תמונות בעמוד
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

pomp and circumstance of war.”

A hungry Scot, a well-fed English, or a half-drunken Irishman ought to be able to thrash a dozen of them. The portion of the army stationed here consists of three corps, a regiment of the line, the national guard, and the tin-can gentry aforesaid, whose barracks stand on a height above the town.

You see the old women sitting at their doors plying with great industry the distaff and spindle, the only spinning machine in use here. There are no public conveyances of any kind, and the only carriage is a most ill-constructed sort of cart, drawn by two half-starved bullocks of a tawny colour, and usually much too young to work; they draw it by a rude pole and collar, and are themselves half dragged along by a most wretched, ragged driver the wheels are two wooden rollers turning in wooden blocks, and as the axles are never greased, the screeching is the most intolerable that ever assailed my ears.

It would be hard, I think, for any people on the earth but themselves to find an excuse for such a detestable nuisance; but they not only tolerate, but encourage it, as they say the sound drives on the animals, and it certainly looks as if they embraced this as a dernier resort with the miserable brutes. In the morning, when the different articles are bringing to market, you hear the bullock-carts in perfection ; indeed it is utterly impossible to hear any thing else, and when you ride into the country, their screaming is heard

[ocr errors]



in all directions. The horses and asses in this part of Spain are smaller than in


other ; their saddles are immense pads, which, reaching from the tail to the neck, produce a callous protuberance, bare and polished on the crests. The horses have a good dash of Arab blood in them, and the Moorish or Memlook stirrup is still in use here.

The religious edifices are hardly worth a notice, except probably on Sunday, when the aisles, &c. being unincumbered with pews, are crowded with their congregations, who, fetching in with them baskets of fish, fruit, vegetables, and wares of all kinds, give the place the air of a market. As to pictures, if any ever graced the walls, they will most likely be found in the cabinets of Paris, probably in that of Marshal Soult; and as most of the religious orders have been abolished, you scarcely ever meet with a priest or friar in the streets.

There is very little national music heard, none save the occasional twilight-note of the guitar, touched by some fair signorita, half-hidden behind a green verandah.

We visited the Hercules Tower, situated on the extremity of the Peninsula, about a mile to the south-west of the town. It is a magnificent square tower, rising at least two hundred feet above the level of the sea, which breaks here with tremendous violence; it stands upon a base of about eighty feet, and is exceedingly well built of hard, close white granite, and has an electric conducting wire



extending from a small pillar elevated above the lantern to a house about twenty yards off. An inscription over the doorway informs you that it was built by the merchants or board of trade of the province of Gallicia. It has been erected since 1809, and must be of inestimable value to mariners, as it is seen from an immense distance, and marks the common entrance to the harbours of Corunna and Ferrol; but what adds still greater interest to it in the eye of the traveller, is the fact of its enclosing within its massive walls, one of the most interesting monuments of antiquity—the pharos of Hercules, the oldest existing specimen of this kind in Europe, and amongst the very few now any where to be found.

The origin of this (the original tower) and its name are involved in much obscurity. The tradition here is, that it was built by Hercules himself. Humboldt mentions, that Laborde had discovered an inscription near its foundation, stating, that “ this pharos was constructed by Caius Severus Lupus, architect of the city of Aqua Flavia (Cheves), and that it was dedicated to Mars. Strabo, indeed, affirms that Gallicia, the country of the Galici, had been peopled by Greek colonies. According to an extract from the geographies of Spain, by Asclepiades, the Myrlean, an ancient tradition stated that the companions of Hercules settled in these countries."

There are many traditions in this part of Spain

[blocks in formation]

On our

about Hercules* and his companions ; and at Betanzos, a few leagues hence, there is some curious old architecture, and also a museum, where they go so far as to exhibit the very arms of the hero, and the leather money used in his time! It is sometimes called the “Iron Tower,” and near it, about a mile and a half from the town, one of the embarkations of the English troops took place. way to it we saw an old Moorish castle upon a rock, not far from the shore, and north-west of the town. We thence passed over a wide common with little of vegetation, but covered with innumerable land shells, a small and very beautiful species of the common helix, with a variety of small motley green lizards, (the lacerta agilis,) and grasshoppers of all hues, chirping and springing about in all directions in the warm sunshine. The datura stramonium

and says,

* There can be no doubt, however, that the Hercules here referred to was the Phænician, and not the Grecian. Orosirus, a writer of the fifth century, gives an account of a very fine column or pharos, which tradition in his day said had been erected by Hercules on the coast of the Celtiberian Gallicia, as a guide to ships coming there from Britain. Mr. G. Higgins supposes the town of Corunna took its name from this column,

“there is every reason to believe that the sea coast was possessed by the Sidonian race the whole way from Sidon to Corunna, with the exception perhaps of the Delta of Egypt. Under these circumstances, it is very evident, that a voyage to Britain must have been very easy, even with very indifferent ships.” We must recollect that the Sidonian colonists spread themselves chiefly along the African shore, and crossed over to Tartessus in Spain by the pillars of Hercules. Cartago being probably their first settlement in Europe, except Greece.

[blocks in formation]

grows here in great luxuriance, and is now in both fruit and flower, and also a small shrubby daphne, with a white flower, and reddish berry. The meadow safron (colchicum autumnale) grows in great profusion, the hills about the light-house being literally covered, and as it is now in full blow, its light pink flowers produce a very lively appearance. We must not forget to mention the charming belladonna lily which lends its graceful form to beautify nature's verdant carpet. The soil is of a light and sandy character, and is principally cultivated with Indian corn.

On the morning of the 2nd of October we set forward to view the memorable field of Corunna, accompanied by old George Daboish as our guide. Before we proceed further, we must introduce this personage to our readers. His history is remarkable—by birth a Russian—an Italian by descentmarried to a Spaniard—and, although naturalised in Spain, claiming England for his country. Few men in his condition have seen more of what is termed life. He has with truth, “ braved many a rough sea's storm” in his day—the very sport of the element he made his home. At an early age he was bound to the master of an English merchantman trading to the Black Sea ; out of which he was, shortly after, pressed on board a British man-of-war From this he took French leave at Cork, and having travelled across the country for some days, alone and pennyless, he found him

« הקודםהמשך »