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to bacco MANU factory. 25
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 folders prepared. 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 Hamburgh, 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 examine 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 exceeding slender and delicate; and such a display of elegantly decked heads and sparkling black eyes I never saw; yet these girls 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
26 The GA rotte.
among them, and I remarked numerous deformities 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 this 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, however, 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 the diffuser of scandal. There is an extensive and well-situated hospital, containing 150 beds, divided into three compartments, civil, military, and that for prisoners; the wards are low, and fortunately not crowded, especially dirty, and all the patients were smoking. Fevers and epidemics are rare; and injuries and accidents are of uncommon occurrence—no doubt, owing to the absence of all wheel-carriages 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. 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—the present 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
October 9th. The cold of winter is beginning to be felt ; it is time to seek some more genial clime, so we shall make our last visit to the tomb of MooRE. This is situated beside the citadel, on a raised plot of ground, the Campo del Carlos, containing about an acre, and commanding an extensive view of the bay and adjoining heights.
The monument itself is of white granite, and stands in th centre, chaste, simple, and architectural; at each corner there is a small brass howitzer, bearing the emblems of the French republic, and on the panel, on either side, is the inscription:
The ground of this bastion is clothed with the dwarf-mallow, and a row of aspen poplars surrounding the enclosure, with their stunted heads bowed to the blast, seemed to mourn over the tomb of the departed hero.
All must acknowledge the taste, the feeling, and the generosity
28 The to M B of MOORE.
of the gallant Marshal who raised the monument, and penned the inscription to the memory of a fallen enemy. Little of memento is, however, required by the Englishman who visits it—little to be written of the character of that great man, who died, as he lived, gloriously—a gallant soldier, a sincere friend, and an ornament to the country that gave him birth! In order to preserve the tomb, a wall about breast-high was erected by the British government, in 1824. This has had the very opposite effect from what was intended, as it not only obstructs the view, but actually conduces to its defilement, the interior being a receptacle for every description of filth and abomination. True it is, that the Spanish authorities put up a notice, many years ago, inflicting a small fine upon offenders; but no further trouble is taken. Ah Spain! is this your gratitude—this the respect you pay to the remains of the man who came to free you from slavery and oppression? You deserted him while living, and you dishonour his sepulchre when dead. The body of Moore was interred here, in compliance with a wish he was often heard to express, that he should be buried where he fell; and besides, it was not only the nearest spot, but indeed the only one that the circumstances of that memorable night afforded.
but if blame could have been attached to him, it may have been for accepting a command so limited by ministers at home, and so hemmed in by the trammels of diplomacy abroad. Whatever the spot on his bright escutcheon Slander would dim with her unhallowed breath, it was nobly effaced by his life's-blood on the battle-field of Corunna. When we look at the conduct of the Spanish generals—at the letters of Mr. Frere, from Madrid—at the broken promises—the never-fulfilled treaties—the behaviour of the Marquis de Romana, who kept just one day's march a-head, eating up whatever of food was to be obtained in the country, we are forced to acknowledge that in truth it was a victorious retreat. Within the barrier, and underneath part of the monument, are buried some of the family of a former vice-consul; and, though they but mingle in the clay common to all mankind, I do think it was rather presumptuous, even for the representative of majesty
FAREWELL to SPAIN. 29
at the port of Corunna, to displace the stones erected by Soult, and disturb the ashes of the mighty dead, so hallowed by the immortal lines of Charles Wolfe, and so endeared to us by every grateful recollection. St. Paul's has her tribute to consecrate his actions, and Glasgow has erected a statue to her citizen ; but surely England will do something more, either by removing his body to Westminster, or by erecting a testimonial upon the spot where he fell. It is not too late for those private friends, and companions in arms, who fought under his banner and stood beside him in the battle-field, to bestir themselves in this noble work. It is waxing late; the evening gun has just proclaimed the sunset, and the broad belt of golden light which marked its parting beam is fast dying in the west. The vessels of war are answering the deep-mouthed echoes from the fort, as their last boom is dying o'er the calm waters, and the shrill whistle of the boatswain is heard above the castanets and the merry dance in the different trading craft immediately beneath. Our own gallant schooner has completed her repairs, and now with her taut-ropes, taper raking masts, and beautifully-modelled hull, forms a striking contrast to the sluggish, dirty vessels by which she is surrounded. As the deep shades of evening descend, they all veer round like a herd of startled deer, and head the shifting night-breeze. The moon is rising from the ocean behind the hills of Ferrol—the deep silence of the city and the glimmering lights in the different houses remind me that it is time to return on board. All is now ready, and to-morrow we sail. Unhappy Spain, farewell—thou art, indeed, the land of brilliant promise, but most baneful produce; yet who can look upon thy proverbial perfidy— thy ceaseless wars upon the liberty of thought, of conscience, and the spread of knowledge, and not behold in thy present bloody struggles a just and terrible retribution?