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The Bible in Spain by George Borrow

Part 7 out of 12

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Guide.--What do I mean by the Estadea? My master asks me what I
mean by the Estadinha. {17} I have met the Estadinha but once, and
it was upon a moor something like this. I was in company with
several women, and a thick haze came on, and suddenly a thousand
lights shone above our heads in the haze, and there was a wild cry,
and the women fell to the ground screaming Estadea! Estadea! and I
myself fell to the ground crying out Estadinha! The Estadea are
the spirits of the dead which ride upon the haze, bearing candles
in their hands. I tell you frankly, my master, that if we meet the
assembly of the souls, I shall leave you at once, and then I shall
run and run till I drown myself in the sea, somewhere about Muros.
We shall not reach Corcuvion this night; my only hope is that we
may find some choza upon these moors, where we may hide our heads
from the Estadinha.

The night overtook us ere we had traversed the moor; there was,
however, no haze, to the great joy of my guide, and a corner of the
moon partially illumined our steps. Our situation, however, was
dreary enough: we were upon the wildest heath of the wildest
province of Spain, ignorant of our way, and directing our course we
scarcely knew whither, for my guide repeatedly declared to me, that
he did not believe that such a place as Finisterra existed, or if
it did exist, it was some bleak mountain pointed out in a map.
When I reflected on the character of this guide, I derived but
little comfort or encouragement: he was at best evidently half
witted, and was by his own confession occasionally seized with
paroxysms which differed from madness in no essential respect; his
wild escapade in the morning of nearly three leagues, without any
apparent cause, and lastly his superstitious and frantic fears of
meeting the souls of the dead upon this heath, in which event he
intended, as he himself said, to desert me and make for the sea,
operated rather powerfully upon my nerves. I likewise considered
that it was quite possible that we might be in the route neither of
Finisterra nor Corcuvion, and I therefore determined to enter the
first cabin at which we should arrive, in preference to running the
risk of breaking our necks by tumbling down some pit or precipice.
No cabin, however, appeared in sight: the moor seemed
interminable, and we wandered on until the moon disappeared, and we
were left in almost total darkness.

At length we arrived at the foot of a steep ascent, up which a
rough and broken pathway appeared to lead.

"Can this be our way?" said I to the guide.

"There appears to be no other for us, captain," replied the man;
"let us ascend it by all means, and when we are it the top, if the
sea be in the neighbourhood we shall see it."

I then dismounted, for to ride up such a pass in such darkness
would have been madness. We clambered up in a line, first the
guide, next the pony, with his nose as usual on his master's
shoulder, of whom he seemed passionately fond, and I bringing up
the rear, with my left hand grasping the animal's tail. We had
many a stumble, and more than one fall: once, indeed, we were all
rolling down the side of the hill together. In about twenty
minutes we reached the summit, and looked around us, but no sea was
visible: a black moor, indistinctly seen, seemed to spread on
every side.

"We shall have to take up our quarters here till morning," said I.

Suddenly my guide seized me by the hand: "There is lume, Senhor,"
said he, "there is lume." I looked in the direction in which he
pointed, and, after straining my eyes for some time, imagined that
I perceived, far below and at some distance, a faint glow. "That
is lume," shouted the guide, "and it proceeds from the chimney of a

On descending the eminence, we roamed about for a considerable
time, until we at last found ourselves in the midst of about six or
eight black huts. "Knock at the door of one of these," said I to
the guide, "and inquire of the people whether they can shelter us
for the night." He did so, and a man presently made his
appearance, bearing in his hand a lighted firebrand.

"Can you shelter a Cavalheiro from the night and the Estadea?" said
my guide.

"From both, I thank God," said the man, who was an athletic figure,
without shoes and stockings, and who, upon the whole, put me much
in mind of a Munster peasant from the bogs. "Pray enter,
gentlemen, we can accommodate you both and your cavalgadura

We entered the choza, which consisted of three compartments; in the
first we found straw, in the second cattle and ponies, and in the
third the family, consisting of the father and mother of the man
who admitted us, and his wife and children.

"You are a Catalan, sir Cavalier, and are going to your countryman
at Corcuvion," said the man in tolerable Spanish. "Ah, you are
brave people, you Catalans, and fine establishments you have on the
Gallegan shores; pity that you take all the money out of the

Now, under all circumstances, I had not the slightest objection to
pass for a Catalan; and I rather rejoiced that these wild people
should suppose that I had powerful friends and countrymen in the
neighbourhood who were, perhaps, expecting me. I therefore
favoured their mistake, and began with a harsh Catalan accent to
talk of the fish of Galicia, and the high duties on salt. The eye
of my guide was upon me for an instant, with a singular expression,
half serious, half droll; he however said nothing, but slapped his
thigh as usual, and with a spring nearly touched the roof of the
cabin with his grotesque head. Upon inquiry, I discovered that we
were still two long leagues distant from Corcuvion, and that the
road lay over moor and hill, and was hard to find. Our host now
demanded whether we were hungry, and upon being answered in the
affirmative, produced about a dozen eggs and some bacon. Whilst
our supper was cooking, a long conversation ensued between my guide
and the family, but as it was carried on in Gallegan, I tried in
vain to understand it. I believe, however, that it principally
related to witches and witchcraft, as the Estadea was frequently
mentioned. After supper I demanded where I could rest: whereupon
the host pointed to a trap-door in the roof, saying that above
there was a loft where I could sleep by myself, and have clean
straw. For curiosity's sake, I asked whether there was such a
thing as a bed in the cabin.

"No," replied the man; "nor nearer than Corcuvion. I never entered
one in my life, nor any one of my family: we sleep around the
hearth, or among the straw with the cattle."

I was too old a traveller to complain, but forthwith ascended by a
ladder into a species of loft, tolerably large and nearly empty,
where I placed my cloak beneath my head, and lay down on the
boards, which I preferred to the straw, for more reasons than one.
I heard the people below talking in Gallegan for a considerable
time, and could see the gleams of the fire through the interstices
of the floor. The voices, however, gradually died away, the fire
sank low and could no longer be distinguished. I dozed, started,
dozed again, and dropped finally into a profound sleep, from which
I was only roused by the crowing of the second cock.


Autumnal Morning--The World's End--Corcuvion--Duyo--The Cape--A
Whale--The Outer Bay--The Arrest--The Fisher-Magistrate--Calros
Rey--Hard of Belief--Where is your Passport?--The Beach--A Mighty
Liberal--The Handmaid--The Grand Baintham--Eccentric Book--

It was a beautiful autumnal morning when we left the choza and
pursued our way to Corcuvion. I satisfied our host by presenting
him with a couple of pesetas, and he requested as a favour, that if
on our return we passed that way, and were overtaken by the night,
we would again take up our abode beneath his roof. This I
promised, at the same time determining to do my best to guard
against the contingency; as sleeping in the loft of a Gallegan hut,
though preferable to passing the night on a moor or mountain, is
anything but desirable.

So we again started at a rapid pace along rough bridle-ways and
footpaths, amidst furze and brushwood. In about an hour we
obtained a view of the sea, and directed by a lad, whom we found on
the moor employed in tending a few miserable sheep, we bent our
course to the north-west, and at length reached the brow of an
eminence, where we stopped for some time to survey the prospect
which opened before us.

It was not without reason that the Latins gave the name of
Finnisterrae to this district. We had arrived exactly at such a
place as in my boyhood I had pictured to myself as the termination
of the world, beyond which there was a wild sea, or abyss, or
chaos. I now saw far before me an immense ocean, and below me a
long and irregular line of lofty and precipitous coast. Certainly
in the whole world there is no bolder coast than the Gallegan
shore, from the debouchement of the Minho to Cape Finisterra. It
consists of a granite wall of savage mountains, for the most part
serrated at the top, and occasionally broken, where bays and firths
like those of Vigo and Pontevedra intervene, running deep into the
land. These bays and firths are invariably of an immense depth,
and sufficiently capacious to shelter the navies of the proudest
maritime nations.

There is an air of stern and savage grandeur in everything around,
which strongly captivates the imagination. This savage coast is
the first glimpse of Spain which the voyager from the north
catches, or he who has ploughed his way across the wide Atlantic:
and well does it seem to realize all his visions of this strange
land. "Yes," he exclaims, "this is indeed Spain--stern flinty
Spain--land emblematic of those spirits to which she has given
birth. From what land but that before me could have proceeded
those portentous beings, who astounded the Old World and filled the
New with horror and blood: Alba and Philip, Cortez and Pizarro:
stern colossal spectres looming through the gloom of bygone years,
like yonder granite mountains through the haze, upon the eye of the
mariner. Yes, yonder is indeed Spain; flinty, indomitable Spain;
land emblematic of its sons!"

As for myself, when I viewed that wide ocean and its savage shore,
I cried, "Such is the grave, and such are its terrific sides; those
moors and wilds, over which I have passed, are the rough and dreary
journey of life. Cheered with hope, we struggle along through all
the difficulties of moor, bog, and mountain, to arrive at--what?
The grave and its dreary sides. Oh, may hope not desert us in the
last hour: hope in the Redeemer and in God!"

We descended from the eminence, and again lost sight of the sea
amidst ravines and dingles, amongst which patches of pine were
occasionally seen. Continuing to descend, we at last came, not to
the sea, but to the extremity of a long narrow firth, where stood a
village or hamlet; whilst at a small distance, on the Western side
of the firth, appeared one considerably larger, which was indeed
almost entitled to the appellation of town. This last was
Corcuvion; the first, if I forget not, was called Ria de Silla. We
hastened on to Corcuvion, where I bade my guide make inquiries
respecting Finisterra. He entered the door of a wine-house, from
which proceeded much noise and vociferation, and presently
returned, informing me that the village of Finisterra was distant
about a league and a half. A man, evidently in a state of
intoxication, followed him to the door: "Are you bound for
Finisterra, Cavalheiros?" he shouted.

"Yes, my friend," I replied, "we are going thither."

"Then you are going amongst a flock of drunkards (fato de
barrachos)," he answered. "Take care that they do not play you a

We passed on, and striking across a sandy peninsula at the back of
the town, soon reached the shore of an immense bay, the north-
westernmost end of which was formed by the far-famed cape of
Finisterra, which we now saw before us stretching far into the sea.

Along a beach of dazzling white sand, we advanced towards the cape,
the bourne of our journey. The sun was shining brightly, and every
object was illumined by his beams. The sea lay before us like a
vast mirror, and the waves which broke upon the shore were so tiny
as scarcely to produce a murmur. On we sped along the deep winding
bay, overhung by gigantic hills and mountains. Strange
recollections began to throng upon my mind. It was upon this beach
that, according to the tradition of all ancient Christendom, Saint
James, the patron saint of Spain, preached the Gospel to the
heathen Spaniards. Upon this beach had once stood an immense
commercial city, the proudest in all Spain. This now desolate bay
had once resounded with the voices of myriads, when the keels and
commerce of all the then known world were wafted to Duyo.

"What is the name of this village?" said I to a woman, as we passed
by five or six ruinous houses at the bend of the bay, ere we
entered upon the peninsula of Finisterra.

"This is no village," said the Gallegan, "this is no village, Sir
Cavalier, this is a city, this is Duyo."

So much for the glory of the world! These huts were all that the
roaring sea and the tooth of time had left of Duyo, the great city!
Onward now to Finisterra.

It was midday when we reached the village of Finisterra, consisting
of about one hundred houses, and built on the southern side of the
peninsula, just before it rises into the huge bluff head which is
called the Cape. We sought in vain for an inn or venta, where we
might stable our beast; at one moment we thought that we had found
one, and had even tied the animal to the manger. Upon our going
out, however, he was instantly untied and driven forth into the
street. The few people whom we saw appeared to gaze upon us in a
singular manner. We, however, took little notice of these
circumstances, and proceeded along the straggling street until we
found shelter in the house of a Castilian shopkeeper, whom some
chance had brought to this corner of Galicia,--this end of the
world. Our first care was to feed the animal, who now began to
exhibit considerable symptoms of fatigue. We then requested some
refreshment for ourselves; and in about an hour a tolerably savoury
fish, weighing about three pounds, and fresh from the bay, was
prepared for us by an old woman who appeared to officiate as
housekeeper. Having finished our meal, I and my uncouth companion
went forth and prepared to ascend the mountain.

We stopped to examine a small dismantled fort or battery facing the
bay; and whilst engaged in this examination, it more than once
occurred to me that we were ourselves the objects of scrutiny and
investigation: indeed I caught a glimpse of more than one
countenance peering upon us through the holes and chasms of the
walls. We now commenced ascending Finisterra; and making numerous
and long detours, we wound our way up its flinty sides. The sun
had reached the top of heaven, whence he showered upon us
perpendicularly his brightest and fiercest rays. My boots were
torn, my feet cut, and the perspiration streamed from my brow. To
my guide, however, the ascent appeared to be neither toilsome nor
difficult. The heat of the day for him had no terrors, no moisture
was wrung from his tanned countenance; he drew not one short
breath; and hopped upon the stones and rocks with all the provoking
agility of a mountain goat. Before we had accomplished one half of
the ascent, I felt myself quite exhausted. I reeled and staggered.
"Cheer up, master mine, be of good cheer, and have no care," said
the guide. "Yonder I see a wall of stones; lie down beneath it in
the shade." He put his long and strong arm round my waist, and
though his stature compared with mine was that of a dwarf, he
supported me, as if I had been a child, to a rude wall which seemed
to traverse the greatest part of the hill, and served probably as a
kind of boundary. It was difficult to find a shady spot: at last
he perceived a small chasm, perhaps scooped by some shepherd as a
couch, in which to enjoy his siesta. In this he laid me gently
down, and taking off his enormous hat, commenced farming me with
great assiduity. By degrees I revived, and after having rested for
a considerable time, I again attempted the ascent, which, with the
assistance of my guide, I at length accomplished.

We were now standing at a great altitude between two bays: the
wilderness of waters before us. Of all the ten thousand barks
which annually plough those seas in sight of that old cape, not one
was to be descried. It was a blue shiny waste, broken by no object
save the black head of a spermaceti whale, which would occasionally
show itself at the top, casting up thin jets of brine. The
principal bay, that of Finisterra, as far as the entrance, was
beautifully variegated by an immense shoal of sardinhas, on whose
extreme skirts the monster was probably feasting. From the
northern side of the cape we looked down upon a smaller bay, the
shore of which was overhung by rocks of various and grotesque
shapes; this is called the outer bay, or, in the language of the
country, Praia do mar de fora: a fearful place in seasons of wind
and tempest, when the long swell of the Atlantic pouring in, is
broken into surf and foam by the sunken rocks with which it
abounds. Even in the calmest day there is a rumbling and a hollow
roar in that bay which fill the heart with uneasy sensations.

On all sides there was grandeur and sublimity. After gazing from
the summit of the Cape for nearly an hour we descended.

On reaching the house where we had taken up our temporary
habitation, we perceived that the portal was occupied by several
men, some of whom were reclining on the floor drinking wine out of
small earthen pans, which are much used in this part of Galicia.
With a civil salutation I passed on, and ascended the staircase to
the room in which we had taken our repast. Here there was a rude
and dirty bed, on which I flung myself, exhausted with fatigue. I
determined to take a little repose, and in the evening to call the
people of the place together, to read a few chapters of the
Scripture, and then to address them with a little Christian
exhortation. I was soon asleep, but my slumbers were by no means
tranquil. I thought I was surrounded with difficulties of various
kinds amongst rocks and ravines, vainly endeavouring to extricate
myself; uncouth visages showed themselves amidst the trees and in
the hollows, thrusting out cloven tongues and uttering angry cries.
I looked around for my guide, but could not find him; methought,
however, that I heard his voice down a deep dingle. He appeared to
be talking of me. How long I might have continued in these wild
dreams I know not. I was suddenly, however, seized roughly by the
shoulder and nearly dragged from the bed. I looked up in
amazement, and by the light of the descending sun I beheld hanging
over me a wild and uncouth figure; it was that of an elderly man,
built as strong as a giant, with much beard and whiskers, and huge
bushy eyebrows, dressed in the habiliments of a fisherman; in his
hand was a rusty musket.

Myself.--Who are you and what do you want?

Figure.--Who I am matters but little. Get up and follow me; it is
you I want.

Myself.--By what authority do you thus presume to interfere with

Figure.--By the authority of the justicia of Finisterra. Follow me
peaceably, Calros, or it will be the worse for you.

"Calros," said I, "what does the person mean?" I thought it,
however, most prudent to obey his command, and followed him down
the staircase. The shop and the portal were now thronged with the
inhabitants of Finisterra, men, women, and children; the latter for
the most part in a state of nudity, and with bodies wet and
dripping, having been probably summoned in haste from their gambols
in the brine. Through this crowd the figure whom I have attempted
to describe pushed his way with an air of authority.

On arriving in the street, he laid his heavy hand upon my arm, not
roughly however. "It is Calros! it is Calros!" said a hundred
voices; "he has come to Finisterra at last, and the justicia have
now got hold of him." Wondering what all this could mean, I
attended my strange conductor down the street. As we proceeded,
the crowd increased every moment, following and vociferating. Even
the sick were brought to the door to obtain a view of what was
going forward and a glance at the redoubtable Calros. I was
particularly struck by the eagerness displayed by one man, a
cripple, who, in spite of the entreaties of his wife, mixed with
the crowd, and having lost his crutch, hopped forward on one leg,
exclaiming,--"Carracho! tambien voy yo!"

We at last reached a house of rather larger size than the rest; my
guide having led me into a long low room, placed me in the middle
of the floor, and then hurrying to the door, he endeavoured to
repulse the crowd who strove to enter with us. This he effected,
though not without considerable difficulty, being once or twice
compelled to have recourse to the butt of his musket, to drive back
unauthorized intruders. I now looked round the room. It was
rather scantily furnished: I could see nothing but some tubs and
barrels, the mast of a boat, and a sail or two. Seated upon the
tubs were three or four men coarsely dressed, like fishermen or
shipwrights. The principal personage was a surly ill-tempered-
looking fellow of about thirty-five, whom eventually I discovered
to be the alcalde of Finisterra, and lord of the house in which we
now were. In a corner I caught a glimpse of my guide, who was
evidently in durance, two stout fishermen standing before him, one
with a musket and the other with a boat-hook. After I had looked
about me for a minute, the alcalde, giving his whiskers a twist,
thus addressed me:-

"Who are you, where is your passport, and what brings you to

Myself.--I am an Englishman. Here is my passport, and I came to
see Finisterra.

This reply seemed to discomfit them for a moment. They looked at
each other, then at my passport. At length the alcalde, striking
it with his finger, bellowed forth:

"This is no Spanish passport; it appears to be written in French."

Myself.--I have already told you that I am a foreigner. I of
course carry a foreign passport.

Alcalde.--Then you mean to assert that you are not Calros Rey.

Myself.--I never heard before of such a king, nor indeed of such a

Alcalde.--Hark to the fellow: he has the audacity to say that he
has never heard of Calros the pretender, who calls himself king.

Myself.--If you mean by Calros, the pretender Don Carlos, all I can
reply is, that you can scarcely be serious. You might as well
assert that yonder poor fellow, my guide, whom I see you have made
prisoner, is his nephew, the infante Don Sebastian.

Alcalde.--See, you have betrayed yourself; that is the very person
we suppose him to be.

Myself.--It is true that they are both hunchbacks. But how can I
be like Don Carlos? I have nothing the appearance of a Spaniard,
and am nearly a foot taller than the pretender.

Alcalde.--That makes no difference; you of course carry many
waistcoats about you, by means of which you disguise yourself, and
appear tall or low according to your pleasure.

This last was so conclusive an argument that I had of course
nothing to reply to it. The alcalde looked around him in triumph,
as if he had made some notable discovery. "Yes, it is Calros; it
is Calros," said the crowd at the door. "It will be as well to
have these men shot instantly," continued the alcalde; "if they are
not the two pretenders, they are at any rate two of the factious."

"I am by no means certain that they are either one or the other,"
said a gruff voice.

The justicia of Finisterra turned their eyes in the direction from
which these words proceeded, and so did I. Our glances rested upon
the figure who held watch at the door. He had planted the barrel
of his musket on the floor, and was now leaning his chin against
the butt.

"I am by no means certain that they are either one or the other,"
repeated he, advancing forward. "I have been examining this man,"
pointing to myself, "and listening whilst he spoke, and it appears
to me that after all he may prove an Englishman; he has their very
look and voice. Who knows the English better than Antonio de la
Trava, and who has a better right? Has he not sailed in their
ships; has he not eaten their biscuit; and did he not stand by
Nelson when he was shot dead?"

Here the alcalde became violently incensed. "He is no more an
Englishman than yourself," he exclaimed; "if he were an Englishman
would he have come in this manner, skulking across the land? Not
so I trow. He would have come in a ship, recommended to some of
us, or to the Catalans. He would have come to trade, to buy; but
nobody knows him in Finisterra, nor does he know anybody: and the
first thing, moreover, that he does when he reaches this place is
to inspect the fort, and to ascend the mountain where, no doubt, he
has been marking out a camp. What brings him to Finisterra if he
is neither Calros nor a bribon of a faccioso?"

I felt that there was a good deal of justice in some of these
remarks, and I was aware, for the first time, that I had, indeed,
committed a great imprudence in coming to this wild place, and
among these barbarous people, without being able to assign any
motive which could appear at all valid in their eyes. I
endeavoured to convince the alcalde that I had come across the
country for the purpose of making myself acquainted with the many
remarkable objects which it contained, and of obtaining information
respecting the character and condition of the inhabitants. He
could understand no such motives. "What did you ascend the
mountain for?" "To see prospects." "Disparate! I have lived at
Finisterra forty years and never ascended that mountain. I would
not do it in a day like this for two ounces of gold. You went to
take altitudes, and to mark out a camp." I had, however, a staunch
friend in old Antonio, who insisted, from his knowledge of the
English, that all I had said might very possibly be true. "The
English," said he, "have more money than they know what to do with,
and on that account they wander all over the world, paying dearly
for what no other people care a groat for." He then proceeded,
notwithstanding the frowns of the alcalde, to examine me in the
English language. His own entire knowledge of this tongue was
confined to two words--knife and fork, which words I rendered into
Spanish by their equivalents, and was forthwith pronounced an
Englishman by the old fellow, who, brandishing his musket,

"This man is not Calros; he is what he declares himself to be, an
Englishman, and whosoever seeks to injure him, shall have to do
with Antonio de la Trava el valiente de Finisterra." No person
sought to impugn this verdict, and it was at length determined that
I should be sent to Corcuvion, to be examined by the alcalde mayor
of the district. "But," said the alcalde of Finisterra, "what is
to be done with the other fellow? He at least is no Englishman.
Bring him forward, and let us hear what he has to say for himself.
Now, fellow, who are you, and what is your master?"

Guide.--I am Sebastianillo, a poor broken mariner of Padron, and my
master for the present is the gentleman whom you see, the most
valiant and wealthy of all the English. He has two ships at Vigo
laden with riches. I told you so when you first seized me up there
in our posada.

Alcalde.--Where is your passport?

Guide.--I have no passport. Who would think of bringing a passport
to such a place as this, where I don't suppose there are two
individuals who can read? I have no passport; my master's passport
of course includes me.

Alcalde.--It does not. And since you have no passport, and have
confessed that your name is Sebastian, you shall be shot. Antonio
de la Trava, do you and the musketeers lead this Sebastianillo
forth, and shoot him before the door.

Antonio de la Trava.--With much pleasure, Senor Alcalde, since you
order it. With respect to this fellow, I shall not trouble myself
to interfere. He at least is no Englishman. He has more the look
of a wizard or nuveiro; one of those devils who raise storms and
sink launches. Moreover, he says he is from Padron, and those of
that place are all thieves and drunkards. They once played me a
trick, and I would gladly be at the shooting of the whole pueblo.

I now interfered, and said that if they shot the guide they must
shoot me too; expatiating at the same time on the cruelty and
barbarity of taking away the life of a poor unfortunate fellow who,
as might be seen at the first glance, was only half witted; adding,
moreover, that if any person was guilty in this case it was myself,
as the other could only be considered in the light of a servant
acting under my orders.

"The safest plan after all," said the alcalde, "appears to be, to
send you both prisoners to Corcuvion, where the head alcalde can
dispose of you as he thinks proper. You must, however, pay for
your escort; for it is not to be supposed that the housekeepers of
Finisterra have nothing else to do than to ramble about the country
with every chance fellow who finds his way to this town." "As for
that matter," said Antonio, "I will take charge of them both. I am
the valiente of Finisterra, and fear no two men living. Moreover,
I am sure that the captain here will make it worth my while, else
he is no Englishman. Therefore let us be quick and set out for
Corcuvion at once, as it is getting late. First of all, however,
captain, I must search you and your baggage. You have no arms, of
course? But it is best to make all sure."

Long ere it was dark I found myself again on the pony, in company
with my guide, wending our way along the beach in the direction of
Corcuvion. Antonio de la Trava tramped heavily on before, his
musket on his shoulder.

Myself.--Are you not afraid, Antonio, to be thus alone with two
prisoners, one of whom is on horseback? If we were to try, I think
we could overpower you.

Antonio de la Trava.--I am the valiente do Finisterra, and I fear
no odds.

Myself.--Why do you call yourself the valiente of Finisterra?

Antonio de la Trava.--The whole district call me so. When the
French came to Finisterra, and demolished the fort, three perished
by my hand. I stood on the mountain, up where I saw you scrambling
to-day. I continued firing at the enemy, until three detached
themselves in pursuit of me. The fools! two perished amongst the
rocks by the fire of this musket, and as for the third, I beat his
head to pieces with the stock. It is on that account that they
call me the valiente of Finisterra.

Myself.--How came you to serve with the English fleet? I think I
heard you say that you were present when Nelson fell.

Antonio de la Trava.--I was captured by your countrymen, captain;
and as I had been a sailor from my childhood, they were glad of my
services. I was nine months with them, and assisted at Trafalgar.
I saw the English admiral die. You have something of his face, and
your voice, when you spoke, sounded in my ears like his own. I
love the English, and on that account I saved you. Think not that
I would toil along these sands with you if you were one of my own
countrymen. Here we are at Duyo, captain. Shall we refresh?

We did refresh, or rather Antonio de la Trava refreshed, swallowing
pan after pan of wine, with a thirst which seemed unquenchable.
"That man was a greater wizard than myself," whispered Sebastian,
my guide, "who told us that the drunkards of Finisterra would play
us a trick." At length the old hero of the Cape slowly rose,
saying, that we must hasten on to Corcuvion, or the night would
overtake us by the way.

"What kind of person is the alcalde to whom you are conducting me?"
said I.

"Oh, very different from him of Finisterra," replied Antonio.
"This is a young Senorito, lately arrived from Madrid. He is not
even a Gallegan. He is a mighty liberal, and it is owing chiefly
to his orders that we have lately been so much on the alert. It is
said that the Carlists are meditating a descent on these parts of
Galicia. Let them only come to Finisterra, we are liberals there
to a man, and the old valiente is ready to play the same part as in
the time of the French. But, as I was telling you before, the
alcalde to whom I am conducting you is a young man, and very
learned, and if he thinks proper, he can speak English to you, even
better than myself, notwithstanding I was a friend of Nelson, and
fought by his side at Trafalgar."

It was dark night before we reached Corcuvion. Antonio again
stopped to refresh at a wine-shop, after which he conducted us to
the house of the alcalde. His steps were by this time not
particularly steady, and on arriving at the gate of the house, he
stumbled over the threshold and fell. He got up with an oath, and
instantly commenced thundering at the door with the stock of his
musket. "Who is it?" at length demanded a soft female voice in
Gallegan. "The valiente of Finisterra," replied Antonio; whereupon
the gate was unlocked, and we beheld before us a very pretty female
with a candle in her hand. "What brings you here so late,
Antonio?" she inquired. "I bring two prisoners, mi pulida,"
replied Antonio. "Ave Maria!" she exclaimed, "I hope they will do
no harm." "I will answer for one," replied the old man; "but, as
for the other, he is a nuveiro, and has sunk more ships than all
his brethren in Galicia. But be not afraid, my beauty," he
continued, as the female made the sign of the cross: "first lock
the gate, and then show me the way to the alcalde. I have much to
tell him." The gate was locked, and bidding us stay below in the
courtyard, Antonio followed the young woman up a stone stair,
whilst we remained in darkness below.

After the lapse of about a quarter of an hour we again saw the
candle gleam upon the staircase, and the young female appeared.
Coming up to me, she advanced the candle to my features, on which
she gazed very intently. After a long scrutiny she went to my
guide, and having surveyed him still more fixedly, she turned to
me, and said, in her best Spanish, "Senhor Cavalier, I congratulate
you on your servant. He is the best-looking mozo in all Galicia.
Vaya! if he had but a coat to his back, and did not go barefoot, I
would accept him at once as a novio; but I have unfortunately made
a vow never to marry a poor man, but only one who has got a heavy
purse and can buy me fine clothes. So you are a Carlist, I
suppose? Vaya! I do not like you the worse for that. But, being
so, how went you to Finisterra, where they are all Christinos and
negros? Why did you not go to my village? None would have meddled
with you there. Those of my village are of a different stamp to
the drunkards of Finisterra. Those of my village never interfere
with honest people. Vaya! how I hate that drunkard of Finisterra
who brought you, he is so old and ugly; were it not for the love
which I bear to the Senhor Alcalde, I would at once unlock the gate
and bid you go forth, you and your servant, the buen mozo."

Antonio now descended. "Follow me," said he; "his worship the
alcalde will be ready to receive you in a moment." Sebastian and
myself followed him upstairs to a room where, seated behind a
table, we beheld a young man of low stature but handsome features
and very fashionably dressed. He appeared to be inditing a letter,
which, when he had concluded, he delivered to a secretary to be
transcribed. He then looked at me for a moment fixedly, and the
following conversation ensued between us:-

Alcalde.--I see that you are an Englishman, and my friend Antonio
here informs me that you have been arrested at Finisterra.

Myself.--He tells you true; and but for him I believe that I should
have fallen by the hands of those savage fishermen.

Alcalde.--The inhabitants of Finisterra are brave, and are all
liberals. Allow me to look at your passport? Yes, all in form.
Truly it was very ridiculous that they should have arrested you as
a Carlist.

Myself.--Not only as a Carlist, but as Don Carlos himself.

Alcalde.--Oh! most ridiculous; mistake a countryman of the grand
Baintham for such a Goth!

Myself.--Excuse me, Sir, you speak of the grand somebody.

Alcalde.--The grand Baintham. He who has invented laws for all the
world. I hope shortly to see them adopted in this unhappy country
of ours.

Myself.--Oh! you mean Jeremy Bentham. Yes! a very remarkable man
in his way.

Alcalde.--In his way! In all ways. The most universal genius
which the world ever produced:- a Solon, a Plato, and a Lope de

Myself.--I have never read his writings. I have no doubt that he
was a Solon; and as you say, a Plato. I should scarcely have
thought, however, that he could be ranked as a poet with Lope de

Alcalde.--How surprising! I see, indeed, that you know nothing of
his writings, though an Englishman. Now, here am I, a simple
alcalde of Galicia, yet I possess all the writings of Baintham on
that shelf, and I study them day and night.

Myself.--You doubtless, Sir, possess the English Language.

Alcalde.--I do. I mean that part of it which is contained in the
writings of Baintham. I am most truly glad to see a countryman of
his in these Gothic wildernesses. I understand and appreciate your
motives for visiting them: excuse the incivility and rudeness
which you have experienced. But we will endeavour to make you
reparation. You are this moment free: but it is late; I must find
you a lodging for the night. I know one close by which will just
suit you. Let us repair thither this moment. Stay, I think I see
a book in your hand.

Myself.--The New Testament.

Alcalde.--What book is that?

Myself.--A portion of the sacred writings, the Bible.

Alcalde.--Why do you carry such a book with you?

Myself.--One of my principal motives in visiting Finisterra was to
carry this book to that wild place.

Alcalde.--Ha, ha! how very singular. Yes, I remember. I have
heard that the English highly prize this eccentric book. How very
singular that the countrymen of the grand Baintham should set any
value upon that old monkish book.

It was now late at night, and my new friend attended me to the
lodging which he had destined for me, and which was at the house of
a respectable old female, where I found a clean and comfortable
room. On the way I slipped a gratuity into the hand of Antonio,
and on my arrival, formally, and in the presence of the alcalde,
presented him with the Testament, which I requested he would carry
back to Finisterra, and keep in remembrance of the Englishman in
whose behalf he had so effectually interposed.

Antonio.--I will do so, your worship; and when the winds blow from
the north-west, preventing our launches from putting to sea, I will
read your present. Farewell, my captain, and when you next come to
Finisterra I hope it will be in a valiant English bark, with plenty
of contrabando on board, and not across the country on a pony, in
company with nuveiros and men of Padron.

Presently arrived the handmaid of the alcalde with a basket, which
she took into the kitchen, where she prepared an excellent supper
for her master's friend. On its being served up the alcalde bade
me farewell, having first demanded whether he could in any way
forward my plans.

"I return to Saint James to-morrow," I replied, "and I sincerely
hope that some occasion will occur which will enable me to acquaint
the world with the hospitality which I have experienced from so
accomplished a scholar as the Alcalde of Corcuvion."


Coruna--Crossing the Bay--Ferrol--The Dockyard--Where are we now?--
Greek Ambassador--Lantern-light--The Ravine--Viveiro--Evening--
Marsh and Quagmire--Fair Words and Fair Money--The Leathern Girth--
Eyes of Lynx--The Knavish Guide.

From Corcuvion I returned to Saint James and Coruna, and now began
to make preparation for directing my course to the Asturias. In
the first place I parted with my Andalusian horse, which I
considered unfit for the long and mountainous journey I was about
to undertake; his constitution having become much debilitated from
his Gallegan travels. Owing to horses being exceedingly scarce at
Coruna, I had no difficulty in disposing of him at a far higher
price than he originally cost me. A young and wealthy merchant of
Coruna, who was a national guardsman, became enamoured of his
glossy skin and long mane and tail. For my own part, I was glad to
part with him for more reasons than one; he was both vicious and
savage, and was continually getting me into scrapes in the stables
of the posadas where we slept or baited. An old Castilian peasant,
whose pony he had maltreated, once said to me, "Sir Cavalier, if
you have any love or respect for yourself, get rid I beseech you of
that beast, who is capable of proving the ruin of a kingdom." So I
left him behind at Coruna, where I subsequently learned that he
became glandered and died. Peace to his memory!

From Coruna I crossed the bay to Ferrol, whilst Antonio with our
remaining horse followed by land, a rather toilsome and circuitous
journey, although the distance by water is scarcely three leagues.
I was very sea-sick during the passage, and lay almost senseless at
the bottom of the small launch in which I had embarked, and which
was crowded with people. The wind was adverse, and the water
rough. We could make no sail, but were impelled along by the oars
of five or six stout mariners, who sang all the while Gallegan
ditties. Suddenly the sea appeared to have become quite smooth,
and my sickness at once deserted me. I rose upon my feet and
looked around. We were in one of the strangest places imaginable.
A long and narrow passage overhung on either side by a stupendous
barrier of black and threatening rocks. The line of the coast was
here divided by a natural cleft, yet so straight and regular that
it seemed not the work of chance but design. The water was dark
and sullen, and of immense depth. This passage, which is about a
mile in length, is the entrance to a broad basin, at whose farther
extremity stands the town of Ferrol.

Sadness came upon me as soon as I entered this place. Grass was
growing in the streets, and misery and distress stared me in the
face on every side. Ferrol is the grand naval arsenal of Spain,
and has shared in the ruin of the once splendid Spanish navy: it
is no longer thronged with those thousand shipwrights who prepared
for sea the tremendous three-deckers and long frigates, the greater
part of which were destroyed at Trafalgar. Only a few ill-paid and
half-starved workmen still linger about, scarcely sufficient to
repair any guarda costa which may put in dismantled by the fire of
some English smuggling schooner from Gibraltar. Half the
inhabitants of Ferrol beg their bread; and amongst these, as it is
said, are not unfrequently found retired naval officers, many of
them maimed or otherwise wounded, who are left to pine in
indigence; their pensions or salaries having been allowed to run
three or four years in arrear, owing to the exigencies of the
times. A crowd of importunate beggars followed me to the posada,
and even attempted to penetrate to the apartment to which I was
conducted. "Who are you?" said I to a woman who flung herself at
my feet, and who bore in her countenance evident marks of former
gentility. "A widow, sir," she replied, in very good French; "a
widow of a brave officer, once admiral of this port." The misery
and degradation of modern Spain are nowhere so strikingly
manifested as at Ferrol.

Yet even here there is still much to admire. Notwithstanding its
present state of desolation, it contains some good streets, and
abounds with handsome houses. The alameda is planted with nearly a
thousand elms, of which almost all are magnificent trees, and the
poor Ferrolese, with the genuine spirit of localism so prevalent in
Spain, boast that their town contains a better public walk than
Madrid, of whose prado, when they compare the two, they speak in
terms of unmitigated contempt. At one end of this alameda stands
the church, the only one in Ferrol. To this church I repaired the
day after my arrival, which was Sunday. I found it quite
insufficient to contain the number of worshippers who, chiefly from
the country, not only crowded the interior, but, bare-headed, were
upon their knees before the door to a considerable distance down
the walk.

Parallel with the alameda extends the wall of the naval arsenal and
dock. I spent several hours in walking about these places, to
visit which it is necessary to procure a written permission from
the captain-general of Ferrol. They filled me with astonishment.
I have seen the royal dockyards of Russia and England, but for
grandeur of design and costliness of execution, they cannot for a
moment compare with these wonderful monuments of the bygone naval
pomp of Spain. I shall not attempt to describe them, but content
myself with observing, that the oblong basin, which is surrounded
with a granite mole, is capacious enough to permit a hundred first-
rates to lie conveniently in ordinary: but instead of such a
force, I saw only a sixty-gun frigate and two brigs lying in this
basin, and to this inconsiderable number of vessels is the present
war marine of Spain reduced.

I waited for the arrival of Antonio two or three days at Ferrol,
and still he came not: late one evening, however, as I was looking
down the street, I perceived him advancing, leading our only horse
by the bridle. He informed me that, at about three leagues from
Coruna, the heat of the weather and the flies had so distressed the
animal that it had fallen down in a kind of fit, from which it had
been only relieved by copious bleeding, on which account he had
been compelled to halt for a day upon the road. The horse was
evidently in a very feeble state; and had a strange rattling in its
throat, which alarmed me it first. I however administered some
remedies, and in a few days deemed him sufficiently recovered to

We accordingly started from Ferrol; having first hired a pony for
myself, and a guide who was to attend us as far as Rivadeo, twenty
leagues from Ferrol, and on the confines of the Asturias. The day
at first was fine, but ere we reached Novales, a distance of three
leagues, the sky became overcast, and a mist descended, accompanied
by a drizzling rain. The country through which we passed was very
picturesque. At about two in the afternoon we could descry through
the mist the small fishing town of Santa Marta on our left, with
its beautiful bay. Travelling along the summit of a line of hills,
we presently entered a chestnut forest, which appeared to be
without limit: the rain still descended, and kept up a ceaseless
pattering among the broad green leaves. "This is the commencement
of the autumnal rains," said the guide. "Many is the wetting that
you will get, my masters, before you reach Oviedo." "Have you ever
been as far as Oviedo?" I demanded. "No," he replied, "and once
only to Rivadeo, the place to which I am now conducting you, and I
tell you frankly that we shall soon be in wildernesses where the
way is hard to find, especially at night, and amidst rain and
waters. I wish I were fairly back to Ferrol, for I like not this
route, which is the worst in Galicia, in more respects than one;
but where my master's pony goes, there must I go too; such is the
life of us guides." I shrugged my shoulders at this intelligence,
which was by no means cheering, but made no answer. At length,
about nightfall, we emerged from the forest, and presently
descended into a deep valley at the foot of lofty hills.

"Where are we now?" I demanded of the guide, as we crossed a rude
bridge at the bottom of the valley, down which a rivulet swollen by
the rain foamed and roared. "In the valley of Coisa doiro," he
replied; "and it is my advice that we stay here for the night, and
do not venture among those hills, through which lies the path to
Viveiro; for as soon as we get there, adios! I shall be
bewildered, which will prove the destruction of us all." "Is there
a village nigh?" "Yes, the village is right before us, and we
shall be there in a moment." We soon reached the village, which
stood amongst some tall trees at the entrance of a pass which led
up amongst the hills. Antonio dismounted and entered two or three
of the cabins, but presently came to me, saying, "We cannot stay
here, mon maitre, without being devoured by vermin; we had better
be amongst the hills than in this place; there is neither fire nor
light in these cabins, and the rain is streaming through the
roofs." The guide, however, refused to proceed: "I could scarcely
find my way amongst those hills by daylight," he cried, surlily,
"much less at night, midst storm and bretima." We procured some
wine and maize bread from one of the cottages. Whilst we were
partaking of these, Antonio said, "Mon maitre, the best thing we
can do in our present situation, is to hire some fellow of this
village to conduct us through the hills to Viveiro. There are no
beds in this place, and if we lie down in the litter in our damp
clothes we shall catch a tertian of Galicia. Our present guide is
of no service, we must therefore find another to do his duty."
Without waiting for a reply, he flung down the crust of broa which
he was munching and disappeared. I subsequently learned that he
went to the cottage of the alcalde, and demanded, in the Queen's
name, a guide for the Greek ambassador, who was benighted on his
way to the Asturias. In about ten minutes I again saw him,
attended by the local functionary, who, to my surprise, made me a
profound bow, and stood bare-headed in the rain. "His excellency,"
shouted Antonio, "is in need of a guide to Viveiro. People of our
description are not compelled to pay for any service which they may
require; however, as his excellency has bowels of compassion, he is
willing to give three pesetas to any competent person who will
accompany him to Viveiro, and as much bread and wine as he can eat
and drink on his arrival." "His excellency shall be served," said
the alcalde; "however, as the way is long and the path is bad, and
there is much bretima amongst the hills, it appears to me that,
besides the bread and wine, his excellency can do no less than
offer four pesetas to the guide who may be willing to accompany him
to Viveiro; and I know no one better than my own son-in-law,
Juanito." "Content, senor alcalde," I replied; "produce the guide,
and the extra peseta shall be forthcoming in due season."

Soon appeared Juanito with a lantern in his hand. We instantly set
forward. The two guides began conversing in Gallegan. "Mon
maitre," said Antonio, "this new scoundrel is asking the old one
what he thinks we have got in our portmanteaus." Then, without
awaiting my answer, he shouted, "Pistols, ye barbarians! Pistols,
as ye shall learn to your cost, if you do not cease speaking in
that gibberish and converse in Castilian." The Gallegans were
silent, and presently the first guide dropped behind, whilst the
other with the lantern moved before. "Keep in the rear," said
Antonio to the former, "and at a distance: know one thing
moreover, that I can see behind as well as before. Mon maitre,"
said he to me, "I don't suppose these fellows will attempt to do us
any harm, more especially as they do not know each other; it is
well, however, to separate them, for this is a time and place which
might tempt any one to commit robbery and murder too."

The rain still continued to fall uninterruptedly, the path was
rugged and precipitous, and the night was so dark that we could
only see indistinctly the hills which surrounded us. Once or twice
our guide seemed to have lost his way: he stopped, muttered to
himself, raised his lantern on high, and would then walk slowly and
hesitatingly forward. In this manner we proceeded for three or
four hours, when I asked the guide how far we were from Viveiro.
"I do not know exactly where we are, your worship," he replied,
"though I believe we are in the route. We can scarcely, however,
be less than two mad leagues from Viveiro." "Then we shall not
arrive there before morning," interrupted Antonio, "for a mad
league of Galicia means at least two of Castile; and perhaps we are
doomed never to arrive there, if the way thither leads down this
precipice." As he spoke, the guide seemed to descend into the
bowels of the earth. "Stop," said I, "where are you going?" "To
Viveiro, Senhor," replied the fellow; "this is the way to Viveiro,
there is no other; I now know where we are." The light of the
lantern shone upon the dark red features of the guide, who had
turned round to reply, as he stood some yards down the side of a
dingle or ravine overgrown with thick trees, beneath whose leafy
branches a frightfully steep path descended. I dismounted from the
pony, and delivering the bridle to the other guide, said, "Here is
your master's horse, if you please you may load him down that
abyss, but as for myself I wash my hands of the matter." The
fellow, without a word of reply, vaulted into the saddle, and with
a vamos, Perico! to the pony, impelled the creature to the descent.
"Come, Senhor," said he with the lantern, "there is no time to be
lost, my light will be presently extinguished, and this is the
worst bit in the whole road." I thought it very probable that he
was about to lead us to some den of cut-throats, where we might be
sacrificed; but taking courage, I seized our own horse by the
bridle, and followed the fellow down the ravine amidst rocks and
brambles. The descent lasted nearly ten minutes, and ere we had
entirely accomplished it, the light in the lantern went out, and we
remained in nearly total darkness.

Encouraged, however, by the guide, who assured us there was no
danger, we at length reached the bottom of the ravine; here we
encountered a rill of water, through which we were compelled to
wade as high as the knee. In the midst of the water I looked up
and caught a glimpse of the heavens through the branches of the
trees, which all around clothed the shelving sides of the ravine
and completely embowered the channel of the stream: to a place
more strange and replete with gloom and horror no benighted
traveller ever found his way. After a short pause we commenced
scaling the opposite bank, which we did not find so steep as the
other, and a few minutes' exertion brought us to the top.

Shortly afterwards the rain abated, and the moon arising cast a dim
light through the watery mists; the way had become less
precipitous, and in about two hours we descended to the shore of an
extensive creek, along which we proceeded till we reached a spot
where many boats and barges lay with their keels upward upon the
sand. Presently we beheld before us the walls of Viveiro, upon
which the moon was shedding its sickly lustre. We entered by a
lofty and seemingly ruinous archway, and the guide conducted us at
once to the posada.

Every person in Viveiro appeared to be buried in profound slumber;
not so much as a dog saluted us with his bark. After much knocking
we were admitted into the posada, a large and dilapidated edifice.
We had scarcely housed ourselves and horses when the rain began to
fall with yet more violence than before, attended with much thunder
and lightning. Antonio and I, exhausted with fatigue, betook
ourselves to flock beds in a ruinous chamber, into which the rain
penetrated through many a cranny, whilst the guides ate bread and
drank wine till the morning.

When I arose I was gladdened by the sight of a fine day. Antonio
forthwith prepared a savoury breakfast of stewed fowl, of which we
stood in much need after the ten league journey of the preceding
day over the ways which I have attempted to describe. I then
walked out to view the town, which consists of little more than one
long street, on the side of a steep mountain thickly clad with
forests and fruit trees. At about ten we continued our journey,
accompanied by our first guide, the other having returned to Coisa
doiro some hours previously.

Our route throughout this day was almost constantly within sight of
the shores of the Cantabrian sea, whose windings we followed. The
country was barren, and in many parts covered with huge stones:
cultivated spots, however, were to be seen, where vines were
growing. We met with but few human habitations. We however
journeyed on cheerfully, for the sun was once more shining in full
brightness, gilding the wild moors, and shining upon the waters of
the distant sea, which lay in unruffled calmness.

At evening fall we were in the neighbourhood of the shore, with a
range of wood-covered hills on our right. Our guide led us towards
a creek bordered by a marsh, but he soon stopped and declared that
he did not know whither he was conducting us.

"Mon maitre," said Antonio, "let us be our own guides; it is, as
you see, of no use to depend upon this fellow, whose whole science
consists in leading people into quagmires."

We therefore turned aside and proceeded along the marsh for a
considerable distance, till we reached a narrow path which led us
into a thick wood, where we soon became completely bewildered. On
a sudden, after wandering about a considerable time, we heard the
noise of water, and presently the clack of a wheel. Following the
sound, we arrived at a low stone mill, built over a brook; here we
stopped and shouted, but no answer was returned. "The place is
deserted," said Antonio; "here, however, is a path, which, if we
follow it, will doubtless lead us to some human habitation." So we
went along the path, which, in about ten minutes, brought us to the
door of a cabin, in which we saw lights. Antonio dismounted and
opened the door: "Is there any one here who can conduct us to
Rivadeo?" he demanded.

"Senhor," answered a voice, "Rivadeo is more than five leagues from
here, and, moreover, there is a river to cross!"

"Then to the next village," continued Antonio.

"I am a vecino of the next village, which is on the way to
Rivadeo," said another voice, "and I will lead you thither, if you
will give me fair words, and, what is better, fair money."

A man now came forth, holding in his hand a large stick. He strode
sturdily before us, and in less than half an hour led us out of the
wood. In another half hour he brought us to a group of cabins
situated near the sea; he pointed to one of these, and having
received a peseta, bade us farewell.

The people of the cottage willingly consented to receive us for the
night: it was much more cleanly and commodious than the wretched
huts of the Gallegan peasantry in general. The ground floor
consisted of a keeping room and stable, whilst above was a long
loft, in which were some neat and comfortable flock beds. I
observed several masts and sails of boats. The family consisted of
two brothers with their wives and families; one was a fisherman,
but the other, who appeared to be the principal person, informed me
that he had resided for many years in service at Madrid, and having
amassed a small sum, he had at length returned to his native
village, where he had purchased some land which he farmed. All the
family used the Castilian language in their common discourse, and
on inquiry I learned that the Gallegan was not much spoken in that
neighbourhood. I have forgotten the name of this village, which is
situated on the estuary of the Foz, which rolls down from
Mondonedo. In the morning we crossed this estuary in a large boat
with our horses, and about noon arrived at Rivadeo.

"Now, your worship," said the guide who had accompanied us from
Ferrol, "I have brought you as far as I bargained, and a hard
journey it has been; I therefore hope you will suffer Perico and
myself to remain here to-night at your expense, and to-morrow we
will go back; at present we are both sorely tired."

"I never mounted a better pony than Perico," said I, "and never met
with a worse guide than yourself. You appear to be perfectly
ignorant of the country, and have done nothing but bring us into
difficulties. You may, however, stay here for the night, as you
say you are tired, and to-morrow you may return to Ferrol, where I
counsel you to adopt some other trade." This was said at the door
of the posada of Rivadeo.

"Shall I lead the horses to a stable?" said the fellow.

"As you please," said I.

Antonio looked after him for a moment, as he was leading the
animals away, and then shaking his head followed slowly after. In
about a quarter of an hour he returned, laden with the furniture of
our own horse, and with a smile upon his countenance: "Mon
maitre," said he, "I have throughout the journey had a bad opinion
of this fellow, and now I have detected him: his motive in
requesting permission to stay, was a desire to purloin something
from us. He was very officious in the stable about our horse, and
I now miss the new leathern girth which secured the saddle, and
which I observed him looking at frequently on the road. He has by
this time doubtless hid it somewhere; we are quite secure of him,
however, for he has not yet received the hire for the pony, nor the
gratuity for himself."

The guide returned just as he had concluded speaking. Dishonesty
is always suspicious. The fellow cast a glance upon us, and
probably beholding in our countenances something which he did not
like, he suddenly said, "Give me the horse-hire and my own propina,
for Perico and I wish to be off instantly."

"How is this?" said I; "I thought you and Perico were both
fatigued, and wished to rest here for the night; you have soon
recovered from your weariness."

"I have thought over the matter," said the fellow, "and my master
will be angry if I loiter here: pay us, therefore, and let us go."

"Certainly," said I, "if you wish it. Is the horse furniture all

"Quite so," said he; "I delivered it all to your servant."

"It is all here," said Antonio, "with the exception of the leathern

"I have not got it," said the guide.

"Of course not," said I. "Let us proceed to the stable, we shall
perhaps find it there."

To the stable we went, which we searched through: no girth,
however, was forthcoming. "He has got it buckled round his middle
beneath his pantaloons, mon maitre," said Antonio, whose eyes were
moving about like those of a lynx; "I saw the protuberance as he
stooped down. However, let us take no notice: he is here
surrounded by his countrymen, who, if we were to seize him, might
perhaps take his part. As I said before, he is in our power, as we
have not paid him."

The fellow now began to talk in Gallegan to the by-standers
(several persons having collected), wishing the Denho to take him
if he knew anything of the missing property. Nobody, however,
seemed inclined to take his part; and those who listened, only
shrugged their shoulders. We returned to the portal of the posada,
the fellow following us, clamouring for the horse-hire and propina.
We made him no answer, and at length he went away, threatening to
apply to the justicia; in about ten minutes, however, he came
running back with the girth in his hand: "I have just found it,"
said he, "in the street: your servant dropped it."

I took the leather and proceeded very deliberately to count out the
sum to which the horse-hire amounted, and having delivered it to
him in the presence of witnesses, I said, "During the whole journey
you have been of no service to us whatever; nevertheless, you have
fared like ourselves, and have had all you could desire to eat and
drink. I intended, on your leaving us, to present you, moreover,
with a propina of two dollars; but since, notwithstanding our kind
treatment, you endeavoured to pillage us, I will not give you a
cuarto: go, therefore, about your business."

All the audience expressed their satisfaction at this sentence, and
told him that he had been rightly served, and that he was a
disgrace to Galicia. Two or three women crossed themselves, and
asked him if he was not afraid that the Denho, whom he had invoked,
would take him away. At last, a respectable-looking man said to
him: "Are you not ashamed to have attempted to rob two innocent

"Strangers!" roared the fellow, who was by this time foaming with
rage; "Innocent strangers, carracho! they know more of Spain and
Galicia too than the whole of us. Oh, Denho, that servant is no
man but a wizard, a nuveiro.--Where is Perico?"

He mounted Perico, and proceeded forthwith to another posada. The
tale, however, of his dishonesty had gone before him, and no person
would house him; whereupon he returned on his steps, and seeing me
looking out of the window of the house, he gave a savage shout, and
shaking his fist at me, galloped out of the town, the people
pursuing him with hootings and revilings.


Martin of Rivadeo--The Factious Mare--Asturians--Luarca--The Seven
Bellotas--Hermits--The Asturian's Tale--Strange Guests--The Big

"What may your business be?" said I to a short, thick, merry-faced
fellow in a velveteen jerkin and canvas pantaloons, who made his
way into my apartment, in the dusk of the evening.

"I am Martin of Rivadeo, your worship," replied the man, "an
alquilador by profession; I am told that you want a horse for your
journey into the Asturias to-morrow, and of course a guide: now,
if that be the case, I counsel you to hire myself and mare."

"I am become tired of guides," I replied; "so much so that I was
thinking of purchasing a pony, and proceeding without any guide at
all. The last which we had was an infamous character."

"So I have been told, your worship, and it was well for the bribon
that I was not in Rivadeo when the affair to which you allude
occurred. But he was gone with the pony Perico before I came back,
or I would have bled the fellow to a certainty with my knife. He
is a disgrace to the profession, which is one of the most
honourable and ancient in the world. Perico himself must have been
ashamed of him, for Perico, though a pony, is a gentleman, one of
many capacities, and well known upon the roads. He is only
inferior to my mare."

"Are you well acquainted with the road to Oviedo?" I demanded.

"I am not, your worship; that is, no farther than Luarca, which is
the first day's journey. I do not wish to deceive you, therefore
let me go with you no farther than that place; though perhaps I
might serve for the whole journey, for though I am unacquainted
with the country, I have a tongue in my head, and nimble feet to
run and ask questions. I will, however, answer for myself no
farther than Luarca, where you can please yourselves. Your being
strangers is what makes me wish to accompany you, for I like the
conversation of strangers, from whom I am sure to gain information
both entertaining and profitable. I wish, moreover, to convince
you that we guides of Galicia are not all thieves, which I am sure
you will not suppose if you only permit me to accompany you as far
as Luarca."

I was so much struck with the fellow's good humour and frankness,
and more especially by the originality of character displayed in
almost every sentence which he uttered, that I readily engaged him
to guide us to Luarca; whereupon he left me, promising to be ready
with his mare at eight next morning.

Rivadeo is one of the principal seaports of Galicia, and is
admirably situated for commerce, on a deep firth, into which the
river Mirando debouches. It contains many magnificent buildings,
and an extensive square or plaza, which is planted with trees. I
observed several vessels in the harbour; and the population, which
is rather numerous, exhibited none of those marks of misery and
dejection which I had lately observed among the Ferrolese.

On the morrow Martin of Rivadeo made his appearance at the
appointed hour with his mare. It was a lean haggard animal, not
much larger than a pony; it had good points, however, and was very
clean in its hinder legs, and Martin insisted that it was the best
animal of its kind in all Spain. "It is a factious mare," said he,
"and I believe an Alavese. When the Carlists came here it fell
lame, and they left it behind, and I purchased it for a dollar. It
is not lame now, however, as you shall soon see."

We had now reached the firth which divides Galicia from the
Asturias. A kind of barge was lying about two yards from the side
of the quay, waiting to take us over. Towards this Martin led his
mare, and giving an encouraging shout, the creature without any
hesitation sprang over the intervening space into the barge. "I
told you she was a facciosa," said Martin; "none but a factious
animal would have taken such a leap."

We all embarked in the barge and crossed over the firth, which is
in this place nearly a mile broad, to Castro Pol, the first town in
the Asturias. I now mounted the factious mare, whilst Antonio
followed on my own horse. Martin led the way, exchanging jests
with every person whom he met on the road, and occasionally
enlivening the way with an extemporaneous song.

We were now in the Asturias, and about noon we reached Navias, a
small fishing town, situate on a ria or firth; in the neighbourhood
are ragged mountains, called the Sierra de Buron, which stand in
the shape of a semi-circle. We saw a small vessel in the harbour,
which we subsequently learned was from the Basque provinces, come
for a cargo of cider or sagadua, the beverage so dearly loved by
the Basques. As we passed along the narrow street, Antonio was
hailed with an "Ola" from a species of shop in which three men,
apparently shoemakers, were seated. He stopped for some time to
converse with them, and when he joined us at the posada where we
halted, I asked him who they were: "Mon maitre," said he, "ce sont
des messieurs de ma connoissance. I have been fellow servant at
different times with all three; and I tell you beforehand, that we
shall scarcely pass through a village in this country where I shall
not find an acquaintance. All the Asturians, at some period of
their lives, make a journey to Madrid, where, if they can obtain a
situation, they remain until they have scraped up sufficient to
turn to advantage in their own country; and as I have served in all
the great houses in Madrid, I am acquainted with the greatest part
of them. I have nothing to say against the Asturians, save that
they are close and penurious whilst at service; but they are not
thieves, neither at home nor abroad, and though we must have our
wits about us in their country, I have heard we may travel from one
end of it to the other without the slightest fear of being either
robbed or ill treated, which is not the case in Galicia, where we
were always in danger of having our throats cut."

Leaving Navias, we proceeded through a wild desolate country, till
we reached the pass of Baralla, which lies up the side of a huge
wall of rocks, which at a distance appear of a light green colour,
though perfectly bare of herbage or plants of any description.

"This pass," said Martin of Rivadeo, "bears a very evil reputation,
and I should not like to travel it after sunset. It is not
infested by robbers, but by things much worse, the duendes of two
friars of Saint Francis. It is said that in the old time, long
before the convents were suppressed, two friars of the order of
Saint Francis left their convent to beg; it chanced that they were
very successful, but as they were returning at nightfall, by this
pass, they had a quarrel about what they had collected, each
insisting that he had done his duty better than the other; at last,
from high words they fell to abuse, and from abuse to blows. What
do you think these demons of friars did? They took off their
cloaks, and at the end of each they made a knot, in which they
placed a large stone, and with these they thrashed and belaboured
each other till both fell dead. Master, I know not which are the
worst plagues, friars, curates, or sparrows:

"May the Lord God preserve us from evil birds three:
From all friars and curates and sparrows that be;
For the sparrows eat up all the corn that we sow,
The friars drink down all the wine that we grow,
Whilst the curates have all the fair dames at their nod:
From these three evil curses preserve us, Lord God."

In about two hours from this time we reached Luarca, the situation
of which is most singular. It stands in a deep hollow, whose sides
are so precipitous that it is impossible to descry the town until
you stand just above it. At the northern extremity of this hollow
is a small harbour, the sea entering it by a narrow cleft. We
found a large and comfortable posada, and by the advice of Martin,
made inquiry for a fresh guide and horse; we were informed,
however, that all the horses of the place were absent, and that if
we waited for their return, we must tarry for two days. "I had a
presentiment," said Martin, "when we entered Luarca, that we were
not doomed to part at present. You must now hire my mare and me as
far as Giyon, from whence there is a conveyance to Oviedo. To tell
you the truth, I am by no means sorry that the guides are absent,
for I am pleased with your company, as I make no doubt you are with
mine. I will now go and write a letter to my wife at Rivadeo,
informing her that she must not expect to see me back for several
days." He then went out of the room singing the following stanza:

"A handless man a letter did write,
A dumb dictated it word for word:
The person who read it had lost his sight,
And deaf was he who listened and heard."

Early the next morning we emerged from the hollow of Luarca; about
an hour's riding brought us to Caneiro, a deep and romantic valley
of rocks, shaded by tall chestnut trees. Through the midst of this
valley rushes a rapid stream, which we crossed in a boat. "There
is not such a stream for trout in all the Asturias," said the
ferryman; "look down into the waters and observe the large stones
over which it flows; now in the proper season and in fine weather,
you cannot see those stones for the multitude of fish which cover

Leaving the valley behind us, we entered into a wild and dreary
country, stony and mountainous. The day was dull and gloomy, and
all around looked sad and melancholy. "Are we in the way for Giyon
and Oviedo?" demanded Martin of an ancient female, who stood at the
door of a cottage.

"For Giyon and Oviedo!" replied the crone; "many is the weary step
you will have to make before you reach Giyon and Oviedo. You must
first of all crack the bellotas: you are just below them."

"What does she mean by cracking the bellotas?" demanded I of Martin
of Rivadeo.

"Did your worship never hear of the seven bellotas?" replied our
guide. "I can scarcely tell you what they are, as I have never
seen them; I believe they are seven hills which we have to cross,
and are called bellotas from some resemblance to acorns which it is
fancied they bear. I have often heard of these acorns, and am not
sorry that I have now an opportunity of seeing them, though it is
said that they are rather hard things for horses to digest."

The Asturian mountains in this part rise to a considerable
altitude. They consist for the most part of dark granite, covered
here and there with a thin layer of earth. They approach very near
to the sea, to which they slope down in broken ridges, between
which are deep and precipitous defiles, each with its rivulet, the
tribute of the hills to the salt flood. The road traverses these
defiles. There are seven of them, which are called, in the
language of the country, Las siete bellotas. Of all these, the
most terrible is the midmost, down which rolls an impetuous
torrent. At the upper end of it rises a precipitous wall of rock,
black as soot, to the height of several hundred yards; its top, as
we passed, was enveloped with a veil of bretima. From this gorge
branch off, on either side, small dingles or glens, some of them so
overgrown with trees and copse-wood, that the eye is unable to
penetrate the obscurity beyond a few yards.

"Fine places would some of these dingles prove for hermitages,"
said I to Martin of Rivadeo. "Holy men might lead a happy life
there on roots and water, and pass many years absorbed in heavenly
contemplation, without ever being disturbed by the noise and
turmoil of the world."

"True, your worship," replied Martin; "and perhaps on that very
account there are no hermitages in the barrancos of the seven
bellotas. Our hermits had little inclination for roots and water,
and had no kind of objection to be occasionally disturbed in their
meditations. Vaya! I never yet saw a hermitage that was not hard
by some rich town or village, or was not a regular resort for all
the idle people in the neighbourhood. Hermits are not fond of
living in dingles, amongst wolves and foxes; for how in that case
could they dispose of their poultry? A hermit of my acquaintance
left, when he died, a fortune of seven hundred dollars to his
niece, the greatest part of which he scraped up by fattening

At the top of this bellota we found a wretched venta, where we
refreshed ourselves, and then continued our journey. Late in the
afternoon we cleared the last of these difficult passes. The wind
began now to rise, bearing on its wings a drizzling rain. We
passed by Soto Luino, and shaping our course through a wild but
picturesque country, we found ourselves about nightfall at the foot
of a steep hill, up which led a narrow bridle-way, amidst a grove
of lofty trees. Long before we had reached the top it had become
quite dark, and the rain had increased considerably. We stumbled
along in the obscurity, leading our horses, which were occasionally
down on their knees, owing to the slipperiness of the path. At
last we accomplished the ascent in safety, and pushing briskly
forward, we found ourselves, in about half an hour, at the entrance
of Muros, a large village situated just on the declivity of the
farther side of the hill.

A blazing fire in the posada soon dried our wet garments, and in
some degree recompensed us for the fatigues which we had undergone
in scrambling up the bellotas. A rather singular place was this
same posada of Muros. It was a large rambling house, with a
spacious kitchen, or common room, on the ground floor. Above
stairs was a large dining-apartment, with an immense oak table, and
furnished with cumbrous leathern chairs with high backs, apparently
three centuries old at least. Communicating with this apartment
was a wooden gallery, open to the air, which led to a small
chamber, in which I was destined to sleep, and which contained an
old-fashioned tester-bed with curtains. It was just one of those
inns which romance writers are so fond of introducing in their
descriptions, especially when the scene of adventure lies in Spain.
The host was a talkative Asturian.

The wind still howled, and the rain descended in torrents. I sat
before the fire in a very drowsy state, from which I was presently
aroused by the conversation of the host. "Senor," said he, "it is
now three years since I beheld foreigners in my house. I remember
it was about this time of the year, and just such a night as this,
that two men on horseback arrived here. What was singular, they
came without any guide. Two more strange-looking individuals I
never yet beheld with eye-sight. I shall never forget them. The
one was as tall as a giant, with much tawny moustache, like the
coat of a badger, growing about his mouth. He had a huge ruddy
face, and looked dull and stupid, as he no doubt was, for when I
spoke to him, he did not seem to understand, and answered in a
jabber, valgame Dios! so wild and strange, that I remained staring
at him with mouth and eyes open. The other was neither tall nor
red-faced, nor had he hair about his mouth, and, indeed, he had
very little upon his head. He was very diminutive, and looked like
a jorobado (hunchback); but, valgame Dios! such eyes, like wild
cats', so sharp and full of malice. He spoke as good Spanish as I
myself do, and yet he was no Spaniard. A Spaniard never looked
like that man. He was dressed in a zamarra, with much silver and
embroidery, and wore an Andalusian hat, and I soon found that he
was master, and that the other was servant.

"Valgame Dios! what an evil disposition had that same foreign
jorobado, and yet he had much grace, much humour, and said
occasionally to me such comical things, that I was fit to die of
laughter. So he sat down to supper in the room above, and I may as
well tell you here, that he slept in the same chamber where your
worship will sleep to-night, and his servant waited behind his
chair. Well, I had curiosity, so I sat myself down at the table
too, without asking leave. Why should I? I was in my own house,
and an Asturian is fit company for a king, and is often of better
blood. Oh, what a strange supper was that. If the servant made
the slightest mistake in helping him, up would start the jorobado,
jump upon his chair, and seizing the big giant by the hair, would
cuff him on both sides of the face, till I was afraid his teeth
would have fallen out. The giant, however, did not seem to care
about it much. He was used to it, I suppose. Valgame Dios! if he
had been a Spaniard, he would not have submitted to it so
patiently. But what surprised me most was, that after beating his
servant, the master would sit down, and the next moment would begin
conversing and laughing with him as if nothing had happened, and
the giant also would laugh and converse with his master, for all
the world as if he had not been beaten.

"You may well suppose, Senor, that I understood nothing of their
discourse, for it was all in that strange unchristian tongue in
which the giant answered me when I spoke to him; the sound of it is
still ringing in my ears. It was nothing like other languages.
Not like Bascuen, not like the language in which your worship
speaks to my namesake Signor Antonio here. Valgame Dios! I can
compare it to nothing but the sound a person makes when he rinses
his mouth with water. There is one word which I think I still
remember, for it was continually proceeding from the giant's lips,
but his master never used it.

"But the strangest part of the story is yet to be told. The supper
was ended, and the night was rather advanced, the rain still beat
against the windows, even as it does at this moment. Suddenly the
jorobado pulled out his watch. Valgame Dios! such a watch! I will
tell you one thing, Senor, that I could purchase all the Asturias,
and Muros besides, with the brilliants which shone about the sides
of that same watch: the room wanted no lamp, I trow, so great was
the splendour which they cast. So the jorobado looked at his
watch, and then said to me, I shall go to rest. He then took the
lamp and went through the gallery to his room, followed by his big
servant. Well, Senor, I cleared away the things, and then waited
below for the servant, for whom I had prepared a comfortable bed,
close by my own. Senor, I waited patiently for an hour, till at
last my patience was exhausted, and I ascended to the supper
apartment, and passed through the gallery till I came to the door
of the strange guest. Senor, what do you think I saw at the door?"

"How should I know?" I replied. "His riding boots perhaps."

"No, Senor, I did not see his riding boots; but, stretched on the
floor with his head against the door, so that it was impossible to
open it without disturbing him, lay the big servant fast asleep,
his immense legs reaching nearly the whole length of the gallery.
I crossed myself, as well I might, for the wind was howling even as
it is now, and the rain was rushing down into the gallery in
torrents; yet there lay the big servant fast asleep, without any
covering, without any pillow, not even a log, stretched out before
his master's door.

"Senor, I got little rest that night, for I said to myself, I have
evil wizards in my house, folks who are not human. Once or twice I
went up and peeped into the gallery, but there still lay the big
servant fast asleep, so I crossed myself and returned to my bed

"Well," said I, "and what occurred next day?"

"Nothing particular occurred next day: the jorobado came down and
said comical things to me in good Spanish, and the big servant came
down, but whatever he said, and he did not say much, I understood
not, for it was in that disastrous jabber. They stayed with me
throughout the day till after supper-time, and then the jorobado
gave me a gold ounce, and mounting their horses, they both departed
as strangely as they had come, in the dark night, I know not

"Is that all?" I demanded.

"No, Senor, it is not all; for I was right in supposing them evil
brujos: the very next day an express arrived and a great search
was made after them, and I was arrested for having harboured them.
This occurred just after the present wars had commenced. It was
said they were spies and emissaries of I don't know what nation,
and that they had been in all parts of the Asturias, holding
conferences with some of the disaffected. They escaped, however,
and were never heard of more, though the animals which they rode
were found without their riders, wandering amongst the hills; they
were common ponies, and were of no value. As for the brujos, it is
believed that they embarked in some small vessel which was lying
concealed in one of the rias of the coast."

Myself.--What was the word which you continually heard proceeding
from the lips of the big servant, and which you think you can

Host.--Senor, it is now three years since I heard it, and at times
I can remember it and at others not; sometimes I have started up in
my sleep repeating it. Stay, Senor, I have it now at the point of
my tongue: it was Patusca.

Myself.--Batuschca, you mean; the men were Russians.


Oviedo--The Ten Gentlemen--The Swiss again--Modest Request--The
Robbers--Episcopal Benevolence--The Cathedral--Portrait of Feijoo.

I must now take a considerable stride in my journey, no less than
from Muros to Oviedo, contenting myself with observing, that we
proceeded from Muros to Velez, and from thence to Giyon, where our
guide Martin bade us farewell, and returned with his mare to
Rivadeo. The honest fellow did not part without many expressions
of regret, indeed he even expressed a desire that I should take him
and his mare into my service; "for," said he, "I have a great
desire to run through all Spain, and even the world; and I am sure
I shall never have a better opportunity than by attaching myself to
your worship's skirts." On my reminding him, however, of his wife
and family, for he had both, he said, "True, true, I had forgotten
them: happy the guide whose only wife and family are a mare and

Oviedo is about three leagues from Giyon. Antonio rode the horse,
whilst I proceeded thither in a kind of diligence which runs daily
between the two towns. The road is good, but mountainous. I
arrived safely at the capital of the Asturias, although at a rather
unpropitious season, for the din of war was at the gate, and there
was the cry of the captains and the shouting. Castile, at the time
of which I am writing, was in the hands of the Carlists, who had
captured and plundered Valladolid in much the same manner as they
had Segovia some time before. They were every day expected to
march on Oviedo, in which case they might perhaps have experienced
some resistance, a considerable body of troops being stationed
there, who had erected some redoubts, and strongly fortified
several of the convents, especially that of Santa Clara de la Vega.
All minds were in a state of feverish anxiety and suspense, more
especially as no intelligence arrived from Madrid, which by the
last accounts was said to be occupied by the bands of Cabrera and

So it came to pass that one night I found myself in the ancient
town of Oviedo, in a very large, scantily-furnished, and remote
room in an ancient posada, formerly a palace of the counts of Santa
Cruz. It was past ten, and the rain was descending in torrents. I
was writing, but suddenly ceased on hearing numerous footsteps
ascending the creaking stairs which led to my apartment. The door
was flung open, and in walked nine men of tall stature, marshalled
by a little hunchbacked personage. They were all muffled in the
long cloaks of Spain, but I instantly knew by their demeanour that
they were caballeros, or gentlemen. They placed themselves in a
rank before the table where I was sitting. Suddenly and
simultaneously they all flung back their cloaks, and I perceived
that every one bore a book in his hand; a book which I knew full
well. After a pause, which I was unable to break, for I sat lost
in astonishment, and almost conceived myself to be visited by
apparitions, the hunchback, advancing somewhat before the rest,
said in soft silvery tones, "Senor Cavalier, was it you who brought
this book to the Asturias?" I now supposed that they were the
civil authorities of the place come to take me into custody, and,
rising from my seat, I exclaimed, "It certainly was I, and it is my
glory to have done so; the book is the New Testament of God: I
wish it was in my power to bring a million." "I heartily wish so
too," said the little personage with a sigh. "Be under no
apprehension, Sir Cavalier, these gentlemen are my friends; we have
just purchased these books in the shop where you placed them for
sale, and have taken the liberty of calling upon you, in order to
return you our thanks for the treasure you have brought us. I hope
you can furnish us with the Old Testament also." I replied that I
was sorry to inform him that at present it was entirely out of my
power to comply with his wish, as I had no Old Testaments in my
possession, but did not despair of procuring some speedily from
England. He then asked me a great many questions concerning my
biblical travels in Spain, and my success, and the views
entertained by the Society, with respect to Spain, adding that he
hoped we should pay particular attention to the Asturias, which he
assured me was the best ground in the Peninsula for our labour.
After about half an hour's conversation, he suddenly said, in the
English language, "Good night, Sir," wrapped his cloak around him,
and walked out as he had come. His companions, who had hitherto
not uttered a word, all repeated "Good night, Sir," and, adjusting
their cloaks, followed him.

In order to explain this strange scene, I must state that in the
morning I had visited the petty bookseller of the place, Longoria,
and having arranged preliminaries with him, I sent him in the
evening a package of forty Testaments, all I possessed, with some
advertisements. At the time he assured me that, though he was
willing to undertake the sale, there was, nevertheless, not a
prospect of success, as a whole month had elapsed since he had sold
a book of any description, on account of the uncertainty of the
times, and the poverty which pervaded the land; I therefore felt
much dispirited. This incident, however, admonished me not to be
cast down when things look gloomiest, as the hand of the Lord is
generally then most busy; that men may learn to perceive, that
whatever good is accomplished is not their work but his.

Two or three days after this adventure, I was once more seated in
my large scantily-furnished room; it was about ten, of a dark
melancholy morning, and the autumnal rain was again falling. I had
just breakfasted, and was about to sit down to my journal, when the
door was flung open and in bounded Antonio.

"Mon maitre," said he, quite breathless, "who do you think has

"The pretender, I suppose," said I, in some trepidation; "if so, we
are prisoners."

"Bah, bah!" said Antonio, "it is not the pretender, but one worth
twenty of him; it is the Swiss of Saint James."

"Benedict Mol, the Swiss!" said I, "What! has he found the
treasure? But how did he come? How is he dressed?"

"Mon maitre," said Antonio, "he came on foot if we may judge by his
shoes, through which his toes are sticking; and as for his dress,
he is in most villainous apparel."

"There must be some mystery in this," said I; "where is he at

"Below, mon maitre," replied Antonio; "he came in quest of us. But
I no sooner saw him, than I hurried away to let you know."

In a few minutes Benedict Mol found his way up stairs; he was, as
Antonio had remarked, in most villainous apparel, and nearly
barefooted; his old Andalusian hat was dripping with rain.

"Och, lieber herr," said Benedict, "how rejoiced I am to see you
again. Oh, the sight of your countenance almost repays me for all
the miseries I have undergone since I parted with you at Saint

Myself.--I can scarcely believe that I really see you here at
Oviedo. What motive can have induced you to come to such an out-
of-the-way place from such an immense distance?

Benedict.--Lieber herr, I will sit down and tell you all that has
befallen me. Some few days after I saw you last, the canonigo
persuaded me to go to the captain-general to apply for permission
to disinter the schatz, and also to crave assistance. So I saw the
captain-general, who at first received me very kindly, asked me
several questions, and told me to come again. So I continued
visiting him till he would see me no longer, and do what I might I
could not obtain a glance of him. The canon now became impatient,
more especially as he had given me a few pesetas out of the
charities of the church. He frequently called me a bribon and
impostor. At last, one morning I went to him, and said that I had
proposed to return to Madrid, in order to lay the matter before the
government, and requested that he would give me a certificate to
the effect that I had performed a pilgrimage to Saint James, which
I imagined would be of assistance to me upon the way, as it would
enable me to beg with some colour of authority. He no sooner heard
this request, than, without saying a word or allowing me a moment
to put myself on my defence, he sprang upon me like a tiger,
grasping my throat so hard that I thought he would have strangled
me. I am a Swiss, however, and a man of Lucerne, and when I had
recovered myself a little, I had no difficulty in flinging him off;
I then threatened him with my staff and went away. He followed me
to the gate with the most horrid curses, saying that if I presumed
to return again, he would have me thrown at once into prison as a
thief and a heretic. So I went in quest of yourself, lieber herr,
but they told me that you were departed for Coruna; I then set out
for Coruna after you.

Myself.--And what befell you on the road?

Benedict.--I will tell you: about half-way between Saint James and
Coruna, as I was walking along, thinking of the schatz, I heard a
loud galloping, and looking around me I saw two men on horseback
coming across the field with the swiftness of the wind, and making
directly for me. Lieber Gott, said I, these are thieves, these are
factious; and so they were. They came up to me in a moment and
bade me stand, so I flung down my staff, took off my hat and
saluted them. "Good day, caballeros," said I to them. "Good day,
countryman," said they to me, and then we stood staring at each
other for more than a minute. Lieber himmel, I never saw such
robbers; so finely dressed, so well armed, and mounted so bravely
on two fiery little hakkas, that looked as if they could have taken
wing and flown up into the clouds! So we continued staring at each
other, till at last one asked me who I was, whence I came, and
where I was going. "Gentlemen," said I, "I am a Swiss, I have been
to Saint James to perform a religious vow, and am now returning to
my own country." I said not a word about the treasure, for I was
afraid that they would have shot me at once, conceiving that I
carried part of it about me. "Have you any money?" they demanded.
"Gentlemen," I replied, "you see how I travel on foot, with my
shoes torn to pieces; I should not do so if I had money. I will
not deceive you, however, I have a peseta and a few cuartos," and
thereupon I took out what I had and offered it to them. "Fellow,"
said they, "we are caballeros of Galicia, and do not take pesetas,
much less cuartos. Of what opinion are you? Are you for the
queen?" "No, gentlemen," said I, "I am not for the queen, but, at
the same time, allow me to tell you that I am not for the king
either; I know nothing about the matter; I am a Swiss, and fight
neither for nor against anybody unless I am paid." This made them
laugh, and then they questioned me about Saint James, and the
troops there, and the captain-general; and not to disoblige them, I
told them all I knew and much more. Then one of them, who looked
the fiercest and most determined, took his trombone in his hand,
and pointing it at me, said, "Had you been a Spaniard, we would
have blown your head to shivers, for we should have thought you a
spy, but we see you are a foreigner, and believe what you have
said; take, therefore, this peseta and go your way, but beware that
you tell nobody any thing about us, for if you do, carracho!" He
then discharged his trombone just over my head, so that for a
moment I thought myself shot, and then with an awful shout, they
both galloped away, their horses leaping over the barrancos, as if
possessed with many devils.

Myself.--And what happened to you on your arrival at Coruna?

Benedict.--When I arrived at Coruna, I inquired after yourself,
lieber herr, and they informed me that, only the day before my
arrival, you had departed for Oviedo: and when I heard that, my
heart died within me, for I was now at the far end of Galicia,
without a friend to help me. For a day or two I knew not what to
do; at last I determined to make for the frontier of France,
passing through Oviedo in the way, where I hoped to see you and ask
counsel of you. So I begged and bettled among the Germans of
Coruna. I, however, got very little from them, only a few cuarts,
less than the thieves had given me on the road from Saint James,
and with these I departed for the Asturias by the way of Mondonedo.
Och, what a town is that, full of canons, priests, and pfaffen, all
of them more Carlist than Carlos himself.

One day I went to the bishop's palace and spoke to him, telling him
I was a pilgrim from Saint James, and requesting assistance. He
told me, however, that he could not relieve me, and as for my being
a pilgrim from Saint James, he was glad of it, and hoped that it
would be of service to my soul. So I left Mondonedo, and got
amongst the wild mountains, begging and betting at the door of
every choza that I passed, telling all I saw that I was a pilgrim
from Saint James, and showing my passport in proof that I had been
there. Lieber herr, no person gave me a cuart, nor even a piece of
broa, and both Gallegans and Asturians laughed at Saint James, and
told me that his name was no longer a passport in Spain. I should
have starved if I had not sometimes plucked an ear or two out of
the maize fields; I likewise gathered grapes from the parras and
berries from the brambles, and in this manner I subsisted till I
arrived at the bellotas, where I slaughtered a stray kid which I
met, and devoured part of the flesh raw, so great was my hunger.
It made me, however, very ill, and for two days I lay in a barranco
half dead and unable to help myself; it was a mercy that I was not
devoured by the wolves. I then struck across the country for
Oviedo: how I reached it I do not know; I was like one walking in
a dream. Last night I slept in an empty hog-sty about two leagues
from here, and ere I left it, I fell down on my knees and prayed to
God that I might find you, lieber herr, for you were my last hope.

Myself.--And what do you propose to do at present?

Benedict.--What can I say, lieber herr? I know not what to do. I
will be guided in everything by your counsel.

Myself.--I shall remain at Oviedo a few days longer, during which
time you can lodge at this posada, and endeavour to recover from
the fatigue of your disastrous journeys; perhaps before I depart,
we may hit on some plan to extricate you from your present

Oviedo contains about fifteen thousand inhabitants. It is
picturesquely situated between two mountains, Morcin and Naranco;
the former is very high and rugged, and during the greater part of
the year is covered with snow; the sides of the latter are
cultivated and planted with vines. The principal ornament of the
town is the cathedral, the tower of which is exceedingly lofty, and
is perhaps one of the purest specimens of Gothic architecture at
present in existence. The interior of the cathedral is neat and
appropriate, but simple and unadorned. I observed but one picture,
the Conversion of Saint Paul. One of the chapels is a cemetery, in
which rest the bones of eleven Gothic kings; to whose souls be

I bore a letter of recommendation from Coruna to a merchant of
Oviedo. This person received me very courteously, and generally
devoted some portion of every day to showing me the remarkable
things of Oviedo.

One morning he thus addressed me: "You have doubtless heard of
Feijoo, the celebrated philosophic monk of the order of Saint
Benedict, whose writings have so much tended to remove the popular
fallacies and superstitions so long cherished in Spain; he is
buried in one of our convents, where he passed a considerable
portion of his life. Come with me and I will show you his
portrait. Carlos Tercero, our great king, sent his own painter
from Madrid to execute it. It is now in the possession of a friend
of mine, Don Ramon Valdez, an advocate."

Thereupon he led me to the house of Don Ramon Valdez, who very
politely exhibited the portrait of Feijoo. It was circular in
shape, about a foot in diameter, and was surrounded by a little
brass frame, something like the rim of a barber's basin. The
countenance was large and massive but fine, the eyebrows knit, the
eyes sharp and penetrating, nose aquiline. On the head was a
silken skull-cap; the collar of the coat or vest was just
perceptible. The painting was decidedly good, and struck me as
being one of the very best specimens of modern Spanish art which I
had hitherto seen.

A day or two after this I said to Benedict Mol, "to-morrow I start
from hence for Santander. It is therefore high time that you
decide upon some course, whether to return to Madrid or to make the
best of your way to France, and from thence proceed to your own

"Lieber herr," said Benedict, "I will follow you to Santander by
short journeys, for I am unable to make long ones amongst these
hills; and when I am there, peradventure I may find some means of
passing into France. It is a great comfort, in my horrible
journeys, to think that I am travelling over the ground which
yourself have trodden, and to hope that I am proceeding to rejoin
you once more. This hope kept me alive in the bellotas, and
without it I should never have reached Oviedo. I will quit Spain
as soon as possible, and betake me to Lucerne, though it is a hard
thing to leave the schatz behind me in the land of the Gallegans."

Thereupon I presented him with a few dollars.

"A strange man is this Benedict," said Antonio to me next morning,
as, accompanied by a guide, we sallied forth from Oviedo; "a
strange man, mon maitre, is this same Benedict. A strange life has
he led, and a strange death he will die,--it is written on his
countenance. That he will leave Spain I do not believe, or if he
leave it, it will be only to return, for he is bewitched about this
treasure. Last night he sent for a sorciere, whom he consulted in
my presence; and she told him that he was doomed to possess it, but
that first of all he must cross water. She cautioned him likewise
against an enemy, which he supposes must be the canon of Saint
James. I have often heard people speak of the avidity of the Swiss
for money, and here is a proof of it. I would not undergo what
Benedict has suffered in these last journeys of his, to possess all
the treasures in Spain."


Departure from Oviedo--Villa Viciosa--The Young Man of the Inn--
Antonio's Tale--The General and his Family--Woful Tidings--To-
morrow we Die--San Vincente--Santander--An Harangue--Flinter the

So we left Oviedo and directed our course towards Santander. The
man who accompanied us as guide, and from whom I hired the pony on
which I rode, had been recommended to me by my friend the merchant
of Oviedo. He proved, however, a lazy indolent fellow; he was
generally loitering two or three hundred yards in our rear, and
instead of enlivening the way with song and tale, like our late
guide, Martin of Rivadeo, he scarcely ever opened his lips, save to
tell us not to go so fast, or that I should burst his pony if I
spurred him so. He was thievish withal, and though he had engaged
to make the journey seco, that is, to defray the charges of himself
and beast, he contrived throughout to keep both at our expense.
When journeying in Spain, it is invariably the cheapest plan to
agree to maintain the guide and his horse or mule, for by so doing
the hire is diminished at least one third, and the bills upon the
road are seldom increased: whereas, in the other case, he pockets
the difference, and yet goes shot free, and at the expense of the
traveller, through the connivance of the innkeepers, who have a
kind of fellow feeling with the guides.

Late in the afternoon we reached Villa Viciosa, a small dirty town,
at the distance of eight leagues from Oviedo: it stands beside a
creek which communicates with the Bay of Biscay. It is sometimes
called La Capital de las Avellanas, or the capital of the Filberts,
from the immense quantity of this fruit which is grown in the
neighbourhood; and the greatest part of which is exported to
England. As we drew nigh we overtook numerous cars laden with
avellanas proceeding in the direction of the town. I was informed
that several small English vessels were lying in the harbour.
Singular as it may seem, however, notwithstanding we were in the
capital of the Avellanas, it was with the utmost difficulty that I
procured a scanty handful for my dessert, and of these more than
one half were decayed. The people of the house informed me that
the nuts were intended for exportation, and that they never dreamt
either of partaking of them themselves or of offering them to their

At an early hour on the following day we reached Colunga, a

Book of the day: