back hurriedly, but the great bird was so close that I felt the
wind of his wings in my face and could see his magnificent golden eyes
dilate as for one moment he hung motionless, with yellow claws upturned,
before he swung round and with one convulsive flap was gone.

                  *       *       *       *       *

One of the pleasantest drives in the neighbourhood of Ciudadéla is to
Son Saura, an estate about six miles distant belonging to a Minorcan
nobleman. On this occasion we drove out _en famille_, for being Sunday
afternoon not only was the waiter sent with us to enjoy an outing, but
we were begged by our hostess to allow little José, aged six, to be of
the party. Little José was weeping dismally on the doorstep at the
moment, but as soon as our consent was given his tears stopped
instantaneously, and he was hoisted on to the box seat next the waiter,
under whose charge he was put. His mother assured us that he would be
good—but we had already seen quite enough of Master José to discount
this statement. Our hostess appeared to have no sort of authority over
her children; she would rave and shriek at them, and occasionally reduce
them to tears, but in the end they invariably got their own way, and
their attitude towards her was entirely that of the little girl in an
old Minorcan nursery couplet which for simplicity and impertinence it
would be hard to surpass:

                    The Mother says to her:
                    Dirty one! Badly brought-up one!

                    And she answers:
                    You! You were the same!

I may add at once that little José did not belie his character. He
snatched flowers from the flower beds, trampled mercilessly on precious
young tobacco plants in crossing the fields, nearly fell into a large
reservoir, was hauled hurriedly over two walls at the imminent risk of
overthrowing a whole row of his elders and betters, perilously balanced
on the top—and in fact acted as a complete antidote to any pleasure
which the poor harassed waiter might otherwise have derived from the
expedition. We, not being responsible for the child, took his misdoings
less to heart, and when he temporarily disappeared in the vicinity of an
open reservoir we were able to search the surface of the water for
bubbles with comparative calm—confident that Master José’s career had
not been such as to arouse the jealousy of the gods.

Son Saura is a pleasant-looking house surrounded by a large garden of
geraniums and verbenas, roses and lilacs, all in bloom at the time of
our visit. The estate is laid out with orange groves, olive and vine
yards, corn and tobacco plantations, the whole admirably irrigated from
two immense central reservoirs. In summer water has to be sought at a
great depth in Minorca, and the wells being too deep for the employment
of the Persian wheel, the usual method of raising the water is by means
of a large windlass turned by a donkey—one bucket being let down as the
other is wound up to the top. The drinking troughs for beasts which
stand beside these wells partake of the archaic simplicity and
durability of the dolmens, being formed of ponderous stone blocks
hollowed out to the required depth.

The modern Minorcan has indeed sundry habits not unworthy of the
megalithic monuments of his predecessors. The stones which he builds
into his field walls are hardly less vast than theirs, and the palaces
he erects for his pigs bear a strong family likeness to the prehistoric
_talayót_; composed entirely of loose stones, with a cleverly domed
roof, these buildings form quite a feature of the landscape in many
parts of the island. The smaller ones are often plain huts, but the
larger ones almost always have tastefully ornamented roofs—some
resembling the step pyramids of Sakkára, others being built in round
tiers like a gigantic wedding-cake. One—by no means the largest—which we
entered at Son Saura, and of which a picture is given, measured not less
than twenty feet across, inside, and twelve or fifteen feet in height;
spacious, clean, and delightfully cool in hot weather, these houses are
used by the pigs of Minorca as sleeping quarters at night and lounges at
midday. Any attempt to photograph the occupants we found, however, to be
out of the question: the very sight of a camera filled them with
suspicion, and when this was followed by a strategic advance their worst
fears were confirmed—with volleys of shrieks they broke up in panic,
and, with ears flapping wildly, went off helter skelter with all the
_abandon_ of their Gadarene ancestors.

Acting as a kind of pylon to the above-mentioned palace at Son Saura is
a curious old _mésa_, unlike any other we saw in the island—the
horizontal slab being supported on _two_ upright pillars, each of which
has a rude capital formed by a separate stone. This monument is possibly
of a different date from the other altars, and is said to be of a
pattern of which—as far as is known—only one other specimen exists, in
the island of Malta.

The last expedition we made at Ciudadéla was to visit the rock dwellings
at Son Moréll—a large property about an hour distant from the town.
There are three farmhouses upon the estate, at the first of which one
naturally draws up to inquire the way, and unless the traveller is very
careful he will here be taken to see two wholly unimportant tumuli lying
at some distance away amongst stone walls and a waste of asphodel—the
peasants being convinced that to lead a foreigner to the nearest
_talayót_ is the surest way of making him happy. In all good faith we
followed an ancient man across the fields, and in due course reached the
_talayóts_; it was quite useless to explain to our guide that it was not
such as these we were in search of, since besides being very deaf he
understood no word of Castillian, and when we remarked that the wind was
very high he replied by telling us that he was seventy-eight in January.

After much useless tramping and waste of time we at last discovered that
it was _Son Morell de Barránco_ to which we ought to have driven—the
Barranco being the ravine containing the rock dwellings—and continuing
our route across the fields we presently came to the second farm, lying
within a few minutes’ walk of the coast. Leaving the carriage here, we
descended on foot towards the sea, and soon came upon a row of curious
dwellings excavated in the rock walls of a narrow valley. Three of the
caves are of considerable size, and in the one of which we took a
photograph a pillar of live rock is left in the centre to support the
roof. All have neatly cut doorways and windows, and one of the house
fronts, as will be seen, shows traces of decoration—a cornice and a
couple of fluted pilasters having been rudely chiselled in the face of
the rock. Sheep and goats now inhabit the caves; of the people who with
patient labour constructed their dwellings in this wild and lonely
ravine by the sea no memory remains.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On the 1st of May we left Ciudadéla and returned to Mahon, stopping for
luncheon at the little town of Alayór, just off the main road. Seen from
a distance Alayór is a veritable fairy city set upon a hill—glistening
snow white in the sunshine—and though at close quarters it is no longer
beautiful, the whiteness of the houses is so dazzling that it is like
passing through snow-cuttings to drive through the streets, and we were
glad of the green glass panes of our _galaréta_ to protect our eyes from
the blinding glare. Whitewash is indeed a mania among the Minorcans,
who, not content with applying it to the outer and inner walls of their
houses, extend it to the tiles on the roof, the gutters, chimneys,
outhouses, and even neighbouring rocks. Where the field walls are coped
with freestone this also is whitened for miles, which gives the
landscape the curious and misleading effect of being traversed in every
direction by high roads.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The rock caves at Son Morell are of considerable size, and
  one of the house fronts shows traces of decoration, a cornice
  and a couple of fluted pilasters having been rudely chiselled
  in the face of the rock._”

                                                (page 164)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration:

  “_The rock caves have neatly cut doorways and windows,
  and one of them has a central pillar supporting the roof._”

                                                (page 164)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Within half an hour’s drive of Alayór is the _mésa_ of Torralba—one of
the largest in the island, though it loses in effect by being encumbered
about the base by bushes and _débris_. The horizontal stone is said to
have a square cavity in its upper surface, as though to contain the
blood of a victim; but as our outfit did not include a ladder we were
obliged to take this statement on trust.

One of the sudden storms, for which Minorca is noted, overtook us while
we were engaged in photographing the altar. The sky darkened, and
without a moment’s warning such a deluge of rain descended that we were
quite unable to regain our carriage, not twenty yards distant. The
ground was swimming, the bushes and long grass were drenched, and when
ten minutes later the sun came out again and all was smiles, the only
dry member of the party was the camera—who with his usual foresight had
enveloped himself in the one waterproof cape at the very beginning of
the rain.

A couple of hours later we were again in Mahon, and at five o’clock that
same afternoon we had boarded the Palma boat and were taking our last
look at the town as we glided out of the bay—past the flat green tray of
Hospital Island, past the little rocky hump of Rat Island, where some
fishermen wave to us as their boat rocks on our swell—past the ruined
pepper-pot tower on the Philipet promontory—past the old sea walls of
San Felipe and the bristling defences of the Isabella fortress opposite—
and as we enter the open sea a chill wind springs up.

At daybreak we land once more—and for the last time—at the now familiar
quay at Palma, and are rattled through the streets that three short
months ago were new and strange of aspect in our eyes.

Our holiday in the south is over. It is the first week of May:
strawberries and cherries are in the market, and the voice of the cuckoo
is heard in the land. The pigeons are wheeling in flocks around the
sunlit tower of San Nicolas, and myriads of swifts still weave their
tireless flight over the town. But the swallows have gone northwards,
and we must follow them. Two busy days are spent in packing and in final
arrangements for the return home; and on the 5th of May we board the
_Miramar_ for Barcelona.

It is a marvellously lovely evening. The wide plain is wrapped in
shimmering shades of pink and violet, and brilliant against the deep
cobalt of the Sierra stand out the white houses of the town. Cutting the
western horizon in dark silhouette are the wooded slopes of Bellver—the
castle arch spanning a glowing fragment of the sunset where the gules
and or of Aragon are once more blazoned in the sky. The harbour is a
sheet of gold, and across the ever widening stretch of water Palma has
already dwindled to a doll’s city, where the great cathedral is the last
object on which our eyes linger. A spark breaks out on the old Moorish
tower as we glide past Porto Pi, some soldiers wave a last goodbye from
the earthworks of San Carlos, the darkening mountain slopes recede as we
reach the portal of Cala Figuéra—and at last we are clear of the bay of
Palma.

A golden moon hangs in the indigo vault above us, and our wake cleaves a
shining path straight up to the old white city that is vanishing from
our sight. And passing out into the night on a sea of glass we half
expect to hear once more the solemn midnight cry—

             “_Alobado sea el Señor! las dóce, y seréno!_”


                                 FINIS.


     UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND LONDON.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         THROUGH CORSICA WITH A
                                 CAMERA

                           BY MARGARET D’ESTE

                 _Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 7s. 6d. net._


“Observant, animated and agreeably sensitive of the charm of the restful
island it describes, it will be read with advantage and interest by
every one who fosters ideas of some day going there.”—_Scotsman._

“The book has a delightful touch of feminine vivacity, and the camera is
almost as important in the production of it as the pen.”—_Observer._

“Miss d’Este gives a very attractive account of Ajaccio.”—_Spectator._

“Margaret d’Este gives a picturesque account of her wanderings all over
the island, in and out of the beaten track, and tells us that she found
its principal charm in its wild freedom, magnificent scenery and
delightful climate.”—_Daily Graphic._

“The reviewer is tempted at almost every page to quote, so full of
description is this charming book, but space forbids.... We cannot
remember enjoying any book so much since the days when William Blake
told the tale of his journeyings.”—_Daily Chronicle._

“A facile, charming style of writing; a quick, accurate observation of
men, beasts, flowers, and things.”—_Photographic Monthly._

“There are no fewer than seventy-eight photographs by Mrs. R. M. King
and the author in this charming book of travel far from the madding
crowd.... An unusually well-written and well-illustrated book.”—
_Northern Whig._

“The authoress has given us some delightful pen sketches of the scenery,
delicate little vignettes of local colour, and strongly sketched-in
characters of the natives, and the illustrations are decidedly
enticing.”—_Photographic News._

“The book is one of the brightest of recent travel volumes. Mrs. King’s
photography is a worthy contribution to the work, and is worth studying
by would-be picture makers, for its good placing of masses within the
space, and for the strong yet not harsh way in which bold patches of
deep shadow are placed against broad expanses of light.”—_Photogram._





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