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prowling over the plain.

Thus the country, the habits, the very looks of the people, have something of the Arabian character. The general insecurity of the country is evinced in the universal use of weapons. The herdsman in the field, the shepherd in the plain, has his musket and his knife. The wealthy villager rarely ventures to the market-town without his trabuco, and, perhaps,

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a servant on foot with a blunderbuss on his shoulder; and the most petty journey is undertaken with the preparation of a warlike enterprise.

"It has a most picturesque effect also to meet a train of muleteers in some mountain pass. First you you hear the bells of the leading mules breaking, with their simple melody, the stillness of the airy height; or, perhaps, the voice of

the muleteer admonishing some tardy or wandering animal, or chanting, at the full stretch of his lungs, some traditionary ballad. At length you see the mules slowly winding along the cragged defile, sometimes descending precipitous cliffs, so as to present themselves in full relief against the sky, sometimes toiling up the deep arid chasms below you. As they approach, you descry their gay decorations of worsted tufts, tassels, and saddle-cloths; while,

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as they pass by, the ever-ready trabuco slung behind the packs and saddles gives a hint of the insecurity of the road.

"The ancient kingdom of Granada, into which we were about to penetrate, is one of the most mountainous regions of Spain. Vast sierras, or chains of mountains, destitute of shrub or tree, and mottled with variegated marbles and granites, elevate their sunburnt summits against a deep-blue sky; yet in

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their rugged bosoms lie engulfed the most verdant and fertile valleys, where the desert and the garden strive for mastery, and the very rock is, as it were, compelled to yield the fig, the orange, and the citron, and to blossom with the myrtle and the rose.

"In the wild passes of these mountains the sight of walled towns and villages, built like eagles' nests among the cliffs, and surrounded by Moorish battlements, or of ruined watch-towers perched on lofty peaks, carries the mind back to the chivalric days of Christian and Moslem warfare, and to the romantic struggle for the conquest of Granada. In traversing these lofty sierras the traveller is often obliged to alight and lead his horse up and down the steep and jagged ascents and descents, resembling the broken steps of a staircase. Sometimes the road winds along dizzy precipices, without parapet to guard him from the gulfs below, and then will plunge down steep and dark and dangerous declivities. Sometimes it straggles through rugged barrancos, or ravines, worn by winter torrents, the obscure path of the contrabandista; while, ever and anon, the ominous cross, the monument of robbery and murder, erected on a mound of stones at some lonely part of the road, admonishes the traveller that he is among the haunts of banditti, perhaps at that very moment under the eye of some lurking bandolero. Sometimes, in winding through the narrow valleys, he is startled by a hoarse bellowing, and beholds above him, on some green fold of the mountain side, a herd of fierce Andalusian bulls, destined for the combat of the arena. have felt, if I may so express it, an agreeable horror in thus contemplating near at hand these terrific animals, clothed with tremendous strength, and ranging their native pastures in untamed wildness, strangers almost to the face of man they know no one but the solitary herdsman who attends upon them, and even he at times dares not venture to approach them. The low bellowing of these bulls, and their menacing aspect as they look down from their rocky height, give additional wildness to the savage scenery around."


Leaving Madrid by the Calle de Alcalá, and the Prado, we reach the railway station for Toledo and Cordova. The view of the city from this point and for some miles along the road is magnificent. It stands nobly upon an elevated plateau, with the snowy Guadarramas as a background, and a clear intensely-blue sky above. Judging from this view alone, one would be disposed to retract all that has been said in disparagement of the site of Madrid.

In about an hour and a half Aranjuez is reached. Most people who have heard or read any accounts of Spain will remember how famous this place has been as a royal palace. Situated in a valley wooded and well watered by streams, it enjoys cool green shade and healthful breezes when the rest of Castile is burned into an arid waste. Fountains abound in the

gardens. Birds, so rare elsewhere in Spain, are numerous. Nightingales keep up a perpetual melody, prompting the listener to exclaim, with Izaak Walton: "He that should hear, as I have, the clear airs of the nightingale, the sweet descants, the rising and falling of her voice, might well be lifted above the earth and say, 'Lord, what music hast Thou provided for Thy saints. in heaven, when Thou affordest bad men such music here on earth!" The stately elms and planes bear comparison with those of our own well-wooded island. The palace itself, however, and the gardens are formal and unattractive. They were constructed by the Bourbons at a time when French taste-or want of taste-was dominant throughout Europe:

"Grove nods to grove, each alley has its brother,

And half the garden but reflects the other."

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Those who care for rare glass and china, for porcelain grotesques, for gilt clocks which will not keep time, and gilt chairs which were never meant to be sat upon, may find abundance of such things here. The stables are fine, and contain some noble animals. Such mules are probably not to be seen out of Spain.

Immediately on leaving Aranjuez the Tagus comes into view. It is a noble river even at this distance inland, and meanders gracefully through green meadows, which owe their fertility to its refreshing stream. Water is the one requisite for Spanish agriculture. Where irrigation is practicable, and where the Spaniard has energy enough to irrigate the thirsty soil, crops of almost incredible richness may be raised. To some extent the Tagus is

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utilized for this purpose-but for this only. By a little exertion it might be made navigable to the sea, and thus confer an inestimable boon upon the central provinces of Spain. Madrid would share in the benefit and be brought into communication with Lisbon and the sea. "Schemes have been proposed by foreigners to effect this, and they have been approved by the Spanish authorities. Meanwhile, nothing has been done. The thing remains in projection to the present day. Verémos! for 'Hope is a good breakfast, but a bad supper,' says Bacon. Meantime this Tagus, a true thing of wild romantic Spain, is made for the poet and artist; how stern, solemn, and striking indeed is the lovely unused river! No commerce ever made it a highway, its waters have reflected castles and dungeons, instead of quays and warehouses; few cities have risen on its banks as on the Rhine, scarcely even a village. It flows away solitary and unseen; its waters without boats, its shores without life."*

Toledo soon comes into view, standing proudly upon a rocky eminence. Even those who are already are already familiar with the cities of Granada and Andalusia can hardly fail to be impressed by the imposing grandeur of the site, the air of venerable antiquity, and the picturesque, oriental aspect of Toledo. But visitors from the north who now see for the first time one of the old Moorish capitals of Spain can scarcely find words to express the emotions it awakens. It looks like what it is-one of the oldest cities in Europe. The vulgar tradition of the district, indeed, affirms that Adam was the first king of Spain, with Toledo for his capital, and that the sun started from a point vertical to the city. The Jews assert that it was settled by their forefathers who fled from Palestine in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, and they derive its name from the Hebrew word Toledoth, understanding it to mean. "the city of generations." This much is certain that it was in existence 193 B.C. when it was taken by Marcus Fulvius Novilior. On the decline of the Roman power it became the capital of the Gothic kingdom. Here the half-mythical King Wamba reigned. And here, according to tradition, Roderick, the last of the Goths, committed the outrage upon the beautiful Florinda which prompted her father, Count Julian, to call in the Moors to avenge his private wrongs.†

Under the dominion of the Moors, Toledo rose to a very high degree of prosperity. The Christians were protected in the enjoyment of their

*Ford's "Handbook for Spain," vol. i. p. 100.

+ The local tradition, as I heard it from a young peasant who volunteered to be my guide through the district, makes of the beautiful Florinda, "a Moorish maiden of whom the king became enamoured as he saw her bathing in the Tagus, at the foot of the Alcazar, whereupon great troubles followed." "What troubles ?" I asked. "Ah!" replied my informant, "to know that you must read history, in which are many things hard to understand and difficult to believe.” So untrustworthy is even local tradition.

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