The Bible in Spain
George Borrow

Part 2 out of 12

My obliging friends showed me all over their "poor house," it
certainly did not appear a very rich one; it was spacious, and
rather dilapidated. The library was small, and possessed nothing
remarkable; the view, however, from the roof, over the greater part
of Lisbon and the Tagus, was very grand and noble; but I did not
visit this place in the hope of seeing busts, or books, or fine
prospects,--I visited this strange old house to converse with its
inmates, for my favourite, I might say, my only study, is man. I
found these gentlemen much what I had anticipated, for this was not
the first time that I had visited an English--establishment in a
foreign land. They were full of amiability and courtesy to their
heretic countryman, and though the advancement of their religion
was with them an object of paramount importance, I soon found that,
with ludicrous inconsistency, they cherished, to a wonderful
degree, national prejudices almost extinct in the mother land, even
to the disparagement of those of their own darling faith. I spoke
of the English -, of their high respectability, and of the loyalty
which they had uniformly displayed to their sovereign, though of a
different religion, and by whom they had been not unfrequently
subjected to much oppression and injustice.

Rector.--My dear Sir, I am rejoiced to hear you; I see that you are
well acquainted with the great body of those of our faith in
England. They are as you have well described them, a most
respectable and loyal body; from loyalty, indeed, they never
swerved, and though they have been accused of plots and
conspiracies, it is now well known that such had no real existence,
but were merely calumnies invented by their religious enemies.
During the civil wars the English--cheerfully shed their blood and
squandered their fortunes in the cause of the unfortunate martyr,
notwithstanding that he never favoured them, and invariably looked
upon them with suspicion. At present the English--are the most
devoted subjects to our gracious sovereign. I should be happy if I
could say as much for our Irish brethren; but their conduct has
been--oh! detestable. Yet what can you expect? The true--blush
for them. A certain person is a disgrace to the church of which he
pretends to be a servant. Where does he find in our canons
sanction for his proceedings, his undutiful expressions towards one
who is his sovereign by divine right, and who can do no wrong? And
above all, where does he find authority for inflaming the passions
of a vile mob against a nation intended by nature and by position
to command them?

Myself.--I believe there is an Irish college in this city?

Rector.--I believe there is; but it does not flourish, there are
few or no pupils. Oh!

I looked through a window, at a great height, and saw about twenty
or thirty fine lads sporting in a court below. "This is as it
should be," said I; "those boys will not make worse priests from a
little early devotion to trap-ball and cudgel playing. I dislike a
staid, serious, puritanic education, as I firmly believe that it
encourages vice and hypocrisy."

We then went into the Rector's room, where, above a crucifix, was
hanging a small portrait.

Myself.--That was a great and portentous man, honest withal. I
believe the body of which he was the founder, and which has been so
much decried, has effected infinitely more good than it has caused

Rector.--What do I hear? You an Englishman, and a Protestant, and
yet an admirer of Ignatius Loyola?

Myself.--I will say nothing with respect to the doctrine of the
Jesuits, for, as you have observed, I am a Protestant: but I am
ready to assert that there are no people in the world better
qualified, upon the whole, to be intrusted with the education of
youth. Their moral system and discipline are truly admirable.
Their pupils, in after life, are seldom vicious and licentious
characters, and are in general men of learning, science, and
possessed of every elegant accomplishment. I execrate the conduct
of the liberals of Madrid in murdering last year the helpless
fathers, by whose care and instruction two of the finest minds of
Spain have been evolved--the two ornaments of the liberal cause and
modern literature of Spain, for such are Toreno and Martinez de la
Rosa. . . .

Gathered in small clusters about the pillars at the lower
extremities of the gold and silver streets in Lisbon, may be
observed, about noon in every day, certain strange looking men,
whose appearance is neither Portuguese nor European. Their dress
generally consists of a red cap, with a blue silken tassel at the
top of it, a blue tunic girded at the waist with a red sash, and
wide linen pantaloons or trousers. He who passes by these groups
generally hears them conversing in broken Spanish or Portuguese,
and occasionally in a harsh guttural language, which the oriental
traveller knows to be the Arabic, or a dialect thereof. These
people are the Jews of Lisbon. Into the midst of one of these
groups I one day introduced myself, and pronounced a beraka, or
blessing. I have lived in different parts of the world, much
amongst the Hebrew race, and am well acquainted with their ways and
phraseology. I was rather anxious to become acquainted with the
state of the Portuguese Jews, and I had now an opportunity. "The
man is a powerful rabbi," said a voice in Arabic; "it behoves us to
treat him kindly." They welcomed me. I favoured their mistake,
and in a few days I knew all that related to them and their traffic
in Lisbon.

I found them a vile, infamous rabble, about two hundred in number.
With a few exceptions, they consist of escapados from the Barbary
shore, from Tetuan, from Tangier, but principally from Mogadore;
fellows who have fled to a foreign land from the punishment due to
their misdeeds. Their manner of life in Lisbon is worthy of such a
goodly assemblage of amis reunis. The generality of them pretend
to work in gold and silver, and keep small peddling shops; they,
however, principally depend for their livelihood on an extensive
traffic in stolen goods which they carry on. It is said that there
is honour amongst thieves, but this is certainly not the case with
the Jews of Lisbon, for they are so greedy and avaricious, that
they are constantly quarrelling about their ill-gotten gain, the
result being that they frequently ruin each other. Their mutual
jealousy is truly extraordinary. If one, by cheating and roguery,
gains a cruzado in the presence of another, the latter instantly
says I cry halves, and if the first refuse he is instantly
threatened with an information. The manner in which they cheat
each other has, with all its infamy, occasionally something
extremely droll and ludicrous. I was one day in the shop of a
Swiri, or Jew of Mogadore, when a Jew from Gibraltar entered, with
a Portuguese female, who held in her hand a mantle, richly
embroidered with gold.

Gibraltar Jew (speaking in broken Arabic).--Good-day, O Swiri; God
has favoured me this day; here is a bargain by which we shall both
gain. I have bought this mantle of the woman almost for nothing,
for it is stolen; but I am poor, as you know, I have not a cruzado;
pay her therefore the price, that we may then forthwith sell the
mantle and divide the gain.

Swiri.--Willingly, brother of Gibraltar; I will pay the woman for
the mantle; it does not appear a bad one.

Thereupon he flung two cruzados to the woman, who forthwith left
the shop.

Gibraltar Jew.--Thanks, brother Swirl, this is very kind of you;
now let us go and sell the mantle, the gold alone is well worth a
moidore; but I am poor and have nothing to eat, give me, therefore,
the half of that sum and keep the mantle; I shall be content.

Swiri.--May Allah blot out your name, you thief. What mean you by
asking me for money? I bought the mantle of the woman and paid for
it. I know nothing of you. Go out of my doors, dog of a Nazarene,
if not I will pay you with a kick.

The dispute was referred to one of the sabios, or priests; but the
sabio, who was also from Mogadore, at once took the part of the
Swiri, and decided that the other should have nothing. Whereupon
the Gibraltar Jew cursed the sabio, his father, mother, and all his
family. The sabio replied, "I put you in ndui," a kind of
purgatory or hell. "I put you in seven nduis," retorted the
incensed Jew, over whom, however, superstitious fear speedily
prevailed; he faltered, became pale, and dropping his voice,
retreated, trembling in every limb.

The Jews have two synagogues in Lisbon, both are small; one is,
however, tolerably well furnished, it has its reading desk, and in
the middle there is a rather handsome chandelier; the other is
little better than a sty, filthy to a degree, without ornament of
any kind. The congregation of this last are thieves to a man; no
Jew of the slightest respectability ever enters it.

How well do superstition and crime go hand in hand. These wretched
beings break the eternal commandments of their Maker without
scruple; but they will not partake of the beast of the uncloven
foot, and the fish which has no scales. They pay no regard to the
denunciations of holy prophets against the children of sin, but
they quake at the sound of a dark cabalistic word, pronounced by
one perhaps their equal, or superior, in villainy, as if God would
delegate the exercise of his power to the workers of iniquity.

I was one day sauntering on the Caesodre, when a Jew, with whom I
had previously exchanged a word or two, came up and addressed me.

Jew.--The blessing of God upon you, brother; I know you to be a
wise and powerful man, and I have conceived much regard for you; it
is on that account that I wish to put you in the way of gaining
much money. Come with me, and I will conduct you to a place where
there are forty chests of tea. It is a sereka (a robbery), and the
thieves are willing to dispose of it for a trifle, for there is
search being made, and they are in much fear. I can raise one half
of what they demand, do you supply the other, we will then divide
it, each shall go his own way and dispose of his portion.

Myself.--Wherefore, O son of Arbat, do you propose this to me, who
am a stranger? Surely you are mad. Have you not your own people
about you whom you know, and in whom you can confide?

Jew.--It is because I know our people here that I do not confide in
them; we are in the galoot of sin. Were I to confide in my
brethren there would be a dispute, and perhaps they would rob me,
and few of them have any money. Were I to apply to the sabio he
might consent, but when I ask for my portion he would put me in
ndui! You I do not fear; you are good and would do me no harm,
unless I attempted to deceive you, and that I dare not do, for I
know you are powerful. Come with me, master, for I wish to gain
something, that I may return to Arbat, where I have children . . .

Such are Jews in Lisbon.


Cold of Portugal--Extortion prevented--Sensation of Loneliness--The
Dog--The Convent--Enchanting Landscape--Moorish Fortresses--Prayer
for the Sick.

About a fortnight after my return from Evora, having made the
necessary preparations, I set out on my journey for Badajoz, from
which town I intended to take the diligence to Madrid. Badajoz
lies about a hundred miles distant from Lisbon, and is the
principal frontier town of Spain in the direction of the Alemtejo.
To reach this place, it was necessary to retravel the road as far
as Monte More, which I had already passed in my excursion to Evora;
I had therefore very little pleasure to anticipate from novelty of
scenery. Moreover, in this journey I should be a solitary
traveller, with no other companion than the muleteer, as it was my
intention to take my servant no farther than Aldea Gallega, for
which place I started at four in the afternoon. Warned by former
experience, I did not now embark in a small boat, but in one of the
regular passage felouks, in which we reached Aldea Gallega, after a
voyage of six hours; for the boat was heavy, there was no wind to
propel it, and the crew were obliged to ply their huge oars the
whole way. In a word, this passage was the reverse of the first,--
safe in every respect,--but so sluggish and tiresome, that I a
hundred times wished myself again under the guidance of the wild
lad, galloping before the hurricane over the foaming billows. From
eight till ten the cold was truly terrible, and though I was
closely wrapped in an excellent fur "shoob," with which I had
braved the frosts of Russian winters, I shivered in every limb, and
was far more rejoiced when I again set my foot on the Alemtejo,
than when I landed for the first time, after having escaped the
horrors of the tempest.

I took up my quarters for the night at a house to which my friend
who feared the darkness had introduced me on my return from Evora,
and where, though I paid mercilessly dear for everything, the
accommodation was superior to that of the common inn in the square.
My first care now was to inquire for mules to convey myself and
baggage to Elvas, from whence there are but three short leagues to
the Spanish town of Badajoz. The people of the house informed me
that they had an excellent pair at my disposal, but when I inquired
the price, they were not ashamed to demand four moidores. I
offered them three, which was too much, but which, however, they
did not accept, for knowing me to be an Englishman, they thought
they had an excellent opportunity to practise imposition, not
imagining that a person so rich as an Englishman MUST be, would go
out in a cold night for the sake of obtaining a reasonable bargain.
They were, however, much mistaken, as I told them that rather than
encourage them in their knavery, I should be content to return to
Lisbon; whereupon they dropped their demand to three and a half,
but I made them no answer, and going out with Antonio, proceeded to
the house of the old man who had accompanied us to Evora. We
knocked a considerable time, for he was in bed; at length he arose
and admitted us, but on hearing our object, he said that his mules
were again gone to Evora, under the charge of the boy, for the
purpose of transporting some articles of merchandise. He, however,
recommended us to a person in the neighbourhood who kept mules for
hire, and there Antonio engaged two fine beasts for two moidores
and a half. I say he engaged them, for I stood aloof and spoke
not, and the proprietor, who exhibited them, and who stood half-
dressed, with a lamp in his hand and shivering with cold, was not
aware that they were intended for a foreigner till the agreement
was made, and he had received a part of the sum in earnest. I
returned to the inn well pleased, and having taken some refreshment
went to rest, paying little attention to the people, who glanced
daggers at me from their small Jewish eyes.

At five the next morning the mules were at the door; a lad of some
nineteen or twenty years of age attended them; he was short but
exceedingly strong built, and possessed the largest head which I
ever beheld upon mortal shoulders; neck he had none, at least I
could discern nothing which could be entitled to that name. His
features were hideously ugly, and upon addressing him I discovered
that he was an idiot. Such was my intended companion in a journey
of nearly a hundred miles, which would occupy four days, and which
lay over the most savage and ill noted track in the whole kingdom.
I took leave of my servant almost with tears, for he had always
served me with the greatest fidelity, and had exhibited an
assiduity and a wish to please which afforded me the utmost

We started, my uncouth guide sitting tailor-fashion on the sumpter
mule upon the baggage. The moon had just gone down, and the
morning was pitchy dark, and, as usual, piercingly cold. He soon
entered the dismal wood, which I had already traversed, and through
which we wended our way for some time, slowly and mournfully. Not
a sound was to be heard save the trampling of the animals, not a
breath of air moved the leafless branches, no animal stirred in the
thickets, no bird, not even the owl, flew over our heads, all
seemed desolate and dead, and during my many and far wanderings, I
never experienced a greater sensation of loneliness, and a greater
desire for conversation and an exchange of ideas than then. To
speak to the idiot was useless, for though competent to show the
road, with which he was well acquainted, he had no other answer
than an uncouth laugh to any question put to him. Thus situated,
like many other persons when human comfort is not at hand, I turned
my heart to God, and began to commune with Him, the result of which
was that my mind soon became quieted and comforted.

We passed on our way uninterrupted; no thieves showed themselves,
nor indeed did we see a single individual until we arrived at
Pegoens, and from thence to Vendas Novas our fortune was the same.
I was welcomed with great kindness by the people of the hostelry of
the latter place, who were well acquainted with me on account of my
having twice passed the night under their roof. The name of the
keeper of this is, or was, Joze Dias Azido, and unlike the
generality of those of the same profession as himself in Portugal,
he is an honest man, and a stranger and foreigner who takes up his
quarters at his inn, may rest assured that he will not be most
unmercifully pillaged and cheated when the hour of reckoning shall
arrive, as he will not be charged a single re more than a native
Portuguese on a similar occasion. I paid at this place exactly one
half of the sum which was demanded from me at Arroyolos, where I
passed the ensuing night, and where the accommodation was in every
respect inferior.

At twelve next day we arrived at Monte More, and, as I was not
pressed for time, I determined upon viewing the ruins which cover
the top and middle part of the stately hill which towers above the
town. Having ordered some refreshment at the inn where we
dismounted, I ascended till I arrived at a large wall or rampart,
which, at a certain altitude embraces the whole hill. I crossed a
rude bridge of stones, which bestrides a small hollow or trench;
and passing by a large tower, entered through a portal into the
enclosed part of the hill. On the left hand stood a church, in
good preservation, and still devoted to the purposes of religion,
but which I could not enter, as the door was locked, and I saw no
one at hand to open it.

I soon found that my curiosity had led me to a most extraordinary
place, which quite beggars the scanty powers of description with
which I am gifted. I stumbled on amongst ruined walls, and at one
time found I was treading over vaults, as I suddenly started back
from a yawning orifice into which my next step, as I strolled
musing along, would have precipitated me. I proceeded for a
considerable way by the eastern wall, till I heard a tremendous
bark, and presently an immense dog, such as those which guard the
flocks in the neighbourhood against the wolves, came bounding to
attack me "with eyes that glowed and fangs that grinned." Had I
retreated, or had recourse to any other mode of defence than that
which I invariably practise under such circumstances, he would
probably have worried me; but I stooped till my chin nearly touched
my knee, and looked him full in the eyes, and as John Leyden says,
in the noblest ballad which the Land of Heather has produced:-

"The hound he yowled and back he fled,
As struck with fairy charm."

It is a fact known to many people, and I believe it has been
frequently stated, that no large and fierce dog or animal of any
kind, with the exception of the bull, which shuts its eyes and
rushes blindly forward, will venture to attack an individual who
confronts it with a firm and motionless countenance. I say large
and fierce, for it is much easier to repel a bloodhound or bear of
Finland in this manner than a dunghill cur or a terrier, against
which a stick or a stone is a much more certain defence. This will
astonish no one who considers that the calm reproving glance of
reason, which allays the excesses of the mighty and courageous in
our own species, has seldom any other effect than to add to the
insolence of the feeble and foolish, who become placid as doves
upon the infliction of chastisements, which if attempted to be
applied to the former would only serve to render them more
terrible, and like gunpowder cast on a flame, cause them in mad
desperation to scatter destruction around them.

The barking of the dog brought out from a kind of alley an elderly
man, whom I supposed to be his master, and of whom I made some
inquiries respecting the place. The man was civil, and informed me
that he served as a soldier in the British army, under the "great
lord," during the Peninsular war. He said that there was a convent
of nuns a little farther on, which he would show me, and thereupon
led the way to the south-east part of the wall, where stood a large
dilapidated edifice.

We entered a dark stone apartment, at one corner of which was a
kind of window occupied by a turning table, at which articles were
received into the convent or delivered out. He rang the bell, and,
without saying a word, retired, leaving me rather perplexed; but
presently I heard, though the speaker was invisible, a soft
feminine voice demanding who I was, and what I wanted. I replied
that I was an Englishman travelling into Spain, and that passing
through Monte Moro I had ascended the hill for the purpose of
seeing the ruins. The voice then said, "I suppose you are a
military man going to fight against the king, like the rest of your
countrymen." "No," said I, "I am not a military man, but a
Christian, and I go not to shed blood but to endeavour to introduce
the gospel of Christ into a country where it is not known;"
whereupon there was a stifled titter, I then inquired if there were
any copies of the Holy Scriptures in the convent, but the friendly
voice could give me no information on that point, and I scarcely
believe that its possessor understood the purport of my question.
It informed me, that the office of lady abbess of the house was an
annual one, and that every year there was a fresh superior; on my
inquiring whether the nuns did not frequently find the time
exceedingly heavy on their hands, it stated that, when they had
nothing better to do, they employed themselves in making
cheesecakes, which were disposed of in the neighbourhood. I
thanked the voice for its communications, and walked away. Whilst
proceeding under the wall of the house towards the south-west, I
heard a fresh and louder tittering above my head, and looking up,
saw three or four windows crowded with dusky faces, and black
waving hair; these belonged to the nuns, anxious to obtain a view
of the stranger. After kissing my hand repeatedly, I moved on, and
soon arrived at the south-west end of this mountain of curiosities.
There I found the remains of a large building, which seemed to have
been originally erected in the shape of a cross. A tower at its
eastern entrance was still entire; the western side was quite in
ruins, and stood on the verge of the hill overlooking the valley,
at the bottom of which ran the stream I have spoken of on a former

The day was intensely hot, notwithstanding the coldness of the
preceding nights; and the brilliant sun of Portugal now illumined a
landscape of entrancing beauty. Groves of cork trees covered the
farther side of the valley and the distant acclivities, exhibiting
here and there charming vistas, where various flocks of cattle were
feeding; the soft murmur of the stream, which was at intervals
chafed and broken by huge stones, ascended to my ears and filled my
mind with delicious feelings. I sat down on the broken wall and
remained gazing, and listening, and shedding tears of rapture; for,
of all the pleasures which a bountiful God permitteth his children
to enjoy, none are so dear to some hearts as the music of forests,
and streams, and the view of the beauties of his glorious creation.
An hour elapsed, and I still maintained my seat on the wall; the
past scenes of my life flitting before my eyes in airy and
fantastic array, through which every now and then peeped trees and
hills and other patches of the real landscape which I was
confronting; the sun burnt my visage, but I heeded it not; and I
believe that I should have remained till night, buried in these
reveries, which, I confess, only served to enervate the mind, and
steal many a minute which might be most profitably employed, had
not the report of the gun of a fowler in the valley, which awakened
the echoes of the woods, hills, and ruins, caused me to start on my
feet, and remember that I had to proceed three leagues before I
could reach the hostelry where I intended to pass the night.

I bent my steps to the inn, passing along a kind of rampart:
shortly before I reached the portal, which I have already
mentioned, I observed a kind of vault on my right hand, scooped out
of the side of the hill; its roof was supported by three pillars,
though part of it had given way towards the farther end, so that
the light was admitted through a chasm in the top. It might have
been intended for a chapel, a dungeon, or a cemetery, but I should
rather think for the latter; one thing I am certain of, that it was
not the work of Moorish hands, and indeed throughout my wanderings
in this place I saw nothing which reminded me of that most singular
people. The hill on which the ruins stand was doubtless originally
a strong fortress of the Moors, who, upon their first irruption
into the peninsula, seized and fortified most of the lofty and
naturally strong positions, but they had probably lost it at an
early period, so that the broken walls and edifices, which at
present cover the hill, are probably remains of the labours of the
Christians after the place had been rescued from the hands of the
terrible enemies of their faith. Monte Moro will perhaps recall
Cintra to the mind of the traveller, as it exhibits a distant
resemblance to that place; nevertheless, there is something in
Cintra wild and savage, to which Monte Moro has no pretension; its
scathed and gigantic crags are piled upon each other in a manner
which seems to menace headlong destruction to whatever is in the
neighbourhood; and the ruins which still cling to those crags seem
more like eagles' nests than the remains of the habitations even of
Moors; whereas those of Monte Moro stand comparatively at their
ease on the broad back of a hill, which, though stately and
commanding, has no crags nor precipices, and which can be ascended
on every side without much difficulty: yet I was much gratified by
my visit, and I shall wander far indeed before I forget the voice
in the dilapidated convent, the ruined walls amongst which I
strayed, and the rampart where, sunk in dreamy rapture, I sat
during a bright sunny hour at Monte Moro.

I returned to the inn, where I refreshed myself with tea and very
sweet and delicious cheesecakes, the handiwork of the nuns in the
convent above. Observing gloom and unhappiness on the countenances
of the people of the house, I inquired the reason of the hostess,
who sat almost motionless, on the hearth by the fire; whereupon she
informed me that her husband was deadly sick with a disorder which,
from her description, I supposed to be a species of cholera; she
added, that the surgeon who attended him entertained no hopes of
his recovery. I replied that it was quite in the power of God to
restore her husband in a few hours from the verge of the grave to
health and vigour, and that it was her duty to pray to that
Omnipotent Being with all fervency. I added, that if she did not
know how to pray upon such an occasion, I was ready to pray for
her, provided she would join in the spirit of the supplication. I
then offered up a short prayer in Portuguese, in which I entreated
the Lord to remove, if he thought proper, the burden of affliction
under which the family was labouring.

The woman listened attentively, with her hands devoutly clasped,
until the prayer was finished, and then gazed at me seemingly with
astonishment, but uttered no word by which I could gather that she
was pleased or displeased with what I had said. I now bade the
family farewell, and having mounted my mule, set forward to


The Druids' Stone--The Young Spaniard--Ruffianly Soldiers--Evils of
War--Estremoz--The Brawl--Ruined Watch Tower--Glimpse of Spain--Old
Times and New.

After proceeding about a league and a half, a blast came booming
from the north, rolling before it immense clouds of dust; happily
it did not blow in our faces, or it would have been difficult to
proceed, so great was its violence. We had left the road in order
to take advantage of one of those short cuts, which, though
possible for a horse or a mule, are far too rough to permit any
species of carriage to travel along them. We were in the midst of
sands, brushwood, and huge pieces of rock, which thickly studded
the ground. These are the stones which form the sierras of Spain
and Portugal; those singular mountains which rise in naked
horridness, like the ribs of some mighty carcass from which the
flesh has been torn. Many of these stones, or rocks, grew out of
the earth, and many lay on its surface unattached, perhaps wrested
from their bed by the waters of the deluge. Whilst toiling along
these wild wastes, I observed, a little way to my left, a pile of
stones of rather a singular appearance, and rode up to it. It was
a druidical altar, and the most perfect and beautiful one of the
kind which I had ever seen. It was circular, and consisted of
stones immensely large and heavy at the bottom, which towards the
top became thinner and thinner, having been fashioned by the hand
of art to something of the shape of scollop shells. These were
surmounted by a very large flat stone, which slanted down towards
the south, where was a door. Three or four individuals might have
taken shelter within the interior, in which was growing a small
thorn tree.

I gazed with reverence and awe upon the pile where the first
colonies of Europe offered their worship to the unknown God. The
temples of the mighty and skilful Roman, comparatively of modern
date, have crumbled to dust in its neighbourhood. The churches of
the Arian Goth, his successor in power, have sunk beneath the
earth, and are not to be found; and the mosques of the Moor, the
conqueror of the Goth, where and what are they? Upon the rock,
masses of hoary and vanishing ruin. Not so the Druids' stone;
there it stands on the hill of winds, as strong and as freshly new
as the day, perhaps thirty centuries back, when it was first
raised, by means which are a mystery. Earthquakes have heaved it,
but its copestone has not fallen; rain floods have deluged it, but
failed to sweep it from its station; the burning sun has flashed
upon it, but neither split nor crumbled it; and time, stern old
time, has rubbed it with his iron tooth, and with what effect let
those who view it declare. There it stands, and he who wishes to
study the literature, the learning, and the history of the ancient
Celt and Cymbrian, may gaze on its broad covering, and glean from
that blank stone the whole known amount. The Roman has left behind
him his deathless writings, his history, and his songs; the Goth
his liturgy, his traditions, and the germs of noble institutions;
the Moor his chivalry, his discoveries in medicine, and the
foundations of modern commerce; and where is the memorial of the
Druidic races? Yonder: that pile of eternal stone!

We arrived at Arroyolos about seven at night. I took possession of
a large two-bedded room, and, as I was preparing to sit down to
supper, the hostess came to inquire whether I had any objection to
receive a young Spaniard for the night. She said he had just
arrived with a train of muleteers, and that she had no other room
in which she could lodge him. I replied that I was willing, and in
about half an hour he made his appearance, having first supped with
his companions. He was a very gentlemanly, good-looking lad of
seventeen. He addressed me in his native language, and, finding
that I understood him, he commenced talking with astonishing
volubility. In the space of five minutes he informed me that,
having a desire to see the world, he had run away from his friends,
who were people of opulence at Madrid, and that he did not intend
to return until he had travelled through various countries. I told
him that if what he said was true, he had done a very wicked and
foolish action; wicked, because he must have overwhelmed those with
grief whom he was bound to honour and love, and foolish, inasmuch
as he was going to expose himself to inconceivable miseries and
hardships, which would shortly cause him to rue the step he had
taken; that he would be only welcome in foreign countries so long
as he had money to spend, and when he had none, he would be
repulsed as a vagabond, and would perhaps be allowed to perish of
hunger. He replied that he had a considerable sum of money with
him, no less than a hundred dollars, which would last him a long
time, and that when it was spent he should perhaps be able to
obtain more. "Your hundred dollars," said I, "will scarcely last
you three months in the country in which you are, even if it be not
stolen from you; and you may as well hope to gather money on the
tops of the mountains as expect to procure more by honourable
means." But he had not yet sufficiently drank of the cup of
experience to attend much to what I said, and I soon after changed
the subject. About five next morning he came to my bedside to take
leave, as his muleteers were preparing to depart. I gave him the
usual Spanish valediction (Vaya usted con Dios), and saw no more of

At nine, after having paid a most exorbitant sum for slight
accommodation, I started from Arroyolos, which is a town or large
village situated on very elevated ground, and discernible afar off.
It can boast of the remains of a large ancient and seemingly
Moorish castle, which stands on a hill on the left as you take the
road to Estremoz.

About a mile from Arroyolos I overtook a train of carts escorted by
a number of Portuguese soldiers, conveying stores and ammunition
into Spain. Six or seven of these soldiers marched a considerable
way in front; they were villainous looking ruffians upon whose
livid and ghastly countenances were written murder, and all the
other crimes which the decalogue forbids. As I passed by, one of
them, with a harsh, croaking voice, commenced cursing all
foreigners. "There," said he, "is this Frenchman riding on
horseback" (I was on a mule), "with a man" (the idiot) "to take
care of him, and all because he is rich; whilst I, who am a poor
soldier, am obliged to tramp on foot. I could find it in my heart
to shoot him dead, for in what respect is he better than I? But he
is a foreigner, and the devil helps foreigners and hates the
Portuguese." He continued shouting his remarks until I got about
forty yards in advance, when I commenced laughing; but it would
have been more prudent in me to have held my peace, for the next
moment, with bang--bang, two bullets, well aimed, came whizzing
past my ears. A small river lay just before me, though the bridge
was a considerable way on my left. I spurred my animal through it,
closely followed by my terrified guide, and commenced galloping
along a sandy plain on the other side, and so escaped with my life.

These fellows, with the look of banditti, were in no respect
better; and the traveller who should meet them in a solitary place
would have little reason to bless his good fortune. One of the
carriers (all of whom were Spaniards from the neighbourhood of
Badajoz, and had been despatched into Portugal for the purpose of
conveying the stores), whom I afterwards met in the aforesaid town,
informed me that the whole party were equally bad, and that he and
his companions had been plundered by them of various articles, and
threatened with death if they attempted to complain. How frightful
to figure to oneself an army of such beings in a foreign land, sent
thither either to invade or defend; and yet Spain, at the time I am
writing this, is looking forward to armed assistance from Portugal.
May the Lord in his mercy grant that the soldiers who proceed to
her assistance may be of a different stamp: and yet, from the lax
state of discipline which exists in the Portuguese army, in
comparison with that of England and France, I am afraid that the
inoffensive population of the disturbed provinces will say that
wolves have been summoned to chase away foxes from the sheepfold.
O! may I live to see the day when soldiery will no longer be
tolerated in any civilized, or at least Christian, country!

I pursued my route to Estremoz, passing by Monte Moro Novo, which
is a tall dusky hill, surmounted by an ancient edifice, probably
Moorish. The country was dreary and deserted, but offering here
and there a valley studded with cork trees and azinheiras. After
midday the wind, which during the night and morning had much
abated, again blew with such violence as nearly to deprive me of my
senses, though it was still in our rear.

I was heartily glad when, on ascending a rising ground, at about
four o'clock, I saw Estremoz on its hill at something less than a
league's distance. Here the view became wildly interesting; the
sun was sinking in the midst of red and stormy clouds, and its rays
were reflected on the dun walls of the lofty town to which we were
wending. Nor far distant to the south-west rose Serra Dorso, which
I had seen from Evora, and which is the most beautiful mountain in
the Alemtejo. My idiot guide turned his uncouth visage towards it,
and becoming suddenly inspired, opened his mouth for the first time
during the day, I might almost say since we had left Aldea Gallega,
and began to tell me what rare hunting was to be obtained in that
mountain. He likewise described with great minuteness a wonderful
dog, which was kept in the neighbourhood for the purpose of
catching the wolves and wild boars, and for which the proprietor
had refused twenty moidores.

At length we reached Estremoz, and took up our quarters at the
principal inn, which looks upon a large plain or market-place
occupying the centre of the town, and which is so extensive that I
should think ten thousand soldiers at least might perform their
evolutions there with case.

The cold was far too terrible to permit me to remain in the chamber
to which I had been conducted; I therefore went down to a kind of
kitchen on one side of the arched passage, which led under the
house to the yard and stables. A tremendous withering blast poured
through this passage, like the water through the flush of a mill.
A large cork tree was blazing in the kitchen beneath a spacious
chimney; and around it were gathered a noisy crew of peasants and
farmers from the neighbourhood, and three or four Spanish smugglers
from the frontier. I with difficulty obtained a place amongst
them, as a Portuguese or a Spaniard will seldom make way for a
stranger, till called upon or pushed aside, but prefers gazing upon
him with an expression which seems to say, I know what you want,
but I prefer remaining where I am.

I now first began to observe an alteration in the language spoken;
it had become less sibilant, and more guttural; and, when
addressing each other, the speakers used the Spanish title of
courtesy usted, or your worthiness, instead of the Portuguese high
flowing vossem se, or your lordship. This is the result of
constant communication with the natives of Spain, who never
condescend to speak Portuguese, even when in Portugal, but persist
in the use of their own beautiful language, which, perhaps, at some
future period, the Portuguese will generally adopt. This would
greatly facilitate the union of the two countries, hitherto kept
asunder by the natural waywardness of mankind.

I had not been seated long before the blazing pile, when a fellow,
mounted on a fine spirited horse, dashed from the stables through
the passage into the kitchen, where he commenced displaying his
horsemanship, by causing the animal to wheel about with the
velocity of a millstone, to the great danger of everybody in the
apartment. He then galloped out upon the plain, and after half an
hour's absence returned, and having placed his horse once more in
the stable, came and seated himself next to me, to whom he
commenced talking in a gibberish of which I understood very little,
but which he intended for French. He was half intoxicated, and
soon became three parts so, by swallowing glass after glass of
aguardiente. Finding that I made him no answer, he directed his
discourse to one of the contrabandistas, to whom he talked in bad
Spanish. The latter either did not or would not understand him;
but at last, losing patience, called him a drunkard, and told him
to hold his tongue. The fellow, enraged at this contempt, flung
the glass out of which he was drinking at the Spaniard's head, who
sprang up like a tiger, and unsheathing instantly a snick and snee
knife, made an upward cut at the fellow's cheek, and would have
infallibly laid it open, had I not pulled his arm down just in time
to prevent worse effects than a scratch above the lower jawbone,
which, however, drew blood.

The smuggler's companions interfered, and with much difficulty led
him off to a small apartment in the rear of the house, where they
slept, and kept the furniture of their mules. The drunkard then
commenced singing, or rather yelling, the Marseillois hymn; and
after having annoyed every one for nearly an hour, was persuaded to
mount his horse and depart, accompanied by one of his neighbours.
He was a pig merchant of the vicinity, but had formerly been a
trooper in the army of Napoleon, where, I suppose, like the drunken
coachman of Evora, he had picked up his French and his habits of

From Estremoz to Elvas the distance is six leagues. I started at
nine next morning; the first part of the way lay through an
enclosed country, but we soon emerged upon wild bleak downs, over
which the wind, which still pursued us, howled most mournfully. We
met no one on the route; and the scene was desolate in the extreme;
the heaven was of a dark grey, through which no glimpse of the sun
was to be perceived. Before us, at a great distance, on an
elevated ground, rose a tower--the only object which broke the
monotony of the waste. In about two hours from the time when we
first discovered it, we reached a fountain, at the foot of the hill
on which it stood; the water, which gushed into a long stone
trough, was beautifully clear and transparent, and we stopped here
to water the animals.

Having dismounted, I left the guide, and proceeded to ascend the
hill on which the tower stood. Though the ascent was very gentle I
did not accomplish it without difficulty; the ground was covered
with sharp stones, which, in two or three instances, cut through my
boots and wounded my feet; and the distance was much greater than I
had expected. I at last arrived at the ruin, for such it was. I
found it had been one of those watch towers or small fortresses
called in Portuguese atalaias; it was square, and surrounded by a
wall, broken down in many places. The tower itself had no door,
the lower part being of solid stone work; but on one side were
crevices at intervals between the stones, for the purpose of
placing the feet, and up this rude staircase I climbed to a small
apartment, about five feet square, from which the top had fallen.
It commanded an extensive view from all sides, and had evidently
been built for the accommodation of those whose business it was to
keep watch on the frontier, and at the appearance of an enemy to
alarm the country by signals--probably by a fire. Resolute men
might have defended themselves in this little fastness against many
assailants, who must have been completely exposed to their arrows
or musketry in the ascent.

Being about to leave the place, I heard a strange cry behind a part
of the wall which I had not visited, and hastening thither, I found
a miserable object in rags, seated upon a stone. It was a maniac--
a man about thirty years of age, and I believe deaf and dumb; there
he sat, gibbering and mowing, and distorting his wild features into
various dreadful appearances. There wanted nothing but this object
to render the scene complete; banditti amongst such melancholy
desolation would have been by no means so much in keeping. But the
maniac, on his stone, in the rear of the wind-beaten ruin,
overlooking the blasted heath, above which scowled the leaden
heaven, presented such a picture of gloom and misery as I believe
neither painter nor poet ever conceived in the saddest of their
musings. This is not the first instance in which it has been my
lot to verify the wisdom of the saying, that truth is sometimes
wilder than fiction.

I remounted my mule, and proceeded till, on the top of another
hill, my guide suddenly exclaimed, "there is Elvas." I looked in
the direction in which he pointed, and beheld a town perched on the
top of a lofty hill. On the other side of a deep valley towards
the left rose another hill, much higher, on the top of which is the
celebrated fort of Elvas, believed to be the strongest place in
Portugal. Through the opening between the fort and the town, but
in the background and far in Spain, I discerned the misty sides and
cloudy head of a stately mountain, which I afterwards learned was
Albuquerque, one of the loftiest of Estremadura.

We now got into a cultivated country, and following the road, which
wound amongst hedgerows, we arrived at a place where the ground
began gradually to shelve down. Here, on the right, was the
commencement of an aqueduct by means of which the town on the
opposite hill was supplied; it was at this point scarcely two feet
in altitude, but, as we descended, it became higher and higher, and
its proportions more colossal. Near the bottom of the valley it
took a turn to the left, bestriding the road with one of its
arches. I looked up, after passing under it; the water must have
been flowing near a hundred feet above my head, and I was filled
with wonder at the immensity of the structure which conveyed it.
There was, however, one feature which was no slight drawback to its
pretensions to grandeur and magnificence; the water was supported
not by gigantic single arches, like those of the aqueduct of
Lisbon, which stalk over the valley like legs of Titans, but by
three layers of arches, which, like three distinct aqueducts, rise
above each other. The expense and labour necessary for the
erection of such a structure must have been enormous; and, when we
reflect with what comparative ease modern art would confer the same
advantage, we cannot help congratulating ourselves that we live in
times when it is not necessary to exhaust the wealth of a province
to supply a town on a hill with one of the first necessaries of


Elvas--Extraordinary Longevity--The English Nation--Portuguese
Ingratitude--Illiberality--Fortifications--Spanish Beggar--Badajoz-
-The Custom House.

Arrived at the gate of Elvas, an officer came out of a kind of
guard house, and, having asked me some questions, despatched a
soldier with me to the police office, that my passport might be
viseed, as upon the frontier they are much more particular with
respect to passports than in other parts. This matter having been
settled, I entered an hostelry near the same gate, which had been
recommended to me by my host at Vendas Novas, and which was kept by
a person of the name of Joze Rosado. It was the best in the town,
though, for convenience and accommodation, inferior to a hedge
alehouse in England. The cold still pursued me, and I was glad to
take refuge in an inner kitchen, which, when the door was not open,
was only lighted by a fire burning somewhat dimly on the hearth.
An elderly female sat beside it in her chair, telling her beads:
there was something singular and extraordinary in her look, as well
as I could discern by the imperfect light of the apartment. I put
a few unimportant questions to her, to which she replied, but
seemed to be afflicted to a slight degree with deafness. Her hair
was becoming grey, and I said that I believed she was older than
myself, but that I was confident she had less snow on her head.

"How old may you be, cavalier?" said she, giving me that title
which in Spain is generally used when an extraordinary degree of
respect is wished to be exhibited. I answered that I was near
thirty. "Then," said she, "you were right in supposing that I am
older than yourself; I am older than your mother, or your mother's
mother: it is more than a hundred years since I was a girl, and
sported with the daughters of the town on the hillside." "In that
case," said I, "you doubtless remember the earthquake." "Yes," she
replied, "if there is any occurrence in my life that I remember, it
is that: I was in the church of Elvas at the moment, hearing the
mass of the king, and the priest fell on the ground, and let fall
the Host from his hands. I shall never forget how the earth shook;
it made us all sick; and the houses and walls reeled like
drunkards. Since that happened I have seen fourscore years pass by
me, yet I was older then than you are now."

I looked with wonder at this surprising female, and could scarcely
believe her words. I was, however, assured that she was in fact
upwards of a hundred and ten years of age, and was considered the
oldest person in Portugal. She still retained the use of her
faculties in as full a degree as the generality of people who have
scarcely attained the half of her age. She was related to the
people of the house.

As the night advanced, several persons entered for the purpose of
enjoying the comfort of the fire and for the sake of conversation,
for the house was a kind of news room, where the principal speaker
was the host, a man of some shrewdness and experience, who had
served as a soldier in the British army. Amongst others was the
officer who commanded at the gate. After a few observations, this
gentleman, who was a good-looking young man of five-and-twenty,
began to burst forth in violent declamation against the English
nation and government, who, he said, had at all times proved
themselves selfish and deceitful, but that their present conduct in
respect to Spain was particularly infamous, for though it was in
their power to put an end to the war at once, by sending a large
army thither, they preferred sending a handful of troops, in order
that the war might be prolonged, for no other reason than that it
was of advantage to them. Having paid him an ironical compliment
for his politeness and urbanity, I asked whether he reckoned
amongst the selfish actions of the English government and nation,
their having expended hundreds of millions of pounds sterling, and
an ocean of precious blood, in fighting the battles of Spain and
Portugal against Napoleon. "Surely," said I, "the fort of Elvas
above our heads, and still more the castle of Badajoz over the
water, speak volumes respecting English selfishness, and must,
every time you view them, confirm you in the opinion which you have
just expressed. And then, with respect to the present combat in
Spain, the gratitude which that country evinced to England after
the French, by means of English armies, had been expelled,--
gratitude evinced by discouraging the trade of England on all
occasions, and by offering up masses in thanksgiving when the
English heretics quitted the Spanish shores,--ought now to induce
England to exhaust and ruin herself, for the sake of hunting Don
Carlos out of his mountains. In deference to your superior
judgment," continued I to the officer, "I will endeavour to believe
that it would be for the advantage of England were the war
prolonged for an indefinite period; nevertheless, you would do me a
particular favour by explaining by what process in chemistry blood
shed in Spain will find its way into the English treasury in the
shape of gold."

As he was not ready with his answer, I took up a plate of fruit
which stood on the table beside me, and said, "What do you call
these fruits?" "Pomegranates and bolotas," he replied. "Right,"
said I, "a home-bred Englishman could not have given me that
answer; yet he is as much acquainted with pomegranates and bolotas
as your lordship is with the line of conduct which it is incumbent
upon England to pursue in her foreign and domestic policy."

This answer of mine, I confess, was not that of a Christian, and
proved to me how much of the leaven of the ancient man still
pervaded me; yet I must be permitted to add, that I believe no
other provocation would have elicited from me a reply so full of
angry feeling: but I could not command myself when I heard my own
glorious land traduced in this unmerited manner. By whom? A
Portuguese! A native of a country which has been twice liberated
from horrid and detestable thraldom by the hands of Englishmen.
But for Wellington and his heroes, Portugal would have been French
at this day; but for Napier and his mariners, Miguel would now be
lording it in Lisbon. To return, however, to the officer; every
one laughed at him, and he presently went away.

The next day I became acquainted with a respectable tradesman of
the name of Almeida, a man of talent, though rather rough in his
manners. He expressed great abhorrence of the papal system, which
had so long spread a darkness like that of death over his
unfortunate country, and I had no sooner informed him that I had
brought with me a certain quantity of Testaments, which it was my
intention to leave for sale at Elvas, than he expressed a great
desire to undertake the charge, and said that he would do the
utmost in his power to procure a sale for them amongst his numerous
customers. Upon showing him a copy, I remarked, your name is upon
the title page; the Portuguese version of the Holy Scriptures,
circulated by the Bible Society, having been executed by a
Protestant of the name of Almeida, and first published in the year
1712; whereupon he smiled, and observed that he esteemed it an
honour to be connected in name at least with such a man. He
scoffed at the idea of receiving any remuneration, and assured me
that the feeling of being permitted to co-operate in so holy and
useful a cause as the circulation of the Scriptures was quite a
sufficient reward.

After having accomplished this matter, I proceeded to survey the
environs of the place, and strolled up the hill to the fort on the
north side of the town. The lower part of the hill is planted with
azinheiras, which give it a picturesque appearance, and at the
bottom is a small brook, which I crossed by means of stepping
stones. Arrived at the gate of the fort, I was stopped by the
sentry, who, however, civilly told me, that if I sent in my name to
the commanding officer he would make no objection to my visiting
the interior. I accordingly sent in my card by a soldier who was
lounging about, and, sitting down on a stone, waited his return.
He presently appeared, and inquired whether I was an Englishman; to
which, having replied in the affirmative, he said, "In that case,
sir, you cannot enter; indeed, it is not the custom to permit any
foreigners to visit the fort." I answered that it was perfectly
indifferent to me whether I visited it or not; and, having taken a
survey of Badajoz from the eastern side of the hill, descended by
the way I came.

This is one of the beneficial results of protecting a nation and
squandering blood and treasure in its defence. The English, who
have never been at war with Portugal, who have fought for its
independence on land and sea, and always with success, who have
forced themselves by a treaty of commerce to drink its coarse and
filthy wines, which no other nation cares to taste, are the most
unpopular people who visit Portugal. The French have ravaged the
country with fire and sword, and shed the blood of its sons like
water; the French buy not its fruits and loathe its wines, yet
there is no bad spirit in Portugal towards the French. The reason
of this is no mystery; it is the nature not of the Portuguese only,
but of corrupt and unregenerate man, to dislike his benefactors,
who, by conferring benefits upon him, mortify in the most generous
manner his miserable vanity.

There is no country in which the English are so popular as in
France; but, though the French have been frequently roughly handled
by the English, and have seen their capital occupied by an English
army, they have never been subjected to the supposed ignominy of
receiving assistance from them.

The fortifications of Elvas are models of their kind, and, at the
first view, it would seem that the town, if well garrisoned, might
bid defiance to any hostile power; but it has its weak point: the
western side is commanded by a hill, at the distance of half a
mile, from which an experienced general would cannonade it, and
probably with success. It is the last town in this part of
Portugal, the distance to the Spanish frontier being barely two
leagues. It was evidently built as a rival to Badajoz, upon which
it looks down from its height across a sandy plain and over the
sullen waters of the Guadiana; but, though a strong town, it can
scarcely be called a defence to the frontier, which is open on all
sides, so that there would not be the slightest necessity for an
invading army to approach within a dozen leagues of its walls,
should it be disposed to avoid them. Its fortifications are so
extensive that ten thousand men at least would be required to man
them, who, in the event of an invasion, might be far better
employed in meeting the enemy in the open field. The French,
during their occupation of Portugal, kept a small force in this
place, who, at the approach of the British, retreated to the fort,
where they shortly after capitulated.

Having nothing farther to detain me at Elvas, I proceeded to cross
the frontier into Spain. My idiot guide was on his way back to
Aldea Gallega; and, on the fifth of January, I mounted a sorry mule
without bridle or stirrups, which I guided by a species of halter,
and followed by a lad who was to attend me on another, I spurred
down the hill of Elvas to the plain, eager to arrive in old
chivalrous romantic Spain. But I soon found that I had no need to
quicken the beast which bore me, for though covered with sores,
wall-eyed, and with a kind of halt in its gait, it cantered along
like the wind.

In little more than half an hour we arrived at a brook, whose
waters ran vigorously between steep banks. A man who was standing
on the side directed me to the ford in the squeaking dialect of
Portugal; but whilst I was yet splashing through the water, a voice
from the other bank hailed me, in the magnificent language of
Spain, in this guise: "O Senor Caballero, que me de usted una
limosna por amor de Dios, una limosnita para que io me compre un
traguillo de vino tinto" (Charity, Sir Cavalier, for the love of
God, bestow an alms upon me, that I may purchase a mouthful of red
wine). In a moment I was on Spanish ground, as the brook, which is
called Acaia, is the boundary here of the two kingdoms, and having
flung the beggar a small piece of silver, I cried in ecstasy
"Santiago y cierra Espana!" and scoured on my way with more speed
than before, paying, as Gil Blas says, little heed to the torrent
of blessings which the mendicant poured forth in my rear: yet
never was charity more unwisely bestowed, for I was subsequently
informed that the fellow was a confirmed drunkard, who took his
station every morning at the ford, where he remained the whole day
for the purpose of extorting money from the passengers, which he
regularly spent every night in the wine-shops of Badajoz. To those
who gave him money he returned blessings, and to those who refused,
curses; being equally skilled and fluent in the use of either.

Badajoz was now in view, at the distance of little more than half a
league. We soon took a turn to the left, towards a bridge of many
arches across the Guadiana, which, though so famed in song and
ballad, is a very unpicturesque stream, shallow and sluggish,
though tolerably wide; its banks were white with linen which the
washer-women had spread out to dry in the sun, which was shining
brightly; I heard their singing at a great distance, and the theme
seemed to be the praises of the river where they were toiling, for
as I approached, I could distinguish Guadiana, Guadiana, which
reverberated far and wide, pronounced by the clear and strong
voices of many a dark-checked maid and matron. I thought there was
some analogy between their employment and my own: I was about to
tan my northern complexion by exposing myself to the hot sun of
Spain, in the humble hope of being able to cleanse some of the foul
stains of Popery from the minds of its children, with whom I had
little acquaintance, whilst they were bronzing themselves on the
banks of the river in order to make white the garments of
strangers: the words of an eastern poet returned forcibly to my

"I'll weary myself each night and each day,
To aid my unfortunate brothers;
As the laundress tans her own face in the ray,
To cleanse the garments of others."

Having crossed the bridge, we arrived at the northern gate, when
out rushed from a species of sentry box a fellow wearing on his
head a high-peaked Andalusian hat, with his figure wrapped up in
one of those immense cloaks so well known to those who have
travelled in Spain, and which none but a Spaniard can wear in a
becoming manner: without saying a word, he laid hold of the halter
of the mule, and began to lead it through the gate up a dirty
street, crowded with long-cloaked people like himself. I asked him
what he meant, but he deigned not to return an answer, the boy,
however, who waited upon me said that it was one of the gate-
keepers, and that he was conducting us to the Custom House or
Alfandega, where the baggage would be examined. Having arrived
there, the fellow, who still maintained a dogged silence, began to
pull the trunks off the sumpter mule, and commenced uncording them.
I was about to give him a severe reproof for his brutality, but
before I could open my mouth a stout elderly personage appeared at
the door, who I soon found was the principal officer. He looked at
me for a moment and then asked me, in the English language, if I
was an Englishman. On my replying in the affirmative, he demanded
of the fellow how he dared to have the insolence to touch the
baggage, without orders, and sternly bade him cord up the trunks
again and place them on the mule, which he performed without
uttering a word. The gentleman then asked what the trunks
contained: I answered clothes and linen; when he begged pardon for
the insolence of the subordinate, and informed him that I was at
liberty to proceed where I thought proper. I thanked him for his
exceeding politeness, and, under guidance of the boy, made the best
of my way to the Inn of the Three Nations, to which I had been
recommended at Elvas.


Badajoz--Antonio the Gypsy--Antonio's Proposal--The Proposal
Accepted--Gypsy Breakfast--Departure from Badajoz--The Gypsy
Donkey--Merida--The Ruined Wall--The Crone--The Land of the Moor--
The Black Men--Life in the Desert--The Supper.

I was now at Badajoz in Spain, a country which for the next four
years was destined to be the scene of my labour: but I will not
anticipate. The neighbourhood of Badajoz did not prepossess me
much in favour of the country which I had just entered; it consists
chiefly of brown moors, which bear little but a species of
brushwood, called in Spanish carrasco; blue mountains are however
seen towering up in the far distance, which relieve the scene from
the monotony which would otherwise pervade it.

It was at this town of Badajoz, the capital of Estremadura, that I
first fell in with those singular people, the Zincali, Gitanos, or
Spanish gypsies. It was here I met with the wild Paco, the man
with the withered arm, who wielded the cachas (shears) with his
left hand; his shrewd wife, Antonia, skilled in hokkano baro, or
the great trick; the fierce gypsy, Antonio Lopez, their father-in-
law; and many other almost equally singular individuals of the
Errate, or gypsy blood. It was here that I first preached the
gospel to the gypsy people, and commenced that translation of the
New Testament in the Spanish gypsy tongue, a portion of which I
subsequently printed at Madrid.

After a stay of three weeks at Badajoz, I prepared to depart for
Madrid: late one afternoon, as I was arranging my scanty baggage,
the gypsy Antonio entered my apartment, dressed in his zamarra and
high-peaked Andalusian hat.

Antonio.--Good evening, brother; they tell me that on the
callicaste (day after to-morrow) you intend to set out for

Myself.--Such is my intention; I can stay here no longer.

Antonio.--The way is far to Madrilati: there are, moreover, wars
in the land and many chories (thieves) walk about; are you not
afraid to journey?

Myself.--I have no fears; every man must accomplish his destiny:
what befalls my body or soul was written in a gabicote (book) a
thousand years before the foundation of the world.

Antonio.--I have no fears myself, brother; the dark night is the
same to me as the fair day, and the wild carrascal as the market-
place or the chardy (fair); I have got the bar lachi in my bosom,
the precious stone to which sticks the needle.

Myself.--You mean the loadstone, I suppose. Do you believe that a
lifeless stone can preserve you from the dangers which occasionally
threaten your life?

Antonio.--Brother, I am fifty years old, and you see me standing
before you in life and strength; how could that be unless the bar
lachi had power? I have been soldier and contrabandista, and I
have likewise slain and robbed the Busne. The bullets of the
Gabine (French) and of the jara canallis (revenue officers) have
hissed about my ears without injuring me, for I carried the bar
lachi. I have twenty times done that which by Busnee law should
have brought me to the filimicha (gallows), yet my neck has never
yet been squeezed by the cold garrote. Brother, I trust in the bar
lachi, like the Calore of old: were I in the midst of the gulph of
Bombardo (Lyons), without a plank to float upon, I should feel no
fear; for if I carried the precious stone, it would bring me safe
to shore: the bar lachi has power, brother.

Myself.--I shall not dispute the matter with you, more especially
as I am about to depart from Badajoz: I must speedily bid you
farewell, and we shall see each other no more.

Antonio.--Brother, do you know what brings me hither?

Myself.--I cannot tell, unless it be to wish me a happy journey: I
am not gypsy enough to interpret the thoughts of other people.

Antonio.--All last night I lay awake, thinking of the affairs of
Egypt; and when I arose in the morning I took the bar lachi from my
bosom, and scraping it with a knife, swallowed some of the dust in
aguardiente, as I am in the habit of doing when I have made up my
mind; and I said to myself, I am wanted on the frontiers of
Castumba (Castile) on a certain matter. The strange Caloro is
about to proceed to Madrilati; the journey is long, and he may fall
into evil hands, peradventure into those of his own blood; for let
me tell you, brother, the Cales are leaving their towns and
villages, and forming themselves into troops to plunder the Busne,
for there is now but little law in the land, and now or never is
the time for the Calore to become once more what they were in
former times; so I said, the strange Caloro may fall into the hands
of his own blood and be ill-treated by them, which were shame: I
will therefore go with him through the Chim del Manro (Estremadura)
as far as the frontiers of Castumba, and upon the frontiers of
Castumba I will leave the London Caloro to find his own way to
Madrilati, for there is less danger in Castumba than in the Chim
del Manro, and I will then betake me to the affairs of Egypt which
call me from hence.

Myself.--This is a very hopeful plan of yours, my friend; and in
what manner do you propose that we shall travel?

Antonio.--I will tell you, brother; I have a gras in the stall,
even the one which I purchased at Olivencas, as I told you on a
former occasion; it is good and fleet, and cost me, who am a gypsy,
fifty chule (dollars); upon that gras you shall ride. As for
myself, I will journey upon the macho.

Myself.--Before I answer you, I shall wish you to inform me what
business it is which renders your presence necessary in Castumba;
your son-in-law, Paco, told me that it was no longer the custom of
the gypsies to wander.

Antonio.--It is an affair of Egypt, brother, and I shall not
acquaint you with it; peradventure it relates to a horse or an ass,
or peradventure it relates to a mule or a macho; it does not relate
to yourself, therefore I advise you not to inquire about it--Dosta
(enough). With respect to my offer, you are free to decline it;
there is a drungruje (royal road) between here and Madrilati, and
you can travel it in the birdoche (stage-coach) or with the dromale
(muleteers); but I tell you, as a brother, that there are chories
upon the drun, and some of them are of the Errate.

Certainly few people in my situation would have accepted the offer
of this singular gypsy. It was not, however, without its
allurements for me; I was fond of adventure, and what more ready
means of gratifying my love of it than by putting myself under the
hands of such a guide. There are many who would have been afraid
of treachery, but I had no fears on this point, as I did not
believe that the fellow harboured the slightest ill intention
towards me; I saw that he was fully convinced that I was one of the
Errate, and his affection for his own race, and his hatred for the
Busne, were his strongest characteristics. I wished, moreover, to
lay hold of every opportunity of making myself acquainted with the
ways of the Spanish gypsies, and an excellent one here presented
itself on my first entrance into Spain. In a word, I determined to
accompany the gypsy. "I will go with you," I exclaimed; "as for my
baggage, I will despatch it to Madrid by the birdoche." "Do so,
brother," he replied, "and the gras will go lighter. Baggage,
indeed!--what need of baggage have you? How the Busne on the road
would laugh if they saw two Cales with baggage behind them."

During my stay at Badajoz, I had but little intercourse with the
Spaniards, my time being chiefly devoted to the gypsies, with whom,
from long intercourse with various sections of their race in
different parts of the world, I felt myself much more at home than
with the silent, reserved men of Spain, with whom a foreigner might
mingle for half a century without having half a dozen words
addressed to him, unless he himself made the first advances to
intimacy, which, after all, might be rejected with a shrug and a no
intendo; for, among the many deeply rooted prejudices of these
people, is the strange idea that no foreigner can speak their
language; an idea to which they will still cling though they hear
him conversing with perfect ease; for in that case the utmost that
they will concede to his attainments is, Habla quatro palabras y
nada mas (he can speak four words, and no more).

Early one morning, before sunrise, I found myself at the house of
Antonio; it was a small mean building, situated in a dirty street.
The morning was quite dark; the street, however, was partially
illumined by a heap of lighted straw, round which two or three men
were busily engaged, apparently holding an object over the flames.
Presently the gypsy's door opened, and Antonio made his appearance;
and, casting his eye in the direction of the light, exclaimed, "The
swine have killed their brother; would that every Busno was served
as yonder hog is. Come in, brother, and we will eat the heart of
that hog." I scarcely understood his words, but, following him, he
led me into a low room in which was a brasero, or small pan full of
lighted charcoal; beside it was a rude table, spread with a coarse
linen cloth, upon which was bread and a large pipkin full of a mess
which emitted no disagreeable savour. "The heart of the balichow
is in that puchera," said Antonio; "eat, brother." We both sat
down and ate, Antonio voraciously. When we had concluded he
arose:- "Have you got your li?" he demanded. "Here it is," said I,
showing him my passport. "Good," said he, "you may want it; I want
none, my passport is the bar lachi. Now for a glass of repani, and
then for the road."

We left the room, the door of which he locked, hiding the key
beneath a loose brick in a corner of the passage. "Go into the
street, brother, whilst I fetch the caballerias from the stable."
I obeyed him. The sun had not yet risen, and the air was
piercingly cold; the grey light, however, of dawn enabled me to
distinguish objects with tolerable accuracy; I soon heard the
clattering of the animals' feet, and Antonio presently stepped
forth leading the horse by the bridle; the macho followed behind.
I looked at the horse and shrugged my shoulders: as far as I could
scan it, it appeared the most uncouth animal I had ever beheld. It
was of a spectral white, short in the body, but with remarkably
long legs. I observed that it was particularly high in the cruz or
withers. "You are looking at the grasti," said Antonio; "it is
eighteen years old, but it is the very best in the Chim del Manro;
I have long had my eye upon it; I bought it for my own use for the
affairs of Egypt. Mount, brother, mount and let us leave the
foros--the gate is about being opened."

He locked the door, and deposited the key in his faja. In less
than a quarter of an hour we had left the town behind us. "This
does not appear to be a very good horse," said I to Antonio, as we
proceeded over the plain. "It is with difficulty that I can make
him move."

"He is the swiftest horse in the Chim del Manro, brother," said
Antonio; "at the gallop and at the speedy trot there is no one to
match him; but he is eighteen years old, and his joints are stiff,
especially of a morning; but let him once become heated and the
genio del viejo (spirit of the old man) comes upon him and there is
no holding him in with bit or bridle. I bought that horse for the
affairs of Egypt, brother."

About noon we arrived at a small village in the neighbourhood of a
high lumpy hill. "There is no Calo house in this place," said
Antonio; "we will therefore go to the posada of the Busne, and
refresh ourselves, man and beast." We entered the kitchen and sat
down at the boards, calling for wine and bread. There were two
ill-looking fellows in the kitchen, smoking cigars; I said
something to Antonio in the Calo language.

"What is that I hear?" said one of the fellows, who was
distinguished by an immense pair of moustaches. "What is that I
hear? is it in Calo that you are speaking before me, and I a Chalan
and national? Accursed gypsy, how dare you enter this posada and
speak before me in that speech? Is it not forbidden by the law of
the land in which we are, even as it is forbidden for a gypsy to
enter the mercado? I tell you what, friend, if I hear another word
of Calo come from your mouth, I will cudgel your bones and send you
flying over the house-tops with a kick of my foot."

"You would do right," said his companion; "the insolence of these
gypsies is no longer to be borne. When I am at Merida or Badajoz I
go to the mercado, and there in a corner stand the accursed gypsies
jabbering to each other in a speech which I understand not. 'Gypsy
gentleman,' say I to one of them, 'what will you have for that
donkey?' 'I will have ten dollars for it, Caballero nacional,'
says the gypsy; 'it is the best donkey in all Spain.' 'I should
like to see its paces,' say I. 'That you shall, most valorous!'
says the gypsy, and jumping upon its back, he puts it to its paces,
first of all whispering something into its ears in Calo, and truly
the paces of the donkey are most wonderful, such as I have never
seen before. 'I think it will just suit me,' and after looking at
it awhile, I take out the money and pay for it. 'I shall go to my
house,' says the gypsy; and off he runs. 'I shall go to my
village,' say I, and I mount the donkey. 'Vamonos,' say I, but the
donkey won't move. I give him a switch, but I don't get on the
better for that. 'How is this?' say I, and I fall to spurring him.
What happens then, brother? The wizard no sooner feels the prick
than he bucks down, and flings me over his head into the mire. I
get up and look about me; there stands the donkey staring at me,
and there stand the whole gypsy canaille squinting at me with their
filmy eyes. 'Where is the scamp who has sold me this piece of
furniture?' I shout. 'He is gone to Granada, Valorous,' says one.
'He is gone to see his kindred among the Moors,' says another. 'I
just saw him running over the field, in the direction of -, with
the devil close behind him,' says a third. In a word, I am
tricked. I wish to dispose of the donkey; no one, however, will
buy him; he is a Calo donkey, and every person avoids him. At last
the gypsies offer thirty rials for him; and after much chaffering I
am glad to get rid of him at two dollars. It is all a trick,
however; he returns to his master, and the brotherhood share the
spoil amongst them. All which villainy would be prevented, in my
opinion, were the Calo language not spoken; for what but the word
of Calo could have induced the donkey to behave in such an
unaccountable manner?"

Both seemed perfectly satisfied with the justness of this
conclusion, and continued smoking till their cigars were burnt to
stumps, when they arose, twitched their whiskers, looked at us with
fierce disdain, and dashing the tobacco-ends to the ground, strode
out of the apartment.

"Those people seem no friends to the gypsies," said I to Antonio,
when the two bullies had departed, "nor to the Calo language

"May evil glanders seize their nostrils," said Antonio; "they have
been jonjabadoed by our people. However, brother, you did wrong to
speak to me in Calo, in a posada like this; it is a forbidden
language; for, as I have often told you, the king has destroyed the
law of the Cales. Let us away, brother, or those juntunes
(sneaking scoundrels) may set the justicia upon us."

Towards evening we drew near to a large town or village. "That is
Merida," said Antonio, "formerly, as the Busne say, a mighty city
of the Corahai. We shall stay here to-night, and perhaps for a day
or two, for I have some business of Egypt to transact in this
place. Now, brother, step aside with the horse, and wait for me
beneath yonder wall. I must go before and see in what condition
matters stand."

I dismounted from the horse, and sat down on a stone beneath the
ruined wall to which Antonio had motioned me; the sun went down,
and the air was exceedingly keen; I drew close around me an old
tattered gypsy cloak with which my companion had provided me, and
being somewhat fatigued, fell into a doze which lasted for nearly
an hour.

"Is your worship the London Caloro?" said a strange voice close
beside me.

I started and beheld the face of a woman peering under my hat.
Notwithstanding the dusk, I could see that the features were
hideously ugly and almost black; they belonged, in fact, to a gypsy
crone, at least seventy years of age, leaning upon a staff.

"Is your worship the London Caloro?" repeated she.

"I am he whom you seek," said I; "where is Antonio?"

"Curelando, curelando, baribustres curelos terela," {1} said the
crone: "come with me, Caloro of my garlochin, come with me to my
little ker, he will be there anon."

I followed the crone, who led the way into the town, which was
ruinous and seemingly half deserted; we went up the street, from
which she turned into a narrow and dark lane, and presently opened
the gate of a large dilapidated house; "Come in," said she.

"And the gras?" I demanded.

"Bring the gras in too, my chabo, bring the gras in too; there is
room for the gras in my little stable." We entered a large court,
across which we proceeded till we came to a wide doorway. "Go in,
my child of Egypt," said the hag; "go in, that is my little

"The place is as dark as pitch," said I, "and may be a well for
what I know; bring a light or I will not enter."

"Give me the solabarri (bridle)," said the hag, "and I will lead
your horse in, my chabo of Egypt, yes, and tether him to my little
manger." She led the horse through the doorway, and I heard her
busy in the darkness; presently the horse shook himself: "Grasti
terelamos," said the hag, who now made her appearance with the
bridle in her hand; "the horse has shaken himself, he is not harmed
by his day's journey; now let us go in, my Caloro, into my little

We entered the house and found ourselves in a vast room, which
would have been quite dark but for a faint glow which appeared at
the farther end; it proceeded from a brasero, beside which were
squatted two dusky figures.

"These are Callees," said the hag; "one is my daughter and the
other is her chabi; sit down, my London Caloro, and let us hear you

I looked about for a chair, but could see none; at a short
distance, however, I perceived the end of a broken pillar lying on
the floor; this I rolled to the brasero and sat down upon it.

"This is a fine house, mother of the gypsies," said I to the hag,
willing to gratify the desire she had expressed of hearing me
speak; "a fine house is this of yours, rather cold and damp,
though; it appears large enough to be a barrack for hundunares."

"Plenty of houses in this foros, plenty of houses in Merida, my
London Caloro, some of them just as they were left by the
Corahanoes; ah, a fine people are the Corahanoes; I often wish
myself in their chim once more."

"How is this, mother," said I, "have you been in the land of the

"Twice have I been in their country, my Caloro,--twice have I been
in the land of the Corahai; the first time is more than fifty years
ago, I was then with the Sese (Spaniards), for my husband was a
soldier of the Crallis of Spain, and Oran at that time belonged to

"You were not then with the real Moors," said I, "but only with the
Spaniards who occupied part of their country."

"I have been with the real Moors, my London Caloro. Who knows more
of the real Moors than myself? About forty years ago I was with my
ro in Ceuta, for he was still a soldier of the king, and he said to
me one day, 'I am tired of this place where there is no bread and
less water, I will escape and turn Corahano; this night I will kill
my sergeant and flee to the camp of the Moor.' 'Do so,' said I,
'my chabo, and as soon as may be I will follow you and become a
Corahani.' That same night he killed his sergeant, who five years
before had called him Calo and cursed him, then running to the wall
he dropped from it, and amidst many shots he escaped to the land of
the Corahai, as for myself, I remained in the presidio of Ceuta as
a suttler, selling wine and repani to the soldiers. Two years
passed by and I neither saw nor heard from my ro; one day there
came a strange man to my cachimani (wine-shop), he was dressed like
a Corahano, and yet he did not look like one, he looked like more a
callardo (black), and yet he was not a callardo either, though he
was almost black, and as I looked upon him I thought he looked
something like the Errate, and he said to me, 'Zincali; chachipe!'
and then he whispered to me in queer language, which I could
scarcely understand, 'Your ro is waiting, come with me, my little
sister, and I will take you unto him.' 'Where is he?' said I, and
he pointed to the west, to the land of the Corahai, and said, 'He
is yonder away; come with me, little sister, the ro is waiting.'
For a moment I was afraid, but I bethought me of my husband and I
wished to be amongst the Corahai; so I took the little parne
(money) I had, and locking up the cachimani went with the strange
man; the sentinel challenged us at the gate, but I gave him repani
(brandy) and he let us pass; in a moment we were in the land of the
Corahai. About a league from the town beneath a hill we found four
people, men and women, all very black like the strange man, and we
joined ourselves with them and they all saluted me and called me
little sister. That was all I understood of their discourse, which
was very crabbed; and they took away my dress and gave me other
clothes, and I looked like a Corahani, and away we marched for many
days amidst deserts and small villages, and more than once it
seemed to me that I was amongst the Errate, for their ways were the
same: the men would hokkawar (cheat) with mules and asses, and the
women told baji, and after many days we came before a large town,
and the black man said, 'Go in there, little sister, and there you
will find your ro;' and I went to the gate, and an armed Corahano
stood within the gate, and I looked in his face, and lo! it was my

"O what a strange town it was that I found myself in, full of
people who had once been Candore (Christians) but had renegaded and
become Corahai. There were Sese and Lalore (Portuguese), and men
of other nations, and amongst them were some of the Errate from my
own country; all were now soldiers of the Crallis of the Corahai
and followed him to his wars; and in that town I remained with my
ro a long time, occasionally going out with him to the wars, and I
often asked him about the black men who had brought me thither, and
he told me that he had had dealings with them, and that he believed
them to be of the Errate. Well, brother, to be short, my ro was
killed in the wars, before a town to which the king of the Corahai
laid siege, and I became a piuli (widow), and I returned to the
village of the renegades, as it was called, and supported myself as
well as I could; and one day as I was sitting weeping, the black
man, whom I had never seen since the day he brought me to my ro,
again stood before me, and he said, 'Come with me, little sister,
come with me, the ro is at hand'; and I went with him, and beyond
the gate in the desert was the same party of black men and women
which I had seen before. 'Where is my ro?' said I. 'Here he is,
little sister,' said the black man, 'here he is; from this day I am
the ro and you the romi; come, let us go, for there is business to
be done.'

"And I went with him, and he was my ro, and we lived amongst the
deserts, and hokkawar'd and choried and told baji; and I said to
myself, this is good, sure I am amongst the Errate in a better chim
than my own; and I often said that they were of the Errate, and
then they would laugh and say that it might be so, and that they
were not Corahai, but they could give no account of themselves.

"Well, things went on in this way for years, and I had three chai
by the black man, two of them died, but the youngest, who is the
Calli who sits by the brasero, was spared; so we roamed about and
choried and told baji; and it came to pass that once in the winter
time our company attempted to pass a wide and deep river, of which
there are many in the Chim del Corahai, and the boat overset with
the rapidity of the current and all our people were drowned, all
but myself and my chabi, whom I bore in my bosom. I had now no
friends amongst the Corahai, and I wandered about the despoblados
howling and lamenting till I became half lili (mad), and in this
manner I found my way to the coast, where I made friends with the
captain of a ship and returned to this land of Spain. And now I am
here, I often wish myself back again amongst the Corahai."

Here she commenced laughing loud and long, and when she had ceased,
her daughter and grandchild took up the laugh, which they continued
so long that I concluded they were all lunatics.

Hour succeeded hour, and still we sat crouching over the brasero,
from which, by this time, all warmth had departed; the glow had
long since disappeared, and only a few dying sparks were to be
distinguished. The room or hall was now involved in utter
darkness; the women were motionless and still; I shivered and began
to feel uneasy. "Will Antonio be here to-night?" at length I

"No tenga usted cuidao, my London Caloro," said the Gypsy mother,
in an unearthly tone; "Pepindorio {2} has been here some time."

I was about to rise from my seat and attempt to escape from the
house, when I felt a hand laid upon my shoulder, and in a moment I
heard the voice of Antonio.

"Be not afraid, 'tis I, brother; we will have a light anon, and
then supper."

The supper was rude enough, consisting of bread, cheese, and
olives. Antonio, however, produced a leathern bottle of excellent
wine; we despatched these viands by the light of an earthen lamp
which was placed upon the floor.

"Now," said Antonio to the youngest female, "bring me the pajandi,
and I will sing a gachapla."

The girl brought the guitar, which, with some difficulty, the Gypsy
tuned, and then strumming it vigorously, he sang:

"I stole a plump and bonny fowl,
But ere I well had dined,
The master came with scowl and growl,
And me would captive bind.

"My hat and mantle off I threw,
And scour'd across the lea,
Then cried the beng {3} with loud halloo,
Where does the Gypsy flee?"

He continued playing and singing for a considerable time, the two
younger females dancing in the meanwhile with unwearied diligence,
whilst the aged mother occasionally snapped her fingers or beat
time on the ground with her stick. At last Antonio suddenly laid
down the instrument:-

"I see the London Caloro is weary; enough, enough, to-morrow more
thereof--we will now to the charipe (bed)."

"With all my heart," said I; "where are we to sleep?"

"In the stable," said he, "in the manger; however cold the stable
may be we shall be warm enough in the bufa."


The Gypsy's Granddaughter--Proposed Marriage--The Algnazil--The
Assault--Speedy Trot--Arrival at Trujillo--Night and Rain--The
Forest--The Bivouac--Mount and Away!--Jaraicejo--The National--The
Cavalier Balmerson--Among the Thicket--Serious Discourse--What is
Truth?--Unexpected Intelligence.

We remained three days at the Gypsies' house, Antonio departing
early every morning, on his mule, and returning late at night. The
house was large and ruinous, the only habitable part of it, with
the exception of the stable, being the hall, where we had supped,
and there the Gypsy females slept at night, on some mats and
mattresses in a corner.

"A strange house is this," said I to Antonio, one morning as he was
on the point of saddling his mule and departing, as I supposed, on
the affairs of Egypt; "a strange house and strange people; that
Gypsy grandmother has all the appearance of a sowanee (sorceress)."

"All the appearance of one!" said Antonio; "and is she not really
one? She knows more crabbed things and crabbed words than all the
Errate betwixt here and Catalonia. She has been amongst the wild
Moors, and can make more drows, poisons, and philtres than any one
alive. She once made a kind of paste, and persuaded me to taste,
and shortly after I had done so my soul departed from my body, and
wandered through horrid forests and mountains, amidst monsters and
duendes, during one entire night. She learned many things amidst
the Corahai which I should be glad to know."

"Have you been long acquainted with her?" said I; "you appear to be
quite at home in this house."

"Acquainted with her!" said Antonio. "Did not my own brother marry
the black Calli, her daughter, who bore him the chabi, sixteen
years ago, just before he was hanged by the Busne?"

In the afternoon I was seated with the Gypsy mother in the hall,
the two Callees were absent telling fortunes about the town and
neighbourhood, which was their principal occupation. "Are you
married, my London Caloro?" said the old woman to me. "Are you a

Myself.--Wherefore do you ask, O Dai de los Cales?

Gypsy Mother.--It is high time that the lacha of the chabi were
taken from her, and that she had a ro. You can do no better than
take her for romi, my London Caloro.

Myself.--I am a stranger in this land, O mother of the Gypsies, and
scarcely know how to provide for myself, much less for a romi.

Gypsy Mother.--She wants no one to provide for her, my London
Caloro, she can at any time provide for herself and her ro. She
can hokkawar, tell baji, and there are few to equal her at stealing
a pastesas. Were she once at Madrilati, where they tell me you are
going, she would make much treasure; therefore take her thither,
for in this foros she is nahi (lost), as it were, for there is
nothing to be gained; but in the foros baro it would be another
matter; she would go dressed in lachipi and sonacai (silk and
gold), whilst you would ride about on your black-tailed gra; and
when you had got much treasure, you might return hither and live
like a Crallis, and all the Errate of the Chim del Manro should bow
down their heads to you. What, say you, my London Caloro, what say
you to my plan?

Myself.--Your plan is a plausible one, mother, or at least some
people would think so; but I am, as you are aware, of another chim,
and have no inclination to pass my life in this country.

Gypsy Mother.--Then return to your own country, my Caloro, the
chabi can cross the pani. Would she not do business in London with
the rest of the Calore? Or why not go to the land of the Corahai?
In which case I would accompany you; I and my daughter, the mother
of the chabi.

Myself.--And what should we do in the land of the Corahai? It is a
poor and wild country, I believe.

Gypsy Mother.--The London Caloro asks me what we could do in the
land of the Corahai! Aromali! I almost think that I am speaking
to a lilipendi (simpleton). Are there not horses to chore? Yes, I
trow there are, and better ones than in this land, and asses and
mules. In the land of the Corahai you must hokkawar and chore even
as you must here, or in your own country, or else you are no
Caloro. Can you not join yourselves with the black people who live
in the despoblados? Yes, surely; and glad they would be to have
among them the Errate from Spain and London. I am seventy years of
age, but I wish not to die in this chim, but yonder, far away,
where both my roms are sleeping. Take the chabi, therefore, and go
to Madrilati to win the parne, and when you have got it, return,
and we will give a banquet to all the Busne in Merida, and in their
food I will mix drow, and they shall eat and burst like poisoned
sheep. . . . And when they have eaten we will leave them, and away
to the land of the Moor, my London Caloro.

During the whole time that I remained at Merida I stirred not once
from the house; following the advice of Antonio, who informed me
that it would not be convenient. My time lay rather heavily on my
hands, my only source of amusement consisting in the conversation
of the women, and in that of Antonio when he made his appearance at
night. In these tertulias the grandmother was the principal
spokeswoman, and astonished my ears with wonderful tales of the
Land of the Moors, prison escapes, thievish feats, and one or two
poisoning adventures, in which she had been engaged, as she
informed me, in her early youth.

There was occasionally something very wild in her gestures and
demeanour; more than once I observed her, in the midst of much
declamation, to stop short, stare in vacancy, and thrust out her
palms as if endeavouring to push away some invisible substance; she
goggled frightfully with her eyes, and once sank back in
convulsions, of which her children took no farther notice than
observing that she was only lili, and would soon come to herself.

Late in the afternoon of the third day, as the three women and
myself sat conversing as usual over the brasero, a shabby looking
fellow in an old rusty cloak walked into the room: he came
straight up to the place where we were sitting, produced a paper
cigar, which he lighted at a coal, and taking a whiff or two,
looked at me: "Carracho," said he, "who is this companion?"

I saw at once that the fellow was no Gypsy: the women said
nothing, but I could hear the grandmother growling to herself,
something after the manner of an old grimalkin when disturbed.

"Carracho," reiterated the fellow, "how came this companion here?"

"No le penela chi min chaboro," said the black Callee to me, in an
undertone; "sin un balicho de los chineles {4};" then looking up to
the interrogator she said aloud, "he is one of our people from
Portugal, come on the smuggling lay, and to see his poor sisters

"Then let him give me some tobacco," said the fellow, "I suppose he
has brought some with him."

"He has no tobacco," said the black Callee, "he has nothing but old
iron. This cigar is the only tobacco there is in the house; take
it, smoke it, and go away!"

Thereupon she produced a cigar from out her shoe, which she
presented to the alguazil.

"This will not do," said the fellow, taking the cigar, "I must have
something better; it is now three months since I received anything
from you; the last present was a handkerchief, which was good for
nothing; therefore hand me over something worth taking, or I will
carry you all to the Carcel."

"The Busno will take us to prison," said the black Callee, "ha! ha!

"The Chinel will take us to prison," giggled the young girl "he!
he! he!"

"The Bengui will carry us all to the estaripel," grunted the Gypsy
grandmother, "ho! ho! ho!"

The three females arose and walked slowly round the fellow, fixing
their eyes steadfastly on his face; he appeared frightened, and
evidently wished to get away. Suddenly the two youngest seized his
hands, and whilst he struggled to release himself, the old woman
exclaimed: "You want tobacco, hijo--you come to the Gypsy house to
frighten the Callees and the strange Caloro out of their plako--
truly, hijo, we have none for you, and right sorry I am; we have,
however, plenty of the dust a su servicio."

Here, thrusting her hand into her pocket, she discharged a handful
of some kind of dust or snuff into the fellow's eyes; he stamped
and roared, but was for some time held fast by the two Callees; he
extricated himself, however, and attempted to unsheath a knife
which he bore at his girdle; but the two younger females flung
themselves upon him like furies, while the old woman increased his
disorder by thrusting her stick into his face; he was soon glad to
give up the contest, and retreated, leaving behind him his hat and
cloak, which the chabi gathered up and flung after him into the

"This is a bad business," said I, "the fellow will of course bring
the rest of the justicia upon us, and we shall all be cast into the

"Ca!" said the black Callee, biting her thumb nail, "he has more
reason to fear us than we him, we could bring him to the filimicha;
we have, moreover, friends in this town, plenty, plenty."

"Yes," mumbled the grandmother, "the daughters of the baji have
friends, my London Caloro, friends among the Busnees, baributre,
baribu (plenty, plenty)."

Nothing farther of any account occurred in the Gypsy house; the
next day, Antonio and myself were again in the saddle, we travelled
at least thirteen leagues before we reached the Venta, where we
passed the night; we rose early in the morning, my guide informing
me that we had a long day's journey to make. "Where are we bound
to?" I demanded. "To Trujillo," he replied.

When the sun arose, which it did gloomily and amidst threatening
rain-clouds, we found ourselves in the neighbourhood of a range of
mountains which lay on our left, and which, Antonio informed me,
were called the Sierra of San Selvan; our route, however, lay over
wide plains, scantily clothed with brushwood, with here and there a
melancholy village, with its old and dilapidated church.
Throughout the greater part of the day, a drizzling rain was
falling, which turned the dust of the roads into mud and mire,
considerably impeding our progress. Towards evening we reached a
moor, a wild place enough, strewn with enormous stones and rocks.
Before us, at some distance, rose a strange conical hill, rough and
shaggy, which appeared to be neither more nor less than an immense
assemblage of the same kind of rocks which lay upon the moor. The
rain had now ceased, but a strong wind rose and howled at our
backs. Throughout the journey, I had experienced considerable
difficulty in keeping up with the mule of Antonio; the walk of the
horse was slow, and I could discover no vestige of the spirit which
the Gypsy had assured me lurked within him. We were now upon a
tolerably clear spot of the moor: "I am about to see," I said,
"whether this horse has any of the quality which you have
described." "Do so," said Antonio, and spurred his beast onward,
speedily leaving me far behind. I jerked the horse with the bit,
endeavouring to arouse his dormant spirit, whereupon he stopped,
reared, and refused to proceed. "Hold the bridle loose and touch
him with your whip," shouted Antonio from before. I obeyed, and
forthwith the animal set off at a trot, which gradually increased
in swiftness till it became a downright furious speedy trot; his
limbs were now thoroughly lithy, and he brandished his fore legs in
a manner perfectly wondrous; the mule of Antonio, which was a
spirited animal of excellent paces, would fain have competed with
him, but was passed in a twinkling. This tremendous trot endured
for about a mile, when the animal, becoming yet more heated, broke
suddenly into a gallop. Hurrah! no hare ever ran so wildly or
blindly; it was, literally, ventre a terre; and I had considerable
difficulty in keeping him clear of rocks, against which he would
have rushed in his savage fury, and dashed himself and rider to

This race brought me to the foot of the hill, where I waited till
the Gypsy rejoined me: we left the hill, which seemed quite
inaccessible, on our right, passing through a small and wretched
village. The sun went down, and dark night presently came upon us;
we proceeded on, however, for nearly three hours, until we heard
the barking of dogs, and perceived a light or two in the distance.
"That is Trujillo," said Antonio, who had not spoken for a long
time. "I am glad of it," I replied; "I am thoroughly tired; I
shall sleep soundly in Trujillo." "That is as it may be," said the
Gypsy, and spurred his mule to a brisker pace. We soon entered the
town, which appeared dark and gloomy enough; I followed close
behind the Gypsy, who led the way I knew not whither, through
dismal streets and dark places, where cats were squalling. "Here
is the house," said he at last, dismounting before a low mean hut;
he knocked, no answer was returned;--he knocked again, but still
there was no reply; he shook the door and essayed to open it, but
it appeared firmly locked and bolted. "Caramba!" said he, "they
are out--I feared it might be so. Now what are we to do?"

"There can be no difficulty," said I, "with respect to what we have
to do; if your friends are gone out, it is easy enough to go to a

"You know not what you say," replied the Gypsy, "I dare not go to
the mesuna, nor enter any house in Trujillo save this, and this is
shut; well, there is no remedy, we must move on, and, between
ourselves, the sooner we leave this place the better; my own
planoro (brother) was garroted at Trujillo."

He lighted a cigar, by means of a steel and yesca, sprang on his
mule, and proceeded through streets and lanes equally dismal as
those which we had already traversed till we again found ourselves
out of the, town.

I confess I did not much like this decision of the Gypsy; I felt
very slight inclination to leave the town behind and to venture
into unknown places in the dark night: amidst rain and mist, for
the wind had now dropped, and the rain began again to fall briskly.
I was, moreover, much fatigued, and wished for nothing better than
to deposit myself in some comfortable manger, where I might sink to
sleep, lulled by the pleasant sound of horses and mules despatching
their provender. I had, however, put myself under the direction of
the Gypsy, and I was too old a traveller to quarrel with my guide
under the present circumstances. I therefore followed close at his
crupper; our only light being the glow emitted from the Gypsy's
cigar; at last he flung it from his mouth into a puddle, and we
were then in darkness.

We proceeded in this manner for a long time; the Gypsy was silent;
I myself was equally so; the rain descended more and more. I
sometimes thought I heard doleful noises, something like the
hooting of owls. "This is a strange night to be wandering abroad
in," I at length said to Antonio.

"It is, brother," said he, "but I would sooner be abroad in such a
night, and in such places, than in the estaripel of Trujillo."

We wandered at least a league farther, and appeared now to be near
a wood, for I could occasionally distinguish the trunks of immense
trees. Suddenly Antonio stopped his mule; "Look, brother," said
he, "to the left, and tell me if you do not see a light; your eyes
are sharper than mine." I did as he commanded me. At first I
could see nothing, but moving a little farther on I plainly saw a
large light at some distance, seemingly amongst the trees. "Yonder
cannot be a lamp or candle," said I; "it is more like the blaze of
a fire." "Very likely," said Antonio. "There are no queres
(houses) in this place; it is doubtless a fire made by durotunes
(shepherds); let us go and join them, for, as you say, it is
doleful work wandering about at night amidst rain and mire."

We dismounted and entered what I now saw was a forest, leading the
animals cautiously amongst the trees and brushwood. In about five
minutes we reached a small open space, at the farther side of
which, at the foot of a large cork tree, a fire was burning, and by
it stood or sat two or three figures; they had heard our approach,
and one of them now exclaimed Quien Vive? "I know that voice,"
said Antonio, and leaving the horse with me, rapidly advanced
towards the fire: presently I heard an Ola! and a laugh, and soon
the voice of Antonio summoned me to advance. On reaching the fire
I found two dark lads, and a still darker woman of about forty; the
latter seated on what appeared to be horse or mule furniture. I
likewise saw a horse and two donkeys tethered to the neighbouring
trees. It was in fact a Gypsy bivouac. . . . "Come forward,
brother, and show yourself," said Antonio to me; "you are amongst
friends; these are of the Errate, the very people whom I expected
to find at Trujillo, and in whose house we should have slept."

"And what," said I, "could have induced them to leave their house
in Trujillo and come into this dark forest in the midst of wind and
rain, to pass the night?"

"They come on business of Egypt, brother, doubtless," replied
Antonio; "and that business is none of ours, Calla boca! It is
lucky we have found them here, else we should have had no supper,
and our horses no corn."

"My ro is prisoner at the village yonder," said the woman, pointing
with her hand in a particular direction; "he is prisoner yonder for
choring a mailla (stealing a donkey); we are come to see what we
can do in his behalf; and where can we lodge better than in this
forest, where there is nothing to pay? It is not the first time, I
trow, that Calore have slept at the root of a tree."

One of the striplings now gave us barley for our animals in a large
bag, into which we successively introduced their heads, allowing
the famished creatures to regale themselves till we conceived that
they had satisfied their hunger. There was a puchero simmering at
the fire, half full of bacon, garbanzos, and other provisions; this
was emptied into a large wooden platter, and out of this Antonio
and myself supped; the other Gypsies refused to join us, giving us
to understand that they had eaten before our arrival; they all,
however, did justice to the leathern bottle of Antonio, which,
before his departure from Merida, he had the precaution to fill.

I was by this time completely overcome with fatigue and sleep.
Antonio flung me an immense horse-cloth, of which he bore more than
one beneath the huge cushion on which he rode; in this I wrapped
myself, and placing my head upon a bundle, and my feet as near as
possible to the fire, I lay down.

Antonio and the other Gypsies remained seated by the fire
conversing. I listened for a moment to what they said, but I did
not perfectly understand it, and what I did understand by no means
interested me: the rain still drizzled, but I heeded it not, and
was soon asleep.

The sun was just appearing as I awoke. I made several efforts


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