OVER THE PYRENEES INTO SPAIN.*
THE tender mercies of publishers are cruel. Poor Miss Eyre earned some money and some public favour by chronicling her walks in the Smith of France, economizing francs and half-francs, and carrying her own-carpet-bag. Nothing would please her hard- hearted publisher bat her renewing the experiment in a less civi- lized country. He sent her forth in a dress that exposed her to constant annoyance, with a dog -that entailed fresh expenses by being sick on a carpet, and with eyes to which all order festered. It would really seem as if he sent an emissary before her to poison the minds of guides, innkeepers, and the natives generally against her, to make whole towns turn out and hoot her,- and to sow a plentiful crop of " jumpers and crawlers" in all the places where she was to court unwilling sleep. Certain it is that he wanted her to have an adventure with brigands ; it would tell so well in her •book. We can imagine the delight he must feel at all her minor mishaps, even though the brigands were denied her. Per- haps he shook his head at first when she brought the manuscript to his office ; "No brigands, ma'am ! I'm afraid, after Mr. Moens, the public will not be content without brigands." But then Miss Eyre tells him that in Andorre two boys set a donkey on her canine companion, and then threw a stone weighing three pouuds at herself. The publisher is consoled. ".Capital, ma'am, capital ! just the thing for the public ; have you still the mark on your head ? We might have it photographed."
Seriously, we think that Mr. Bentley's advice to Miss Eyre was neither kind nor wise. It was not Miss Eyre's object to go through as much discomfort as possible and write a grumbling book upon it, but how could she expect anything else under the circumstances? She will say that her object was to see the true life of Spain, or even to spy out the nakedness of 'the land. But her constant complaints of uncivil usage, and the rash generaliza- tions she builds upon it, detract from the value of her experience. We can understand that it was unpleasant to Miss Eyre to be hooted at in the streets of Barcelona because she was dressed in an unusual manner. Intolerance of anything strange is certainly the mark of a low civilization. And it is true that any one may appear in almost any costume in Paris without attracting much attention. Bat let Miss Eyre show herself in London "in a cloak and flapping Leghorn hat, and by the aid of a chair mounting a lean sorry beast, not much unlike the celebrated 'Rosinante in leanness and form ; accoutred with an old leathern bridle fastened beneath the animal's head with rope, and eked out with whipcord to lengthen it ; a cumbrous man's saddle, over which was an old woollen rug; a sack with my shawl, containing my guide- books, &c., at one end, and a small tin bonnet-box at the other ; while behind me was strapped my carpet-bag of clothes and my small travelling bag, and in my hand, instead of a whip, I flourished the well known ' Mrs. Gamp,'" and we will ensure her as warm a reception as she met with in Spain. The greatest of living poets was hooted in London some •years ago because he had an eye-glass stuck in his eye. Others -who have departed from established English traditions by wearing their hair long, or committing any similar outrage on public feeling, have also been maltreated. What was the fate of any man who abstained from shaving before the moustache movement was gene- rally sanctioned? What wasthe fate of the first man who opened an umbrella? The truth is, that any singularity is resented in a place where people are accustomed to uniformity. Miss Eyre was singular in Spain, and she had to pay the penalty.
Of course this does not justify the Spaniards for their rudeness. But it might have occurred to Miss Eyre before starting on her journey that Spain was a very untravelled country, that the Spaniards were behind the rest of Europe, and that the unpro- tected female was sure to be a novelty. If she had not courage and philosophy to be a novelty in a country devoted to its own customs, she should not have undertaken the task. As it is, she resembles the amateur casual whose courage failed him at the
• Over the, Pyre:tees into Spas. 13y Mary Eyre, author of " A Lady's Walks in the South of France." London: Bentley. 188 i. skilley, and who asked to be let go on production of his card. 'Miss Eyre is always showing her card. She tells a serpent de villein Barce- lona, " lam a writer; I will tell the whole world in the hook I am
going to write on Spain how uncivilized the Spainards are." She gets an introduction from the Emperor's chef du cabinet to say that she is an author by profession. At Granada she applies for permission to visit the Alhambra at all hours, as she is an English writer. In:the next page an officer stares her in the face, and she says, " Monsieur, je suis use auteur anglaise, et vela sera calms de tout le monde."
Talking with some Spaniards, she announces her intention of abusing Spain heartily :—" My profession is that of a writer ; my 0$4 work on France was very favourably received by the public,
d my publisher asked me to write a similar tour in Spain. It -was my duty to accept the offer, and to labour in the field God
appointed me." But Miss Eyre does it grudgingly and of neces- sity. If her book finds its way over the Pyrenees into Spain—as we sincerely hope it may—it will not do the good it might have clone if she had written more calmly and in a better temper. The relation of such incidents as that of the dirt in her room being swept out under protest into the next room, will :teach the natives of Spain to be more particular. Cultivated Spaniards who travel will insist on their rooms being swept and kept clean, others will 'follow their example, and the censure of one traveller will in time filter through the whole nation. But when Miss Eyre complains that the Spanish women may dress in a way that is singular to her without the Spaniards finding it singular, while she may not dress in a way that is natural in England without the Spaniards finding it singular, the Spaniards can only shrug their shoulders. In like manner, Spain may feel it a serious reproach that strangers should be insulted in her towns. It may urge her to more industry to be told, and to have it proved by various testimony, that every- thing which is well done in Spain is the work of the foreigner. It may shame the Madrid officials, though we-doubt if officials are to be shamed, to have it publicly stated that they refused to send a telegram about some lost luggage because they were not been with the railway on which the luggage was lost. But what good does Miss Eyre expect to do by letting the insults of the Andor- ran mob betray her into a denunciation of all republics as " dreadful places, from the huge one of America to the pocket republic, Andorre ?" It may of course be true that " the Andor- rans are averse to any alterations, even for the better. They have given up working the iron mines, which yielded iron of excellent quality, t for fear,' say they, ' that if we work them, and the riches of our mountains are known, either France or Spain will annex our territory, and we shall lose our independ- ence.' The best thing that could befall the Andorrans would be to lose this boasted independence. It consists only, in not pro-
gressing with the rest of the world ; in being able to remain poor, bigoted, ignorant, dirty, lazy, and vicious." But the same thing is said of the small States of Germany, which are not republics:, 'The same thing was said of the poverty of Savoy as the reason for annexing it to France. And much the same thing is said of our. English independence by that severe judge of his countrymen, Mr. Matthew Arnold.
If we reject Miss Eyre's sweeping generalization about all republics, we are bound to admit that she makes out a case against Andorre. There is some personal feeling in her statement that in Andorre it is not the custom to punish any crime short of murder, and then only under very aggravated circumstances, but she brings instances to prove it. A young man wanted
money, so he went to the cottage of a wealthy proprietor, toldhim -and his wife that their daughter had fallen down a precipice, and had sent him to.fetch them. They went with him, aid on coming
to a lonely place he made them lie down, robbed them, and on -their-trying to escape murdered them. The principal Andorrans joined together to arrest him, hunted him like a wild beast, and at last, on-his shooting one of them, drew a cordon round him and tried to starve him out. He fell down a precipice in an attempt to break through the cordon and broke his leg, lay at the foot of the precipice three days and nights, till his groans were heard by some shepherds. Then " the Andorrans said God had punished him enough by the breaking of his leg and those three days and nights of pain, so they let him go •free. All the punishment inflicted on him was banishment -from Andorre." Miss Eyre's Andorran guide was, however, no worse than her guides in general. One of them left her to pick her way along the half-dry bed of a mountain torrent without even the help of her " beloved Mrs. Camp." ".How can I have a decent umbrella," she asks, " when it has to serve as a walking-stick, a riding-whip, a crook to pull down flowers and fruits, or even to drag rare aquatic plants out of ' the brooks ?" Another guide stuffed the sack of straw which served as a saddle so hard as to compel her to walk, though ho knew she was weak from a fall, and though she fainted during one day's journey. This same guide put her on a mule whose neck was streaming with blood from fly-bites, and the blood stained Miss Eyre's dress. But she was too proud to show the guide that he had done her any harm ; " I would not leave him the hope he had damaged my clothes;" though no doubt she thought he had done it wilfully, as she says that at Barcelona a guide sent her to a wrong omnibus, " on purpose to mislead me." Miss Eyre must pardon us if this last sentence reminds us of a dialogue which passed between two sons of a clergyman after a week-day ser- vice. " They had the Litany, though it was Thursday," said the elder boy, in tones of anger. " What's the Litany?" asked the younger. "Why it's all this, and all this, and all this ; and I know it was done on purpose to spite us !"
What Miss Eyre can manage in the way of description when things are not done on purpose to spite her makes us regret that she was not more considerately treated. Her picture of the. flowers in the Pyrenees is almost too long for quotation. But this view in the 'Pyrenees may give a favourable sample of her style :—
"Now one wound up a lovely narrow valley, watered by the same clear stream that ran below Escaldos and Andorra, and, shaded by alders, oaks, and 'willows, a rustic little bridge crossing the stream, the view closed in by a background of green mountains, with shades of darkest blue marking out their hollows; then, stern, wild, savage mountains, denuded of trees, cliff rising above cliff in stony solemn grandeur above the narrow stream, which, bare of trees, curved round a bad of gravel. I can only say it was picturesque, beautiful, wild, and grand in the extreme, far wilder and more beautiful than the ride to Gavarnie, but not than Gavarnie itself. The Aridge and Andorra essentially differ in colour, form, and character, from the Pyrenees of Bigorre, and Beam ; Luchon most resembles them. The outlines of the mountains are more broken, varied, and grander ; their colouring deeper and more varied ; the blue of their shadows darker and more distinct. The prevailing hue of the Hautes •Pyr6- nem is a elate-grey ; that of the Aridge and Andorra, the deep lovely purple tint we see painters give to Scottish moors and mountains.
And the description of Granada is enough to tempt others to visit it, in spite of .fleas, guides, mobs, mules, dirt, critics, francs and half-francs, stones weighing three pounds, no brigands, and inexorable publishers:-
"My-inn was in a line with the Prado, or public walk. I first went there. I can hardly convey to my readers even a faint impression of its exceeding beauty. For some distance it is merely a long walk, shaded by trees with seats beneath them, and flanked by buildings on either side ; a little higher up, the trees are larger, and full grownelegant marble fountains decorate the spaces between them ; and gardens full of lovely rose-coloured oleanders and other gay flowers replace the rows of houses on either side. I walked slowly up this beautiful walk; now stopping to admire the rich hue of the laurier rose, now the graceful marble basins, till the Sierra Nevada rose between the trees before my enchanted oyes. Then I stood, liter- ally breathless. Never had I seen anything so dazzlingly beautiful. Just imagine, if you can, a grove of fine old elms ; white marble foun- taicui sending up jets of water that sparkle like diamonds in the anorn- ing sun, oleanders as tall as young apple-trees, with stems as thick as a man's arm, and a crown of rose-coloured flowers; while the long vista formed by the trees is bounded by a range of sky-blue hills, deepening here and there, in cleft or hollow, into shades of ultramarine or indigo ; and.crowned with eternal snow. That is Granada. Turn round, and look behind you. A long, long vista of •triple rows of trees, behind and between which, apparently, rise foreign-looking white houses, with green jalousies and arches, and above them Moorish-looking towers, unlike any church towers you ever saw out of Spain ; and over all such a bright clear blue sky. That, too, is Granada."
We cannot help regretting that Miss Eyre thinks such scorn of this pleasant land, but the close of her book reminds us that even France is not exempt from her censures. After exclaiming at the frontier " Thank God lam in France once more!" and find- ing that the remark predisposed the douanier favourably towards her luggage, her carpet-bag was lost between Cette and Lyons, and she threatens the offenders with terrible penalties. "I, at all events, will never travel by the Lyons line again." Since this threat was,published, the shares in the Paris, Lyons, and 'Medi- terranean have risen from 33 to 34k.