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The Bible in Spain by George Borrow

Part 6 out of 12

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had spent the day. Nothing could be more picturesque than the
appearance of this spot: steep hills, thickly clad with groves and
forests of chestnuts, surrounded it on every side; the village
itself was almost embowered in trees, and close beside it ran a
purling brook. Here we found a tolerably large and commodious

I was languid and fatigued, but felt little desire to sleep.
Antonio cooked our supper, or rather his own, for I had no
appetite. I sat by the door, gazing on the wood-covered heights
above me, or on the waters of the rivulet, occasionally listening
to the people who lounged about the house, conversing in the
country dialect. What a strange tongue is the Gallegan, with its
half singing half whining accent, and with its confused jumble of
words from many languages, but chiefly from the Spanish and
Portuguese. "Can you understand this conversation?" I demanded of
Antonio, who had by this time rejoined me. "I cannot, mon maitre,"
he replied; "I have acquired at various times a great many words
amongst the Gallegan domestics in the kitchens where I have
officiated as cook, but am quite unable to understand any long
conversation. I have heard the Gallegans say that in no two
villages is it spoken in one and the same manner, and that very
frequently they do not understand each other. The worst of this
language is, that everybody on first hearing it thinks that nothing
is more easy than to understand it, as words are continually
occurring which he has heard before: but these merely serve to
bewilder and puzzle him, causing him to misunderstand everything
that is said; whereas, if he were totally ignorant of the tongue,
he would occasionally give a shrewd guess at what was meant, as I
myself frequently do when I hear Basque spoken, though the only
word which I know of that language is jaunguicoa."

As the night closed in I retired to bed, where I remained four or
five hours, restless and tossing about; the fever of Leon still
clinging to my system. It was considerably past midnight when,
just as I was sinking into a slumber, I was aroused by a confused
noise in the village, and the glare of lights through the lattice
of the window of the room where I lay; presently entered Antonio,
half dressed. "Mon maitre," said he, "the grand post from Madrid
to Coruna has just arrived in the village, attended by a
considerable escort, and an immense number of travellers. The road
they say, between here and Lugo, is infested with robbers and
Carlists, who are committing all kinds of atrocities; let us,
therefore, avail ourselves of the opportunity, and by midday to-
morrow we shall find ourselves safe in Lugo." On hearing these
words, I instantly sprang out of bed and dressed myself, telling
Antonio to prepare the horses with all speed.

We were soon mounted and in the street, amidst a confused throng of
men and quadrupeds. The light of a couple of flambeaux, which were
borne before the courier, shone on the arms of several soldiers,
seemingly drawn up on either side of the road; the darkness,
however, prevented me from distinguishing objects very clearly.
The courier himself was mounted on a little shaggy pony; before and
behind him were two immense portmanteaux, or leather sacks, the
ends of which nearly touched the ground. For about a quarter of an
hour there was much hubbub, shouting, and trampling, at the end of
which period the order was given to proceed. Scarcely had we left
the village when the flambeaux were extinguished, and we were left
in almost total darkness; for some time we were amongst woods and
trees, as was evident from the rustling of leaves on every side.
My horse was very uneasy and neighed fearfully, occasionally
raising himself bolt upright. "If your horse is not more quiet,
cavalier, we shall be obliged to shoot him," said a voice in an
Andalusian accent; "he disturbs the whole cavalcade." "That would
be a pity, sergeant," I replied, "for he is a Cordovese by the four
sides; he is not used to the ways of this barbarous country." "Oh,
he is a Cordovese," said the voice, "vaya, I did not know that; I
am from Cordova myself. Pobrecito! let me pat him--yes, I know by
his coat that he is my countryman--shoot him, indeed! vaya, I would
fain see the Gallegan devil who would dare to harm him. Barbarous
country, io lo creo: neither oil nor olives, bread nor barley.
You have been at Cordova. Vaya; oblige me, cavalier, by taking
this cigar."

In this manner we proceeded for several hours, up hill and down
dale, but generally at a very slow pace. The soldiers who escorted
us from time to time sang patriotic songs, breathing love and
attachment to the young Queen Isabel, and detestation of the grim
tyrant Carlos. One of the stanzas which reached my ears, ran
something in the following style:-

"Don Carlos is a hoary churl,
Of cruel heart and cold;
But Isabel's a harmless girl,
Of only six years old."

At last the day began to break, and I found myself amidst a train
of two or three hundred people, some on foot, but the greater part
mounted, either on mules or the pony mares: I could not
distinguish a single horse except my own and Antonio's. A few
soldiers were thinly scattered along the road. The country was
hilly, but less mountainous and picturesque than the one which we
had traversed the preceding day; it was for the most part
partitioned into small fields, which were planted with maize. At
the distance of every two or three leagues we changed our escort,
at some village where was stationed a detachment. The villages
were mostly an assemblage of wretched cabins; the roofs were
thatched, dank, and moist, and not unfrequently covered with rank
vegetation. There were dunghills before the doors, and no lack of
pools and puddles. Immense swine were stalking about, intermingled
with naked children. The interior of the cabins corresponded with
their external appearance: they were filled with filth and misery.

We reached Lugo about two hours past noon: during the last two or
three leagues, I became so overpowered with weariness, the result
of want of sleep and my late illness, that I was continually dozing
in my saddle, so that I took but little notice of what was passing.
We put up at a large posada without the wall of the town, built
upon a steep bank, and commanding an extensive view of the country
towards the east. Shortly after our arrival, the rain began to
descend in torrents, and continued without intermission during the
next two days, which was, however, to me but a slight source of
regret, as I passed the entire time in bed, and I may almost say in
slumber. On the evening of the third day I arose.

There was much bustle in the house, caused by the arrival of a
family from Coruna; they came in a large jaunting car, escorted by
four carabineers. The family was rather numerous, consisting of a
father, son, and eleven daughters, the eldest of whom might be
about eighteen. A shabby-looking fellow, dressed in a jerkin and
wearing a high-crowned hat, attended as domestic. They arrived
very wet and shivering, and all seemed very disconsolate,
especially the father, who was a well-looking middle-aged man.
"Can we be accommodated?" he demanded in a gentle voice of the man
of the house; "can we be accommodated in this fonda?"

"Certainly, your worship," replied the other; "our house is large.
How many apartments does your worship require for your family?"

"One will be sufficient," replied the stranger.

The host, who was a gouty personage and leaned upon a stick, looked
for a moment at the traveller, then at every member of his family,
not forgetting the domestic, and, without any farther comment than
a slight shrug, led the way to the door of an apartment containing
two or three flock beds, and which on my arrival I had objected to
as being small, dark, and incommodious; this he flung open, and
demanded whether it would serve.

"It is rather small," replied the gentleman; "I think, however,
that it will do."

"I am glad of it," replied the host. "Shall we make any
preparations for the supper of your worship and family?"

"No, I thank you," replied the stranger, "my own domestic will
prepare the slight refreshment we are in need of."

The key was delivered to the domestic, and the whole family
ensconced themselves in their apartment: before, however, this was
effected, the escort were dismissed, the principal carabineer being
presented with a peseta. The man stood surveying the gratuity for
about half a minute, as it glittered in the palm of his hand; then
with an abrupt Vamos! he turned upon his heel, and without a word
of salutation to any person, departed with the men under his

"Who can these strangers be?" said I to the host, as we sat
together in a large corridor open on one side, and which occupied
the entire front of the house.

"I know not," he replied, "but by their escort I suppose they are
people holding some official situation. They are not of this
province, however, and I more than suspect them to be Andalusians."

In a few minutes the door of the apartment occupied by the
strangers was opened, and the domestic appeared bearing a cruse in
his hand. "Pray, Senor Patron," demanded he, "where can I buy some

"There is oil in the house," replied the host, "if you want to
purchase any; but if, as is probable, you suppose that we shall
gain a cuarto by selling it, you will find some over the way. It
is as I suspected," continued the host, when the man had departed
on his errand, "they are Andalusians, and are about to make what
they call gaspacho, on which they will all sup. Oh, the meanness
of these Andalusians! they are come here to suck the vitals of
Galicia, and yet envy the poor innkeeper the gain of a cuarto in
the oil which they require for their gaspacho. I tell you one
thing, master, when that fellow returns, and demands bread and
garlic to mix with the oil, I will tell him there is none in the
house: as he has bought the oil abroad, so he may the bread and
garlic; aye, and the water too for that matter."


Lugo--The Baths--A Family History--Miguelets--The Three Heads--A
Farrier--English Squadron--Sale of Testaments--Coruna--The
Recognition--Luigi Piozzi--The Speculation--A Blank Prospect--John

At Lugo I found a wealthy bookseller, to whom I brought a letter of
recommendation from Madrid. He willingly undertook the sale of my
books. The Lord deigned to favour my feeble exertions in his cause
at Lugo. I brought thither thirty Testaments, all of which were
disposed of in one day; the bishop of the place, for Lugo is an
episcopal see, purchasing two copies for himself, whilst several
priests and ex-friars, instead of following the example of their
brethren at Leon, by persecuting the work, spoke well of it and
recommended its perusal. I was much grieved that my stock of these
holy books was exhausted, there being a great demand; and had I
been able to supply them, quadruple the quantity might have been
sold during the few days that I continued at Lugo.

Lugo contains about six thousand inhabitants. It is situated on
lofty ground, and is defended by ancient walls. It possesses no
very remarkable edifice, and the cathedral church itself is a small
mean building. In the centre of the town is the principal square,
a light cheerful place, not surrounded by those heavy cumbrous
buildings with which the Spaniards both in ancient and modern times
have encircled their plazas. It is singular enough that Lugo, at
present a place of very little importance, should at one period
have been the capital of Spain: yet such it was in the time of the
Romans, who, as they were a people not much guided by caprice, had
doubtless very excellent reasons for the preference which they gave
to the locality.

There are many Roman remains in the vicinity of this place, the
most remarkable of which are the ruins of the ancient medicinal
baths, which stand on the southern side of the river Minho, which
creeps through the valley beneath the town. The Minho in this
place is a dark and sullen stream, with high, precipitous, and
thickly wooded banks.

One evening I visited the baths, accompanied by my friend the
bookseller. They had been built over warm springs which flow into
the river. Notwithstanding their ruinous condition, they were
crowded with sick, hoping to derive benefit from the waters, which
are still famed for their sanative power. These patients exhibited
a strange spectacle as, wrapped in flannel gowns much resembling
shrouds, they lay immersed in the tepid waters amongst disjointed
stones, and overhung with steam and reek.

Three or four days after my arrival I was seated in the corridor
which, as I have already observed, occupied the entire front of the
house. The sky was unclouded, and the sun shone most gloriously,
enlivening every object around. Presently the door of the
apartment in which the strangers were lodged opened, and forth
walked the whole family, with the exception of the father, who, I
presumed, was absent on business. The shabby domestic brought up
the rear, and on leaving the apartment, carefully locked the door,
and secured the key in his pocket. The one son and the eleven
daughters were all dressed remarkably well: the boy something
after the English fashion, in jacket and trousers, the young ladies
in spotless white: they were, upon the whole, a very good-looking
family, with dark eyes and olive complexions, but the eldest
daughter was remarkably handsome. They arranged themselves upon
the benches of the corridor, the shabby domestic sitting down
amongst them without any ceremony whatever. They continued for
some time in silence, gazing with disconsolate looks upon the
houses of the suburb and the dark walls of the town, until the
eldest daughter, or senorita as she was called, broke silence with
an "Ay Dios mio!"

Domestic.--Ay Dios mio! we have found our way to a pretty country.

Myself.--I really can see nothing so very bad in the country, which
is by nature the richest in all Spain, and the most abundant. True
it is that the generality of the inhabitants are wretchedly poor,
but they themselves are to blame, and not the country.

Domestic.--Cavalier, the country is a horrible one, say nothing to
the contrary. We are all frightened, the young ladies, the young
gentleman, and myself; even his worship is frightened, and says
that we are come to this country for our sins. It rains every day,
and this is almost the first time that we have seen the sun since
our arrival, it rains continually, and one cannot step out without
being up to the ankles in fango; and then, again, there is not a
house to be found.

Myself.--I scarcely understand you. There appears to be no lack of
houses in this neighbourhood.

Domestic.--Excuse me, sir. His worship hired yesterday a house,
for which he engaged to pay fourteen pence daily; but when the
senorita saw it, she wept, and said it was no house, but a hog-sty,
so his worship paid one day's rent and renounced his bargain.
Fourteen pence a day! why, in our country, we can have a palace for
that money.

Myself.--From what country do you come?

Domestic.--Cavalier, you appear to be a decent gentleman, and I
will tell you our history. We are from Andalusia, and his worship
was last year receiver-general for Granada: his salary was
fourteen thousand rials, with which we contrived to live very
commodiously--attending the bull funcions regularly, or if there
were no bulls, we went to see the novillos, and now and then to the
opera. In a word, sir, we had our diversions and felt at our ease;
so much so, that his worship was actually thinking of purchasing a
pony for the young gentleman, who is fourteen, and must learn to
ride now or never. Cavalier, the ministry was changed, and the new
corners, who were no friends to his worship, deprived him of his
situation. Cavalier, they removed us from that blessed country of
Granada, where our salary was fourteen thousand rials, and sent us
to Galicia, to this fatal town of Lugo, where his worship is
compelled to serve for ten thousand, which is quite insufficient to
maintain us in our former comforts. Good-bye, I trow, to bull
funcions, and novillos, and the opera. Good-bye to the hope of a
horse for the young gentleman. Cavalier, I grow desperate: hold
your tongue, for God's sake! for I can talk no more."

On hearing this history I no longer wondered that the receiver-
general was eager to save a cuarto in the purchase of the oil for
the gaspacho of himself and family of eleven daughters, one son,
and a domestic.

We staid one week at Lugo, and then directed our steps to Coruna,
about twelve leagues distant. We arose before daybreak in order to
avail ourselves of the escort of the general post, in whose company
we travelled upwards of six leagues. There was much talk of
robbers, and flying parties of the factious, on which account our
escort was considerable. At the distance of five or six leagues
from Lugo, our guard, in lieu of regular soldiers, consisted of a
body of about fifty Miguelets. They had all the appearance of
banditti, but a finer body of ferocious fellows I never saw. They
were all men in the prime of life, mostly of tall stature, and of
Herculean brawn and limbs. They wore huge whiskers, and walked
with a fanfaronading air, as if they courted danger, and despised
it. In every respect they stood in contrast to the soldiers who
had hitherto escorted us, who were mere feeble boys from sixteen to
eighteen years of age, and possessed of neither energy nor
activity. The proper dress of the Miguelet, if it resembles
anything military, is something akin to that anciently used by the
English marines. They wear a peculiar kind of hat, and generally
leggings, or gaiters, and their arms are the gun and bayonet. The
colour of their dress is mostly dark brown. They observe little or
no discipline whether on a march or in the field of action. They
are excellent irregular troops, and when on actual service are
particularly useful as skirmishers. Their proper duty, however, is
to officiate as a species of police, and to clear the roads of
robbers, for which duty they are in one respect admirably
calculated, having been generally robbers themselves at one period
of their lives. Why these people are called Miguelets it is not
easy to say, but it is probable that they have derived this
appellation from the name of their original leader. I regret that
the paucity of my own information will not allow me to enter into
farther particulars with respect to this corps, concerning which I
have little doubt that many remarkable things might be said.

Becoming weary of the slow travelling of the post, I determined to
brave all risk, and to push forward. In this, however, I was
guilty of no slight imprudence, as by so doing I was near falling
into the hands of robbers. Two fellows suddenly confronted me with
presented carbines, which they probably intended to discharge into
my body, but they took fright at the noise of Antonio's horse, who
was following a little way behind. The affair occurred at the
bridge of Castellanos, a spot notorious for robbery and murder, and
well adapted for both, for it stands at the bottom of a deep dell
surrounded by wild desolate hills. Only a quarter of an hour
previous I had passed three ghastly heads stuck on poles standing
by the wayside; they were those of a captain of banditti and two of
his accomplices, who had been seized and executed about two months
before. Their principal haunt was the vicinity of the bridge, and
it was their practice to cast the bodies of the murdered into the
deep black water which runs rapidly beneath. Those three heads
will always live in my remembrance, particularly that of the
captain, which stood on a higher pole than the other two: the long
hair was waving in the wind, and the blackened, distorted features
were grinning in the sun. The fellows whom I met wore the relics
of the band.

We arrived at Betanzos late in the afternoon. This town stands on
a creek at some distance from the sea, and about three leagues from
Coruna. It is surrounded on three sides by lofty hills. The
weather during the greater part of the day had been dull and
lowering, and we found the atmosphere of Betanzos insupportably
close and heavy. Sour and disagreeable odours assailed our
olfactory organs from all sides. The streets were filthy--so were
the houses, and especially the posada. We entered the stable; it
was strewed with rotten sea-weeds and other rubbish, in which pigs
were wallowing; huge and loathsome flies were buzzing around.
"What a pest-house!" I exclaimed. But we could find no other
stable, and were therefore obliged to tether the unhappy animals to
the filthy mangers. The only provender that could be obtained was
Indian corn. At nightfall I led them to drink at a small river
which passes through Betanzos. My entero swallowed the water
greedily; but as we returned towards the inn, I observed that he
was sad, and that his head drooped. He had scarcely reached the
stall, when a deep hoarse cough assailed him. I remembered the
words of the ostler in the mountains, "the man must be mad who
brings a horse to Galicia, and doubly so he who brings an entero."
During the greater part of the day the animal had been much heated,
walking amidst a throng of at least a hundred pony mares. He now
began to shiver violently. I procured a quart of anise brandy,
with which, assisted by Antonio, I rubbed his body for nearly an
hour, till his coat was covered with a white foam; but his cough
increased perceptibly, his eyes were becoming fixed, and his
members rigid. "There is no remedy but bleeding," said I. "Run
for a farrier." The farrier came. "You must bleed the horse," I
shouted; "take from him an azumbre of blood." The farrier looked
at the animal, and made for the door. "Where are you going?" I
demanded. "Home," he replied. "But we want you here." "I know
you do," was his answer; "and on that account I am going." "But
you must bleed the horse, or he will die." "I know he will," said
the farrier, "but I will not bleed him." "Why?" I demanded. "I
will not bleed him, but under one condition." "What is that?"
"What is it!--that you pay me an ounce of gold." "Run for the red
morocco case," said I to Antonio. It was brought; I took out a
large fleam, and with the assistance of a stone, drove it into the
principal artery horse's leg. The blood at first refused to flow;
with much rubbing, it began to trickle, and then to stream; it
continued so for half an hour. "The horse is fainting, mon
maitre," said Antonio. "Hold him up," said I, "and in another ten
minutes we will stop the vein."

I closed the vein, and whilst doing so I looked up into the
farrier's face, arching my eyebrows.

"Carracho! what an evil wizard," muttered the farrier, as he walked
away. "If I had my knife here I would stick him." We bled the
horse again, during the night, which second bleeding I believe
saved him. Towards morning he began to eat his food.

The next day we departed for Coruna, leading our horses by the
bridle: the day was magnificent, and our walk delightful. We
passed along beneath tall umbrageous trees, which skirted the road
from Betanzos to within a short distance of Coruna. Nothing could
be more smiling and cheerful than the appearance of the country
around. Vines were growing in abundance in the vicinity of the
villages through which we passed, whilst millions of maize plants
upreared their tall stalks and displayed their broad green leaves
in the fields. After walking about three hours, we obtained a view
of the bay of Coruna, in which, even at the distance of a league,
we could distinguish three or four immense ships riding at anchor.
"Can these vessels belong to Spain?" I demanded of myself. In the
very next village, however, we were informed that the preceding
evening an English squadron had arrived, for what reason nobody
could say. "However," continued our informant, "they have
doubtless some design upon Galicia. These foreigners are the ruin
of Spain."

We put up in what is called the Calle Real, in an excellent fonda,
or posada, kept by a short, thick, comical-looking person, a
Genoese by birth. He was married to a tall, ugly, but good-
tempered Basque woman, by whom he had been blessed with a son and
daughter. His wife, however, had it seems of late summoned all her
female relations from Guipuscoa, who now filled the house to the
number of nine, officiating as chambermaids, cooks, and scullions:
they were all very ugly, but good-natured, and of immense
volubility of tongue. Throughout the whole day the house resounded
with their excellent Basque and very bad Castilian. The Genoese,
on the contrary, spoke little, for which he might have assigned a
good reason; he had lived thirty years in Spain, and had forgotten
his own language without acquiring Spanish, which he spoke very

We found Coruna full of bustle and life, owing to the arrival of
the English squadron. On the following day, however, it departed,
being bound for the Mediterranean on a short cruise, whereupon
matters instantly returned to their usual course.

I had a depot of five hundred Testaments at Coruna, from which it
was my intention to supply the principal towns of Galicia.
Immediately on my arrival I published advertisements, according to
my usual practice, and the book obtained a tolerable sale--seven or
eight copies per day on the average. Some people, perhaps, on
perusing these details, will be tempted to exclaim, "These are
small matters, and scarcely worthy of being mentioned." But let
such bethink them, that till within a few months previous to the
time of which I am speaking, the very existence of the gospel was
almost unknown in Spain, and that it must necessarily be a
difficult task to induce a people like the Spaniards, who read very
little, to purchase a work like the New Testament, which, though of
paramount importance to the soul, affords but slight prospect of
amusement to the frivolous and carnally minded. I hoped that the
present was the dawning of better and more enlightened times, and
rejoiced in the idea that Testaments, though but few in number,
were being sold in unfortunate benighted Spain, from Madrid to the
furthermost parts of Galicia, a distance of nearly four hundred

Coruna stands on a peninsula, having on one side the sea, and on
the other the celebrated bay, generally called the Groyne. It is
divided into the old and new town, the latter of which was at one
time probably a mere suburb. The old town is a desolate ruinous
place, separated from the new by a wide moat. The modern town is a
much more agreeable spot, and contains one magnificent street, the
Calle Real, where the principal merchants reside. One singular
feature of this street is, that it is laid entirely with flags of
marble, along which troop ponies and cars as if it were a common

It is a saying amongst the inhabitants of Coruna, that in their
town there is a street so clean, that puchera may be eaten off it
without the slightest inconvenience. This may certainly be the
fact after one of those rains which so frequently drench Galicia,
when the appearance of the pavement of the street is particularly
brilliant. Coruna was at one time a place of considerable
commerce, the greater part of which has latterly departed to
Santander, a town which stands a considerable distance down the Bay
of Biscay.

"Are you going to Saint James, Giorgio? If so, you will perhaps
convey a message to my poor countryman," said a voice to me one
morning in broken English, as I was standing at the door of my
posada, in the royal street of Coruna.

I looked round and perceived a man standing near me at the door of
a shop contiguous to the inn. He appeared to be about sixty-five,
with a pale face and remarkably red nose. He was dressed in a
loose green great coat, in his mouth was a long clay pipe, in his
hand a long painted stick.

"Who are you, and who is your countryman?" I demanded; "I do not
know you."

"I know you, however," replied the man; "you purchased the first
knife that I ever sold in the market-place of N-."

Myself.--Ah, I remember you now, Luigi Piozzi; and well do I
remember also, how, when a boy, twenty years ago, I used to repair
to your stall, and listen to you and your countrymen discoursing in

Luigi.--Ah, those were happy times to me. Oh, how they rushed back
on my remembrance when I saw you ride up to the door of the posada.
I instantly went in, closed my shop, lay down upon my bed and wept.

Myself.--I see no reason why you should so much regret those times.
I knew you formerly in England as an itinerant pedlar, and
occasionally as master of a stall in the market-place of a country
town. I now find you in a seaport of Spain, the proprietor,
seemingly, of a considerable shop. I cannot see why you should
regret the difference.

Luigi (dashing his pipe on the ground).--Regret the difference! Do
you know one thing? England is the heaven of the Piedmontese and
Milanese, and especially those of Como. We never lie down to rest
but we dream of it, whether we are in our own country or in a
foreign land, as I am now. Regret the difference, Giorgio! Do I
hear such words from your lips, and you an Englishman? I would
rather be the poorest tramper on the roads of England, than lord of
all within ten leagues of the shore of the lake of Como, and much
the same say all my countrymen who have visited England, wherever
they now be. Regret the difference! I have ten letters, from as
many countrymen in America, who say they are rich and thriving, and
principal men and merchants; but every night, when their heads are
reposing on their pillows, their souls auslandra, hurrying away to
England, and its green lanes and farm-yards. And there they are
with their boxes on the ground, displaying their looking-glasses
and other goods to the honest rustics and their dames and their
daughters, and selling away and chaffering and laughing just as of
old. And there they are again at nightfall in the hedge alehouses,
eating their toasted cheese and their bread, and drinking the
Suffolk ale, and listening to the roaring song and merry jest of
the labourers. Now, if they regret England so who are in America,
which they own to be a happy country, and good for those of
Piedmont and of Como, how much more must I regret it, when, after
the lapse of so many years, I find myself in Spain, in this
frightful town of Coruna, driving a ruinous trade, and where months
pass by without my seeing a single English face, or hearing a word
of the blessed English tongue.

Myself.--With such a predilection for England, what could have
induced you to leave it and come to Spain?

Luigi.--I will tell you: about sixteen years ago a universal
desire seized our people in England to become something more than
they had hitherto been, pedlars and trampers; they wished,
moreover, for mankind are never satisfied, to see other countries:
so the greater part forsook England. Where formerly there had been
ten, at present scarcely lingers one. Almost all went to America,
which, as I told you before, is a happy country, and specially good
for us men of Como. Well, all my comrades and relations passed
over the sea to the West. I, too, was bent on travelling; but
whither? Instead of going towards the West with the rest, to a
country where they have all thriven, I must needs come by myself to
this land of Spain; a country in which no foreigner settles without
dying of a broken heart sooner or later. I had an idea in my head
that I could make a fortune at once, by bringing a cargo of common
English goods, like those which I had been in the habit of selling
amongst the villagers of England. So I freighted half a ship with
such goods, for I had been successful in England in my little
speculations, and I arrived at Coruna. Here at once my vexations
began: disappointment followed disappointment. It was with the
utmost difficulty that I could obtain permission to land my goods,
and this only at a considerable sacrifice in bribes and the like;
and when I had established myself here, I found that the place was
one of no trade, and that my goods went off very slowly, and
scarcely at prime cost. I wished to remove to another place, but
was informed that, in that case, I must leave my goods behind,
unless I offered fresh bribes, which would have ruined me; and in
this way I have gone on for fourteen years, selling scarcely enough
to pay for my shop and to support myself. And so I shall doubtless
continue till I die, or my goods are exhausted. In an evil day I
left England and came to Spain.

Myself.--Did you not say that you had a countryman at St. James?

Luigi.--Yes, a poor honest fellow, who, like myself, by some
strange chance found his way to Galicia. I sometimes contrive to
send him a few goods, which he sells at St. James at a greater
profit than I can here. He is a happy fellow, for he has never
been in England, and knows not the difference between the two
countries. Oh, the green English hedgerows! and the alehouses!
and, what is much more, the fair dealing and security. I have
travelled all over England and never met with ill usage, except
once down in the north amongst the Papists, upon my telling them to
leave all their mummeries and go to the parish church as I did, and
as all my countrymen in England did; for know one thing, Signor
Giorgio, not one of us who have lived in England, whether
Piedmontese or men of Como, but wished well to the Protestant
religion, if he had not actually become a member of it.

Myself.--What do you propose to do at present, Luigi? What are
your prospects?

Luigi.--My prospects are a blank, Giorgio; my prospects are a
blank. I propose nothing but to die in Coruna, perhaps in the
hospital, if they will admit me. Years ago I thought of fleeing,
even if I left all behind me, and either returning to England, or
betaking myself to America; but it is too late now, Giorgio, it is
too late. When I first lost all hope, I took to drinking, to which
I was never before inclined, and I am now what I suppose you see.

"There is hope in the Gospel," said I, "even for you. I will send
you one."

There is a small battery of the old town which fronts the east, and
whose wall is washed by the waters of the bay. It is a sweet spot,
and the prospect which opens from it is extensive. The battery
itself may be about eighty yards square; some young trees are
springing up about it, and it is rather a favourite resort of the
people of Coruna.

In the centre of this battery stands the tomb of Moore, built by
the chivalrous French, in commemoration of the fall of their heroic
antagonist. It is oblong and surmounted by a slab, and on either
side bears one of the simple and sublime epitaphs for which our
rivals are celebrated, and which stand in such powerful contrast
with the bloated and bombastic inscriptions which deform the walls
of Westminster Abbey:


The tomb itself is of marble, and around it is a quadrangular wall,
breast high, of rough Gallegan granite; close to each corner rises
from the earth the breech of an immense brass cannon, intended to
keep the wall compact and close. These outer erections are,
however, not the work of the French, but of the English government.

Yes, there lies the hero, almost within sight of the glorious hill
where he turned upon his pursuers like a lion at bay and terminated
his career. Many acquire immortality without seeking it, and die
before its first ray has gilded their name; of these was Moore.
The harassed general, flying through Castile with his dispirited
troops before a fierce and terrible enemy, little dreamed that he
was on the point of attaining that for which many a better,
greater, though certainly not braver man, had sighed in vain. His
very misfortunes were the means which secured him immortal fame;
his disastrous route, bloody death, and finally his tomb on a
foreign strand, far from kin and friends. There is scarcely a
Spaniard but has heard of this tomb, and speaks of it with a
strange kind of awe. Immense treasures are said to have been
buried with the heretic general, though for what purpose no one
pretends to guess. The demons of the clouds, if we may trust the
Gallegans, followed the English in their flight, and assailed them
with water-spouts as they toiled up the steep winding paths of
Fuencebadon; whilst legends the most wild are related of the manner
in which the stout soldier fell. Yes, even in Spain, immortality
has already crowned the head of Moore;--Spain, the land of
oblivion, where the Guadalete {16} flows.


Compostella--Rey Romero--The Treasure-seeker--Hopeful Project--The
Church of Refuge--Hidden Riches--The Canon--Spirit of Localism--The
Leper--Bones of St. James.

At the commencement of August, I found myself at St. James of
Compostella. To this place I travelled from Coruna with the
courier or weekly post, who was escorted by a strong party of
soldiers, in consequence of the distracted state of the country,
which was overrun with banditti. From Coruna to St. James, the
distance is but ten leagues; the journey, however, endured for a
day and a half. It was a pleasant one, through a most beautiful
country, with a rich variety of hill and dale; the road was in many
places shaded with various kinds of trees clad in most luxuriant
foliage. Hundreds of travellers, both on foot and on horseback,
availed themselves of the security which the escort afforded: the
dread of banditti was strong. During the journey two or three
alarms were given; we, however, reached Saint James without having
been attacked.

Saint James stands on a pleasant level amidst mountains: the most
extraordinary of these is a conical hill, called the Pico Sacro, or
Sacred Peak, connected with which are many wonderful legends. A
beautiful old town is Saint James, containing about twenty thousand
inhabitants. Time has been when, with the single exception of
Rome, it was the most celebrated resort of pilgrims in the world;
its cathedral being said to contain the bones of Saint James the
elder, the child of the thunder, who, according to the legend of
the Romish church, first preached the Gospel in Spain. Its glory,
however, as a place of pilgrimage is rapidly passing away.

The cathedral, though a work of various periods, and exhibiting
various styles of architecture, is a majestic venerable pile, in
every respect calculated to excite awe and admiration; indeed, it
is almost impossible to walk its long dusky aisles, and hear the
solemn music and the noble chanting, and inhale the incense of the
mighty censers, which are at times swung so high by machinery as to
smite the vaulted roof, whilst gigantic tapers glitter here and
there amongst the gloom, from the shrine of many a saint, before
which the worshippers are kneeling, breathing forth their prayers
and petitions for help, love, and mercy, and entertain a doubt that
we are treading the floor of a house where God delighteth to dwell.
Yet the Lord is distant from that house; he hears not, he sees not,
or if he do, it is with anger. What availeth that solemn music,
that noble chanting, that incense of sweet savour? What availeth
kneeling before that grand altar of silver, surmounted by that
figure with its silver hat and breast-plate, the emblem of one who,
though an apostle and confessor, was at best an unprofitable
servant? What availeth hoping for remission of sin by trusting in
the merits of one who possessed none, or by paying homage to others
who were born and nurtured in sin, and who alone, by the exercise
of a lively faith granted from above, could hope to preserve
themselves from the wrath of the Almighty?

Rise from your knees, ye children of Compostella, or if ye bend,
let it be to the Almighty alone, and no longer on the eve of your
patron's day address him in the following strain, however sublime
it may sound:

"Thou shield of that faith which in Spain we revere,
Thou scourge of each foeman who dares to draw near;
Whom the Son of that God who the elements tames,
Called child of the thunder, immortal Saint James!

"From the blessed asylum of glory intense,
Upon us thy sovereign influence dispense;
And list to the praises our gratitude aims
To offer up worthily, mighty Saint James.

"To thee fervent thanks Spain shall ever outpour;
In thy name though she glory, she glories yet more
In thy thrice-hallowed corse, which the sanctuary claims
Of high Compostella, O, blessed Saint James.

"When heathen impiety, loathsome and dread,
With a chaos of darkness our Spain overspread,
Thou wast the first light which dispell'd with its flames
The hell-born obscurity, glorious Saint James!

"And when terrible wars had nigh wasted our force,
All bright 'midst the battle we saw thee on horse,
Fierce scattering the hosts, whom their fury proclaims
To be warriors of Islam, victorious Saint James.

"Beneath thy direction, stretch'd prone at thy feet,
With hearts low and humble, this day we intreat
Thou wilt strengthen the hope which enlivens our frames,
The hope of thy favour and presence, Saint James.

"Then praise to the Son and the Father above,
And to that Holy Spirit which springs from their love;
To that bright emanation whose vividness shames
The sun's burst of splendour, and praise to Saint James."

At Saint James I met with a kind and cordial coadjutor in my
biblical labours in the bookseller of the place, Rey Romero, a man
of about sixty. This excellent individual, who was both wealthy
and respected, took up the matter with an enthusiasm which
doubtless emanated from on high, losing no opportunity of
recommending my book to those who entered his shop, which was in
the Azabacheria, and was a very splendid and commodious
establishment. In many instances, when the peasants of the
neighbourhood came with an intention of purchasing some of the
foolish popular story-books of Spain, he persuaded them to carry
home Testaments instead, assuring them that the sacred volume was a
better, more instructive, and even far more entertaining book than
those they came in quest of. He speedily conceived a great fancy
for me, and regularly came to visit me every evening at my posada,
and accompanied me in my walks about the town and the environs. He
was a man of considerable information, and though of much
simplicity, possessed a kind of good-natured humour which was
frequently highly diverting.

I was walking late one night alone in the Alameda of Saint James,
considering in what direction I should next bend my course, for I
had been already ten days in this place; the moon was shining
gloriously, and illumined every object around to a considerable
distance. The Alameda was quite deserted; everybody, with the
exception of myself, having for some time retired. I sat down on a
bench and continued my reflections, which were suddenly interrupted
by a heavy stumping sound. Turning my eyes in the direction from
which it proceeded, I perceived what at first appeared a shapeless
bulk slowly advancing: nearer and nearer it drew, and I could now
distinguish the outline of a man dressed in coarse brown garments,
a kind of Andalusian hat, and using as a staff the long peeled
branch of a tree. He had now arrived opposite the bench where I
was seated, when, stopping, he took off his hat and demanded
charity in uncouth tones and in a strange jargon, which had some
resemblance to the Catalan. The moon shone on grey locks and on a
ruddy weather-beaten countenance which I at once recognized:
"Benedict Mol," said I, "is it possible that I see you at

"Och, mein Gott, es ist der Herr!" replied Benedict. "Och, what
good fortune, that the Herr is the first person I meet at

Myself.--I can scarcely believe my eyes. Do you mean to say that
you have just arrived at this place?

Benedict.--Ow yes, I am this moment arrived. I have walked all the
long way from Madrid.

Myself.--What motive could possibly bring you such a distance?

Benedict.--Ow, I am come for the schatz--the treasure. I told you
at Madrid that I was coming; and now I have met you here, I have no
doubt that I shall find it, the schatz.

Myself.--In what manner did you support yourself by the way?

Benedict.--Ow, I begged, I bettled, and so contrived to pick up
some cuartos; and when I reached Toro, I worked at my trade of
soap-making for a time, till the people said I knew nothing about
it, and drove me out of the town. So I went on and begged and
bettled till I arrived at Orense, which is in this country of
Galicia. Ow, I do not like this country of Galicia at all.

Myself.--Why not?

Benedict.--Why! because here they all beg and bettle, and have
scarce anything for themselves, much less for me whom they know to
be a foreign man. O the misery of Galicia. When I arrive at night
at one of their pigsties, which they call posadas, and ask for
bread to eat in the name of God, and straw to lie down in, they
curse me, and say there is neither bread nor straw in Galicia; and
sure enough, since I have been here I have seen neither, only
something that they call broa, and a kind of reedy rubbish with
which they litter the horses: all my bones are sore since I
entered Galicia.

Myself.--And yet you have come to this country, which you call so
miserable, in search of treasure?

Benedict.--Ow yaw, but the schatz is buried; it is not above
ground; there is no money above ground in Galicia. I must dig it
up; and when I have dug it up I will purchase a coach with six
mules, and ride out of Galicia to Lucerne; and if the Herr pleases
to go with me, he shall be welcome to go with me and the schatz.

Myself.--I am afraid that you have come on a desperate errand.
What do you propose to do? Have you any money?

Benedict.--Not a cuart; but I do not care now I have arrived at
Saint James. The schatz is nigh; and I have, moreover, seen you,
which is a good sign; it tells me that the schatz is still here. I
shall go to the best posada in the place, and live like a duke till
I have an opportunity of digging up the schatz, when I will pay all

"Do nothing of the kind," I replied; "find out some place in which
to sleep, and endeavour to seek some employment. In the mean time,
here is a trifle with which to support yourself; but as for the
treasure which you have come to seek, I believe it only exists in
your own imagination." I gave him a dollar and departed.

I have never enjoyed more charming walks than in the neighbourhood
of Saint James. In these I was almost invariably accompanied by my
friend the good old bookseller. The streams are numerous, and
along their wooded banks we were in the habit of straying and
enjoying the delicious summer evenings of this part of Spain.
Religion generally formed the topic of our conversation, but we not
unfrequently talked of the foreign lands which I had visited, and
at other times of matters which related particularly to my
companion. "We booksellers of Spain," said he, "are all liberals;
we are no friends to the monkish system. How indeed should we be
friends to it? It fosters darkness, whilst we live by
disseminating light. We love our profession, and have all more or
less suffered for it; many of us, in the times of terror, were
hanged for selling an innocent translation from the French or
English. Shortly after the Constitution was put down by Angouleme
and the French bayonets, I was obliged to flee from Saint James and
take refuge in the wildest part of Galicia, near Corcuvion. Had I
not possessed good friends, I should not have been alive now; as it
was, it cost me a considerable sum of money to arrange matters.
Whilst I was away, my shop was in charge of the ecclesiastical
officers. They frequently told my wife that I ought to be burnt
for the books which I had sold. Thanks be to God, those times are
past, and I hope they will never return."

Once, as we were walking through the streets of Saint James, he
stopped before a church and looked at it attentively. As there was
nothing remarkable in the appearance of this edifice, I asked him
what motive he had for taking such notice of it. "In the days of
the friars," said he, "this church was one of refuge, to which if
the worst criminals escaped, they were safe. All were protected
there save the negros, as they called us liberals." "Even
murderers, I suppose?" said I. "Murderers!" he answered, "far
worse criminals than they. By the by, I have heard that you
English entertain the utmost abhorrence of murder. Do you in
reality consider it a crime of very great magnitude?" "How should
we not," I replied; "for every other crime some reparation can be
made; but if we take away life, we take away all. A ray of hope
with respect to this world may occasionally enliven the bosom of
any other criminal, but how can the murderer hope?" "The friars
were of another way of thinking," replied the old man; "they always
looked upon murder as a friolera; but not so the crime of marrying
your first cousin without dispensation, for which, if we believe
them, there is scarcely any atonement either in this world or the

Two or three days after this, as we were seated in my apartment in
the posada, engaged in conversation, the door was opened by
Antonio, who, with a smile on his countenance, said that there was
a foreign GENTLEMAN below, who desired to speak with me. "Show him
up," I replied; whereupon almost instantly appeared Benedict Mol.

"This is a most extraordinary person," said I to the bookseller.
"You Galicians, in general, leave your country in quest of money;
he, on the contrary, is come hither to find some."

Rey Romero.--And he is right. Galicia is by nature the richest
province in Spain, but the inhabitants are very stupid, and know
not how to turn the blessings which surround them to any account;
but as a proof of what may be made out of Galicia, see how rich the
Catalans become who have settled down here and formed
establishments. There are riches all around us, upon the earth and
in the earth.

Benedict.--Ow yaw, in the earth, that is what I say. There is much
more treasure below the earth than above it.

Myself.--Since I last saw you, have you discovered the place in
which you say the treasure is deposited?

Benedict.--O yes, I know all about it now. It is buried 'neath the
sacristy in the church of San Roque.

Myself.--How have you been able to make that discovery?

Benedict.--I will tell you: the day after my arrival I walked
about all the city in quest of the church, but could find none
which at all answered to the signs which my comrade who died in the
hospital gave me. I entered several, and looked about, but all in
vain; I could not find the place which I had in my mind's eye. At
last the people with whom I lodge, and to whom I told my business,
advised me to send for a meiga.

Myself.--A meiga! What is that?

Benedict.--Ow! a haxweib, a witch; the Gallegos call them so in
their jargon, of which I can scarcely understand a word. So I
consented, and they sent for the meiga. Och! what a weib is that
meiga! I never saw such a woman; she is as large as myself, and
has a face as round and red as the sun. She asked me a great many
questions in her Gallegan, and when I had told her all she wanted
to know, she pulled out a pack of cards and laid them on the table
in a particular manner, and then she said that the treasure was in
the church of San Roque; and sure enough, when I went to that
church, it answered in every respect to the signs of my comrade who
died in the hospital. O she is a powerful hax, that meiga; she is
well known in the neighbourhood, and has done much harm to the
cattle. I gave her half the dollar I had from you for her trouble.

Myself.--Then you acted like a simpleton; she has grossly deceived
you. But even suppose that the treasure is really deposited in the
church you mention, it is not probable that you will be permitted
to remove the floor of the sacristy to search for it.

Benedict.--Ow, the matter is already well advanced. Yesterday I
went to one of the canons to confess myself and to receive
absolution and benediction; not that I regard these things much,
but I thought this would be the best means of broaching the matter,
so I confessed myself, and then I spoke of my travels to the canon,
and at last I told him of the treasure, and proposed that if he
assisted me we should share it between us. Ow, I wish you had seen
him; he entered at once into the affair, and said that it might
turn out a very profitable speculation: and he shook me by the
hand, and said that I was an honest Swiss and a good Catholic. And
I then proposed that he should take me into his house and keep me
there till we had an opportunity of digging up the treasure
together. This he refused to do.

Rey Romero.--Of that I have no doubt: trust one of our canons for
not committing himself so far until he sees very good reason.
These tales of treasure are at present rather too stale: we have
heard of them ever since the time of the Moors.

Benedict.--He advised me to go to the Captain General and obtain
permission to make excavations, in which case he promised to assist
me to the utmost of his power.

Thereupon the Swiss departed, and I neither saw nor heard anything
farther of him during the time that I continued at Saint James.

The bookseller was never weary of showing me about his native town,
of which he was enthusiastically fond. Indeed, I have never seen
the spirit of localism, which is so prevalent throughout Spain,
more strong than at Saint James. If their town did but flourish,
the Santiagians seemed to care but little if all others in Galicia
perished. Their antipathy to the town of Coruna was unbounded, and
this feeling had of late been not a little increased from the
circumstance that the seat of the provincial government had been
removed from Saint James to Coruna. Whether this change was
advisable or not, it is not for me, who am a foreigner, to say; my
private opinion, however, is by no means favourable to the
alteration. Saint James is one of the most central towns in
Galicia, with large and populous communities on every side of it,
whereas Coruna stands in a corner, at a considerable distance from
the rest. "It is a pity that the vecinos of Coruna cannot contrive
to steal away from us our cathedral, even as they have done our
government," said a Santiagian; "then, indeed, they would be able
to cut some figure. As it is, they have not a church fit to say
mass in." "A great pity, too, that they cannot remove our
hospital," would another exclaim; "as it is, they are obliged to
send us their sick, poor wretches. I always think that the sick of
Coruna have more ill-favoured countenances than those from other
places; but what good can come from Coruna?"

Accompanied by the bookseller, I visited this hospital, in which,
however, I did not remain long; the wretchedness and uncleanliness
which I observed speedily driving me away. Saint James, indeed, is
the grand lazar-house for all the rest of Galicia, which accounts
for the prodigious number of horrible objects to be seen in its
streets, who have for the most part arrived in the hope of
procuring medical assistance, which, from what I could learn, is
very scantily and inefficiently administered. Amongst these
unhappy wretches I occasionally observed the terrible leper, and
instantly fled from him with a "God help thee," as if I had been a
Jew of old. Galicia is the only province of Spain where cases of
leprosy are still frequent; a convincing proof this, that the
disease is the result of foul feeding, and an inattention to
cleanliness, as the Gallegans, with regard to the comforts of life
and civilized habits, are confessedly far behind all the other
natives of Spain.

"Besides a general hospital we have likewise a leper-house," said
the bookseller. "Shall I show it you? We have everything at Saint
James. There is nothing lacking; the very leper finds an inn
here." "I have no objection to your showing me the house," I
replied, "but it must be at a distance, for enter it I will not."
Thereupon he conducted me down the road which leads towards Padron
and Vigo, and pointing to two or three huts, exclaimed "That is our
leper-house." "It appears a miserable place," I replied: "what
accommodation may there be for the patients, and who attends to
their wants?" "They are left to themselves," answered the
bookseller, "and probably sometimes perish from neglect: the place
at one time was endowed and had rents which were appropriated to
its support, but even these have been sequestered during the late
troubles. At present, the least unclean of the lepers generally
takes his station by the road side, and begs for the rest. See
there he is now."

And sure enough the leper in his shining scales, and half naked,
was seated beneath a ruined wall. We dropped money into the hat of
the unhappy being, and passed on.

"A bad disorder that," said my friend. "I confess that I, who have
seen so many of them, am by no means fond of the company of lepers.
Indeed, I wish that they would never enter my shop, as they
occasionally do to beg. Nothing is more infectious, as I have
heard, than leprosy: there is one very virulent species, however,
which is particularly dreaded here, the elephantine: those who die
of it should, according to law, be burnt, and their ashes scattered
to the winds: for if the body of such a leper be interred in the
field of the dead, the disorder is forthwith communicated to all
the corses even below the earth. Such, at least, is our idea in
these parts. Lawsuits are at present pending from the circumstance
of elephantides having been buried with the other dead. Sad is
leprosy in all its forms, but most so when elephantine."

"Talking of corses," said I, "do you believe that the bones of St.
James are veritably interred at Compostella?"

"What can I say," replied the old man; "you know as much of the
matter as myself. Beneath the high altar is a large stone slab or
lid, which is said to cover the mouth of a profound well, at the
bottom of which it is believed that the bones of the saint are
interred; though why they should be placed at the bottom of a well,
is a mystery which I cannot fathom. One of the officers of the
church told me that at one time he and another kept watch in the
church during the night, one of the chapels having shortly before
been broken open and a sacrilege committed. At the dead of night,
finding the time hang heavy on their hands, they took a crowbar and
removed the slab and looked down into the abyss below; it was dark
as the grave; whereupon they affixed a weight to the end of a long
rope and lowered it down. At a very great depth it seemed to
strike against something dull and solid like lead: they supposed
it might be a coffin; perhaps it was, but whose is the question."


Skippers of Padron--Caldas de los Reyes--Pontevedra--The Notary
Public--Insane Barber--An Introduction--Gallegan Language--
Afternoon Ride--Vigo--The Stranger--Jews of the Desert--Bay of
Vigo--Sudden Interruption--The Governor.

After a stay of about a fortnight at Saint James, we again mounted
our horses and proceeded in the direction of Vigo. As we did not
leave Saint James till late in the afternoon, we travelled that day
no farther than Padron, a distance of only three leagues. This
place is a small port, situate at the extremity of a firth which
communicates with the sea. It is called for brevity's sake,
Padron, but its proper appellation is Villa del Padron, or the town
of the patron saint; it having been, according to the legend, the
principal residence of Saint James during his stay in Galicia. By
the Romans it was termed Iria Flavia. It is a flourishing little
town, and carries on rather an extensive commerce, some of its tiny
barks occasionally finding their way across the Bay of Biscay, and
even so far as the Thames and London.

There is a curious anecdote connected with the skippers of Padron,
which can scarcely be considered as out of place here, as it
relates to the circulation of the Scriptures. I was one day in the
shop of my friend the bookseller at Saint James, when a stout good-
humoured-looking priest entered. He took up one of my Testaments,
and forthwith burst into a violent fit of laughter. "What is the
matter?" demanded the bookseller. "The sight of this book reminds
me of a circumstance": replied the other, "about twenty years ago,
when the English first took it into their heads to be very zealous
in converting us Spaniards to their own way of thinking, they
distributed a great number of books of this kind amongst the
Spaniards who chanced to be in London; some of them fell into the
hands of certain skippers of Padron, and these good folks, on their
return to Galicia, were observed to have become on a sudden
exceedingly opinionated and fond of dispute. It was scarcely
possible to make an assertion in their hearing without receiving a
flat contradiction, especially when religious subjects were brought
on the carpet. 'It is false,' they would say; 'Saint Paul, in such
a chapter and in such a verse, says exactly the contrary.' 'What
can you know concerning what Saint Paul or any other saint has
written?' the priests would ask them. 'Much more than you think,'
they replied; 'we are no longer to be kept in darkness and
ignorance respecting these matters:' and then they would produce
their books and read paragraphs, making such comments that every
person was scandalized; they cared nothing about the Pope, and even
spoke with irreverence of the bones of Saint James. However, the
matter was soon bruited about, and a commission was dispatched from
our see to collect the books and burn them. This was effected, and
the skippers were either punished or reprimanded, since which I
have heard nothing more of them. I could not forbear laughing when
I saw these books; they instantly brought to my mind the skippers
of Padron and their religious disputations."

Our next day's journey brought us to Pontevedra. As there was no
talk of robbers in these parts, we travelled without any escort and
alone. The road was beautiful and picturesque, though somewhat
solitary, especially after we had left behind us the small town of
Caldas. There is more than one place of this name in Spain; the
one of which I am speaking is distinguished from the rest by being
called Caldas de los Reyes, or the warm baths of the kings. It
will not be amiss to observe that the Spanish Caldas is synonymous
with the Moorish Alhama, a word of frequent occurrence both in
Spanish and African topography. Caldas seemed by no means
undeserving of its name: it stands on a confluence of springs, and
the place when we arrived was crowded with people who had come to
enjoy the benefit of the waters. In the course of my travels I
have observed that wherever warm springs are found, vestiges of
volcanoes are sure to be nigh; the smooth black precipice, the
divided mountain, or huge rocks standing by themselves on the plain
or on the hill side, as if Titans had been playing at bowls. This
last feature occurs near Caldas de los Reyes, the side of the
mountain which overhangs it in the direction of the south being
covered with immense granite stones, apparently at some ancient
period eructed from the bowels of the earth. From Caldas to
Pontevedra the route was hilly and fatiguing, the heat was intense,
and those clouds of flies, which constitute one of the pests of
Galicia, annoyed our horses to such a degree that we were obliged
to cut down branches from the trees to protect their heads and
necks from the tormenting stings of these bloodthirsty insects.
Whilst travelling in Galicia at this period of the year on
horseback, it is always advisable to carry a fine net for the
protection of the animal, a sure and commodious means of defence,
which appears, however, to be utterly unknown in Galicia, where,
perhaps, it is more wanted than in any other part of the world.

Pontevedra, upon the whole, is certainly entitled to the
appellation of a magnificent town, some of its public edifices,
especially the convents, being such as are nowhere to be found but
in Spain and Italy. It is surrounded by a wall of hewn stone, and
stands at the end of a creek into which the river Levroz
disembogues. It is said to have been founded by a colony of
Greeks, whose captain was no less a personage than Teucer the
Telemonian. It was in former times a place of considerable
commerce; and near its port are to be seen the ruins of a farol, or
lighthouse, said to be of great antiquity. The port, however, is
at a considerable distance from the town, and is shallow and
incommodious. The whole country in the neighbourhood of Pontevedra
is inconceivably delicious, abounding with fruits of every
description, especially grapes, which in the proper season are seen
hanging from the "parras" in luscious luxuriance. An old
Andalusian author has said that it produces as many oranges and
citron trees as the neighbourhood of Cordova. Its oranges are,
however, by no means good, and cannot compete with those of
Andalusia. The Pontevedrians boast that their land produces two
crops every year, and that whilst they are gathering in one they
may be seen ploughing and sowing another. They may well be proud
of their country, which is certainly a highly favoured spot.

The town itself is in a state of great decay, and notwithstanding
the magnificence of its public edifices, we found more than the
usual amount of Galician filth and misery. The posada was one of
the most wretched description, and to mend the matter, the hostess
was a most intolerable scold and shrew. Antonio having found fault
with the quality of some provision which she produced, she cursed
him most immoderately in the country language, which was the only
one she spoke, and threatened, if he attempted to breed any
disturbance in her house, to turn the horses, himself, and his
master forthwith out of doors. Socrates himself, however, could
not have conducted himself on this occasion with greater
forbearance than Antonio, who shrugged his shoulders, muttered
something in Greek, and then was silent.

"Where does the notary public live?" I demanded. Now the notary
public vended books, and to this personage I was recommended by my
friend at Saint James. A boy conducted me to the house of Senor
Garcia, for such was his name. I found him a brisk, active,
talkative little man of forty. He undertook with great alacrity
the sale of my Testaments, and in a twinkling sold two to a client
who was waiting in the office, and appeared to be from the country.
He was an enthusiastic patriot, but of course in a local sense, for
he cared for no other country than Pontevedra.

"Those fellows of Vigo," said he, "say their town is a better one
than ours, and that it is more deserving to be the capital of this
part of Galicia. Did you ever hear such folly? I tell you what,
friend, I should not care if Vigo were burnt, and all the fools and
rascals within it. Would you ever think of comparing Vigo with

"I don't know," I replied; "I have never been at Vigo, but I have
heard say that the bay of Vigo is the finest in the world."

"Bay! my good sir. Bay! yes, the rascals have a bay, and it is
that bay of theirs which has robbed us all our commerce. But what
needs the capital of a district with a bay? It is public edifices
that it wants, where the provincial deputies can meet to transact
their business; now, so far from there being a commodious public
edifice, there is not a decent house in all Vigo. Bay! yes, they
have a bay, but have they water fit to drink? Have they a
fountain? Yes, they have, and the water is so brackish that it
would burst the stomach of a horse. I hope, my dear sir, that you
have not come all this distance to take the part of such a gang of
pirates as those of Vigo."

"I am not come to take their part," I replied; "indeed, I was not
aware that they wanted my assistance in this dispute. I am merely
carrying to them the New Testament, of which they evidently stand
in much need, if they are such knaves and scoundrels as you
represent them."

"Represent them, my dear sir. Does not the matter speak for
itself? Do they not say that their town is better than ours, more
fit to be the capital of a district, que disparate! que briboneria!
(what folly! what rascality!)"

"Is there a bookseller's shop at Vigo?" I inquired.

"There was one," he replied, "kept by an insane barber. I am glad,
for your sake, that it is broken up, and the fellow vanished; he
would have played you one of two tricks; he would either have cut
your throat with his razor, under pretence of shaving you, or have
taken your books and never have accounted to you for the proceeds.
Bay! I never could see what right such an owl's nest as Vigo has to
a bay."

No person could exhibit greater kindness to another, than did the
notary public to myself, as soon as I had convinced him that I had
no intention of siding with the men of Vigo against Pontevedra. It
was now six o'clock in the evening, and he forthwith conducted me
to a confectioner's shop, where he treated me with an iced cream
and a small cup of chocolate. From hence we walked about the city,
the notary showing the various edifices, especially, the Convent of
the Jesuits: "See that front," said he, "what do you think of it?"

I expressed to him the admiration which I really felt, and by so
doing entirely won the good notary's heart: "I suppose there is
nothing like that at Vigo?" said I. He looked at me for a moment,
winked, gave a short triumphant chuckle, and then proceeded on his
way, walking at a tremendous rate. The Senor Garcia was dressed in
all respects as an English notary might be: he wore a white hat,
brown frock coat, drab breeches buttoned at the knees, white
stockings, and well blacked shoes. But I never saw an English
notary walk so fast: it could scarcely be called walking: it
seemed more like a succession of galvanic leaps and bounds. I
found it impossible to keep up with him: "Where are you conducting
me?" I at last demanded, quite breathless.

"To the house of the cleverest man in Spain," he replied, "to whom
I intend to introduce you; for you must not think that Pontevedra
has nothing to boast of but its splendid edifices and its beautiful
country; it produces more illustrious minds than any other town in
Spain. Did you ever hear of the grand Tamerlane?"

"Oh, yes," said I, "but he did not come from Pontevedra or its
neighbourhood: he came from the steppes of Tartary, near the river

"I know he did," replied the notary, "but what I mean to say is,
that when Enrique the Third wanted an ambassador to send to that
African, the only man he could find suited to the enterprise was a
knight of Pontevedra, Don--by name. Let the men of Vigo contradict
that fact if they can."

We entered a large portal and ascended a splendid staircase, at the
top of which the notary knocked at a small door: "Who is the
gentleman to whom you are about to introduce me?" demanded I.

"It is the advocate -," replied Garcia; "he is the cleverest man in
Spain, and understands all languages and sciences."

We were admitted by a respectable-looking female, to all appearance
a housekeeper, who, on being questioned, informed us that the
Advocate was at home, and forthwith conducted us to an immense
room, or rather library, the walls being covered with books, except
in two or three places, where hung some fine pictures of the
ancient Spanish school. There was a rich mellow light in the
apartment, streaming through a window of stained glass, which
looked to the west. Behind the table sat the Advocate, on whom I
looked with no little interest: his forehead was high and
wrinkled, and there was much gravity on his features, which were
quite Spanish. He was dressed in a long robe, and might be about
sixty; he sat reading behind a large table, and on our entrance
half raised himself and bowed slightly.

The notary public saluted him most profoundly, and, in an under
voice, hoped that he might be permitted to introduce a friend of
his, an English gentleman, who was travelling through Galicia.

"I am very glad to see him," said the Advocate, "but I hope he
speaks Castilian, else we can have but little communication; for,
although I can read both French and Latin, I cannot speak them."

"He speaks, sir, almost as good Spanish," said the notary, "as a
native of Pontevedra."

"The natives of Pontevedra," I replied, "appear to be better versed
in Gallegan than in Castilian, for the greater part of the
conversation which I hear in the streets is carried on in the
former dialect."

"The last gentleman which my friend Garcia introduced to me," said
the Advocate, "was a Portuguese, who spoke little or no Spanish.
It is said that the Gallegan and Portuguese are very similar, but
when we attempted to converse in the two languages, we found it
impossible. I understood little of what he said, whilst my
Gallegan was quite unintelligible to him. Can you understand our
country dialect?" he continued.

"Very little of it," I replied; "which I believe chiefly proceeds
from the peculiar accent and uncouth enunciation of the Gallegans,
for their language is certainly almost entirely composed of Spanish
and Portuguese words."

"So you are an Englishman," said the Advocate. "Your countrymen
have committed much damage in times past in these regions, if we
may trust our histories."

"Yes," said I, "they sank your galleons and burnt your finest men-
of-war in Vigo Bay, and, under old Cobham, levied a contribution of
forty thousand pounds sterling on this very town of Pontevedra."

"Any foreign power," interrupted the notary public, "has a clear
right to attack Vigo, but I cannot conceive what plea your
countrymen could urge for distressing Pontevedra, which is a
respectable town, and could never have offended them."

"Senor Cavalier," said the Advocate, "I will show you my library.
Here is a curious work, a collection of poems, written mostly in
Gallegan, by the curate of Fruime. He is our national poet, and we
are very proud of him."

We stopped upwards of an hour with the Advocate, whose
conversation, if it did not convince me that he was the cleverest
man in Spain, was, upon the whole, highly interesting, and who
certainly possessed an extensive store of general information,
though he was by no means the profound philologist which the notary
had represented him to be.

When I was about to depart from Pontevedra in the afternoon of the
next day, the Senor Garcia stood by the side of my horse, and
having embraced me, thrust a small pamphlet into my hand: "This
book," said he, "contains a description of Pontevedra. Wherever
you go, speak well of Pontevedra." I nodded. "Stay," said he, "my
dear friend, I have heard of your society, and will do my best to
further its views. I am quite disinterested, but if at any future
time you should have an opportunity of speaking in print of Senor
Garcia, the notary public of Pontevedra,--you understand me,--I
wish you would do so."

"I will," said I.

It was a pleasant afternoon's ride from Pontevedra to Vigo, the
distance being only four leagues. As we approached the latter
town, the country became exceedingly mountainous, though scarcely
anything could exceed the beauty of the surrounding scenery. The
sides of the hills were for the most part clothed with luxuriant
forests, even to the very summits, though occasionally a flinty and
naked peak would present itself, rising to the clouds. As the
evening came on, the route along which we advanced became very
gloomy, the hills and forests enwrapping it in deep shade. It
appeared, however, to be well frequented: numerous cars were
creaking along it, and both horsemen and pedestrians were
continually passing us. The villages were frequent. Vines,
supported on parras, were growing, if possible, in still greater
abundance than in the neighbourhood of Pontevedra. Life and
activity seemed to pervade everything. The hum of insects, the
cheerful bark of dogs, the rude songs of Galicia, were blended
together in pleasant symphony. So delicious was my ride, that I
almost regretted when we entered the gate of Vigo.

The town occupies the lower part of a lofty hill, which, as it
ascends, becomes extremely steep and precipitous, and the top of
which is crowned with a strong fort or castle. It is a small
compact place, surrounded with low walls, the streets are narrow,
steep, and winding, and in the middle of the town is a small

There is rather an extensive faubourg extending along the shore of
the bay. We found an excellent posada, kept by a man and woman
from the Basque provinces, who were both civil and intelligent.
The town seemed to be crowded, and resounded with noise and
merriment. The people were making a wretched attempt at an
illumination, in consequence of some victory lately gained, or
pretended to have been gained, over the forces of the Pretender.
Military uniforms were glancing about in every direction. To
increase the bustle, a troop of Portuguese players had lately
arrived from Oporto, and their first representation was to take
place this evening. "Is the play to be performed in Spanish?" I
demanded. "No," was the reply; "and on that account every person
is so eager to go; which would not be the case if it were in a
language which they could understand."

On the morning of the next day I was seated at breakfast in a large
apartment which looked out upon the Plaza Mayor, or great square of
the good town of Vigo. The sun was shining very brilliantly, and
all around looked lively and gay. Presently a stranger entered,
and bowing profoundly, stationed himself at the window, where he
remained a considerable time in silence. He was a man of very
remarkable appearance, of about thirty-five. His features were of
perfect symmetry, and I may almost say, of perfect beauty. His
hair was the darkest I had ever seen, glossy and shining; his eyes
large, black, and melancholy; but that which most struck me was his
complexion. It might be called olive, it is true, but it was a
livid olive. He was dressed in the very first style of French
fashion. Around his neck was a massive gold chain, while upon his
fingers were large rings, in one of which was set a magnificent
ruby. Who can that man be? thought I;--Spaniard or Portuguese,
perhaps a Creole. I asked him an indifferent question in Spanish,
to which he forthwith replied in that language, but his accent
convinced me that he was neither Spaniard nor Portuguese.

"I presume I am speaking to an Englishman, sir?" said he, in as
good English as it was possible for one not an Englishman to speak.

Myself.--You know me to be an Englishman; but I should find some
difficulty in guessing to what country you belong.

Stranger.--May I take a seat?

Myself.--A singular question. Have you not as much right to sit in
the public apartment of an inn as myself?

Stranger.--I am not certain of that. The people here are not in
general very gratified at seeing me seated by their side.

Myself.--Perhaps owing to your political opinions, or to some crime
which it may have been your misfortune to commit?

Stranger.--I have no political opinions, and I am not aware that I
ever committed any particular crime,--I am hated for my country and
my religion.

Myself.--Perhaps I am speaking to a Protestant, like myself?

Stranger.--I am no Protestant. If I were, they would be cautious
here of showing their dislike, for I should then have a government
and a consul to protect me. I am a Jew--a Barbary Jew, a subject
of Abderrahman.

Myself.--If that be the case, you can scarcely complain of being
looked upon with dislike in this country, since in Barbary the Jews
are slaves.

Stranger.--In most parts, I grant you, but not where I was born,
which was far up the country, near the deserts. There the Jews are
free, and are feared, and are as valiant men as the Moslems
themselves; as able to tame the steed, or to fire the gun. The
Jews of our tribe are not slaves, and I like not to be treated as a
slave either by Christian or Moor.

Myself.--Your history must be a curious one, I would fain hear it.

Stranger.--My history I shall tell to no one. I have travelled
much, I have been in commerce and have thriven. I am at present
established in Portugal, but I love not the people of Catholic
countries, and least of all these of Spain. I have lately
experienced the most shameful injustice in the Aduana of this town,
and when I complained, they laughed at me and called me Jew.
Wherever he turns, the Jew is reviled, save in your country, and on
that account my blood always warms when I see an Englishman. You
are a stranger here. Can I do aught for you? You may command me.

Myself.--I thank you heartily, but I am in need of no assistance.

Stranger.--Have you any bills, I will accept them if you have?

Myself.--I have no need of assistance; but you may do me a favour
by accepting of a book.

Stranger.--I will receive it with thanks. I know what it is. What
a singular people? The same dress, the same look, the same book.
Pelham gave me one in Egypt. Farewell! Your Jesus was a good man,
perhaps a prophet; but . . . farewell!

Well may the people of Pontevedra envy the natives of Vigo their
bay, with which, in many respects, none other in the world can
compare. On every side it is defended by steep and sublime hills,
save on the part of the west, where is the outlet to the Atlantic;
but in the midst of this outlet, up towers a huge rocky wall, or
island, which breaks the swell, and prevents the billows of the
western sea from pouring through in full violence. On either side
of this island is a passage, so broad, that navies might pass
through at all times in safety. The bay itself is oblong, running
far into the land, and so capacious, that a thousand sail of the
line might ride in it uncrowded. The waters are dark, still, and
deep, without quicksands or shallows, so that the proudest man-of-
war might lie within a stone's throw of the town ramparts without
any fear of injuring her keel.

Of many a strange event, and of many a mighty preparation has this
bay been the scene. It was here that the bulky dragons of the
grand armada were mustered, and it was from hence that, fraught
with the pomp, power, and terror of old Spain, the monster fleet,
spreading its enormous sails to the wind, and bent on the ruin of
the Lutheran isle, proudly steered;--that fleet, to build and man
which half the forests of Galicia had been felled, and all the
mariners impressed from the thousand bays and creeks of the stern
Cantabrian shore. It was here that the united flags of Holland and
England triumphed over the pride of Spain and France; when the
burning timbers of exploded war-ships soared above the tops of the
Gallegan hills, and blazing galleons sank with their treasure
chests whilst drifting in the direction of Sampayo. It was on the
shores of this bay that the English guards first emptied Spanish
bodegas, whilst the bombs of Cobham were crushing the roofs of the
castle of Castro, and the vecinos of Pontevedra buried their
doubloons in cellars, and flying posts were conveying to Lugo and
Orensee the news of the heretic invasion and the disaster of Vigo.
All these events occurred to my mind as I stood far up the hill, at
a short distance from the fort, surveying the bay.

"What are you doing there, Cavalier?" roared several voices.
"Stay, Carracho! if you attempt to run we will shoot you!" I
looked round and saw three or four fellows in dirty uniforms, to
all appearance soldiers, just above me, on a winding path, which
led up the hill. Their muskets were pointed at me. "What am I
doing? Nothing, as you see," said I, "save looking at the bay; and
as for running, this is by no means ground for a course." "You are
our prisoner," said they, "and you must come with us to the fort."
"I was just thinking of going there," I replied, "before you thus
kindly invited me. The fort is the very spot I was desirous of
seeing." I thereupon climbed up to the place where they stood,
when they instantly surrounded me, and with this escort I was
marched into the fort, which might have been a strong place in its
time, but was now rather ruinous. "You are suspected of being a
spy," said the corporal, who walked in front. "Indeed," said I.
"Yes," replied the corporal, "and several spies have lately been
taken and shot."

Upon one of the parapets of the fort stood a young man, dressed as
a subaltern officer, and to this personage I was introduced. "We
have been watching you this half hour," said he, "as you were
taking observations." "Then you gave yourselves much useless
trouble," said I. "I am an Englishman, and was merely looking at
the bay. Have the kindness now to show me the fort." . . .

After some conversation, he said, "I wish to be civil to people of
your nation, you may therefore consider yourself at liberty." I
bowed, made my exit, and proceeded down the hill. Just before I
entered the town, however, the corporal, who had followed me
unperceived, tapped me on the shoulder. "You must go with me to
the governor," said he. "With all my heart," I replied. The
governor was shaving, when we were shown up to him. He was in his
shirt sleeves, and held a razor in his hand. He looked very ill-
natured, which was perhaps owing to his being thus interrupted in
his toilet. He asked me two or three questions, and on learning
that I had a passport, and was the bearer of a letter to the
English consul, he told me that I was at liberty to depart. So I
bowed to the governor of the town, as I had done to the governor of
the fort, and making my exit proceeded to my inn.

At Vigo I accomplished but little in the way of distribution, and
after a sojourn of a few days, I returned in the direction of Saint


Arrival at Padron--Projected Enterprise--The Alquilador--Breach of
Promise--An Odd Companion--A Plain Story--Rugged Paths--The
Desertion--The Pony--A Dialogue--Unpleasant Situation--The Estadea-
-Benighted--The Hut--The Traveller's Pillow.

I arrived at Padron late in the evening, on my return from
Pontevedra and Vigo. It was my intention at this place to send my
servant and horses forward to Santiago, and to hire a guide to Cape
Finisterra. It would be difficult to assign any plausible reason
for the ardent desire which I entertained to visit this place; but
I remembered that last year I had escaped almost by a miracle from
shipwreck and death on the rocky sides of this extreme point of the
Old World, and I thought that to convey the Gospel to a place so
wild and remote, might perhaps be considered an acceptable
pilgrimage in the eyes of my Maker. True it is that but one copy
remained of those which I had brought with me on this last journey,
but this reflection, far from discouraging me in my projected
enterprise, produced the contrary effect, as I called to mind that
ever since the Lord revealed himself to man, it has seemed good to
him to accomplish the greatest ends by apparently the most
insufficient means; and I reflected that this one copy might serve
as an instrument of more good than the four thousand nine hundred
and ninety-nine copies of the edition of Madrid.

I was aware that my own horses were quite incompetent to reach
Finisterra, as the roads or paths lie through stony ravines, and
over rough and shaggy hills, and therefore determined to leave them
behind with Antonio, whom I was unwilling to expose to the fatigues
of such a journey. I lost no time in sending for an alquilador, or
person who lets out horses, and informing him of my intention. He
said he had an excellent mountain pony at my disposal, and that he
himself would accompany me, but at the same time observed, that it
was a terrible journey for man and horse, and that he expected to
be paid accordingly. I consented to give him what he demanded, but
on the express condition that he would perform his promise of
attending me himself, as I was unwilling to trust myself four or
five days amongst the hills with any low fellow of the town whom he
might select, and who it was very possible might play me some evil
turn. He replied by the term invariably used by the Spaniards when
they see doubt or distrust exhibited. "No tenga usted cuidao," I
will go myself. Having thus arranged the matter perfectly
satisfactorily, as I thought, I partook of a slight supper, and
shortly afterwards retired to repose.

I had requested the alquilador to call me the next morning at three
o'clock; he however did not make his appearance till five, having,
I suppose, overslept himself, which was indeed my own case. I
arose in a hurry, dressed, put a few things in a bag, not
forgetting the Testament which I had resolved to present to the
inhabitants of Finisterra. I then sallied forth and saw my friend
the alquilador, who was holding by the bridle the pony or jaco
which was destined to carry me in my expedition. It was a
beautiful little animal, apparently strong and full of life,
without one single white hair in its whole body, which was black as
the plumage of the crow.

Behind it stood a strange-looking figure of the biped species, to
whom, however, at the moment, I paid little attention, but of whom
I shall have plenty to say in the sequel.

Having asked the horse-lender whether he was ready to proceed, and
being answered in the affirmative, I bade adieu to Antonio, and
putting the pony in motion, we hastened out of the town, taking at
first the road which leads towards Santiago. Observing that the
figure which I have previously alluded to was following close at
our heels, I asked the alquilador who it was, and the reason of its
following us; to which he replied that it was a servant of his, who
would proceed a little way with us and then return. So on we went
at a rapid rate, till we were within a quarter of a mile of the
Convent of the Esclavitud, a little beyond which he had informed me
that we should have to turn off from the high road; but here he
suddenly stopped short, and in a moment we were all at a
standstill. I questioned the guide as to the reason of this, but
received no answer. The fellow's eyes were directed to the ground,
and he seemed to be counting with the most intense solicitude the
prints of the hoofs of the oxen, mules, and horses in the dust of
the road. I repeated my demand in a louder voice; when, after a
considerable pause, he somewhat elevated his eyes, without however
looking me in the face, and said that he believed that I
entertained the idea that he himself was to guide me to Finisterra,
which if I did, he was very sorry for, the thing being quite
impossible, as he was perfectly ignorant of the way, and, moreover,
incapable of performing such a journey over rough and difficult
ground, as he was no longer the man he had been, and over and above
all that, he was engaged that day to accompany a gentleman to
Pontevedra, who was at that moment expecting him. "But," continued
he, "as I am always desirous of behaving like a caballero to
everybody, I have taken measures to prevent your being
disappointed. This person," pointing to the figure, "I have
engaged to accompany you. He is a most trustworthy person, and is
well acquainted with the route to Finisterra, having been thither
several times with this very jaco on which you are mounted. He
will, besides, be an agreeable companion to you on the way, as he
speaks French and English very well, and has been all over the
world." The fellow ceased speaking at last; and I was so struck
with his craft, impudence, and villainy, that some time elapsed
before I could find an answer. I then reproached him in the
bitterest terms for his breach of promise, and said that I was much
tempted to return to the town instantly, complain of him to the
alcalde, and have him punished at any expense. To which he
replied, "Sir Cavalier, by so doing you will be nothing nearer
Finisterra, to which you seem so eager to get. Take my advice,
spur on the jaco, for you see it is getting late, and it is twelve
long leagues from hence to Corcuvion, where you must pass the
night; and from thence to Finisterra is no trifle. As for the man,
no tenga usted cuidao, he is the best guide in all Galicia, speaks
English and French, and will bear you pleasant company."

By this time I had reflected that by returning to Padron I should
indeed be only wasting time, and that by endeavouring to have the
fellow punished, no benefit would accrue to me; moreover, as he
seemed to be a scoundrel in every sense of the word, I might as
well proceed in the company of any person as in his. I therefore
signified my intention of proceeding, and told him to go back in
the Lord's name, and repent of his sins. But having gained one
point, he thought he had best attempt another; so placing himself
about a yard before the jaco, he said that the price which I had
agreed to pay him for the loan of his horse (which by the by was
the full sum he had demanded) was by no means sufficient, and that
before I proceeded I must promise him two dollars more, adding that
he was either drunk or mad when he had made such a bargain. I was
now thoroughly incensed, and without a moment's reflection, spurred
the jaco, which flung him down in the dust, and passed over him.
Looking back at the distance of a hundred yards, I saw him standing
in the same place, his hat on the ground, gazing after us, and
crossing himself most devoutly. His servant, or whatever he was,
far from offering any assistance to his principal, no sooner saw
the jaco in motion than he ran on by its side, without word or
comment, farther than striking himself lustily on the thigh with
his right palm. We soon passed the Esclavitud, and presently
afterwards turned to the left into a stony broken path leading to
fields of maze. We passed by several farm-houses, and at last
arrived at a dingle, the sides of which were plentifully overgrown
with dwarf oaks, and which slanted down to a small dark river
shaded with trees, which we crossed by a rude bridge. By this time
I had had sufficient time to scan my odd companion from head to
foot. His utmost height, had he made the most of himself, might
perhaps have amounted to five feet one inch; but he seemed somewhat
inclined to stoop. Nature had gifted him with an immense head and
placed it clean upon his shoulders, for amongst the items of his
composition it did not appear that a neck had been included. Arms
long and brawny swung at his sides, and the whole of his frame was
as strong built and powerful as a wrestler's; his body was
supported by a pair of short but very nimble legs. His face was
very long, and would have borne some slight resemblance to a human
countenance, had the nose been more visible, for its place seemed
to have been entirely occupied by a wry mouth and large staring
eyes. His dress consisted of three articles: an old and tattered
hat of the Portuguese kind, broad at the crown and narrow at the
eaves, something which appeared to be a shirt, and dirty canvas
trousers. Willing to enter into conversation with him, and
remembering that the alquilador had informed me that he spoke
languages, I asked him, in English, if he had always acted in the
capacity of guide? Whereupon he turned his eyes with a singular
expression upon my face, gave a loud laugh, a long leap, and
clapped his hands thrice above his head. Perceiving that he did
not understand me, I repeated my demand in French, and was again
answered by the laugh, leap, and clapping. At last he said in
broken Spanish, "Master mine, speak Spanish in God's name, and I
can understand you, and still better if you speak Gallegan, but I
can promise no more. I heard what the alquilador told you, but he
is the greatest embustero in the whole land, and deceived you then
as he did when he promised to accompany you. I serve him for my
sins; but it was an evil hour when I left the deep sea and turned
guide." He then informed me that he was a native of Padron, and a
mariner by profession, having spent the greater part of his life in
the Spanish navy, in which service he had visited Cuba and many
parts of the Spanish Americas, adding, "when my master told you
that I should bear you pleasant company by the way, it was the only
word of truth that has come from his mouth for a month; and long
before you reach Finisterra you will have rejoiced that the
servant, and not the master, went with you: he is dull and heavy,
but I am what you see." He then gave two or three first-rate
summersets, again laughed loudly, and clapped his hands. "You
would scarcely think," he continued, "that I drove that little pony
yesterday heavily laden all the way from Coruna. We arrived at
Padron at two o'clock this morning; but we are nevertheless both
willing and able to undertake a fresh journey. No tenga usted
cuidao, as my master said, no one ever complains of that pony or of
me." In this kind of discourse we proceeded a considerable way
through a very picturesque country, until we reached a beautiful
village at the skirt of a mountain. "This village," said my guide,
"is called Los Angeles, because its church was built long since by
the angels; they placed a beam of gold beneath it, which they
brought down from heaven, and which was once a rafter of God's own
house. It runs all the way under the ground from hence to the
cathedral of Compostella."

Passing through the village, which he likewise informed me
possessed baths, and was much visited by the people of Santiago, we
shaped our course to the north-west, and by so doing doubled a
mountain which rose majestically over our heads, its top crowned
with bare and broken rocks, whilst on our right, on the other side
of a spacious valley, was a high range, connected with the
mountains to the northward of Saint James. On the summit of this
range rose high embattled towers, which my guide informed me were
those of Altamira, an ancient and ruined castle, formerly the
principal residence in this province of the counts of that name.
Turning now due west, we were soon at the bottom of a steep and
rugged pass, which led to more elevated regions. The ascent cost
us nearly half an hour, and the difficulties of the ground were
such, that I more than once congratulated myself on having left my
own horses behind, and being mounted on the gallant little pony
which, accustomed to such paths, scrambled bravely forward, and
eventually brought us in safety to the top of the ascent.

Here we entered a Gallegan cabin, or choza, for the purpose of
refreshing the animal and ourselves. The quadruped ate some maize,
whilst we two bipeds regaled ourselves on some broa and
aguardiente, which a woman whom we found in the hut placed before
us. I walked out for a few minutes to observe the aspect of the
country, and on my return found my guide fast asleep on the bench
where I had left him. He sat bolt upright, his back supported
against the wall, and his legs pendulous, within three inches of
the ground, being too short to reach it. I remained gazing upon
him for at least five minutes, whilst he enjoyed slumbers seemingly
as quiet and profound as those of death itself. His face brought
powerfully to my mind some of those uncouth visages of saints and
abbots which are occasionally seen in the niches of the walls of
ruined convents. There was not the slightest gleam of vitality in
his countenance, which for colour and rigidity might have been of
stone, and which was as rude and battered as one of the stone heads
at Icolmkill, which have braved the winds of twelve hundred years.
I continued gazing on his face till I became almost alarmed,
concluding that life might have departed from its harassed and
fatigued tenement. On my shaking him rather roughly by the
shoulder he slowly awoke, opening his eyes with a stare and then
closing them again. For a few moments he was evidently unconscious
of where he was. On my shouting to him, however, and inquiring
whether he intended to sleep all day instead of conducting me to
Finisterra, he dropped upon his legs, snatched up his hat, which
lay on the table, and instantly ran out of the door, exclaiming,
"Yes, yes, I remember--follow me, captain, and I will lead you to
Finisterra in no time." I looked after him, and perceived that he
was hurrying at a considerable pace in the direction in which we
had hitherto been proceeding. "Stop," said I, "stop! will you
leave me here with the pony? Stop, we have not paid the reckoning.
Stop!" He, however, never turned his head for a moment, and in
less than a minute was out of sight. The pony, which was tied to a
crib at one end of the cabin, began now to neigh terrifically, to
plunge, and to erect its tail and mane in a most singular manner.
It tore and strained at the halter till I was apprehensive that
strangulation would ensue. "Woman," I exclaimed, "where are you,
and what is the meaning of all this?" But the hostess had likewise
disappeared, and though I ran about the choza, shouting myself
hoarse, no answer was returned. The pony still continued to scream
and to strain at the halter more violently than ever. "Am I beset
with lunatics?" I cried, and flinging down a peseta on the table,
unloosed the halter, and attempted to introduce the bit into the
mouth of the animal. This, however, I found impossible to effect.
Released from the halter, the pony made at once for the door, in
spite of all the efforts which I could make to detain it. "If you
abandon me," said I, "I am in a pretty situation; but there is a
remedy for everything!" with which words I sprang into the saddle,
and in a moment more the creature was bearing me at a rapid gallop
in the direction, as I supposed, of Finisterra. My position,
however diverting to the reader, was rather critical to myself. I
was on the back of a spirited animal, over which I had no control,
dashing along a dangerous and unknown path. I could not discover
the slightest vestige of my guide, nor did I pass anyone from whom
I could derive any information. Indeed, the speed of the animal
was so great, that even in the event of my meeting or overtaking a
passenger, I could scarcely have hoped to exchange a word with him.
"Is the pony trained to this work?" said I mentally. "Is he
carrying me to some den of banditti, where my throat will be cut,
or does he follow his master by instinct?" Both of these
suspicions I however soon abandoned; the pony's speed relaxed, he
appeared to have lost the road. He looked about uneasily: at
last, coming to a sandy spot, he put his nostrils to the ground,
and then suddenly flung himself down, and wallowed in true pony
fashion. I was not hurt, and instantly made use of this
opportunity to slip the bit into his mouth, which previously had
been dangling beneath his neck; I then remounted in quest of the

This I soon found, and continued my way for a considerable time.
The path lay over a moor, patched heath and furze, and here and
there strewn with large stones, or rather rocks. The sun had risen
high in the firmament, and burned fiercely. I passed several
people, men and women, who gazed at me with surprise, wondering,
probably, what a person of my appearance could be about without a
guide in so strange a place. I inquired of two females whom I met
whether they had seen my guide; but they either did not or would
not understand me, and exchanging a few words with each other, in
one of the hundred dialects of the Gallegan, passed on. Having
crossed the moor, I came rather abruptly upon a convent,
overhanging a deep ravine, at the bottom of which brawled a rapid

It was a beautiful and picturesque spot: the sides of the ravine
were thickly clothed with wood, and on the other side a tall, black
hill uplifted itself. The edifice was large, and apparently
deserted. Passing by it, I presently reached a small village, as
deserted, to all appearance, as the convent, for I saw not a single
individual, nor so much as a dog to welcome me with his bark. I
proceeded, however, until I reached a fountain, the waters of which
gushed from a stone pillar into a trough. Seated upon this last,
his arms folded, and his eyes fixed upon the neighbouring mountain,
I beheld a figure which still frequently recurs to my thoughts,
especially when asleep and oppressed by the nightmare. This figure
was my runaway guide.

Myself.--Good day to you, my gentleman. The weather is hot, and
yonder water appears delicious. I am almost tempted to dismount
and regale myself with a slight draught.

Guide.--Your worship can do no better. The day is, as you say,
hot; you can do no better than drink a little of this water. I
have myself just drunk. I would not, however, advise you to give
that pony any, it appears heated and blown.

Myself.--It may well be so. I have been galloping at least two
leagues in pursuit of a fellow who engaged to guide me to
Finisterra, but who deserted me in a most singular manner, so much
so, that I almost believe him to be a thief, and no true man. You
do not happen to have seen him?

Guide.--What kind of a man might he be?

Myself.--A short, thick fellow, very much like yourself, with a
hump upon his back, and, excuse me, of a very ill-favoured

Guide.--Ha, ha! I know him. He ran with me to this fountain,
where he has just left me. That man, Sir Cavalier, is no thief.
If he is any thing at all, he is a Nuveiro,--a fellow who rides
upon the clouds, and is occasionally whisked away by a gust of
wind. Should you ever travel with that man again, never allow him
more than one glass of anise at a time, or he will infallibly mount
into the clouds and leave you, and then he will ride and run till
he comes to a water brook, or knocks his head against a fountain--
then one draught, and he is himself again. So you are going to
Finisterra, Sir Cavalier. Now it is singular enough, that a
cavalier much of your appearance engaged me to conduct him there
this morning. I however lost him on the way. So it appears to me
our best plan to travel together until you find your own guide and
I find my own master.

It might be about two o'clock in the afternoon, that we reached a
long and ruinous bridge, seemingly of great antiquity, and which,
as I was informed by my guide, was called the bridge of Don Alonzo.
It crossed a species of creek, or rather frith, for the sea was at
no considerable distance, and the small town of Noyo lay at our
right. "When we have crossed that bridge, captain," said my guide,
"we shall be in an unknown country, for I have never been farther
than Noyo, and as for Finisterra, so far from having been there, I
never heard of such a place; and though I have inquired of two or
three people since we have been upon this expedition, they know as
little about it as I do. Taking all things, however, into
consideration, it appears to me that the best thing we can do is to
push forward to Corcuvion, which is five mad leagues from hence,
and which we may perhaps reach ere nightfall, if we can find the
way or get any one to direct us; for, as I told you before, I know
nothing about it." "To fine hands have I confided myself," said I:
"however, we had best, as you say, push forward to Corcuvion,
where, peradventure, we may hear something of Finisterra, and find
a guide to conduct us." Whereupon, with a hop, skip, and a jump,
he again set forward at a rapid pace, stopping occasionally at a
choza, for the purpose, I suppose, of making inquiries, though I
understood scarcely anything of the jargon in which he addressed
the people, and in which they answered him.

We were soon in an extremely wild and hilly country, scrambling up
and down ravines, wading brooks, and scratching our hands and faces
with brambles, on which grew a plentiful crop of wild mulberries,
to gather some of which we occasionally made a stop. Owing to the
roughness of the way we made no great progress. The pony followed
close at the back of the guide, so near, indeed, that its nose
almost touched his shoulder. The country grew wilder and wilder,
and since we had passed a water mill, we had lost all trace of
human habitation. The mill stood at the bottom of a valley shaded
by large trees, and its wheels were turning with a dismal and
monotonous noise. "Do you think we shall reach Corcuvion to-
night?" said I to the guide, as we emerged from this valley to a
savage moor, which appeared of almost boundless extent.

Guide.--I do not, I do not. We shall in no manner reach Corcuvion
to-night, and I by no means like the appearance of this moor. The
sun is rapidly sinking, and then, if there come on a haze, we shall
meet the Estadea.

Myself.--What do you mean by the Estadea?

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