תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

COSTUMES.

so than

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 upthat 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 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 bidden 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.

[blocks in formation]

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

[blocks in formation]

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

8

THE HERCULES TOWER.

erected since 1809, and must be of inestimable value to mariners, as it is seen from an immense distance, and marks the common entrance to the harbours of Corunna and Ferrol; but what adds still greater interest to it in the eye of the traveller, is the fact of its enclosing within its massive walls, one of the most interesting monuments of antiquity-the pharos of Hercules, the oldest existing specimen of this kind in Europe, and amongst the very few now any where to be found.

The origin of this (the original tower) and its name are involved in much obscurity. The tradition here is, that it was built by Hercules himself. Humboldt mentions, that Laborde had discovered an inscription near its foundation, stating, that “this pharos was constructed by Caius Severus Lupus, architect of the city of Aqua Flavia (Cheves), and that it was dedicated to Mars. Strabo, indeed, affirms that Galicia, the country of the Galici, had been peopled by Greek colonies. According to an extract from the geographies of Spain, by Asclepiades, the Myrlean, an ancient tradition stated that the companions of Hercules settled in these countries.”

To the Irish antiquarian this building must be of considerable interest, from its supposed connection with the early history of this country, and its reputed Phænician origin. Since the first edition of this work was published, Sir William Betham has stated, in his Etruria Celtica, that he has discovered references made to this tower in the Eugubian Tables, translated by him into Irish ;-the passage to which he alludes in the seventy-eighth line of Table VI.-—“ mil e tin ar, a thousand from the FIRE steering,refers, he supposes, “to the ship leaving the coast of Spain for the Turn (Carne), and mentions the fire kept up on the land for the guidance of mariners; and also in Table VI., line 119, the words tri bri rin e, three mountains there from, point out Cape Ortegal too plainly to be mistaken.” In another place Sir William says, “The name of Corunna, and the Groyne, are both derived from the river on which the town stands, Garonne, or garb abar na, the rough or boisterous river, as the Garonne of France." Corunna, however, does not stand on any river, and the only one in its neighbourhood is not the Groyne, or Garonne, but the Rio Burgo; the Groyne being a term sometimes applied to this bay.

Again, “there is,” says my friend, “some incongruity be

[ocr errors]

ITS PHENICIAN ORIGIN.

9

tween the accounts of Mr. Wilde and Laborde. The latter says the light-house is situated 'upon a very high mountain, a league from the harbour;"” and I have stated its position to be about a mile to the S.W. of the town, on a rock by the water's edge. Any one, however, at all acquainted with the locality knows that there is no such mountain in this vicinity as that described by Laborde, and the position of the Hercules tower can easily be ascertained by referring to any of the Admiralty's charts of the coast; and moreover, a light on "a very high mountain, a league from the harbour,” would be of little service for nautical purposes. The same authority doubts the circumstance of the original Pharos being enclosed within the modern tower. Having, however, communicated on this subject with the British consul at Corunna, I have just received the most confirmatory proof of the fact, in the two original drawings kindly forwarded to me by him, from which the accompanying illustrations have been made.

[graphic][ocr errors]

That to the left represents the old Pharos as it stood in 1797, the date marked on the drawing, under which we find the follow

« הקודםהמשך »