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beautiful crimson hue, and with pumpkins of immense size; gourds and peppers form the food of the lower classes, and give the market-place, where they are for sale, a singular appearance to an English eye. The town being a fort, no gardens are allowed roundit. Chesnuts are in great quantities, and eaten by every body. You meet with the stoves at all the corners, and the incessant, though not inharmonious cry of “castanas ricas,” salutes you every
The only wild fowl I saw was the red-legged partridge, which, though larger and whiter, is not nearly so well-flavoured as the common English species, and is in taste little removed from a barndoor fowl. Our shooting excursions afforded an opportunity of seeing the country around, which is very uninteresting, being a succession of barren hills, similar to the battle-field. This repulsive aspect, however, is enlivened by the occasional fertility of the valleys, which makes the contrast the greater. Here the farms are surrounded by groves of magnificent chesnuts, and contain vineyards, fields of Indian corn, and neat enclosures. The science of agriculture is but little known in this part of Spain, and proper cultivation could do much; the primitive plough, formed of a simple beam, with a cross-stick at the end, to which the share is fastened, shows their lamentable state of ignorance in this all-important branch of knowledge. The mattock is the principal implement of husbandry. The sheep are wretched in the extreme, being not larger than
a three-months' lamb in England ; the wool is mostly black, short, coarse, and mixed with hair, and the mutton consequently very bad. The beef is good, though small, probably from working the oxen so young.
Altogether, Corunna would be a cheap place to live in, and the climate, just now, is
very pleasant and healthy. The dews, though heavy, do not commence till late in the evening, but the winter months are often excessively severe, as those who suffered in 1809 but too well know. The cold of that winter, however, was far beyond the average ; the heat during the day is generally about 70° Farh.
Civil war, with all its desolating train, has not yet reached these parts; the land is cultivated as usual, and the people appear fully as happy, and affairs go on as smoothly as if no such thing existed in the country. In fact, the poor classes seem to know and care little about it; their condition will be little benefitted whoever conquers; and with the exception of the evening's discussion, which takes place on the prado amongst some of the officers or the politicians, on the arrival of the last lie, or the dark glances of a few suspected Carlists, grouped in little coteries around a padre, or lurking behind a crumbling bastion, to take a furtive look at the castle of St. Antonio, which holds so many of their friends and comrades within its dark, damp, and wave-washed dungeons, none seem to trouble themselves about the subject.
The rocky shores in the neighbourhood afford interesting walks to the naturalist; the water is beautifully. clear, and the rocks, as far as they are washed by the tide, covered with small pinkish madrapores, and the most splendid actiniæ of every colour, different varieties of star-fish, medusæ, and other molluscous animals. Two species of cuttle fish (sepiæ octopus and officinalis) are in great plenty, exposed for sale in the market, and considered excellent food. In my wanderings along the shores, I occasionally found the slender green locust, (locusta viredissima,) and always remarked that, on pinning it in my hat or my case, it immediately commenced depositing its eggs, fearful of its destructive race becoming extinct.
The English mails now go to Vigo, and those to Madrid are, owing to the present state of the country round the capital, very uncertain—they are carried on horseback by couriers, who are frequently robbed. A circumstance occurred in connection with one of these robberies, a few years ago, so characteristic of Spanish law and injustice, that I cannot help recording it, as related to me by a friend there resident at the time.
Towards the latter end of October, 1835, the insurgents of Gallicia posted a notice, that all
persons found conveying the mail of her majesty the Queen of Spain should be shot. The government courier proceeding from Corunna to Madrid, soon after this notice, was murdered, the bags cut open,
A BRIGAND'S STORY.
and the letters destroyed, it was supposed by a Carlist named Lopez.
Count Pablo Morillo, then captain-general of that province, enraged at such conduct, declared, that if they shot another courier he would shoot the brother of Lopez. These brothers had been previously tried for an offence in no way connected with political affairs ; were both acquitted ; but the unhappy victim to injustice was detained in prison on suspicion, while his brother joined the insurgents as their chief.
The captain-general would not listen to the advice offered him by many, and amongst these several of the consuls of the place, to issue a proclamation of his intention to shoot the brother of Lopez if they committed a similar act. In a few nights after, on a Saturday, a courier, with both his horses, was shot two leagues from Corunna.
The count, a most violent man, would hear no remonstrance, and instantly ordered this unfortunate man for execution, and would not even allow him time to prepare for the other world, but hurried him off, desiring the confessor to do so on his way to the spot where the courier was shot the night previous.
At two o'clock on a Sunday, this man was led out, accompanied by a prisoner named Ramos—the one to be shot, the other to witness the fate he next was to suffer, should another courier fall by rebel hands.
When they arrived at the place of execution,
and Lopez was told by the provost-marshal his excellency's order, he replied—“ What do I know of all this—I have been in prison a year, and know nothing of my brother's crimes, why should I suffer for him—but I have long thought I should—I am ready—and sat down on the chair."
The company of Urbanos returned, after this sad scene, with Ramos riding on an ass, sunk and unmanned—both prisoners were in the queen's uniform as officers.
It were but to be expected that the brigand, Lopez, would commence a fearful retaliation—he still haunts the mountain passes in this neighbourhood, the terror of those who have wealth to losethe Rob Roy of Gallicia. Although the thirsty soil may have drunk up the stream of life that flowed from the wounds of this innocent man—the hot vapour rising from off that purple tide has ascended on high, an evidence against this guilty land.
The only trade of any extent carried on in Corunna is the fabrica tobacos, or cigar manufactory—a government monopoly—none of the soothing weed being permitted to be used except what is made into cigars, and bad enough they are-All smoke; “the naked beauties” of the mild cigar are not, however, preferred by the people, who cut it up into small pieces, rolling it in little square bits of maize (rice) paper, and puff away with great satisfaction. There are no pipes. The manufactory is worked, solely, by females, and when in