תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

full operation, gives employment to 3500 hands, besides the officers and overseers of the establishment. The workers are of all ages from eight years upwards; and in one of the rooms we entered, there were 800 at work! They sit at tables, with a smooth thick board placed before them, of about a foot square. The leaf is first damped, and then a certain quantity weighed out to each individual, and for which she is obliged to return a certain number of cigars. The operation is commenced by unfolding the leaves, and cutting them into pieces of about six inches by three, until they have a sufficient number of these foldersprepared. The smaller broken pieces, and cut-off ends, are all collected in another heap to form the centre of the cigar, while the stalks and larger veins of the leaf are put aside and forwarded to Hamburg to be manufactured into snuff. The only instruments used by the makers are knives, shaped like a shoemaker's, and a pair of scissors. Having smoothed the leaf with the handle of the knife, they take some of the shreds and smaller pieces, and placing them in one corner of the folder, roll it obliquely over them, keeping them even with the right hand, till they come to the end, when the remainder of the leaf is cut off, and the point twisted. The cigar is then measured, the top clipped off, and a roll or two on the board being given to it with the hand, it is finished.

So quickly is all this done, by expert workers, that it is almost impossible to exa

[blocks in formation]

mine the process, except by watching it in a beginner, as some can make as many as three cigars in a minute. Not a bit is lost, all the parings being put into the interior of the next. When the central parts are too small, rolled too hard, or have too much of the stalk or veins remaining, it both impairs the flavour, and prevents the kindly smoking of the cigar. Expert workers will make as many as eighteen bunches, of fifty-one each, a day, but this requires great practice; the average number is about twelve bunches, or 612. After it is manufactured, the tobacco is again weighed, and the people are all searched by the matrons on leaving off work. The good workers can earn three shillings a day, and the ordinary ones from two shillings to two and sixpence, which, considering the cheapness of provisions in this part of Spain, is a high rate of labour. They all seemed very merry, and kept up an incessant clatter. The fingers of those long engaged in this work, become exceedingly slender and delicate ; such a display of elegantly decked heads and sparkling black eyes I never saw, and yet they looked unhealthy, as might naturally be expected from the confinement and pernicious atmosphere of the factory, the rooms being low, badly lighted, and worse ventilated. The great heat and poisoned air were to us quite intoxicating, although it is astonishing how the youngest bear it without being narcotized. Consumption is very common among them, and the numerous deformities I have

[blocks in formation]

already remarked are generally in the offspring of those engaged in the Fabrica. As we walked through the establishment, we were constantly saluted with that common ejaculation of an English seaman, I say, I say”-indeed I know not the country, where a British ship has ever been, that the people have not picked up this favourite expression of Jack's. The produce of the manufactory is immediately transported into the interior, on mules, immense droves of which are always waiting to be loaded at the Fabrica. I may be excused this long history of the cigar, when it is considered that this factory is one of the largest known, one of the greatest sources of revenue to the government, and that at this moment one half, at least, of the inhabitants on the face of the earth use tobacco in one shape or other.

Not meaning any slander on the above respectable institution, I may observe, that there is a very extensive foundling hospital in Corunna, the reception-cradle of which is not permitted to rust on its hinges. Infanticide is unknown.

Some of the handsomest structures in the town are the public fountains ; that in the fruit-market is particularly good, surmounted by a figure of Fame; a fit emblem of such a place, the usual receptacle of news, and diffuser of scandal.

Here is an extensive and well-situated hospital, divided into three compartments, civil, military, and that for prisoners, containing 150 beds ; the wards

VOL. I.

D

[blocks in formation]

low, and fortunately not crowded ; especially dirty, and all the patients smoking.

The diseases were mostly medical—affections of the chest, &c. ; but fever and epidemics are rare. Injuries and accidents are of uncommon occurrence—no doubt, owing to the absence of all wheelcarriages and machinery, the frequent cause of them at home. The medical men are all graduates of Madrid ; the prescriptions are obliged by law to be written in Spanish ; and the respective branches of medicine and surgery are more distinct than in other countries. Some diseases peculiarly surgical are very prevalent in Corunna.

The capital punishment here is the garotte, and consists in the culprit being placed, sitting, against a post, through which a noose is run, put round the neck, and a sudden twist produces instant suffocation. The finisher of the law is constantly met lounging about the streets; that honour is here hereditary, this unfortunate man's father, to save his own neck, having bound to this office himself and posterity, then consisting of three sons in rather good circumstances, who have thus been compelled to become executioners in different parts of Spain.

The convict prison is worth a visit, as exhibiting a den of filth and misery, impossible to describe, and filled with desperadoes, whose looks, if looks be an index of the mind, tell tales of

“Murder, treason, sacrilege, and crimes
That strike the very soul with horror but to name them."

[ocr errors]

THE TOMB OF MOORE.

35

October 9th. The cold of winter is beginning to be felt; it is time to be off, so we will make our last visit to the tomb of MOORE. This is situated on a raised plot of ground, containing about an acre, the “ Campo del Carlos,” beside the citadel, and commanding an extensive view of the bay and adjoining heights.

The monumentitself is of white granite, and stands in the centre, chaste, simple, and architectural. At each corner of the tomb is a small brass howitzer, bearing the emblems of the French republic, and on the panel, on either side, is the inscription,

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The ground is clothed with the dwarf-mallow, and a row of aspen poplars surrounds the enclosure; their stunted heads, bowed to the blast, seemed to mourn over the tomb of the departed hero.

« הקודםהמשך »