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as we afterwards heard, to wait by the road-side and shoot down the first person who should offer to stir.' pp. 47-50.
In this distressed condition the party were obliged to remain, as they were, in the highway, until the alcalde of a neighboring village could be sent for. At length a fat little officer. appeared, with a red cockade in token of his loyalty; and when he had very deliberately taken note of the transaction, and the two mangled conductors had been put into a cart to be carried back to Amposta, where they both died of their wounds, two of the patrolling guards, whose business it is to scour the country in pursuit of robbers, cut the rope, which had been stretched across the road and had so suddenly stopped the mules, and conducted the diligence on to San Carlos, the next village on their route. They proceeded on to Valencia without any other accident, passing on the way through Murviedro, a small town on the coast, some fifteen or twenty miles north from Valencia, on the site of the ancient Saguntur, which the author commemorates by giving a short account of Hannibal's siege. From Valencia the route still keeps the coast, for, but not towards, Madrid some fifty miles to the city of San Felipe, which is as far as Valencia from Madrid. At San Felipe, the road turns in a northwesterly direction for the capital of Spain, and after rising gradually until it has ascended to the height of two thousand feet, you come to the wide plain of New Castile, in which rises the branches of the river Guadiana, which discharges into the Atlantic on the southern boundary of Portugal. This plain the author represents at this season, early in November, as being sufficiently chill, dreary, and monotonous. Small decaying villages are scattered at great distances, between which are no habitations, as the danger of robbery prevents the inhabitants from dispersing their dwellings; and not a tree or shrub is to be seen in the wide unbroken prospect. This nakedness of the country is occasioned by a prejudice of the inhabitants, that trees, by giving shelter to birds, would only invite invaders to their scanty crops. According to the description given by the author, it seems a strip lying between the highlands and Mediterranean, along his route, is comparatively fertile, populous, and busy; but on ascending to the wide table-land, for almost the whole distance to Madrid, the signs of fertility and industry disappear.
And so our conductor brings us to Madrid, having met and being about to meet a thousand adventures, and noting a
thousand circumstances, characteristic of Spanish character, manners, and ways of life, which we cannot notice. Indeed we have not often travelled with a writer, who selected his objects and incidents better, prosed less, or described and narrated in a more graphic and lively style, or made more sensible and pertinent remarks. His journal at Madrid from the fifth or sixth of November, to the eleventh of April, including his excursions to Segovia and Toledo, is full of interest and information. Among the numerous passages which might be selected in this part of the work (for the difficulty is in choosing, not in finding), we take the account of Don Valentin with whom he took up his quarters for the winter, as throwing incidentally some light upon the government, the character of the king, and the state of things in Spain. He had already agreed with his instructer, an impurificado, that is, a person who had been in service under the constitution, and had not received that sort of acquittal granted, by certain associations of loyalists, to those who had not been flagrant patriots, and who would pay for this purification. This person was Don Diego, who had, under the constitution, been employed in the office of the secretary of state. Diego recommended to his pupil to take lodgings at Don Valentin's, of whom the following account is given.
'Don Valentin was a native of Logronio in the fertile canton of Rioja. He was by birth a hidalgo, or noble in the small way, after the manner of Don Quixote, and had been of some importance in his own town, of which he was one of the regidores. In the political ups and downs of his country, he had several times changed his residence and occupation; was by turns a dealer in cattle which he purchased in France or in the northern provinces of the Peninsula, to strengthen the stomachs of the combatants, who disputed for the possession of Spain; or else a cloth merchant, keeping his shop in the same house where he now lived, near the Puerta del Sol. His last occupation was interrupted, according to his own account, in a very singular way. Whilst he had been regidor in Logronio, the Ayuntamiento of the town became acquainted with the hiding-place in which some French troops, in retreating rapidly towards the frontier, had deposited a large quantity of plate and valuables, robbed from the royal palace. On the return of Ferdinand, the account of the buried plate reached his ears; and having likewise learned that there was a man in Madrid who knew where it had been concealed, he sent at once for Don Valentin, who was the person in question. When
informed by his majesty that he was required to conduct a party to the place of concealment, he was reluctant to comply. He urged the situation of his affairs. If his store continued open, it would be pillaged by the clerks, who are the most unprincipled fellows, except the escribanos, to be found in Spain; and if it were to be shut up, he would lose both present and future custom. Besides, the other regidores, his colleagues in the municipality, were yet alive and still resided at Logronio. He hoped, therefore, that his majesty would not send him from his affairs, for he was but a poor man, and had a wife and daughter. These excuses, however, were not satisfactory, and were set aside. Ferdinand promised to recompense all losses that Don Valentin might sustain by abandoning his trade, and to pay him well for the sacrifice; he ended by putting it upon his loyalty. Don Valentin was an Old Castilian; so he hesitated no longer, but sold out, shut his shop and went off to Rioja.
Whether it was owing to the small number of persons who had been knowing to the secret, or to the sacredness with which the Spaniards regard everything which belongs to their religion and their king, the treasure was all found untouched in the place of its concealment. It was brought safely to Madrid, Don Valentin being at the expense of transportation, He now presents his various claims to government, for damages suffered by loss of trade, and for the expenses of the journey, including the subsistence of the foot soldiers, who had served as escort, which he had defrayed from his own purse. These claims were readily admitted, and an early day appointed for their liquidation. The day at length comes, but the money does not come with it. Don Valentin has an audience of the king; for no king can be more accessible than Ferdinand. He receives the royal word for the payment; for no king could be more compliant. He has many audiences, receives many promises, but no money. Meantime he lives upon hope, and the more substantial balance remaining from the sale of his stock. These were near failing together when the year 1820 brought some relief to the misfortunes of Spain. It likewise improved the condition of Don Valentin. Taking advantage of the publicity which was allowed in Spain by the new system, he establishes a reading-room, were all the daily papers of the capital and of the chief cities of Europe were regularly received. This went on very well, until the French, who never yet came to Spain on any good errand, overthrew the Constitution. The liberty of thought and speech fell with it. Don Valentin was invited to shut up his reading-room, and he once more retired to live upon his savings, amounting to some ten or twelve hundred dollars, which he had stowed away in a secret corner of his dwelling. This was taken out, piece by piece, to meet the necessities of his
family, until one day the house was entered by three robbers, who muzzled the old woman with a towel, tied her to the bedstead, and then carried off, not only the earnings of Don Valentin, but silver spoons and forks and everything of any value, to the very finery of Florencia. This last blow laid poor Don Valentin completely on his back. All that he now did was to take the Diario and Gaceta, which his wife let out to such curious people as came to read them in the common entry of their house. This furnished the trio, of which the family consisted, with their daily puchero; his daughter with silk stockings and satin shoes, to go to mass and walk of a feast-day upon the Prado, and himself with now and then his paper cigarillo.' pp. 90–92.
The author having established himself with Don Valentin, of whose family and domestic economy he gives a very distinct picture, he sallies out from his lodgings daily in pursuit of the lions of the metropolis. He remarks in regard to the situation of this city, that it is by far the most elevated capital in Europe, being two thousand feet above the ocean, and accordingly many times the height of most others, and twice that of Geneva, which is the next highest. This extraordinary height of the metropolis and whole neighboring district is one cause of the severity of the winter in this latitude. He states that in the winter of 1825-6, some of the sentinels of the royal palace were frozen to death in their boxes, though stationed but for half an hour, and though they were Swiss, who might be supposed to be more able to resist frost than the native inhabitants.
Madrid has fifty public fountains from which the water is carried to the houses by people who make it a business, and this is wholly in the hands of Gallicians and Asturians, who bear water about the city until they have made a small fortune of two or three hundred dollars, and then selling out the good will of their district or range to some successor, retire to their native country to pass the rest of their lives in a comfortable independence. Some of the water-bearers carry water about the streets, selling it by the glass-full to those who pass. They are represented as a rough set, little regardful of ordinary courtesy, who never turn from the narrow side-walk for any one. One day Don Diego, the instructer of our traveller, entered his room with his hat in his hand, endeavoring to rid it of a dint, and cursing the Gallego who had run against him at the turning of a corner. He had undertaken to lecture him, but the Gallego putting down his keg, and drawing himself up with
dignity, said to him, 'I am a noble, and you, may be, are no
We were struck with the author's account of the figure made by the prompter at the Spanish theatres.
'He is always placed in a tin pulpit, which rises a few feet above the floor, and which is reached from below. The tin, being polished and kept bright, reflects the glare of the lights between which the pulpit is placed, and renders it a most conspicuous object. Hence the prompter reads the whole of the piece, which is afterwards repeated by the players. His book and hand usually project upon the boards, and are seen pointing from one to another of the actors, to indicate whose turn it is. His voice is always audible, and, occasionally in a pathetic part, his declamation becomes loud and impassioned, and he forgets where he is, until called back by the audience. Since the prompter precedes the actor, you frequently know in anticipation what the latter is to say, and the idea is conveyed by the ears before you see the action which is meant to accompany it. After a while the actor draws himself up in a mysterious way, to repeat to you a secret which is already in your possession. This is even more monstrous than the custom which prevailed in the infancy of the Greek drama, of having one man to speak and another to gesticulate.' p. 129.
Some of the public institutions of Madrid appear to be upon a very liberal, magnificent scale, particularly the royal library, consisting of two hundred thousand volumes offered freely to the use of all persons, with a commodious provision of chairs, tables, &c., thirteen persons in all being employed in attendance upon, and superintendence of the establishment. Liberal provision is also made for lectures and instruction in the arts, especially that of painting, in which the Spanish masters hold a very high rank; and the author finds among their works numerous pieces of which he speaks particularly, and for the most part, with great admiration.
Though the Spanish national spectacle of a bull-fight has been often described, we should copy the very animated account of one witnessed by the writer at Madrid had we not already quoted so largely.
Having gratified his curiosity at the capital, the author took his departure early in April for Cordova; and on this journey also, besides those incidents and novelties with which he bas a happy talent of filling his journal, he has another opportunity of giving an account of a robbery, for the diligence had but just passed the site of the inn where Don Quixote watched