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The Bible in Spain
by George Borrow
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I have visited most of the principal capitals of the world, but upon the whole none has ever so interested me as this city of Madrid, in which I now found myself. I will not dwell upon its streets, its edifices, its public squares, its fountains, though some of these are remarkable enough: but Petersburg has finer streets, Paris and Edinburgh more stately edifices, London far nobler squares, whilst Shiraz can boast of more costly fountains, though not cooler waters. But the population! Within a mud wall, scarcely one league and a half in circuit, are contained two hundred thousand human beings, certainly forming the most extraordinary vital mass to be found in the entire world; and be it always remembered that this mass is strictly Spanish. The population of Constantinople is extraordinary enough, but to form it twenty nations have contributed; Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Poles, Jews, the latter, by the by, of Spanish origin, and speaking amongst themselves the old Spanish language; but the huge population of Madrid, with the exception of a sprinkling of foreigners, chiefly French tailors, glove-makers and peruquiers, is strictly Spanish, though a considerable portion are not natives of the place. Here are no colonies of Germans, as at Saint Petersburg; no English factories, as at Lisbon; no multitudes of insolent Yankees lounging through the streets as at the Havannah, with an air which seems to say, the land is our own whenever we choose to take it; but a population which, however strange and wild, and composed of various elements, is Spanish, and will remain so as long as the city itself shall exist. Hail, ye aguadores of Asturia! who, in your dress of coarse duffel and leathern skull- caps, are seen seated in hundreds by the fountain sides, upon your empty water-casks, or staggering with them filled to the topmost stories of lofty houses. Hail, ye caleseros of Valencia! who, lolling lazily against your vehicles, rasp tobacco for your paper cigars whilst waiting for a fare. Hail to you, beggars of La Mancha! men and women, who, wrapped in coarse blankets, demand charity indifferently at the gate of the palace or the prison. Hail to you, valets from the mountains, mayordomos and secretaries from Biscay and Guipuscoa, toreros from Andalusia, riposteros from Galicia, shopkeepers from Catalonia! Hail to ye, Castilians, Estremenians and Aragonese, of whatever calling! And lastly, genuine sons of the capital, rabble of Madrid, ye twenty thousand manolos, whose terrible knifes, on the second morning of May, worked such grim havoc amongst the legions of Murat!

And the higher orders—the ladies and gentlemen, the cavaliers and senoras; shall I pass them by in silence? The truth is I have little to say about them; I mingled but little in their society, and what I saw of them by no means tended to exalt them in my imagination. I am not one of those who, wherever they go, make it a constant practice to disparage the higher orders, and to exalt the populace at their expense. There are many capitals in which the high aristocracy, the lords and ladies, the sons and daughters of nobility, constitute the most remarkable and the most interesting part of the population. This is the case at Vienna, and more especially at London. Who can rival the English aristocrat in lofty stature, in dignified bearing, in strength of hand, and valour of heart? Who rides a nobler horse? Who has a firmer seat? And who more lovely than his wife, or sister, or daughter? But with respect to the Spanish aristocracy, the ladies and gentlemen, the cavaliers and senoras, I believe the less that is said of them on the points to which I have just alluded the better. I confess, however, that I know little about them; they have, perhaps, their admirers, and to the pens of such I leave their panegyric. Le Sage has described them as they were nearly two centuries ago. His description is anything but captivating, and I do not think that they have improved since the period of the sketches of the immortal Frenchman. I would sooner talk of the lower class, not only of Madrid but of all Spain. The Spaniard of the lower class has much more interest for me, whether manolo, labourer, or muleteer. He is not a common being; he is an extraordinary man. He has not, it is true, the amiability and generosity of the Russian mujik, who will give his only rouble rather than the stranger shall want; nor his placid courage, which renders him insensible to fear, and at the command of his Tsar, sends him singing to certain death. {6} There is more hardness and less self-devotion in the disposition of the Spaniard; he possesses, however, a spirit of proud independence, which it is impossible but to admire. He is ignorant, of course; but it is singular that I have invariably found amongst the low and slightly educated classes far more liberality of sentiment than amongst the upper. It has long been the fashion to talk of the bigotry of the Spaniards, and their mean jealousy of foreigners. This is true to a certain extent: but it chiefly holds good with respect to the upper classes. If foreign valour or talent has never received its proper meed in Spain, the great body of the Spaniards are certainly not in fault. I have heard Wellington calumniated in this proud scene of his triumphs, but never by the old soldiers of Aragon and the Asturias, who assisted to vanquish the French at Salamanca and the Pyrenees. I have heard the manner of riding of an English jockey criticized, but it was by the idiotic heir of Medina Celi, and not by a picador of the Madrilenian bull ring.

Apropos of bull-fighters:- Shortly after my arrival, I one day entered a low tavern in a neighbourhood notorious for robbery and murder, and in which for the last two hours I had been wandering on a voyage of discovery. I was fatigued, and required refreshment. I found the place thronged with people, who had all the appearance of ruffians. I saluted them, upon which they made way for me to the bar, taking off their sombreros with great ceremony. I emptied a glass of val de penas, and was about to pay for it and depart, when a horrible looking fellow, dressed in a buff jerkin, leather breeches, and jackboots, which came half way up his thighs, and having on his head a white hat, the rims of which were at least a yard and a half in circumference, pushed through the crowd, and confronting me, roared:-

"Otra copita! vamos Inglesito: Otra copita!"

"Thank you, my good sir, you are very kind, you appear to know me, but I have not the honour of knowing you."

"Not know me!" replied the being. "I am Sevilla, the torero. I know you well; you are the friend of Baltasarito, the national, who is a friend of mine, and a very good subject."

Then turning to the company, he said in a sonorous tone, laying a strong emphasis on the last syllable of every word, according to the custom of the gente rufianesca throughout Spain:

"Cavaliers, and strong men, this cavalier is the friend of a friend of mine. Es mucho hombre. There is none like him in Spain. He speaks the crabbed Gitano though he is an Inglesito."

"We do not believe it," replied several grave voices. "It is not possible."

"It is not possible, say you? I tell you it is. Come forward, Balseiro, you who have been in prison all your life, and are always boasting that you can speak the crabbed Gitano, though I say you know nothing of it—come forward and speak to his worship in the crabbed Gitano."

A low, slight, but active figure stepped forward. He was in his shirt sleeves, and wore a montero cap; his features were handsome, but they were those of a demon.

He spoke a few words in the broken Gypsy slang of the prison, inquiring of me whether I had ever been in the condemned cell, and whether I knew what a Gitana {7} was?

"Vamos Inglesito," shouted Sevilla in a voice of thunder; "answer the monro in the crabbed Gitano."

I answered the robber, for such he was, and one, too, whose name will live for many a year in the ruffian histories of Madrid; I answered him in a speech of some length, in the dialect of the Estremenian Gypsies.

"I believe it is the crabbed Gitano," muttered Balseiro. "It is either that or English, for I understand not a word of it."

"Did I not say to you," cried the bull-fighter, "that you knew nothing of the crabbed Gitano? But this Inglesito does. I understood all he said. Vaya, there is none like him for the crabbed Gitano. He is a good ginete, too; next to myself, there is none like him, only he rides with stirrup leathers too short. Inglesito, if you have need of money, I will lend you my purse. All I have is at your service, and that is not a little; I have just gained four thousand chules by the lottery. Courage, Englishman! Another cup. I will pay all. I, Sevilla!"

And he clapped his hand repeatedly on his breast, reiterating "I, Sevilla! I—"



CHAPTER XIII



Intrigues at Court—Quesada and Galiano—Dissolution of the Cortes- -The Secretary—Aragonese Pertinacity—The Council of Trent—The Asturian—The Three Thieves—Benedict Mol—The Men of Lucerne—The Treasure

Mendizabal had told me to call upon him again at the end of three months, giving me hopes that he would not then oppose himself to the publication of the New Testament; before, however, the three months had elapsed, he had fallen into disgrace, and had ceased to be prime minister.

An intrigue had been formed against him, at the head of which were two quondam friends of his, and fellow-townsmen, Gaditanians, Isturitz and Alcala Galiano; both of them had been egregious liberals in their day, and indeed principal members of those cortes which, on the Angouleme invasion, had hurried Ferdinand from Madrid to Cadiz, and kept him prisoner there until that impregnable town thought proper to surrender, and both of them had been subsequently refugees in England, where they had spent a considerable number of years.

These gentlemen, however, finding themselves about this time exceedingly poor, and not seeing any immediate prospect of advantage from supporting Mendizabal; considering themselves, moreover, quite as good men as he, and as capable of governing Spain in the present emergency; determined to secede from the party of their friend, whom they had hitherto supported, and to set up for themselves.

They therefore formed an opposition to Mendizabal in the cortes; the members of this opposition assumed the name of moderados, in contradistinction to Mendizabal and his followers, who were ultra liberals. The moderados were encouraged by the Queen Regent Christina, who aimed at a little more power than the liberals were disposed to allow her, and who had a personal dislike to the minister. They were likewise encouraged by Cordova, who at that time commanded the army, and was displeased with Mendizabal, inasmuch as the latter did not supply the pecuniary demands of the general with sufficient alacrity, though it is said that the greater part of what was sent for the payment of the troops was not devoted to that purpose, but, was invested in the French funds in the name and for the use and behoof of the said Cordova.

It is, however, by no means my intention to write an account of the political events which were passing around me at this period; suffice it to say, that Mendizabal finding himself thwarted in all his projects by the regent and the general, the former of whom would adopt no measure which he recommended, whilst the latter remained inactive and refused to engage the enemy, which by this time had recovered from the check caused by the death of Zumalacarregui, and was making considerable progress, resigned and left the field for the time open to his adversaries, though he possessed an immense majority in the cortes, and had the voice of the nation, at least the liberal part of it, in his favour.

Thereupon, Isturitz became head of the cabinet, Galiano minister of marine, and a certain Duke of Rivas minister of the interior. These were the heads of the moderado government, but as they were by no means popular at Madrid, and feared the nationals, they associated with themselves one who hated the latter body and feared nothing, a man of the name of Quesada, a very stupid individual, but a great fighter, who, at one period of his life, had commanded a legion or body of men called the Army of the Faith, whose exploits both on the French and Spanish side of the Pyrenees are too well known to require recapitulation. This person was made captain general of Madrid.

By far the most clever member of this government was Galiano, whose acquaintance I had formed shortly after my arrival. He was a man of considerable literature, and particularly well versed in that of his own country. He was, moreover, a fluent, elegant, and forcible speaker, and was to the moderado party within the cortes what Quesada was without, namely, their horses and chariots. Why he was made minister of marine is difficult to say, as Spain did not possess any; perhaps, however, from his knowledge of the English language, which he spoke and wrote nearly as well as his own tongue, having indeed during his sojourn in England chiefly supported himself by writing for reviews and journals, an honourable occupation, but to which few foreign exiles in England would be qualified to devote themselves.

He was a very small and irritable man, and a bitter enemy to every person who stood in the way of his advancement. He hated Mendizabal with undisguised rancour, and never spoke of him but in terms of unmeasured contempt. "I am afraid that I shall have some difficulty in inducing Mendizabal to give me permission to print the Testament," said I to him one day. "Mendizabal is a jackass," replied Galiano. "Caligula made his horse consul, which I suppose induced Lord—to send over this huge burro of the Stock Exchange to be our minister."

It would be very ungrateful on my part were I not to confess my great obligations to Galiano, who assisted me to the utmost of his power in the business which had brought me to Spain. Shortly after the ministry was formed, I went to him and said, "that now or never was the time to mike an effort in my behalf." "I will do so," said he, in a waspish tone; for he always spoke waspishly whether to friend or foe; "but you must have patience for a few days, we are very much occupied at present. We have been outvoted in the cortes, and this afternoon we intend to dissolve them. It is believed that the rascals will refuse to depart, but Quesada will stand at the door ready to turn them out, should they prove refractory. Come along, and you will perhaps see a funcion."

After an hour's debate, the cortes were dissolved without it being necessary to call in the aid of the redoubtable Quesada, and Galiano forthwith gave me a letter to his colleague the Duke of Rivas, in whose department he told me was vested the power either of giving or refusing the permission to print the book in question. The duke was a very handsome young man, of about thirty, an Andalusian by birth, like his two colleagues. He had published several works, tragedies, I believe, and enjoyed a certain kind of literary reputation. He received me with the greatest affability; and having heard what I had to say, he replied with a most captivating bow, and a genuine Andalusian grimace: "Go to my secretary; go to my secretary—el hara por usted el gusio." So I went to the secretary, whose name was Oliban, an Aragonese, who was not handsome, and whose manners were neither elegant nor affable. "You want permission to print the Testament?" "I do," said I. "And you have come to His Excellency about it," continued Oliban. "Very true," I replied. "I suppose you intend to print it without notes." "Yes." "Then His Excellency cannot give you permission," said the Aragonese secretary: "it was determined by the Council of Trent that no part of the Scripture should be printed in any Christian country without the notes of the church." "How many years was that ago?" I demanded. "I do not know how many years ago it was," said Oliban; "but such was the decree of the Council of Trent." "Is Spain at present governed according to the decrees of the Council of Trent?" I inquired. "In some points she is," answered the Aragonese, "and this is one. But tell me who are you? Are you known to the British minister?" "O yes, and he takes a great interest in the matter." "Does he?" said Oliban; "that indeed alters the case: if you can show me that His Excellency takes in interest in this business, I certainly shall not oppose myself to it."

The British minister performed all I could wish, and much more than I could expect; he had an interview with the Duke of Rivas, with whom he had much discourse upon my affair: the duke was all smiles and courtesy. He moreover wrote a private letter to the duke, which he advised me to present when I next paid him a visit, and, to crown all, he wrote a letter directed to myself, in which he did me the honour to say that he had a regard for me, and that nothing would afford him greater pleasure than to hear that I had obtained the permission which I was seeking. So I went to the duke, and delivered the letter. He was ten times more kind and affable than before: he read the letter, smiled most sweetly, and then, as if seized with sudden enthusiasm, he extended his arms in a manner almost theatrical, exclaiming, "Al secretario, el hara por usted el gusto." Away I hurried to the secretary, who received me with all the coolness of an icicle: I related to him the words of his principal, and then put into his hand the letter of the British minister to myself. The secretary read it very deliberately, and then said that it was evident His Excellency did take an interest in the matter. He then asked me my name, and taking a sheet of paper, sat down as if for the purpose of writing the permission. I was in ecstasy—all of a sudden, however, he stopped, lifted up his head, seemed to consider a moment, and then putting his pen behind his ear, he said, "Amongst the decrees of the Council of Trent is one to the effect" . . . .

"Oh dear!" said I.

"A singular person is this Oliban," said I to Galiano; "you cannot imagine what trouble he gives me: he is continually talking about the Council of Trent."

"I wish he was in the Trent up to the middle," said Galiano, who, as I have observed already, spoke excellent English; "I wish he was there for talking such nonsense. However," said he, "we must not offend Oliban, he is one of us, and has done us much service; he is, moreover, a very clever man, but he is an Aragonese, and when one of that nation once gets an idea into his head, it is the most difficult thing in the world to dislodge it; however, we will go to him; he is an old friend of mine, and I have no doubt but that we shall be able to make him listen to reason." So the next day I called upon Galiano, at his marine or admiralty office (what shall I call it?), and from thence we proceeded to the bureau of the interior, a magnificent edifice, which had formerly been the casa of the Inquisition, where we had an interview with Oliban, whom Galiano took aside to the window, and there held with him a long conversation, which, as they spoke in whispers, and the room was immensely large, I did not hear. At length Galiano came to me and said, "There is some difficulty with respect to this business of yours, but I have told Oliban that you are a friend of mine, and he says that that is sufficient; remain with him now, and he will do anything to oblige you; your affair is settled—farewell"; whereupon he departed and I remained with Oliban, who proceeded forthwith to write something, which having concluded, he took out a box of cigars, and having lighted one and offered me another, which I declined as I do not smoke, he placed his feet against the table, and thus proceeded to address me, speaking in the French language.

"It is with great pleasure that I see you in this capital, and, I may say, upon this business. I consider it a disgrace to Spain that there is no edition of the Gospel in circulation, at least such a one as would be within the reach of all classes of society, the highest or poorest; one unencumbered with notes and commentaries, human devices, swelling it to an unwieldy bulk. I have no doubt that such an edition as you propose to print, would have a most beneficial influence on the minds of the people, who, between ourselves, know nothing of pure religion; how should they? seeing that the Gospel has always been sedulously kept from them, just as if civilization could exist where the light of the Gospel beameth not. The moral regeneration of Spain depends upon the free circulation of the Scriptures; to which alone England, your own happy country, is indebted for its high state of civilization, and the unmatched prosperity which it at present enjoys; all this I admit, in fact, reason compels me to do so, but—"

"Now for it," thought I.

"But"—and then he began to talk once more of the wearisome Council of Trent, and I found that his writing in the paper, the offer of the cigar, and the long and prosy harangue were—what shall I call it?—mere [Greek text].

By this time the spring was far advanced, the sides though not the tops of the Guadarama hills had long since lost their snows; the trees of the Prado had donned their full foliage, and all the Campina in the neighbourhood of Madrid smiled and was happy: the summer heats had not commenced, and the weather was truly delicious.

Towards the west, at the foot of the hill on which stands Madrid, is a canal running parallel with the Manzanares for some leagues, from which it is separated by pleasant and fertile meadows. The banks of this canal, which was begun by Carlos Tercero, and has never been completed, are planted with beautiful trees, and form the most delightful walk in the neighbourhood of the capital. Here I would loiter for hours looking at the shoals of gold and silver fish which basked on the surface of the green sunny waters, or listening, not to the warbling of birds—for Spain is not the land of feathered choristers—but to the prattle of the narangero or man who sold oranges and water by a little deserted watch tower just opposite the wooden bridge that crosses the canal, which situation he had chosen as favourable for his trade, and there had placed his stall. He was an Asturian by birth, about fifty years of age, and about five feet high. As I purchased freely of his fruit, he soon conceived a great friendship for me, and told me his history; it contained, however, nothing very remarkable, the leading incident being an adventure which had befallen him amidst the mountains of Granada, where, falling into the hands of certain Gypsies, they stripped him naked, and then dismissed him with a sound cudgelling. "I have wandered throughout Spain," said he, "and I have come to the conclusion that there are but two places worth living in, Malaga and Madrid. At Malaga everything is very cheap, and there is such an abundance of fish, that I have frequently seen them piled in heaps on the sea-shore: and as for Madrid, money is always stirring at the Corte, and I never go supperless to bed; my only care is to sell my oranges, and my only hope that when I die I shall be buried yonder."

And he pointed across the Manzanares, where, on the declivity of a gentle hill, at about a league's distance, shone brightly in the sunshine the white walls of the Campo Santo, or common burying ground of Madrid.

He was a fellow of infinite drollery, and, though he could scarcely read or write, by no means ignorant of the ways of the world; his knowledge of individuals was curious and extensive, few people passing his stall with whose names, character, and history he was not acquainted. "Those two gentry," said he, pointing to a magnificently dressed cavalier and lady, who had dismounted from a carriage, and arm in arm were coming across the wooden bridge, followed by two attendants; "those gentry are the Infante Francisco Paulo, and his wife the Neapolitana, sister of our Christina; he is a very good subject, but as for his wife—vaya—the veriest scold in Madrid; she can say carrajo with the most ill-conditioned carrier of La Mancha, giving the true emphasis and genuine pronunciation. Don't take off your hat to her, amigo—she has neither formality nor politeness—I once saluted her, and she took no more notice of me than if I had not been what I am, an Asturian and a gentleman, of better blood than herself. Good day, Senor Don Francisco. Que tal (how goes it)? very fine weather this—vaya su merced con Dios. Those three fellows who just stopped to drink water are great thieves, true sons of the prison; I am always civil to them, for it would not do to be on ill terms; they pay me or not, just as they think proper. I have been in some trouble on their account: about a year ago they robbed a man a little farther on beyond the second bridge. By the way, I counsel you, brother, not to go there, as I believe you often do—it is a dangerous place. They robbed a gentleman and ill-treated him, but his brother, who was an escribano, was soon upon their trail, and had them arrested; but he wanted someone to identify them, and it chanced that they had stopped to drink water at my stall, just as they did now. This the escribano heard of, and forthwith had me away to the prison to confront me with them. I knew them well enough, but I had learnt in my travels when to close my eyes and when to open them; so I told the escribano that I could not say that I had ever seen them before. He was in a great rage and threatened to imprison me; I told him he might and that I cared not. Vaya, I was not going to expose myself to the resentment of those three and to that of their friends; I live too near the Hay Market for that. Good day, my young masters.—Murcian oranges, as you see; the genuine dragon's blood. Water sweet and cold. Those two boys are the children of Gabiria, comptroller of the queen's household, and the richest man in Madrid; they are nice boys, and buy much fruit. It is said their father loves them more than all his possessions. The old woman who is lying beneath yon tree is the Tia Lucilla; she has committed murders, and as she owes me money, I hope one day to see her executed. This man was of the Walloon guard;—Senor Don Benito Mol, how do you do?"

This last named personage instantly engrossed my attention; he was a bulky old man, somewhat above the middle height, with white hair and ruddy features; his eyes were large and blue, and whenever he fixed them on any one's countenance, were full of an expression of great eagerness, as if he were expecting the communication of some important tidings. He was dressed commonly enough, in a jacket and trousers of coarse cloth of a russet colour, on his head was an immense sombrero, the brim of which had been much cut and mutilated, so as in some places to resemble the jags or denticles of a saw. He returned the salutation of the orange-man, and bowing to me, forthwith produced two scented wash-balls which he offered for sale in a rough dissonant jargon, intended for Spanish, but which seemed more like the Valencian or Catalan.

Upon my asking him who he was, the following conversation ensued between us:

"I am a Swiss of Lucerne, Benedict Mol by name, once a soldier in the Walloon guard, and now a soap-boiler, at your service."

"You speak the language of Spain very imperfectly," said I; "how long have you been in the country?"

"Forty-five years," replied Benedict; "but when the guard was broken up, I went to Minorca, where I lost the Spanish language without acquiring the Catalan."

"You have been a soldier of the king of Spain," said I; "how did you like the service?"

"Not so well, but that I should have been glad to leave it forty years ago; the pay was bad, and the treatment worse. I will now speak Swiss to you, for, if I am not much mistaken, you are a German man, and understand the speech of Lucerne; I should soon have deserted from the service of Spain, as I did from that of the Pope, whose soldier I was in my early youth before I came here; but I had married a woman of Minorca, by whom I had two children; it was this that detained me in those parts so long; before, however, I left Minorca, my wife died, and as for my children, one went east, the other west, and I know not what became of them; I intend shortly to return to Lucerne, and live there like a duke."

"Have you, then, realized a large capital in Spain?" said I, glancing at his hat and the rest of his apparel.

"Not a cuart, not a cuart; these two wash-balls are all that I possess."

"Perhaps you are the son of good parents, and have lands and money in your own country wherewith to support yourself."

"Not a heller, not a heller; my father was hangman of Lucerne, and when he died, his body was seized to pay his debts."

"Then doubtless," said I, "you intend to ply your trade of soap- boiling at Lucerne; you are quite right, my friend, I know of no occupation more honourable or useful."

"I have no thoughts of plying my trade at Lucerne," replied Bennet; "and now, as I see you are a German man, Lieber Herr, and as I like your countenance and your manner of speaking, I will tell you in confidence that I know very little of my trade, and have already been turned out of several fabriques as an evil workman; the two wash-balls that I carry in my pocket are not of my own making. In kurtzen, I know little more of soap-boiling than I do of tailoring, horse-farriery, or shoe-making, all of which I have practised."

"Then I know not how you can hope to live like a hertzog in your native canton, unless you expect that the men of Lucerne, in consideration of your services to the Pope and to the king of Spain, will maintain you in splendour at the public expense."

"Lieber Herr," said Benedict, "the men of Lucerne are by no means fond of maintaining the soldiers of the Pope and the king of Spain at their own expense; many of the guard who have returned thither beg their bread in the streets, but when I go, it shall be in a coach drawn by six mules, with a treasure, a mighty schatz which lies in the church of Saint James of Compostella, in Galicia."

"I hope you do not intend to rob the church," said I; "if you do, however, I believe you will be disappointed. Mendizabal and the liberals have been beforehand with you. I am informed that at present no other treasure is to be found in the cathedrals of Spain than a few paltry ornaments and plated utensils."

"My good German Herr," said Benedict, "it is no church schatz, and no person living, save myself, knows of its existence: nearly thirty years ago, amongst the sick soldiers who were brought to Madrid, was one of my comrades of the Walloon Guard, who had accompanied the French to Portugal; he was very sick and shortly died. Before, however, he breathed his last, he sent for me, and upon his deathbed told me that himself and two other soldiers, both of whom had since been killed, had buried in a certain church at Compostella a great booty which they had made in Portugal: it consisted of gold moidores and of a packet of huge diamonds from the Brazils; the whole was contained in a large copper kettle. I listened with greedy ears, and from that moment, I may say, I have known no rest, neither by day nor night, thinking of the schatz. It is very easy to find, for the dying man was so exact in his description of the place where it lies, that were I once at Compostella, I should have no difficulty in putting my hand upon it; several times I have been on the point of setting out on the journey, but something has always happened to stop me. When my wife died, I left Minorca with a determination to go to Saint James, but on reaching Madrid, I fell into the hands of a Basque woman, who persuaded me to live with her, which I have done for several years; she is a great hax, {8} and says that if I desert her she will breathe a spell which shall cling to me for ever. Dem Got sey dank,—she is now in the hospital, and daily expected to die. This is my history, Lieber Herr."

I have been the more careful in relating the above conversation, as I shall have frequent occasion to mention the Swiss in the course of these journals; his subsequent adventures were highly extraordinary, and the closing one caused a great sensation in Spain.



CHAPTER XIV



State of Spain—Isturitz—Revolution of the Granja—The Disturbance—Signs of Mischief—Newspaper Reporters—Quesada's Onslaught—The Closing Scene—Flight of the Moderados—The Coffee Bowl.

In the meantime the affairs of the moderados did not proceed in a very satisfactory manner; they were unpopular at Madrid, and still more so in the other large towns of Spain, in most of which juntas had been formed, which, taking the local administration into their own hands, declared themselves independent of the queen and her ministers, and refused to pay taxes; so that the government was within a short time reduced to great straits for money; the army was unpaid, and the war languished; I mean on the part of the Christinos, for the Carlists were pushing it on with considerable vigour; parties of their guerillas scouring the country in all directions, whilst a large division, under the celebrated Gomez, was making the entire circuit of Spain. To crown the whole, an insurrection was daily expected at Madrid, to prevent which the nationals were disarmed, which measure tended greatly to increase their hatred against the moderado government, and especially against Quesada, with whom it was supposed to have originated.

With respect to my own matters, I lost no opportunity of pushing forward my application; the Aragonese secretary, however, still harped upon the Council of Trent, and succeeded in baffling all my efforts. He appeared to have inoculated his principal with his own ideas upon the subject, for the duke, when he beheld me at his levees, took no farther notice of me than by a contemptuous glance; and once, when I stepped up for the purpose of addressing him, disappeared through a side door, and I never saw him again, for I was disgusted with the treatment which I had received, and forebore paying any more visits at the Casa de la Inquisicion. Poor Galiano still proved himself my unshaken friend, but candidly informed me that there was no hope of my succeeding in the above quarter. "The duke," said he, "says that your request cannot be granted; and the other day, when I myself mentioned it in the council, began to talk of the decision of Trent, and spoke of yourself as a plaguy pestilent fellow; whereupon I answered him with some acrimony, and there ensued a bit of a function between us, at which Isturitz laughed heartily. By the by," continued he, "what need have you of a regular permission, which it does not appear that any one has authority to grant. The best thing that you can do under all circumstances is to commit the work to the press, with an understanding that you shall not be interfered with when you attempt to distribute it. I strongly advise you to see Isturitz himself upon the matter. I will prepare him for the interview, and will answer that he receives you civilly."

In fact, a few days afterwards, I had an interview with Isturitz at the palace, and for the sake of brevity I shall content myself with saying that I found him perfectly well disposed to favour my views. "I have lived long in England," said he; "the Bible is free there, and I see no reason why it should not be free in Spain also. I am not prepared to say that England is indebted for her prosperity to the knowledge which all her children, more or less, possess of the sacred writings; but of one thing I am sure, namely, that the Bible has done no harm in that country, nor do I believe that it will effect any in Spain; print it, therefore, by all means, and circulate it as extensively as possible." I retired, highly satisfied with my interview, having obtained, if not a written permission to print the sacred volume, what, under all circumstances, I considered as almost equivalent, an understanding that my biblical pursuits would be tolerated in Spain; and I had fervent hope that whatever was the fate of the present ministry, no future one, particularly a liberal one, would venture to interfere with me, more especially as the English ambassador was my friend, and was privy to all the steps I had taken throughout the whole affair.

Two or three things connected with the above interview with Isturitz struck me as being highly remarkable. First of all, the extreme facility with which I obtained admission to the presence of the prime minister of Spain. I had not to wait, or indeed to send in my name, but was introduced at once by the door-keeper. Secondly, the air of loneliness which pervaded the place, so unlike the bustle, noise, and activity which I observed when I waited on Mendizabal. In this instance, there were no eager candidates for an interview with the great man; indeed, I did not behold a single individual, with the exception of Isturitz and the official. But that which made the most profound impression upon me, was the manner of the minister himself, who, when I entered, sat upon a sofa, with his arms folded, and his eyes directed to the ground. When he spoke there was extreme depression in the tones of his voice, his dark features wore an air of melancholy, and he exhibited all the appearance of a person meditating to escape from the miseries of this life by the most desperate of all acts— suicide.

And a few days showed that he had, indeed, cause for much melancholy meditation: in less than a week occurred the revolution of the Granja, as it is called. The Granja, or Grange, is a royal country seat, situated amongst pine forests, on the other side of the Guadarama hills, about twelve leagues distant from Madrid. To this place the queen regent Christina had retired, in order to be aloof from the discontent of the capital, and to enjoy rural air and amusements in this celebrated retreat, a monument of the taste and magnificence of the first Bourbon who ascended the throne of Spain. She was not, however, permitted to remain long in tranquillity; her own guards were disaffected, and more inclined to the principles of the constitution of 1823 than to those of absolute monarchy, which the moderados were attempting to revive again in the government of Spain. Early one morning, a party of these soldiers, headed by a certain Sergeant Garcia, entered her apartment, and proposed that she should subscribe her hand to this constitution, and swear solemnly to abide by it. Christina, however, who was a woman of considerable spirit, refused to comply with this proposal, and ordered them to withdraw. A scene of violence and tumult ensued, but the regent still continuing firm, the soldiers at length led her down to one of the courts of the palace, where stood her well-known paramour, Munos, bound and blindfolded. "Swear to the constitution, you she-rogue," vociferated the swarthy sergeant. "Never!" said the spirited daughter of the Neapolitan Bourbons. "Then your cortejo shall die!" replied the sergeant. "Ho! ho! my lads; get ready your arms, and send four bullets through the fellow's brain." Munos was forthwith led to the wall, and compelled to kneel down, the soldiers levelled their muskets and another moment would have consigned the unfortunate wight to eternity, when Christina, forgetting everything but the feelings of her woman's heart, suddenly started forward with a shriek, exclaiming: "Hold, hold! I sign, I sign!"

The day after this event I entered the Puerta del Sol at about noon. There is always a crowd there about this hour, but it is generally a very quiet motionless crowd, consisting of listless idlers calmly smoking their cigars, or listening to or retailing the—in general—very dull news of the capital; but on the day of which I am speaking the mass was no longer inert. There was much gesticulation and vociferation, and several people were running about shouting, "Viva la constitucion!"—a cry which, a few days previously, would have been visited on the utterer with death, the city having for some weeks past been subjected to the rigour of martial law. I occasionally heard the words, "La Granja! La Granja!" Which words were sure to be succeeded by the shout of "Viva la constitucion!" Opposite the Casa de Postas were drawn up in a line about a dozen mounted dragoons, some of whom were continually waving their caps in the air and joining the common cry, in which they were encouraged by their commander, a handsome young officer, who flourished his sword, and more than once cried out with great glee, "Long live the constitutional queen! Long live the constitution!"

The crowd was rapidly increasing, and several nationals made their appearance in their uniforms, but without their arms, of which they had been deprived, as I have already stated. "What has become of the moderado government?" said I to Baltasar, whom I suddenly observed amongst the crowd, dressed as when I had first seen him, in his old regimental great coat and foraging cap; "have the ministers been deposed and others put in their place?"

"Not yet, Don Jorge," said the little soldier-tailor; "not yet; the scoundrels still hold out, relying on the brute bull Quesada and a few infantry, who still continue true to them; but there is no fear, Don Jorge; the queen is ours, thanks to the courage of my friend Garcia, and if the brute bull should make his appearance— ho! ho! Don Jorge, you shall see something—I am prepared for him, ho! ho!" and thereupon he half opened his great coat, and showed me a small gun, which he bore beneath it in a sling, and then moving away with a wink and a nod, disappeared amongst the crowd.

Presently I perceived a small body of soldiers advancing up the Calle Mayor, or principal street which runs from the Puerta del Sol in the direction of the palace; they might be about twenty in number, and an officer marched at their head with a drawn sword; the men appeared to have been collected in a hurry, many of them being in fatigue dress, with foraging caps on their heads. On they came, slowly marching; neither their officer nor themselves paying the slightest attention to the cries of the crowd which thronged about them, shouting "Long live the constitution!" save and except by an occasional surly side glance: on they marched with contracted brows and set teeth, till they came in front of the cavalry, where they halted and drew up in a rank.

"Those men mean mischief," said I to my friend D-, of the Morning Chronicle, who at this moment joined me; "and depend upon it, that if they are ordered they will commence firing, caring nothing whom they hit,—but what can those cavalry fellows behind them mean, who are evidently of the other opinion by their shouting, why don't they charge at once this handful of foot people and overturn them? Once down, the crowd would wrest from them their muskets in a moment. You are a liberal, which I am not; why do you not go to that silly young man who commands the horse and give him a word of counsel in time?"

D—turned upon me his broad red good-humoured English countenance, with a peculiarly arch look, as much as to say—(whatever you think most applicable, gentle reader), then taking me by the arm, "Let us get," said he, "out of this crowd and mount to some window, where I can write down what is about to take place, for I agree with you that mischief is meant." Just opposite the post office was a large house, in the topmost story of which we beheld a paper displayed, importing that apartments were to let; whereupon we instantly ascended the common stair, and having agreed with the mistress of the etage for the use of the front room for the day, we bolted the door, and the reporter, producing his pocket-book and pencil, prepared to take notes of the coming events, which were already casting their shadow before.

What most extraordinary men are these reporters of newspapers in general, I mean English newspapers; surely if there be any class of individuals who are entitled to the appellation of cosmopolites, it is these; who pursue their avocation in all countries indifferently, and accommodate themselves at will to the manners of all classes of society: their fluency of style as writers is only surpassed by their facility of language in conversation, and their attainments in classical and polite literature only by their profound knowledge of the world, acquired by an early introduction into its bustling scenes. The activity, energy, and courage which they occasionally display in the pursuit of information are truly remarkable. I saw them during the three days at Paris, mingled with canaille and gamins behind the barriers, whilst the mitraille was flying in all directions, and the desperate cuirassiers were dashing their fierce horses against these seemingly feeble bulwarks. There stood they, dotting down their observations in their pocket-books as unconcernedly as if reporting the proceedings of a reform meeting in Covent Garden or Finsbury Square; whilst in Spain, several of them accompanied the Carlist and Christino guerillas in some of their most desperate raids and expeditions, exposing themselves to the danger of hostile bullets, the inclemency of winter, and the fierce heat of the summer sun.

We had scarcely been five minutes at the window, when we suddenly heard the clattering of horses' feet hastening down the street called the Calle de Carretas. The house in which we had stationed ourselves was, as I have already observed, just opposite to the post office, at the left of which this street debouches from the north into the Puerta del Sol: as the sounds became louder and louder, the cries of the crowd below diminished, and a species of panic seemed to have fallen upon all: once or twice, however, I could distinguish the words Quesada! Quesada! The foot soldiers stood calm and motionless, but I observed that the cavalry, with the young officer who commanded them, displayed both confusion and fear, exchanging with each other some hurried words; all of a sudden that part of the crowd which stood near the mouth of the Calle de Carretas fell back in great disorder, leaving a considerable space unoccupied, and the next moment Quesada, in complete general's uniform, and mounted on a bright bay thorough bred English horse, with a drawn sword in his hand, dashed at full gallop into the area, in much the same manner as I have seen a Manchegan bull rush into the amphitheatre when the gates of his pen are suddenly flung open.

He was closely followed by two mounted officers, and at a short distance by as many dragoons. In almost less time than is sufficient to relate it, several individuals in the crowd were knocked down and lay sprawling upon the ground, beneath the horses of Quesada and his two friends, for as to the dragoons, they halted as soon as they had entered the Puerta del Sol. It was a fine sight to see three men, by dint of valour and good horsemanship, strike terror into at least as many thousands: I saw Quesada spur his horse repeatedly into the dense masses of the crowd, and then extricate himself in the most masterly manner. The rabble were completely awed and gave way, retiring by the Calle del Comercio and the street of Alcala. All at once, Quesada singled out two nationals, who were attempting to escape, and setting spurs to his horse, turned them in a moment, and drove them in another direction, striking them in a contemptuous manner with the flat of his sabre. He was crying out, "Long live the absolute queen!" when, just beneath me, amidst a portion of the crowd which had still maintained its ground, perhaps from not having the means of escaping, I saw a small gun glitter for a moment, then there was a sharp report, and a bullet had nearly sent Quesada to his long account, passing so near to the countenance of the general as to graze his hat. I had an indistinct view for a moment of a well- known foraging cap just about the spot from whence the gun had been discharged, then there was a rush of the crowd, and the shooter, whoever he was, escaped discovery amidst the confusion which arose.

As for Quesada, he seemed to treat the danger from which he had escaped with the utmost contempt. He glared about him fiercely for a moment, then leaving the two nationals, who sneaked away like whipped hounds, he went up to the young officer who commanded the cavalry, and who had been active in raising the cry of the constitution, and to him he addressed a few words with an air of stern menace; the youth evidently quailed before him, and probably in obedience to his orders, resigned the command of the party, and rode slowly away with a discomfited air; whereupon Quesada dismounted and walked slowly backwards and forwards before the Casa de Postas with a mien which seemed to bid defiance to mankind.

This was the glorious day of Quesada's existence, his glorious and last day. I call it the day of his glory, for he certainly never before appeared under such brilliant circumstances, and he never lived to see another sun set. No action of any conqueror or hero on record is to be compared with this closing scene of the life of Quesada, for who, by his single desperate courage and impetuosity, ever before stopped a revolution in full course? Quesada did: he stopped the revolution at Madrid for one entire day, and brought back the uproarious and hostile mob of a huge city to perfect order and quiet. His burst into the Puerta del Sol was the most tremendous and successful piece of daring ever witnessed. I admired so much the spirit of the "brute bull" that I frequently, during his wild onset, shouted "Viva Quesada!" for I wished him well. Not that I am of any political party or system. No, no! I have lived too long with Rommany Chals and Petulengres {9} to be of any politics save Gypsy politics; and it is well known that, during elections, the children of Roma side with both parties so long as the event is doubtful, promising success to each; and then when the fight is done, and the battle won, invariably range themselves in the ranks of the victorious. But I repeat that I wished well to Quesada, witnessing, as I did, his stout heart and good horsemanship. Tranquillity was restored to Madrid throughout the remainder of the day; the handful of infantry bivouacked in the Puerta del Sol. No more cries of long live the constitution were heard; and the revolution in the capital seemed to have been effectually put down. It is probable, indeed, that had the chiefs of the moderado party but continued true to themselves for forty- eight hours longer, their cause would have triumphed, and the revolutionary soldiers at the Granja would have been glad to restore the Queen Regent to liberty, and to have come to terms, as it was well known that several regiments, who still continued loyal, were marching upon Madrid. The moderados, however, were not true to themselves; that very night their hearts failed them, and they fled in various directions. Isturitz and Galiano to France; and the Duke of Rivas to Gibraltar: the panic of his colleagues even infected Quesada, who, disguised as a civilian, took to flight. He was not, however, so successful as the rest, but was recognised at a village about three leagues from Madrid, and cast into prison by some friends of the constitution. Intelligence of his capture was instantly transmitted to the capital, and a vast mob of the nationals, some on foot, some on horseback, and others in cabriolets, instantly set out. "The nationals are coming," said a paisano to Quesada. "Then," said he, "I am lost," and forthwith prepared himself for death.

There is a celebrated coffee-house in the Calle d'Alcala at Madrid, capable of holding several hundred individuals. On the evening of the day in question, I was seated there, sipping a cup of the brown beverage, when I heard a prodigious noise and clamour in the street; it proceeded from the nationals, who were returning from their expedition. In a few minutes I saw a body of them enter the coffee-house marching arm in arm, two by two, stamping on the ground with their feet in a kind of measure, and repeating in loud chorus as they walked round the spacious apartment, the following grisly stanza:-

"Que es lo que abaja Por aquel cerro? Ta ra ra ra ra. Son los huesos de Quesada, Que los trae un perro - Ta ra ra ra ra." {10}

"What down the hill comes hurrying there? - With a hey, with a ho, a sword, and a gun! Quesada's bones, which a hound doth bear. - Hurrah, brave brothers!—the work is done."

A huge bowl of coffee was then called for, which was placed upon a table, around which gathered the national soldiers: there was silence for a moment, which was interrupted by a voice roaring out, "el panuelo!" A blue kerchief was forthwith produced, which appeared to contain a substance of some kind; it was untied, and a gory hand and three or four dissevered fingers made their appearance, and with these the contents of the bowl were stirred up. "Cups! cups!" cried the nationals.

"Ho, ho, Don Jorge," cried Baltasarito, coming up to me with a cup of coffee, "pray do me the favour to drink upon this glorious occasion. This is a pleasant day for Spain, and for the gallant nationals of Madrid. I have seen many a bull funcion, but none which has given me so much pleasure as this. Yesterday the brute had it all his own way, but to-day the toreros have prevailed, as you see, Don Jorge. Pray drink; for I must now run home to fetch my pajandi to play my brethren a tune, and sing a copla. What shall it be? Something in Gitano?

"Una noche sinava en tucue."

You shake your head, Don Jorge. Ha, ha; I am young, and youth is the time for pleasure; well, well, out of compliment to you, who are an Englishman and a monro, it shall not be that, but something liberal, something patriotic, the Hymn of Riego—Hasta despues, Don Jorge!"



CHAPTER XV



The Steamer—Cape Finisterre—The Storm—Arrival at Cadiz—The New Testament—Seville—Italica—The Amphitheatre—The Prisoners—The Encounter—Baron Taylor—The Street and Desert.

At the commencement of November, I again found myself on the salt water, on my way to Spain. I had returned to England shortly after the events which have been narrated in the last chapter, for the purpose of consulting with my friends, and for planning the opening of a biblical campaign in Spain. It was now determined by us to print the New Testament, with as little delay as possible, at Madrid; and I was to be entrusted with the somewhat arduous task of its distribution. My stay in England was very short, for time was precious, and I was eager to return to the field of action.

I embarked in the Thames, on board the M- steamer. We had a most unpleasant passage to Falmouth; the ship was crowded with passengers, most of them poor consumptive individuals, and other invalids fleeing from the cold blasts of England's winter to the sunny shores of Portugal and Madeira. In a more uncomfortable vessel, especially steam ship, it has never been my fate to make a voyage. The berths were small and insupportably close, and of these wretched holes mine was amongst the worst, the rest having been bespoken before I arrived on board; so that to avoid the suffocation which seemed to threaten me should I enter it, I lay upon the floor of one of the cabins throughout the voyage. We remained at Falmouth twenty-four hours, taking in coal, and repairing the engine, which had sustained considerable damage.

On Monday, the seventh, we again started, and made for the Bay of Biscay. The sea was high and the wind strong and contrary; nevertheless, on the morning of the fourth day, we were in sight of the rocky coast to the north of Cape Finisterre. I must here observe, that this was the first voyage that the captain who commanded the vessel had ever made on board of her, and that he knew little or nothing of the coast towards which we were bearing. He was a person picked up in a hurry, the former captain having resigned his command on the ground that the ship was not seaworthy, and that the engines were frequently unserviceable. I was not acquainted with these circumstances at the time, or perhaps I should have felt more alarmed than I did, when I saw the vessel approaching nearer and nearer the shore, till at last we were only a few hundred yards distant. As it was, however, I felt very much surprised; for having passed it twice before, both times in steam vessels, and having seen with what care the captains endeavoured to maintain a wide offing, I could not conceive the reason of our being now so near this dangerous region. The wind was blowing hard towards the shore, if that can be called a shore which consists of steep abrupt precipices, on which the surf was breaking with the noise of thunder, tossing up clouds of spray and foam to the height of a cathedral. We coasted slowly along, rounding several tall forelands, some of them piled up by the hand of nature in the most fantastic shapes. About nightfall Cape Finisterre was not far ahead,—a bluff, brown, granite mountain, whose frowning head may be seen far away by those who traverse the ocean. The stream which poured round its breast was terrific, and though our engines plied with all their force, we made little or no way.

By about eight o'clock at night the wind had increased to a hurricane, the thunder rolled frightfully, and the only light which we had to guide us on our way was the red forked lightning, which burst at times from the bosom of the big black clouds which lowered over our heads. We were exerting ourselves to the utmost to weather the cape, which we could descry by the lightning on our lee, its brow being frequently brilliantly lighted up by the flashes which quivered around it, when suddenly, with a great crash, the engine broke, and the paddles, on which depended our lives, ceased to play.

I will not attempt to depict the scene of horror and confusion which ensued; it may be imagined, but never described. The captain, to give him his due, displayed the utmost coolness and intrepidity; he and the whole crew made the greatest exertions to repair the engine, and when they found their labour in vain, endeavoured, by hoisting the sails, and by practising all possible manoeuvres, to preserve the ship from impending destruction; but all was of no avail, we were hard on a lee shore, to which the howling tempest was impelling us. About this time I was standing near the helm, and I asked the steersman if there was any hope of saving the vessel, or our lives. He replied, "Sir, it is a bad affair, no boat could live for a minute in this sea, and in less than an hour the ship will have her broadside on Finisterre, where the strongest man-of-war ever built must go to shivers instantly— none of us will see the morning." The captain, likewise, informed the other passengers in the cabin to the same effect, telling them to prepare themselves; and having done so, he ordered the door to be fastened, and none to be permitted to come on deck. I, however, kept my station, though almost drowned with water, immense waves continually breaking over our windward side and flooding the ship. The water casks broke from their lashings, and one of them struck me down, and crushed the foot of the unfortunate man at the helm, whose place was instantly taken by the captain. We were now close to the rocks, when a horrid convulsion of the elements took place. The lightning enveloped us as with a mantle, the thunders were louder than the roar of a million cannon, the dregs of the ocean seemed to be cast up, and in the midst of all this turmoil, the wind, without the slightest intimation, VEERED RIGHT ABOUT, and pushed us from the horrible coast faster than it had previously driven us towards it.

The oldest sailors on board acknowledged that they had never witnessed so providential an escape. I said, from the bottom of my heart, "Our Father—hallowed be thy name."

The next day we were near foundering, for the sea was exceedingly high, and our vessel, which was not intended for sailing, laboured terribly, and leaked much. The pumps were continually working. She likewise took fire, but the flames were extinguished. In the evening the steam-engine was partially repaired, and we reached Lisbon on the thirteenth, where in a few days we completed our repairs.

I found my excellent friend W- in good health. During my absence he had been doing everything in his power to further the sale of the sacred volume in Portuguese: his zeal and devotedness were quite admirable. The distracted state of the country, however, during the last six months, had sadly impeded his efforts. The minds of the people had been so engrossed with politics, that they found scarcely any time to think of the welfare of their souls. The political history of Portugal had of late afforded a striking parallel to that of the neighbouring country. In both a struggle for supremacy had arisen between the court and the democratic party; in both the latter had triumphed, whilst two distinguished individuals had fallen a sacrifice to the popular fury—Freire in Portugal, and Quesada in Spain. The news which reached me at Lisbon from the latter country was rather startling. The hordes of Gomez were ravaging Andalusia, which I was about to visit on my way to Madrid; Cordova had been sacked and abandoned after a three days' occupation by the Carlists. I was told that if I persisted in my attempt to enter Spain in the direction which I proposed, I should probably fall into their hands at Seville. I had, however, no fears, and had full confidence that the Lord would open the path before me to Madrid.

The vessel being repaired, we again embarked, and in two days arrived in safety at Cadiz. I found great confusion reigning there; numerous bands of the factious were reported to be hovering in the neighbourhood. An attack was not deemed improbable, and the place had just been declared in a state of siege. I took up my abode at the French hotel in the Calle de la Niveria, and was allotted a species of cockloft, or garret, to sleep in, for the house was filled with guests, being a place of much resort, on account of the excellent table d'hote which is kept there. I dressed myself and walked about the town. I entered several coffee-houses: the din of tongues in all was deafening. In one no less than six orators were haranguing at the same time on the state of the country, and the probability of an intervention on the part of England and France. As I was listening to one of them, he suddenly called upon me for my opinion, as I was a foreigner, and seemingly just arrived. I replied that I could not venture to guess what steps the two governments would pursue under the present circumstances, but thought that it would be as well if the Spaniards would exert themselves more and call less on Jupiter. As I did not wish to engage in any political conversation, I instantly quitted the house, and sought those parts of the town where the lower classes principally reside.

I entered into discourse with several individuals, but found them very ignorant; none could read or write, and their ideas respecting religion were anything but satisfactory,—most professing a perfect indifference. I afterwards went into a bookseller's shop and made inquiries respecting the demand for literature, which, he informed me, was small. I produced a London edition of the New Testament in Spanish, and asked the bookseller whether he thought a book of that description would sell in Cadiz. He said that both the type and paper were exceedingly beautiful, but that it was a work not sought after, and very little known. I did not pursue my inquiries in other shops, for I reflected that I was not likely to receive a very favourable opinion from booksellers respecting a publication in which they had no interest. I had, moreover, but two or three copies of the New Testament with me, and could not have supplied them had they even given me an order.

Early on the twenty-fourth, I embarked for Seville in the small Spanish steamer the Betis: the morning was wet, and the aspect of nature was enveloped in a dense mist, which prevented my observing surrounding objects. After proceeding about six leagues, we reached the north-eastern extremity of the Bay of Cadiz, and passed by Saint Lucar, an ancient town near to the spot where the Guadalquivir disembogues itself. The mist suddenly disappeared, and the sun of Spain burst forth in full brilliancy, enlivening all around, and particularly myself, who had till then been lying on the deck in a dull melancholy stupor. We entered the mouth of "The Great River," for that is the English translation of Oued al Kiber, as the Moors designated the ancient Betis. We came to anchor for a few minutes at a little village called Bonanca, at the extremity of the first reach of the river, where we received several passengers, and again proceeded. There is not much in the appearance of the Guadalquivir to interest the traveller: the banks are low and destitute of trees, the adjacent country is flat, and only in the distance is seen a range of tall blue sierras. The water is turbid and muddy, and in colour closely resembling the contents of a duck- pool; the average width of the stream is from a hundred and fifty to two hundred yards, but it is impossible to move along this river without remembering that it has borne the Roman, the Vandal, and the Arab, and has been the witness of deeds which have resounded through the world and been the themes of immortal songs. I repeated Latin verses and fragments of old Spanish ballads till we reached Seville, at about nine o'clock of a lovely moonlight night.

Seville contains ninety thousand inhabitants, and is situated on the eastern bank of the Guadalquivir, about eighteen leagues from its mouth; it is surrounded with high Moorish walls, in a good state of preservation, and built of such durable materials that it is probable they will for many centuries still bid defiance to the encroachments of time. The most remarkable edifices are the cathedral and Alcazar, or palace of the Moorish kings; the tower of the former, called La Giralda, belongs to the period of the Moors, and formed part of the grand mosque of Seville: it is computed to be one hundred ells in height, and is ascended not by stairs or ladders but by a vaulted pathway, in the manner of an inclined plane: this path is by no means steep, so that a cavalier might ride up to the top, a feat which Ferdinand the Seventh is said to have accomplished. The view from the summit is very extensive, and on a fine clear day the mountain ridge, called the Sierra de Ronda, may be discovered, though upwards of twenty leagues distant. The cathedral itself is a noble Gothic structure, reputed the finest of the kind in Spain. In the chapels allotted to the various saints are some of the most magnificent paintings which Spanish art has produced; indeed the Cathedral of Seville is at the present time far more rich in splendid paintings than at any former period; possessing many very recently removed from some of the suppressed convents, particularly from the Capuchin and San Francisco.

No one should visit Seville without paying particular attention to the Alcazar, that splendid specimen of Moorish architecture. It contains many magnificent halls, particularly that of the ambassadors, so called, which is in every respect more magnificent than the one of the same name within the Alhambra of Granada. This palace was a favourite residence of Peter the Cruel, who carefully repaired it without altering its Moorish character and appearance. It probably remains in much the same state as at the time of his death.

On the right side of the river is a large suburb, called Triana, communicating with Seville by means of a bridge of boats; for there is no permanent bridge across the Guadalquivir, owing to the violent inundations to which it is subject. This suburb is inhabited by the dregs of the populace, and abounds with Gitanos or Gypsies. About a league and a half to the north-west stands the village of Santo Ponce: at the foot and on the side of some elevated ground higher up are to be seen vestiges of ruined walls and edifices, which once formed part of Italica, the birth-place of Silius Italicus and Trajan, from which latter personage Triana derives its name.

One fine morning I walked thither, and having ascended the hill, I directed my course northward. I soon reached what had once been bagnios, and a little farther on, in a kind of valley between two gentle declivities, the amphitheatre. This latter object is by far the most considerable relic of ancient Italica; it is oval in its form, with two gateways fronting the east and west.

On all sides are to be seen the time-worn broken granite benches, from whence myriads of human beings once gazed down on the area below, where the gladiator shouted, and the lion and the leopard yelled: all around, beneath these flights of benches, are vaulted excavations from whence the combatants, part human part bestial, darted forth by their several doors. I spent many hours in this singular place, forcing my way through the wild fennel and brushwood into the caverns, now the haunts of adders and other reptiles, whose hissings I heard. Having sated my curiosity, I left the ruins, and returning by another way, reached a place where lay the carcass of a horse half devoured; upon it, with lustrous eyes, stood an enormous vulture, who, as I approached, slowly soared aloft till he alighted on the eastern gate of the amphitheatre, from whence he uttered a hoarse cry, as if in anger that I had disturbed him from his feast of carrion.

Gomez had not hitherto paid a visit to Seville: when I arrived he was said to be in the neighbourhood of Ronda. The city was under watch and ward: several gates had been blocked up with masonry, trenches dug, and redoubts erected, but I am convinced that the place would not have held out six hours against a resolute attack. Gomez had proved himself to be a most extraordinary man, and with his small army of Aragonese and Basques had, within the last four months, made the tour of Spain. He had very frequently been hemmed in by forces three times the number of his own, in places whence escape appeared impossible, but he had always battled his enemies, whom he seemed to laugh at. The most absurd accounts of victories gained over him were continually issuing from the press at Seville; amongst others, it was stated that his army had been utterly defeated, himself killed, and that twelve hundred prisoners were on their way to Saville. I saw these prisoners: instead of twelve hundred desperadoes, they consisted of about twenty poor lame ragged wretches, many of them boys from fourteen to sixteen years of age. They were evidently camp followers, who, unable to keep up with the army, had been picked up straggling in the plains and amongst the hills.

It subsequently appeared that no battle had occurred, and that the death of Gomez was a fiction. The grand defect of Gomez consisted in not knowing how to take advantage of circumstances: after defeating Lopez, he might have marched to Madrid and proclaimed Don Carlos there, and after sacking Cordova he might have captured Seville.

There were several booksellers' shops at Seville, in two of which I found copies of the New Testament in Spanish, which had been obtained from Gibraltar about two years before, since which time six copies had been sold in one shop and four in the other. The person who generally accompanied me in my walks about the town and the neighbourhood, was an elderly Genoese, who officiated as a kind of valet de place in the Posada del Turco, where I had taken up my residence. On learning from me that it was my intention to bring out an edition of the New Testament at Madrid, he observed that copies of the work might be extensively circulated in Andalusia. "I have been accustomed to bookselling," he continued, "and at one time possessed a small shop of my own in this place. Once having occasion to go to Gibraltar, I procured several copies of the Scriptures; some, it is true, were seized by the officers of the customs, but the rest I sold at a high price, and with considerable profit to myself."

I had returned from a walk in the country, on a glorious sunshiny morning of the Andalusian winter, and was directing my steps towards my lodging: as I was passing by the portal of a large gloomy house near the gate of Xeres, two individuals dressed in zamarras emerged from the archway, and were about to cross my path, when one, looking in my face, suddenly started back, exclaiming in the purest and most melodious French: "What do I see? If my eyes do not deceive me—it is himself. Yes, the very same as I saw him first at Bayonne; then long subsequently beneath the brick wall at Novogorod; then beside the Bosphorus; and last at—at—Oh, my respectable and cherished friend, where was it that I had last the felicity of seeing your well-remembered and most remarkable physiognomy?"

Myself.—It was in the south of Ireland, if I mistake not. Was it not there that I introduced you to the sorcerer who tamed the savage horses by a single whisper into their ear? But tell me what brings you to Spain and Andalusia, the last place where I should have expected to find you?

Baron Taylor.—And wherefore, my most respectable B-? Is not Spain the land of the arts; and is not Andalusia of all Spain that portion which has produced the noblest monuments of artistic excellence and inspiration? Surely you know enough of me to be aware that the arts are my passion; that I am incapable of imagining a more exalted enjoyment than to gaze in adoration on a noble picture. O come with me! for you too have a soul capable of appreciating what is lovely and exalted; a soul delicate and sensitive. Come with me, and I will show you a Murillo, such as -. But first allow me to introduce you to your compatriot. My dear Monsieur W., turning to his companion (an English gentleman from whom and from his family I subsequently experienced unbounded kindness and hospitality on various occasions, and at different periods at Seville), allow me to introduce to you my most cherished and respectable friend, one who is better acquainted with Gypsy ways than the Chef des Bohemiens a Triana, one who is an expert whisperer and horse-sorcerer, and who, to his honour I say it, can wield hammer and tongs, and handle a horse-shoe with the best of the smiths amongst the Alpujarras of Granada.

In the course of my travels I have formed various friendships and acquaintances, but no one has more interested me than Baron Taylor, and there is no one for whom I entertain a greater esteem and regard. To personal and mental accomplishments of the highest order he unites a kindness of heart rarely to be met with, and which is continually inducing him to seek for opportunities of doing good to his fellow creatures, and of contributing to their happiness; perhaps no person in existence has seen more of the world and life in its various phases than himself. His manners are naturally to the highest degree courtly, yet he nevertheless possesses a disposition so pliable that he finds no difficulty in accommodating himself to all kinds of company, in consequence of which he is a universal favourite. There is a mystery about him, which, wherever he goes, serves not a little to increase the sensation naturally created by his appearance and manner. Who he is, no one pretends to assert with downright positiveness: it is whispered, however, that he is a scion of royalty; and who can gaze for a moment upon that most graceful figure, that most intelligent but singularly moulded countenance, and those large and expressive eyes, without feeling as equally convinced that he is of no common lineage, as that he is no common man. Though possessed of talents and eloquence which would speedily have enabled him to attain to an illustrious position in the state, he has hitherto, and perhaps wisely, contented himself with comparative obscurity, chiefly devoting himself to the study of the arts and of literature, of both of which he is a most bounteous patron.

He has, notwithstanding, been employed by the illustrious house to which he is said to be related in more than one delicate and important mission, both in the East and the West, in which his efforts have uniformly been crowned with complete success. He was now collecting masterpieces of the Spanish school of painting, which were destined to adorn the saloons of the Tuileries.

He has visited most portions of the earth, and it is remarkable enough that we are continually encountering each other in strange places and under singular circumstances. Whenever he descries me, whether in the street or the desert, the brilliant hall or amongst Bedouin haimas, at Novogorod or Stambul, he flings up his arms and exclaims, "O ciel! I have again the felicity of seeing my cherished and most respectable B-."



CHAPTER XVI



Departure for Cordova—Carmona—German Colonies—Language—The Sluggish Horse—Nocturnal Welcome—Carlist Landlord—Good Advice— Gomez—The Old Genoese—The Two Opinions.

After a sojourn of about fourteen days at Seville, I departed for Cordova. The diligence had for some time past ceased running, owing to the disturbed state of the province. I had therefore no resource but to proceed thither on horseback. I hired a couple of horses, and engaged the old Genoese, of whom I have already had occasion to speak, to attend me as far as Cordova, and to bring them back. Notwithstanding we were now in the depths of winter, the weather was beautiful, the days sunny and brilliant, though the nights were rather keen. We passed by the little town of Alcala, celebrated for the ruins of an immense Moorish castle, which stand on a rocky hill, overhanging a picturesque river. The first night we slept at Carmona, another Moorish town, distant about seven leagues from Seville. Early in the morning we again mounted and departed. Perhaps in the whole of Spain there is scarcely a finer Moorish monument of antiquity than the eastern side of this town of Carmona, which occupies the brow of a lofty hill, and frowns over an extensive vega or plain, which extends for leagues unplanted and uncultivated, producing nothing but brushwood and carasco. Here rise tall and dusky walls, with square towers at short distances, of so massive a structure that they would seem to bid defiance alike to the tooth of time and the hand of man. This town, in the time of the Moors, was considered the key to Seville, and did not submit to the Christian arms till after a long and desperate siege: the capture of Seville followed speedily after. The vega upon which we now entered forms a part of the grand despoblado or desert of Andalusia, once a smiling garden, but which became what it now is on the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, when it was drained almost entirely of its population. The towns and villages from hence to the Sierra Morena, which divides Andalusia from La Mancha, are few and far between, and even of these several date from the middle of the last century, when an attempt was made by a Spanish minister to people this wilderness with the children of a foreign land.

At about midday we arrived at a place called Moncloa, which consisted of a venta, and a desolate-looking edifice which had something of the appearance of a chateau: a solitary palm tree raised its head over the outer wall. We entered the venta, tied our horses to the manger, and having ordered barley for them, we sat down before a large fire, which burned in the middle of the venta. The host and hostess also came and sat down beside us. "They are evil people," said the old Genoese to me in Italian, "and this is an evil house; it is a harbouring place for thieves, and murders have been committed here, if all tales be true." I looked at these two people attentively; they were both young, the man apparently about twenty-five years of age. He was a short thick- made churl, evidently of prodigious strength; his features were rather handsome, but with a gloomy expression, and his eyes were full of sullen fire. His wife somewhat resembled him, but had a countenance more open and better tempered; but what struck me as most singular in connexion with these people, was the colour of their hair and complexion; the latter was fair and ruddy, and the former of a bright auburn, both in striking contrast to the black hair and swarthy visages which in general distinguish the natives of this province. "Are you an Andalusian?" said I to the hostess. "I should almost conclude you to be a German."

Hostess.—And your worship would not be very wrong. It is true that I am a Spaniard, being born in Spain, but it is equally true that I am of German blood, for my grandparents came from Germany, even like those of this gentleman, my lord and husband.

Myself.—And what chance brought your grandparents into this country?

Hostess.—Did your worship never hear of the German colonies? There are many of them in these parts. In old times the land was nearly deserted, and it was very dangerous for travellers to journey along the waste, owing to the robbers. So along time ago, nearly a hundred years, as I am told, some potent lord sent messengers to Germany, to tell the people there what a goodly land there was in these parts uncultivated for want of hands, and to promise every labourer who would consent to come and till it, a house and a yoke of oxen, with food and provision for one year. And in consequence of this invitation a great many poor families left the German land and came hither, and settled down in certain towns and villages which had been prepared for them, which places were called German colonies, and this name they still retain.

Myself.—And how many of these colonies may there be?

Hostess.—There are several, both on this side of Cordova and the other. The nearest is Luisiana, about two leagues from hence, from which place both my husband and myself come; the next is Carlota, which is some ten leagues distant, and these are the only colonies of our people which I have seen; but there are others farther on, and some, as I have heard say, in the very heart of the Sierra Morena.

Myself.—And do the colonists still retain the language of their forefathers?

Hostess.—We speak Spanish, or rather Andalusian, and no other language. A few, indeed, amongst the very old people, retain a few words of German, which they acquired from their fathers, who were born in the other country: but the last person amongst the colonists who could understand a conversation in German, was the aunt of my mother, who came over when a girl. When I was a child I remember her conversing with a foreign traveller, a countryman of hers, in a language which I was told was German, and they understood each other, though the old woman confessed that she had lost many words: she has now been dead several years.

Myself.—Of what religion are the colonists?

Hostess.—They are Christians, like the Spaniards, and so were their fathers before them. Indeed, I have heard that they came from a part of Germany where the Christian religion is as much practised as in Spain itself.

Myself.—The Germans are the most honest people in the world: being their legitimate descendants you have of course no thieves amongst you.

The hostess glanced at me for a moment, then looked at her husband and smiled: the latter, who had hitherto been smoking without uttering a word, though with a peculiarly surly and dissatisfied countenance, now flung the remainder of his cigar amongst the embers, then springing up he muttered "Disparate!" and "Conversacion!" and went abroad.

"You touched them in the sore place, Signor," said the Genoese, after we had left Moncloa some way behind us. "Were they honest people they would not keep that venta; and as for the colonists, I know not what kind of people they might be when they first came over, but at present their ways are not a bit better than those of the Andalusians, but rather worse, if there is any difference at all."

A short time before sunset of the third day after our departure from Seville, we found ourselves at the Cuesta del Espinal, or hill of the thorn tree, at about two leagues from Cordova;—we could just descry the walls of the city, upon which the last beams of the descending luminary were resting. As the neighbourhood in which we were was, according to the account of my guide, generally infested with robbers, we used our best endeavours to reach the town before the night should have entirely closed in. We did not succeed, however, and before we had proceeded half the distance, pitchy darkness overtook us. Throughout the journey we had been considerably delayed by the badness of our horses, especially that of my attendant, which appeared to pay no regard to whip or spur; his rider also was no horseman, it being thirty years, as he at length confessed to me, since he last mounted in a saddle. Horses soon become aware of the powers of their riders, and the brute in question was disposed to take great advantage of the fears and weakness of the old man. There is a remedy, however, for most things in this world. I became so wearied at last at the snail's pace at which we were proceeding, that I fastened the bridle of the sluggish horse to the crupper of mine, then sparing neither spur nor cudgel, I soon forced my own horse into a kind of trot, which compelled the other to make some use of his legs. He twice attempted to fling himself down, to the great terror of his aged rider, who frequently entreated me to stop and permit him to dismount. I, however, took no notice of what he said, but continued spurring and cudgelling with unabated activity, and with such success, that in less than half an hour we saw lights close before us, and presently came to a river and a bridge, which crossing, we found ourselves at the gate of Cordova, without having broken either our horses' knees or our own necks.

We passed through the entire length of the town ere we reached the posada; the streets were dark and almost entirely deserted. The posada was a large building, the windows of which were well fenced with rejas, or iron grating: no light gleamed from them, and the silence of death not only seemed to pervade the house, but the street in which it was situated. We knocked for a long time at the gate without receiving any answer; we then raised our voices and shouted. At last some one from within inquired what we wanted. "Open the door and you will see," we replied. "I shall do no such thing," answered the individual from within, "until I know who you are." "We are travellers," said I, "from Seville." "Travellers, are you," said the voice; "why did you not tell me so before? I am not porter at this house to keep out travellers. Jesus Maria knows we have not so many of them that we need repulse any. Enter, cavalier, and welcome, you and your company."

He opened the gate and admitted us into a spacious courtyard, and then forthwith again secured the gate with various bolts and bars. "Are you afraid that the Carlists should pay you a visit," I demanded, "that you take so much precaution?" "It is not the Carlists we are afraid of," replied the porter; "they have been here already, and did us no damage whatever. It is certain scoundrels of this town that we are afraid of, who have a spite against the master of the house, and would murder both him and his family, could they but find an opportunity."

I was about to inquire the cause of this enmity, when a thick bulky man, bearing a light in his hand, came running down a stone staircase, which led into the interior of the building. Two or three females, also bearing lights, followed him. He stopped on the lowest stair. "Whom have we here?" he exclaimed; then advancing the lamp which he bore, the light fell full upon my face. "Ola!" he exclaimed; "Is it you? Only think," said he, turning to the female who stood next him, a dark-featured person, stout as himself, and about his own age, which might border upon fifty; "Only think, my dear, that at the very moment we were wishing for a guest an Englishman should be standing before our doors; for I should know an Englishman at a mile's distance, even in the dark. Juanito," cried he to the porter, "open not the gate any more to- night, whoever may ask for admission. Should the nationals come to make any disturbance, tell them that the son of Belington (Wellington) is in the house ready to attack them sword in hand unless they retire; and should other travellers arrive, which is not likely, inasmuch as we have seen none for a month past, say that we have no room, all our apartments being occupied by an English gentleman and his company."

I soon found that my friend the posadero was a most egregious Carlist. Before I had finished supper—during which both himself and all his family were present, surrounding the little table at which I sat, and observing my every motion, particularly the manner in which I handled my knife and fork and conveyed the food to my mouth—he commenced talking politics: "I am of no particular opinion, Don Jorge," said he, for he had inquired my name in order that he might address me in a suitable manner; "I am of no particular opinion, and I hold neither for King Carlos nor for the Chica Isabel: nevertheless, I lead the life of a dog in this accursed Christino town, which I would have left long ago, had it not been the place of my birth, and did I but know whither to betake myself. Ever since the troubles have commenced, I have been afraid to stir into the street, for no sooner do the canaille of the town see me turning round a corner, than they forthwith exclaim, 'Halloo, the Carlist!' and then there is a run and a rush, and stones and cudgels are in great requisition: so that unless I can escape home, which is no easy matter, seeing that I weigh eighteen stone, my life is poured out in the street, which is neither decent nor convenient, as I think you will acknowledge, Don Jorge! You see that young man," he continued, pointing to a tall swarthy youth who stood behind my chair, officiating as waiter; "he is my fourth son, is married, and does not live in the house, but about a hundred yards down the street. He was summoned in a hurry to wait upon your worship, as is his duty: know, however, that he has come at the peril of his life: before he leaves this house he must peep into the street to see if the coast is clear, and then he must run like a partridge to his own door. Carlists! why should they call my family and myself Carlists? It is true that my eldest son was a friar, and when the convents were suppressed betook himself to the royal ranks, in which he has been fighting upwards of three years; could I help that? Nor was it my fault, I trow, that my second son enlisted the other day with Gomez and the royalists when they entered Cordova. God prosper him, I say; but I did not bid him go! So far from being a Carlist, it was I who persuaded this very lad who is present to remain here, though he would fain have gone with his brother, for he is a brave lad and a true Christian. Stay at home, said I, for what can I do without you? Who is to wait upon the guests when it pleases God to send them. Stay at home, at least till your brother, my third son, comes back, for, to my shame be it spoken, Don Jorge, I have a son a soldier and a sergeant in the Christino armies, sorely against his own inclination, poor fellow, for he likes not the military life, and I have been soliciting his discharge for years; indeed, I have counselled him to maim himself, in order that he might procure his liberty forthwith; so I said to this lad, Stay at home, my child, till your brother comes to take your place and prevent our bread being eaten by strangers, who would perhaps sell me and betray me; so my son staid at home as you see, Don Jorge, at my request, and yet they call me a Carlist?"

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