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SPANISH HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS

[Illustration: SAN SEBASTIAN]




SPANISH HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS

BY
KATHARINE LEE BATES

_Author of "American Literature" "The English Religious Drama," etc._

ILLUSTRATED WITH MANY ENGRAVINGS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS

_Published by_ THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
_New York MCM_

LONDON: MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED




COPYRIGHT, 1900,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

_Norwood Press_
_J. S. Cushing & Co. - Berwick & Smith_
_Norwood, Mass., U.S.A._




Madre Mia

AQUI TIENES TU LIBRO




Preface


A tourist in Spain can hope to understand but little of that strange,
deep-rooted, and complex life shut away beyond the Pyrenees. This book
claims to be nothing more than a record of impressions. As such,
whatever may be its errors, it should at least bear witness to the
picturesque, poetic charm of the Peninsula and to the graciousness of
Spanish manners.




Contents


Chapter Page

I. "The Lazy Spaniard" 1
II. A Continuous Carnival 11
III. Within the Alhambra 27
IV. A Function in Granada 39
V. In Sight of the Giralda 48
VI. Passion Week in Seville 58
VII. Traces of the Inquisition 82
VIII. An Andalusian Type 102
IX. A Bull-fight 113
X. Gypsies 132
XI. The Route of the Silver Fleets 147
XII. Murillo's Cherubs 162
XIII. The Yolk of the Spanish Egg 183
XIV. A Study in Contrasts 203
XV. The Patron Saint of Madrid 214
XVI. The Funeral of Castelar 233
XVII. The Immemorial Fashion 246
XVIII. Corpus Christi in Toledo 263
XIX. The Tercentenary of Velázquez 283
XX. Choral Games of Spanish Children 297
XXI. "O la Señorita!" 338
XXII. Across the Basque Provinces 362
XXIII. In Old Castile 376
XXIV. Pilgrims of Saint James 394
XXV. The Building of a Shrine 409
XXVI. The Son of Thunder 423
XXVII. Vigo and Away 439




List of Illustrations


San Sebastian _Frontispiece_
Facing Page
Pasajes 8
An Arab Gateway in Burgos 23
Playing at Bull-fight. From painting by Bayeu 30
The Mosque of Cordova 39
The Columbus Monument in Granada 46
The Alhambra. Hall of Justice 55
Filling the Water-jars 62
Off for the War. From painting by Rubio 71
Looking toward the Darro 78
A Milkman of Granada 101
A Roman Well in Ronda 112
The Giralda 131
The Passing of the Pageants 146
The Pageant of Gethsemane 167
"Jesus of the Passion" 174
"Christ of the Seven Words" 195
Maria Santisima 210
A Spanish Monk. From painting by Zurbarán 215
A Seville Street 222
An Old-fashioned Bull-fight. From painting by Goya 243
The Bull-fight of To-day 258
The King of the Gypsies 275
Gypsy Tenants of an Arab Palace 290
From the Golden Tower down the Guadalquivír 311
Cadiz, from the Sea 318
The Divine Shepherd. From painting by Murillo 339
The Royal Palace in Madrid 354
The Royal Family 359
The Manzanares 366
A Spanish Cemetery 375
Toledo 382
Toledo Cathedral. Puerta de los Leones 391
St. Paul, the first Hermit. From painting by Ribera 398
The Maids of Honor. From painting by Velázquez 407
Dancing the Sevillana 414
Within the Cloister 423
The Trampler of the Moors 430
Santiago Cathedral. Puerta de la Gloria 439
St. James. From painting by Murillo 446




SPANISH HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS




Spanish Highways and Byways




I

"THE LAZY SPANIARD"

"There is a difference between Peter and Peter." - CERVANTES:
_Don Quixote_.


"Spain is a contradiction," was the parting word of the Rev. William
H. Gulick, the honored American missionary whose unwearied kindness
looked after us, during the break in official representation, more
effectively than a whole diplomatic corps. "Spanish blood is a strange
_mezcla_, whose elements, Gothic, African, Oriental, are at war among
themselves. You will find Spaniards tender and cruel, boastful and
humble, frank and secretive, and all at once. It will be a journey of
surprises."

We were saying good-by, on February 4, 1899, to sunshiny Biarritz,
whither Mrs. Gulick's school for Spanish girls had been spirited over
the border at the outbreak of the war. Here we had found Spanish and
American flags draped together, Spanish and American friendships
holding fast, and a gallant little band of American teachers spending
youth and strength in their patient campaign for conquering the
Peninsula by a purer idea of truth. Rough Riders may be more
pictorial, but hardly more heroic.

We were barely through the custom house, in itself the simplest and
swiftest of operations, before the prophesied train of surprises
began. One of our preconceived ideas went to wreck at the very outset
on the industry of the Basque provinces. "The lazy Spaniard" has
passed into a proverb. The round world knows his portrait - that broad
_sombrero_, romantic cloak, and tilted cigarette. But the laborious
Spaniard can no longer be ignored. Even at Biarritz we had to reckon
with him, for the working population there is scarcely less Spanish
than French. Everybody understands both languages as spoken, and it is
a common thing to overhear animated dialogue where the talk is all
Spanish on the one side and all French on the other. The war set
streams of Spanish laborers flowing over the mountain bar into French
territory. Young men fled from conscription, and fathers of families
came under pressure of hard times. Skilled artisans, as masons and
carpenters, could make in Biarritz a daily wage of five francs, the
normal equivalent of five _pesetas_, or a dollar, while only the half
of this was to be earned on their native side of the Pyrenees. Such,
too, was the magic of exchange that these five francs, sent home,
might transform themselves into ten, eight, or seven and a half
_pesetas_. Even when we entered Spain, after the Paris Commission had
risen, the rate of exchange was anything but stable, varying not
merely from day to day, but from hour to hour, a difference of two or
three per cent often occurring between morning and evening. The
conditions that bore so heavily on the crafts were crushing the field
laborers almost to starvation. In point of excessive toil, those
peasants of northern Spain seemed to us worse off than Mr. Markham's
"Man with the Hoe," for the rude mattock, centuries out of date, with
which they break up the ground, involves the utmost bodily exertion.
And by all that sweat of the brow, they were gaining, on an average,
ten or twelve cents a day.

No wonder that discontent clouded the land. We met this first at
Pasajes, on one of the excursions arranged for our pleasure by the
overflow goodness of that missionary garrison. The busiest of teachers
had brought us - a young compatriot from a Paris studio and myself - so
far as San Sebastian, where she lingered long enough to make us
acquainted with a circle of friends, and, incidentally, with Pasajes.
This Basque fishing hamlet is perched between hill and sea, with a
single rough-paved street running the length of the village from the
Church of St. Peter to the Church of St. John. Nature has not been
chary of beauty here. The mountain-folded Bay of Pasajes appears at
first view like an Alpine lake, but the presence of stately Dutch and
Spanish merchantmen in these sapphire waters makes it evident that
there must be an outlet to the ocean. Such a rift, in fact, was
disclosed as the strong-armed old ferry woman rowed us across, a deep
but narrow passage (hence the name) between sheer walls of rock, whose
clefts and crannies thrill the most respectable tourist with longings
to turn smuggler. The village clings with difficulty to its stony
strip between steep and wave. On one side of that single street, the
peering stone houses, some still showing faded coats of arms, are half
embedded in the mountain, and on the other the tide beats perilously
against the old foundation piles.

Above the uneven roofs, on the precipitous hillside, sleep the dead,
watched over by Santa Ana from her neglected hermitage. Only once a
year, on her own feast day, is her gorgeous altar cloth brought forth
and her tall candles lighted, while the rats, who have been nibbling
her gilded shoes and comparing the taste of the blues and crimsons in
her painted robes, skurry into their holes at the unaccustomed sound
of crowding feet. Pasajes boasts, too, a touch of historical dignity.
From here Lafayette, gallant young Frenchman that he was, sailed for
America, and probably then, as now, little Basque girls ran at the
stranger's side with small hands full of wild flowers, and roguish
Basque boys hid behind boulders and tried to frighten him by playing
brigand, with a prodigious waving of thorn-branch guns and booming of
vocal artillery.

But not the joy of beauty nor the pride of ancient memory takes the
place of bread. We approached a factory and asked of the workman at
the entrance, "What do you manufacture here?" "What they manufacture
in all Spain, nowadays," he answered, "misery." This particular
misery, however, had the form of tableware, the long rows of simple
cups and plates and pitchers, in various stages of completion, being
diversified by jaunty little images of the Basque ball players, whose
game is famous throughout the Peninsula. We finally succeeded in
purchasing one of these for fifteen cents, although the village was
hard put to it to make change for a dollar, and was obliged, with
grave apologies, to load us down with forty or so big Spanish coppers.

"The lazy Spaniard!" Look at the very children as they romp about San
Sebastian. This is the most aristocratic summer resort in Spain, the
Queen Regent having a châlet on that artistic bay called the _Concha_
or Shell. It is a crescent of shimmering color, so dainty and so
perfect, with guardian mountains of jasper and a fringe of diamond
surf, that it is hard to believe it anything but a bit of magical
jewel-work. It might be a city of fairyland, did not the clamor of
childish voices continually break all dreamy spells. What energy and
tireless activity! Up and down the streets, the cleanest streets in
Spain, twinkle hundreds of little _alpargatas_, brightly embroidered
canvas shoes with soles of plaited hemp. Spanish families are large,
although from the ignorance of the mothers and the unsanitary
condition of the homes, the mortality among the children is extreme.
Here is a household, for example, where out of seventeen black-eyed
babies but three have fought their way to maturity. Spanish parents
are notably affectionate, but, in the poorer classes, at least,
impatient in their discipline. It is the morning impulse of the busy
mother, working at disadvantage in her small and crowded rooms, to
clear them of the juvenile uproar by turning her noisy brood out of
doors for the day. Surprisingly neat in their dress but often with
nothing save cabbage in their young stomachs, forth they storm into
the streets. Here the stranger may stand and watch them by the hour as
they bow and circle, toss and tumble, dance and race through an
enchanting variety of games. The most violent seem to please them
best. Now and then a laughing girl stoops to whisk away the beads of
perspiration from a little brother's shining face, but in general they
are too rapt with the excitement of their sports to be aware of
weariness. Such flashing of eyes and streaming of hair and jubilee of
songs!

One of their favorite games, for instance, is this: An especially
active child, by preference a boy, takes the name of _milano_, or
kite, and throws himself down in some convenient doorway, as if
asleep. The others form in Indian file, the _madre_, or mother, at the
head, and the smallest girl, Mariquilla, last in line. The file
proceeds to sing: -

"We are going to the garden,
Although its wicked warden,
Hungry early and late,
Is crouching before the gate."

Then ensues a musical dialogue between the mother and Mariquilla: -

_Mother._ Little Mary in the rear!

_Little Mary._ What's your bidding, mother dear?

_Mother._ Tell me how the kite may thrive.

_Little Mary [after cautiously sidling up to the doorway and
inspecting the prone figure there]._

He's half dead and half alive.

Then the file chants again: -

"We are going to the garden,
Although its wicked warden,
Hungry early and late,
Is crouching before the gate."

_Mother._ Little Mary in the rear!

_Little Mary._ What's your bidding, mother dear?

_Mother._ Of the kite I bid you speak.

_Little Mary [after a second reconnoissance, which sends her
scampering back to her own place]._

He whets his claws and whets his beak.

Here the enemy advances, beating a most appalling tattoo: -

_Kite._ Pum, pum! Tat, tat!

_Mother._ Who is here and what is that?

_Kite._ 'Tis the kite.

_Mother._ What seeks the kite?

_Kite._ Human flesh! A bite, a bite!

_Mother._ You must catch before you dine.
Children, children, keep the line!

And with this the dauntless parent, abandoning song for action, darts
with outspread arms in front of the robber, who bends all his energies
to reaching and snatching away Little Mary. The entire line, keeping
rank, curves and twists behind the leader, all intent on protecting
that poor midget at the end. And when the wild frolic has resulted in
her capture, and every child is panting with fatigue, they straightway
resume their original positions and play it all over again. In Seville
this game takes on a religious variation, the kite becoming the Devil,
and the _madre_ the angel Michael defending a troop of souls. In Cuba
we have a hawk pitted against a hen with her brood of chickens.

We stepped into a Protestant Kindergarten one day to see how such
stirring atoms of humanity might demean themselves in school. Talk of
little pitchers! Here were some twoscore tiny jugs, bubbling full of
mischief, with one bright, sympathetic girl of twenty-two keeping a
finger on every dancing lid. Impossible, of course! But all her week's
work looked to us impossible. We had known diligent teachers in the
United States; this "lazy Spaniard," however, not only keeps her
Kindergarten well in hand from nine to twelve, but instructs the same
restless mites - so many of them as do not fall into a baby-sleep over
their desks - in reading and counting from two to four, gives a Spanish
lesson from six to seven, and struggles with the pathetic ignorance of
grown men and women in the night school from eight to half-past nine
or ten.

The Spanish pastor and his wife, also teachers in day school, night
school, Sunday school, are no less marvels of industry. The
multiplication table, lustily intoned to the tramp of marching feet,
called us into a class-room where the older girls were gathered for
lessons in reading and writing, arithmetic and geography, sewing and
embroidery. The delicate little lady who presides over this lively
kingdom may be seen on Sunday, seated at the melodeon, leading the
chapel music - an exquisite picture of a Spanish señora, with the lace
mantilla crowning the black hair and gracefully falling to the slender
shoulders. We had heard her give an address on foreign soil, before an
audience of a hundred strangers, speaking with an irresistible fervor
of appeal, and no less charming was she at the head of her own table,
the soul of vivacious and winsome hospitality.

As for the pastor himself, he carries the administrative burdens of
church and school, teaches the larger boys morning and afternoon, and
the men in the evening, preaches once on Thursday and twice on Sunday,
and slips in between these stated tasks all the innumerable incidental
duties of a missionary pastorate. And yet this man of many labors is
not only Spanish, but Philippine. His childhood was passed at Cavite,
the home of his father, a Spanish officer, who had chosen his bride
from a native family. The boy was put to school with the friars at
Manila, where, rather to the disgust of the soldier-father, he formed
the desire to enter the brotherhood. He was not blind - what students
are? - to the blemishes of his teachers. He had often stood by with the
other lads and shouted with laughter to see a group of friars, their
cassocks well girded up, drive a pig into their shallow pond and stab
the plunging creature there, that it might be counted "fish" and serve
them for dinner on Friday. But his faith in the order held firm, and,
when his novitiate was well advanced, he was sent to Madrid for the
final ceremonies. Here, by chance, he dropped into a Protestant
service, and after several years of examination and indecision, chose
the thorny road.

[Illustration: PASAJES]

All his wearing occupations do not dull that fine sense of courtesy
inherent in a Spanish gentleman. The sun itself had hardly risen when
we departed from San Sebastian, yet we found Don Angel at the station,
muffled in the inevitable Spanish _capa_, to say good-by once more and
assure us that, come what might, we had always "a house and a friend
in Spain." We laid down the local journal, hard reading that it was
with its denunciations of "the inhuman barbarities of the North
Americans toward the Filipinos," and ventured to ask for his own view
of the matter.

"The United States," he answered, speaking modestly and very gently,
"means well and has, in the main, done well. When I say this in the
Casino, men get angry and call me a Yankee filibuster. But in truth
the Philippines are very dear to me and I carry a sad heart. It was
the protocol that did the mischief. It is not easy for simple
islanders to understand that words may say one thing and mean another.
Philippine faith in American promises is broken. And red is a hard
color to wash out. Yet I still hope that, when the days of slaughter
are over, peace and life may finally come to my unhappy birthplace
from your great nation. The Tagalos are not so worthless as Americans
seem to think, though the climate of the Philippines, like that of
Andalusia, tempts to indolence. But strong motives make good workers
everywhere."




II

A CONTINUOUS CARNIVAL

"This periodical explosion of freedom and folly." - BECQUER: _El
Carnaval_.


Having re-formed our concept of a Spaniard to admit the elements of
natural vigor and determined diligence, we were surprised again to
find this tragic nation, whose fresh grief and shame had almost
deterred us from the indelicacy of intrusion, entering with eager zest
into the wild fun of Carnival. Sorrow was still fresh for the eighty
thousand dead in Cuba, the hapless prisoners in the Philippines, the
wretched _repatriados_ landed, cargo after cargo, at ports where some
were suffered to perish in the streets. Every household had its tale
of loss; yet, notwithstanding all the troubles of the time, Spain must
keep her Carnival. "It is one of the saddest and most disheartening
features of the situation," said a Spaniard to us. "There is no
earnestness here, no realization of the national crisis. The
politicians care for nothing but to enrich themselves, and the people,
as you see, care for nothing but to divert themselves."

Yet we looked from the madcap crowd to the closed shutters, keeping
their secrets of heartbreak, and remembered the words of Zorrilla,
"Where there is one who laughs, there is ever another who weeps in the
great Carnival of our life."

The parks of San Sebastian were gay with maskers and music, tickling
brushes and showers of _confetti_, on our last day there, but the
peculiar feature of the festivity in this Basque city is "the baiting
of the ox." On that Carnival-Sunday afternoon we found ourselves
looking down, from a safe balcony, upon the old _Plaza de la
Constitución_, with its arcaded sides. The genuine bull-fights, which
used to take place here, have now a handsome amphitheatre of their
own, where, when the summer has brought the court to San Sebastian,
the choicest Andalusian bulls crimson the sand of the arena. But the
_Plaza de la Constitución_, mindful of its pristine glory, still
furnishes what cheap suggestions it can of the terrible play. The
square below was crowded with men and boys, and even some hoydenish
girls, many in fantastic masks and gaudy dominos, while the tiers of
balconies were thronged with eager spectators. A strange and savage
peal of music announced that "the bull" was coming. That music was
enough to make the hereditary barbarian beat in any heart, but "the
bull"! At the further corner of the _plaza_, pulled by a long rope and
driven by a yelling rabble, came in, at a clumsy gallop, an astonished
and scandalized old ox. Never did living creature bear a meeker and
less resentful temper.

At first, beaten and pricked by his tormentors, he tore blindly round
and round the _plaza_, the long rope by which he was held dragging
behind him, and sometimes, as he wheeled about, tripping up and
overturning a bunch of the merrymakers. This was a joy to the
balconies, but did not often happen, as the people below showed a
marvellous dexterity in skipping over the rope just in time to escape
its swinging blow. Sometimes the poor, stupid beast entangled his own
legs, and that, too, was a source of noisy glee. But, on the whole,
he was a disappointing and inglorious ox. He caused no serious
accident. Nothing could ruffle his disposition. The scarlet cloaks
waved in his eyes he regarded with courteous interest; he wore only a
look of grieved surprise when he was slapped across the face with red
and yellow banners; tweaks of the tail he endured like a Socrates, but
now and then a cruel prod from a sharp stick would make him lower his
horns and rush, for an instant, upon the nearest offender. The
balconies would shout with the hope of something vicious and violent



Online LibraryKatharine Lee BatesSpanish highways and byways → online text (page 1 of 30)