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The Lands of the Saracen by Bayard Taylor

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mountain altar.

I hurried off to the Post Office, to await the arrival of the diligence
from Palermo. The office is in the Strada Etnea, the main street of
Catania, which runs straight through the city, from the sea to the base of
the mountain, whose peak closes the long vista. The diligence was an hour
later than usual, and I passed the time in watching the smoke which
continued to increase in volume, and was mingled, from time to time, with
jets of inky blackness. The postilion said he had seen fires and heard
loud noises during the night. According to his account, the disturbances
commenced about midnight. I could not but envy my friend Caesar, who was
probably at that moment on the summit, looking down into the seething
fires of the crater.

At last, we rolled out of Catania. There were in the diligence, besides
myself, two men and a woman, Sicilians of the secondary class. The road
followed the shore, over rugged tracts of lava, the different epochs of
which could be distinctly traced in the character of the vegetation. The
last great flow (of 1679) stood piled in long ridges of terrible
sterility, barely allowing the aloe and cactus to take root in the hollows
between. The older deposits were sufficiently decomposed to nourish the
olive and vine; but even here, the orchards were studded with pyramids of
the harder fragments, which are laboriously collected by the husbandmen.
In the few favored spots which have been untouched for so many ages that a
tolerable depth of soil has accumulated, the vegetation has all the
richness and brilliancy of tropical lands. The palm, orange, and
pomegranate thrive luxuriantly, and the vines almost break under their
heavy clusters. The villages are frequent and well built, and the hills
are studded, far and near, with the villas of rich proprietors, mostly
buildings of one story, with verandahs extending their whole length.
Looking up towards Etna, whose base the road encircles, the views are
gloriously rich and beautiful. On the other hand is the blue Mediterranean
and the irregular outline of the shore, here and there sending forth
promontories of lava, cooled by the waves into the most fantastic forms.

We had sot proceeded far before a new sign called my attention to the
mountain. Not only was there a perceptible jar or vibration in the earth,
but a dull, groaning sound, like the muttering of distant thunder, began
to be heard. The smoke increased in volume, and, as we advanced further to
the eastward, and much nearer to the great cone, I perceived that it
consisted of two jets, issuing from different mouths. A broad stream of
very dense white smoke still flowed over the lip of the topmost crater and
down the eastern side. As its breadth did not vary, and the edges were
distinctly defined, it was no doubt the sulphureous vapor rising from a
river of molten lava. Perhaps a thousand yards below, a much stronger
column of mingled black and white smoke gushed up, in regular beats or
pants, from a depression in the mountain side, between two small, extinct
cones. All this part of Etna was scarred with deep chasms, and in the
bottoms of those nearest the opening, I could see the red gleam of fire.
The air was perfectly still, and as yet there was no cloud in the sky.

When we stopped to change horses at the town of Aci Reale, I first felt
the violence of the tremor and the awful sternness of the sound. The smoke
by this time seemed to be gathering on the side towards Catania, and hung
in a dark mass about half-way down the mountain. Groups of the villagers
were gathered in the streets which looked upwards to Etna, and discussing
the chances of an eruption. "Ah," said an old peasant, "the Mountain knows
how to make himself respected. When he talks, everybody listens." The
sound was the most awful that ever met my ears. It was a hard, painful
moan, now and then fluttering like a suppressed sob, and had, at the same
time, an expression of threatening and of agony. It did not come from Etna
alone. It had no fixed location; it pervaded all space. It was in the air,
in the depths of the sea, in the earth under my feet--everywhere, in fact;
and as it continued to increase in violence, I experienced a sensation of
positive pain. The people looked anxious and alarmed, although they said
it was a good thing for all Sicily; that last year they had been in
constant fear from earthquakes, and that an eruption invariably left the
island quiet for several years. It is true that, during the past year,
parts of Sicily and Calabria have been visited with severe shocks,
occasioning much damage to property. A merchant of this city informed me
yesterday that his whole family had slept for two months in the vaults of
his warehouse, fearing that their residence might be shaken down in the

As we rode along from Aci Reale to Taormina, all the rattling of the
diligence over the rough road could not drown the awful noise. There was a
strong smell of sulphur in the air, and the thick pants of smoke from the
lower crater continued to increase in strength. The sun was fierce and
hot, and the edges of the sulphureous clouds shone with a dazzling
whiteness. A mounted soldier overtook us, and rode beside the diligence,
talking with the postillion. He had been up to the mountain, and was
taking his report to the Governor of the district. The heat of the day and
the continued tremor of the air lulled me into a sort of doze, when I was
suddenly aroused by a cry from the soldier and the stopping of the
diligence. At the same time, there was a terrific peal of sound, followed
by a jar which must have shaken the whole island. We looked up to Etna,
which was fortunately in full view before us. An immense mass of
snow-white smoke had burst up from the crater and was rising
perpendicularly into the air, its rounded volumes rapidly whirling one
over the other, yet urged with such impetus that they only rolled outwards
after they had ascended to an immense height. It might have been one
minute or five--for I was so entranced by this wonderful spectacle that I
lost the sense of time--but it seemed instantaneous (so rapid and violent
were the effects of the explosion), when there stood in the air, based on
the summit of the mountain, a mass of smoke four or five miles high, and
shaped precisely like the Italian pine tree.

Words cannot paint the grandeur of this mighty tree. Its trunk of columned
smoke, one side of which was silvered by the sun, while the other, in
shadow, was lurid with red flame, rose for more than a mile before it sent
out its cloudy boughs. Then parting into a thousand streams, each of
which again threw out its branching tufts of smoke, rolling and waving in
the air, it stood in intense relief against the dark blue of the sky. Its
rounded masses of foliage were dazzlingly white on one side, while, in the
shadowy depths of the branches, there was a constant play of brown,
yellow, and crimson tints, revealing the central shaft of fire. It was
like the tree celebrated in the Scandinavian sagas, as seen by the mother
of Harold Hardrada--that tree, whose roots pierced through the earth,
whose trunk was of the color of blood, and whose branches filled the
uttermost corners of the heavens.

This outburst seemed to have relieved the mountain, for the tremors were
now less violent, though the terrible noise still droned in the air, and
earth, and sea. And now, from the base of the tree, three white streams
slowly crept into as many separate chasms, against the walls of which
played the flickering glow of the burning lava. The column of smoke and
flame was still hurled upwards, and the tree, after standing about ten
minutes--a new and awful revelation of the active forces of
Nature--gradually rose and spread, lost its form, and, slowly moved by a
light wind (the first that disturbed the dead calm of the day), bent over
to the eastward. We resumed our course. The vast belt of smoke at last
arched over the strait, here about twenty miles wide, and sank towards the
distant Calabrian shore. As we drove under it, for some miles of our way,
the sun was totally obscured, and the sky presented the singular spectacle
of two hemispheres of clear blue, with a broad belt of darkness drawn
between them. There was a hot, sulphureous vapor in the air, and showers
of white ashes fell, from time to time. We were distant about twelve
miles, in a straight line, from the crater; but the air was so clear,
even under the shadow of the smoke, that I could distinctly trace the
downward movement of the rivers of lava.

This was the eruption, at last, to which all the phenomena of the morning
had been only preparatory. For the first time in ten years the depths of
Etna had been stirred, and I thanked God for my detention at Malta, and
the singular hazard of travel which had brought me here, to his very base,
to witness a scene, the impression of which I shall never lose, to my
dying day. Although the eruption may continue and the mountain pour forth
fiercer fires and broader tides of lava, I cannot but think that the first
upheaval, which lets out the long-imprisoned forces, will not be equalled
in grandeur by any later spectacle.

After passing Taormina, our road led us under the hills of the coast, and
although I occasionally caught glimpses of Etna, and saw the reflection of
fires from the lava which was filling up his savage ravines, the smoke at
last encircled his waist, and he was then shut out of sight by the
intervening mountains. We lost a bolt in a deep valley opening on the sea,
and during our stoppage I could still hear the groans of the Mountain,
though farther off and less painful to the ear. As evening came on, the
beautiful hills of Calabria, with white towns and villages on their sides,
gleamed in the purple light of the setting sun. We drove around headland
after headland, till the strait opened, and we looked over the harbor of
Messina to Capo Faro, and the distant islands of the Tyrrhene Sea.

* * * * *

I leave this afternoon for Naples and Leghorn. I have lost already so much
time between Constantinople and this place, that I cannot give up ten
days more to Etna. Besides, I am so thoroughly satisfied with what I have
seen, that I fear no second view of the eruption could equal it. Etna
cannot be seen from here, nor from a nearer point than a mountain six or
eight miles distant. I tried last evening to get a horse and ride out to
it, in order to see the appearance of the eruption by night; but every
horse, mule and donkey in the place was engaged, except a miserable lame
mule, for which five dollars was demanded. However, the night happened to
be cloudy so that I could have seen nothing.

My passport is finally _en regle_. It has cost the labors of myself and an
able-bodied valet-de-place since yesterday morning, and the expenditure of
five dollars and a half, to accomplish this great work. I have just been
righteously abusing the Neapolitan Government to a native merchant whom,
from his name, I took to be a Frenchman, but as I am off in an hour or
two, hope to escape arrest. Perdition to all Tyranny!

Chapter XXXII.


Unwritten Links of Travel--Departure from Southampton--The Bay of
Biscay--Cintra--Trafalgar--Gibraltar at Midnight--Landing--Search for a
Palm-Tree--A Brilliant Morning--The Convexity of the
Earth--Sun-Worship--The Rock.

------"to the north-west, Cape St. Vincent died away,
Sunset ran, a burning blood-red, blushing into Cadiz Bay.
In the dimmest north-east distance dawned Gibraltar, grand and gray."


Gibraltar, _Saturday, November_ 6, 1852.

I leave unrecorded the links of travel which connected Messina and
Gibraltar. They were over the well-trodden fields of Europe, where little
ground is left that is not familiar. In leaving Sicily I lost the
Saracenic trail, which I had been following through the East, and first
find it again here, on the rock of Calpe, whose name, _Djebel el-Tarik_
(the Mountain of Tarik), still speaks of the fiery race whose rule
extended from the unknown ocean of the West to "Ganges and Hydaspes,
Indian streams." In Malta and Sicily, I saw their decaying watch-towers,
and recognized their sign-manual in the deep, guttural, masculine words
and expressions which they have left behind them. I now design following
their footsteps through the beautiful _Belad-el-Andaluz_, which, to the
eye of the Melek Abd-er-rahman, was only less lovely than the plains of

While in Constantinople, I received letters which opened to me wider and
richer fields of travel than I had already traversed. I saw a possibility
of exploring the far Indian realms, the shores of farthest Cathay and the
famed Zipango of Marco Polo. Before entering on this new sphere of
experiences, however, it was necessary for me to visit Italy, Germany, and
England. I sailed from Messina to Leghorn, and travelled thence, by way of
Florence, Venice, and the Tyrol, to Munich. After three happy weeks at
Gotha, and among the valleys of she Thueringian Forest, I went to London,
where business and the preparation for my new journeys detained me two or
three weeks longer. Although the comforts of European civilization were
pleasant, as a change, after the wild life of the Orient, the autumnal
rains of England soon made me homesick for the sunshine I had left. The
weather was cold, dark, and dreary, and the oppressive, sticky atmosphere
of the bituminous metropolis weighed upon me like a nightmare. Heartily
tired of looking at a sun that could show nothing brighter than a red
copper disk, and of breathing an air that peppered my face with particles
of soot, I left on the 28th of October. It was one of the dismalest days
of autumn; the meadows of Berkshire were flooded with broad, muddy
streams, and the woods on the hills of Hampshire looked brown and sodden,
as if slowly rotting away. I reached Southampton at dusk, but there the
sky was neither warmer nor clearer, so I spent the evening over a coal
fire, all impatience for the bright beloved South, towards which my face
was turned once more.

The _Madras_ left on the next day, at 2 P.M., in the midst of a cheerless
rain, which half blotted out the pleasant shores of Southampton Water, and
the Isle of Wight. The _Madras_ was a singularly appropriate vessel for
one bound on such a journey as mine. The surgeon was Dr. Mungo Park, and
one of my room-mates was Mr. R. Crusoe. It was a Friday, which boded no
good for the voyage; but then my journey commenced with my leaving London
the day previous, and Thursday is a lucky day among the Arabs. I caught a
watery view of the gray cliffs of the Needles, when dinner was announced,
but many were those (and I among them) who commenced that meal, and did
not stay to finish it.

Is there any piece of water more unreasonably, distressingly, disgustingly
rough and perverse than the British Channel? Yes: there is one, and but
one--the Bay of Biscay. And as the latter succeeds the former, without a
pause between, and the head-winds never ceased, and the rain continually
poured, I leave you to draw the climax of my misery. Four days and four
nights in a berth, lying on your back, now dozing dull hour after hour,
now making faint endeavors to eat, or reading the feeblest novel ever
written, because the mind cannot digest stronger aliment--can there be a
greater contrast to the wide-awake life, the fiery inspiration, of the
Orient? My blood became so sluggish and my mind so cloudy and befogged,
that I despaired of ever thinking clearly or feeling vividly again. "The
winds are rude" in Biscay, Byron says. They are, indeed: very rude. They
must have been raised in some most disorderly quarter of the globe. They
pitched the waves right over our bulwarks, and now and then dashed a
bucketful of water down the cabin skylight, swamping the ladies' cabin,
and setting scores of bandboxes afloat. Not that there was the least
actual danger; but Mrs. ---- would not be persuaded that we were not on
the brink of destruction, and wrote to friends at home a voluminous
account of her feelings. There was an Irishman on board, bound to Italy,
with his sister. It was his first tour, and when asked why he did not go
direct, through France, he replied, with brotherly concern, that he was
anxious his sister should see the Bay of Biscay.

This youth's perceptions were of such an emerald hue, that a lot of wicked
Englishmen had their own fun out of him. The other day, he was trying to
shave, to the great danger of slicing off his nose, as the vessel was
rolling fearfully. "Why don't you have the ship headed to the wind?" said
one of the Englishmen, who heard his complaints; "she will then lie
steady, and you can shave beautifully." Thereupon the Irishman sent one of
the stewards upon deck with a polite message to the captain, begging him
to put the vessel about for five minutes.

Towards noon of the fifth day, we saw the dark, rugged mountains that
guard the north-western corner of the Spanish Peninsula. We passed the Bay
of Corunna, and rounding the bold headland of Finisterre, left the
Biscayan billows behind us. But the sea was still rough and the sky
clouded, although the next morning the mildness of the air showed the
change in our latitude. About noon that day, we made the Burlings, a
cluster of rocks forty miles north of Lisbon, and just before sunset, a
transient lifting of the clouds revealed the Rock of Cintra, at the mouth
of the Tagus. The tall, perpendicular cliffs, and the mountain slopes
behind, covered with gardens, orchards, and scattered villas and hamlets,
made a grand though dim picture, which was soon hidden from our view.

On the 4th, we were nearly all day crossing the mouth of the Bay of
Cadiz, and only at sunset saw Cape Trafalgar afar off, glimmering through
the reddish haze. I remained on deck, as there were patches of starlight
in the sky. After passing the light-house at Tarifa, the Spanish shore
continued to be visible. In another hour, there was a dim, cloudy outline
high above the horizon, on our right. This was the Lesser Atlas, in
Morocco. And now, right ahead, distinctly visible, though fifteen miles
distant, lay a colossal lion, with his head on his outstretched paws,
looking towards Africa. If I had been brought to the spot blindfolded, I
should have known what it was. The resemblance is certainly very striking,
and the light-house on Europa Point seemed to be a lamp held in his paws.
The lights of the city and fortifications rose one by one, glittering
along the base, and at midnight we dropped anchor before them on the
western side.

I landed yesterday morning. The mists, which had followed me from England,
had collected behind the Rock, and the sun, still hidden by its huge bulk,
shone upwards through them, making a luminous background, against which
the lofty walls and jagged ramparts of this tremendous natural
fortification were clearly defined. I announced my name, and the length of
time I designed remaining, at a little office on the quay, and was then
allowed to pass into the city. A number of familiar white turbans met me
on entering, and I could not resist the temptation of cordially saluting
the owners in their own language. The town is long and narrow, lying
steeply against the Rock. The houses are white, yellow and pink, as in
Spanish towns, but the streets are clean and well paved. There is a
square, about the size of an ordinary building-lot, where a sort of
market of dry goods and small articles is held The "Club-House Hotel"
occupies one side of it; and, as I look out of my window upon it, I see
the topmost cliffs of the Rock above me, threatening to topple down from a
height of 1,500 feet.

My first walk in Gibraltar was in search of a palm-tree. After threading
the whole length of the town, I found two small ones in a garden, in the
bottom of the old moat. The sun was shining, and his rays seemed to fall
with double warmth on their feathery crests. Three brown Spaniards,
bare-armed, were drawing water with a pole and bucket, and filling the
little channels which conveyed it to the distant vegetables. The sea
glittered blue below; an Indian fig-tree shaded me; but, on the rock
behind, an aloe lifted its blossoming stem, some twenty feet high, into
the sunshine. To describe what a weight was lifted from my heart would
seem foolish to those who do not know on what little things the whole tone
of our spirits sometimes depends.

But if an even balance was restored yesterday, the opposite scale kicked
the beam this morning. Not a speck of vapor blurred the spotless crystal
of the sky, as I walked along the hanging paths of the Alameda. The sea
was dazzling ultra-marine, with a purple lustre; every crag and notch of
the mountains across the bay, every shade of brown or gray, or the green
of grassy patches, was drawn and tinted with a pencil so exquisitely
delicate as almost to destroy the perspective. The white houses of
Algeciras, five miles off, appeared close at hand: a little toy-town,
backed by miniature hills. Apes' Hill, the ancient Abyla, in Africa,
advanced to meet Calpe, its opposing pillar, and Atlas swept away to the
east ward, its blue becoming paler and paler, till the powers of vision
finally failed. From the top of the southern point of the Rock, I saw the
mountain-shore of Spain, as far as Malaga, and the snowy top of one of the
Sierra Nevada. Looking eastward to the horizon line of the Mediterranean,
my sight extended so far, in the wonderful clearness of the air, that the
convexity of the earth's surface was plainly to be seen. The sea, instead
of being a plane, was slightly convex, and the sky, instead of resting
upon it at the horizon, curved down beyond it, as the upper side of a horn
curves over the lower, when one looks into the mouth. There is none of the
many aspects of Nature more grand than this, which is so rarely seen, that
I believe the only person who has ever described it is Humboldt, who saw
it, looking from the Silla de Caraccas over the Caribbean Sea. It gives
you the impression of standing on the edge of the earth, and looking off
into space. From the mast-head, the ocean appears either flat or slightly
concave, and aeronauts declare that this apparent concavity becomes more
marked, the higher they ascend. It is only at those rare periods when the
air is so miraculously clear as to produce the effect of _no
air_--rendering impossible the slightest optical illusion--that our eyes
can see things as they really are. So pure was the atmosphere to-day,
that, at meridian, the moon, although a thin sickle, three days distant
from the sun, shone perfectly white and clear.

As I loitered in the Alameda, between thick hedges of ever-blooming
geraniums, clumps of heliotrope three feet high, and luxuriant masses of
ivy, around whose warm flowers the bees clustered and hummed, I could only
think of the voyage as a hideous dream. The fog and gloom had been in my
own eyes and in my own brain, and now the blessed sun, shining full in my
face, awoke me. I am a worshipper of the Sun. I took off my hat to him, as
I stood there, in a wilderness of white, crimson, and purple flowers, and
let him blaze away in my face for a quarter of an hour. And as I walked
home with my back to him, I often turned my face from side to side that I
might feel his touch on my cheek. How a man can live, who is sentenced to
a year's imprisonment, is more than I can understand.

But all this (you will say) gives you no picture of Gibraltar. The Rock is
so familiar to all the world, in prints and descriptions, that I find
nothing new to say of it, except that it is by no means so barren a rock
as the island of Malta, being clothed, in many places, with beautiful
groves and the greenest turf; besides, I have not yet seen the
rock-galleries, having taken passage for Cadiz this afternoon. When I
return--as I hope to do in twenty days, after visiting Seville and
Granada--I shall procure permission to view all the fortifications, and
likewise to ascend to the summit.

Chapter XXXIII.

Cadiz And Seville.

Voyage to Cadiz--Landing--The City--Its Streets--The Women of
Cadiz--Embarkation for Seville--Scenery of the Guadalquivir--Custom
House Examination--The Guide--The Streets of Seville--The Giralda--The
Cathedral of Seville--The Alcazar-Moorish Architecture--Pilate's
House--Morning View from the Giralda--Old Wine--Murillos--My Last
Evening in Seville.

"The walls of Cadiz front the shore,
And shimmer o'er the sea."

R. H. Stoddard.

"Beautiful Seville!
Of which I've dreamed, until I saw its towers
In every cloud that hid the setting sun."

George H. Boker.

Seville, _November_ 10, 1852.

I left Gibraltar on the evening of the 6th, in the steamer Iberia. The
passage to Cadiz was made in nine hours, and we came to anchor in the
harbor before day-break. It was a cheerful picture that the rising sun
presented to us. The long white front of the city, facing the East, glowed
with a bright rosy lustre, on a ground of the clearest blue. The tongue of
land on which Cadiz stands is low, but the houses are lifted by the heavy
sea-wall which encompasses them. The main-land consists of a range of low
but graceful hills, while in the south-east the mountains of Ronda rise at
some distance. I went immediately on shore, where my carpet-bag was seized
upon by a boy, with the rich brown complexion of one Murillo's beggars,
who trudged off with it to the gate. After some little detention there, I
was conducted to a long, deserted, barn-like building, where I waited half
an hour before the proper officer came. When the latter had taken his
private toll of my contraband cigars, the brown imp conducted me to
Blanco's English Hotel, a neat and comfortable house on the Alameda.

Cadiz is soon seen. Notwithstanding its venerable age of three thousand
years--having been founded by Hercules, who figures on its
coat-of-arms--it is purely a commercial city, and has neither antiquities,
nor historic associations that interest any but Englishmen. It is
compactly built, and covers a smaller space than accords with my ideas of
its former splendor. I first walked around the sea-ramparts, enjoying the
glorious look-off over the blue waters. The city is almost insulated, the
triple line of fortifications on the land side being of but trifling
length. A rocky ledge stretches out into the sea from the northern point,
and at its extremity rises the massive light-house tower, 170 feet high.
The walls toward the sea were covered with companies of idle anglers,
fishing with cane rods of enormous length. On the open, waste spaces
between the bastions, boys had spread their limed cords to catch singing
birds, with chirping decoys placed here and there in wicker cages. Numbers
of boatmen and peasants, in their brown jackets, studded with tags and
bugles, and those round black caps which resemble smashed bandboxes,
loitered about the walls or lounged on the grass in the sun.

Except along the Alameda, which fronts the bay, the exterior of the city
has an aspect of neglect and desertion. The interior, however, atones for
this in the gay and lively air of its streets, which, though narrow, are
regular and charmingly clean. The small plazas are neatness itself, and
one is too content with this to ask for striking architectural effects.
The houses are tall and stately, of the most dazzling whiteness, and
though you could point out no one as a pattern of style, the general
effect is chaste and harmonious. In fact, there are two or three streets
which you would almost pronounce faultless. The numbers of hanging
balconies and of court-yards paved with marble and surrounded with elegant
corridors, show the influence of Moorish taste. There is not a
mean-looking house to be seen, and I have no doubt that Cadiz is the best
built city of its size in the world. It lies, white as new-fallen snow,
like a cluster of ivory palaces, between sea and sky. Blue and silver are
its colors, and, as everybody knows, there can be no more charming

I visited both the old and new cathedrals, neither of which is
particularly interesting. The latter is unfinished, and might have been a
fine edifice had the labor and money expended on its construction been
directed by taste. The interior, rich as it is in marbles and sculpture,
has a heavy, confused effect. The pillars dividing the nave from the
side-aisles are enormous composite masses, each one consisting of six
Corinthian columns, stuck around and against a central shaft. More
satisfactory to me was the Opera-House, which I visited in the evening,
and where the dazzling array of dark-eyed Gaditanas put a stop to
architectural criticism. The women of Cadiz are noted for their beauty and
their graceful gait. Some of them are very beautiful, it is true; but
beauty is not the rule among them. Their gait, however, is the most
graceful possible, because it is perfectly free and natural. The
commonest serving-maid who walks the streets of Cadiz would put to shame a
whole score of our mincing and wriggling belles.

Honest old Blanco prepared me a cup of chocolate by sunrise next morning,
and accompanied me down to the quay, to embark for Seville. A furious wind
was blowing from the south-east, and the large green waves raced and
chased one another incessantly over the surface of the bay. I took a heavy
craft, which the boatmen pushed along under cover of the pier, until they
reached the end, when the sail was dropped in the face of the wind, and
away we shot into the watery tumult. The boat rocked and bounced over the
agitated surface, running with one gunwale on the waves, and sheets of
briny spray broke over me. I felt considerably relieved when I reached the
deck of the steamer, but it was then diversion enough to watch those who
followed. The crowd of boats pitching tumultuously around the steamer,
jostling against each other, their hulls gleaming with wet, as they rose
on the beryl-colored waves, striped with long, curded lines of wind-blown
foam, would have made a fine subject for the pencil of Achenbach.

At last we pushed off, with a crowd of passengers fore and aft, and a
pyramid of luggage piled around the smoke-pipe. There was a party of four
Englishmen on board, and, on making their acquaintance, I found one of
them to be a friend to some of my friends--Sir John Potter, the
progressive ex-Mayor of Manchester. The wind being astern, we ran rapidly
along the coast, and in two hours entered the mouth of the Guadalquivir.
[This name comes from the Arabic _wadi el-kebeer_--literally, the Great
Valley.] The shores are a dead flat. The right bank is a dreary forest of
stunted pines, abounding with deer and other game; on the left is the
dilapidated town of San Lucar, whence Magellan set sail on his first
voyage around the world. A mile further is Bonanza, the port of Xeres,
where we touched and took on board a fresh lot of passengers. Thenceforth,
for four hours, the scenery of the Guadalquivir had a most distressing
sameness. The banks were as flat as a board, with here and there a
straggling growth of marshy thickets. Now and then we passed a herdsman's
hut, but there were no human beings to be seen, except the peasants who
tended the large flocks of sheep and cattle. A sort of breakfast was
served in the cabin, but so great was the number of guests that I had much
difficulty in getting anything to eat. The waiters were models of calmness
and deliberation.

As we approached Seville, some low hills appeared on the left, near the
river. Dazzling white villages were planted at their foot, and all the
slopes were covered with olive orchards, while the banks of the stream
were bordered with silvery birch trees. This gave the landscape, in spite
of the African warmth and brightness of the day, a gray and almost wintry
aspect. Soon the graceful Giralda, or famous Tower of Seville, arose in
the distance; but, from the windings of the river, we were half an hour in
reaching the landing-place. One sees nothing of the far-famed beauty of
Seville, on approaching it. The boat stops below the Alameda, where the
passengers are received by Custom-House officers, who, in my case, did not
verify the stories told of them in Cadiz. I gave my carpet-bag to a boy,
who conducted me along the hot and dusty banks to the bridge over the
Guadalquivir, where he turned into the city. On passing the gate, two
loafer-like guards stopped my baggage, notwithstanding it had already been
examined. "What!" said I, "do you examine twice on entering Seville?"
"Yes," answered one; "twice, and even three times;" but added in a lower
tone, "it depends entirely on yourself." With that he slipped behind me,
and let one hand fall beside my pocket. The transfer of a small coin was
dexterously made, and I passed on without further stoppage to the Fonda de

Sir John Potter engaged Antonio Bailli, the noted guide of Seville, who
professes to have been the cicerone of all distinguished travellers, from
Lord Byron and Washington Irving down to Owen Jones, and I readily
accepted his invitation to join the party. Bailli is recommended by Ford
as "fat and good-humored" Fat he certainly is, and very good-humored when
speaking of himself, but he has been rather spoiled by popularity, and is
much too profuse in his critical remarks on art and architecture.
Nevertheless, as my stay in Seville is limited, I have derived no slight
advantage from his services.

On the first morning I took an early stroll through the streets. The
houses are glaringly white, like those of Cadiz, but are smaller and have
not the same stately exteriors. The windows are protected by iron
gratings, of florid patterns, and, as many of these are painted green, the
general effect is pleasing. Almost every door opens upon a _patio_, or
courtyard, paved with black and white marble and adorned with flowers and
fountains. Many of these remain from the time of the Moors, and are still
surrounded by the delicate arches and brilliant tile-work of that period.
The populace in the streets are entirely Spanish--the jaunty _majo_ in
his queer black cap, sash, and embroidered jacket, and the nut-brown,
dark-eyed damsel, swimming along in her mantilla, and armed with the
irresistible fan.

We went first to the Cathedral, built on the site of the great mosque of
Abou Youssuf Yakoub. The tall Giralda beckoned to us over the tops of the
intervening buildings, and finally a turn in the street brought us to the
ancient Moorish gateway on the northern side. This is an admirable
specimen of the horse-shoe arch, and is covered with elaborate tracery. It
originally opened into the court, or _haram_, of the mosque, which still
remains, and is shaded by a grove of orange trees. The Giralda, to my eye,
is a more perfect tower than the Campanile of Florence, or that of San
Marco, at Venice, which is evidently an idea borrowed from it. The Moorish
structure, with a base of fifty feet square, rises to the height of two
hundred and fifty feet. It is of a light pink color, and the sides, which
are broken here and there by exquisitely proportioned double Saracenic
arches, are covered from top to bottom with arabesque tracery, cut in
strong relief. Upon this tower, a Spanish architect has placed a tapering
spire, one hundred feet high, which fortunately harmonizes with the
general design, and gives the crowning grace to the work.

The Cathedral of Seville may rank as one of the grandest Gothic piles in
Europe. The nave lacks but five feet of being as high as that of St.
Peter's, while the length and breadth of the edifice are on a commensurate
scale. The ninety-three windows of stained glass fill the interior with a
soft and richly-tinted light, mellower and more gentle than the sombre
twilight of the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe. The wealth lavished on the
smaller chapels and shrines is prodigious, and the high altar, inclosed
within a gilded railing fifty feet high, is probably the most enormous
mass of wood-carving in existence. The Cathedral, in fact, is encumbered
with its riches. While they bewilder you as monuments of human labor and
patience, they detract from the grand simplicity of the building. The
great nave, on each side of the transept, is quite blocked up, so that the
choir and magnificent royal chapel behind it have almost the effect of
detached edifices.

We returned again this morning, remaining two hours, and succeeded in
making a thorough survey, including a number of trashy pictures and
barbarously rich shrines. Murillo's "Guardian Angel" and the "Vision of
St. Antonio" are the only gems. The treasury contains a number of sacred
vessels of silver, gold and jewels--among other things, the keys of
Moorish Seville, a cross made of the first gold brought from the New-World
by Columbus, and another from that robbed in Mexico by Cortez. The
Cathedral won my admiration more and more. The placing of the numerous
windows, and their rich coloring, produce the most glorious effects of
light in the lofty aisles, and one is constantly finding new vistas, new
combinations of pillar, arch and shrine. The building is in itself a
treasury of the grandest Gothic pictures.

From the Cathedral we went to the Alcazar _(El-Kasr),_ or Palace of the
Moorish Kings. We entered by a long passage, with round arches on either
side, resting on twin pillars, placed at right angles to the line of the
arch, as one sees both in Saracenic and Byzantine structures. Finally, old
Bailli brought us into a dull, deserted court-yard, where we were
surprised by the sight of an entire Moorish facade, with its pointed
arches, its projecting roof, its rich sculptured ornaments and its
illuminations of red, blue, green and gold. It has been lately restored,
and now rivals in freshness and brilliancy any of the rich houses of
Damascus. A doorway, entirely too low and mean for the splendor of the
walls above it, admitted us into the first court. On each side of the
passage are the rooms of the guard and the Moorish nobles. Within, all is
pure Saracenic, and absolutely perfect in its grace and richness. It is
the realization of an Oriental dream; it is the poetry and luxury of the
East in tangible forms. Where so much depends on the proportion and
harmony of the different parts--on those correspondences, the union of
which creates that nameless soul of the work, which cannot be expressed in
words--it is useless to describe details. From first to last--the chambers
of state; the fringed arches; the open tracery, light and frail as the
frost-stars crystallized on a window-pane; the courts, fit to be
vestibules to Paradise; the audience-hall, with its wondrous sculptures,
its columns and pavement of marble, and its gilded dome; the garden,
gorgeous with its palm, banana, and orange-trees--all were in perfect
keeping, all jewels of equal lustre, forming a diadem which still lends a
royal dignity to the phantom of Moorish power.

We then passed into the gardens laid out by the Spanish monarchs--trim,
mathematical designs, in box and myrtle, with concealed fountains
springing up everywhere unawares in the midst of the paven walks; yet
still made beautiful by the roses and jessamines that hung in rank
clusters over the marble balustrades, and by the clumps of tall orange
trees, bending to earth under the weight of their fruitage. We afterward
visited Pilate's House, as it is called--a fine Spanish-Moresco palace,
now belonging to the Duke of Medina Coeli. It is very rich and elegant,
but stands in the same relation to the Alcazar as a good copy does to the
original picture. The grand staircase, nevertheless, is a marvel of tile
work, unlike anything else in Seville, and exhibits a genius in the
invention of elaborate ornamental patterns, which is truly wonderful. A
number of workmen were busy in restoring the palace, to fit it for the
residence of the young Duke. The Moorish sculptures are reproduced in
plaster, which, at least, has a better effect than the fatal whitewash
under which the original tints of the Alcazar are hidden. In the courts
stand a number of Roman busts--Spanish antiquities, and therefore not of
great merit--singularly out of place in niches surrounded by Arabic
devices and sentences from the Koran.

This morning, I climbed the Giralda. The sun had just risen, and the clay
was fresh and crystal-clear. A little door in the Cathedral, near the foot
of the tower, stood open, and I entered. A rather slovenly Sevillana had
just completed her toilet, but two children were still in undress.
However, she opened a door in the tower, and I went up without hindrance.
The ascent is by easy ramps, and I walked four hundred yards, or nearly a
quarter of a mile, before reaching the top of the Moorish part. The
panoramic view was superb. To the east and west, the Great Valley made a
level line on a far-distant horizon. There were ranges of hills in the
north and south, and those rising near the city, clothed in a gray mantle
of olive-trees, were picturesquely crowned with villages. The
Guadalquivir, winding in the most sinuous mazes, had no longer a turbid
hue; he reflected the blue morning sky, and gleamed brightly between his
borders of birch and willow. Seville sparkled white and fair under my
feet, her painted towers and tiled domes rising thickly out of the mass of
buildings. The level sun threw shadows into the numberless courts,
permitting the mixture of Spanish and Moorish architecture to be plainly
discerned, even at that height. A thin golden vapor softened the features
of the landscape, towards the sun, while, on the opposite side, every
object stood out in the sharpest and clearest outlines.

On our way to the Museo, Bailli took us to the house of a friend of his,
in order that we might taste real Manzanilla wine. This is a pale,
straw-colored vintage, produced in the valley of the Guadalquivir. It is
flavored with camomile blossoms, and is said to be a fine tonic for weak
stomachs. The master then produced a dark-red wine, which he declared to
be thirty years old. It was almost a syrup in consistence, and tasted more
of sarsaparilla than grapes. None of us relished it, except Bailli, who
was so inspired by the draught, that he sang us two Moorish songs and an
Andalusian catch, full of fun and drollery.

The Museo contains a great amount of bad pictures, but it also contains
twenty-three of Murillo's works, many of them of his best period. To those
who have only seen his tender, spiritual "Conceptions" and "Assumptions,"
his "Vision of St. Francis" in this gallery reveals a mastery of the
higher walks of his art, which they would not have anticipated. But it is
in his "Cherubs" and his "Infant Christs" that he excels. No one ever
painted infantile grace and beauty with so true a pencil. There is but one
Velasquez in the collection, and the only thing that interested me, in two
halls filled with rubbish, was a "Conception" by Murillo's mulatto pupil,
said by some to have been his slave. Although an imitation of the great
master, it is a picture of much sweetness and beauty. There is no other
work of the artist in existence, and this, as the only production of the
kind by a painter of mixed African blood, ought to belong to the Republic
of Liberia.

Among the other guests at the Fonda de Madrid is Mr. Thomas Hobhouse,
brother of Byron's friend. We had a pleasant party in the Court this
evening, listening to blind Pepe, who sang to his guitar a medley of merry
Andalusian refrains. Singing made the old man courageous, and, at the
close, he gave us the radical song of Spain, which is now strictly
prohibited. The air is charming, but too gay; one would sooner dance than
fight to its measures. It does not bring the hand to the sword, like the
glorious Marseillaise.

_Adios_, beautiful Seville!

Chapter XXXIV.

Journey in a Spanish Diligence.

Spanish Diligence Lines--Leaving Seville--An Unlucky Start--Alcala of
the Bakers--Dinner at Carmona--A Dehesa--The Mayoral and his
Team--Ecija--Night Journey--Cordova--The Cathedral-Mosque--Moorish
Architecture--The Sierra Morena--A Rainy Journey--A Chapter of
Accidents--Baylen--The Fascination of Spain--Jaen--The Vega of Granada.

Granada, _November_ 14, 1852.

It is an enviable sensation to feel for the first time that you are in
Granada. No amount of travelling can weaken the romantic interest which
clings about this storied place, or take away aught from the freshness of
that emotion with which you first behold it, I sit almost at the foot of
the Alhambra, whose walls I can see from my window, quite satisfied for
to-day with being here. It has been raining since I arrived, the thunder
is crashing overhead, and the mountains are covered with clouds, so I am
kept in-doors, with the luxury of knowing that all the wonders of the
place are within my reach. And now let me beguile the dull weather by
giving you a sketch of my journey from Seville hither.

There are three lines of stages from Seville to Madrid, and their
competition has reduced the fare to $12, which, for a ride of 350 miles,
is remarkably cheap. The trip is usually made in three days and a half. A
branch line from Baylen--nearly half-way--strikes southward to Granada,
and as there is no competition on this part of the road, I was charged $15
for a through seat in the _coupe_. On account of the lateness of the
season, and the limited time at my command, this was preferable to taking
horses and riding across the country from Seville to Cordova. Accordingly,
at an early hour on Thursday morning last, furnished with a travelling
ticket inscribed: "Don Valtar de Talor" (myself!), I took leave of my
English friends at the Fonda de Madrid, got into an immense, lumbering
yellow vehicle, drawn by ten mules, and started, trusting to my good luck
and bad Spanish to get safely through. The commencement, however, was
unpropitious, and very often a stumble at starting makes the whole journey
limp. The near mule in the foremost span was a horse, ridden by our
postillion, and nothing could prevent that horse from darting into all
sorts of streets and alleys where we had no desire to go. As all mules
have implicit faith in horses, of course the rest of the animals followed.
We were half an hour in getting out of Seville, and when at last we
reached the open road and dashed off at full gallop, one of the mules in
the traces fell and was dragged in the dust some twenty or thirty yards
before we could stop. My companions in the coupe were a young Spanish
officer and his pretty Andalusian bride, who was making her first journey
from home, and after these mishaps was in a state of constant fear and

The first stage across the valley of the Guadalquivir took us to the town
of Alcala, which lies in the lap of the hills above the beautiful little
river Guadaira. It is a picturesque spot; the naked cliffs overhanging the
stream have the rich, red hue of cinnabar, and the trees and shrubbery in
the meadows, and on the hill-sides are ready grouped to the artist's
hand. The town is called Alcala de los Panadores (of the Bakers) from its
hundreds of flour mills and bake-ovens, which supply Seville with those
white, fine, delicious twists, of which Spain may be justly proud. They
should have been sent to the Exhibition last year, with the Toledo blades
and the wooden mosaics. We left the place and its mealy-headed population,
and turned eastward into wide, rolling tracts, scattered here and there
with gnarled olive trees. The soil was loose and sandy, and hedges of
aloes lined the road. The country is thinly populated, and very little of
it under cultivation.

About noon we reached Carmona, which was founded by the Romans, as,
indeed, were nearly all the towns of Southern Spain. It occupies the crest
and northern slope of a high hill, whereon the ancient Moorish castle
still stands. The Alcazar, or palace, and the Moorish walls also remain,
though in a very ruinous condition. Here we stopped to dinner, for the
"Nueva Peninsular," in which I was embarked, has its hotels all along the
route, like that of Zurutuza, in Mexico. We were conducted into a small
room adjoining the stables, and adorned with colored prints illustrating
the history of Don John of Austria. The table-cloths, plates and other
appendages were of very ordinary quality, but indisputably clean; we
seated ourselves, and presently the dinner appeared. First, a vermicelli
_pilaff_, which I found palatable, then the national _olla_, a dish of
enormous yellow peas, sprinkled with bits of bacon and flavored with oil;
then three successive courses of chicken, boiled, stewed and roasted, but
in every case done to rags, and without a particle of the original
flavor. This was the usual style of our meals on the road, whether
breakfast, dinner or supper, except that kid was sometimes substituted for
fowl, and that the oil employed, being more or less rancid, gave different
flavors to the dishes, A course of melons, grapes or pomegranates wound up
the repast, the price of which varied from ten to twelve reals--a real
being about a half-dime. In Seville, at the Fonda de Madrid, the cooking
is really excellent; but further in the interior, judging from what I have
heard, it is even worse than I have described.

Continuing our journey, we passed around the southern brow of the hill,
under the Moorish battlements. Here a superb view opened to the south and
east over the wide Vega of Carmona, as far as the mountain chain which
separates it from the plain of Granada. The city has for a coat of arms a
silver star in an azure field, with the pompous motto: "As Lucifer shines
in the morning, so shines Carmona in Andalusia." If it shines at all, it
is because it is a city set upon a hill; for that is the only splendor I
could find about the place. The Vega of Carmona is partially cultivated,
and now wears a sombre brown hue, from its tracts of ploughed land.

Cultivation soon ceased, however, and we entered on a _dehesa_, a
boundless plain of waste land, covered with thickets of palmettos. Flocks
of goats and sheep, guarded by shepherds in brown cloaks, wandered here
and there, and except their huts and an isolated house, with its group of
palm-trees, there was no sign of habitation. The road was a deep, red
sand, and our mules toiled along slowly and painfully, urged by the
incessant cries of the _mayoral_, or conductor, and his _mozo_. As the
mayoral's whip could only reach the second span, the business of the
latter was to jump down every ten minutes, run ahead and belabor the
flanks of the foremost mules, uttering at the same time a series of sharp
howls, which seemed to strike the poor beasts with quite as much severity
as his whip. I defy even a Spanish ear to distinguish the import of these
cries, and the great wonder was how they could all come out of one small
throat. When it came to a hard pull, they cracked and exploded like
volleys of musketry, and flew like hail-stones about the ears of the
_machos_ (he-mules). The postillion, having only the care of the foremost
span, is a silent man, but he has contracted a habit of sleeping in the
saddle, which I mention for the benefit of timid travellers, as it adds to
the interest of a journey by night.

The clouds which had been gathering all day, now settled down upon the
plain, and night came on with a dull rain. At eight o'clock we reached the
City of Ecija, where we had two hours' halt and supper. It was so dark and
rainy that I saw nothing, not even the classic Xenil, the river of
Granada, which flows through the city on its way to the Guadalquivir, The
night wore slowly away, and while the _mozo_ drowsed on his post, I caught
snatches of sleep between his cries. As the landscape began to grow
distinct in the gray, cloudy dawn, we saw before us Cordova, with the dark
range of the Sierra Morena rising behind it. This city, once the glory of
Moorish Spain, the capital of the great Abd-er-Rahman, containing, when in
its prime, a million of inhabitants, is now a melancholy wreck. It has not
a shadow of the art, science, and taste which then distinguished it, and
the only interest it now possesses is from these associations, and the
despoiled remnant of its renowned Mosque.

We crossed the Guadalquivir on a fine bridge built on Roman foundations,
and drove slowly down the one long, rough, crooked street. The diligence
stops for an hour, to allow passengers to breakfast, but my first thought
was for the Cathedral-mosque, _la Mezquita_, as it is still called. "It is
closed," said the ragged crowd that congregated about us; "you cannot get
in until eight o'clock." But I remembered that a silver key will open
anything in Spain, and taking a mozo as a guide we hurried off as fast as
the rough pavements would permit. We had to retrace the whole length of
the city, but on reaching the Cathedral, found it open. The exterior is
low, and quite plain, though of great extent. A Moorish gateway admitted
me into the original court-yard, or _haram_, of the mosque, which is
planted with orange trees and contains the fountain, for the ablutions of
Moslem worshippers, in the centre. The area of the Mosque proper,
exclusive of the court-yard, is about 400 by 350 feet. It was built on the
plan of the great Mosque of Damascus, about the end of the eighth century.
The materials--including twelve hundred columns of marble, jasper and
porphyry, from the ruins of Carthage, and the temples of Asia
Minor---belonged to a Christian basilica, of the Gothic domination, which
was built upon the foundations of a Roman temple of Janus; so that the
three great creeds of the world have here at different times had their
seat. The Moors considered this mosque as second in holiness to the Kaaba
of Mecca, and made pilgrimages to it from all parts of Moslem Spain and
Barbary. Even now, although shorn of much of its glory, it surpasses any
Oriental mosque into which I have penetrated, except St. Sophia, which is
a Christian edifice.

All the nineteen original entrances--beautiful horse-shoe arches--are
closed, except the central one. I entered by a low door, in one corner of
the corridor. A wilderness of columns connected by double arches (one
springing above the other, with an opening between), spread their dusky
aisles before me in the morning twilight. The eight hundred and fifty
shafts of this marble forest formed labyrinths and mazes, which at that
early hour appeared boundless, for their long vistas disappeared in the
shadows. Lamps were burning before distant shrines, and a few worshippers
were kneeling silently here and there. The sound of my own footsteps, as I
wandered through the ranks of pillars, was all that I heard. In the centre
of the wood (for such it seemed) rises the choir, a gaudy and tasteless
excrescence added by the Christians. Even Charles V., who laid a merciless
hand on the Alhambra, reproved the Bishop of Cordova for this barbarous
and unnecessary disfigurement.

The sacristan lighted lamps in order to show me the Moorish chapels.
Nothing but the precious materials of which these exquisite structures are
composed could have saved them from the holy hands of the Inquisition,
which intentionally destroyed all the Roman antiquities of Cordova. Here
the fringed arches, the lace-like filigrees, the wreathed inscriptions,
and the domes of pendent stalactites which enchant you in the Alcazar of
Seville, are repeated, not in stucco, but in purest marble, while the
entrance to the "holy of holies" is probably the most glorious piece of
mosaic in the world. The pavement of the interior is deeply worn by the
knees of the Moslem pilgrims, who compassed it seven times, kneeling, as
they now do in the Kaaba, at Mecca. The sides are embroidered with
sentences from the Koran, in Cufic characters, and the roof is in the
form of a fluted shell, of a single piece of pure white marble, fifteen
feet in diameter. The roof of the vestibule is a wonderful piece of
workmanship, formed of pointed arches, wreathed and twined through each
other, like basket-work. No people ever wrought poetry into stone so
perfectly as the Saracens. In looking on these precious relics of an
elegant and refined race, I cannot help feeling a strong regret that their
kingdom ever passed into other hands.

Leaving Cordova, our road followed the Guadalquivir, along the foot of the
Sierra Morena, which rose dark and stern, a barrier to the central
table-lands of La Mancha. At Alcolea, we crossed the river on a noble
bridge of black marble, out of all keeping with the miserable road. It
rained incessantly, and the scenery through which we passed had a wild and
gloomy character. The only tree to be seen was the olive, which covered
the hills far and near, the profusion of its fruit showing the natural
richness of the soil. This part of the road is sometimes infested with
robbers, and once, when I saw two individuals waiting for us in a lonely
defile, with gun-barrels thrust out from under their black cloaks, I
anticipated a recurrence of a former unpleasant experience. But they
proved to be members of the _guardia civil_, and therefore our protectors.

The ruts and quagmires, made by the rain, retarded our progress, and it
was dark when we reached Andujar, fourteen leagues from Cordova. To
Baylen, where I was to quit the diligence, and take another coming down
from Madrid to Granada, was four leagues further. We journeyed on in the
dark, in a pouring rain, up and down hill for some hours, when all at
once the cries of the mozo ceased, and the diligence came to a dead stop.
There was some talk between our conductors, and then the mayoral opened
the door and invited us to get out. The postillion had fallen asleep, and
the mules had taken us into a wrong road. An attempt was made to turn the
diligence, but failed, leaving it standing plump against a high bank of
mud. We stood, meanwhile, shivering in the cold and wet, and the fair
Andalusian shed abundance of tears. Fortunately, Baylen was close at hand,
and, after some delay, two men came with lanterns and escorted us to the
_posada_, or inn, where we arrived at midnight. The diligence from Madrid,
which was due six hours before, had not made its appearance, and we passed
the rest of the night in a cold room, fasting, for the meal was only to be
served when the other passengers came. At day-break, finally, a single
dish of oily meat was vouchsafed to us, and, as it was now certain that
some accident had happened, the passengers to Madrid requested the
_Administrador_ to send them on in an extra conveyance. This he refused,
and they began to talk about getting up a pronunciamento, when a messenger
arrived with the news that the diligence had broken down at midnight,
about two leagues off. Tools were thereupon dispatched, nine hours after
the accident happened, and we might hope to be released from our
imprisonment in four or five more.

Baylen is a wretched place, celebrated for having the first palm-tree
which those see who come from Madrid, and for the victory gained by
Castanos over the French forces under Dupont, which occasioned the flight
of Joseph Buonaparte from Madrid, and the temporary liberation of Spain
from the French yoke. Castanos, who received the title of Duke de Baylen,
and is compared by the Spaniards to Wellington, died about three months
ago. The battle-field I passed in the night; the palm-tree I found, but it
is now a mere stump, the leaves having been stripped off to protect the
houses of the inhabitants from lightning. Our posada had one of them hung
at the window. At last, the diligence came, and at three P.M., when I
ought to have been in sight of Granada, I left the forlorn walls of
Baylen. My fellow-passengers were a young sprig of the Spanish nobility
and three chubby-faced nuns.

The rest of the journey that afternoon was through a wide, hilly region,
entirely bare of trees and habitations, and but partially cultivated.
There was something sublime in its very nakedness and loneliness, and I
felt attracted to it as I do towards the Desert. In fact, although I have
seen little fine scenery since leaving Seville, have had the worst of
weather, and no very pleasant travelling experiences, the country has
exercised a fascination over me, which I do not quite understand. I find
myself constantly on the point of making a vow to return again. Much to my
regret, night set in before we reached Jaen, the capital of the Moorish
kingdom of that name. We halted for a short time in the large plaza of the
town, where the dash of fountains mingled with the sound of the rain, and
the black, jagged outline of a mountain overhanging the place was visible
through the storm.

All night we journeyed on through the mountains, sometimes splashing
through swollen streams, sometimes coming almost to a halt in beds of deep
mud. When this morning dawned, we were ascending through wild, stony
hills, overgrown with shrubbery, and the driver said we were six leagues
from Granada. Still on, through a lonely country, with now and then a
large _venta_, or country inn, by the road-side, and about nine o'clock,
as the sky became more clear, I saw in front of us, high up under the
clouds, the snow-fields of the Sierra Nevada. An hour afterwards we were
riding between gardens, vineyards, and olive orchards, with the
magnificent Vega of Granada stretching far away on the right, and the
Vermilion Towers of the Alhambra crowning the heights before us.

Chapter XXXV.

Granada And The Alhambra.

Mateo Ximenez, the Younger--The Cathedral of Granada--A Monkish
Miracle--Catholic Shrines--Military Cherubs--The Royal Chapel--The Tombs
of Ferdinand and Isabella--Chapel of San Juan de Dios--The
Albaycin--View of the Vega--The Generalife--The Alhambra--Torra de la
Vela--The Walls and Towers--A Visit to Old Mateo--The Court of the
Fish-pond--The Halls of the Alhambra--Character of the
Architecture--Hall of the Abencerrages--Hall of the Two Sisters--The
Moorish Dynasty in Spain.

"Who has not in Granada been,
Verily, he has nothing seen."

_Andalusian Proverb_.

Granada, _Wednesday, Nov._ 17, 1852.

Immediately on reaching here, I was set upon by an old gentleman who
wanted to act as guide, but the mozo of the hotel put into my hand a card
inscribed "Don Mateo Ximenez, Guide to the celebrated Washington Irving,"
and I dismissed the other applicant. The next morning, as the mozo brought
me my chocolate, he said; "Senor, _el chico_ is waiting for you." The
"little one" turned out to be the son of old Mateo, "honest Mateo," who
still lives up in the Alhambra, but is now rather too old to continue his
business, except on great occasions. I accepted the young Mateo, who spoke
with the greatest enthusiasm of Mr. Irving, avowing that the whole family
was devoted to him, in life and death. It was still raining furiously,
and the golden Darro, which roars in front of the hotel, was a swollen
brown flood. I don't wonder that he sometimes threatens, as the old
couplet says, to burst up the Zacatin, and bear it down to his bride, the

Towards noon, the clouds broke away a little, and we sallied out. Passing
through the gate and square of Vivarrambla (may not this name come from
the Arabic _bob er-raml,_ the "gate of the sand?"), we soon reached the
Cathedral. This massive structure, which makes a good feature in the
distant view of Granada, is not at all imposing, near at hand. The
interior is a mixture of Gothic and Roman, glaring with whitewash, and
broken, like that of Seville, by a wooden choir and two grand organs,
blocking up the nave. Some of the side chapels, nevertheless, are splendid
masses of carving and gilding. In one of them, there are two full-length
portraits of Ferdinand and Isabella, supposed to be by Alonzo Cano. The
Cathedral contains some other good pictures by the same master, but all
its former treasures were carried off by the French.

We next went to the Picture Gallery, which is in the Franciscan Convent.
There are two small Murillos, much damaged, some tolerable Alonzo Canos, a
few common-place pictures by Juan de Sevilla, and a hundred or more by
authors whose names I did not inquire, for a more hideous collection of
trash never met my eye. One of them represents a miracle performed by two
saints, who cut off the diseased leg of a sick white man, and replace it
by the sound leg of a dead negro, whose body is seen lying beside the bed.
Judging from the ghastly face of the patient, the operation is rather
painful, though the story goes that the black leg grew fast, and the man
recovered. The picture at least illustrates the absence of "prejudice of
color" among the Saints.

We went into the adjoining Church of Santo Domingo, which has several very
rich shrines of marble and gold. A sort of priestly sacristan opened the
Church of the Madonna del Rosario---a glittering mixture of marble, gold,
and looking-glasses, which has rather a rich effect. The beautiful yellow
and red veined marbles are from the Sierra Nevada. The sacred Madonna--a
big doll with staring eyes and pink cheeks--has a dress of silver, shaped
like an extinguisher, and encrusted with rubies and other precious stones.
The utter absence of taste in most Catholic shrines is an extraordinary
thing. It seems remarkable that a Church which has produced so many
glorious artists should so constantly and grossly violate the simplest
rules of art. The only shrine which I have seen, which was in keeping with
the object adored, is that of the Virgin, at Nazareth, where there is
neither picture nor image, but only vases of fragrant flowers, and
perfumed oil in golden lamps, burning before a tablet of spotless marble.

Among the decorations of the chapel, there are a host of cherubs frescoed
on the ceiling, and one of them is represented in the act of firing off a
blunderbuss. "Is it true that the angels carry blunderbusses?" I asked the
priest. He shrugged his shoulders with a sort of half-smile, and said
nothing. In the Cathedral, on the plinths of the columns in the outer
aisles, are several notices to the effect that "whoever speaks to women,
either in the nave or the aisles, thereby puts himself in danger of
excommunication." I could not help laughing, as I read this monkish and
yet most _un_monk-like statute. "Oh," said Mateo, "all that was in the
despotic times; it is not so now."

A deluge of rain put a stop to my sight-seeing until the next morning,
when I set out with Mateo to visit the Royal Chapel. A murder had been
committed in the night, near the entrance of the Zacatin, and the
paving-stones were still red with the blood of the victim. A _funcion_ of
some sort was going on in the Chapel, and we went into the sacristy to
wait. The priests and choristers were there, changing their robes; they
saluted me good-humoredly, though there was an expression in their faces
that plainly said: "a heretic!" When the service was concluded, I went
into the chapel and examined the high altar, with its rude wood-carvings,
representing the surrender of Granada. The portraits of Ferdinand and
Isabella, Cardinal Ximenez, Gonzalvo of Cordova, and King Boabdil, are
very curious. Another tablet represents the baptism of the conquered

In the centre of the chapel stand the monuments erected to Ferdinand and
Isabella, and their successors Philip L, and Maria, by Charles V. They are
tall catafalques of white marble, superbly sculptured, with the full
length effigies of the monarchs upon them. The figures are admirable; that
of Isabella, especially, though the features are settled in the repose of
death, expresses all the grand and noble traits which belonged to her
character. The sacristan removed the matting from a part of the floor,
disclosing an iron grating underneath, A damp, mouldly smell, significant
of death and decay, came up through the opening. He lighted two long waxen
tapers, lifted the grating, and I followed him down the narrow steps into
the vault where lie the coffins of the Catholic Sovereigns. They were
brought here from the Alhambra, in 1525. The leaden sarcophagi, containing
the bodies of Ferdinand and Isabella, lie, side by side, on stone slabs;
and as I stood between the two, resting a hand on each, the sacristan
placed the tapers in apertures in the stone, at the head and foot. They
sleep, as they wished, in their beloved Granada, and no profane hand has
ever disturbed the repose of their ashes.

After visiting the Church of San Jeronimo, founded by Gonzalvo of Cordova,
I went to the adjoining Church and Hospital of San Juan de Dios. A fat
priest, washing his hands in the sacristy, sent a boy to show me the
Chapel of San Juan, and the relics. The remains of the Saint rest in a
silver chest, standing in the centre of a richly-adorned chapel. Among the
relics is a thorn from the crown of Christ, which, as any botanist may
see, must have grown on a different plant from the other thorn they show
at Seville; and neither kind is found in Palestine. The true _spina
christi_, the nebbuk, has very small thorns; but nothing could be more
cruel, as I found when riding through patches of it near Jericho. The boy
also showed me a tooth of San Lorenzo, a crooked brown _bicuspis_, from
which I should infer that the saint was rather an ill-favored man. The
gilded chapel of San Juan is in singular contrast with one of the garments
which he wore when living--a cowl of plaited reeds, looking like an old
fish basket--which is kept in a glass case. His portrait is also to be
seen--a mild and beautiful face, truly that of one who went about doing
good. He was a sort of Spanish John Howard, and deserved canonization, if
anybody ever did.

I ascended the street of the Darro to the Albaycin, which we entered by
one of the ancient gates. This suburb is still surrounded by the original
fortifications, and undermined by the capacious cisterns of the Moors. It
looks down on Granada; and from the crumbling parapets there are superb
views over the city, the Vega, and its inclosing mountains. The Alhambra
rose opposite, against the dark-red and purple background of the Sierra
Nevada, and a canopy of heavy rain-clouds rested on all the heights. A
fitful gleam of sunshine now and then broke through and wandered over the
plain, touching up white towers and olive groves and reaches of the
winding Xenil, with a brilliancy which suggested the splendor of the whole
picture, if once thus restored to its proper light. I could see Santa Fe
in the distance, toward Loxa; nearer, and more eastward, the Sierra de
Elvira, of a deep violet color, with the woods of the Soto de Roma, the
Duke of Wellington's estate, at its base; and beyond it the Mountain of
Parapanda, the weather-guage of Granada, still covered with clouds. There
is an old Granadian proverb which says:--"When Parapanda wears his bonnet,
it will rain whether God wills it or no." From the chapel of San Miguel,
above the Albaycin, there is a very striking view of the deep gorge of the
Darro, at one's feet, with the gardens and white walls of the Generalife
rising beyond, and the Silla del Moro and the Mountain of the Sun towering
above it. The long, irregular lines of the Alhambra, with the huge red
towers rising here and there, reminded me somewhat of a distant view of
Karnak; and, like Karnak, the Alhambra is picturesque from whatever point
it is viewed.

We descended through wastes of cactus to the Darro, in whose turbid stream
a group of men were washing for gold. I watched one of them, as he
twirled his bowl in precisely the California style, but got nothing for
his pains. Mateo says that they often make a dollar a day, each. Passing
under the Tower of Comares and along the battlements of the Alhambra, we
climbed up to the Generalife. This charming villa is still in good
preservation, though its exquisite filigree and scroll-work have been
greatly injured by whitewash. The elegant colonnades surround gardens rich
in roses, myrtles and cypresses, and the fountains that lulled the Moorish
Kings in their summer idleness still pour their fertilizing streams. In
one of the rooms is a small and bad portrait gallery, containing a
supposed portrait of Boabdil. It is a mild, amiable face, but wholly lacks
strength of character.

To-day I devoted to the Alhambra. The storm, which, as the people say, has
not been equalled for several years, showed no signs of breaking up, and
in the midst of a driving shower I ascended to the Vermilion Towers, which
are supposed to be of Phoenician origin. They stand on the extremity of a
long, narrow ledge, which stretches out like an arm from the hill of the
Alhambra. The _paseo_ lies between, and is shaded by beautiful elms, which
the Moors planted.

I entered the Alhambra by the Gate of Justice, which is a fine specimen of
Moorish architecture, though of common red brick and mortar. It is
singular what a grace the horse-shoe arch gives to the most heavy and
lumbering mass of masonry. The round arches of the Christian edifices of
Granada seem tame and inelegant, in comparison. Over the arch of the
vestibule of this gate is the colossal hand, and over the inner entrance
the key, celebrated in the tales of Washington Irving and the
superstitions of the people. I first ascended the Torre de la Vela, where
the Christian flag was first planted on the 2d of January, 1492. The view
of the Vega and City of Granada was even grander than from the Albaycin.
Parapanda was still bonneted in clouds, but patches of blue sky began to
open above the mountains of Loxa. A little boy accompanied us, to see that
I did not pull the bell, the sound of which would call together all the
troops in the city. While we stood there, the funeral procession of the
man murdered two nights before came up the street of Gomerez, and passed
around the hill under the Vermilion Towers.

I made the circuit of the walls before entering the Palace. In the Place
of the Cisterns, I stopped to take a drink of the cool water of the Darro,
which is brought thither by subterranean channels from the hills. Then,
passing the ostentatious pile commenced by Charles V., but which was never
finished, and never will be, nor ought to be, we walked along the southern
ramparts to the Tower of the Seven Floors, amid the ruins of winch I
discerned the top of the arch by which the unfortunate Boabdil quitted
Granada, and which was thenceforth closed for ever. In the Tower of the
Infantas, a number of workmen were busy restoring the interior, which has
been cruelly damaged. The brilliant _azulejo_, or tile-work, the delicate
arches and filigree sculpture of the walls, still attest its former
elegance, and give some color to the tradition that it was the residence
of the Moorish Princesses.

As we passed through the little village which still exists among the ruins
of the fortress, Mateo invited me to step in and see his father, the
genuine "honest Mateo," immortalized in the "Tales of the Alhambra." The
old man has taken up the trade of silk-weaving, and had a number of
gay-colored ribbons on his loom. He is more than sixty years old and now
quite gray-headed, but has the same simple manners, the same honest face
that attracted his temporary master. He spoke with great enthusiasm of Mr.
Irving, and brought out from a place of safety the "Alhambra" and the
"Chronicles of the Conquest," which he has carefully preserved. He then
produced an Andalusian sash, the work of his own hands, which he insisted
on binding around my waist, to see how it would look. I must next take off
my coat and hat, and put on his Sunday jacket and jaunty sombrero. "_Por
Dios_!" he exclaimed: "_que buen mozo_! Senor, you are a legitimate
Andalusian!" After this, of course, I could do no less than buy the sash.
"You must show it to Washington Irving," said he, "and tell him it was
made by Mateo's own hands;" which I promised. I must then go into the
kitchen, and eat a pomegranate from his garden--a glorious pomegranate,
with kernels of crimson, and so full of blood that you could not touch
them but it trickled through your fingers. El Marques, a sprightly dog,
and a great slate-colored cat, took possession of my legs, and begged for
a share of every mouthful I took, while old Mateo sat beside me, rejoicing
in the flavor of a Gibraltar cigar which I gave him. But my time was
precious, and so I let the "Son of the Alhambra" go back to his loom, and
set out for the Palace of the Moorish Kings.

This palace is so hidden behind the ambitious shell of that of Charles V.
that I was at a loss where it could be. I thought I had compassed the
hill, and yet had seen no indications of the renowned magnificence of the
Alhambra. But a little door in a blank wall ushered me into a true Moorish
realm, the Court of the Fishpond, or of the Myrtles, as it is sometimes
called. Here I saw again the slender pillars, the fringed and embroidered
arches, and the perforated, lace-like tracery of the fairy corridors.
Here, hedges of roses and myrtles still bloomed around the ancient tank,
wherein hundreds of gold-fish disported. The noises of the hill do not
penetrate here, and the solitary porter who admitted me went back to his
post, and suffered me to wander at will through the enchanted halls.

I passed out of this court by an opposite door, and saw, through the
vistas of marble pillars and the wonderful fret-work which seems a thing
of air rather than of earth, the Fountain of the Lions. Thence I entered
in succession the Hall of the Abencerrages, the Hall of the Two Sisters,
the apartments of the Sultanas, the Mosque, and the Hall of the
Ambassadors. These places--all that is left of the renowned palace--are
now well kept, and carefully guarded. Restorations are going on, here and
there, and the place is scrupulously watched, that no foreign Vandal, may
further injure what the native Goths have done their best to destroy. The
rubbish has been cleared away; the rents in the walls have been filled up,
and, for the first time since it passed into Spanish hands, there seems a
hope that the Alhambra will be allowed to stand. What has been already
destroyed we can only partially conjecture; but no one sees what remains
without completing the picture in his own imagination, and placing it
among the most perfect and marvellous creations of human genius.

Nothing can exceed the richness of invention which, in this series of
halls, corridors, and courts, never repeats the same ornaments, but, from
the simplest primitive forms and colors, produces a thousand
combinations, not one of which is in discord with the grand design. It is
useless to attempt a detailed description of this architecture; and it is
so unlike anything else in the world, that, like Karnak and Baalbec, those
only know the Alhambra who see it. When you can weave stone, and hang your
halls with marble tapestry, you may rival it. It is nothing to me that
these ornaments are stucco; to sculpture them in marble is only the work
of the hands. Their great excellence is in the design, which, like all
great things, suggests even more than it gives. If I could create all that
the Court of Lions suggested to me for its completion, it would fulfil the
dream of King Sheddad, and surpass the palaces of the Moslem Paradise.

The pavilions of the Court of Lions, and the halls which open into it, on
either side, approach the nearest to their original perfection. The floors
are marble, the wainscoting of painted tiles, the walls of embroidery,
still gleaming with the softened lustre of their original tints, and the
lofty conical domes seem to be huge sparry crystalizations, hung with
dropping stalactites, rather than any work of the human hand. Each of
these domes is composed of five thousand separate pieces, and the pendent
prismatic blocks, colored and gilded, gradually resolve themselves, as you
gaze, into the most intricate and elegant designs. But you must study long
ere you have won all the secret of their beauty. To comprehend them, one
should spend a whole day, lying on his back, under each one. Mateo spread
his cloak for me in the fountain in the Hall of the Abencerrages, over the
blood-stains made by the decapitation of those gallant chiefs, and I lay
half an hour looking upward: and this is what I made out of the dome. From
its central pinnacle hung the chalice of a flower with feathery petals,
like the "crape myrtle" of our Southern States Outside of this, branched
downward the eight rays of a large star, whose points touched the base of
the dome; yet the star was itself composed of flowers, while between its
rays and around its points fell a shower of blossoms, shells, and sparry
drops. From the base of the dome hung a gorgeous pattern of lace, with a
fringe of bugles, projecting into eight points so as to form a star of
drapery, hanging from the points of the flowery star in the dome. The
spaces between the angles were filled with masses of stalactites, dropping
one below the other, till they tapered into the plain square sides of the

In the Hall of the Two Sisters, I lay likewise for a considerable time,
resolving its misty glories into shape. The dome was still more suggestive
of flowers. The highest and central piece was a deep trumpet-flower, whose
mouth was cleft into eight petals. It hung in the centre of a superb
lotus-cup, the leaves of which were exquisitely veined and chased. Still
further below swung a mass of mimosa blossoms, intermixed with pods and
lance-like leaves, and around the base of the dome opened the bells of
sixteen gorgeous tulips. These pictures may not be very intelligible, but
I know not how else to paint the effect of this fairy architecture.

In Granada, as in Seville and Cordova, one's sympathies are wholly with
the Moors. The few mutilated traces which still remain of their power,
taste, and refinement, surpass any of the monuments erected by the race
which conquered them. The Moorish Dynasty in Spain was truly, as Irving
observes, a splendid exotic, doomed never to take a lasting root in the
soil It was choked to death by the native weeds; and, in place of lands
richly cultivated and teeming with plenty, we now have barren and-almost
depopulated wastes--in place of education, industry, and the cultivation
of the arts and sciences, an enslaved, ignorant and degenerate race.
Andalusia would be far more prosperous at this day, had she remained in
Moslem hands. True, she would not have received that Faith which is yet
destined to be the redemption of the world, but the doctrines of Mahomet
are more acceptable to God, and more beneficial to Man than those of that
Inquisition, which, in Spain alone, has shed ten times as much Christian
blood as all the Moslem races together for the last six centuries. It is
not from a mere romantic interest that I lament the fate of Boabdil, and
the extinction of his dynasty. Had he been a king worthy to reign in those
wonderful halls, he never would have left them. Had he perished there,
fighting to the last, he would have been freed from forty years of weary
exile and an obscure death. Well did Charles V. observe, when speaking of
him: "Better a tomb in the Alhambra than a palace in the Alpujanas!"

Chapter XXXVI.

The Bridle-Roads of Andalusia.

Change of Weather--Napoleon and his Horses--Departure from Granada--My
Guide, Jose Garcia--His Domestic Troubles--The Tragedy of the
Umbrella--The Vow against Aguardiente--Crossing the Vega--The Sierra
Nevada--The Baths of Alhama--"Woe is Me, Alhama!"--The Valley of the
River Velez--Velez Malaga--The Coast Road--The Fisherman and his
Donkey--Malaga--Summer Scenery--The Story of Don Pedro, without Fear and
without Care--The Field of Monda--A Lonely Venta.

Venta de Villalon, _November_ 20, 1852.

The clouds broke away before I had been two hours in the Alhambra, and the
sunshine fell broad and warm into its courts. They must be roofed with
blue sky, in order to give the full impression of their brightness and
beauty. Mateo procured me a bottle of _vino rancio_, and we drank it
together in the Court of Lions. Six hours had passed away before I knew
it, and I reluctantly prepared to leave. The clouds by this time had
disappeared; the Vega slept in brilliant sunshine, and the peaks of the
Sierra Nevada shone white and cold against the sky.

On reaching the hotel, I found a little man, nicknamed Napoleon, awaiting
me. He was desirous to furnish me with horses, and, having a prophetic
knowledge of the weather, promised me a bright sky as far as Gibraltar. "I
furnish all the senors," said he; "they know me, and never complain of me
or my horses;" but, by way of security, on making the bargain, I
threatened to put up a card in the hotel at Gibraltar, warning all
travellers against him, in case I was not satisfied. My contract was for
two horses and a guide, who were to be ready at sunrise the next morning.
Napoleon was as good as his word; and before I had finished an early cup
of chocolate, there was a little black Andalusian stallion awaiting me.
The _alforjas_, or saddle-bags, of the guide were strengthened by a stock
of cold provisions, the leathern bota hanging beside it was filled with
ripe Granada wine; and now behold me ambling over the Vega, accoutred in a
gay Andalusian jacket, a sash woven by Mateo Ximenes, and one of those
bandboxy sombreros, which I at first thought so ungainly, but now consider
quite picturesque and elegant.

My guide, a short but sinewy and well-knit son of the mountains, named
Jose Garcia, set off at a canter down the banks of the Darro. "Don't ride
so fast!" cried Napoleon, who watched our setting out, from the door of
the fonda; but Jose was already out of hearing. This guide is a companion
to my liking. Although he is only twenty-seven, he has been for a number
of years a _correo_, or mail-rider, and a guide for travelling parties.
His olive complexion is made still darker by exposure to the sun and wind,
and his coal-black eyes shine with Southern heat and fire. He has one of
those rare mouths which are born with a broad smile in each corner, and
which seem to laugh even in the midst of grief. We had not been two hours
together, before I knew his history from beginning to end. He had already
been married eight years, and his only trouble was a debt of twenty-four
dollars, which the illness of his wife had caused him. This money was
owing to the pawnbroker, who kept his best clothes in pledge until he
could pay it. "Senor," said he, "if I had ten million dollars, I would
rather give them all away than have a sick wife." He had a brother in
Puerto Principe, Cuba, who sent over money enough to pay the rent of the
house, but he found that children were a great expense. "It is most
astonishing," he said, "how much children can eat. From morning till
night, the bread is never out of their mouths."

Jose has recently been travelling with some Spaniards, one of whom made
him pay two dollars for an umbrella which was lost on the road. This
umbrella is a thorn in his side. At every venta where we stop, the story
is repeated, and he is not sparing of his maledictions. The ghost of that
umbrella is continually raised, and it will be a long time before he can
shut it. "One reason why I like to travel with foreign Senors," said he to
me, "is, that when I lose anything, they never make me pay for it." "For
all that," I answered, "take care you don't lose my umbrella: it cost
three dollars." Since then, nothing can exceed Jose's attention to that
article. He is at his wit's end how to secure it best. It appears
sometimes before, sometimes behind him, lashed to the saddle with
innumerable cords; now he sticks it into the alforja, now carries it in
his hand, and I verily believe that he sleeps with it in his arms. Every
evening, as he tells his story to the muleteers, around the kitchen fire,
he always winds up by triumphantly appealing to me with: "Well, Senor,
have I lost _your_ umbrella yet?"

Our bargain is that I shall feed him on the way, and as we travel in the
primitive style of the country, we always sit down together to the same
dish. To his supervision, the olla is often indebted for an additional
flavor, and no "thorough-bred" gentleman could behave at table with more
ease and propriety. He is as moderate as a Bedouin in his wants, and never
touches the burning aguardiente which the muleteers are accustomed to
drink. I asked him the reason of this. "I drink wine. Senor," he replied,
"because that, you know, is like meat and bread; but I have made a vow
never to drink aguardiente again. Two of us got drunk on it, four or five
years ago, in Granada, and we quarrelled. My comrade drew his knife and
stabbed me here, in the left shoulder. I was furious and cut him across
the breast. We both went to the hospital--I for three months and he for
six--and he died in a few days after getting out. It cost my poor father
many a thousand reals; and when I was able to go to work, I vowed before
the Virgin that I would never touch aguardiente again."

For the first league, our road lay over the rich Vega of Granada, but
gradually became wilder and more waste. Passing the long, desert ridge,
known as the "Last Sigh of the Moor," we struck across a region of low
hills. The road was very deep, from the recent rains, and studded, at
short intervals, by rude crosses, erected to persons who had been
murdered. Jose took a grim delight in giving me the history of each.
Beyond the village of Lamala, which lies with its salt-pans in a basin of
the hills, we ascended the mountain ridge which forms the southern
boundary of the Vega. Granada, nearly twenty miles distant, was still
visible. The Alhambra was dwindled to a speck, and I took my last view of
it and the magnificent landscape which lies spread out before it. The
Sierra Nevada, rising to the height of 13,000 feet above the sea, was
perfectly free from clouds, and the whole range was visible at one
glance. All its chasms were filled with snow, and for nearly half-way down
its sides there was not a speck of any other color. Its summits were
almost wholly devoid of shadow, and their notched and jagged outlines
rested flatly against the sky, like ivory inlaid on a table of

From these waste hills, we descended into the valley of Cacia, whose
poplar-fringed river had been so swollen by the rains that the _correo_
from Malaga had only succeeded in passing it that morning. We forded it
without accident, and, crossing a loftier and bleaker range, came down
into the valley of the Marchan. High on a cliff over the stream stood
Alhama, my resting-place for the night. The natural warm baths, on account
of which this spot was so beloved by the Moors, are still resorted to in
the summer. They lie in the bosom of a deep and rugged gorge, half a mile
further down the river. The town occupies the crest of a narrow
promontory, bounded, on all sides but one, by tremendous precipices. It is
one of the most picturesque spots imaginable, and reminded me--to continue
the comparison between Syria and Andalusia, which I find so striking--of
the gorge of the Barrada, near Damascus. Alhama is now a poor,
insignificant town, only visited by artists and muleteers. The population
wear long brown cloaks and slouched hats, like the natives of La Mancha.

I found tolerable quarters in a house on the plaza, and took the remaining
hour of daylight to view the town. The people looked at me with curiosity,
and some boys, walking on the edge of the _tajo_, or precipice, threw over
stones that I might see how deep it was. The rock, in some places, quite
overhung the bed of the Marchan, which half-girdles its base. The close
scrutiny to which I was subjected by the crowd in the plaza called to mind
all I had heard of Spanish spies and robbers. At the venta, I was well
treated, but received such an exorbitant bill in the morning that I was
ready to exclaim, with King Boabdil, "Woe is me, Alhama!" On comparing
notes with Jose, I found that he had been obliged to pay, in addition, for
what he received--a discovery which so exasperated that worthy that he
folded his hands, bowed his head, made three kisses in the air, and cried
out: "I swear before the Virgin that I will never again take a traveller
to that inn."

We left Alhama an hour before daybreak, for we had a rough journey of more
than forty miles before us. The bridle-path was barely visible in the
darkness, but we continued ascending to a height of probably 5,000 feet
above the sea, and thus met the sunrise half-way. Crossing the _llano_ of
Ace faraya, we reached a tremendous natural portal in the mountains, from
whence, as from a door, we looked down on all the country lying between us
and the sea. The valley of the River Velez, winding among the hills,
pointed out the course of our road. On the left towered over us the barren
Sierra Tejeda, an isolated group of peaks, about 8,000 feet in height. For
miles, the road was a rocky ladder, which we scrambled down on foot,
leading our horses. The vegetation gradually became of a warmer and more
luxuriant cast; the southern slopes were planted with the vine that
produces the famous Malaga raisins, and the orange groves in the sunny
depths of the valleys were as yellow as autumnal beeches, with their
enormous loads of fruit. As the bells of Velez Malaga were ringing noon,
we emerged from the mountains, near the mouth of the river, and rode into
the town to breakfast.

We halted at a queer old inn, more like a Turkish khan than a Christian
hostlery. It was kept by a fat landlady, who made us an olla of kid and
garlic, which, with some coarse bread and the red Malaga wine, soon took
off the sharp edge of our mountain appetites. While I was washing my hands
at a well in the court-yard, the _mozo_ noticed the pilgrim-seal of
Jerusalem, which is stamped indelibly on my left arm. His admiration and
reverence were so great that he called the fat landlady, who, on learning
that it had been made in Jerusalem, and that I had visited the Holy
Sepulchre, summoned her children to see it. "Here, my children!" she said;
"cross yourselves, kneel down, and kiss this holy seal; for, as long as
you live, you may never see the like of it again." Thus I, a Protestant
heretic, became a Catholic shrine. The children knelt and kissed my arm
with touching simplicity; and the seal will henceforth be more sacred to
me than ever.

The remaining twenty miles or more of the road to Malaga follow the line
of the coast, passing headlands crowned by the _atalayas_, or
watch-towers, of the Moors. It is a new road, and practicable for
carriages, so that, for Spain, it may be considered an important
achievement. The late rains have, however, already undermined it in a
number of places. Here, as among the mountains, we met crowds of
muleteers, all of whom greeted me with: "_Vaya usted con Dios,
caballero_!"--("May you go with God, cavalier!") By this time, all my
forgotten Spanish had come back again, and a little experience of the
simple ways of the people made me quite at home among them. In almost
every instance, I was treated precisely as a Spaniard would have been,
and less annoyed by the curiosity of the natives than I have been in
Germany, and even America.

We were still two leagues from Malaga, at sunset, The fishermen along the
coast were hauling in their nets, and we soon began to overtake companies
of them, carrying their fish to the city on donkeys. One stout, strapping
fellow, with flesh as hard and yellow as a sturgeon's, was seated sideways
on a very small donkey, between two immense panniers of fish, As he
trotted before us, shouting, and slapping the flanks of the sturdy little
beast, Jose and I began to laugh, whereupon the fellow broke out into the
following monologue, addressed to the donkey: "Who laughs at this
_burrico_? Who says he's not fine gold from head to foot? What is it that
he can't do? If there was a mountain ever so high, he would gallop over
it. If there was a river ever so deep, he would swim through it If he
could but speak, I might send him to market alone with the fish, and not a
_chavo_ of the money would he spend on the way home. Who says he can't go
as far as that limping horse? Arrrre, burrico! punate--ar-r-r-r-r-e-e!"

We reached Malaga, at last, our horses sorely fagged. At the Fonda de la
Alameda, a new and very elegant hotel, I found a bath and a good dinner,
both welcome things to a tired traveller. The winter of Malaga is like
spring in other lands and on that account it is much visited by invalids,
especially English. It is a lively commercial town of about 80,000
inhabitants, and, if the present scheme of railroad communication with
Madrid is carried out, must continue to increase in size and importance. A
number of manufacturing establishments have lately been started, and in
this department it bids fair to rival Barcelona. The harbor is small, but
good, and the country around rich in all the productions of temperate and
even tropical climates. The city contains little to interest the tourist.
I visited the Cathedral, an immense unfinished mass, without a particle of
architectural taste outwardly, though the interior has a fine effect from
its large dimensions.

At noon to-day we were again in the saddle, and took the road to the Baths
of Caratraca. The tall factory chimneys of Malaga, vomiting forth streams
of black smoke, marred the serenity of the sky; but the distant view of
the city is very fine. The broad Vega, watered by the Guadaljorce, is rich
and well cultivated, and now rejoices in the verdure of spring. The
meadows are clothed with fresh grass, butter-cups and daisies are in
blossom, and larks sing in the olive-trees. Now and then, we passed a
_casa del campo_, with its front half buried in orange-trees, over which
towered two or three sentinel palms. After two leagues of this delightful
travel, the country became more hilly, and the groups of mountains which
inclosed us assumed the most picturesque and enchanting forms. The soft
haze in which the distant peaks were bathed, the lovely violet shadows
filling up their chasms and gorges, and the fresh meadows, vineyards, and
olive groves below, made the landscape one of the most beautiful I have
seen in Spain.

As we were trotting along through the palmetto thickets, Jose asked me if
I should not like to hear an Andalusian story. "Nothing would please me
better," I replied. "Ride close beside me, then," said he, "that you may
understand every word of it." I complied, and he gave me the following,
just as I repeat it: "There was once a very rich man, who had thousands of
cattle in the Sierra Nevada, and hundreds of houses in the city. Well:
this man put a plate, with his name on it, on the door of the great house
in which he lived, and the name was this: Don Pedro, without Fear and
without Care. Now, when the King was making his _paseo_, he happened to
ride by this house in his carriage, and saw the plate on the door. 'Read
me the name on that plate!' said he to his officer. Then the officer read
the name: Don Pedro, without Fear and without Care. 'I will see whether
Don Pedro is without Fear and without Care,' said the King. The next day
came a messenger to the house, and, when he saw Don Pedro, said he to him;
'Don Pedro, without Fear and without Care, the King wants you!' 'What does
the King want with me?' said Don Pedro. 'He sends you four questions which
you must answer within four days, or he will have you shot; and the
questions are:--How can the Sierra Nevada be cleared of snow? How can the
sea be made smaller? How many arrobas does the moon weigh? And: How many
leagues from here to the Land of Heavenly Glory?' Then Don Pedro without
Fear and without Care began to sweat from fright, and knew not what he
should do. He called some of his arrieros and loaded twenty mules with
money, and went up into the Sierra Nevada, where his herdsmen tended his
flocks; for, as I said, he had many thousand cattle. 'God keep you, my
master!' said the chief herdsman, who was young, and _buen mozo_, and had
as good a head as ever was set on two shoulders. '_Anda, hombre!_ said Don
Pedro, 'I am a dead man;' and so he told the herdsman all that the King
had said. 'Oh, is that all?' said the knowing mozo. 'I can get you out of
the scrape. Let me go and answer the questions in your name, my master!'
'Ah, you fool! what can you do?' said Don Pedro without Fear and without
Care, throwing himself upon the earth, and ready to die.

"But, nevertheless, the herdsman dressed himself up as a _caballero_, went
down to the city, and, on the fourth day, presented himself at the King's
palace. 'What do you want?' said the officers. 'I am Don Pedro without
Fear and without Care, come to answer the questions which the King sent to
me.' 'Well,' said the King, when he was brought before him, 'let me hear
your answers, or I will have you shot this day.' 'Your Majesty,' said the
herdsman, 'I think I can do it. If you were to set a million of children
to playing among the snow of the Sierra Nevada, they would soon clear it
all away; and if you were to dig a ditch as wide and as deep as all Spain,
you would make the sea that much smaller,' 'But,' said the King, 'that
makes only two questions; there are two more yet,' 'I think I can answer
those, also,' said the herdsman: 'the moon contains four quarters, and
therefore weighs only one arroba; and as for the last question, it is not
even a single league to the Land of Heavenly Glory--for, if your Majesty
were to die after breakfast, you would get there before you had an
appetite for dinner,' 'Well done! said the King; and he then made him
Count, and Marquez, and I don't know how many other titles. In the
meantime, Don Pedro without Fear and without Care had died of his fright;
and, as he left no family, the herdsman took possession of all his
estates, and, until the day of his death, was called Don Pedro without
Fear and without Care."

I write, sitting by the grated window of this lonely inn, looking out on
the meadows of the Guadaljorce. The chain of mountains which rises to the
west of Malaga is purpled by the light of the setting sun, and the houses
and Castle of Carlama hang on its side, in full view. Further to the
right, I see the smoke of Monda, where one of the greatest battles of
antiquity was fought--that which overthrew the sons of Pompey, and gave
the Roman Empire to Caesar. The mozo of the venta is busy, preparing my kid
and rice, and Jose is at his elbow, gently suggesting ingredients which
may give the dish a richer flavor. The landscape is softened by the hush
of coming evening; a few birds are still twittering among the bushes, and
the half-moon grows whiter and clearer in mid-heaven. The people about me
are humble, but appear honest and peaceful, and nothing indicates that I
am in the wild _Serrania de Ronda_, the country of robbers,
contrabandistas, and assassins.

Chapter XXXVII.

The Mountains of Ronda.

Orange Valleys--Climbing the Mountains--Jose's Hospitality--El
Burgo--The Gate of the Wind--The Cliff and Cascades of Ronda--The
Mountain Region--Traces of the Moors--Haunts of Robbers--A Stormy
Ride--The Inn at Gaucin--Bad News--A Boyish Auxiliary--Descent from the
Mountains--The Ford of the Guadiaro--Our Fears Relieved--The Cork
Woods--Ride from San Roque to Gibraltar--Parting with Jose--Travelling
in Spain--Conclusion.

Gibraltar, _Thursday, November_ 25, 1852.

I passed an uncomfortable night at the Venta de Villalon, lying upon a bag
stuffed with equal quantities of wool and fleas. Starting before dawn, we
followed a path which led into the mountains, where herdsmen and boys were
taking out their sheep and goats to pasture; then it descended into the
valley of a stream, bordered with rich bottom-lands. I never saw the
orange in a more flourishing state. We passed several orchards of trees
thirty feet high, and every bough and twig so completely laden with fruit,
that the foliage was hardly to be seen.

At the Venta del Vicario, we found a number of soldiers just setting out
for Ronda. They appeared to be escorting a convoy of goods, for there were
twenty or thirty laden mules gathered at the door. We now ascended a most
difficult and stony path, winding through bleak wastes of gray rock, till
we reached a lofty pass in the mountain range. The wind swept through the
narrow gateway with a force that almost unhorsed us. From the other side,
a sublime but most desolate landscape opened to my view. Opposite, at ten
miles' distance, rose a lofty ridge of naked rock, overhung with clouds.
The country between was a chaotic jumble of stony hills, separated by deep
chasms, with just a green patch here and there, to show that it was not
entirely forsaken by man. Nevertheless as we descended into it, we found
valleys with vineyards and olive groves, which were invisible from above.
As we were both getting hungry, Jose stopped at a ventorillo and ordered
two cups of wine, for which he insisted on paying. "If I had as many
horses as my master, Napoleon," said he, "I would regale the Senors
whenever I travelled with them. I would have _puros_, and sweetmeats, with
plenty of Malaga or Valdepenas in the bota, and they should never complain
of their fare." Part of our road was studded with gray cork-trees, at a
distance hardly to be distinguished from olives, and Jose dismounted to
gather the mast, which was as sweet and palatable as chestnuts, with very
little of the bitter quercine flavor. At eleven o'clock, we reached El
Burgo, so called, probably, from its ancient Moorish fortress. It is a
poor, starved village, built on a barren hill, over a stream which is
still spanned by a lofty Moorish bridge of a single arch.

The remaining three leagues to Ronda were exceedingly rough and difficult.
Climbing a barren ascent of nearly a league in length, we reached the
_Puerto del Viento_, or Gate of the Wind, through which drove such a
current that we were obliged to dismount; and even then it required all my
strength to move against it. The peaks around, far and near, faced with
precipitous cliffs, wore the most savage and forbidding aspect: in fact,
this region is almost a counterpart of the wilderness lying between
Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Very soon, we touched the skirt of a cloud,
and were enveloped in masses of chill, whirling vapor, through which we
travelled for three or four miles to a similar gate on the western side of
the chain. Descending again, we emerged into a clearer atmosphere, and saw
below us a wide extent of mountain country, but of a more fertile and
cheerful character. Olive orchards and wheat-fields now appeared; and, at
four o'clock, we rode into the streets of Ronda.

No town can surpass this in the grandeur and picturesqueness of its
position. It is built on the edge of a broad shelf of the mountains, which
falls away in a sheer precipice of from six to eight hundred feet in
height, and, from the windows of many of the houses you can look down the
dizzy abyss. This shelf, again, is divided in the centre by a tremendous
chasm, three hundred feet wide, and from four to six hundred feet in
depth, in the bed of which roars the Guadalvin, boiling in foaming
whirlpools or leaping in sparkling cascades, till it reaches the valley
below. The town lies on both sides of the chasm, which is spanned by a
stone bridge of a single arch, with abutments nearly four hundred feet in
height. The view of this wonderful cleft, either from above or below, is
one of the finest of its kind in the world. Honda is as far superior to
Tivoli, as Tivoli is to a Dutch village, on the dead levels of Holland.
The panorama which it commands is on the grandest scale. The valley below
is a garden of fruit and vines; bold yet cultivated hills succeed, and in
the distance rise the lofty summits of another chain of the Serrania de
Honda. Were these sublime cliffs, these charming cascades of the
Guadalvin, and this daring bridge, in Italy instead of in Spain, they
would be sketched and painted every day in the year; but I have yet to
know where a good picture of Ronda may be found.

In the bottom of the chasm are a number of corn-mills as old as the time
of the Moors. The water, gushing out from the arches of one, drives the
wheel of that below, so that a single race supplies them all. I descended
by a very steep zig-zag path nearly to the bottom. On a little point or
promontory overhanging the black depths, there is a Moorish gateway still
standing. The sunset threw a lovely glow over the brown cliffs and the
airy town above; but they were far grander when the cascades glittered in
the moonlight, and the gulf out of which they leap was lost in profound
shadow. The window of my bed-room hung over the chasm.

Honda was wrapped in fog, when Jose awoke me on the morning of the 22d. As
we had but about twenty-four miles to ride that day, we did not leave
until sunrise. We rode across the bridge, through the old town and down
the hill, passing the triple lines of the Moorish walls by the original
gateways. The road, stony and rugged beyond measure, now took to the
mountains. From the opposite height, there was a fine view of the town,
perched like an eagle's nest on the verge of its tremendous cliffs; but a
curtain of rain soon fell before it, and the dense dark clouds settled
around us, and filled up the gorges on either hand. Hour after hour, we
toiled along the slippery paths, scaling the high ridges by rocky ladders,
up which our horses climbed with the greatest difficulty. The scenery,
whenever I could obtain a misty glimpse of it, was sublime. Lofty mountain
ridges rose on either hand; bleak jagged summits of naked rock pierced
the clouds, and the deep chasms which separated them sank far below us,
dark and indistinct through the rain. Sometimes I caught sight of a little
hamlet, hanging on some almost inaccessible ledge, the home of the
lawless, semi-Moorish mountaineers who inhabit this wild region. The faces
of those we met exhibited marked traces of their Moslem ancestry,
especially in the almond-shaped eye and the dusky olive complexion. Their
dialect retains many Oriental forms of expression, and I was not a little
surprised at finding the Arabic "_eiwa_" (yes) in general use, instead of
the Spanish "_si_."

About eleven o'clock, we reached the rude village of Atajate, where we
procured a very good breakfast of kid, eggs, and white Ronda wine. The
wind and rain increased, but I had no time to lose, as every hour swelled
the mountain floods and made the journey more difficult. This district is
in the worst repute of any in Spain; it is a very nest of robbers and
contrabandistas. At the venta in Atajate, they urged us to take a guard,
but my valiant Jose declared that he had never taken one, and yet was
never robbed; so I trusted to his good luck. The weather, however, was our
best protection. In such a driving rain, we could bid defiance to the
flint locks of their escopettes, if, indeed, any could be found, so fond
of their trade, as to ply it in a storm

"Wherein the cub-drawn bear would crouch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their furs dry."

Nevertheless, I noticed that each of the few convoys of laden mules which
we met, had one or more of the _guardia cicia_ accompanying it. Besides
these, the only persons abroad were some wild-looking individuals, armed
to the teeth, and muffled in long cloaks, towards whom, as they passed,
Jose would give his head a slight toss, and whisper to me: "more

We were soon in a condition to defy the weather. The rain beat furiously
in our faces, especially when threading the wind-blown passes between the
higher peaks. I raised my umbrella as a defence, but the first blast
snapped it in twain. The mountain-sides were veined with rills, roaring
downward into the hollows, and smaller rills soon began to trickle down my
own sides. During the last part of our way, the path was notched along
precipitous steeps, where the storm was so thick that we could see nothing
either above or below. It was like riding along the outer edge of the
world, When once you are thoroughly wet, it is a great satisfaction to
know that you can be no wetter; and so Jose and I went forward in the best
possible humor, finding so much diversion in our plight that the dreary
leagues were considerably shortened.

At the venta of Gaucin, where we stopped, the people received us kindly.
The house consisted of one room--stable, kitchen, and dining-room all in
one. There was a small apartment in a windy loft, where a bed (much too
short) was prepared for me. A fire of dry heather was made in the wide
fire-place, and the ruddy flames, with a change of clothing and a draught
of the amber vintage of Estepona, soon thawed out the chill of the
journey. But I received news which caused me a great deal of anxiety. The
River Guadiaro was so high that nobody could cross, and two forlorn
muleteers had been waiting eight days at the inn, for the waters to
subside. Augmented by the rain which had fallen, and which seemed to
increase as night came on, how could I hope to cross it on the morrow? In
two days, the India steamer would be at Gibraltar; my passage was already
taken, and I _must_ be there. The matter was discussed for some time; it
was pronounced impossible to travel by the usual road, but the landlord
knew a path among the hills which led to a ferry on the Guadiaro, where
there was a boat, and from thence we could make our way to San Roque,
which is in sight of Gibraltar. He demanded rather a large fee for
accompanying me, but there was nothing else to be done. Jose and I sat
down in great tribulation to our accustomed olla, but neither of us could
do justice to it, and the greater part gladdened the landlord's two
boys--beautiful little imps, with faces like Murillo's cherubs.

Nevertheless, I passed rather a merry evening, chatting with some of the
villagers over a brazier of coals; and one of the aforesaid boys, who,
although only eight years old, already performed the duties of mozo,
lighted me to my loft. When he had put down the lamp, he tried' the door,
and asked me: "Have you the key?" "No," said I, "I don't want one; I am
not afraid." "But," he rejoined, "perhaps you may get afraid in the night;
and if you do, strike on this part of the wall (suiting the action to the
word)--_I_ sleep on that side." I willingly promised to call him to my
aid, if I should get alarmed. I slept but little, for the wind was howling
around the tiles over my head, and I was busy with plans for constructing
rafts and swimming currents with a rope around my waist. Finally, I found
a little oblivion, but it seemed that I had scarcely closed my eyes, when
Jose pushed open the door. "Thanks be to God, senor!" said he, "it begins
to dawn, and the sky is clear: we shall certainly get to Gibraltar

The landlord was ready, so we took some bread and a basket of olives, and
set out at once. Leaving Gaucin, we commenced descending the mountain
staircase by which the Serrania of Ronda is scaled, on the side towards
Gibraltar. "The road," says Mr. Ford, "seems made by the Evil One in a
hanging garden of Eden." After four miles of frightfully rugged descent,
we reached an orange grove on the banks of the Xenar, and then took a wild
path leading along the hills on the right of the stream. We overtook a few
muleteers, who were tempted out by the fine weather, and before long the
_correo_, or mail-rider from Ronda to San Roque, joined us. After eight
miles more of toilsome travel we reached the valley of the Guadiaro. The
river was not more than twenty yards wide, flowing with a deep, strong
current, between high banks. Two ropes were stretched across, and a large,
clumsy boat was moored to the shore. We called to the ferrymen, but they
hesitated, saying that nobody had yet been able to cross. However, we all
got in, with our horses, and two of the men, with much reluctance, drew us
over. The current was very powerful, although the river had fallen a
little during the night, but we reached the opposite bank without

We had still another river, the Guargante, to pass, but we were cheered by
some peasants whom we met, with the news that the ferry-boat had resumed
operations. After this current lay behind us, and there was now nothing
but firm land all the way to Gibraltar, Jose declared with much
earnestness that he was quite as glad, for my sake, as if somebody had
given him a million of dollars. Our horses, too, seemed to feel that
something had been achieved, and showed such a fresh spirit that we
loosened the reins and let them gallop to their hearts' content over the
green meadows. The mountains were now behind us, and the Moorish castle of
Gaucin crested a peak blue with the distance. Over hills covered with
broom and heather in blossom, and through hollows grown with oleander,
arbutus and the mastic shrub, we rode to the cork-wood forests of San
Roque, the sporting-ground of Gibraltar officers. The barking of dogs, the
cracking of whips, and now and then a distant halloo, announced that a
hunt was in progress, and soon we came upon a company of thirty or forty
horsemen, in caps, white gloves and top-boots, scattered along the crest
of a hill. I had no desire to stop and witness the sport, for the
Mediterranean now lay before me, and the huge gray mass of "The Rock"
loomed in the distance.

At San Roque, which occupies the summit of a conical hill, about half-way
between Gibraltar and Algeciras, the landlord left us, and immediately
started on his return. Having now exchanged the rugged bridle-paths of
Ronda for a smooth carriage-road, Jose and I dashed on at full gallop, to
the end of our journey. We were both bespattered with mud from head to
foot, and our jackets and sombreros had lost something of their spruce
air. We met a great many ruddy, cleanly-shaven Englishmen, who reined up
on one side to let us pass, with a look of wonder at our Andalusian
impudence. Nothing diverted Jose more than to see one of these Englishmen
rising in his stirrups, as he went by on a trot. "Look, look, Senor!" he
exclaimed; "did you ever see the like?" and then broke into a fresh
explosion of laughter. Passing the Spanish Lines, which stretch across the
neck of the sandy little peninsula, connecting Gibraltar with the main
land, we rode under the terrible batteries which snarl at Spain from this
side of the Rock. Row after row of enormous guns bristle the walls, or
look out from the galleries hewn in the sides of inaccessible cliffs An
artificial moat is cut along the base of the Rock, and a simple
bridge-road leads into the fortress and town. After giving up my passport
I was allowed to enter, Jose having already obtained a permit from the
Spanish authorities.

I clattered up the long street of the town to the Club House, where I
found a company of English friends. In the evening, Jose made his
appearance, to settle our accounts and take his leave of me. While
scrambling down the rocky stair-way of Gaucin, Jose had said to me: "Look
you, Senor, I am very fond of English beer, and if I get you to Gibraltar
to day you must give me a glass of it." When, therefore, he came in the
evening, his eyes sparkled at the sight of a bottle of Alsop's Ale, and a
handful of good Gibraltar cigars. "Ah, Senor," said he, after our books
were squared, and he had pocketed his _gratification_, "I am sorry we are
going to part; for we are good friends, are we not, Senor?" "Yes, Jose,"
said I; "if I ever come to Granada again, I shall take no other guide than
Jose Garcia; and I will have you for a longer journey than this. We shall
go over all Spain together, _mi amigo_!" "May God grant it!" responded
Jose, crossing himself; "and now, Senor, I must go. I shall travel back to
Granada, _muy triste_, Senor, _muy triste_" The faithful fellows eyes were
full of tears, and, as he lifted my hand twice to his lips, some warm
drops fell upon it. God bless his honest heart; wherever he goes!

And now a word as to travelling in Spain, which is not attended with half
the difficulties and annoyances I had been led to expect. My experience,
of course, is limited to the provinces of Andalusia, but my route included
some of the roughest roads and most dangerous robber-districts in the
Peninsula. The people with whom I came in contact were invariably friendly
and obliging, and I was dealt with much more honestly than I should have
been in Italy. With every disposition to serve you, there is nothing like
servility among the Spaniards. The native dignity which characterizes
their demeanor prepossesses me very strongly in their favor. There is but
one dialect of courtesy, and the muleteers and common peasants address
each other with the same grave respect as the Dons and Grandees. My friend
Jose was a model of good-breeding.

I had little trouble either with passport-officers or custom-houses. My
passport, in fact, was never once demanded, although I took the precaution
to have it vised in all the large cities. In Seville and Malaga, it was
signed by the American Consuls, without the usual fee of two
dollars--almost the only instances which have come under my observation.
The regulations of the American Consular System, which gives the Consuls
no salary, but permits them, instead, to get their pay out of travellers,
is a disgrace to our government. It amounts, in effect, to _a direct tax
on travel_, and falls heavily on the hundreds of young men of limited
means, who annually visit Europe for the purpose of completing their
education. Every American citizen who travels in Italy pays a passport tax
of ten dollars. In all the ports of the Mediterranean, there is an
American Vice-Consul, who does not even get the postage paid on his
dispatches, and to whom the advent of a traveller is of course a welcome
sight. Misled by a false notion of economy, our government is fast
becoming proverbial for its meanness. If those of our own citizens who
represent us abroad only worked as they are paid, and if the foreigners
who act as Vice-Consuls without pay did not derive some petty trading
advantages from their position, we should be almost without protection.

* * * * *

With my departure from Spain closes the record of my journey in the Lands
of the Saracen; for, although I afterwards beheld more perfect types of
Saracenic Art on the banks of the Jumna and the Ganges, they grew up under
the great Empire of the descendants of Tamerlane, and were the creations
of artists foreign to the soil. It would, no doubt, be interesting to
contrast the remains of Oriental civilization and refinement, as they
still exist at the extreme eastern and western limits of the Moslem sway,
and to show how that Art, which had its birth in the capitals of the
Caliphs--Damascus and Baghdad--attained its most perfect development in
Spain and India; but my visit to the latter country connects itself
naturally with my voyage to China, Loo-Choo, and Japan, forming a separate
and distinct field of travel.

On the 27th of November, the Overland Mail Steamer arrived at Gibraltar,
and I embarked in her for Alexandria, entering upon another year of even
more varied, strange, and adventurous experiences, than that which had
closed. I am almost afraid to ask those patient readers, who have
accompanied me thus far, to travel with me through another volume; but
next to the pleasure of seeing the world, comes the pleasure of telling of
it, and I must needs finish my story.

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