Benito Pérez Galdós.

Saragossa; a story of Spanish valor; online

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When the other events of the Spanish ivar shall be lost in
the obscurity of time, or only traced by disconnected fragments,
the story of Zaragoza, like some ancient triumphal pillar
standing amidst ruins, tvill tell a tale of past glory, and
already men point to the heroic city and call her Spain.

Napier's '* Peninsular War '*


A Story of Spanish Valor



3* , » . ..... », • , ,





Copyright, i8gg^
By Little, Brown, and Company

All rights resewed

John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U. S. A.

0^ i>


SARAGOSSA" is the sixth volume in
the brilHant series of historical novels
by B. Perez Galdos, which begins with " Tra-
falgar ** and closes with " The Battle of the Ara-
piles," embracing " The Court of Carlos IV,"
" Gerona," and " Napoleon in Chamartin."

B. Perez Galdos, possibly known best in the
United States as the author of " Doiia Per-
fecta," may be called the Walter Scott of Spain.
He is, however, truer to history than Scott,
and the characters he creates move in an atmos-
phere of reality rather than romance. "Sara-
gossa" is one of the most powerful, impressive,
and popular of the twenty novels wherein he
tells the gallant story of his native land. This
tale of the second siege of the ancient Aragon
city by the generals of Napoleon is a work of
art, one that stirs the blood with admiration
of the indomitable valor of the Spaniards ; yet
is it not also a document of special pleading
for the world's peace ? " Saragossa " ranks with
Tolstoi's " War and Peace," and Zola's " La
Debacle," among great dramatic war novels.
Herein also are at least three of the best drawn

Mi 'X^'^'xrj

Translator's Introduction

characters in international literature, — the mas-
terly miser Candida, his beautiful daughter
Mariquilla, and that valiant and lovable citizen,
Don Jose de Montoria. Manuela Sanchez ap-
pears as a minor character, the " Maid of Sara-
gossa " whose bravery is honored in a street
named for her in her native city. She is a type
of the daughters of Saragossa, for more than one
of them, in the exaltation of the terrific struggle
against the French, extended their patriotic
services beyond those gentle ones usual to
women in besieged cities, rallying soldiers and
serving guns.

The events leading up to the siege of Sara-
gossa are a part of the history of Spain in her
struggle for continued national existence against
the encroachments of Napoleon. Although
it was national warfare, each province and
strong provincial city made its own individual
stand. Therefore words like those quoted on a
preceding page from Napier's " Peninsular
War" have an especial significance. The Eng-
lish general's words are doubly striking when
read in connection with these of Galdos,
" Men of little sense — without any on occa-
sion — the Spanish to-day, as ever, make a
thousand blunders, stumbling and rising in the
struggle of their inborn vices with the eminent
qualities which they still preserve. Providence


Translator's Introduction

holds in store for this people great advancings
and abasements, great terrors and surprises,
apparent deaths and mighty resurrections."

The threatened loss of her nationality was
the terror which hung above Spain in the dark
days of 1808. Her court was rent with fac-
tions ; her royal house was divided against
itself. Three parties had made dissension in
the palace and among the people. One was
the party of the King Carlos IV ; one was
that of his son, Prince Ferdinand ; the third,
of a most insidious power, was that of Don
Manuel Godoy, whose ambitions and preten-
sions were supported by the queen. A corrupt
court and an intriguing priesthood had pro-
moted the troubles of Spain, causing king,
prince, and favorite, each and separately, to
make application to Napoleon for protec-
tion, and for the support of their various
plans. The imbecility of the Spanish Bour-
bons at such an hour in European his-
tory was inevitable in its influence upon the
Emperor of the French. His ambition grew
with this new opportunity. Under the mask
of operating with Spain against Portugal,
Napoleon filled the Peninsula with French
troops under generals like Junot and Moncey
and Lannes. The Spanish king and prince
were already in France, and practically in


Translator's Introduction

durance there, before the people realized the
danger which was close upon their very exist-
ence as a nation. Popular insurrections at
Toledo and Madrid followed immediately
upon the appointment of Murat to a place in
the government. The abdication at Bayonne
of Carlos IV in favor of Napoleon, and the
appointment of Joseph Bonaparte as king
of Spain, with the consent of ninety-one
Spanish nobles, roused the Peninsula into
a spontaneous and determined revolt. War
against the French invaders was already raging
in every province when King Joseph was
crowned at Madrid on July 24. Thus in the
virtue of her people began the long struggle
of Spain for independence as a nation, — a
struggle which was destined not to end until
England came to her aid, and the Duke of
Wellington delivered her from the power of

Saragossa, although situated in an admirably
strong strategic position between the French
border and the Spanish capital, was not occu-
pied by the French in force at first, because
the character of the Saragossans made it unwise
to attempt to place a small body of foreign
troops among them, and Saragossa — Zaragoza
in Spanish — had no citadel. Napoleon him-
self could not foresee what a tremendous de-


Translator's Introduction

fence would be made, nor that fifty thousand
dead would yet speak from this city of Aragon
to arouse the courage of Spain. The first
siege lasted from mid-June to mid- August, and
was raised not only because the defence was
fierce, desperate, and unflinchingly prolonged,
and because the besieging army under Verdier
was greatly weakened, but also because disas-
ters to the French arms elsewhere made its
abandonment imperative. After the invaders
had been victorious at Tudela, Aragon was
open to them. Forty thousand French troops
— General Napier says thirty-five thousand —
besieged the capital of the province whither a
large part of the army of Castanos and many
other fugitives had fled after their defeat.

The second and successful siege, with whose
events this novel is occupied, continued for two
long and fatal months, from the twentieth of De-
cember of that same dark year until the twenty-
first of the following February. During this
time of horror and of braverv, there were also
laughter and song, dancing and love-making in
Saragossa, and such an idyl of tenderness and
passion as this story of Augustine and Mariquilla
which is now offered to readers of English.

M. C. S.






IT was, I believe, the evening of the eight-
eenth when we saw Saragossa in the dis-
tance. As we entered by the Puerta de Sancho
we heard the clock in the Torre Nueva strike
ten. We were in an extremely pitiful condi-
tion as to food and clothing. The long journey
we had made from Lerma through Salas de
los Infantes, Cervera, Agreda, Tarazona,
and Borja, climbing mountains, fording rivers,
making short cuts until we arrived at the high
road of Gallur and Alagon, had left us quite
used up, worn out, and ill with fatigue. In
spite of all, the joy of being free sweetened our

We were four who had succeeded in escap-
ing between Lerma and Cogollos by freeing
our innocent hands from the rope that bound
together so many patriots. On the day of the


escape, we could count among the four of us a
total capital of eleven reales ; but after three
days of marching, when we entered the metrop-
olis of Aragon and balanced our mutual cash,
our common wealth was found to be a sum total
of thirty-one cuartos. We bought some bread
at a little place next the Orphanage, and divided
it among us.

Don Roque, who was one of the members
of our expedition, had good connections in
Saragossa, but this was not an hour to present
ourselves to any one. We postponed until
the next day this matter of looking up friends ;
and as we could not go to an inn, we wandered
about the city, looking for a shelter where we
could pass the night. The market scarcely
seemed to offer exactly the comfort and quiet
which our tired bodies needed. We visited
the leaning tower, and although one of my
companions suggested that we should take
refuge in the plaza, I thought that we should
be quite the same as if altogether in the
open country. The place served us, none the
less, for temporary refuge and rest, and also as
a refectory, where we despatched happily our
supper of dry bread, glancing now and then at
the great upright mass of the tower, whose in-
clination made it seem like a giant leaning to


see who was running about his feet. By the
light of the moon that brick sentinel projected
against the sky its huddled and shapeless form,
unable to hold itself erect. The clouds were
drifting across its top, and the spectator look-
ing from below trembled with dread, imagining
that the clouds were quiet and that the tower
was moving down upon him. This grotesque
structure, under whose feet the overburdened
soil has settled, seems to be forever falling, yet
never falls.

We passed through the avenue of the Coso
again from this house of giants as far as the
Seminary. We went through two streets, the
Calle Quemada and the Calle del Rincon, both
in ruins, as far as the little plaza of San
Miguel. From here, passing from alley to
alley, and blindly crossing narrow and irjegular
streets, we found ourselves beside theN^uins of
the monastery of Santa Engracia, whicH was
blov/n up by the French at the raising of the
first siege. The four of us exclaimed at once
in a way to show that we all thought the same
thing. Here we had found a shelter, and in
some cosy corner under this roof we would
pass the night !

The front wall was still standing with its
arch of marble, decorated with innumerable



figures of saints which seemed undisturbed and
tranquil as if they knew nothing of the catas-
trophe. In the interior we saw broken arches
and enormous columns struggling erect from
the debris, presenting themselves, darkling and
deformed, against the clear light flooding the
enclosure, looking like fantastic creatures gen-
erated by a delirious imagination. We could
see decorations, cornices, spaces, labyrinths,
caverns, and a thousand other fanciful archi-
tectural designs produced by the ruins in their
falling. There were even small rooms opened
in the spaces of the walls with an art like that
of Nature in forming grottos. The fragments
of the altar-piece that had rotted because of the
humidity showed through the remains of the
vaulting where still hung the chains which had
suspended the lamps. Early grasses grew be-
tween the cracks of the wood and stone. Among
all this destruction there were certain things
wholly intact, as some of the pipes of the organ
and the grating of the confessional. The roof
was one with the floor, and the tower mingled
its fragments with those of the tombs below.
When we looked upon such a conglomeration
of tombs, such a myriad of fragments that had
fallen without losing entirely their original
form, and such masses of bricks and plaster



crumbled like things made of sugar, we could
almost believe that the ruins of the building
had not yet settled into their final position.
The shapeless structure appeared to be palpi-
tating yet from the shock of the explosion.

Don Roque told us that beneath this church
there was another one where they worshipped
the relics of the holy martyrs of Saragossa ; but
the entrance to this subterranean sanctuary was
closed up. Profound silence reigned, but, pen-
etrating further, we heard human voices pro-
ceeding from those mysterious deeps. The
first impression produced upon us by hearing
these voices was as if the spirits of the famous
chroniclers who wrote of the Christian martyrs,
and of the patriots sleeping in dust below,
were crying out upon us for disturbing their

On the instant, in the glare of a flame which
illuminated part of the scene, we distinguished
a group of persons sheltering themselves, hud-
dling together in a space between two of the
fallen columns. They were Saragossa beggars,
who had made a palatial shelter for themselves
in that place, seeking protection from the
rain with beams of wood and with their rags.
We also made ourselves as comfortable as
might be in another place, and covering our-



selves with a blanket and a half, prepared to go
to sleep.

Don Roque said to me, " I know Don
Jose de Montoria, one of the richest citizens of
Saragossa. ~Wewere both born in Mequinenza.
We went to school together, and we played
our games together on the hills of Corregidor.
It is thirty years since I have seen him, but I
believe that he will receive us well. Like
every good Aragonese, he is all heart. We
will find him, fellows ; we will see Don Jose
de Montoria. I am of his blood on the
maternal side. We will present ourselves to
him. We will say — "

But Don Roque was asleep, and I also slept.


THE place where we lay down did not by
any blandishments invite us to sleep lux-
uriously until morning, and certainly a mattress
of broken stones is conducive to early rising.
We wakened with the dawn; and as we had
to spend no time in making a toilet before a
dressing-table, we were soon ready to go out
and pay our visits.

The idea came to all four of us at once
that it would be a good thing to have some
breakfast, but at the same time we agreed
unanimously that it was impossible, as we had
not the wherewithal to carry out such a high

" Don't be discouraged, boys," said Don
Roque ; " because very soon I will take you
all to the house of my friend, who will take
good care of us."

While he was saying this, we saw emerging
from our inn two men and a woman, of those
who had been our companions there. They
looked as if they were accustomed to sleep in
the place. One of them was a cripple, a poor



unfortunate who ended at his knees, and put
himself in motion by the aid of crutches, swing-
ing himself forward on them as if by oars. He
was an old man, with a jovial face well burned
by the sun. As he saluted us very pleasantly
in passing, wishing us a good-morning, Don
Roque asked him in what part of the city was
the house of Don Jose de Montoria. The
cripple replied : —

" Don Jose de Montoria ? I know him as
if he were the apple of my eye. It is twenty
years since he used to live in the Calle de le
Albarderia. Afterwards he moved to another
street, the Calle de la Parra, then, — but you are
strangers, I see.'*

/^ Yes, my good friend, we are strangers; and
have come to enlist with the troops of this
brave city."

"Then you were not here on the fourth of
August ? '*

" No, my friend," I answered him ; " we

were not present at that great feat of arms."

" You did not see the battle of Eras ? "

asked the beggar, sitting down in front of us.

" We did not have that felicity either."

"Well, Don Jose Montoria was there. He

was one of those who pulled the cannon into

place for firing. Well, well, I see that you



have n't seen a thing. From what part of the
world do you come ? "

" From Madrid,'* said Don Roque. " So
you are not able to tell me where my dear
friend Don Jose lives ? "

" Well, I should think I can, man, well, I
should think I can ! " answered the cripple,
taking from his pocket a crust of dry bread for
his breakfast. " From the Calle de la Parra
he moved to the Calle de Enmedio. You know
that all those houses were blown up. There
was Stephen Lopez, a soldier of the Tenth
Company of the First Regiment of Aragon
Volunteers, and he alone, with forty men,
himself forced the French to retire."

" That must have been a fine thing to see ! "
said Don Roque.

" Oh, if you did not see the fourth of
August you have seen nothing," continued
the beggar. " I myself also saw the fourth of
June, because I was crawling along the Calle
de le Paja, and I saw the woman who fired off
the big cannon."

" We have already heard of the heroism of
that noble woman," said Don Roque; "but if
you could make up your mind to tell us — "

"Oh, of course. Don Jose de Montoria is
a great friend of the merchant Don Andres



Guspide, who on the fourth of August was fir-
ing from near the narrow street of the Torre
del Pino. Hand-grenades and bullets were
raining all about him, and my Don Andres
stood like a rock. More than a hundred dead
lay about him, and he alone killed fifty of the

'^ Great man, this one ! And he is a friend
of my friend ? "

" Yes, seiior," replied the cripple ; " and
they are two of the best gentlemen in all Sara-
gossa, and they give me a little something
every Saturday. For you must know that I
am Pepe Pallejas, and they call me Sursum
Corda, as twenty-four years ago I was sacris-
tan of the Church of Jesus, and I used to

sing But this is not coming to the point,

and I was going on to say I am Sursum Corda,
and perhaps you have heard about me in
Madrid ? "

" Yes," said Don Roque, yielding to his
generous impulses ; " it seems to me that I
have heard the Senor Sursum Corda men-
tioned there, have n*t we, boys ? "

"Well, it *s likely, and you must know that
before the siege I used to beg at the door of
this monastery of Santa Engracia, which was
blown up by the bandits on the thirteenth of



August. I beg now at the Puerta de Jerusalem,
at the Jerusalem Gate — where you will be
able to find me whenever you like. Well, as
1 was saying, on the fourth of August I was
here, and I saw Francisco Quilez come out of
the church, first sergeant of the First Com-
pany of fusileers, who, you must already
know, with thirty-five men, cast out the bandits
from the Convent of the Incarnation. I see
that you look surprised — yes ! Well, in the
orchard of the convent at the back is where
the Lieutenant Don Miguel Gila died. There
are at the least two hundred bodies in that
orchard ; and there Don Felipe San Clement, a
merchant of Saragossa, broke both his legs.
Indeed, if Don Miguel Salamero had not
been present — don't you know anything
about that ? "

" No, sir, my friend," said Don Roque ; " we
don't know anything about it, and although we
have the greatest pleasure in your telling us of
so many wonders, what most concerns us now
is to find out where we are going to find my
old friend Don Jose. We four are suffering
from a disease called hunger, which cannot be
cured by listening to the recounting of sub-

"Well, now, in a minute I will take you

I [


where you want to go," replied (Sursum Corda,
offering us a part of his crust;""" but first I
will tell you something, and that is that
if Don Mariano Cereso had not defended
the Castle Aljaferia as he did defend it, noth-
ing would have been done in the Portillo
quarter. And this man, by the grace of God,
this man was Don Mariano Cereso ! Dur-
ing the attack of the fourth of August, he
used to walk in the streets with his sword
in its antique sheath. It would terrify you
to see him ! This Santa Engracia quarter
seemed like a furnace, senors. The bombs
and the hand-grenades rained down ; but the
patriots did not mind them airyjnpre than so
man^Idtops of water. A good part of the
convent fell down ; the houses trembled, and
all this that we see seemed no more than a bar-
rier of playing cards, by the way it caught fire
and crumbled away. Fire in the windows, fire
at the top, fire at the base ! The French fell
like flies, fell like flies, gentlemen. *v_And as for
the Saragossans, life and death were all the
same to them. Don Antonio Quadros went
through there, and when he looked at the
French batteries, he was in a state to swallow
them whole. The bandits had sixty cannon
vomiting fire against the walls. You did not



see it ? Well, I saw it, and the pieces of brick
of the wall and the earth of the parapets scat-
tered like crumbs of a loaf. But the dead
served as a barricade, — the dead on top, the
dead below, a perfect mountain of the dead.
Don Antonio's eyes shot flame. The boys fired
without stopping. Their souls were all made
of bullets ! Did n't you see it ? Well, I did,
and the French batteries were all cleaned out
of gunners. When he saw one of the enemy's
cannon was without men, the commander
shouted, ' An epaulet to the man who spikes
that cannon ! ' Pepillo Ruiz started and
walked up to it as if he was promenading in a
garden among butterflies and may flowers, only
here the butterflies were bullets, and the flow-
ers were bombs. Pepillo Ruiz spiked the
cannon, and came back laughing. And now
another part of the convent was falling down.
Whoever was smashed by it, remained smashed!
Don Antonio Quadros said that that did not
bother him any, and seeing that the enemy's bat-
teries had opened a large hole in the wall, went
to stuff it full of bags of wool. Then a bullet
struck him in the head. They brought him
here ; he said that was nothing either, and died."
"Oh," said Don Roque, impatiently, "we
are sufficiently astonished, Senor Sursum Corda,



and the most pure patriotism inflames us to hear
you relate such great deeds ; but if you could
only make up your mind to tell us where — "
" Good Lord ! " exclaimed the beggar,
" who said I would n't tell you ? If there is
any one thing I know better than another,
and have seen most of anything in my life, it
is the house of Don Jose de Montoria. It
is near the San Pablo. Oh, you did not see
the hospital? Well, I saw it. There the
bombs fell like hail ; the sick, seeing that the
roofs were falling down, threw themselves from
the windows into the street. Others crawled
or rolled down the stairs. The partitions
burned, and you could hear wailings. The
lunatics bellowed in their cages like mad beasts.
Many of them escaped and went through the
cloisters, laughing and dancing with a thousand
fantastic gestures that were frightful to see.
They came out into the street as on carnival
day ; and one climbed the cross in the Coso,
where he began a harangue, saying that he was
the River Ebro, and he would run over the
city and put out the fire. The women ran to
care for the sick, who were all carried off to
Del Pilar and to La Seo. You could not get
through the streets. Signals were given from
the Torre Nueva whenever a bomb was com-



ing, but the uproar of the people prevented
their hearing the bells. The French advanced
by this street of Santa Engracia. They took
possession of the hospital and of the Convent
of San Francisco. The fighting began in the
quarter of the Coso, and in the streets there-
abouts. Don Santiago Sas, Don Mariano
CeresOj Don Lorenzo Calvo, Don Marcos
Simono, Renovales, Martin Albantos, Vicente
Code, Don Vicente Marraco, and others fear-
lessly attacked the French. And behind a
barricade made by herself^ awaited them,
furious, gun in hand, the Countess de Bureta.T""

" What a woman, a countess, making barri-
cades and firing guns ! " cried Don Roque,

"You did not know it?" he returned.
" Well, where do you live ? The Senora
Maria Consolacion Azlor y Villavicencio, who
lives near the Ecce Homo, also walked through
the streets, saying words of good cheer to
those who were discouraged. Afterwards she
made them close the entrance to the street,
and herself took the lead of a party of peas-
ants, crying, ' Here we will all die before we
will let them pass ! * "

" Oh, what sublime heroism ! " exclaimed
Don Roque, yawning with hunger. " How



much I should enjoy hearing those tales of
heroism told on a full stomach ! So you say
that the house of Don Jose is to be found — "

" It is just around there," said the cripple.
" You know already that the French had en-
tangled themselves and stuck fast near the
Arch of Cineja. Holy Virgin del Pilar, but
that was where they killed off the French!

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