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N early Spanish historian maintains that the first settlers of the Peninsula were borne thither through the air by angels. No other mode of conveyance was deemed worthy of the dignity and grandeur of the nation about to be founded; and Castilian pride had fixed the date of the settlement so soon after the creation of the world, that it was difficult to see how the aboriginal inhabitants could have reached their destination in any other way. Subsequent writers, without committing themselves to this hypothesis, yet gave it a respectful consideration. The age was credulous of marvels; and it was a matter of faith that, not individuals only, but considerable edifices the house of the Virgin at Loretto, for instance-had been thus transported from land to land. In these prosaic and degenerate days aërial flights are out of the question. We are reduced to the simple alternative of reaching Spain by sea or by land. Those who select the former mode of transit may sail direct to Gibraltar, or, crossing France to Marseilles, they may take passage thence to one of the eastern or southern ports of Spain. There is something to be said in behalf of either of these routes. But the majority of tourists will find as much sea in the English Channel as they care to encounter, and will prefer to complete

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is the easier, and the speedier. The railway is complete for the whole distance. On the eastern side it is as yet unfinished, and the journey from Gerona to Perpignan has to be made by diligence.

Let us enter by the western and return by the eastern route.

No railway journey through central France can be very interesting. The scenery is never grand, seldom even picturesque. The line runs through a level plain, "flat, fair, and fertile." There are no hills, and but few trees. The absence of hedgerows gives the country a bare formal look to one accustomed to the rural scenery of England or of Normandy. The route to Bordeaux however, is not devoid of interest. Orleans, Tours, Poitiers, Angoulême, are passed in succession. Glimpses of most of them may be gained from the railway in hurrying past. It stirs one's blood to hear the names bawled out at the stations, as one remembers the great part which our forefathers played through all this region. To one who has a few hours to spare they can scarcely be spent more pleasantly than in lingering amongst these medieval towns, where Joan of Arc and the Black Prince, " old John o' Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster," our Henrys, and our Edwards have left indelible traces of their presence.

Bordeaux offers a convenient and agreeable resting-place in the long journey from Paris to Madrid. It is one of the finest maritime cities in Europe, with broad boulevards, fine open squares, and public gardens of great beauty and extent. It lies in a semicircle round its noble harbour, which is commonly full of vessels, and the line of quays remind one of an English port from their activity and bustle.

The journey onward from Bordeaux leads across the Landes. A few years ago this district was the most desolate and barren which can be well conceived. The desert of Sahara could scarcely present a more monotonous and dreary waste. Sand borne inland by the violent winds from the Bay of Biscay formed a vast plain, which produced little except a meagre crop of prickly shrubs, and of withered stunted grass. A few flocks of sheep and goats wandered across the desolate plains and picked a scanty subsistence amongst the sand-hills. They were guarded by a half-savage race of shepherds, who from early childhood were accustomed to walk on stilts. It was a strange sight to see a familymen, women, and children-stalking across the endless plains raised far above the ground, clad in sheep skins, and followed by immense Pyreneean wolf-dogs.

It has been found, however, that parts of the Landes which were thought to be hopelessly barren may be made productive as pine forests. Large tracts have been enclosed for this purpose, and the railway now passes through leagues of young plantations, which are a source of great wealth to the proprietors. The rude denizens of the Landes resent this intrusion into their domains, and destructive fires have broken out by which many valuable forests have been

destroyed. These are suspected, not without reason, to have been the work of incendiaries. But resent and resist it as they may the onward march of civilization continues to invade the soil. Year by year the number of stilted Landais diminishes. Pine forests and cultivated fields now occupy the region where a few years ago the traveller only saw barren plains.

As Bayonne is approached the Pyrenees come into view. To one accustomed to the Alps the Pyreneean range wants grandeur. There are no vast sweeps of glacier and snowfield like those of Switzerland. In the whole chain there is

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no coup d'œil which can compare with that from the Gorner Grat, the Wengern Alp, or the Brevent. But the Pyrenees have a charm and beauty of their own. The stiff, formal, and wearisome succession of pines is exchanged for rich masses of chestnut and beech. In the judgment of many persons, the picturesque variety and glowing colour of Pyreneean scenery affords an ample compensation for the want of Alpine grandeur and sublimity.

Entering Spain during the present year, I saw the Pyrenees under exceptionally favourable circumstances. The night had been wild and stormy. As the day advanced dense thunder clouds still overspread the sky. But gradually they

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