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donkeys with a short stick, pointed at one end. Some also carried a child in their arms. Those, however, who made some pretensions to gentility, were mounted two on a donkey, thus occupying the whole space from the neck to the tail. Their side-saddles are rightly named, being a kind of arm chair, with a board for both feet to rest on, so that the occupant rides exactly sidewise. These saddles are covered with calico, and have a long wooden pin in front, by which to hold on
When these parties return, towards evening, they are all mounted, and both men and animals seem much more lively and happy than in the morning. The peasant salutes you with that peculiar respect which is seen only in despotic countries, and on board men-of-war. It has struck me, however, that there is much less sprightliness and vivacity among the Spanish than the French peasantry.
On our way we crossed a number of fertile valleys, and passed near some luxuriant groves of olive trees. About noon, after climbing up some fifteen hundred feet, by a zigzag road, we reached the convent on the summit of Mount Toro, with appetites that would have done no discredit to worse looking men than ourselves.
We forthwith committed ourselves to the care of the friars, while our donkeys were taken in charge by some half a dozen nondescript vagrant-looking boys. They were a sort of hangers-on at the convent, and were black and ragged enough to be gipseys. To judge from the manner in which they beset us for coppers, they will, when grown up, be fair candidates for promotion among that class of leeches called begging friars.
Mount Toro consists of barren rocks and crags, save a small garden on the summit, where there is a forced vegetation. The buildings of the convent enclose three sides of a square, and are built of stone, and whitewashed. We were conducted to a sort of parlour, or refectory, in the second story, having passed through a long hall, into which the rooms of the friars open. One of the first questions asked us was, if we would have some rum. This offer, though prompted, doubtless, by a regard to the too prevalent taste of seafaring men for liquid fire, was, at the same time, but too correct an indication of the morals of the friars themselves; as a friend of mine, who had for years been an inmate of this convent, described them as both lazy and drunken.
In the absence of the prior of the convent, we were at
ded by one of the brethren, a' man about thirty years of age. There were also with us, most of the time, four or five others, the youngest of whom waited on us at the table. When we first arrived, cakes and wine were brought for our refreshment. They seemed to have an abundance of the good things of this life, their wine, meats, and vegetables being richly furnished from their fertile lands around the base of the mountain. Still, there was a kind of slovenly, neglected air about almost every thing in this, and other convents of males which I have visited, which has plainly shown that female taste and neatness were wanting there. Indeed, the inmates of some convents where I have been, gross, filthy, unshaven, and unshorn, would have done sad discredit to a decent pigsty.
It is a most silly idea to think of ever making good housekeepers of men. Those, who, like the late king of Spain, when a captive in France, busy themselves in making embroidered petticoats for the Virgin Mary, because they are fit for nothing else, may, indeed, succeed in that; but from the time when king Alfred, of England, burned the cakes, with the baking of which the peasant's wife had charged him, and received a scolding for it, down to the present day, men have gained far less glory in household affairs, than women have in the field of battle. It has ever been the old story of Joan and Darby over again. She succeeded well enough in driving the oxen and guiding the plough ; but Darby, poor fellow, was so puzzled with the cares of the kitchen and dairy, and was so beset, withal, by droves of hungry pigs, and geese, and hens, and turkeys, which he had neglected to feed, that he was fairly driven from the field of battle, and begged for his old employment again. The Scriptures tell us, that it is not good for man to be alone, and one need but to visit a few convents of monks, deeply to feel the truth of this declaration.
After showing us the curiosities of the place, a good dinner was provided. Two bottles of wine, of different kinds, were placed before each individual, and the monks who were with us were not much afraid of tasting it. One of them, who was sick, after taking a hearty draught, smacked his lips, and said it was excellent medicine. They were most of them in good condition, as to the outward man, and looked sleek and well-fed. And why should they not be so; for there they were, near thirty of them, with all their wants well supplied,
and with nothing to do, from one end of the year to the other, but to chant masses for the souls of dead people; to eat, drink, smoke, and sleep, to their heart's content.
The situation of the convent is such as to prevent a school from being connected with it, and I could not learn that in any of the eight convents in the island, more children were taught, than would require, in each, the labor of a single individual. It was truly melancholy to see near three hundred persons, who had education and leisure, and who, as teachers, with the Bible in their hands, might quickly have removed the thick mental and moral darkness which rested on the people around them, - it was melancholy to see them thus caged up, living on the fat of the land, leading a life of indolence, and often of vice, and, like so many vampyres, eating out the substance of the poor, without raising a hand to benefit those whose religious charities they so grossly abused.
Those with whom we were, had much shrewdness and humor, but their education, like that of most of the clergy in the island, was rather limited. They are there so separated from the rest of the world, that they have far less incitement to become learned, than those of the same class on the continent. They seemed highly to enjoy seeing company, and asked us many questions about America. One of them had been quite a sailor, having visited Mexico, South America, and other portions of the world. He said that he intended to visit and reside in Philadelphia. He was afterwards found to be a most reckless villain, and though imprisoned for his crimes, yet, when last I heard from him, the gallows had thus far been defrauded of its due. He told us that the friar who presided at our dinner-table was a materialist. The compliment was returned by telling him that he lied, and by charging him with being a disciple of Voltaire. This was done in good temper, and I think it more than probable that they both told the truth with regard to each other.
We listened, with all due gravity, to the strange and foolish legends of the friars, with regard to the founding of their convent; but when we came to the paper already referred to, as placed on doors for a defence from the cholera, turning to one of the friars, and looking him in the face, think, do you,” said I, “ that this will keep off the cholera ?” “O) yes,” he replied, striving to keep his countenance. The
- Then you
effort was too much for him, however, and he burst out into a fit of immoderate laughter. The imposition was too gross and barefaced for a friar even to swallow.
These friars were of the order of St. Augustine, he having been the first who built a convent, and collected together, and placed under fixed rules, those, who, before his time, had dwelt only in the caves and deserts of Egypt, and other eastern countries.
MINORCA AND BARCELONA.
Few Changes in Spain. - Church and State. — Policy of the Popes. — The
Inquisition. – Traces of its Influence. — Chuetas, or New Christians. — Saracens and Moors. – Languages of Southern Europe. — Catalan Dialect.
Authors. — Seamen good Linguists. — Leave Mahon. - Life at Sea. Poetry. – Arrive at Barcelona. – Outline of Spain. - Climate. – Majorca.
- The Queen. — Convents. — Income of the Clergy. - Their number. Towns and Cities. - Suburbs. - Saracens. Barcelona. - Its Founder. Buildings. - Public Garden.
- Scenery around. - Beauties of Spring. — Poetry. – The Rambla.– Walls of the City. - Castle. – Convents, - Churches. – Offerings. - Idolatry: - Saint worship. — Paintings.
Cathedral. — Priests. – Spain. -Face of the Country. Sheep. -Condition of the People. - Inquisition. – Bribery: - Oppression. - Scene at Sea. – Poetry. – Modes of Female Dress. - In France. - In the United States. - In Spain. - Female Devotion and Heroism. - Female Soldiers.
I have somewhere met with a fable, in which a man was said to have come to life after having slumbered in the grave five hundred years. In visiting various countries with which he had once been familiar, he was filled with such astonishinent at the mighty changes which had taken place, that he could scarcely believe that he had returned to the same world he had before inhabited. At length, when in his travels he reached Spain, he exclaimed, " True enough, it is indeed the same world, for here is old Spain, just as she was five hundred years ago." And so indeed it is; for there is scarce a country on earth, the Celestial Empire not excepted, where the character and customs of the people have changed so little as in Spain. This is owing almost wholly to her system of religious faith, so sustained and enforced by the temporal power with which the church has there been armed, as almost entirely to exclude foreign light and influence. This power too has been directed, with deadly energy, against both the civil and religious liberty of the people.
Thus has Spain, for a long succession of ages, suffered from an unholy alliance of church and state, which has ever been like an incubus on the vitals of Christianity, and which, when most widely prevalent, gave to the Popes more power than has ever been wielded by any other human beings. This power, too, has been so employed, as to elevate the few at the expense