SAINTE Clemente de la Mancha, is rendered famous by the renown'd Don Michael Cerviantes, who in his facetious but satyrical Romance, has fix'd it the Seat and Birth Place of his Hero Don Quixot.
The Gentlemen of this Place are the least Priest-ridden or Sons of Bigotry, of any that I met with in all Spain; of which in my Conversation with them I had daily Instances. Among many others, an Expression that fell from Don Felix Pacheco, a Gentleman of the best Figure thereabout, and of a very plentiful Fortune, shall now suffice. I was become very intimate with him; and we us'd often to converse together with a Freedom too dangerous to be common in a Country so enslav'd by the Inquisition. Asking me one Day in a sort of a jocose manner, who, in my Opinion, had done the greatest Miracles that ever were heard of? I answer'd, Jesus Christ.
"It is very true," says he, "Jesus Christ did great Miracles, and a great one it was to feed five Thousand People with two or three small Fishes, and a like number of Loaves: But Saint Francis, the Founder of the Franciscan Order, has found out a way to feed daily one hundred Thousand Lubbards with nothing at all"; meaning the Franciscans, the Followers of Saint Francis, who have no visible Revenues; yet in their way of Living come up to, if they do not exceed any other Order.
Another Day talking of the Place, it naturally led us into a Discourse of the Knight of la Mancha, Don Quixot. At which time he told me, that in his Opinion, that Work was a perfect Paradox, being the best and the worst Romance, that ever was wrote.
"For," says he, "tho' it must infallibly please every Man, that has any taste of Wit; yet has it had such a fatal Effect upon the Spirits of my Countrymen, that every Man of Wit must ever resent; for," continu'd he, "before the Appearance in the World of that Labour of Cerviantes, it was next to an Impossibility for a Man to walk the Streets with any Delight, or without Danger. There were seen so many Cavaliero's prancing and curvetting before the Windows of their Mistresses, that a Stranger would have imagin'd the whole Nation to have been nothing less than a Race of Knight Errants. But after the World became a little acquainted with that notable History; the Man that was seen in that once celebrated Drapery, was pointed at as a Don Quixot, and found himself the Jest of High and Low. And I verily believe," added he, "that to this, and this only we owe that dampness and poverty of Spirit, which has run thro' all our Councils for a Century past, so little agreeable to those nobler Actions of our famous Ancestors."
After many of these lesser sorts of Confidences, Don Felix recommended me to a Lodging next Door to his own. It was at a Widow's, who had one only Daughter, her House just opposite to a Francisan Nunnery. Here I remain'd somewhat upwards of two Years; all which time, lying in my Bed, I could hear the Nuns early in the Morning at their Matins, and late in the Evening at their Vespers, with Delight enough to my self, and without the least Indecency in the World in my Thoughts of them. Their own Divine Employ too much employ'd every Faculty of mine to entertain any Thing inconsentaneous or offensive.
This my Neighbourhood to the Nunnery gave me an opportunity of seeing two Nuns invested; and in this I must do a Justice to the whole Country, to acknowledge, that a Stranger who is curious (I would impute it rather to their hopes of Conversion, than to their Vanity) shall be admitted to much greater Freedoms in their religious Pageantries, than any Native.
One of these Nuns was of the first Quality, which render'd the Ceremony more remarkably fine. The manner of investing them was thus: In the Morning her Relations and Friends all met at her Father's House; whence, she being attir'd in her most sumptuous Apparel, and a Coronet plac'd on her Head, they attended her, in Cavalcade, to the Nunnery, the Streets and Windows being crowded, and fill'd with Spectators of all sorts.
So soon as she enter'd the Chapel belonging to the Nunnery, she kneel'd down, and with an appearance of much Devotion, saluted the Ground; then rising up, she advanced a Step or two farther, when on her Knees she repeated the Salutes: This done she approached to the Altar, where she remained till Mass was over: After which, a Sermon was preach'd by one of the Priests in Praise, or rather in an exalted Preference of a single Life. The Sermon being over, the Nun elect fell down on her Knees before the Altar; and after some short mental Oraisons, rising again, she withdrew into an inner Room, where stripping off all her rich Attire, she put on her Nun's Weeds: In which making her Appearance, she, again kneeling, offer'd up some private Devotions; which being over, she was led to the Door of the Nunnery, where the Lady and the rest of the Nuns stood ready to receive her with open Arms. Thus enter'd, the Nuns conducted her into the Quire, where after they had entertained her with Singing, and playing upon the Organ, the Ceremony concluded, and every one departed to their proper Habitations.
The very same Day of the Year ensuing the Relations and Friends of the fair Novitiate meet again in the Chapel of the Nunnery, where the Lady Abbess brings her out, and delivers her to them. Then again is there a Sermon preach'd on the same Subject as at first; which being over, she is brought up to the Altar, in a decent, but plain Dress, the fine Apparel, which she put off on her Initiation, being deposited on one side of the Altar, and her Nun's Weeds on the other. Here the Priest in Latin cries, Utrum horum mavis, accipe: to which she answers, as her Inclination, or as her Instruction directs her. If she, after this her Year of Probation, show any Dislike, she is at Liberty to come again into the World: But if aw'd by Fear (as too often is the Case) or won by Expectation, or present real Inclination, she makes choice of the Nun's Weeds, she is immediately invested, and must never expect to appear again in the World out of the Walls of the Nunnery. The young Lady I thus saw invested was very beautiful, and sang the best of any in the Nunnery.
There are in the Town three Nunneries, and a Convent to every one of them; viz. one of Jesuits, one of Carmelites, and the other of Franciscans. Let me not be so far mistaken to have this taken by way of Reflection. No! Whatever some of our Rakes of the Town may assert, I freely declare, that I never saw in any of the Nunneries (of which I have seen many both in Spain and other Parts of the World) any thing like indecent Behaviour, that might give occasion for Satyr or Disesteem. It is true, there may be Accidents, that may lead to a Misinterpretation, of which I remember a very untoward Instance in Alicant.
When the English Forces first laid Siege to that Town, the Priests, who were apprehensive of it, having been long since made sensible of the profound Regard to Chastity and Modesty of us Hereticks, by the ignominious Behaviour of certain Officers at Rota and Porta St. Maria, the Priests, I say, had taken care to send away privately all the Nuns to Majorca. But that the Heretick Invaders might have no Jealousy of it, the fair Curtezans of the Town were admitted to supply their Room. The Officers, both of Land and Sea, as was by the Friars pre-imagin'd, on taking the Town and Castle, immediately repair'd to the Grates of the Nunnery, toss'd over their Handkercheifs, Nosegays, and other pretty Things; all which were, doubtless, very graciously received by those imaginary Recluses. Thence came it to pass, that in the space of a Month or less, you could hardly fall into Comany of any one of our younger Officers, of either sort, but the Discourse, if it might deserve the Name, was concerning these beautiful Nuns; and you wou'd have imagin'd the Price of these Ladies as well known as that of Flesh in their common Markets. Others, as well as my self, have often endeavour'd to disabuse those Glorioso's, but all to little purpose, till more sensible Tokens convinced them, that the Nuns, of whose Favours they so much boasted, could hardly be perfect Virgins, tho' in a Cloyster. And I am apt to think, those who would palm upon the World like vicious Relations of Nuns and Nunneries, do it on much like Grounds. Not that there are wanting Instances of Nunneries disfranchis'd, and even demolish'd, upon very flagrant Accounts; but I confine myself to Spain.
In this Town of la Mancha the Corrigidore always has his Presidence, having sixteen others under his Jurisdiction, of which Almanza is one. They are changed every three Years, and their Offices are the Purchase of an excessive Price; which occasions the poor People's being extravagantly fleeced, nothing being to be sold but at the Rates they impose; and every Thing that is sold paying the Corrigidore an Acknowledgment in specie, or an Equivalent to his liking.
While I was here, News came of the Battle of Almanar and Saragosa; and giving the Victory to that Side, which they espous'd (that of King Philip) they made very great Rejoycings. But soon, alas, for them, was all that Joy converted into Sorrow: The next Courier evincing, that the Forces of King Charles had been victorious in both Engagements. This did not turn to my present Disadvantage: For Convents and Nunneries, as well as some of those Dons, whom afore I had not stood so well with, strove now how most to oblige me; not doubting, but if the victorious Army should march that way, it might be in my Power to double the most signal of their Services in my Friendship.
Soon after an Accident fell out, which had like to have been of an unhappy Consequence to me. I was standing in Company, upon the Parade, when a most surprizing flock of Eagles flew over our Heads, where they hover'd for a considerable time. The Novelty struck them all with Admiration, as well as my self. But I, less accustomed to like Spectacles, innocent saying, that in my Opinion, it could not bode any good to King Philip, because the Eagle compos'd the Arms of Austria; some busie Body, in hearing, went and inform'd the Corrigidore of it. Those most magisterial Wretches embrace all Occasions of squeezing Money; and more especially from Strangers. However finding his Expectations disappointed in me, and that I too well knew the length of his Foot, to let my Money run freely; he sent me next Day to Alercon; but the Governor of that Place having had before Intelligence, that the English Army was advancing that way, refus'd to receive me, so I return'd as I went; only the Gentlemen of the Place, as they had condol'd the first, congratulated the last; for that Corrigidore stood but very indifferently in their Affections. However, it was a warning to me ever after, how I made use of English Freedom in a Spanish Territory.
As I had attain'd the Acquaintance of most of the Clergy, and Religious of the Place; so particularly I had my aim in obtaining that of the Provincial of the Carmelites. His Convent, tho' small, was exceeding neat; but what to me was much more agreeable, There were very large Gardens belonging to it, which often furnished me with Sallading and Fruit, and much oftner with Walks of Refreshment, the most satisfactory Amusement in this warm Climate. This Acquaintance with the Provincial was by a little Incident soon advanced into a Friendship; which was thus: I was one Day walking, as I us'd to do, in the long Gallery of the Convent, when observing the Images of the Virgin Mary, of which there was one at each end; I took notice that one had an Inscription under it, which was this, Ecce, Virgo peperit filium: but the other had no Inscription at all; upon which, I took out my Pencil, and wrote underneath, this Line:
Sponsa Dei, patrisque parens, & filia filii.
The Friars, who at a little distance had observed me, as soon as I was gone, came up and read what I had writ; reporting which to the Provincial, he order'd them to be writ over in Letters of Gold, and plac'd just as I had put 'em; saying, doubtless, such a fine Line you'd proceed from nothing less than Inspiration. This secur'd me ever after his and their Esteem; the least advantage of which, was a full Liberty of their Garden for all manner of Fruit, Sallading, or whatever I pleased: And as I said before, the Gardens were too fine not to render such a Freedom acceptable.
They often want Rain in this Country: To supply the Defect of which, I observed in this Garden, as well as others, an Invention not unuseful. There is a Well in the Middle of the Garden, and over that a Wheel with many Pitchers, or Buckets, one under another, which Wheel being turned round by an Ass, the Pitchers scoop up the Water on one Side, and throw it out on the other into a Trough, that by little Channels conveys it, as the Gardiner directs, into every part of the Garden. By this Means their Flowers and their Sallading are continually refresh'd, and preserved from the otherwise over-parching Beams of the Sun.
The Inquisition, in almost every Town in Spain (and more especially, if of any great Account) has its Spies, or Informers, for treacherous Intelligence. These make it their Business to ensnare the simple and unguarded; and are more to be avoided by the Stranger, than the Rattle Snake. Nature have appointed no such happy Tokens in the former to foreshew the Danger. I had Reason to believe, that one of those Vermin once made his Attack upon me in this place: And as they are very rarely, if ever known to the Natives themselves, I being a Stranger, may be allowed to make a guess by Circumstances.
I was walking by my self, when a Person, wholly unknown to me, giving me the civil Salute of the Day, endeavour'd to draw me into Conversation. After Questions had passed on general Heads, the fellow ensnaringly asked me, how it came to pass, that I show'd so little Respect to the Image of the crucify'd Jesus, as I pass'd by it in such a Street, naming it? I made Answer, that I had, or ought to have him always in my Heart crucified. To that he made no Reply: But proceeding in his Interrogatories, question'd me next, whether I believ'd a Purgatory? I evaded the Question, as I took it to be ensnaring; and only told him, that I should be willing to hear him offer any Thing that might convince me of the Truth, or Probability of it. Truth? He reply'd in a Heat: There never yet was Man so Holy as to enter Heaven without first passing through Purgatory. In my Opinion, said I, there will be no Difficulty in convincing a reasonable Man to the contrary. What mean you by that, cry'd the Spy? I mean, said I, that I can name one, and a great Sinner too, who went into Bliss without any Visit to Purgatory. Name him, if you can, reply'd my Querist. What think you of the Thief upon the Cross, said I? to whom our dying Saviour said, Hodie eris mecum in Paradiso. At which being silenced tho' not convicted, he turned from me in a violent Rage, and left me to my self.
What increas'd my first Suspicion of him was, that a very short time after, my Friend the Provincial sent to speak with me; and repeating all Passages between the holy Spy and me, assur'd me that he had been forc'd to argue in my Favour, and tell him that I had said nothing but well: For says he, all ought to have the Holy Jesus crucified in their Hearts.
"Nevertheless," continu'd he, "it is a commendable and good Thing to have him represented in the high Ways: For, suppose," said he, "a Man was going upon some base or profligate Design, the very Sight of a cruficied Saviour may happen to subvert his Resolution, and deter him from committing Theft, Murder, or any other of the deadly Sins." And thus ended that Conference.
I remember upon some other occasional Conversation after, the Provincial told me, that in the Carmelite Nunnery next to his Convent, and under his Care, there was a Nun, that was Daughter to Don Juan of Austria; if so, her Age must render her venerable, as her Quality.
Taking notice one Day, that all the People of the Place fetch'd their Water from a Well without the Town, altho' they had many seemingly as good within; I spoke to Don Felix of it, who gave me, under the Seal of Secrecy, this Reason for it:
"When the Seat of the War," said he, "lay in these Parts, the French Train of Artillery was commonly quarter'd in this Place; the Officers and Soldiers of which were so very rampant and rude, in attempting to debauch our Women, that there is not a Well within the Town, which has not some French Mens Bones at the bottom of it; therefore the Natives, who are sensible of it, choose rather to go farther a field."
By this Well there runs a little Rivulet, which gives head to that famous River call'd the Guadiana; which running for some Leagues under Ground, affords a pretence for the Natives to boast of a Bridge on which they feed many Thousands of Sheep. When it rises again, it is a fine large River, and after a Currency of many Leagues, empties it self into the Atlantick Ocean.
As to military Affairs, Almanar and Saragosa were Victories so compleat, that no Body made the least doubt of their settling the Crown of Spain upon the Head of Charles the Third, without a Rival. This was not barely the Opinion of his Friends, but his very Enemies resign'd all Hope or Expectation in favour of King Philip. The Castilians, his most faithful Friends, entertain'd no other Imagination; for after they had advis'd, and prevail'd that the Queen with the Prince of Asturias should be sent to Victoria; under the same Despondency, and a full Dispiritedness, they gave him so little Encouragement to stay in Madrid, that he immediately quitted the Place, with a Resolution to retire into his Grandfather's Dominions, the Place of his Nativity.
In his way to which, even on the last Day's Journey, it was his great good Fortune to meet the Duke of Vendome, with some few Troops, which his Grandfather Lewis XIV. of France had order'd to his Succour, under that Duke's Command. The Duke was grievously affected at such an unexpected Catastrophe; nevertheless, he left nothing unsaid or undone, that might induce that Prince to turn back; and at length prevailing, after a little Rest, and a great deal of Patience, by the Coming in of his scatter'd Troops, and some few he could raise, together with those the Duke brought with him, he once more saw himself at the Head of twenty thousand Men.
While Things were in this Manner, under Motion in King Philip's Favour, Charles the third, with his victorious Army, advances forward, and enters into Madrid, of which he made General Stanhope Governor. And even here the Castilians gave full Proof of their Fidelity to their Prince; even at the Time when, in their Opinion, his Affairs were past all Hopes of Retrieve, they themselves having, by their Advice, contributed to his Retreat. Instead of prudential Acclamations therefore, such as might have answered the Expectations of a victorious Prince, now entering into their Capital, their Streets were all in a profound Silence, their Balconies unadorn'd with costly Carpets, as was customary on like Occasions; and scarce an Inhabitant to be seen in either Shop or Window.
This doubtless was no little Mortification to a conquering Prince; however his Generals were wife enough to keep him from shewing any other Tokens of Resentment, than marching through the City with Unconcern, and taking up his Quarters at Villa-verda, about a League from it.
Nevertheless King Charles visited, in his March, the Chapel of the Lady de Atocha, where finding several English Colours and Standards, taken in the Battle of Almanza, there hung up; he ordered 'em to be taken down, and restor'd 'em to the English General.
It was the current Opinion then, and almost universal Consent has since confirm'd it, that the falsest Step in that whole War was this Advancement of King Charles to Madrid. After those two remarkable Victories at Almanar and Saragosa, had he directed his March to Pampeluna, and obtain'd Possession of that Place, or some other near it, he had not only stopt all Succours from coming out of France, but he would, in a great Measure, have prevented the gathering together of any of the routed and dispers'd Forces of King Philip: And it was the general Notion of the Spaniards, I convers'd with while at Madrid, that had King Philip once again set his Foot upon French Land, Spain would never have been brought to have re-acknowledged him.
King Charles with his Army having stay'd some Time about Madrid, and seeing his Expectations of the Castilians joining him not at all answered, at last resolved to decamp, and return to Saragosa: Accordingly with a very few Troops that Prince advanced thither; while the main Body, under the Command of the Generals Stanhope and Staremberg, passing under the very Walls of Madrid, held on their March towards Aragon.
After about three Days' March, General Stanhope took up his Quarters at Breuhiga, a small Town half wall'd; General Staremberg marching three Leagues farther, to Cisuentes. This choice of Situation of the two several Armies not a little puzzled the Politicians of those Times, who could very indifferently account for the English General's lying expos'd in an open Town, with his few English Forces, of which General Harvey's Regiment of fine Horse might be deem'd the Main; and General Staremberg encamping three Leagues farther off the Enemy. But to see the Vicissitudes of Fortune, to which the Actions of the bravest, by an untoward Sort of Fatality, are often forced to contribute! None, who had been Eye-witnesses of the Bravery of either of those Generals at the Battles of Almanar and Saragosa, could find Room to call in question either their Conduct or their Courage; and yet in this March, and this Encampment will appear a visible ill Consequence to the Affairs of the Interest they fought for.
The Duke of Vendome having increas'd the Forces which he brought from France, to upwards of twenty thousand Men, marches by Madrid directly for Breuhiga, where his Intelligence inform'd him General Stanhope lay, and that so secretly as well as swiftly, that that General knew nothing of it, nor could be persuaded to believe it, till the very Moment their Bullets from the Enemy's Cannon convinc'd him of the Truth. Breuhiga, I have said, was wall'd only on one Side, and yet on that very side the Enemy made their Attack. But what could a Handful do against a Force so much superior, though they had not been in want of both Powder and Ball; and in want of these were forc'd to make use of Stones against all Sorts of Ammunition, which the Enemy ply'd them with? The Consequence answered the Deficiency; they were all made Prisoners of War, and Harvey's Regiment of Horse among the rest; which, to augment their Calamity, was immediately remounted by the Enemy, and march'd along with their Army to attack General Staremberg.
That General had heard somewhat of the March of Vendome; and waited with some Impatience to have the Confirmation of it from General Stanhope, who lay between, and whom he lay under an Expectation of being joined with: However he thought it not improper to make some little Advance towards him; and accordingly breaking up from his Camp at Cisuentes, he came back to Villa viciosa, a little Town between Cisuentes and Breuhiga; there he found Vendome ready to attack him, before he could well be prepared for him, but no English to join him, as he had expected; nevertheless, the Battle was hot, and obstinately fought; although Staremberg had visibly the Advantage, having beat the Enemy at least a League from their Cannon; at which Time hearing of the Misfortune of Breuhiga, and finding himself thereby frustrated of those expected Succours to support him, he made a handsome Retreat to Barcelona, which in common Calculation is about one hundred Leagues, without any Disturbance of an Enemy that seem'd glad to be rid of him. Nevertheless his Baggage having fallen into the Hands of the Enemy, at the Beginning of the Fight, King Philip and the Duke of Vendome generously returned it unopen'd, and untouched, in acknowledgement of his brave Behaviour.
I had like to have omitted one material Passage, which I was very credibly informed of; That General Carpenter offered to have gone, and have join'd General Staremberg with the Horse, which was refus'd him. This was certainly an Oversight of the highest Nature; since his going would have strengthen'd Staremberg almost to the Assurance of an intire Victory; whereas his Stay was of no manner of Service, but quite the contrary: For, as I said before, the Enemy, by re-mounting the English Horse (which perhaps were the compleatest of any Regiment in the World) turn'd, if I may be allowed the Expression, the Strength of our Artillery upon our Allies.
Upon this Retreat of Staremberg, and the Surprize at Breuhiga, there were great Rejoicings at Madrid, and everywhere else, where King Philip's Interest prevailed. And indeed it might be said, from that Day the Interest of King Charles look'd with a very lowering Aspect. I was still a Prisoner at la Mancha, when this News arriv'd; and very sensibly affected at that strange Turn of Fortune. I was in bed, when the Express pass'd through the Town, in order to convey it farther; and in the Middle of the Night I heard a certain Spanish Don, with whom, a little before, I had had some little Variance, thundering at my Door, endeavouring to burst it open, with, as I had Reason to suppose, no very favourable Design upon me. But my Landlady, who hitherto had always been kind and careful, calling Don Felix, and some others of my Friends together, sav'd me from the Fury of his Designs, whatever they were.
Among other Expressions of the general Joy upon this Occasion, there was a Bull-Feast at la Mancha; which being much beyond what I saw at Valencia, I shall here give a Description of. These Bull-Feasts are not so common now in Spain as formerly, King Philip not taking much Delight in them. Nevertheless, as soon as it was publish'd here, that there was to be one, no other Discourse was heard; and in the Talk of the Bulls, and the great Preparations for the Feast, Men seem'd to have lost, or to have lay'd aside, all Thoughts of the very Occasion. A Week's time was allow'd for the Building of Stalls for the Beasts, and Scaffolds for the Spectators; and other necessary Preparations for the setting off their Joy with the most suitable Splendour.
On the Day appointed for the bringing the Bulls into Town, the Cavalieroes mounted their Horses, and, with Spears in their Hands, rode out of Town about a League, or somewhat more to meet them: If any of the Bulls break from the Drove, and make an Excursion (as they frequently do) the Cavaliero that can make him return again to his Station among his Companions, is held in Honour, suitable to the Dexterity and Address he performs it with. On their Entrance into the Town, all the Windows are fill'd with Spectators; a Pope passing in grand Procession could not have more; for what can be more than all? And he or she who should neglect so rare a Show, would give Occasion to have his or her Legitimacy call'd in Question.
When they come to the Plaza, where the Stalls and Scaffolds are built, and upon which the Feats of Chivalry are to be performed, it is often with a great deal of Difficulty that the Brutes are got in; for there are twelve Stalls, one for every Bull, and as their Number grows less by the enstalling of some, the Remainder often prove more untractable and unruly: In these Stalls they are kept very dark, to render them fiercer for the Day of Battle.
On the first of the Days appointed (for a Bull-Feast commonly lasts three) all the Gentry of the Place, or near adjacent, resort to the Plaza in their most gaudy Apparel, every one vieing in making the most glorious Appearance. Those in the lower Ranks provide themselves with Spears, or a great many small Darts in their Hands, which they fail not to cast or dart, whenever the Bull by his Nearness gives them an Opportunity. So that the poor Creature may be said to fight, not only with the Tauriro (or Bullhunter, a Person always hired for that Purpose) but with the whole Multitude in the lower Class at least.
All being seated, the uppermost Door is open'd first; and as soon as ever the Bull perceives the Light, out he comes, snuffing up the Air, and stareing about him, as if in admiration of his attendants; and with his Tail cock'd up, he spurns the Ground with his Forefeet, as if he intended a Challenge to his yet unappearing Antagonist. Then at a Door appointed for that purpose, enters the Tauriro all in white, holding a Cloak in one Hand, and a sharp two edged Sword in the other. The Bull no sooner sets Eyes upon him, but wildly staring, he moves gently towards him; then gradually mends his pace, till he is come within about the space of twenty Yards of the Tauriro; when, with a sort of Spring, he makes at him with all his might. The Tauriro knowing by frequent Experience, that it behoves him to be watchful, slips aside just when the Bull is at him; when casting his Cloak over his Horns, at the same Moment he gives him a slash or two, always aiming at the Neck, where there is one particular Place, which if he hit, he knows he shall easily bring him to the Ground. I my Self observ'd the truth of this Experiment made upon one of the Bulls, who receiv'd no more than one Cut, which happening upon the fatal Spot, so stun'd him, that he remain'd perfectly stupid, the Blood flowing out from the Wound, till after a violent Trembling he dropt down stone dead.
But this rarely happens, and the poor Creature oftner receives many Wounds, and numberless Darts, before he dies. Yet whenever he feels a fresh Wound either from Dart, Spear, or Sword, his Rage receives addition from the Wound, and he pursues his Tauriro with an Increase of Fury and Violence. And as often as he makes at his Adversary, the Tauriro takes care with the utmost of his Agility to avoid him, and reward his kind Intention with a new Wound.
Some of their Bulls will play their Parts much better than others: But the best must die. For when they have behav'd themselves with all the commendable Fury possible; if the Tauriro is spent, and fail of doing Execution upon him, they set Dogs upon him: Hough him and stick him all over with Darts, till with very loss of Blood he puts an end to their present Cruelty.
When dead, a Man brings in two Mules dress'd out with Bells and Feathers, and fastening a Rope about his Horns, draws off the Bull with the Shouts and Acclamations of the Spectators; as if the Infidels had been drove from before Ceuta.
I had almost forgot another very common piece of barbarous Pleasure at these Diversions. The Tauriro will sometimes stick one of their Bull Spears fast in the Ground, aslant, but levell'd as near as he can at his Chest; then presenting himself to the Bull, just before the point of the Spear, on his taking his run at the Tauriro, which, as they assur'd me, he always does with his Eyes closed, the Tauriro slips on one side, and the poor Creature runs with a violence often to stick himself, and sometimes to break the Spear in his Chest, running away with part of it till he drop.
This Tauriro was accounted one of the best in Spain; and indeed I saw him mount the back of one of the Bulls, and ride on him, slashing and cutting, till he had quite wearied him; at which time dismounting, he kill'd him with much Ease, and to the acclamatory Satisfaction of the whole Concourse: For variety of Cruelty, as well as Dexterity, administers to their Delight.
The Tauriroes are very well paid; and in Truth so they ought to be; for they often lose their Lives in the Diversion, as this did the Year after in the way of his Calling. Yet is it a Service of very great Profit when they perform dextrously: For when ever they do any Thing remarkable, deserving the Notice of the Spectators, they never fail of a generous Gratification, Money being thrown down to 'em in plenty.
This Feast (as they generally do) lasted three Days; the last of which was, in my Opinion, much before either of the other. On this, a young Gentleman, whose Name was Don Pedro Ortega, a Person of great Quality, perform'd the Exercise on Horseback. The Seats, if not more crowded, were filled with People of better Fashion, who came from Places at a distance to grace the noble Tauriro.
He was finely mounted, and made a very graceful Figure; but as when the Foot Tauriro engages, the Bull first enters, so in the Contest the Cavaliero always makes his Appearance on the Plaza before the Bull. His Steed was a manag'd Horse; mounted on which he made his Entry, attended by four Footmen in rich Liveries; who, as soon as their Master had rid round, and paid his Devoirs to all the Spectators, withdrew from the Dangers they left him expos'd to. The Cavaliero having thus made his Bows, and received the repeated Vivas of that vast Concourse, march'd with a very stately Air to the very middle of the Plaza, there standing ready to receive his Enemy at coming out.
The Door being open'd, the Bull appeared; and as I thought with a fiercer and more threatning Aspect that any of the former. He star'd around him for a considerable time, snuffing up the Air, and spurning the Ground, without in the least taking notice of his Antagonist. But at last fixing his Eyes upon him, he made a full run at the Cavaliero, which he most dexterously avoided, and at the same moment of time, passing by, he cast a Dart that stuck in his Shoulders. At this the Shouts and Vivas were repeated; and I observed a Handkerchief wav'd twice or thrice, which, as I afterwards understood, was a Signal from the Lady of his Affections, that she had beheld him with Satisfaction. I took notice that the Cavaliero endeavour'd all he could to keep aside the Bull, for the Advantage of the Stroke, when putting his Horse on a full Career, he threw another Dart, which fix'd in his Side, and so enrag'd the Beast, that he seem'd to renew his Attacks with greater Fury. The Cavaliero had behav'd himself to Admiration, and escap'd many Dangers; with the often repeated Acclamations of Viva, Viva; when at last the enraged Creature getting his Horns between the Horse's hinder Legs, Man and Horse came both together to the Ground.
I expected at that Moment nothing less than Death could be the Issue; when to the general Surprize, as well as mine, the very civil Brute, Author of all the Mischief, only withdrew to the other Side of the Plaza, where he stood still, staring about him as if he knew nothing of the Matter.
The Cavaliero was carry'd off not much hurt, but his delicate Beast suffer'd much more. However I could not but think afterward, that the good natur'd Bull came short of fair Play. If I may be pardon'd the Expression, he had us'd his Adversary with more Humanity than he met with; at least, since, after he had the Cavaliero under, he generously forsook him; I think he might have pleaded, or others for him, for better Treatment than he after met with.
For as the Cavaliero was disabled and carry'd off, the Foot Tauriro enter'd in white Accoutrements, as before; but he flatter'd himself with an easier Conquest than he found: there is always on these Occasions, when he apprehends any imminent Danger, a Place of Retreat ready for the Foot Tauriro; and well for him there was so; this Bull oblig'd him over and over to make Use of it. Nor was he able at last to dispatch him, without a general Assistance; for I believe I speak within Compass, when I say, he had more than an hundred Darts stuck in him. And so barbarously was he mangled, and flash'd besides, that, in my Mind, I could not but think King Philip in the Right, when he said, That it was a Custom deserv'd little Encouragement.
Soon after this Tauridore, or Bull-Feast was over, I had a Mind to take a pleasant Walk to a little Town, call'd Minai, about three Leagues off; but I was scarce got out of la Mancha, when an Acquaintance meeting me, ask'd where I was going? I told him to Minai; when taking me by the Hand, Friend Gorgio, says he in Spanish, Come back with me; you shall not go a Stride further; there are Picarons that Way; you shall not go. Inquiring, as we went back, into his Meaning, he told me, that the Day before, a Man, who had received a Sum of Money in Pistoles at la Mancha, was, on the road, set upon by some, who had got notice of it, and murdered him; that not finding the Money expected about him (for he had cautiously enough left it in a Friend's Hands at la Mancha) they concluded he had swallowed it; and therefore they ript up his Belly, and open'd every Gut; but all to as little Purpose. This diverted my Walk for that time.
But some little Time after, the same Person inviting me over to the same Place, to see his Melon-Grounds, which in that Country are wonderful fine and pleasant; I accepted his Invitation, and under the Advantage of his Company, went thither. On the Road I took notice of a Cross newly erected, and a Multitude of small stones around the Foot of it: Asking the Meaning whereof, my Friend told me, that it was rais'd for a Person there murder'd (as is the Custom throughout Spain) and that every good Catholick passing by, held it his Duty to cast a Stone upon the Place, in Detestation of the Murder. I had often before taken Notice of many such Crosses: but never till then knew the Meaning of their Erection, or the Reason of the Heaps of Stones around them.
There is no Place in all Spain more famous for good Wine than Sainte Clemente de la Mancha; nor is it any where sold cheaper: For as it is only an inland Town, near no navigable River, and the People temperate to a Proverb, great Plenty, and a small Vend must consequently make it cheap. The Wine here is so famous, that, when I came to Madrid, I saw wrote over the Doors of host Houses that sold Wine, Vino Sainte Clemente. As to the Temperance of the People, I must say, that notwithstanding those two excellent Qualities of good and cheap, I never saw, all the three Years I was Prisoner there, any one Person overcome with Drinking.
It is true, there may be a Reason, and a political one, assign'd for that Abstemiousness of theirs, which is this, That if any Man, upon any Occasion, should be brought in as an Evidence against you, if you can prove that he was ever drunk, it will invalidate his whole Evidence. I could not but think this a grand Improvement upon the Spartans. They made their Slaves purposely drunk, to shew their Youth the Folly of the Vice by the sottish Behaviour of their Servants under it: But they never reach'd to that noble height of laying a Penalty upon the Aggressor, or of discouraging a voluntary Impotence of Reason by a disreputable Impotence of Interest. The Spaniard therefore, in my Opinion, in this exceeds the Spartan, as much as a natural Beauty exceeds one procured by Art; for tho' Shame may somewhat influence some few, Terrour is of force to deter all. A Man, we have seen it, may shake Hands with Shame; but Interest, says another Proverb, will never lye. A wise Institution therefore doubtless is this of the Spaniard; but such as I fear will never take Place in Germany, Holland, France, or Great Britain.
But though I commend their Temperance, I would not be thought by any Means to approve of their Bigotry. If there may be such a Thing as Intemperance in Religion, I much fear their Ebriety in that will be found to be over-measure. Under the notion of Devotion, I have seen Men among 'em, and of Sense too, guilty of the grossest Intemperancies. It is too common to be a rarity to see their Dons of the prime Quality as well as those of the lower Ranks, upon meeting a Priest in the open Streets, condescend to take up the lower part of his Vestment, and salute it with Eyes erected as if they look'd upon it as the Seal of Salvation.
When the Ave-Bell is heard, the Hearer must down on his Knees upon the very Spot; nor is he allowed the small Indulgence of deferring a little, till he can recover a clean Place; Dirtiness excuses not, nor will dirty Actions by any means exempt. This is so notorious, that even at the Play-house, in the middle of a Scene, on the first sound of the Bell, the Actors drop their Discourse, the Auditors supersede the indulging of their unsanctified Ears, and all on their Hearts, quite a different way, to what they just before had been employ'd in. In short, tho' they pretend in all this to an extraordinary Measure of Zeal and real Devotion; no Man, that lives among them any time, can be a Proselyte to them without immolating his Senses and his Reason: Yet I must confess, while I have seen them thus deludeing themselves with Ave Marias, I you'd not refrain throwing up my Eyes to the only proper Object of Adoration, in commiseration of such Delusions.
The Hours of the Ave Bell, are eight and twelve in the Morning, and six in the Evening. They pretend at the first to fall down in beg that God would be pleas'd to prosper them in all things they go about that Day. At twelve they return Thanks for their Preservation to that time; and at six for that of the whole Day. After which, one would think that they imagine themselves at perfect Liberty; and their open Gallantries perfectly countenance the Imagination: for tho' Adultery is look'd upon as a grievous Crime, and punish'd accordingly; yet Fornication is softened with the title of a Venial Sin, and they seem to practise it under that Persuasion.
I found here, what Erasmus ridicules with so much Wit and Delicacy, the custom of burying in a Franciscan's Habit, in mighty request. If they can for that purpose procure an old one at the price of a new one; the Purchaser wil look upon himself a provident Chap, that has secur'd to his deceased Friend or Relation, no less than Heaven by that wise Bargain.
The Evening being almost the only time of Enjoyment of Company, or Conversation, every body in Spain then greedily seeks it; and the Streets are at that time crowded like our finest Gardens or most private Walks. On one of those Occasions, I met a Don of my Acquaintance walking out with his Sisters; and as I thought it became an English Cavalier, I saluted him: But to my Surprize he never return'd the Civility. When I met him the Day after, instead of an Apology, as I had flattered my self, I received a Reprimand, tho' a very civil one; telling me it was the Custom in Spain, nor well taken of any one, that took Notice of any who were walking in the Company of Ladies at Night.
But a Night or two after, I found by Experience, that if the Men were by Custom prohibited taking Notice, Women were not. I was standing at the Door, in the cool of the Evening, when a Woman seemingly genteel, passing by, call'd me by my Name, telling me she wanted to speak with me: She had her Mantilio on; so that had I had Day-light, I could have only seen one Eye of her. However I walk'd with her a good while, without being able to discover any thing of her Business, nor pass'd there between us any thing more than a Conversation upon indifferent Matters. Nevertheless, at parting she told me she should pass by again the next Evening; and if I would be at the Door, she would give me the same Advantage of a Conversation, That seem'd not to displease me. Accordingly the next Night she came, and as before we walk'd together in the privatest parts of the Town: For tho' I knew her not, her Discourse was always entertaining and full of Wit, and her Enquiries not often improper. We had continu'd this Intercourse many Nights together, when my Landlady's Daughter having taken Notice of it, stopt me one Evening, and would not allow me to stand at the usual Post of Intelligence, saying, with a good deal of heat, Don Gorgio, take my Advice; go no more along with that Woman: You may soon be brought home deprived of your Life if you do. I cannot say, whether she knew her; but this I must say, she was very agreeable in Wit as well as Person. However my Landlady and her Daughter took that Opportunity of giving me so many Instances of the fatal Issues of such innocent Conversations, (for I could not call it an Intrigue) that apprehensive enough of the Danger, on laying Circumstances together, I took their Advice, and never went into her Company after.
Sainte Clemente de la Mancha, where I so long remain'd a Prisoner of War, lies in the Road from Madrid to Valencia; and the Duke of Vendome being ordered to the latter, great Preparations were made for his Entertainment, as he pass'd through. He stay'd here only one Night, where he was very handsomely treated by the Corrigidore. He was a tall fair Person, and very fat, and at the time I saw him wore a long black Patch over his left Eye; but on what Occasion I could not learn. The afterwards famous Alberoni (since made a Cardinal) was in his Attendance; as indeed the Duke was very rarely without him. I remember that very Day three Weeks, they return'd through the same Place; the Duke in his Herse, and Alberoni in a Coach, paying his last Duties. That Duke was a prodigious Lover of Fish, of which having eat over heartily at Veneros, in the Province of Valencia, he took a Surfeit, and died in three Days' time. His Corps was carrying to the Escurial, there to be buried in the Panthĉon among their Kings.
The Castilians have a Privilege by Licence from the Pope, which, if it could have been converted into a Prohibition, might have sav'd that Duke's Life: In regard their Country is wholly inland, and the River Tagus famous for its Poverty, or rather Barrenness; their Holy Father indulges the Natives with the Liberty, in lieu of that dangerous Eatable, of eating all Lent time the Inwards of Cattle. When I first heard this related, I imagin'd, that the Garbidge had been intended, but I was soon after this rectify'd, by Inwards (for so expressly says the Licence it self) is meant the Heart, the Liver, and the Feet.
They have here as well as in most other Parts of Spain, Valencia excepted, the most wretched Musick in the Universe. Their Guitars, if not their Sole, are their darling Instruments, and what they most delight in: Tho' in my Opinion our English Sailors are not much amiss in giving them the Title of Strum Strums. They are little better than our Jews-harps, tho' hardly half so Musical. Yet are they perpetually at Nights disturbing their Women with the Noise of them, under the notion and name of Serenadoes. From the Barber to the Grandee the Infection spreads, and very often with the same Attendant, Danger: Night Quarrels and Rencounters being the frequent Result. The true born Spaniards reckon it a part of their Glory, to be jealous of their Mistresses, which is too often the Forerunner of Murders; at best attended with many other very dangerous Inconveniences. And yet bad as their Musick is, their Dancing is the reverse. I have seen a Country Girl manage her Castanets with the graceful Air of a Dutchess, and that not to common Musick; but to Peoples beating or druming a Tune with their Hands on a Table. I have seen half a Dozen couple at a time dance to the like in excellent order.
I just now distinguish'd, by an Exception, the Music of Valencia, where alone I experienced the use of the Violin; which tho' I cannot, in respect to other Countries, call good; yet in respect to the other parts of Spain, I must acknowledge it much the best. In my Account of that City, I omitted to speak of it; therefore now to supply that Defect, I will speak of the best I heard, which was on this unfortunate Occasion: Several Natives of that Country having received Sentence of Death for their Adherence to King Charles, were accordingly ordered to the Place of Execution. It is the Custom there, on all such Occasions, for all the Musick of the City to meet near the Gallows, and play the most affecting and melancholy Airs, to the very approach of the Condemn'd; and really the Musick was so moving, it heightened the Scene of Sorrow, and brought Compassion into the Eyes of even Enemies.
As to the Condemn'd, they came stript of their own Cloaths, and cover'd with black Frocks, in which they were led along the Streets to the Place of Execution, the Friars praying all the way. When they came through any Street, were any public Images were fix'd, they stay'd before 'em some reasonable time in Prayer with the Friars. When they are arriv'd at the fatal Place, those Fathers leave 'em not, but continue praying and giving them ghostly Encouragement, standing upon the rounds of the Ladder till they are turn'd off. The Hangman always wears a silver Badge of a Ladder to distinguish his Profession: But his manner of executing his Office had somewhat in it too singular to allow of Silence. When he had ty'd fast the Hands of the Criminal, he rested his Knee upon them, and with one Hand on the Criminal's Nostrils, to stop his Breath the sooner, threw himself off the Ladder along with the dying Party. This he does to expedite his Fate; tho' considering the Force, I wonder it does not tear Head and Body asunder; which yet I never heard that it did.
But to return to la Mancha; I had been there now upwards of two Years, much diverted with the good Humour and Kindness of the Gentlemen, and daily pleased with the Conversation of the Nuns of the Nunnery opposite to my Lodgings; when walking one Day alone upon the Plaza, I found my self accosted by a Clerico. At the first Attack, he told me his Country: But added, that he now came from Madrid with a Potent, that was his Word, from Pedro de Dios, Dean of the Inquisition, to endeavour the Conversion of any of the English Prisoners; that being an Irish-man, as a sort of a Brother, he had conceived a Love for the English, and therefore more eagerly embraced the Opportunity which the Holy Inquisition had put into his Hands for the bringing over to Mother Church as many Hereticks as he could; that having heard a very good Character of me, he should think himself very happy, if he could be instrumental in my Salvation;
"It is very true, continu'd he, I have lately had the good Fortune to convert many; and besides the Candour of my own Disposition, I must tell you, that I have a peculiar knack at Conversion, which very few, if any, ever could resist. I am going upon the same work into Murcia; but your good Character is fix'd me in my Resolution of preferring your Salvation to that of others."
To this very long, and no less surprising Address, I only return'd, that it being an Affair of moment, it would require some Consideration; and that by the time he return'd from Murcia, I might be able to return him a proper Answer. But not at all satisfy'd with this Reply;
"Sir," says he, "God Almighty is all-sufficient: This moment is too precious to be lost; he can turn the Heart in the twinkling of an Eye, as well as in twenty Years. Hear me then; mind what I say to you: I will convince you immediately. You Hereticks do not believe in Transubstantiation, and yet did not our Saviour say in so many Words, Hoc est corpus meum? And if you don't believe him, don't you give him the Lye? Besides, does not one of the Fatherss ay, Deus, qui est omnis Veritas, non potest dicere falsum?"
He went on at the same ridiculous rate; which soon convinced me, he was a thorough Rattle. However, as a Clerico, and consequently in this Country, a Man dangerous to disoblige, I invited him home to Dinner; where when I had brought him, I found I had no way done an unacceptable thing; for my Landlady and her Daughter, seeing him to be a Clergyman, receiv'd him with a vast deal of Respect and Pleasure.
Dinner being over, he began to entertain me with a Detail of the many wonderful Conversions he had made upon obstinate Hereticks; that he had convinced the most Stubborn, and had such a Nostrum, that he would undertake to convert any one. Here he began his old round, intermixing his Harangue with such scraps and raw sentences of fustian Latin, that I grew weary of his Conversation; so pretending some Business of consequence, I took leave, and left him and my Landlady together.
I did not return till pretty late in the Evening, with Intent to give him Time enough to think his own Visit tedious; but to my great Surprize, I found my Irish Missionary still on the Spot, ready to dare me to the Encounter, and resolv'd, like a true Son of the Church militant, to keep last on the Field of Battle. As soon as I had seated my self, he began again to tell me, how good a Character my Landlady had given me, which had prodigiously increased his Ardour of saving my Soul; that he could not answer it to his own Character, as well as mine, to be negligent; and therefore he had enter'd into a Resolution to stay my Coming, though it had been later. To all which, I return'd him Abundance of Thanks for his good Will, but pleading Indisposition and want of Rest, after a good deal of civil Impertinence, I once more got rid of him; at least, I took my Leave, and went to Bed, leaving him again Master of the Field; for I understood next Morning, that he stay'd some Time after I was gone, with my good Landlady.
Next Morning the Nuns of the Nunnery opposite, having taken Notice of the Clerico's Ingress, long Visit, and late Egress, sent to know whether he was my Countryman; with many other Questions, which I was not then let into the Secret of. To all which I return'd, that he was no Countryman of mine, but an Irish-man, and so perfectly a Stranger to me, that I knew no more of him than what I had from his own Mouth, that he was going into Murcia. What the Meaning of this Enquiry was, I could never learn; but I could not doubt, but it proceeded from their great Care of their Vicino, as they call'd me; a Mark of their Esteem, and of which I was not a little proud.
As was my usual Custom, I had been taking my Morning Walk, and had not been long come home in order to Dinner, when in again drops my Irish Clerico; I was confounded, and vexed, and he could not avoid taking Notice of it; nevertheless, without the least Alteration of Countenance, he took his Seat; and on my saying, in a cold and indifferent Tone, that I imagin'd he had been got to Murcia before this; he reply'd, with a natural Fleer, that truely he was going to Murcia, but his Conscience pricked him, and he did find that he could not go away with any Satisfaction, or Peace of Mind, without making me a perfect Convert; that he had plainly discovered in me a good Disposition, and had, for that very Reason, put himself to the Charge of Man and Mule, to the Bishop of Cuenca for a Licence, under his Hand, for my Conversion: For in Spain, all private Missionaries are obliged to ask Leave of the next Bishop, before they dare enter upon any Enterprize of this Nature.
I was more confounded at this last Assurance of the Man than at all before; and it put me directly upon reflecting, whether any, and what Inconveniences might ensue, from a Rencounter that I, at first, conceiv'd ridiculous, but might now reasonably begin to have more dangerous Apprehensions of. I knew, by the Articles of War, all Persons are exempted from any Power of the Inquisition; but whether carrying on a Part in such a Farce, might not admit, or at least be liable to some dangerous Construction, was not imprudently now to be considered. Though I was not fearful, yet I resolv'd to be cautious. Wherefore not making any Answer to his Declaration about the Bishop, he took Notice of it; and to raise a Confidence, he found expiring, began to tell me, that his Name was Murtough Brennan, that he was born near Kilkenny, of a very considerable Family. This last part indeed, when I came to Madrid, I found pretty well confirm'd in a considerable Manner. However, taking Notice that he had alter'd his Tone of leaving the Town, and that instead of it, he was advancing somewhat like an Invitation of himself to Dinner the next Day, I resolv'd to show my self shy of him; and thereupon abruptly, and without taking any Leave, I left the Room, and my Landlady and him together.
Three or four Days had passed, every one of which, he never fail'd my Lodgings; not at Dinner Time only, but Night and Morning too; from all which I began to suspect, that instead of my Conversion, he had fix'd upon a Re-conversion of my Landlady. She was not young, yet, for a black Woman, handsom enough; and her Daughter very pretty: I entered into a Resolution to make my Observations, and watch them all at a Distance; nevertheless carefully concealing my Jealousy. However, I must confess, I was not a little pleas'd, that any Thing could divert my own Persecution. He was now no longer my Guest, but my Landlady's, with whom I found him so much taken up, that a little Care might frustrate all his former impertinent Importunities on the old Topick.
But all my Suspicions were very soon after turn'd into Certainties, in this Manner: I had been abroad, and returning somewhat weary, I went to my Chamber, to take, what in that Country they call, a Cesto, upon my Bed: I got in unseen, or without seeing any Body, but had scarce laid my self down, before my young Landlady, as I jestingly us'd to call the Daughter, rushing into my Room, threw her self down on the Floor, bitterly exclaiming. I started off my Bed, and immediately running to the Door, who should I meet there but my Irish Clerico, without his Habit, and in his Shirt? I could not doubt, by the Dishabillé of the Clerico, but the young Creature had Reason enough for her Passion, which render'd me quite unable to master mine; wherefore as he stood with his Back next the Door, I thrust him in that ghostly Plight into the open Street.
I might, with leisure enough, have repented that precipitate Piece of Indiscretion; if it had not been for his bad Character, and the favourable Opinion the Town had conceived of me; for he inordinately exclaim'd against me, calling me Heretick, and telling the People, who were soon gathered round him, that coming to my Lodgings on the charitable work of Conversion, I had thus abus'd him, stript him of his Habit, and then turn'd him out of Doors. The Nuns, on their hearing the Outcries he made, came running to their Grates, to enquire into the Matter, and when they understood it, as he was pleas'd to relate it; though they condemn'd my Zeal, they pity'd my Condition. Very well was it for me, that I stood more than a little well in the good Opinion of the Town; among the Gentry, by my frequent Conversation, and the inferior Sort by my charitable Distributions; for nothing can be more dangerous, or a nearer Way to violent Fate, than to insult one of the Clergy in Spain, and especially, for such an one as they entitle a Heretick.
My old Landlady (I speak in respect to her Daughter) however formerly my seeming Friend, came in a violent Passion, and wrenching the Door out of my Hands, opened it, and pull'd her Clerico in; and so soon as she had done this, she took his Part, and railed so bitterly at me, that I had no Reason longer to doubt her thorough Conversion, under the full Power of his Mission. However the young one stood her Ground, and by all her Expressions, gave her many Inquirers Reason enough to believe, all was not Matter of Faith that the Clerico had advanced. Nevertheless, holding it adviseable to change my Lodgings, and a Friend confirming my Resolutions, I removed that Night.
The Clerico having put on his upper Garments, was run away to the Corrigidor, in a violent Fury, resolving to be early, as well knowing, that he who tells his Story first, has the Prospect of telling it to double Advantage. When he came there, he told that Officer a thousand idle Stories, and in the worst Manner; repeating how I had abus'd him, and not him only, but my poor Landlady, for taking his Part. The Corrigidor was glad to hear it all, and with an officious Ear fish'd for a great deal more; expecting, according to Usage, at last to squeeze a Sum of Money out of me. However he told the Clerico, that, as I was a Prisoner of War, he had no direct Power over me; but if he would immediately write to the President Ronquillo, at Madrid, he would not fail to give his immediate Orders, according to which he would as readily act against me.
The Clerico resolv'd to pursue his old Maxim and cry out first; and so taking the Corrigidor's Advice, he wrote away to Madrid directly. In the mean Time the People in the Town, both high and low, some out of Curiosity, some out of Friendship, pursu'd their Enquiries into the Reality of the Facts. The old Landlady they could make little of to my Advantage; but whenever the young one came to the Question, she always left them with these Words in her Mouth, El Diabolo en forma del Clerico, which rendring Things more than a little cloudy on the Clerico's Side, he was advis'd and press'd by his few Friends, as fast as he could to get out of Town; Nuns, Clergy, and every Body taking Part against him, excepting his new Convert, my old Landlady.
The Day after, as I was sitting with a Friend at my new Quarters, Maria (for that was the Name of my Landlady's Daughter) came running in with these Words in her Mouth, El Clerico, el Clerico, passa la Calle. We hasten'd to the Window, out of which we beheld the Clerico, Murtough Brennan, pitifully mounted on the Back of a very poor Ass (for they would neither let, nor lend him a Mule through all the Town) his Legs almost rested on the Ground, for he was lusty, as his Ass was little; and a Fellow with a large Cudgel march'd a-foot, driving his Ass along. Never did Sancha Pancha, on his Embassage to Dulcinea, make such a despicable, out of the way Figure, as our Clerico did at this Time. And what increas'd our Mirth was, their telling me, that our Clerico, like that Squire (tho' upon his own Priest-Errantry) was actually on his March to Toboso, a Place five Leagues off, famous for the Nativity of Dulcinea, The Object of the Passion of that celebrated Hero Don Quixot. So I will leave our Clerico on his Journey to Murcia, to relate the unhappy Sequel of this ridiculous Affair.
I have before said, that, by the Advice of the Corrigidor, our Clerico had wrote to Don Ronquillo at Madrid. About a Fortnight after his Departure from la Mancha, I was sitting alone in my new Lodgings, when two Alguizils (Officers under the Corrigidor, and in the Nature of our Bailiffs) came into my Room, but very civilly, to tell me, that they had Orders to carry me away to Prison; but at the same Moment they advis'd me, not to be afraid; for they had observed, that the whole Town was concern'd at what the Corrigidor and Clerico had done; adding, that it was their Opinion, that I should find so general a Friendship, that I need not be apprehensive of any Danger. With these plausible Speeches, though I afterwards experienced the Truth of them, I resign'd my self, and went with them to a much closer Confinement.
I had not been there above a Day or two, before many Gentlemen of the Place sent to me, to assure me, they were heartily afflicted at my Confinement, and resolv'd to write in my Favour to Madrid; but as it was not safe, nor the Custom in Spain, to visit those in my present Circumstances, they hoped I would not take it amiss, since they were bent to act all in their Power towards my Deliverance; concluding however with their Advice, that I would not give one Real of Plata to the Corrigidor, whom they hated, but confide in their assiduous Interposal, Don Pedro de Ortega in particular, the Person that perform'd the Part of the Tauriro on Horseback, sometime before, sent me Word, he would not fail to write to a Relation of his, of the first Account in Madrid, and so represent the Affair, that I should not long be debarr'd my old Acquaintance.
It may administer, perhaps, Matter of Wonder, that Spaniards, Gentlemen of the stanchest Punctilio, should make a Scruple and execute themselves from visiting Persons under Confinement, when, according to all Christian Acceptation, such a Circumstance would render such a Visit, not charitable only but generous. But though Men of vulgar Spirits might, from the Narrowness of their Views, form such insipid Excuses, those of these Gentlemen, I very well knew, proceeded from much more excusable Topicks. I was committed under the Accusation of having abus'd a sacred Person, one of the Clergy; and though, as a Prisoner of War, I might deem my self exempt from the Power of the Inquisition; yet how far one of that Country, visiting a Person, so accused, might be esteemed culpable, was a consideration in that dangerous Climate, far from deserving to be slighted. To me therefore, who well knew the Customs of the Country, and the Temper of its Countrymen, their Excuses were not only allowable, but acceptable also; for, without calling in Question their Charity, I verily believ'd I might falsely confide in their Honour.
Accordingly, after I had been a close Prisoner one Month to a Day, I found the Benefit of these Gentlemen's Promises and Solicitations. Pursuant to which, an Order was brought for my immediate Discharge; notwithstanding, the new Convert, my old Landlady, did all she could to make her appearing against me effectual, to the Height of her Prejudice and Malice, even while the Daughter, as sensible of my Innocence, and acting with a much better Conscience, endeavoured as much to justify me, against both the Threats and Persuasions of the Corrigidor, and his few Accomplices, though her own Mother made one.
After Receipt of this Order for my Enlargement, I was mightily press'd by Don Felix, and others of my Friends, to go to Madrid, and enter my Complaint against the Corrigidor and the Clerico, as a Thing highly essential to my own future Security. Without asking Leave therefore of the Corrigidor, or in the least acquainting him with it, I set out from la Mancha, and, as I afterwards understood, to the terrible Alarm of that griping Officer; who was under the greatest Consternation, when he heard I was gone; for as he knew very well, that he had done more than he could justify, he was very apprehensive of any Complaint; well knowing, that as he was hated as much as I was beloved, he might assure himself of the Want of that Assistance from the Gentlemen, which I had experienced.
So soon as I arrived at Madrid, I made it my Business to enquire out, and wait upon Father Fahy, Chief of the Irish College. He received me very courteously; but when I acquainted him with the Treatment I had met with from Brennan, and had given him an Account of his other scandalous Behaviour, I found he was no Stranger to the Man, or his Character; for he soon confirm'd to me the Honour Brennan first boasted of, his considerable Family, by saying, that scarce an Assize passed in his own Country, without two or three of that Name receiving at the Gallows the just Reward of their Demerits. In short, not only Father Fahy, but all the Clergy of that Nation at Madrid, readily subscribed to this Character of him, That he was a Scandal to their Country.
After this, I had nothing more to do, but to get that Father to go with me to Pedro de Dios, who was the Head of the Dominican Cloyster, and Dean of the Inquisition. He readily granted my Request, and when we came there, in a Manner unexpected, represented to the Dean, that having some good Dispositions towards Mother-Church, I had been diverted from them, he feared, by the evil Practices of one Murtough Brennan, a Countryman of his, tho' a Scandal to his Country; that under a Pretence of seeking my Conversion, he had lay'd himself open in a most beastly Manner, such as would have set a Catholick into a vile Opinion of their Religion, and much more one that was yet a Heretick. The Dean had hardly Patience to hear Particulars; but as soon as my Friend had ended his Narration, he immediately gave his Orders, prohibiting Murtough's saying any more Masses, either in Madrid, or any other Place in Spain. This indeed was taking away the poor Wretches sole Subsistence, and putting him just upon an Equality with his Demerits.
I took the same Opportunity to make my Complaints of the Corrigidor; but his Term expiring very soon, and a Process being likely to be chargeable, I was advised to let it drop. So having effected what I came for, I returned to my old Station at la Mancha.
When I came back, I found a new Corrigidor, as I had been told there would, by the Dean of the Inquisition, who, at the same Time, advised me to wait on him. I did so, soon after my Arrival, and then experienced the Advice to be well intended; the Dean having wrote a Letter to him, to order him to treat me with all Manner of Civility. He show'd me the very Letter, and it was in such particular and obliging Terms, that I could not but perceive he had taken a Resolution, if possible, to eradicate all the evil impressions, that Murtough's Behaviour might have given too great Occasion for. This serv'd to confirm me in an Observation that I had long before made, That a Protestant, who will prudently keep his Sentiments in his own Breast, may command any Thing in Spain; where their stiff Bigotry leads 'em naturally into that other Mistake, That not to oppose, is to assent. Besides, it is generally among them, almost a work of Supererogation to be even instrumental in the Conversion of one they call a Heretick. To bring any such back to what they call Mother Church, nothing shall be spar'd, nothing thought too much: And if you have Insincerity enough to give them Hopes, you shall not only live in Ease, but in Pleasure and Plenty.
I had entertain'd some thoughts on my Journey back, of taking up my old Quarters at the Widow's; but found her so intirely converted by her Clerico, that there wou'd be no room to expect Peace: For which Reason, with the help of my fair Vicinos, and Don Felix, I took another, where I had not been long, before I received an unhappy Account of Murtough's Conduct in Murcia. It seems he had kept his Resolution in going thither; where meeting with some of his own Countrymen, though he found 'em stanch good Catholics, he so far inveigled himself into 'em, that he brought them all into a foul chance for their Lives. There were three of 'em, all Soldiers, in a Spanish Regiment, but in a fit of ambitious, though frantick, Zeal: Murtough had wheedled them to go along with him to Pedro de Dios, Dean of the Inquisition, to declare and acknowledge before him, that they were converted and brought over to Mother Church, and by him only. The poor Ignorants, thus intic'd, had left their Regiment, of which the Colonel, having notice, sent after them, and they were overtaken on the Road, their Missionair with them. But notwithstanding all his Oratory, nay, even the Discovery of the whole Farce, one of them was hang'd for an Example to the other two.
It was not long after my Return before News arriv'd of the Peace; which though they receiv'd with Joy, they could hardly entertain with Belief. Upon which, the new Corrigidor, with whom I held a better Correspondence than I had done with the old one, desired me to produce my Letters from England, that it was true. Never did People give greater Demonstrations of Joy, than they upon this Occasion. It was the common cry in the Streets, Paz con Angleterra, con todo Mundo Guerra; And my Confirmation did them as much Pleasure as it did Service to me; for is possible, they treated me with more Civility than before.
But the Peace soon after being proclaimed, I received Orders to repair to Madrid, where the rest of the Prisoners taken at Denia had been carried; when I, by reason of my Wounds, and want of Health, had been left behind. Others I understood lay ready, and some were on their March to Bayone in France; where Ships were ordered for their Transportation into England. So after a Residence of three Years and three Months; having taken leave of all my Acquaintance, I left a Place, that was almost become natural to me, the delicious Sainte Clemente de la Mancha.
Nothing of Moment, or worth observing, met I with, till I came near Ocanna; and there occurred a Sight ridiculous enough. The Knight of the Town, I last came from, the ever renown'd Don Quixot, never made such a Figure as a Spaniard, I there met on the Road. He was mounted on a Mule of the largest size, and yet no way unsizeable to his Person: He had two Pistols in his Holsters, and one on each side stuck in his Belt; a sort of large Blunderbuss in one of his Hands, and the fellow to it slung over his Shoulders hung at his Back. All these were accompany'd with a right Spanish Spado, and an Attendant Stiletto, in their customary Position. The Muletier that was my guide, calling out to him in Spanish, told him he was very well arm'd; to which, with a great deal of Gravity, the Don returned Answer, by Saint Jago a Man cannot be too well arm'd in such dangerous Times.
I took up my Quarters that Night at Ocanna, a large, neat, and well built Town. Houses of good Reception, and Entertainment, are very scarce all over Spain; but that, where I then lay, might have pass'd for good in any other Country. Yet it gave me a Notion quite different to what I found: for I imagined it to proceed from my near Approach to the Capital. But instead of that, contrary to all other Countries, the nearer I came to Madrid, the Houses of Entertainment grew worse and worse; not in their Rates do I mean (for that with Reason enough might have been expected) but even in their Provision, and Places and way of Reception, I could not however forbear smiling at the Reason given by my Muletier, that it proceeded from a piece of Court Policy, in Order to oblige all Travellers to hasten to Madrid.
Two small Leagues from Ocanna we arrived at Aranjuez, a Seat of Pleasure, which the Kings of Spain commonly select for their place of Residence during the Months of April and May. It is distant from Madrid about seven Leagues; and the Country round is the pleasantest in all Spain, Valencia excepted. The House it self makes but a very indifferent Appearance; I have seen many a better in England, with an Owner to it of no more than five hundred Pounds per Annum; yet the Gardens are large and fine; or as the Spaniards say, the finest in all Spain, which with them is all the World. They tell you at the same Time, that those of Versailles, in their most beautiful Parts, took their Model from these. I never saw those at Versailles: But in my Opinion, the Walks at Aranjuez, tho' noble in their length, lose much of their Beauty by their Narrowness.
The Water-works here are a great Curiosity; to which the River Tagus running along close by, does mightily contribute. That River is let into the Gardens by a vast number of little Canals, which with their pleasing Mĉanders divert the Eye with inexpressible Delight. These pretty Wanderers by Pipes properly plac'd in them, afford Varieties scarce to be believ'd or imagin'd; and which would be grateful in any Climate; but much more, where the Air, as it does here, wants in the Summer Months perpetual cooling.
To see a spreading Tree, as growing in its natural Soil, distinguish'd from its pineing Neighbourhood by a gentle refreshing Shower, which appears softly distilling from every Branch and Leaf thereof, while Nature all around is smiling, without one liquid sign of Sorrow, to me appear'd surprizingly pleasing. And the more when I observ'd that its Neighbours receiv'd not any the least Benefit of that plentiful Effusion; And yet a very few Trees distant, you should find a dozen together under the same healthful Sudor. Where art imitates Nature well, Philosophers hold it a Perfection: Then what must she exact of us, where we find her transcendent in the Perfections of Nature?
The watry Arch is nothing less surprizing; where Art contending with Nature, acts against the Laws of Nature, and yet is beautiful. To see a Liquid Stream vaulting it self from the space of threescore Yards into a perfect Semi-Orb, will be granted by the Curious to be rare and strange: But sure to walk beneath that Arch, and see the Waters flowing over your Head, without your receiving the minutest Drop, is stranger, if not strange enough to stagger all Belief.
The Story of Actĉon, pictur'd in Water Colours, if I may so express my self, tho' pretty, seem'd to me, but trifling to the other. Those seem'd to be like Nature miraculously displayed; this only Fable in Grotesque. The Figures indeed were not only fine, but extraordinary; yet their various Shapes were not at all so entertaining to the Mind, however refreshing they might be found to the Body.
I took notice before of the straitness of their Walks: But tho' to me it might seem a Diminution of their Beauty: I am apt to believe to the Spaniard, for and by whom they were laid out, it may seem otherwise. They, of both Sexes, give themselves so intolerably up to Amouring, that on that Account the Closeness of the Walks may be look'd upon as an Advantage rather than a Defect. The grand Avenue to the House is much more stately, and compos'd as they are, of Rows of Trees, somewhat larger than our largest Limes, whose Leaves are all of a perfect Pea bloom Colour, together with their Grandeur, they strike the Eye with a pleasing Beauty. At the Entrance of the Grand Court we see the Statue of Philip the Second; to intimate to the Spectators, I suppose, that he was the Founder.
Among other Parks about Aranjuez there is one intirely preserved for Dromedaries; an useful Creature for Fatigue, Burden, and Dispatch; but the nearest of kin to Deformity of any I ever saw. There are several other enclosures for several sorts of strange and wild Beasts, which are sometimes baited in a very large Pond, that was shown me about half a League from hence. This is no ordinary Diversion: but when the Court is disposed that way, the Beast, or Beasts, whether Bear, Lyon, or Tyger, are convey'd into a House prepar'd for that purpose; whence he can no other way issue than by a Door over the Water, through, or over, which forcing or flinging himself, he gradually finds himself descend into the very depth of the Pond by a wooden Declivity. The Dogs stand ready on the Banks, and so soon as ever they spye their Enemy, rush all at once into the Water, and engage him. A Diversion less to be complain'd of than their Tauridores; because attended with less Cruelty to the Beast, as well as Danger to the Spectators.
When we arrived at Madrid, a Town much spoken of by Natives, as well as Strangers, tho' I had seen it before, I could hardly restrain my self from being surprized to find it only environ'd with Mud Walls. It may very easily be imagin'd, they were never intended for Defence, and yet it was a long time before I could find any other use, or rather any use at all in 'em. And yet I was at last convinc'd of my Error by a sensible Increase of Expence. Without the Gates, to half a League without the Town, you have Wine for two Pence the Quart; but within the Place, you drink it little cheaper than you may in London. The Mud Walls therefore well enough answer their Intent of forcing People to reside there, under pretence of Security; but in reality to be tax'd, for other Things are taxable, as well as Wine, tho' not in like Proportion.
All Embassadors have a Claim or Privilege, of bringing in what Wine they please Tax-free; and the King, to wave it, will at any Time purchase that Exemption of Duty at the price of five hundred Pistoles per Annum. The Convents and Nunneries are allowed a like Licence of free Importation; and it is one of the first Advantages they can boast of; for, under that Licence having a liberty of setting up a Tavern near them, they make a prodigious Advantage of it. The Wine drank and sold in this Place, is for the most part a sort of white Wine.
But if the Mud Walls gave me at first but a faint Idea of the Place; I was pleasingly disappointed, as soon as I enter'd the Gates. The Town then show'd itself well built, and of Brick, and the Streets wide, long, and spacious. Those of Atocha, and Alcala, are as fine as any I ever saw; yet is it situated but very indifferently: For tho' they have what they call a River, to which they give the very fair Name of la Mansuera, and over which they have built a curious, long, and large Stone Bridge; yet is the Course of it, in Summer time especially, mostly dry. This gave occasion to that piece of Railery of a Foreign Embassador, That the King would have don wisely to have bought a River, before he built the Bridge. Nevertheless, that little Stream of a River which they boast of, they improve as much as possible; since down the Sides, as far as you can see, there are Coops, or little Places hooped in, for People to wash their Linen (for they very rarely wash in their own Houses) nor is it really an unpleasing Sight, to view the regular Rows of them at that cleanly Operation.
The King has here two Palaces; one within the Town, the other near adjoining. That in the Town is built of Stone, the other which is called Bueno Retiro, is all of Brick. From the Town to this last, in Summer time, there is a large covering of Canvas, propt up with tall Poles; under which People walk to avoid the scorching heats of the Sun.
As I was passing by the Chapel of the Carmelites, I saw several blind Men, some led, some groping the Way with their Sticks, going into the Chapel. I had the curiosity to know the Reason; I no sooner enter'd the Door, but was surprized to see such a number of those unfortunate People, all kneeling before the Altar, some kissing the Ground, others holding up their Heads, crying out Misericordia. I was informed 'twas Saint Lucy's Day, the Patroness of the Blind; therefore all who were able, came upon that Day to pay their Devotion: So I left them, and directed my Course towards the King's Palace.
When I came to the outward Court, I met with a Spanish Gentleman of my Acquaintance, and we went into the Piazza's; whilst we were talking there, I saw several Gentlemen passing by having Badges on their Breasts; some white, some red, and others green: My Friend informed me that there were five Orders of Knighthood in Spain. That of the Golden Fleece was only given to great Princes, but the other four to private Gentlemen, viz. That of Saint Jago, Alacantara, Saint Salvador de Montreal, and Monteza.
He likewise told me, that there were above ninety Places of Grandees, but never filled up; who have the Privilege of being cover'd in the Presence of the King, and are distinguished into three Ranks. The first is of those who cover themselves before they speak to the King. The second are those who put on their Hats after they have begun to speak. The third are those who only put on their Hats, having spoke to him. The Ladies of the Grandees have also great Respect show'd them. The Queen rises up when they enter the Chamber, and offers them Cushions.
No married Man except the King lies in the Palace, for all the Women who live there are Widows, or Maids of Honour to the Queen. I saw the Prince of Asturia's Dinner carried through the Court up to him, being guarded by four Gentlemen of the Guards, one before, another behind, and one on each Side, with their Carbines shoulder'd; the Queen's came next, and the King's the last, guarded as before, for they always dine separately. I observed that the Gentlemen of the Guards, though not on Duty, yet they are obliged to wear their Carbine Belts.