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That there is reason for much of this, I do not doubt; but much of it is owing to the course pursued by those Heautontimorumenoi, * as there is not only no intercourse between the military and the civilians, but very little friendly intercourse exists between the military themselves, except at the messtable. All the English residents are merchants; no others would come to settle ; and as such are without the pale of military society, there is consequently little or no return of civilities. But England has been termed by one who felt too sorely her superiority, “a nation of shopkeepers,” and long may she continue to boast so honourable an appellation.

The principal amusement is hunting, which was carried on with much spirit; but discord has sprung up among the Nimrods, and there is now an opposition pack; but as we partook not of the party politics of either, we hired horses, and joined the “ opposition harriers to-day.” The governor and hiş sons were on the field, and the navy officers, in full uniform, scrambling over the ditches, offered even more sport than the unfortunate bagged hare. I soon, however, found a more rational and interesting amusement in visiting the ruins of the old Phenician town of Cartago, which lies about a couple of miles from the wall, toward the Spanish town of St. Roquè. As the hour of shutting the gates approaches, we must push on the nags, and many a race

a race takes place over

* Self-tormentors.

PRIVATE THEATRICALS.

177

the neutral ground to gain admittance, and if a red coat happen to be your companion, you will surely hear “the beastly hole,” “confounded stoopid,” and such other endearing epithets, applied to the mass of battery you are hastening into.

Sunday bull-fights at Algeziras; visits to Tangier and Tetuan, with excursions into Spain ; hunting, drilling, dressing, undressing,

undressing, guard mounting, and private theatricals, are the yearly business and amusements of the garrison.

Dec. 11. The theatre opened to-night, and great were the preparations, and still greater the expectations formed from the known histrionic talents of the dramatis persone. The play was Rob Roy, and the effort made by the performers to amuse was quite successful; and as, with one or two exceptions, no one of the performers knew a single word of their parts, it required a tolerable flow of ready language and native wit to compose an extempore conversation or address.

But the admirable tone and look of a Scottish paymaster, and the humour of an Irish doctor, filled up the vacancies of a Master Owen and a Bailie Nicol Jarvie, the only characters that deserve mention, except Helen M'Gregor, who was personified by a tall herculean captain, dressed up in a soldier's plaid forage cap, surmounting a formidable mob-cap, with the ends brought down under his chin, so as to form a great coat to a tremendous pair of black whiskers—these jutting out on either side of a red face, gave

it very

VOL. I.

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HELEN MACGREGOR.

much the appearance of that of a monkey when he has stuffed his pouches till they can hold no more. His petticoat, of dark drab calico, was adorned with three flounces of different colours, to represent, I suppose, the Macgregor tartan. Whenever this damsel made her appearance, the laugh was sure to become boisterous, for, after the first sentence, she always came to a dead stop, and then, shaking her head with great solemnity, slowly retreated to the prompter's corner. I was informed by a gentleman next me that this performer was never expected to know his part, as he fulfilled the numerous avocations of stage-manager, scene-painter, and arranger of costumes. A fat drum-boy played a striking impersonation of Diana Vernon. The embracings of adjutants, trumpeters, band-boys, and corporals, were most amusing. The only actors who played their parts without a mistake were the sentries, but then they have pretty constant rehearsals. The scenery was in keeping with the acting ; whenever a cottage gate or stile was to be introduced into the background, the scene-shifter walked in, put it in the proper place, and there remained holding it up till it was no longer wanted. I must not forget one most admirable view: the back-scene suddenly fell down, the green-room opened to sight, and offered us a tableau vivant I shall not easily forget. But I must let the curtain drop upon my notices of the evening's performance, for it was honoured by the presence of the governor and court, graced by the

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beautiful and elegant Lady Woodford, and being under the patronage of the garrison, is consequently an Almack's, above the powers of criticism, and beyond the influence of public opinion.

The next day we visited the galleries—a work of great labour, although as a means of defence, the power of the guns placed in them has been much overrated, for being so high they must be necessarily pointed at such an angle that the balls do not ricochet, but sink at once into the sand, when fired at an enemy approaching from the neutral ground.

Some of the holes cut out of the solid rock are of great size, and contain several large carronades. Altogether there are 646 guns on the rock, mounted, and fit for instant use; but upwards of a thousand could in a very short time be put in operation.

The views from some of these rock port-holes are remarkable for their great beauty, and the telescopic effect produced by the narrowness of the aperture is exceedingly curious.

Emerging from the galleries we ascended to the flag-staff and demand station which crowns one of the highest points. Through the crevices of the stones grows the palmetta, or, as it is called, the monkey bread, also the asparagus and the caper plant ; this latter is now preserved for use, and reminds me of a story I heard the other day of a gentleman who, for some trifling wager, was fool-hardy enough to get on the slanting point of the battery, overlooking the sea, and dancing there for some minutes,

180

PROSPECT FROM THE TOP.

till the neighbouring sentry remonstrated with him, and ordered him to desist, but finding him still persist in his antics he presented his musket at him.this brought the young gentleman to his senses ; and the sentry to a court of inquiry for exceeding orders, in preventing the hero's disposal of his life as he liked best. The man replied that he had followed the orders of the governor, that “no one but Dr.- should cut capers within the fort.”

But to return—the prospect from the top is well worth the toil encountered in climbing the steep road to the artillery station-your great elevation affords a distinct view of the different forts, bastions, screens, curtains, scarps and counter-scarps, with the works beneath. Europe and Africa approaching almost to a kiss; the blue waters of the Mediterranean, Ronda, St. Roquè, and the plains of Andalusia, on the one hand, and the snow-clad mountains of Granada on the other, are objects in a landscape no where to be equalled for grandeur and sublimity. Returning by the Mediterranean side of the rock, we inquired the use of some great guns and small batteries lower down, where no landing could possibly be made, and were not a little astonished at the answer, that they were placed there "to protect the smugglers against the guarda-costas ! !" These smugglers are becoming daily more intrepid, and have had frequent skirmishes with the protective force of late; they have well-built, fast-sailing boats, with enormous latteen sails, which run closer to the

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