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The Bible in Spain
by George Borrow
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Myself.—This is a very hopeful plan of yours, my friend; and in what manner do you propose that we shall travel?

Antonio.—I will tell you, brother; I have a gras in the stall, even the one which I purchased at Olivencas, as I told you on a former occasion; it is good and fleet, and cost me, who am a gypsy, fifty chule (dollars); upon that gras you shall ride. As for myself, I will journey upon the macho.

Myself.—Before I answer you, I shall wish you to inform me what business it is which renders your presence necessary in Castumba; your son-in-law, Paco, told me that it was no longer the custom of the gypsies to wander.

Antonio.—It is an affair of Egypt, brother, and I shall not acquaint you with it; peradventure it relates to a horse or an ass, or peradventure it relates to a mule or a macho; it does not relate to yourself, therefore I advise you not to inquire about it—Dosta (enough). With respect to my offer, you are free to decline it; there is a drungruje (royal road) between here and Madrilati, and you can travel it in the birdoche (stage-coach) or with the dromale (muleteers); but I tell you, as a brother, that there are chories upon the drun, and some of them are of the Errate.

Certainly few people in my situation would have accepted the offer of this singular gypsy. It was not, however, without its allurements for me; I was fond of adventure, and what more ready means of gratifying my love of it than by putting myself under the hands of such a guide. There are many who would have been afraid of treachery, but I had no fears on this point, as I did not believe that the fellow harboured the slightest ill intention towards me; I saw that he was fully convinced that I was one of the Errate, and his affection for his own race, and his hatred for the Busne, were his strongest characteristics. I wished, moreover, to lay hold of every opportunity of making myself acquainted with the ways of the Spanish gypsies, and an excellent one here presented itself on my first entrance into Spain. In a word, I determined to accompany the gypsy. "I will go with you," I exclaimed; "as for my baggage, I will despatch it to Madrid by the birdoche." "Do so, brother," he replied, "and the gras will go lighter. Baggage, indeed!—what need of baggage have you? How the Busne on the road would laugh if they saw two Cales with baggage behind them."

During my stay at Badajoz, I had but little intercourse with the Spaniards, my time being chiefly devoted to the gypsies, with whom, from long intercourse with various sections of their race in different parts of the world, I felt myself much more at home than with the silent, reserved men of Spain, with whom a foreigner might mingle for half a century without having half a dozen words addressed to him, unless he himself made the first advances to intimacy, which, after all, might be rejected with a shrug and a no intendo; for, among the many deeply rooted prejudices of these people, is the strange idea that no foreigner can speak their language; an idea to which they will still cling though they hear him conversing with perfect ease; for in that case the utmost that they will concede to his attainments is, Habla quatro palabras y nada mas (he can speak four words, and no more).

Early one morning, before sunrise, I found myself at the house of Antonio; it was a small mean building, situated in a dirty street. The morning was quite dark; the street, however, was partially illumined by a heap of lighted straw, round which two or three men were busily engaged, apparently holding an object over the flames. Presently the gypsy's door opened, and Antonio made his appearance; and, casting his eye in the direction of the light, exclaimed, "The swine have killed their brother; would that every Busno was served as yonder hog is. Come in, brother, and we will eat the heart of that hog." I scarcely understood his words, but, following him, he led me into a low room in which was a brasero, or small pan full of lighted charcoal; beside it was a rude table, spread with a coarse linen cloth, upon which was bread and a large pipkin full of a mess which emitted no disagreeable savour. "The heart of the balichow is in that puchera," said Antonio; "eat, brother." We both sat down and ate, Antonio voraciously. When we had concluded he arose:- "Have you got your li?" he demanded. "Here it is," said I, showing him my passport. "Good," said he, "you may want it; I want none, my passport is the bar lachi. Now for a glass of repani, and then for the road."

We left the room, the door of which he locked, hiding the key beneath a loose brick in a corner of the passage. "Go into the street, brother, whilst I fetch the caballerias from the stable." I obeyed him. The sun had not yet risen, and the air was piercingly cold; the grey light, however, of dawn enabled me to distinguish objects with tolerable accuracy; I soon heard the clattering of the animals' feet, and Antonio presently stepped forth leading the horse by the bridle; the macho followed behind. I looked at the horse and shrugged my shoulders: as far as I could scan it, it appeared the most uncouth animal I had ever beheld. It was of a spectral white, short in the body, but with remarkably long legs. I observed that it was particularly high in the cruz or withers. "You are looking at the grasti," said Antonio; "it is eighteen years old, but it is the very best in the Chim del Manro; I have long had my eye upon it; I bought it for my own use for the affairs of Egypt. Mount, brother, mount and let us leave the foros—the gate is about being opened."

He locked the door, and deposited the key in his faja. In less than a quarter of an hour we had left the town behind us. "This does not appear to be a very good horse," said I to Antonio, as we proceeded over the plain. "It is with difficulty that I can make him move."

"He is the swiftest horse in the Chim del Manro, brother," said Antonio; "at the gallop and at the speedy trot there is no one to match him; but he is eighteen years old, and his joints are stiff, especially of a morning; but let him once become heated and the genio del viejo (spirit of the old man) comes upon him and there is no holding him in with bit or bridle. I bought that horse for the affairs of Egypt, brother."

About noon we arrived at a small village in the neighbourhood of a high lumpy hill. "There is no Calo house in this place," said Antonio; "we will therefore go to the posada of the Busne, and refresh ourselves, man and beast." We entered the kitchen and sat down at the boards, calling for wine and bread. There were two ill-looking fellows in the kitchen, smoking cigars; I said something to Antonio in the Calo language.

"What is that I hear?" said one of the fellows, who was distinguished by an immense pair of moustaches. "What is that I hear? is it in Calo that you are speaking before me, and I a Chalan and national? Accursed gypsy, how dare you enter this posada and speak before me in that speech? Is it not forbidden by the law of the land in which we are, even as it is forbidden for a gypsy to enter the mercado? I tell you what, friend, if I hear another word of Calo come from your mouth, I will cudgel your bones and send you flying over the house-tops with a kick of my foot."

"You would do right," said his companion; "the insolence of these gypsies is no longer to be borne. When I am at Merida or Badajoz I go to the mercado, and there in a corner stand the accursed gypsies jabbering to each other in a speech which I understand not. 'Gypsy gentleman,' say I to one of them, 'what will you have for that donkey?' 'I will have ten dollars for it, Caballero nacional,' says the gypsy; 'it is the best donkey in all Spain.' 'I should like to see its paces,' say I. 'That you shall, most valorous!' says the gypsy, and jumping upon its back, he puts it to its paces, first of all whispering something into its ears in Calo, and truly the paces of the donkey are most wonderful, such as I have never seen before. 'I think it will just suit me,' and after looking at it awhile, I take out the money and pay for it. 'I shall go to my house,' says the gypsy; and off he runs. 'I shall go to my village,' say I, and I mount the donkey. 'Vamonos,' say I, but the donkey won't move. I give him a switch, but I don't get on the better for that. 'How is this?' say I, and I fall to spurring him. What happens then, brother? The wizard no sooner feels the prick than he bucks down, and flings me over his head into the mire. I get up and look about me; there stands the donkey staring at me, and there stand the whole gypsy canaille squinting at me with their filmy eyes. 'Where is the scamp who has sold me this piece of furniture?' I shout. 'He is gone to Granada, Valorous,' says one. 'He is gone to see his kindred among the Moors,' says another. 'I just saw him running over the field, in the direction of -, with the devil close behind him,' says a third. In a word, I am tricked. I wish to dispose of the donkey; no one, however, will buy him; he is a Calo donkey, and every person avoids him. At last the gypsies offer thirty rials for him; and after much chaffering I am glad to get rid of him at two dollars. It is all a trick, however; he returns to his master, and the brotherhood share the spoil amongst them. All which villainy would be prevented, in my opinion, were the Calo language not spoken; for what but the word of Calo could have induced the donkey to behave in such an unaccountable manner?"

Both seemed perfectly satisfied with the justness of this conclusion, and continued smoking till their cigars were burnt to stumps, when they arose, twitched their whiskers, looked at us with fierce disdain, and dashing the tobacco-ends to the ground, strode out of the apartment.

"Those people seem no friends to the gypsies," said I to Antonio, when the two bullies had departed, "nor to the Calo language either."

"May evil glanders seize their nostrils," said Antonio; "they have been jonjabadoed by our people. However, brother, you did wrong to speak to me in Calo, in a posada like this; it is a forbidden language; for, as I have often told you, the king has destroyed the law of the Cales. Let us away, brother, or those juntunes (sneaking scoundrels) may set the justicia upon us."

Towards evening we drew near to a large town or village. "That is Merida," said Antonio, "formerly, as the Busne say, a mighty city of the Corahai. We shall stay here to-night, and perhaps for a day or two, for I have some business of Egypt to transact in this place. Now, brother, step aside with the horse, and wait for me beneath yonder wall. I must go before and see in what condition matters stand."

I dismounted from the horse, and sat down on a stone beneath the ruined wall to which Antonio had motioned me; the sun went down, and the air was exceedingly keen; I drew close around me an old tattered gypsy cloak with which my companion had provided me, and being somewhat fatigued, fell into a doze which lasted for nearly an hour.

"Is your worship the London Caloro?" said a strange voice close beside me.

I started and beheld the face of a woman peering under my hat. Notwithstanding the dusk, I could see that the features were hideously ugly and almost black; they belonged, in fact, to a gypsy crone, at least seventy years of age, leaning upon a staff.

"Is your worship the London Caloro?" repeated she.

"I am he whom you seek," said I; "where is Antonio?"

"Curelando, curelando, baribustres curelos terela," {1} said the crone: "come with me, Caloro of my garlochin, come with me to my little ker, he will be there anon."

I followed the crone, who led the way into the town, which was ruinous and seemingly half deserted; we went up the street, from which she turned into a narrow and dark lane, and presently opened the gate of a large dilapidated house; "Come in," said she.

"And the gras?" I demanded.

"Bring the gras in too, my chabo, bring the gras in too; there is room for the gras in my little stable." We entered a large court, across which we proceeded till we came to a wide doorway. "Go in, my child of Egypt," said the hag; "go in, that is my little stable."

"The place is as dark as pitch," said I, "and may be a well for what I know; bring a light or I will not enter."

"Give me the solabarri (bridle)," said the hag, "and I will lead your horse in, my chabo of Egypt, yes, and tether him to my little manger." She led the horse through the doorway, and I heard her busy in the darkness; presently the horse shook himself: "Grasti terelamos," said the hag, who now made her appearance with the bridle in her hand; "the horse has shaken himself, he is not harmed by his day's journey; now let us go in, my Caloro, into my little room."

We entered the house and found ourselves in a vast room, which would have been quite dark but for a faint glow which appeared at the farther end; it proceeded from a brasero, beside which were squatted two dusky figures.

"These are Callees," said the hag; "one is my daughter and the other is her chabi; sit down, my London Caloro, and let us hear you speak."

I looked about for a chair, but could see none; at a short distance, however, I perceived the end of a broken pillar lying on the floor; this I rolled to the brasero and sat down upon it.

"This is a fine house, mother of the gypsies," said I to the hag, willing to gratify the desire she had expressed of hearing me speak; "a fine house is this of yours, rather cold and damp, though; it appears large enough to be a barrack for hundunares."

"Plenty of houses in this foros, plenty of houses in Merida, my London Caloro, some of them just as they were left by the Corahanoes; ah, a fine people are the Corahanoes; I often wish myself in their chim once more."

"How is this, mother," said I, "have you been in the land of the Moors?"

"Twice have I been in their country, my Caloro,—twice have I been in the land of the Corahai; the first time is more than fifty years ago, I was then with the Sese (Spaniards), for my husband was a soldier of the Crallis of Spain, and Oran at that time belonged to Spain."

"You were not then with the real Moors," said I, "but only with the Spaniards who occupied part of their country."

"I have been with the real Moors, my London Caloro. Who knows more of the real Moors than myself? About forty years ago I was with my ro in Ceuta, for he was still a soldier of the king, and he said to me one day, 'I am tired of this place where there is no bread and less water, I will escape and turn Corahano; this night I will kill my sergeant and flee to the camp of the Moor.' 'Do so,' said I, 'my chabo, and as soon as may be I will follow you and become a Corahani.' That same night he killed his sergeant, who five years before had called him Calo and cursed him, then running to the wall he dropped from it, and amidst many shots he escaped to the land of the Corahai, as for myself, I remained in the presidio of Ceuta as a suttler, selling wine and repani to the soldiers. Two years passed by and I neither saw nor heard from my ro; one day there came a strange man to my cachimani (wine-shop), he was dressed like a Corahano, and yet he did not look like one, he looked like more a callardo (black), and yet he was not a callardo either, though he was almost black, and as I looked upon him I thought he looked something like the Errate, and he said to me, 'Zincali; chachipe!' and then he whispered to me in queer language, which I could scarcely understand, 'Your ro is waiting, come with me, my little sister, and I will take you unto him.' 'Where is he?' said I, and he pointed to the west, to the land of the Corahai, and said, 'He is yonder away; come with me, little sister, the ro is waiting.' For a moment I was afraid, but I bethought me of my husband and I wished to be amongst the Corahai; so I took the little parne (money) I had, and locking up the cachimani went with the strange man; the sentinel challenged us at the gate, but I gave him repani (brandy) and he let us pass; in a moment we were in the land of the Corahai. About a league from the town beneath a hill we found four people, men and women, all very black like the strange man, and we joined ourselves with them and they all saluted me and called me little sister. That was all I understood of their discourse, which was very crabbed; and they took away my dress and gave me other clothes, and I looked like a Corahani, and away we marched for many days amidst deserts and small villages, and more than once it seemed to me that I was amongst the Errate, for their ways were the same: the men would hokkawar (cheat) with mules and asses, and the women told baji, and after many days we came before a large town, and the black man said, 'Go in there, little sister, and there you will find your ro;' and I went to the gate, and an armed Corahano stood within the gate, and I looked in his face, and lo! it was my ro.

"O what a strange town it was that I found myself in, full of people who had once been Candore (Christians) but had renegaded and become Corahai. There were Sese and Lalore (Portuguese), and men of other nations, and amongst them were some of the Errate from my own country; all were now soldiers of the Crallis of the Corahai and followed him to his wars; and in that town I remained with my ro a long time, occasionally going out with him to the wars, and I often asked him about the black men who had brought me thither, and he told me that he had had dealings with them, and that he believed them to be of the Errate. Well, brother, to be short, my ro was killed in the wars, before a town to which the king of the Corahai laid siege, and I became a piuli (widow), and I returned to the village of the renegades, as it was called, and supported myself as well as I could; and one day as I was sitting weeping, the black man, whom I had never seen since the day he brought me to my ro, again stood before me, and he said, 'Come with me, little sister, come with me, the ro is at hand'; and I went with him, and beyond the gate in the desert was the same party of black men and women which I had seen before. 'Where is my ro?' said I. 'Here he is, little sister,' said the black man, 'here he is; from this day I am the ro and you the romi; come, let us go, for there is business to be done.'

"And I went with him, and he was my ro, and we lived amongst the deserts, and hokkawar'd and choried and told baji; and I said to myself, this is good, sure I am amongst the Errate in a better chim than my own; and I often said that they were of the Errate, and then they would laugh and say that it might be so, and that they were not Corahai, but they could give no account of themselves.

"Well, things went on in this way for years, and I had three chai by the black man, two of them died, but the youngest, who is the Calli who sits by the brasero, was spared; so we roamed about and choried and told baji; and it came to pass that once in the winter time our company attempted to pass a wide and deep river, of which there are many in the Chim del Corahai, and the boat overset with the rapidity of the current and all our people were drowned, all but myself and my chabi, whom I bore in my bosom. I had now no friends amongst the Corahai, and I wandered about the despoblados howling and lamenting till I became half lili (mad), and in this manner I found my way to the coast, where I made friends with the captain of a ship and returned to this land of Spain. And now I am here, I often wish myself back again amongst the Corahai."

Here she commenced laughing loud and long, and when she had ceased, her daughter and grandchild took up the laugh, which they continued so long that I concluded they were all lunatics.

Hour succeeded hour, and still we sat crouching over the brasero, from which, by this time, all warmth had departed; the glow had long since disappeared, and only a few dying sparks were to be distinguished. The room or hall was now involved in utter darkness; the women were motionless and still; I shivered and began to feel uneasy. "Will Antonio be here to-night?" at length I demanded.

"No tenga usted cuidao, my London Caloro," said the Gypsy mother, in an unearthly tone; "Pepindorio {2} has been here some time."

I was about to rise from my seat and attempt to escape from the house, when I felt a hand laid upon my shoulder, and in a moment I heard the voice of Antonio.

"Be not afraid, 'tis I, brother; we will have a light anon, and then supper."

The supper was rude enough, consisting of bread, cheese, and olives. Antonio, however, produced a leathern bottle of excellent wine; we despatched these viands by the light of an earthen lamp which was placed upon the floor.

"Now," said Antonio to the youngest female, "bring me the pajandi, and I will sing a gachapla."

The girl brought the guitar, which, with some difficulty, the Gypsy tuned, and then strumming it vigorously, he sang:

"I stole a plump and bonny fowl, But ere I well had dined, The master came with scowl and growl, And me would captive bind.

"My hat and mantle off I threw, And scour'd across the lea, Then cried the beng {3} with loud halloo, Where does the Gypsy flee?"

He continued playing and singing for a considerable time, the two younger females dancing in the meanwhile with unwearied diligence, whilst the aged mother occasionally snapped her fingers or beat time on the ground with her stick. At last Antonio suddenly laid down the instrument:-

"I see the London Caloro is weary; enough, enough, to-morrow more thereof—we will now to the charipe (bed)."

"With all my heart," said I; "where are we to sleep?"

"In the stable," said he, "in the manger; however cold the stable may be we shall be warm enough in the bufa."



CHAPTER X



The Gypsy's Granddaughter—Proposed Marriage—The Algnazil—The Assault—Speedy Trot—Arrival at Trujillo—Night and Rain—The Forest—The Bivouac—Mount and Away!—Jaraicejo—The National—The Cavalier Balmerson—Among the Thicket—Serious Discourse—What is Truth?—Unexpected Intelligence.

We remained three days at the Gypsies' house, Antonio departing early every morning, on his mule, and returning late at night. The house was large and ruinous, the only habitable part of it, with the exception of the stable, being the hall, where we had supped, and there the Gypsy females slept at night, on some mats and mattresses in a corner.

"A strange house is this," said I to Antonio, one morning as he was on the point of saddling his mule and departing, as I supposed, on the affairs of Egypt; "a strange house and strange people; that Gypsy grandmother has all the appearance of a sowanee (sorceress)."

"All the appearance of one!" said Antonio; "and is she not really one? She knows more crabbed things and crabbed words than all the Errate betwixt here and Catalonia. She has been amongst the wild Moors, and can make more drows, poisons, and philtres than any one alive. She once made a kind of paste, and persuaded me to taste, and shortly after I had done so my soul departed from my body, and wandered through horrid forests and mountains, amidst monsters and duendes, during one entire night. She learned many things amidst the Corahai which I should be glad to know."

"Have you been long acquainted with her?" said I; "you appear to be quite at home in this house."

"Acquainted with her!" said Antonio. "Did not my own brother marry the black Calli, her daughter, who bore him the chabi, sixteen years ago, just before he was hanged by the Busne?"

In the afternoon I was seated with the Gypsy mother in the hall, the two Callees were absent telling fortunes about the town and neighbourhood, which was their principal occupation. "Are you married, my London Caloro?" said the old woman to me. "Are you a ro?"

Myself.—Wherefore do you ask, O Dai de los Cales?

Gypsy Mother.—It is high time that the lacha of the chabi were taken from her, and that she had a ro. You can do no better than take her for romi, my London Caloro.

Myself.—I am a stranger in this land, O mother of the Gypsies, and scarcely know how to provide for myself, much less for a romi.

Gypsy Mother.—She wants no one to provide for her, my London Caloro, she can at any time provide for herself and her ro. She can hokkawar, tell baji, and there are few to equal her at stealing a pastesas. Were she once at Madrilati, where they tell me you are going, she would make much treasure; therefore take her thither, for in this foros she is nahi (lost), as it were, for there is nothing to be gained; but in the foros baro it would be another matter; she would go dressed in lachipi and sonacai (silk and gold), whilst you would ride about on your black-tailed gra; and when you had got much treasure, you might return hither and live like a Crallis, and all the Errate of the Chim del Manro should bow down their heads to you. What, say you, my London Caloro, what say you to my plan?

Myself.—Your plan is a plausible one, mother, or at least some people would think so; but I am, as you are aware, of another chim, and have no inclination to pass my life in this country.

Gypsy Mother.—Then return to your own country, my Caloro, the chabi can cross the pani. Would she not do business in London with the rest of the Calore? Or why not go to the land of the Corahai? In which case I would accompany you; I and my daughter, the mother of the chabi.

Myself.—And what should we do in the land of the Corahai? It is a poor and wild country, I believe.

Gypsy Mother.—The London Caloro asks me what we could do in the land of the Corahai! Aromali! I almost think that I am speaking to a lilipendi (simpleton). Are there not horses to chore? Yes, I trow there are, and better ones than in this land, and asses and mules. In the land of the Corahai you must hokkawar and chore even as you must here, or in your own country, or else you are no Caloro. Can you not join yourselves with the black people who live in the despoblados? Yes, surely; and glad they would be to have among them the Errate from Spain and London. I am seventy years of age, but I wish not to die in this chim, but yonder, far away, where both my roms are sleeping. Take the chabi, therefore, and go to Madrilati to win the parne, and when you have got it, return, and we will give a banquet to all the Busne in Merida, and in their food I will mix drow, and they shall eat and burst like poisoned sheep. . . . And when they have eaten we will leave them, and away to the land of the Moor, my London Caloro.

During the whole time that I remained at Merida I stirred not once from the house; following the advice of Antonio, who informed me that it would not be convenient. My time lay rather heavily on my hands, my only source of amusement consisting in the conversation of the women, and in that of Antonio when he made his appearance at night. In these tertulias the grandmother was the principal spokeswoman, and astonished my ears with wonderful tales of the Land of the Moors, prison escapes, thievish feats, and one or two poisoning adventures, in which she had been engaged, as she informed me, in her early youth.

There was occasionally something very wild in her gestures and demeanour; more than once I observed her, in the midst of much declamation, to stop short, stare in vacancy, and thrust out her palms as if endeavouring to push away some invisible substance; she goggled frightfully with her eyes, and once sank back in convulsions, of which her children took no farther notice than observing that she was only lili, and would soon come to herself.

Late in the afternoon of the third day, as the three women and myself sat conversing as usual over the brasero, a shabby looking fellow in an old rusty cloak walked into the room: he came straight up to the place where we were sitting, produced a paper cigar, which he lighted at a coal, and taking a whiff or two, looked at me: "Carracho," said he, "who is this companion?"

I saw at once that the fellow was no Gypsy: the women said nothing, but I could hear the grandmother growling to herself, something after the manner of an old grimalkin when disturbed.

"Carracho," reiterated the fellow, "how came this companion here?"

"No le penela chi min chaboro," said the black Callee to me, in an undertone; "sin un balicho de los chineles {4};" then looking up to the interrogator she said aloud, "he is one of our people from Portugal, come on the smuggling lay, and to see his poor sisters here."

"Then let him give me some tobacco," said the fellow, "I suppose he has brought some with him."

"He has no tobacco," said the black Callee, "he has nothing but old iron. This cigar is the only tobacco there is in the house; take it, smoke it, and go away!"

Thereupon she produced a cigar from out her shoe, which she presented to the alguazil.

"This will not do," said the fellow, taking the cigar, "I must have something better; it is now three months since I received anything from you; the last present was a handkerchief, which was good for nothing; therefore hand me over something worth taking, or I will carry you all to the Carcel."

"The Busno will take us to prison," said the black Callee, "ha! ha! ha!"

"The Chinel will take us to prison," giggled the young girl "he! he! he!"

"The Bengui will carry us all to the estaripel," grunted the Gypsy grandmother, "ho! ho! ho!"

The three females arose and walked slowly round the fellow, fixing their eyes steadfastly on his face; he appeared frightened, and evidently wished to get away. Suddenly the two youngest seized his hands, and whilst he struggled to release himself, the old woman exclaimed: "You want tobacco, hijo—you come to the Gypsy house to frighten the Callees and the strange Caloro out of their plako— truly, hijo, we have none for you, and right sorry I am; we have, however, plenty of the dust a su servicio."

Here, thrusting her hand into her pocket, she discharged a handful of some kind of dust or snuff into the fellow's eyes; he stamped and roared, but was for some time held fast by the two Callees; he extricated himself, however, and attempted to unsheath a knife which he bore at his girdle; but the two younger females flung themselves upon him like furies, while the old woman increased his disorder by thrusting her stick into his face; he was soon glad to give up the contest, and retreated, leaving behind him his hat and cloak, which the chabi gathered up and flung after him into the street.

"This is a bad business," said I, "the fellow will of course bring the rest of the justicia upon us, and we shall all be cast into the estaripel."

"Ca!" said the black Callee, biting her thumb nail, "he has more reason to fear us than we him, we could bring him to the filimicha; we have, moreover, friends in this town, plenty, plenty."

"Yes," mumbled the grandmother, "the daughters of the baji have friends, my London Caloro, friends among the Busnees, baributre, baribu (plenty, plenty)."

Nothing farther of any account occurred in the Gypsy house; the next day, Antonio and myself were again in the saddle, we travelled at least thirteen leagues before we reached the Venta, where we passed the night; we rose early in the morning, my guide informing me that we had a long day's journey to make. "Where are we bound to?" I demanded. "To Trujillo," he replied.

When the sun arose, which it did gloomily and amidst threatening rain-clouds, we found ourselves in the neighbourhood of a range of mountains which lay on our left, and which, Antonio informed me, were called the Sierra of San Selvan; our route, however, lay over wide plains, scantily clothed with brushwood, with here and there a melancholy village, with its old and dilapidated church. Throughout the greater part of the day, a drizzling rain was falling, which turned the dust of the roads into mud and mire, considerably impeding our progress. Towards evening we reached a moor, a wild place enough, strewn with enormous stones and rocks. Before us, at some distance, rose a strange conical hill, rough and shaggy, which appeared to be neither more nor less than an immense assemblage of the same kind of rocks which lay upon the moor. The rain had now ceased, but a strong wind rose and howled at our backs. Throughout the journey, I had experienced considerable difficulty in keeping up with the mule of Antonio; the walk of the horse was slow, and I could discover no vestige of the spirit which the Gypsy had assured me lurked within him. We were now upon a tolerably clear spot of the moor: "I am about to see," I said, "whether this horse has any of the quality which you have described." "Do so," said Antonio, and spurred his beast onward, speedily leaving me far behind. I jerked the horse with the bit, endeavouring to arouse his dormant spirit, whereupon he stopped, reared, and refused to proceed. "Hold the bridle loose and touch him with your whip," shouted Antonio from before. I obeyed, and forthwith the animal set off at a trot, which gradually increased in swiftness till it became a downright furious speedy trot; his limbs were now thoroughly lithy, and he brandished his fore legs in a manner perfectly wondrous; the mule of Antonio, which was a spirited animal of excellent paces, would fain have competed with him, but was passed in a twinkling. This tremendous trot endured for about a mile, when the animal, becoming yet more heated, broke suddenly into a gallop. Hurrah! no hare ever ran so wildly or blindly; it was, literally, ventre a terre; and I had considerable difficulty in keeping him clear of rocks, against which he would have rushed in his savage fury, and dashed himself and rider to atoms.

This race brought me to the foot of the hill, where I waited till the Gypsy rejoined me: we left the hill, which seemed quite inaccessible, on our right, passing through a small and wretched village. The sun went down, and dark night presently came upon us; we proceeded on, however, for nearly three hours, until we heard the barking of dogs, and perceived a light or two in the distance. "That is Trujillo," said Antonio, who had not spoken for a long time. "I am glad of it," I replied; "I am thoroughly tired; I shall sleep soundly in Trujillo." "That is as it may be," said the Gypsy, and spurred his mule to a brisker pace. We soon entered the town, which appeared dark and gloomy enough; I followed close behind the Gypsy, who led the way I knew not whither, through dismal streets and dark places, where cats were squalling. "Here is the house," said he at last, dismounting before a low mean hut; he knocked, no answer was returned;—he knocked again, but still there was no reply; he shook the door and essayed to open it, but it appeared firmly locked and bolted. "Caramba!" said he, "they are out—I feared it might be so. Now what are we to do?"

"There can be no difficulty," said I, "with respect to what we have to do; if your friends are gone out, it is easy enough to go to a posada."

"You know not what you say," replied the Gypsy, "I dare not go to the mesuna, nor enter any house in Trujillo save this, and this is shut; well, there is no remedy, we must move on, and, between ourselves, the sooner we leave this place the better; my own planoro (brother) was garroted at Trujillo."

He lighted a cigar, by means of a steel and yesca, sprang on his mule, and proceeded through streets and lanes equally dismal as those which we had already traversed till we again found ourselves out of the, town.

I confess I did not much like this decision of the Gypsy; I felt very slight inclination to leave the town behind and to venture into unknown places in the dark night: amidst rain and mist, for the wind had now dropped, and the rain began again to fall briskly. I was, moreover, much fatigued, and wished for nothing better than to deposit myself in some comfortable manger, where I might sink to sleep, lulled by the pleasant sound of horses and mules despatching their provender. I had, however, put myself under the direction of the Gypsy, and I was too old a traveller to quarrel with my guide under the present circumstances. I therefore followed close at his crupper; our only light being the glow emitted from the Gypsy's cigar; at last he flung it from his mouth into a puddle, and we were then in darkness.

We proceeded in this manner for a long time; the Gypsy was silent; I myself was equally so; the rain descended more and more. I sometimes thought I heard doleful noises, something like the hooting of owls. "This is a strange night to be wandering abroad in," I at length said to Antonio.

"It is, brother," said he, "but I would sooner be abroad in such a night, and in such places, than in the estaripel of Trujillo."

We wandered at least a league farther, and appeared now to be near a wood, for I could occasionally distinguish the trunks of immense trees. Suddenly Antonio stopped his mule; "Look, brother," said he, "to the left, and tell me if you do not see a light; your eyes are sharper than mine." I did as he commanded me. At first I could see nothing, but moving a little farther on I plainly saw a large light at some distance, seemingly amongst the trees. "Yonder cannot be a lamp or candle," said I; "it is more like the blaze of a fire." "Very likely," said Antonio. "There are no queres (houses) in this place; it is doubtless a fire made by durotunes (shepherds); let us go and join them, for, as you say, it is doleful work wandering about at night amidst rain and mire."

We dismounted and entered what I now saw was a forest, leading the animals cautiously amongst the trees and brushwood. In about five minutes we reached a small open space, at the farther side of which, at the foot of a large cork tree, a fire was burning, and by it stood or sat two or three figures; they had heard our approach, and one of them now exclaimed Quien Vive? "I know that voice," said Antonio, and leaving the horse with me, rapidly advanced towards the fire: presently I heard an Ola! and a laugh, and soon the voice of Antonio summoned me to advance. On reaching the fire I found two dark lads, and a still darker woman of about forty; the latter seated on what appeared to be horse or mule furniture. I likewise saw a horse and two donkeys tethered to the neighbouring trees. It was in fact a Gypsy bivouac. . . . "Come forward, brother, and show yourself," said Antonio to me; "you are amongst friends; these are of the Errate, the very people whom I expected to find at Trujillo, and in whose house we should have slept."

"And what," said I, "could have induced them to leave their house in Trujillo and come into this dark forest in the midst of wind and rain, to pass the night?"

"They come on business of Egypt, brother, doubtless," replied Antonio; "and that business is none of ours, Calla boca! It is lucky we have found them here, else we should have had no supper, and our horses no corn."

"My ro is prisoner at the village yonder," said the woman, pointing with her hand in a particular direction; "he is prisoner yonder for choring a mailla (stealing a donkey); we are come to see what we can do in his behalf; and where can we lodge better than in this forest, where there is nothing to pay? It is not the first time, I trow, that Calore have slept at the root of a tree."

One of the striplings now gave us barley for our animals in a large bag, into which we successively introduced their heads, allowing the famished creatures to regale themselves till we conceived that they had satisfied their hunger. There was a puchero simmering at the fire, half full of bacon, garbanzos, and other provisions; this was emptied into a large wooden platter, and out of this Antonio and myself supped; the other Gypsies refused to join us, giving us to understand that they had eaten before our arrival; they all, however, did justice to the leathern bottle of Antonio, which, before his departure from Merida, he had the precaution to fill.

I was by this time completely overcome with fatigue and sleep. Antonio flung me an immense horse-cloth, of which he bore more than one beneath the huge cushion on which he rode; in this I wrapped myself, and placing my head upon a bundle, and my feet as near as possible to the fire, I lay down.

Antonio and the other Gypsies remained seated by the fire conversing. I listened for a moment to what they said, but I did not perfectly understand it, and what I did understand by no means interested me: the rain still drizzled, but I heeded it not, and was soon asleep.

The sun was just appearing as I awoke. I made several efforts before I could rise from the ground; my limbs were quite stiff, and my hair was covered with rime; for the rain had ceased and a rather severe frost set in. I looked around me, but could see neither Antonio nor the Gypsies; the animals of the latter had likewise disappeared, so had the horse which I had hitherto rode; the mule, however, of Antonio still remained fastened to the tree! this latter circumstance quieted some apprehensions which were beginning to arise in my mind. "They are gone on some business of Egypt," I said to myself, "and will return anon." I gathered together the embers of the fire, and heaping upon them sticks and branches, soon succeeded in calling forth a blaze, beside which I placed the puchero, with what remained of the provision of last night. I waited for a considerable time in expectation of the return of my companions, but as they did not appear, I sat down and breakfasted. Before I had well finished I heard the noise of a horse approaching rapidly, and presently Antonio made his appearance amongst the trees, with some agitation in his countenance. He sprang from the horse, and instantly proceeded to untie the mule. "Mount, brother, mount!" said he, pointing to the horse; "I went with the Callee and her chabes to the village where the ro is in trouble; the chinobaro, however, seized them at once with their cattle, and would have laid hands also on me, but I set spurs to the grasti, gave him the bridle, and was soon far away. Mount, brother, mount, or we shall have the whole rustic canaille upon us in a twinkling."

I did as he commanded: we were presently in the road which we had left the night before. Along this we hurried at a great rate, the horse displaying his best speedy trot; whilst the mule, with its ears pricked up, galloped gallantly at his side. "What place is that on the hill yonder?" said I to Antonio, at the expiration of an hour, as we prepared to descend a deep valley.

"That is Jaraicejo," said Antonio; "a bad place it is and a bad place it has ever been for the Calo people."

"If it is such a bad place," said I, "I hope we shall not have to pass through it."

"We must pass through it," said Antonio, "for more reasons than one: first, forasmuch is the road lies through Jaraicejo; and second, forasmuch as it will be necessary to purchase provisions there, both for ourselves and horses. On the other side of Jaraicejo there is a wild desert, a despoblado, where we shall find nothing."

We crossed the valley, and ascended the hill, and as we drew near to the town the Gypsy said, "Brother, we had best pass through that town singly. I will go in advance; follow slowly, and when there purchase bread and barley; you have nothing to fear. I will await you on the despoblado."

Without waiting for my answer he hastened forward, and was speedily out of sight.

I followed slowly behind, and entered the gate of the town; an old dilapidated place, consisting of little more than one street. Along this street I was advancing, when a man with a dirty foraging cap on his head, and holding a gun in his hand, came running up to me: "Who are you?" said he, in rather rough accents, "from whence do you come?"

"From Badajoz and Trujillo," I replied; "why do you ask?"

"I am one of the national guard," said the man, "and am placed here to inspect strangers; I am told that a Gypsy fellow just now rode through the town; it is well for him that I had stepped into my house. Do you come in his company?"

"Do I look a person," said I, "likely to keep company with Gypsies?"

The national measured me from top to toe, and then looked me full in the face with an expression which seemed to say, "likely enough." In fact, my appearance was by no means calculated to prepossess people in my favour. Upon my head I wore an old Andalusian hat, which, from its condition, appeared to have been trodden under foot; a rusty cloak, which had perhaps served half a dozen generations, enwrapped my body. My nether garments were by no means of the finest description; and as far as could be seen were covered with mud, with which my face was likewise plentifully bespattered, and upon my chin was a beard of a week's growth.

"Have you a passport?" at length demanded the national.

I remembered having read that the best way to win a Spaniard's heart is to treat him with ceremonious civility. I therefore dismounted, and taking off my hat, made a low bow to the constitutional soldier, saying, "Senor nacional, you must know that I am an English gentleman, travelling in this country for my pleasure; I bear a passport, which, on inspecting, you will find to be perfectly regular; it was given me by the great Lord Palmerston, minister of England, whom you of course have heard of here; at the bottom you will see his own handwriting; look at it and rejoice; perhaps you will never have another opportunity. As I put unbounded confidence in the honour of every gentleman, I leave the passport in your hands whilst I repair to the posada to refresh myself. When you have inspected it, you will perhaps oblige me so far as to bring it to me. Cavalier, I kiss your hands."

I then made him another low bow, which he returned with one still lower, and leaving him now staring at the passport and now looking at myself, I went into a posada, to which I was directed by a beggar whom I met.

I fed the horse, and procured some bread and barley, as the Gypsy had directed me; I likewise purchased three fine partridges of a fowler, who was drinking wine in the posada. He was satisfied with the price I gave him, and offered to treat me with a copita, to which I made no objection. As we sat discoursing at the table, the national entered with the passport in his hand, and sat down by us.

National.—Caballero! I return you your passport, it is quite in form; I rejoice much to have made your acquaintance; I have no doubt that you can give me some information respecting the present war.

Myself.—I shall be very happy to afford so polite and honourable a gentleman any information in my power.

National.—What is England doing,—is she about to afford any assistance to this country? If she pleased she could put down the war in three months.

Myself.—Be under no apprehension, Senor nacional; the war will be put down, don't doubt. You have heard of the English legion, which my Lord Palmerston has sent over? Leave the matter in their hands, and you will soon see the result.

National.—It appears to me that this Caballero Balmerson must be a very honest man.

Myself.—There can be no doubt of it.

National.—I have heard that he is a great general.

Myself.—There can be no doubt of it. In some things neither Napoleon nor the sawyer {5} would stand a chance with him for a moment. Es mucho hombre.

National.—I am glad to hear it. Does he intend to head the legion himself?

Myself.—I believe not; but he has sent over, to head the fighting men, a friend of his, who is thought to be nearly as much versed in military matters as himself.

National.—I am rejoiced to hear it. I see that the war will soon be over. Caballero, I thank you for your politeness, and for the information which you have afforded me. I hope you will have a pleasant journey. I confess that I am surprised to see a gentleman of your country travelling alone, and in this manner, through such regions as these. The roads are at present very bad; there have of late been many accidents, and more than two deaths in this neighbourhood. The despoblado out yonder has a particularly evil name; be on your guard, Caballero. I am sorry that Gypsy was permitted to pass; should you meet him and not like his looks, shoot him at once, stab him, or ride him down. He is a well known thief, contrabandista, and murderer, and has committed more assassinations than he has fingers on his hands. Caballero, if you please, we will allow you a guard to the other side of the pass. You do not wish it? Then, farewell. Stay, before I go I should wish to see once more the signature of the Caballero Balmerson.

I showed him the signature, which he looked upon with profound reverence, uncovering his head for a moment; we then embraced and parted.

I mounted the horse and rode from the town, at first proceeding very slowly; I had no sooner, however, reached the moor, than I put the animal to his speedy trot, and proceeded at a tremendous rate for some time, expecting every moment to overtake the Gypsy. I, however, saw nothing of him, nor did I meet with a single human being. The road along which I sped was narrow and sandy, winding amidst thickets of broom and brushwood, with which the despoblado was overgrown, and which in some places were as high as a man's head. Across the moor, in the direction in which I was proceeding, rose a lofty eminence, naked and bare. The moor extended for at least three leagues; I had nearly crossed it, and reached the foot of the ascent. I was becoming very uneasy, conceiving that I might have passed the Gypsy amongst the thickets, when I suddenly heard his well known Ola! and his black savage head and staring eyes suddenly appeared from amidst a clump of broom.

"You have tarried long, brother," said he; "I almost thought you had played me false."

He bade me dismount, and then proceeded to lead the horse behind the thicket, where I found the route picqueted to the ground. I gave him the barley and provisions, and then proceeded to relate to him my adventure with the national.

"I would I had him here," said the Gypsy, on hearing the epithets which the former had lavished upon him. "I would I had him here, then should my chulee and his carlo become better acquainted."

"And what are you doing here yourself," I demanded, "in this wild place, amidst these thickets?"

"I am expecting a messenger down yon pass," said the Gypsy; "and till that messenger arrive I can neither go forward nor return. It is on business of Egypt, brother, that I am here."

As he invariably used this last expression when he wished to evade my inquiries, I held my peace, and said no more; the animals were fed, and we proceeded to make a frugal repast on bread and wine.

"Why do you not cook the game which I brought?" I demanded; "in this place there is plenty of materials for a fire."

"The smoke might discover us, brother," said Antonio, "I am desirous of lying escondido in this place until the arrival of the messenger."

It was now considerably past noon; the gypsy lay behind the thicket, raising himself up occasionally and looking anxiously towards the hill which lay over against us; at last, with an exclamation of disappointment and impatience, he flung himself on the ground, where he lay a considerable time, apparently ruminating; at last he lifted up his head and looked me in the face.

Antonio.—Brother, I cannot imagine what business brought you to this country.

Myself.—Perhaps the same which brings you to this moor—business of Egypt.

Antonio.—Not so, brother; you speak the language of Egypt, it is true, but your ways and words are neither those of the Cales nor of the Busne.

Myself.—Did you not hear me speak in the foros about God and Tebleque? It was to declare his glory to the Cales and Gentiles that I came to the land of Spain.

Antonio.—And who sent you on this errand?

Myself.—You would scarcely understand me were I to inform you. Know, however, that there are many in foreign lands who lament the darkness which envelops Spain, and the scenes of cruelty, robbery, and murder which deform it.

Antonio.—Are they Calore or Busne?

Myself.—What matters it? Both Calore and Busne are sons of the same God.

Antonio.—You lie, brother, they are not of one father nor of one Errate. You speak of robbery, cruelty, and murder. There are too many Busne, brother; if there were no Busne there would be neither robbery nor murder. The Calore neither rob nor murder each other, the Busno do; nor are they cruel to their animals, their law forbids them. When I was a child I was beating a burra, but my father stopped my hand, and chided me. "Hurt not the animal," said he; "for within it is the soul of your own sister!"

Myself.—And do you believe in this wild doctrine, O Antonio?

Antonio.—Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not. There are some who believe in nothing; not even that they live! Long since, I knew an old Caloro, he was old, very old, upwards of a hundred years,—and I once heard him say, that all we thought we saw was a lie; that there was no world, no men nor women, no horses nor mules, no olive trees. But whither are we straying? I asked what induced you to come to this country—you tell me the glory of God and Tebleque. Disparate! tell that to the Busne. You have good reasons for coming, no doubt, else you would not be here. Some say you are a spy of the Londone, perhaps you are; I care not. Rise, brother, and tell me whether any one is coming down the pass."

"I see a distant object," I replied; "like a speck on the side of the hill."

The Gypsy started up, and we both fixed our eyes on the object: the distance was so great that it was at first with difficulty that we could distinguish whether it moved or not. A quarter of an hour, however, dispelled all doubts, for within this time it had nearly reached the bottom of the hill, and we could descry a figure seated on an animal of some kind.

"It is a woman," said I, at length, "mounted on a grey donkey."

"Then it is my messenger," said Antonio, "for it can be no other."

The woman and the donkey were now upon the plain, and for some time were concealed from us by the copse and brushwood which intervened. They were not long, however, in making their appearance at the distance of about a hundred yards. The donkey was a beautiful creature of a silver grey, and came frisking along, swinging her tail, and moving her feet so quick that they scarcely seemed to touch the ground. The animal no sooner perceived us than she stopped short, turned round, and attempted to escape by the way she had come; her rider, however, detained her, whereupon the donkey kicked violently, and would probably have flung the former, had she not sprung nimbly to the ground. The form of the woman was entirely concealed by the large wrapping man's cloak which she wore. I ran to assist her, when she turned her face full upon me, and I instantly recognized the sharp clever features of Antonia, whom I had seen at Badajoz, the daughter of my guide. She said nothing to me, but advancing to her father, addressed something to him in a low voice, which I did not hear. He started back, and vociferated "All!" "Yes," said she in a louder tone, probably repeating the words which I had not caught before, "All are captured."

The Gypsy remained for some time like one astounded and, unwilling to listen to their discourse, which I imagined might relate to business of Egypt, I walked away amidst the thickets. I was absent for some time, but could occasionally hear passionate expressions and oaths. In about half an hour I returned; they had left the road, but I found then behind the broom clump, where the animals stood. Both were seated on the ground; the features of the Gypsy were peculiarly dark and grim; he held his unsheathed knife in his hand, which he would occasionally plunge into the earth, exclaiming, "All! All!"

"Brother," said he at last, "I can go no farther with you; the business which carried me to Castumba is settled; you must now travel by yourself and trust to your baji (fortune)."

"I trust in Undevel," I replied, "who wrote my fortune long ago. But how am I to journey? I have no horse, for you doubtless want your own."

The Gypsy appeared to reflect: "I want the horse, it is true, brother," he said, "and likewise the macho; but you shall not go en pindre (on foot); you shall purchase the burra of Antonia, which I presented her when I sent her upon this expedition."

"The burra," I replied, "appears both savage and vicious."

"She is both, brother, and on that account I bought her; a savage and vicious beast has generally four excellent legs. You are a Calo, brother, and can manage her; you shall therefore purchase the savage burra, giving my daugher Antonia a baria of gold. If you think fit, you can sell the beast at Talavera or Madrid, for Estremenian bestis are highly considered in Castumba."

In less than an hour I was on the other side of the pass, mounted on the savage burra.



CHAPTER XI



The Pass of Mirabete—Wolves and Shepherds—Female Subtlety—Death by Wolves—The Mystery Solved—The Mountains—The Dark Hour—The Traveller of the Night—Abarbenel—Hoarded Treasure—Force of Gold- -The Archbishop—Arrival at Madrid

I proceeded down the pass of Mirabete, occasionally ruminating on the matter which had brought me to Spain, and occasionally admiring one of the finest prospects in the world; before me outstretched lay immense plains, bounded in the distance by huge mountains, whilst at the foot of the hill which I was now descending, rolled the Tagus, in a deep narrow stream, between lofty banks; the whole was gilded by the rays of the setting sun; for the day, though cold and wintry, was bright and clear. In about an hour I reached the river at a place where stood the remains of what had once been a magnificent bridge, which had, however, been blown up in the Peninsular war and never since repaired.

I crossed the river in a ferry-boat; the passage was rather difficult, the current very rapid and swollen, owing to the latter rains.

"Am I in New Castile?" I demanded of the ferryman, on reaching the further bank. "The raya is many leagues from hence," replied the ferryman; "you seem a stranger. Whence do you come?" "From England," I replied, and without waiting for an answer, I sprang on the burra, and proceeded on my way. The burra plied her feet most nimbly, and, shortly after nightfall, brought me to a village at about two leagues' distance from the river's bank.

I sat down in the venta where I put up; there was a huge fire, consisting of the greater part of the trunk of an olive tree; the company was rather miscellaneous: a hunter with his escopeta; a brace of shepherds with immense dogs, of that species for which Estremadura is celebrated; a broken soldier, just returned from the wars; and a beggar, who, after demanding charity for the seven wounds of Maria Santissima, took a seat amidst us, and made himself quite comfortable. The hostess was an active bustling woman, and busied herself in cooking my supper, which consisted of the game which I had purchased at Jaraicejo, and which, on my taking leave of the Gypsy, he had counselled me to take with me. In the meantime, I sat by the fire listening to the conversation of the company.

"I would I were a wolf," said one of the shepherds; "or, indeed, anything rather than what I am. A pretty life is this of ours, out in the campo, among the carascales, suffering heat and cold for a peseta a day. I would I were a wolf; he fares better and is more respected than the wretch of a shepherd."

"But he frequently fares scurvily," said I; "the shepherd and dogs fall upon him, and then he pays for his temerity with the loss of his head."

"That is not often the case, senor traveller," said the shepherd; "he watches his opportunity, and seldom runs into harm's way. And as to attacking him, it is no very pleasant task; he has both teeth and claws, and dog or man, who has once felt them, likes not to venture a second time within his reach. These dogs of mine will seize a bear singly with considerable alacrity, though he is a most powerful animal, but I have seen them run howling away from a wolf, even though there were two or three of us at hand to encourage them."

"A dangerous person is the wolf," said the other shepherd, "and cunning as dangerous; who knows more than he? He knows the vulnerable point of every animal; see, for example, how he flies at the neck of a bullock, tearing open the veins with his grim teeth and claws. But does he attack a horse in this manner? I trow not."

"Not he," said the other shepherd, "he is too good a judge; but he fastens on the haunches, and hamstrings him in a moment. O the fear of the horse when he comes near the dwelling of the wolf. My master was the other day riding in the despoblado, above the pass, on his fine Andalusian steed, which had cost him five hundred dollars; suddenly the horse stopped, and sweated and trembled like a woman in the act of fainting; my master could not conceive the reason, but presently he heard a squealing and growling in the bushes, whereupon he fired off his gun and scared the wolves, who scampered away; but he tells me, that the horse has not yet recovered from his fright."

"Yet the mares know, occasionally, how to balk him," replied his companion; "there is great craft and malice in mares, as there is in all females; see them feeding in the campo with their young cria about them; presently the alarm is given that the wolf is drawing near; they start wildly and run about for a moment, but it is only for a moment—amain they gather together, forming themselves into a circle, in the centre of which they place the foals. Onward comes the wolf, hoping to make his dinner on horse-flesh; he is mistaken, however, the mares have balked him, and are as cunning as himself: not a tail is to be seen—not a hinder quarter—but there stands the whole troop, their fronts towards him ready to receive him, and as he runs around them barking and howling, they rise successively on their hind legs, ready to stamp him to the earth, should he attempt to hurt their cria or themselves."

"Worse than the he-wolf," said the soldier, "is the female, for as the senor pastor has well observed, there is more malice in women than in males: to see one of these she-demons with a troop of the males at her heels is truly surprising: where she turns, they turn, and what she does that do they; for they appear bewitched, and have no power but to imitate her actions. I was once travelling with a comrade over the hills of Galicia, when we heard a howl. 'Those are wolves,' said my companion, 'let us get out of the way;' so we stepped from the path and ascended the side of the hill a little way, to a terrace, where grew vines, after the manner of Galicia: presently appeared a large grey she-wolf, deshonesta, snapping and growling at a troop of demons, who followed close behind, their tails uplifted, and their eyes like fire-brands. What do you think the perverse brute did? Instead of keeping to the path, she turned in the very direction in which we were; there was now no remedy, so we stood still. I was the first upon the terrace, and by me she passed so close that I felt her hair brush against my legs; she, however, took no notice of me, but pushed on, neither looking to the right nor left, and all the other wolves trotted by me without offering the slightest injury or even so much as looking at me. Would that I could say as much for my poor companion, who stood farther on, and was, I believe, less in the demon's way than I was; she had nearly passed him, when suddenly she turned half round and snapped at him. I shall never forget what followed: in a moment a dozen wolves were upon him, tearing him limb from limb, with howlings like nothing in this world; in a few moments he was devoured; nothing remained but a skull and a few bones; and then they passed on in the same manner as they came. Good reason had I to be grateful that my lady wolf took less notice of me than my poor comrade."

Listening to this and similar conversation, I fell into a doze before the fire, in which I continued for a considerable time, but was at length aroused by a voice exclaiming in a loud tone, "All are captured!" These were the exact words which, when spoken by his daughter, confounded the Gypsy upon the moor. I looked around me, the company consisted of the same individuals to whose conversation I had been listening before I sank into slumber; but the beggar was now the spokesman, and he was haranguing with considerable vehemence.

"I beg your pardon, Caballero," said I, "but I did not hear the commencement of your discourse. Who are those who have been captured?"

"A band of accursed Gitanos, Caballero," replied the beggar, returning the title of courtesy, which I had bestowed upon him. "During more than a fortnight they have infested the roads on the frontier of Castile, and many have been the gentleman travellers like yourself whom they have robbed and murdered. It would seem that the Gypsy canaille must needs take advantage of these troublous times, and form themselves into a faction. It is said that the fellows of whom I am speaking expected many more of their brethren to join them, which is likely enough, for all Gypsies are thieves: but praised be God, they have been put down before they became too formidable. I saw them myself conveyed to the prison at -. Thanks be to God. Todos estan presos."

"The mystery is now solved," said I to myself, and proceeded to despatch my supper, which was now ready.

The next day's journey brought me to a considerable town, the name of which I have forgotten. It is the first in New Castile, in this direction. I passed the night as usual in the manger of the stable, close beside the Caballeria; for, as I travelled upon a donkey, I deemed it incumbent upon me to be satisfied with a couch in keeping with my manner of journeying, being averse, by any squeamish and over delicate airs, to generate a suspicion amongst the people with whom I mingled that I was aught higher than what my equipage and outward appearance might lead them to believe. Rising before daylight, I again proceeded on my way, hoping ere night to be able to reach Talavera, which I was informed was ten leagues distant. The way lay entirely over an unbroken level, for the most part covered with olive trees. On the left, however, at the distance of a few leagues, rose the mighty mountains which I have already mentioned. They run eastward in a seemingly interminable range, parallel with the route which I was pursuing; their tops and sides were covered with dazzling snow, and the blasts which came sweeping from them across the wide and melancholy plains were of bitter keenness.

"What mountains are those?" I inquired of a barber-surgeon, who, mounted like myself on a grey burra, joined me about noon, and proceeded in my company for several leagues. "They have many names, Caballero," replied the barber; "according to the names of the neighbouring places so they are called. Yon portion of them is styled the Serrania of Plasencia; and opposite to Madrid they are termed the Mountains of Guadarama, from a river of that name, which descends from them; they run a vast way, Caballero, and separate the two kingdoms, for on the other side is Old Castile. They are mighty mountains, and though they generate much cold, I take pleasure in looking at them, which is not to be wondered at, seeing that I was born amongst them, though at present, for my sins, I live in a village of the plain. Caballero, there is not another such range in Spain; they have their secrets too—their mysteries— strange tales are told of those hills, and of what they contain in their deep recesses, for they are a broad chain, and you may wander days and days amongst them without coming to any termino. Many have lost themselves on those hills, and have never again been heard of. Strange things are told of them: it is said that in certain places there are deep pools and lakes, in which dwell monsters, huge serpents as long as a pine tree, and horses of the flood, which sometimes come out and commit mighty damage. One thing is certain, that yonder, far away to the west, in the heart of those hills, there is a wonderful valley, so narrow that only at midday is the face of the sun to be descried from it. That valley lay undiscovered and unknown for thousands of years; no person dreamed of its existence, but at last, a long time ago, certain hunters entered it by chance, and then what do you think they found, Caballero? They found a small nation or tribe of unknown people, speaking an unknown language, who, perhaps, had lived there since the creation of the world, without intercourse with the rest of their fellow creatures, and without knowing that other beings besides themselves existed! Caballero, did you never hear of the valley of the Batuecas? Many books have been written about that valley and those people. Caballero, I am proud of yonder hills; and were I independent, and without wife or children, I would purchase a burra like that of your own, which I see is an excellent one, and far superior to mine, and travel amongst them till I knew all their mysteries, and had seen all the wondrous things which they contain."

Throughout the day I pressed the burra forward, only stopping once in order to feed the animal; but, notwithstanding that she played her part very well, night came on, and I was still about two leagues from Talavera. As the sun went down, the cold became intense; I drew the old Gypsy cloak, which I still wore, closer around me, but I found it quite inadequate to protect me from the inclemency of the atmosphere. The road, which lay over a plain, was not very distinctly traced, and became in the dusk rather difficult to find, more especially as cross roads leading to different places were of frequent occurrence. I, however, proceeded in the best manner I could, and when I became dubious as to the course which I should take, I invariably allowed the animal on which I was mounted to decide. At length the moon shone out faintly, when suddenly by its beams I beheld a figure moving before me at a slight distance. I quickened the pace of the burra, and was soon close at its side. It went on, neither altering its pace nor looking round for a moment. It was the figure of a man, the tallest and bulkiest that I had hitherto seen in Spain, dressed in a manner strange and singular for the country. On his head was a hat with a low crown and broad brim, very much resembling that of an English waggoner; about his body was a long loose tunic or slop, seemingly of coarse ticken, open in front, so as to allow the interior garments to be occasionally seen; these appeared to consist of a jerkin and short velveteen pantaloons. I have said that the brim of the hat was broad, but broad as it was, it was insufficient to cover an immense bush of coal-black hair, which, thick and curly, projected on either side; over the left shoulder was flung a kind of satchel, and in the right hand was held a long staff or pole.

There was something peculiarly strange about the figure, but what struck me the most was the tranquillity with which it moved along, taking no heed of me, though of course aware of my proximity, but looking straight forward along the road, save when it occasionally raised a huge face and large eyes towards the moon, which was now shining forth in the eastern quarter.

"A cold night," said I at last. "Is this the way to Talavera?"

"It is the way to Talavera, and the night is cold."

"I am going to Talavera," said I, "as I suppose you are yourself."

"I am going thither, so are you, Bueno."

The tones of the voice which delivered these words were in their way quite as strange and singular as the figure to which the voice belonged; they were not exactly the tones of a Spanish voice, and yet there was something in them that could hardly be foreign; the pronunciation also was correct; and the language, though singular, faultless. But I was most struck with the manner in which the last word, bueno, was spoken. I had heard something like it before, but where or when I could by no means remember. A pause now ensued; the figure stalking on as before with the most perfect indifference, and seemingly with no disposition either to seek or avoid conversation.

"Are you not afraid," said I at last, "to travel these roads in the dark? It is said that there are robbers abroad."

"Are you not rather afraid," replied the figure, "to travel these roads in the dark?—you who are ignorant of the country, who are a foreigner, an Englishman!"

"How is it that you know me to be an Englishman?" demanded I, much surprised.

"That is no difficult matter," replied the figure; "the sound of your voice was enough to tell me that."

"You speak of voices," said I; "suppose the tone of your own voice were to tell me who you are?"

"That it will not do," replied my companion; "you know nothing about me—you can know nothing about me."

"Be not sure of that, my friend; I am acquainted with many things of which you have little idea."

"Por exemplo," said the figure.

"For example," said I; "you speak two languages."

The figure moved on, seemed to consider a moment, and then said slowly bueno.

"You have two names," I continued; "one for the house and the other for the street; both are good, but the one by which you are called at home is the one which you like best."

The man walked on about ten paces, in the same manner as he had previously done; all of a sudden he turned, and taking the bridle of the burra gently in his hand, stopped her. I had now a full view of his face and figure, and those huge features and Herculean form still occasionally revisit me in my dreams. I see him standing in the moonshine, staring me in the face with his deep calm eyes. At last he said:

"Are you then one of us?"

* * * *

It was late at night when we arrived at Talavera. We went to a large gloomy house, which my companion informed me was the principal posada of the town. We entered the kitchen, at the extremity of which a large fire was blazing. "Pepita," said my companion to a handsome girl, who advanced smiling towards us; "a brasero and a private apartment; this cavalier is a friend of mine, and we shall sup together." We were shown to an apartment in which were two alcoves containing beds. After supper, which consisted of the very best, by the order of my companion, we sat over the brasero and commenced talking.

Myself.—Of course you have conversed with Englishmen before, else you could not have recognized me by the tone of my voice.

Abarbenel.—I was a young lad when the war of the Independence broke out, and there came to the village in which our family lived an English officer in order to teach discipline to the new levies. He was quartered in my father's house, where he conceived a great affection for me. On his departure, with the consent of my father, I attended him through the Castiles, partly as companion, partly as domestic. I was with him nearly a year, when he was suddenly summoned to return to his own country. He would fain have taken me with him, but to that my father would by no means consent. It is now five-and-twenty years since I last saw an Englishman; but you have seen how I recognized you even in the dark night.

Myself.—And what kind of life do you pursue, and by what means do you obtain support?

Abarbenel.—I experience no difficulty. I live much in the same way as I believe my forefathers lived; certainly as my father did, for his course has been mine. At his death I took possession of the herencia, for I was his only child. It was not requisite that I should follow any business, for my wealth was great; yet, to avoid remark, I followed that of my father, who was a longanizero. I have occasionally dealt in wool: but lazily, lazily—as I had no stimulus for exertion. I was, however, successful in many instances, strangely so; much more than many others who toiled day and night, and whose whole soul was in the trade.

Myself.—Have you any children? Are you married?

Abarbenel.—I have no children though I am married. I have a wife and an amiga, or I should rather say two wives, for I am wedded to both. I however call one my amiga, for appearance sake, for I wish to live in quiet, and am unwilling to offend the prejudices of the surrounding people.

Myself.—You say you are wealthy. In what does your wealth consist?

Abarbenel.—In gold and silver, and stones of price; for I have inherited all the hoards of my forefathers. The greater part is buried under ground; indeed, I have never examined the tenth part of it. I have coins of silver and gold older than the times of Ferdinand the Accursed and Jezebel; I have also large sums employed in usury. We keep ourselves close, however, and pretend to be poor, miserably so; but on certain occasions, at our festivals, when our gates are barred, and our savage dogs are let loose in the court, we eat our food off services such as the Queen of Spain cannot boast of, and wash our feet in ewers of silver, fashioned and wrought before the Americas were discovered, though our garments are at all times coarse, and our food for the most part of the plainest description.

Myself.—Are there more of you than yourself and your two wives?

Abarbenel.—There are my two servants, who are likewise of us; the one is a youth, and is about to leave, being betrothed to one at some distance; the other is old; he is now upon the road, following me with a mule and car.

Myself.—And whither are you bound at present?

Abarbenel.—To Toledo, where I ply my trade occasionally of longanizero. I love to wander about, though I seldom stray far from home. Since I left the Englishman my feet have never once stepped beyond the bounds of New Castile. I love to visit Toledo, and to think of the times which have long since departed; I should establish myself there, were there not so many accursed ones, who look upon me with an evil eye.

Myself.—Are you known for what you are? Do the authorities molest you?

Abarbenel.—People of course suspect me to be what I am; but as I conform outwardly in most respects to their ways, they do not interfere with me. True it is that sometimes, when I enter the church to hear the mass, they glare at me over the left shoulder, as much as to say—"What do you here?" And sometimes they cross themselves as I pass by; but as they go no further, I do not trouble myself on that account. With respect to the authorities, they are not bad friends of mine. Many of the higher class have borrowed money from me on usury, so that I have them to a certain extent in my power, and as for the low alguazils and corchetes, they would do any thing to oblige me in consideration of a few dollars, which I occasionally give them; so that matters upon the whole go on remarkably well. Of old, indeed, it was far otherwise; yet, I know not how it was, though other families suffered much, ours always enjoyed a tolerable share of tranquillity. The truth is, that our family has always known how to guide itself wonderfully. I may say there is much of the wisdom of the snake amongst us. We have always possessed friends; and with respect to enemies, it is by no means safe to meddle with us; for it is a rule of our house never to forgive an injury, and to spare neither trouble nor expense in bringing ruin and destruction upon the heads of our evil doers.

Myself.—Do the priests interfere with you?

Abarbenel.—They let me alone, especially in our own neighbourhood. Shortly after the death of my father, one hot-headed individual endeavoured to do me an evil turn, but I soon requited him, causing him to be imprisoned on a charge of blasphemy, and in prison he remained a long time, till he went mad and died.

Myself.—Have you a head in Spain, in whom is rested the chief authority?

Abarbenel.—Not exactly. There are, however, certain holy families who enjoy much consideration; my own is one of these—the chiefest, I may say. My grandsire was a particularly holy man; and I have heard my father say, that one night an archbishop came to his house secretly, merely to have the satisfaction of kissing his head.

Myself.—How can that be; what reverence could an archbishop entertain for one like yourself or your grandsire?

Abarbenel.—More than you imagine. He was one of us, at least his father was, and he could never forget what he had learned with reverence in his infancy. He said he had tried to forget it, but he could not; that the ruah was continually upon him, and that even from his childhood he had borne its terrors with a troubled mind, till at last he could bear himself no longer; so he went to my grandsire, with whom he remained one whole night; he then returned to his diocese, where he shortly afterwards died, in much renown for sanctity.

Myself.—What you say surprises me. Have you reason to suppose that many of you are to be found amongst the priesthood?

Abarbenel.—Not to suppose, but to know it. There are many such as I amongst the priesthood, and not amongst the inferior priesthood either; some of the most learned and famed of them in Spain have been of us, or of our blood at least, and many of them at this day think as I do. There is one particular festival of the year at which four dignified ecclesiastics are sure to visit me; and then, when all is made close and secure, and the fitting ceremonies have been gone through, they sit down upon the floor and curse.

Myself.—Are you numerous in the large towns?

Abarbenel.—By no means; our places of abode are seldom the large towns; we prefer the villages, and rarely enter the large towns but on business. Indeed we are not a numerous people, and there are few provinces of Spain which contain more than twenty families. None of us are poor, and those among us who serve, do so more from choice than necessity, for by serving each other we acquire different trades. Not unfrequently the time of service is that of courtship also, and the servants eventually marry the daughters of the house.

We continued in discourse the greater part of the night; the next morning I prepared to depart. My companion, however, advised me to remain where I was for that day. "And if you respect my counsel," said he, "you will not proceed farther in this manner. To-night the diligence will arrive from Estremadura, on its way to Madrid. Deposit yourself therein; it is the safest and most speedy mode of travelling. As for your animal, I will myself purchase her. My servant is here, and has informed me that she will be of service to us. Let us, therefore, pass the day together in communion, like brothers, and then proceed on our separate journeys." We did pass the day together; and when the diligence arrived I deposited myself within, and on the morning of the second day arrived at Madrid.



CHAPTER XII



Lodging at Madrid—My Hostess—British Ambassador—Mendizabal— Baltasar—Duties of a National—Young Blood—The Execution— Population of Madrid—The Higher Orders—The Lower Classes—The Bull-fighter—The Crabbed Gitano.

It was the commencement of February when I reached Madrid. After staying a few days at a posada, I removed to a lodging which I engaged at No. 3, in the Calle de la Zarza, a dark dirty street, which, however, was close to the Puerta del Sol, the most central point of Madrid, into which four or five of the principal streets debouche, and which is, at all times of the year, the great place of assemblage for the idlers of the capital, poor or rich.

It was rather a singular house in which I had taken up my abode. I occupied the front part of the first floor; my apartments consisted of an immense parlour, and a small chamber on one side in which I slept; the parlour, notwithstanding its size, contained very little furniture: a few chairs, a table, and a species of sofa, constituted the whole. It was very cold and airy, owing to the draughts which poured in from three large windows, and from sundry doors. The mistress of the house, attended by her two daughters, ushered me in. "Did you ever see a more magnificent apartment?" demanded the former; "is it not fit for a king's son? Last winter it was occupied by the great General Espartero."

The hostess was an exceedingly fat woman, a native of Valladolid, in Old Castile. "Have you any other family," I demanded, "besides these daughters?" "Two sons," she replied; "one of them an officer in the army, father of this urchin," pointing to a wicked but clever looking boy of about twelve, who at that moment bounded into the room; "the other is the most celebrated national in Madrid: he is a tailor by trade, and his name is Baltasar. He has much influence with the other nationals, on account of the liberality of his opinions, and a word from him is sufficient to bring them all out armed and furious to the Puerta del Sol. He is, however, at present confined to his bed, for he is very dissipated and fond of the company of bull-fighters and people still worse."

As my principal motive for visiting the Spanish capital was the hope of obtaining permission from the government to print the New Testament in the Castilian language, for circulation in Spain, I lost no time, upon my arrival, in taking what I considered to be the necessary steps.

I was an entire stranger at Madrid, and bore no letters of introduction to any persons of influence, who might have assisted me in this undertaking, so that, notwithstanding I entertained a hope of success, relying on the assistance of the Almighty, this hope was not at all times very vivid, but was frequently overcast with the clouds of despondency.

Mendizabal was at this time prime minister of Spain, and was considered as a man of almost unbounded power, in whose hands were placed the destinies of the country. I therefore considered that if I could by any means induce him to favour my views, I should have no reason to fear interruption from other quarters, and I determined upon applying to him.

Before talking this step, however, I deemed it advisable to wait upon Mr. Villiers, the British ambassador at Madrid; and with the freedom permitted to a British subject, to ask his advice in this affair. I was received with great kindness, and enjoyed a conversation with him on various subjects before I introduced the matter which I had most at heart. He said that if I wished for an interview with Mendizabal, he would endeavour to procure me one, but, at the same time, told me frankly that he could not hope that any good would arise from it, as he knew him to be violently prejudiced against the British and Foreign Bible Society, and was far more likely to discountenance than encourage any efforts which they might be disposed to make for introducing the Gospel into Spain. I, however, remained resolute in my desire to make the trial, and before I left him, obtained a letter of introduction to Mendizabal.

Early one morning I repaired to the palace, in a wing of which was the office of the Prime Minister; it was bitterly cold, and the Guadarama, of which there is a noble view from the palace-plain, was covered with snow. For at least three hours I remained shivering with cold in an ante-room, with several other aspirants for an interview with the man of power. At last his private secretary made his appearance, and after putting various questions to the others, addressed himself to me, asking who I was and what I wanted. I told him that I was an Englishman, and the bearer of a letter from the British Minister. "If you have no objection, I will myself deliver it to His Excellency," said he; whereupon I handed it to him and he withdrew. Several individuals were admitted before me; at last, however, my own turn came, and I was ushered into the presence of Mendizabal.

He stood behind a table covered with papers, on which his eyes were intently fixed. He took not the slightest notice when I entered, and I had leisure enough to survey him: he was a huge athletic man, somewhat taller than myself, who measure six feet two without my shoes; his complexion was florid, his features fine and regular, his nose quite aquiline, and his teeth splendidly white: though scarcely fifty years of age, his hair was remarkably grey; he was dressed in a rich morning gown, with a gold chain round his neck, and morocco slippers on his feet.

His secretary, a fine intellectual looking man, who, as I was subsequently informed, had acquired a name both in English and Spanish literature, stood at one end of the table with papers in his hands.

After I had been standing about a quarter of an hour, Mendizabal suddenly lifted up a pair of sharp eyes, and fixed them upon me with a peculiarly scrutinizing glance.

"I have seen a glance very similar to that amongst the Beni Israel," thought I to myself. . . .

My interview with him lasted nearly an hour. Some singular discourse passed between us: I found him, as I had been informed, a bitter enemy to the Bible Society, of which he spoke in terms of hatred and contempt, and by no means a friend to the Christian religion, which I could easily account for. I was not discouraged, however, and pressed upon him the matter which brought me thither, and was eventually so far successful, as to obtain a promise, that at the expiration of a few months, when he hoped the country would be in a more tranquil state, I should be allowed to print the Scriptures.

As I was going away he said, "Yours is not the first application I have had; ever since I have held the reins of government I have been pestered in this manner, by English calling themselves Evangelical Christians, who have of late come flocking over into Spain. Only last week a hunchbacked fellow found his way into my cabinet whilst I was engaged in important business, and told me that Christ was coming. . . . And now you have made your appearance, and almost persuaded me to embroil myself yet more with the priesthood, as if they did not abhor me enough already. What a strange infatuation is this which drives you over lands and waters with Bibles in your hands. My good sir, it is not Bibles we want, but rather guns and gunpowder, to put the rebels down with, and above all, money, that we may pay the troops; whenever you come with these three things you shall have a hearty welcome, if not, we really can dispense with your visits, however great the honour."

Myself.—There will be no end to the troubles of this afflicted country until the gospel have free circulation.

Mendizabal.—I expected that answer, for I have not lived thirteen years in England without forming some acquaintance with the phraseology of you good folks. Now, now, pray go; you see how engaged I am. Come again whenever you please, but let it not be within the next three months.

"Don Jorge," said my hostess, coming into my apartment one morning, whilst I sat at breakfast with my feet upon the brasero, "here is my son Baltasarito, the national; he has risen from his bed, and hearing that there is an Englishman in the house, he has begged me to introduce him, for he loves Englishmen on account of the liberality of their opinions; there he is, what do you think of him?"

I did not state to his mother what I thought; it appeared to me, however, that she was quite right calling him Baltasarito, which is the diminutive of Baltasar, forasmuch as that ancient and sonorous name had certainly never been bestowed on a more diminutive personage: he might measure about five feet one inch, though he was rather corpulent for his height; his face looked yellow and sickly, he had, however, a kind of fanfaronading air, and his eyes, which were of dark brown, were both sharp and brilliant. His dress, or rather his undress, was somewhat shabby: he had a foraging cap on his head, and in lieu of a morning gown, he wore a sentinel's old great coat.

"I am glad to make your acquaintance, senor nacional," said I to him, after his mother had departed, and Baltasar had taken his seat, and of course lighted a paper cigar at the brasero. "I am glad to have made your acquaintance, more especially as your lady mother has informed me that you have great influence with the nationals. I am a stranger in Spain, and may want a friend; fortune has been kind to me in procuring me one who is a member of so powerful a body."

Baltasar.—Yes, I have a great deal to say with the other nationals; there is none in Madrid better known than Baltasar, or more dreaded by the Carlists. You say you may stand in need of a friend; there is no fear of my failing you in any emergency. Both myself and any of the other nationals will be proud to go out with you as padrinos, should you have any affair of honour on your hands. But why do you not become one of us? We would gladly receive you into our body.

Myself.—Is the duty of a national particularly hard?

Baltasar.—By no means; we have to do duty about once every fifteen days, and then there is occasionally a review, which does not last long. No! the duties of a national are by no means onerous, and the privileges are great. I have seen three of my brother nationals walk up and down the Prado of a Sunday, with sticks in their hands, cudgelling all the suspicious characters, and it is our common practice to scour the streets at night, and then if we meet any person who is obnoxious to us, we fall upon him, and with a knife or a bayonet generally leave him wallowing in his blood on the pavement: no one but a national would be permitted to do that.

Myself.—Of course none but persons of liberal opinions are to be found amongst the nationals?

Baltasar.—Would it were so! There are some amongst us, Don Jorge, who are no better than they should be; they are few, however, and for the most part well known. Theirs is no pleasant life, for when they mount guard with the rest they are scouted, and not unfrequently cudgelled. The law compels all of a certain age either to serve in the army or to become national soldiers on which account some of these Godos are to be found amongst us.

Myself.—Are there many in Madrid of the Carlist opinion?

Baltasar.—Not among the young people; the greater part of the Madrilenian Carlists capable of bearing arms departed long ago to join the ranks of the factious in the Basque provinces. Those who remain are for the most part grey-beards and priests, good for nothing but to assemble in private coffee-houses, and to prate treason together. Let them prate, Don Jorge; let them prate; the destinies of Spain do not depend on the wishes of ojalateros and pasteleros, but on the hands of stout gallant nationals like myself and friends, Don Jorge.

Myself.—I am sorry to learn from your lady mother, that you are strangely dissipated.

Baltasar.—Ho, ho, Don Jorge, she has told you that, has she; what would you have, Don Jorge? I am young, and young blood will have its course. I am called Baltasar the gay by all the other nationals, and it is on account of my gaiety and the liberality of my opinions that I am so popular among them. When I mount guard I invariably carry my guitar with me, and then there is sure to be a function at the guard-house. We send for wine, Don Jorge, and the nationals become wild, Don Jorge, dancing and drinking through the night, whilst Baltasarito strums the guitar and sings them songs of Germania:

"Una romi sin pachi Le peno a su chindomar," &c., &c.

That is Gitano, Don Jorge; I learnt it from the toreros of Andalusia, who all speak Gitano, and are mostly of Gypsy blood. I learnt it from them; they are all friends of mine, Montes Sevilla and Poquito Pan. I never miss a function of bulls, Don Jorge. Baltasar is sure to be there with his amiga. Don Jorge, there are no bull-functions in the winter, or I would carry you to one, but happily to-morrow there is an execution, a funcion de la horca; and there we will go, Don Jorge.

We did go to see this execution, which I shall long remember. The criminals were two young men, brothers; they suffered for a most atrocious murder, having in the dead of night broke open the house of an aged man, whom they put to death, and whose property they stole. Criminals in Spain are not hanged as they are in England, or guillotined as in France, but strangled upon a wooden stage. They sit down on a kind of chair with a post behind, to which is affixed an iron collar with a screw; this iron collar is made to clasp the neck of the prisoner, and on a certain signal it is drawn tighter and tighter by means of the screw, until life becomes extinct. After we had waited amongst the assembled multitude a considerable time, the first of the culprits appeared; he was mounted on an ass, without saddle or stirrups, his legs being allowed to dangle nearly to the ground. He was dressed in yellow sulphur-coloured robes, with a high-peaked conical red hat on his head, which was shaven. Between his hands he held a parchment, on which was written something, I believe the confession of faith. Two priests led the animal by the bridle; two others walked on either side, chanting litanies, amongst which I distinguished the words of heavenly peace and tranquillity, for the culprit had been reconciled to the church, had confessed and received absolution, and had been promised admission to heaven. He did not exhibit the least symptom of fear, but dismounted from the animal and was led, not supported, up the scaffold, where he was placed on the chair, and the fatal collar put round his neck. One of the priests then in a loud voice commenced saying the Belief, and the culprit repeated the words after him. On a sudden, the executioner, who stood behind, commenced turning the screw, which was of prodigious force, and the wretched man—was almost instantly a corpse; but, as the screw went round, the priest began to shout, "pax et misericordia et tranquillitas," and still as he shouted, his voice became louder and louder, till the lofty walls of Madrid rang with it: then stooping down, he placed his mouth close to the culprit's ear, still shouting, just as if he would pursue the spirit through its course to eternity, cheering it on its way. The effect was tremendous. I myself was so excited that I involuntarily shouted "misericordia," and so did many others. God was not thought of; Christ was not thought of; only the priest was thought of, for he seemed at that moment to be the first being in existence, and to have the power of opening and shutting the gates of heaven or of hell, just as he should think proper. A striking instance of the successful working of the Popish system, whose grand aim has ever been to keep people's minds as far as possible from God, and to centre their hopes and fears in the priesthood. The execution of the second culprit was precisely similar; he ascended the scaffold a few minutes after his brother had breathed his last.

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