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happy youth, that he should not have accomplished his purpose! He was met by the muzzle of a musket when he had scarce touched the ground, and a third ruffian appearing at the same moment from the treacherous concealment of the tree towards which he started, he was effectually taken and brought round into the road, where he was made to stretch himself out upon his face, as had already been done with the conductor.
“I could now distinctly hear one of these robbers—for such they were-inquire in Spanish of the mayoral as to the number of passengers he had brought ; if any were armed; whether there was any money in the diligence; and then, as a conclusion to the interrogatory, demanding 'La bolsa !' in a more angry tone. The poor fellow did as he was told. He raised himself high enough to draw a large leathern purse from an inner pocket, and stretching his hand upward to deliver it, he said, toma usted caballero, pero no me quita usted la vida!' or 'take it, sir, but leave my life!' Such, however, did not seem to be the robber's intention. He went to the road side, and bringing a stone from a large heap which had been collected to be broken and thrown on the road, he fell to beating the mayoral upon the head with it. The unhappy man, when thus assailed, sent forth the most piteous cries for misericordia and piedad ; he invoked the interposition of Jesu Christo, Santiago Apostol y Martir, la Vergen del Pilar, and all those sainted names, which being accustomed himself to hear pronounced with awful reverence, were most likely to prove efficacious in arresting the fury of his assassin. But he might as well have asked pity of the stone that smote him, as of the wretch to whose fell fury it had furnished a weapon. He struck, and struck again, until becoming at length more earnest in the task, he laid his musket beside him, and worked with both hands upon his victim. The cries for pity which blows had first excited, blows at length quelled. They had gradually increased with the suffering to the most terrible shrieks, and when this became too strong to bear, it worked its own cure. The shrieks declined into low and inarticulate moans, which, with a deep-drawn and agonized gasp for breath, and an occasional convulsion, alone remained to show that the vital principle had not yet departed.
“ It fared no better, nay, even worse with Pepe, though instead of the cries for pity, which had availed the mayoral so little, he uttered nothing but low moans that died away in the dust beneath him. One might have thought that the youthful appearance of the lad would have easured him compassion. But the case was different, the robbers were doubtless of Amposta, and being acquainted with him, dreaded recognition ; so that what in almost any situation in the world would have forined a claim to kindness, was here his greatest misfortune. When both the victions had been rendered insensible, there was a short pause, and a consultation followed in a low tone between the ruffians; and then they proceeded to execute the further plans which had been concerted between them. The first went round to the left side of the diligence, and having unhooked the iron shoe and placed it under the wheel as an additional security against escape, he opened the door of the in
VOL. FIII.-NO. 15.
terior, and mounting on the steps, I could hear him distinctly uttering a terrible threat in Spanish, and demanding an ounce of gold from each of the passengers. This was answered by an expostulation from the Valenolan store-keeper, who said that they had not so much money, but what they had would be given willingly. There was then a jingling of purses, some pieces dropping on the floor in the hurry and agitation of the moment. Having remained a moment in the door of the interior, he did not come to the cabriolet, but passed at once to the rotunda. Here he used greater caution, doubtless from having seen the evening before at Amposta that it contained no women, but six young students who were all stout fellows. They were made to come down, one by one, from their strong hold, deliver their money and watches, and then lie down flat upon their faces in the road. Meanwhile, the second robber, after consulting with his companjon, had returned to the spot where the zagal Pepe lay rolling from side to side. As he went towards him he drew a knife from the folds of his sash, and having opened it, he placed one of his naked legs on either side of his victim. Pushing aside the jacket of the youth, he bent forward and dealt him many blows, moving over every part of the body, as if anxious to leave none unsaluted. The young priest, my companion, shrunk back into his corner, and hid his face within his shivering fingers; but my own eyes seemed spellbound, for I could not withdraw them from the cruel spectacle, and my ears were more sensible than ever. Though the windows at the front and sides were still closed, I could distinctly hear each stroke of the murderous knifc, as it entered its victim. It was not a blunt sound, as of a weapon that meets with positive resistance; but a hollow hissing noise, as if the household implement, made to part the bread of peace, performed unwillingly its task of treachery. This moment was the unhappiest of my life ; and it struck me at the time that if any situation could be more worthy of pity than to die the dog's death of poor Pepe, it was to be compelled to witness his fate, without the power to raise an arm of interposition.
“ Having completed the deed to his satisfaction, this cold-blooded murderer came to the door of the cabriolet, and endeavoured to open it. He shook it violently, calling us to assist him ; but it had chanced hitherto, that we had always got out on the other side, and the young priest, who had never before been in a dilgence, thought, from the circumstance, that there was but one door, and therefore answerd the fellow, that he inust go to the other side.
" On the first arrival of these unwelcome visiters, I had taken a valuable watch which I wore, from any waistcoat pocket, and stowed it snugly in my boot; but when they fell to beating in the heads of our guides, I bethought me that the few dollars I carried in my purse might not satisfy them, and replaced it again in readiness to be delivered at the shortest notice. These precautions, however, were unnecessary. The third ruffian, who had continued to make the circuit of the diligence with his musket in his hand, paused a moment in the road ahead of us, and having placed his head to the ground, as if to listen, presently came and spoke in an under tone to his companion. The conference was but a short one. They stood a moment over the mayoral and struck his head with the butts of their muskets, whilst the fellow, who had before used the knife, returned, to make a few farewell thrusts, and in another moment they had all disappeared from around us." vol. i. p. 75-80.
We should have thought this adventure sufficient to damp the ardour of a common traveller ; but the Lieutenant no ways discouraged, kept sturdily on. He was afterwards robbed a second time near Madrid, and he was informed that the same thing might occur in any part of Spain. Indeed, the number of crosses by the road side, showed the frequency of murders on the highway. In the very capitol, the danger is as great as in the provinces. Often robbers enter, at mid-day, houses left alone with females, and after tying the affrighted inmates, rifle most leisurely whatever suits them, without fear of interruption, nor can a family be easily found, who has not suffered once, at least, from these unwelcome visitations. But little exertions seem to be made either by government or individuals, to bring the offenders to justice. In many instances, too, it may be doubted whether the public functionaries are not on a very good understanding with the outlaws they are appointed to suppress. Amid this state of things it may well be imagined, that there can be little travelling or internal commerce, and that the owner of riches is not very anxious by either word or action, to indicate to the community what may expose his life to hourly danger.
To examine on a map, the route pursued by our traveller, it looks as zig zag as Commodore Trunnion's land-sailing in Peregrine Pickle ; but the mail-stage afforded none more direct to Madrid. We would willingly extract some of his descriptions of the beautiful groves of Aranjuez, the Escorial and St. Ildefonso, or his spirited sketches of his master of languayes, his landlord and Donna Florencia, but our space warns us to be more sparing. At first, he lodged in the best hotel of Madrid, though as comfortless and inelegant as the one before described at Barcelona. He afterwards took lodgings with the family of an old gentleman, who owned a reading-room for the two greatest Spanish newspapers, the Diario and Gaceta, of which we have the following description :
"Let us pause to take breath during this tedious ascent up three pair of stairs, and profit by the interval to say something of the Diario and Gaceta, which so greatly occupied the attention of the politicians below, and which contain, the first, all the commercial information of the Spabish capital; the second, all the literary, scientific, and poiltical intelligence of the whole empire.
"The Diario is a daily paper, as its name indicates. It is printed on a small quarto sheet, a good part of which is taken up with the names of the Saints who have their feast on that day; as, San Pedro Apostol y Martir, San Isidoro Labrador, or Santa Maria de la Cabeza. Then follows an account of the churches, where there are to be most masses, what troops are to be on guard at the palace, gates, and theatres. Next the commercial advertisements telling where may be purchased Bayonne hams and Flanders butter, with a list of wagons that are taking in cargo and passengers for Valencia, Saville, or Corunnia, and the names and residence of wet nurses, newly arrived from Asturias, with fresh milk and good characters.— The Gaceta is published three times a week, at the royal printing office, on a piece of paper somewhat larger than a sheet of foolscap. It usually begins with an account of the health and occupation of their majesties, and is filled with extracts from foreign journals, culled and qualified to suit the region of Madrid; with a list of the bonds of the state creditors which have come out as prizes, that is, as being entitled to payment by the Caja de Amortizacion, or sinking tund; with republications of some old statute, condemning such as neglect to come forward with their tithes to the infliction of the bastinado; or with an edict against freemasons, devoting them to all the temporal and spiritual curses which the throne and altar can bestow-death here, and damnation hereafter." vol i. pp. 148, 149.
We cannot finish this extract without giving also a note of the author, which will give our readers a complete idea of the state of literature and stupid bigotry in Spain at the present time.
“I forget whether it was from the Diario of Madrid or of Barcelona that I took the following singular heading in relation to the religious ceremonies of the day. To-morrow, being Friday, will be celebrated the feast of the glorious martyr, San Poncio, advocate and protector against bed-bugs-abogado contra las chinches. There will be mass all the morning, and at seven o'clock will take place the blessing of branches and flowers, in honour of the aforesaid Saint.' The branches and flowers thus blessed are doubtless found efficacious in preserving houses from these troublesome tenants, and so form a convenient substitute for the troubleseme care of cleanliness.” Note. vol. i. p. 149.
The two journals of Madrid may serve as an index for the whole kingdom. Many large cities are entirely without presses. Barcelona with a population of a hundred thousand has nothing in the shape of a newspaper, except a little diary “as big as your two hands," containing the state of the weather, a marine list, and a few commercial advertisements. Until lately, many books and of splended execution, appeared in Valencia; but at present nothing issues from her presses but a few devotional works or translations of French novels. The standard literature when reprinted, is as carefully emasculated by moukish -censors as the singers in their cathedrals.
To those who vaunt the superior salubrity of cold climates, we recommend a perusal of the observations in the work before us on the climate of Madrid-which will, in fact, apply with little modification to all countries that have a pretty severe winter. The Southern States during three-fourths of the year, are almost exempted from disease, and even during the summer months the prevailing fevers are manageable, compared with the pleurises and consumptions of more northern regions.
“ I have said that the climate of Madrid was healthful in the ex. treme. This, however, like every general rule, has its exception. There is in winter a prevailing disease called pulmonia, which carries the healthiest people off, after four or five days illness.
“ The Madrilenios have a mortal dread of a still cold air wbich comes quietly down from the mountains, and, which they say, “Mata un hombre, y no apaga una luz,'' kills a man, and does not put out a candle.' In such weather you see every man holding the corner of his cloak, or a pocket handkerchief to his mouth, and hurrying through the streets, without turning to the right hand or the left, as though death, in the shape of a pulmonia, were close upon his heels. For myself, I never felt the cold more sensibly. It seemed to pierce my clothes like a shower of needles, and I found there was no way of excluding it, but to get myself a cloak as ample as John Gilpin's, and roll myself up in it, until I became as invisible as the best of them.” vol. i. pp. 162-163.
It would appear too, from other parts of his work, that fevers, probably from the malaria of a half cultivated country, are frequent, and that blindness is very common in Madrid.
While living at Madrid, Lieutenant Slidall made excursions to the environs, particularly to the palaces of Aranjuez and the Escorial, which by their magnificence amidst the surrounding misery, affords the best commentary on institutions that force a whole people to toil to support the indolence, luxury and caprices of one individual. Leaving the capital he visited the once splended and oppulent Toledo. Our author gives a most melancholy account of the decay of this magnificent city, and forcibly contrasts her present poverty, misery and degradation with her greatness under the Arab domination. Nor is this account confined to Toledo; it is again the history of Cordova, of Seville, of indeed nearly every city of Spain, not only do they exhibit a diminished population, but the appearance of most squalid wretchedness. Beggars are to be seen by scores in the streets, at the church doors, at every corner, under aspects of misery too real to be doubted. We will give only one extract as to the desolate appearance of the country.