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observed, that much of the extravagance we are inclined to impute to the poor Don, from our notions of the magnitude of wind-mills at home, is greatly diminished by those of this country being so exceedingly small. Many are constructed solely of wood, and, viewed in the indistinctness of twilight, do not require the imagination of even the hero of Cervantes to transform them into giants.
A most wretched pilot-boat came alongside, from the ragged and noisy crew of which we selected a pilot; the similarity in feature, expression, and coal-black hair to those of a like class on the western coast of Ireland, who boast a Spanish origin, struck me instantly. The only peculiarity in costume of these people, besides the invariable red sash and its accompanying chuchilla, was their prodigious wooden shoes, which, on emergency, would almost serve them to float in. I need hardly inform those who have ever entered a foreign port, that our pilot's first inquiry, on coming aboard, was after the rum bottle. Except one of the forts, and a spire or two, there is little of the town seen before entering the harbour; but on rounding the point, the whole bursts upon your view, lying principally along the beech and on the water's edge.
Corunna—that name so stamped on the page of British history -what recollections does it not revive as we ride before these once bristling walls? Within view are the heights, whence so destructive a fire was poured down upon our gallant countrymen, and the tomb of their renowned leader crowns one of the bastions beside us. After waiting for some hours, the health and excise officers arrived. These officious gentry being satisfied as to the purity of our bills of health, which being in Latin, neither they nor our skipper knew one word of, we were permitted to land.
The harbour is very fine, secure, and almost land-locked ; the town forms a crescent around it, and when seen at a little distance, presents a rather novel appearance, owing to the irregularity of the white-washed houses, their green windows, verandahs, and numerous balconies, together with their red-tiled roofs and tall chimneys. There is little commerce, and but few vessels ; the latter being principally small Spanish brigantines, feluccas, and guarda-costas. Two packets sail monthly to the Havannah. There are no docks, those originally commenced having long since been abandoned ; and like all continental fortified cities, the gates are shut at sunset. The streets of Corunna
are wider than those of most Spanish towns; the shops poor, the trade inconsiderable, and although containing 20,000 inhabitants, the place has a deserted and desolate appearance. The town is divided into old and new; the former, situated on the hill surrounding the citadel, is the residence of the aristocracy; while the new, which runs along the water's edge, is mostly composed of shops. There is a very tolerable Prado, where the inhabitants walk at dusk, to smoke cigaritas, inquire into the merits of the last public report,* discuss the chances of the war, and the certain destruction of the Pretender, as they term Don Carlos, being all violent Christinos ; and “Spain's dark glancing daughters” issue forth, attended by their duennas, to court the moonlight, exercise their fans, and return the salutations of the passing cavalleros.
This place was at one time strongly fortified; it is now but “ mouldering walls and towers defenceless," and in many places the guns lie dismounted in the embrasures. At the entrance of the harbour stands the castle of Saint Antonia, on a rock about a musket-shot off shore ;-it is in tolerably good condition, and serves at present as a state prison for the Carlists.
The costume of the females is very pretty, and amongst the upper orders black seems the prevailing colour; but as you descend in the scale of society it is of every hue. The women have all good figures, being particularly straight, some indeed so much so, as to give the appearance of constraint ; but the head seems to be the point d'appui, the object of all their care, from the highest to the lowest. No matter how badly they are dressed in other respects, the head is always neat and elegant. I have seen many going without shoes, whose head-dress might be envied by an English lady of the highest fashion. Their hair, of a shining jet, is either madonnaed, or drawn tightly off the forehead, made as smooth as possible all over the head, and collected at the back
* Lies are rife here; one evening during our stay we were surprised at the sight of the town illuminated, accompanied with great rejoicing. We found it was for a victory said to have been gained over the Carlists near Madrid, in which the rebel force was totally annihilated. A few days after, other accounts arrived, by which it appeared that an engagement had taken place, but with a different result, four Christinos having been killed, the rest running away, “ to live to fight another day.”
into one tail, or sometimes two, often reaching far below the long slender waist. One small curl, pressed flat on each temple, is kept in its exact position for great occasions, by a black patch the size of a shilling! Ringlets and curls are unknown, and I never saw the hair turned up—that object so longed for by the sex in our own country—so anxiously looked forward to by all industrious mammas, and forming such an eventful epoch in a young lady's life—the bridge from youth to womanhood—the very next step to “going out.” They wear no bonnets, but the graceful mantilla of black silk, trimmed with velvet and edged with lace, is drawn halfway over the head, and hangs low down on the figure; it is a very beautiful and becoming piece of female attire. In a few instances I saw white lace ones worn by Carlists : but caps are unknown. All the better classes carry fans, which they keep in constant motion, and the dexterous management of which forms, I should think, no small item in the accomplishments of a Spanish lady of fashion.
The complexion of all ranks is very dark, more so than one would be inclined to attribute to the influence of a few hundred miles' difference of latitude. I cannot take it upon my conscience to say that the women of Galicia are handsome ; their features are indeed regular and tolerably well-formed, with straight noses, delicately pencilled eye-brows, and beautifully modelled chins, but the want of colour and animation deadens all interest, unredeemed even by the black and brilliant eye which is universal. To this the country girls are, however, an exception ; they fully compensate for a somewhat less tasteful toilette, by a complexion bright, animated, and blooming. The gentlemen citizens are all enveloped in the enormous cloak, above which are just seen a pair of formidable moustaches ;-I never could divest myself of the idea of their having the deadly, treacherous stilletto hidden in the dark folds of the former. They seem partial to the brightest colours; scarlet trowsers being a favourite piece of dress. The costume of the farmers is much more picturesque and national, but gaudy and of all hues, principally red and light brown: their high-peaked hats being tastefully ornamented with feathers, artificial flowers, and ribbons of every brilliant colour ;— they wear the hair in long ringlets behind, and falling over the shoulders ; and the jacket, of red or yellow, with particoloured sleeves, is profusely decorated with braid and buttons.
These, with their Dutch breeches of enormous folds, give them a most grotesque appearance ; but with all this finery, they generally go barefooted, and few wear the moustache, that adornment being resigned to the more dandified citizen, who cultivates it to a most luxuriant extent.
The dress of the muleteer is peculiar ; his dark brown leathern jacket, purple velvet breeches, and great leggings, together with the sombrero or large slouched hat, which shadows his handsome dark features, deck a form often of the finest mould, and capable of bearing every hardship. These men, remarkable for the honesty of their dealings, are incessantly traversing the whole extent of the Peninsula, and many of them realize large fortunes; they form a community in themselves, and you may meet them in great droves along the roads, each having under his care from six to twelve mules, tied in a row, laden with tobacco and merchandise, with the drivers sitting sidewise on the hinder one, and singing some of their own wild and beautiful melodies.
The farmers and the poorer inhabitants generally are a small race; I never saw so many deformities any where, and the children are squalid in the extreme; but with the exception of one or two blind crones seated at the gates of the town, there are very few beggars, although there is no asylum for them.
The soldiery are the most miserable, half-starved, and illlooking set of fellows I ever beheld; ragged and shoeless. Just fancy a barefooted corps! The national, or city guard, would be a disgrace to any party of ragamuffins; their dress, an old blue jacket, dirty yellow cross-belts, sacken trowsers that never saw a wash-tub, and a little grey forage cap, no stockings, and rarely shoes ; this is full dress. The artillery are somewhat better, but their long light-grey bedgowns, and high narrow black caps make them look like so many chandler's boys with tin cans on their heads. The officers are little better, though they twist their moustaches, puff paper cigars, look fierce, and strut about with all the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of war”-surely a hungry Scot, a well-fed English, or a half-drunken Irishman ought to be able to thrash a dozen of them.
You still see the old women sitting at their doors plying with great industry the distaff and spindle, the only spinning machine now 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 which is created is the most intolerable that ever assailed human ears. It would be hard, I think, for any people on the earth but themselves to find an excuse for such a detestable nuisance; yet 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 assails you from all directions. The horses and asses in this part of Spain are smaller than in any other : the former 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 the notice of a traveller, except probably on Sunday, when the aisles, which are 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 a friar in the streets.
There is very little national music heard in this part of Spain, 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 rocky 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 states that it was built by the merchants or board of trade of the province of Galicia. It has been