« AnteriorContinuar »
bed she had quitted, and went through all the
he has no linen for his table, no knives, no forks,
The energies of poor Celina's mind were nearly annihilated by the evils which now oppressed her, and which seemed durable as life, from the little probability there appeared of her being able to escape. She did escape, however, and her last translation was to Asiatic Turkey, where she fell into the hands of a Jew dealer in slaves. She was purchased by a Mussulman, who conveyed her to his haram; where, regardless of the preliminary forms of courtship, he instantly began an attack upon her person. Shocked and disgusted at this brutality, Celina vigorously repulsed him, but anger augmenting his natural superiority in strength, she was nearly overpowered, when suddenly perceiving a dagger in his belt, she snatched it, and attempted to stab him. In the struggle she awoke, and experienced a delightful revulsion of feeling on beholding Dorval at her bed side.
The impression left on her mind made her feel in their full force all the advantages of her situation, while it diminished the magnitude of all her real inconveniences, and annihilated those of fancy. From this period her discontent vanished, and if ever under any circumstances it threatened to return, she took a retrospect of the miseries to which she had been subjected in her dream, and by reflecting that, instead of the mingled good and evil which was her present lot, she might, had it so pleased Providence, have been doomed to the unchequered wretchedness of some of her visionary situations, she effectually kept at a distance the enemy of her repose, gradually domesticated her husband, and proved, that though suplife furnished no happiness without alloy, plies enough to satisfy every rational expecta tion,
In this island Celina speedily made some conquests, and was espoused by two young friends, who alternately shared her bed. The insensibility of the American savages was strongly contrasted by the glowing ardour of these Indian youths, and for a short time Celina thought herself the happiest of mortals; but passions that are violent are never lasting, and the impassioned tenderness of the young husbands was at length succeeded by a contemptuous indifference. Neglected by them both, she passed her time in vain regrets, yet could not wonder that coldness should spring up in the bosom of those who can admit a partner in their love. To console herself she gave encouragement to the passion of a secret admirer, but was detected, and to escape the punishment of her infidelity flew to Africa.
Arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, she encountered an African Boor. Of all human beings the Boor of the Cape is the most detestable; in cruelty he surpasses the most ferocious savage; in dirt and indolence he is unequalled; the walls of his wretched habitation are covered with spiders of an enormous size, and the vermin and filth which lay on the floor are never removed till absolute necessity compels him to this exertion;
ACCOUNT OF A JOURNEY TO MADRID.
My mother being ordered by her physician to drink the Pyrenean mineral waters, we left Paris the 13th of July, at eight o'clock in the morning. After a journey of eleven days, and having passed through Orleans, Tours, Bordeaux, Agen, and Tarbes, we arrived at the hotwells, situated in the midst of the Pyrenées. Supported by the hope of returning home, I here spent three months in the most dismal manner possible. On the eve of our intended departure, my mother received some intelligence which delayed our journey; but hearing that my aunt was setting out for Madrid, and that she wished us to be of her party, and there pass the ensuing winter, my mother agreed that we should ac- Madrid is rather a fine city, about four miles in company her; and we departed for Bayonne. I circumference: there are several very handsome was in despair at the idea of leaving my country, streets, though the whole of the ground is rather this being the first time I had ever quitted my on a declivity; the houses are generally well home, which contained many persons that were built, but badly ranged. Madrid is ill situated, infinitely dear to me; my period of exile, as I on a rising ground, in the centre of a barren considered it, being expired, I had been for plain, bounded by a chain of mountains, some some time fondly anticipating the delight I of which are covered with snow. Several fine should experience in again being re-united to my bridges cross the river Mancanarès, which flows father, brothers, and sisters; and to be disap-through one end of the city, and which is often pointed, appeared the greatest misfortune that could happen to me. I was, however, obliged to comply; and having joined my aunt, we left Bayonne on the 1st of November. After having traversed the river Bidassoa, we saw the famous Isle of the Conference; we afterwards crossed Biscay, which is a very pleasant mountainous country. These mountains are cultivated up to the summit, the views are very fine, and there are many limpid streams. The inhabitants are of a lively disposition, and are generally handsome; they speak a sort of Patois, corrupted from the Spanish. There are scarcely any lakes, which facilitates commerce, and consequently adds to the fertility of the country. We passed through Victoria, the principal town of Biscay, and afterwards traversed ancient Castillia. The roads here are very bad, a great part of the country uncultivated, and both the villages and inhabitants appear very miserable. On our way we passed through several large towns, such as Valadoli, Burgos, and some others. We afterwards traversed New Castillia, which is also very far from a pleasant country. At last, after having travelled four hundred and fifty miles in sixteen days, we arrived at Madrid. The diligence performs this journey in six days; and those who travel by the tiros, as we did, generally in ten or eleven days; but we, being a large company, and
most of the inns being very poor ones, so much so, that some of them could scarcely protect us from the nightly air, we were obliged to stop whenever we met with one, the appearance of which promised us a tolerable reception. On my first arrival at Madrid, I imagined myself at the furthermost extremity of the world: other manners, another language; in short, my state very much resembled that of Robinson Crusoe, in his island. However, the kindness and attentions of my relations soon reconciled me to my situation; and I very shortly knew enough of the language to be able to form an idea of the country.
Fire-places and carpets are seldom seen in Spain; in lieu of the former, they make use of a brasero, or stove, placed in the middle of the apartment, which is very unwholesome. Mats occupy the place of carpets.
The climate of Madrid is rather extraordinary ; the winter of 1790 was uncommonly mild. During the months of January and February, the atmosphere was perfectly serene; at noon the heat of the sun was insupportable, and in the shade it froze very hard. The nights were very cold, and the air much keener than in France.→→→ This winter was said to be the finest the Spaniards had enjoyed for many years. The spring was very rainy, and the warm weather, which generally begins in April, did not commence till the 18th of June; at this period it was almost unbearable.
The Spaniards are rather grave, and, to me, they appeared far from amiable; they associate but little together. Each lady has at her house, in the afternoon, tetuille, an assemblage, of seven or eight persons. At these meetings chocolate is served, and those who wish it play at cards; but each person dines at home; afterwards they take the siesta, and then visit the theatre.
Many Spanish ladies of condition have the greatest part of their fertunes at their own dis
posal; but they have to bear the expences of their establishments, which, owing to their numerous retinue, and bad management, are far from inconsiderable.
though not so large as that of Versailles: it is
The churches in Spain are clean and much ornamented, particularly at Madrid; they are very magnificent, but there are no chairs, and one is compelled to sit upon hassocks on the ground.
The cabinet of natural history is carefully preserved and very curious. There is an immense number of agates, metals, and animals of every species. There is also a collection of all the various marble of the country. The animals are very badly stuffed, because the Spaniards are totally ignorant of the proper manner of doing this. There is a skeleton which was discovered forty feet under ground, is much larger than any elephant, and of quite a different form.
The prato (so called from its being originally a field), is the most pleasant as well as the most fashionable promenade in Madrid; it was made into a walk by the Count Aranda. It consists of several rows of trees, which form a delightful shade for pedestrians; there is a road in the centre which is every Sunday filled by two rows | of splendid equipages. The King and the royal family often take the air here in their carriages. The prato is ornamented with eight fountains which add greatly to the beauty of this charming promenade. There is a botanical garden also which comes out upon the prato, and is reckoned very curious. There are several promenades in Madrid, but none that can vie with the one I have endeavoured to describe.
I also visited the manufactory of Mosaic work, which is certainly very worthy the attention of all strangers. To complete a table of Mosaic work is the employment of a whole year: the King has several of them of the most exquisite beauty.
The Spaniards never visit but on particular occasions. The nobility dress a-la-Francaise to go to the theatre, to pay visits, and also when they go out in their carriages. The ladies are much attached to our fashions; they however dress in the costume of their country to go to church, to walk, and to remain at home. This costume is very pretty, when elegant. It consists of a basquire, or black petticoat, more or less ornamented, a black body à-rei-desille, which is a silken bag, for the purpose of confining the hair at the back of the head; and a mantle, which is a piece of silk, or muslin, placed on the head, and which falls something similar to a cloak. Foreigners are obliged to assume the Spanish costume when they walk out, or go to church. With respect to the men, all those who call themselves gentlemen dress like those of other European nations, with the exception of their queux, which are very large. Men of all ranks, both winter and summer, almost always put on la cape, which is a sort of Spanish mantle. The common people generally wear jackets with a net to confine the hair. The Majis, or fashionables, such as those who dance the volero, or those who engage the bull, wear little jackets very tastefully and magnificently ornamented; this dress is thin, very light, and pretty. The nobility have a peculiar costume to wear during passion week: the ladies have a black body to their gowns, ornamented with maroon and gold, on their heads they wear a lace veil, which becomes them extremely. The gentlemen's coats are black and
With respect to education, the great and the lower orders may be ranged in the same class, as all their learning consists in being able to play the guitar. Some of the former, indeed, speak a little French. Those who have received the best instructions are the class of Ousia, the councillors of Castille, lawyers, and the military.
The common people are very lazy and dirty. Here, a man will as soon give a blow with his poignard as in another country abuse; and an affront is never forgotten, and never pardoned without revenge. The Spaniard is sober, he lives on chocolate and poudehero, a sort of bouilli. The most disgraceful epithet you can fasten on a man is to call him a drunkard; it is also true that they are very rarely met with.
The most remarkable things to be seen at Madrid, are the palace, the churches, the manufactory of Mosaic work, the cabinet of natural tory, the prato, and the bail-fight.
During the eight months I passed at Madrid, I his-witnessed two bull-fights: the first in autumn, the other in spring; for there is none in winter.
The palace is quite new and very handsome, This spectacle is extremely cruel, and not at all
amusing; yet it excites a kind of attention produced by a mixture of fear and hope, which, when you have once entered a box, detains you almost against your will. From what I have seen I will endeavour to give an idea of it.
Figure to yourself an extensive circle perfectly round, and without any awning over it; in the centre is the place of combat, inclosed by a bar-eight horses are killed.
rier of about six feet in height. About three feet farther there is a second barrier with ropes, to ensure the safety of the spectators. On a level with this commences the first row of seats, followed by seven or eight others in the form of an amphitheatre; above these is a row of boxes. In one of these a priest always attends with the extreme unction, to administer to any of the combatants in case they should receive a mortal wound.
Four officers of justice enter the lists, and read aloud a paper which forbids any of the spectators from leaving their seats. Then two Alguasils on horseback appear, with whips in their hands, a little black mantle over their shoulders, and on their heads they wear either a white or carroty wig, and a hat mounted with feathers. The Alguasils oblige the people to take their seats, and then give an order for the bull to enter. These men make the most ridiculous appearance that can be conceived, they also afford great entertainment to the lower order of spectators. They admit three or four Picadors, according to the number of bulls that are to be baited. As soon as these enter they are armed with a lance about eight or nine feet in length, with a small piece of iron at the end. Then the Aguasils open the door of the place where the animal is confined, and hastily gallop off; the bull rushes into the middle of the square; immediately the connoisseurs form their opinion of him; if the beast be furious he is deemed excellent; but if, on the contrary, he be rather tame, he is thought good for nothing. The Picadors are not permitted to attack the bull, the animal must first approach them; then the instant the bull falls on their horse, the Picador stops him by plunging his lance into the beast's throat; but this wound only irritates him, without having the power to kill. If the Picador misses his aim he is thrown down, trampled upon, and very frequently dangerously wounded. I witnessed several tremendous falls; in one of these a Picador tumbled with his horse, the furious bull immediately began to tear the poor animal with his horns, while the people threw at him hats, mantles, and every thing they could procure, and the other combatants endeavoured to entice him towards them in order to extricate their compamon, but to no purpose; at last, one more courageous than the rest, threw down the bull
with a blow from his lance, and gave the unfor tunate man time to escape. Immediately this man, whom I thought lifeless, arose, sprang upon another horse, and was as well as before, with the exception of a slight wound on his forehead. Seldom a combat of this kind passes without several dreadful falls, and generally seven or
When the bull, weakened by the wounds he has received, will no longer attack the Picadors, they retire, and the Tehulos enter the lists. These are nine or ten men on foot, completely habited in the Spanish dress, each of them is armed with two banderilles (a kind of javelins), and running across the area, they stick their banderilles in the neck of the bull, who endeavours to rush upon them, but is disappointed by their leaping over the barrier, at the instant when one would suppose they were going to be torn to pieces by the enraged animal. These men appear to run the greatest danger, however, there are few instances of their being even wounded. It is thought that the banderilles torment the bull more than any thing; when the Tchulo leaps the barrier, the disappointed animal roars and foams with rage. After a while a trumpet is sounded, which is the signal of death. At this momont the one who kills, called a Matador, advances on foot, magnificently dressed, bearing a sword in one hand, and a red mantle in the other. There are but very few good Matadors. The same man kills in one day twelve bulls; he approaches the animal, speaks to him as to a dog, and plays with him for a few minutes; at last, seizing the mo ment when the bull springs on the mantle, the Matador plunges his sword between the animal's shoulders. The most skillful give but one blow; then the plaudits commence, and the expiring bull is dragged out by three mules well harnessed. In a few minutes the door opens, a new victim appears, and the same scene recommences.
When a bull is not a good one, that is to say, when he will not rush upon the horses, he is not considered worthy of fighting with men; he is first baited by dogs, and then a sword is plunged into his side.
During the summer there are every Monday two bull fights, twelve are killed in the morning and eighteen in the evening. The Spaniards would sell their last shirt to attend them. The nobility, who pique themselves upon their libcrality, give a great deal of money to some of the Matadors. The Duchess of Albe, witnessing a combat, was so charmed with the dexterity of one of these men, that she tore a diamond buckle from her shoe, and threw it him.
There are at Madrid three theatres, two in which Spanish plays are performed, and the other an Italian Opera. An attempt was made to esta
blish a French theatre, but it did not meet with Success. The Spanish plays are reckoned good of their kind, which is totally different from ours. The Italian Opera is generally very bad; the great ladies here have a custom of selecting an actress or dancer, which they in a great measure adopt, and overwhelm with presents, consisting of money, dress, trinkets, &c. There is a sort of grotesque dancers that are always introduced in ballets, and are frightfully ridiculous; they display feats of strength and agility that astonish, but do not at all please, and are, in my opinion, a disgrace to a royal theatre; they, however, meet with much applause from the common people. The Opera-house is rather a fine building, but is, as well as the other two, but very poorly lighted.
The Court remains all the winter at Madrid; at the end of April they depart for Aranjuez, where they continue till the beginning of July, when they return to Madrid; in the month of August they again quit it for St. Ildephonse, or, as it is also called, La Grange; and about November repair to the Escurial, where they remain till the fifteenth of December. There are few places of consequence at court, and their emoluments are but small. The royal children's governess has only a salary of five hundred pounds per annum, which does not give a very exalted idea of the riches of this court. The Prince of Asturias' tutor, at first, refused this situation, saying he was not rich enough. There are few ladies of condition attached to the court; they are in the right, as their own establishments nearly equal the Queen's. The great sometimes fill the first stations in the army, without, however, going upon actual service, as in other countries; those who do so in Spain are secondrate gentry. Officers are obliged to appear always in uniform. The nobility only go to court on gala days, such as birth-days, and the anniversaries of the royal family's marriages; then the ladies are covered with gold, silver, and various ill-chosen ornaments. On these occasions all who have a place at court, even his Majesty's gardener, and all the nobility that are present, put one knee to the ground and kiss the hands of all the royal family; ambassadors alone are exempt from this custom.
The King has six hundred body guards, who form three companies, the Spanish, the Flemish (or French), and the Italian. He has besides these, two regiments of guards; the Spanish, that is kept in very bad order, and that of the Vallones Guardes, composed of Frenchmen. The late King of Spain passed the greatest part of his life in hunting; the present King is also very fond of this exercise, but he destroys the game
with which his father had infected the environs of Madrid.
The King possesses some very beautiful Anda. lusian horses, but he generally makes use of mules.
About twenty years since, a very strange custom was established at court to celebrate Christmas; it is the Nasimiento, which signifies, the birth. There is in the interior of the palace an immense wooden hall; for several months previous to Christmas, workmen are employed to build in this place a country in miniature. Thousands of wax figures, of about one foot in height, all clothed in the costume of their country, are here displayed; these are wonderfully well executed. There are also numerous habitations, Roman edifices, rivers, fleets, in short, a whole country, the horizon of which (like reality) appears to touch the heavens. The intention of the inhabitants is to rejoice at the birth of our Saviour. The Magi, with numerous followers, are seen going to present their offerings to Christ. Thousands of wax Cupids, artfully placed, shed a mild, yet brilliant light, over the whole. The Nasimiento is so very extraordinary, that it is impossible, unless it be witnessed, to form a just idea of it. It is exhibited for about fifteen days; the King invites all those he pleases should see it. It is said that the Nasimiento costs every year nearly thirty thousand pounds.
On the tenth of April we left Madrid, with the court, for Aranjuez, situated about twentyone miles from Madrid. The country is truly delightful; the palace is fine, and contains many good paintings, particularly portraits. There is a very large one called the beheading of St. John, but which is in reality the representation of the death of Charles II. All the personages may be easily recognized, such as Philip IV. the Queen, the Grand Inquisitor, Charles II. and many others.
The village of Aranjuez is built after the Dutch style; that is to say, the houses have only one story, and the streets are ornamented with four rows of trees. Aranjuez is situated in the middle of a valley filled with trees, and flowery meadows watered by the Tage, which is, however, unfortunately not very fine, being not far from its source; the hills are barren, but the tall trees hide them almost from the view. There are several royal gardens, such as that of the Island, and the Prince's. The first is an extensive island filled with lofty trees, which preclude the light of the sun; in some of the walks basons and statues are found, which make it resemble our gardens. That of the Prince is also very extensive and very pleasant, it contains some foreign trees, and an astonishing number of