« VorigeDoorgaan »
properly arranged, we mounted our horses, We passed down a very steep descent and were off. In spite of the bad reputa to the plain below, and crossing this at a tion of the Spanish roads, we took no weap tearing gallop, toiled up the hill beyond, ons, leaving even our pistols behind us. and then continued our journey through
The sun was shining with great power; groves of olive-trees for many a mile. By but there was a cool breeze, which in some twelve o'clock we had traveled quite far degree counteracted its effects, and often enough to be ready for luncheon, and enduring our journey, when drenched by the tered a miserable venta to appease our rain which fell for hours without inter appetite. We had providently filled our mission, did we long for a sight of the alforjas with bread, chicken, oranges, and great luminary. But I am anticipating. other delicacies ; and it was well that we Passing along by the side of the Caños de were thus independent of the resources of Carmona, an aqueduct which supplies the venta, for, on inquiring, we found that Seville with pure water, and which is, in eggs constituted their sole provender. One some places, supported on high arches ; can easily imagine the elegant cleanliness forcing our horses through a deep layer of the aforesaid venta, when I inform him of mud which covered the road, and wind that underneath our table, while we were ing for the last half mile along the banks eating, were two pigs, five cats, one dog, of a picturesque stream, we reached Alcalá and several hens, all apparently in the last de Guadaira, a small town about eight stage of starvation, if one might judge miles from Seville. The ruins of an old from the ravenous manner in which they Moorish castle at Alcalá are very fine ; devoured the crumbs which fell from our but we remained merely long enough to table. The hens actually amused themwater our horses, and then proceeded on selves with leaping upon the table, until our way. The last two or three miles of A. almost severed the head of one from our traveling that day led us through a her body with a back-handed stroke of very picturesque country, and afforded the knife with which he was busily enquite a relief from the monotonous fields gaged in investigating the contents of an through which we had previously passed. egg, for spoons were not to be obtained in It was about seven in the evening when that model hotel. In spite of all these obwe rode into Carmona, our resting-place stacles, however, we managed to make a for the night. Glad were we to seat our most substantial luncheon, and it was quite selves at dinner, and comfortable did we an agreeable episode on which to look feel as we sat lazily puffing our cigars back. after sufficiently anathematizing the hard A very heavy shower had fallen while Moorish saddles on which we had ridden. we were in this place, and we were conThe unaccustomed exercise had made us gratulating ourselves on having escaped rather weary, and we retired early to our the rain and satisfied our hunger at the beds, after having looked through the city same time ; but soon after our departure by starlight. Carmona possesses some from that •ever-to-be-remembered place, fine Moorish ruins ; the Alcazar is very the clouds again gathered black and threatfine, and her situation on the crest of a ening, and the rain recommenced. For high hill, commanding an extensive view four hours we plodded on through deep mud, on both sides, makes this city a very until we reached Ecija. The approach pleasant residence. Early the next morn to Ecija, either from Cordova or Seville, ing we rode forth through one of the is down a steep pitch, and as we neared graceful Moorish arches, which serves as the town and commenced the descent, the a gateway, and, emerging from the narrow rain, which had been less violent for the streets, were charmed with the beauty of preceding half hour, came down in torthe landscape beneath us. Directly in rents. front of us was the morning sun, gilding The population of Ecija is between with its rays the broad plain below; far off thirty and forty thousand. It is situated to the left was the Guadalquivir glancing in in a valley through which pours the Ienil, the sunlight, with the Suira Morena rising a river which rises amid the snows of the beyond ; while behind, the old walls of Sierra Nevada, and on whose banks so Carmona rose grandly above us, crumbling, many fierce conflicts took place between it is true, but still suggestive of pomp and the Moors and Christians. From the exglory, though past and gone.
treme heat which is experienced in sum
mer at Ecija, it is called La Sartenilla, scending from our first point of view, we
frying-pan” of Andalusia; and from crossed a narrow plain, pressed eagerly this circumstance it derives its modest up the last hill, and beneath us was Cormotto, “ Una sola será clamada la Cuidad dova. Just as we reached the top of the del Sol:" " One alone shall be called the hill, the sun burst forth from the clouds, City of the Sun.” Thus frying-pans as which had hitherto obscured it, and its sume the titles and decorations of a golden radiance cast an evanescent halo Heliopolis.
over all ; then the shadows crept up the On our arrival at this aspiring place, face of the Sierra Morena, and twilight Luis advised us to go to a posada, as being reigned. The view for those few moments cheaper than a fonda. There are three that the sunlight lasted, was too glorious classes of public houses in Spain, namely, to continue long ; but while its brilliancy fondas, posadas, and ventas. A fonda is tinged the landscape, we were lost in silent like an ordinary hotel, where the traveler admiration. Cordova, with queenly magorders his meals as he wishes, and has no nificence, her feathery palms waving amid further trouble : at a posada, he sends the spires like the plumes of royalty, sat some one to buy what he wishes, and it is peacefully gazing on her fair possessions. then cooked for him in the house, where The Guadalquivir rolled its tide at her he can also obtain a bed : a venta is an very feet, foaming and leaping as its wainferior posada, and there one must sleep ters struck the piers of a noble bridge ; a on straw by the side of his horses amid broad plain stretched out on the opposite harmonious brayings, unless he can per- side of the river from the city, glowing suade the owner to give up his own couch with the early shoots of grain ; while the The latter class of houses of entertainment Sierra Morena loomed up majestically beare found in the country, while the two hind the monarch city; its convent-covered former are in towns and cities. Of the summits standing out boldly against the above distinctions we were not aware, and pale sky beyond. One last look, and we therefore took the advice of Luis. Dis mounted, hurried on, and reached the city mounting, we desired him to order dinner, just in time to enter before the gates were and were astonished at his asking for closed. money to buy the raw material ; on our The beauty of Cordova is not that of an expressing surprise, he informed us that ordinary city; the tall palms waving their one of the peculiarities of a posada was, light branches as each breath of wind that the traveler must procure his own sweeps over them, impart an Oriental approvisions. We were obliged to yield to pearance, and one feels as if he had left this ridiculous custom, and patiently wait- the commonplace towns of Europe to gaze ed until he purchased and then cooked upon the glories of some eastern city, of the long-wished-for meal.
whose traditions Schehezerade might After a comfortable night's rest, we left weave the web of many a romantic tale. Ecija early in the morning of March 27th, Within the city walls all, alas! is decay. on our way to Cordova. The storm had We crossed the river over a massive stone passed away for the time, and we antici- bridge, and all our romantic ideas were pated a pleasant journey in spite of a cold lost for the moment immediately on enterwind then blowing. Our hopes were dis- ing the dirty, narrow streets of this once appointed, however, for the rain soon proud capital. commenced, and the muddy roads grew Next morning we sallied forth to see muddier. We stopped at a village posada the lions. Cordova is soon seen, for beto lunch and feed our horses ; and here sides the Mosque there is little else to again Luis displayed his culinary abilities, interest the traveler. The Mosque La and then we pushed on. At about six P. M., Mezquita is one of the most singular rewhile yet two leagues distant from Cor- mains of Moorish grandeur now existing dova, we caught a glimpse of that city, as in Spain. It should be entered through we reached the summit of a high hill. the Court of Orange Trees, El Patio de The clouds were breaking, and we rode Naranjos, which is a large rectangular inrapidly forward in hopes of enjoying the closure planted with orange trees and enfine view of Cordova, of which we had livened by fountains. On entering this heard so much, before the sun had disap- the delicious fragrance of the orange blos. peared. We were not disappointed ; de som stole over us, and this, aided by the
harmonious plash of falling water, prepared once rich in the wealth of this world, us for any beauty however great. Here looked down from the Sierra Morena, the devout Moors performed their ablu- afford another instance of the decay of tions before entering the Mosque, and all things Spanish. No longer do pamsirove thereby to render heir orisons more pered monks dream away their manhood acceptable to their God. Now, alas! the within the walls of San Jeronimo; royal scene is changed ; in place of turbaned edicts have stripped them of most of their Moors we saw the stalwart Spanish beg- possessions, leaving them but a scanty gars, whose eager importunities drove away pittance for their support: stone is falling each bright illusion, and whose harsh voices from stone; their end is near at hand. broke the fragrance-freighted air.
We had passed Friday, the 28th, in Crossing El Patio de Naranjos, we passed Cordova, and early in the morning of the through a small door into the interior of 29th we were in the saddle and on our the Mosque, and were immediately lost in way to Ardea del Rio, where we proposed a forest of pillars. The Cathedral, as it to pass the night. At two leagues from now is, although it still retains its ancient Cordova we crossed the Guadalquivir over name, is a huge square building, but thirty- the noble bridge of dark marble at Alcolea; five feet in height, the ceiling supported this is one of the finest bridges in Spain, by a vast number of stone columns, some and it is said that the French, when they of jasper, some of porphyry, verd-antique, saw it, asked if it were not made in France, and other choice marbles, which France, so puffed up were they with success that Spain, Constantinople, and even Carthage they affected to believe that nothing of and other cities of Africa have contributed note could be constructed without the to furnish ; there were formerly twelve borders of their own land. Lunching at hundred of them, but many have disap- Corpio, a small town with a ruined Moorpeared, and the number is now given as ish castle, we rode on toward Ardea, and eight hundred and fifty-four, and I have emerging just at sunset from a fine wood heard that there are but three hundred and through which we had been passing for sixty-five, although the latter figure would half an hour, we saw the town at the disseem too low. The Mosque was built tance of a mile, situated in a plain at the toward the end of the eighth century of foot of high hills with the Guadalquivir our era. One of the most singular objects rushing through it. The view was very shown in the building is an irregular cross, pretty, and the soft tinkling of bells from said to have been made by a Christian the focks on the hillside, mingling with captive with repeated scratchings of his the gush of the river, called to mind scenes nail. The inscription beneath it reads, of home when the summer's day is over. * Hizo el Cautivo con la Uña," “ The We left Ardea, at which place we are captive made this with his nail.” “Credat rived the previous evening, in a drizzling Judæus Apella ;" although if we read rain, and for ten long hours walked our “ Clavo," "an iron nail,” it might easily horses through the deep mud, while the be true, for it is not very deeply cut, and pitiless rain never ceased, sometimes peltthe upright stroke is not more than seven ing down with violence, sometimes oozing inches in length, and the cross piece but between the mackintosh and the coat colthree or four.
lar, and meandering gently down the back The tomb of the chivalric Don Alonzo with most revivifying effect. de Aquilar is shown in one of the churches All romantic notions of everlasting sumat Cordova, and this city has given its mer and cloudless skies were discarded name to the Great Commander, the brother from our ideas of Spain and washed away of Don Alonzo, Gonsalvo de Cordova. by that charming rain. We stopped to Cordova, too, was once famed for the rest and lunch at Andujar, a town on the literary men whose birthplace it was. Guadalquivir, which we crossed just beLucan and the two Senecas, born here, fore reaching the walls. This town was but writing in Latin, sustained for a time once surrounded by strong walls, but these the decline of Roman poetry and litera are now crumbling away beneath the hand tare. Under the Moors, also, Cordova of time. After luncheon we mounted and flourished, but they were driven forth from splashed on through the mud until 4 P.M., Spain, carrying away with them science, when the clouds began to break away. art, and literature. The convents which, / Up to this time we had been passing
through dull and uninteresting scenery, rode for some time through a well-watered but now we were entering a wild, romantic valley full of fig, apricot, and pomegranate gorge, through which the Rumblar was trees. A very heavy shower passed over dashing, and on whose precipitous sides us shortly after leaving Jaen, and we enznany flowers were blooming, among which deavored to get in at several miserable I observed the pale harebell, which called ventas along the road; but in most of them to mind the azure blossoms of our own there were no beds, and where they had mountain glens. Now, too, the sun came them they were occupied. These ventas beaming forth, driving away the murky are merely prepared for the reception of clouds, and with them, alas for the frailty arrieros or muleteers, who sleep on straw of human nature! all our gloomy thoughts. by their mules. For two hours after the rain had ceased At length we succeeded in finding one, we pursued our journey, passing the scene at which several arrieros with their mules of the battle of Bailen, that foundation of had arrived before us, and the only bed in so much Spanish boasting, and at length the house was that of the landlord and his reached our destination. Imagine the ac-wife, who gave it up to us. We had cumulated filth of weeks concentrated in no provisions with us, and the long ride one long street, lined by rows of dirty had given us a most voracious appetite; whitewashed houses, and you can form a but all that the venta could produce were fair idea of Bailen. New York, with its some pork chops, which had been partly heaps of conglomerated snow and dirt, the cooked with garlic, and a few eggs. It clinging mud of New Jersey, and every was amusing to witness the wild-looking other disgusting mass of uncleanliness, arrieros, and to hear them arguing while were entirely eclipsed by that single street. their supper was in course of preparation, · At Bailen we passed the night, and and the old hostess and her daughter early on Monday, March 31st, started off bustling hither and thither, and pouring without any very definite idea as to where every horrible ingredient that was ever we should pass the night. We had only imagined into the mess which was stew. a few showers during the day, and as the ing over the fire. Garlic, oil, codfish sun came out at intervals we rode on in very far gone, potatoes, and many other good spirits, crossing the Guadalquivir Spanish bonnes bouches, whose names I over a suspension bridge, and after gazing knew not, were promiscuously mixed, longingly at Jaen, as it appeared high up stirred, and stewed, until all were reon the hills, and thinking for some time duced to one glutinous mass. The room that a few moments more would bring us was about eighteen feet square, and its to it, we at length rode into that city. inhabitants were distributed as follows: The cathedral must have been in sight for pigs and children in one corner, children over two hours, and yet when we first saw and pigs in another, the remaining corners it we would never have dreamed that it being filled with groups composed of the was more than two miles distant. The same interesting materials, the several bareness of the ground and the clearness piles radiating from the middle of the of the atmosphere, diminished the apparent room as a common center. This room, distance and most effectually deceived us, with its living furniture, was the ante-room and we afterward discovered that we were of our own apartment, to which we reeight miles from the city when we first tired. Next morning we arose and salcaught sight of it.
lied forth to find some water wherewith to The position of Jaen is very picturesque, perform our ablutions; not a basin was lying under a castle crowned hill, while to be found in the venta, and we were long lines of Moorish walls and towers obliged to go down to a stream which ran creep up the irregular slopes. The city near the house, and then and there bathe itself is far above the level of the plain our faces and hands in its pure waters. through which the road approaches it. Somewhat refreshed thereby, we mounted The Cathedral is a very fine building ex our horses, and were off for Granada, from ternally, but the interior is all glare and which we were distant fourteen “ leguas whitewash, and has none of the solemnity largas.” A Spanish league is called of appearance which characterizes the three miles, but even a “legua corta" is noble one at Seville. Issuing from the more than that, and a "legua larga” is city and passing down a deep descent, we | fully four miles. Again an intense dis
gust for all “ Cosas de España” took pos- family seated by the roadside, eating their session of us, but this feeling was soon frugal meal, and as soon as they beheld dispelled by the beautiful weather and the us they invited us, in the kindest manner, splendid scenery through which we were to partake of what they had; it was not passing. Gigantic rocks towered up on much, it is true, but it proved their genercach side of the road, and a stream, the osity. It required but slight favors to make same in whose waters we had laved that them communicative, and the gift of a cigar morning, ran gayly near us, and with its always opened their hearts. One cannot babbling melody drove away all recollec- give the Andalusians much credit for ention of our former troubles. The road ergy ; but their fertile land has been their through this cleft in the rock is
Within their own province they laid out, shielded from the encroachments have every vegetable product, from the of the stream by strong masonry, and in tropical fruits of the torrid zone to the one place tunneled through the solid rock. lichen of the Polar regions. They need About two hours after leaving the venta | little exertion to win its rich stores of we began to ascend, and in this agreeable grain from the bosom of the earth; and, employment we were engaged for nearly like the Bæotians of old, who contrasted five hours, at, the end of which time we in mental prowess as strongly with their commenced the descent toward the plains active neighbors in Attica as did their ferleading to Granada. Stopping for an tile land with the latter's sterile soil ; like hour to refresh the horses, not forgetting to the Romans when wealth and luxury perform the same kind office for ourselves, had sapped the iron frames that had borne we continued the descent for about two the eagle from east to west, from north to hours and a half, and then traveled for an south, throughout the known world ; so apparently interminable distance over a they, too, have fallen. Gone now is the road which had been almost destroyed by glory of the great Ferdinand ; no longer the heavy rains, and which was not im- does the warlike spirit of a Cid Campeaproved for present traveling by the quan- dor urge them on to victory or death : tities of broken stone with which they were Spain's glory is dead. mending it. A shower, too, came up, and There is a striking similarity between rendered the roads even worse than they the fate of Italy and Spain. Both were were before. At length, at eight o'clock divided in the earliest times into many P. M. we saw the lights of Granada ; but it petty kingdoms; both united by the wiswas not until after an hour and a half had dom of successive princes; both were been consumed in painfully slow traveling poor and industrious in a day of weakness; over the newly Macadamized roads that both rich and indolent as their empire we entered the town, and rested for the grew ; both sent their legions forth to connight.
quer worlds, and when their work of conSuch was our experience of a week's quest and rapine was ended, sank down, travel on horseback in Spain. It is true wearied with success, and could not keep there had been many contretemps, but what they had gained. “Panem ac Cirstill the pleasure far outweighed them, cendem," cried the effeminate Roman, and in the contemplation of the many thirsting for blood, yet daring not to draw beauties of nature that we had seen, and his own sword from the sheath to strike in recalling all the singular incidents of the invader of his native land. “Pan y our trip, our time was regarded as well toros,” shrieks the Andalusian, degenerate spent. We had seen the Spaniards in son of him who drove forth the Moor their true light; not those of towns, al- from the sunny land of Spain, who quelled though we saw enough of them also, in the fierce Indian in his Western wilds, and whose breasts each sordid feeling has as bore the proud standard of Castile fai strong a sway as in the paupers of other over the dark waters. One by one fell lands; but those of the open country, who the wide-spread colonies of Rome before always strove to be hospitable and kind. the sterner spirit of another race; so, too, Not a peasant did we meet but touched were Spain's western conquests torn his hat and wished us Godspeed : Baga from her avaricious rule, not, like those Usted con Dios Caballoro was their ney of Rome, by the might of foreign eleer-failing greeting, and we always felt at ments, but striking for themselves and bome. On one occasion we passed a conquering.