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and Scotch, though they wore uncle Sam's gray jacket and trowsers. I noticed one other idle man. He carried a rifle on bis shoulder and a powder-horn across his breast, and appeared to stare about him with confused wonder, as if, while he was listening to the wind among the forest boughs, the hum and bustle of an instantaneous city had surrounded him.
AN AFTERNOON SCENE. There had not been a more delicious afternoon than this, in all the train of summer — the air being a sunny perfume, made up of balm and warmth and gentle brightness. The oak and walnut trees, over my head, retained their deep masses of foliage, and the grass, though for months the pasturage of stray cattle, had been revived with the freshness of early June, by the autumnal rains of the preceding week. The garb of Autumn indeed resembled that of Spring. Dandelions and buttercups were sprinkled along the roadside, like drops of brightest gold in greenest grass ; and a star-shaped little flower, with a golden centre. In a rocky spot, and rooted under the stone-wall, there was one wild rose-bush, bearing three roses, very faintly tinted, but blessed with a spicy fragrance. The same tokens would have announced that the year was brightening into the glow of summer. There were violets, too, though few and pale ones. But the breath of September was diffused through the mild air, whenever a little breeze shook out the latent coolness.
A NIGHT SCENE. The steamboat in which I was passenger for Detroit, had put into the mouth of a small river, where the greater part of the night would be spent in repairing some damages of the machinery. As the evening was warm, though cloudy and very dark, I stood on deck, watching a scene that would not have attracted a second glance in the day-time, but became picturesque by the magic of strong light and deep shade. Some wild Irishmen were replenishing our stock of wood, and had kindled a great fire on the bank, to illuminate their labors. It was composed of large logs and dry brushwood, heaped together with careless profusion, blazing fiercely, spouting showers of sparks into the darkness, and gleaming wide over lake Erie - a beacon for perplexed voyagers, leagues from land. All around and above the furnace, there was total obscurity. No trees, or other objects, caught and reflected any portion of the brightness, which thus wasted itself in the immense void of night, as if it quivered from the expiring embers of the world, after the final conflagration. But the Irishmen were continually emerging from the dense gloom, passing through the lurid glow, and vanishing into the gloom on the other
side. Sometimes a whole figure would be made visible, by the shirt-sleeves and light-colored dress; others were but half seen, like imperfect creatures ; many fitted, shadow-like, along the skirts of darkness, tempting fancy to a vain pursuit ; and often, a face alone was reddened by the fire, and stared strangely distinct, with no traces of a body. In short, these wild Irish, distorted and exaggerated by the blaze, now lost in deep shadow, now bursting into sudden splendor, and now struggling between light and darkness, formed a picture which might have been transferred, almost unaltered, to a tale of the supernatural. As they all carried lanterns of wood, and often flung sticks upon the fire, the least imaginative spectator would at once compare them to devils, condemned to keep alive the fame of their own torment.
THE SEA-BREEZE AT MATANZAS.
AFTER a night of languor without rest,
AN EXECUTION IN SPAIN.*
After having described the bull-fights, I see no other way of following the admirable rule of the puppet-show — “from the strong to the stronger'— than by giving you the history of an execution. I have just seen one, and, if you have the courage to listen, will describe it to you.
I will first explain to you how it happened that I became the witness of such a scene. In a strange country, one is expected to see everything ; and we are always afraid of losing, in a moment of weariness or ennui, some peculiar national traits. As the history of the criminal had interested me, I was desirous of seeing him, and was finally induced to try an experiment on my nerves.
You shall have the story of my hanged gentleman ; (I forgot to inquire his name.) He was a native of the environs of Valencia, esteemed and feared for his bold and enterprising character. In his village, he was the cock of the walk. No one danced better, threw a quoit farther, or knew more old romances. He was not quarrelsome, but it was well known that but little was necessary to proroke him. If he attended travelers, with his carbine slung over his shoulders, no robber would dare to attack them, had their valises been filled with doubloons. It was really a pleasure to see the youth, in his vest of velvet, strutting through the roads with such an air of superiority. In a word, he was a majo, in all the expressiveness of thai term. A majo is, at the same time, a dandy of the lower class, and exceedingly nice on the point of honor.
The Valencians have a proverb against the Valencians, and a proverb, in my opinion, of utter falsity. It is as follows: "At Valencia, the food is of grass ; the grass of water. The men are women, and women — nothing.' My word for it, the cookery of Valencia is excellent, and the women exceedingly pretty — fairer than in almost any other kingdom of Spain. You will see what sort of men they have there.
A bull-fight was given. Our majo wished to see it, but he had not a rial in his purse. He counted on the kindness of a volunteer royalist — a friend of his, on guard that day — for admittance. He reckoned without his host. The volunteer was inflexible. The majo insists — the volunteeer is obstinate ; and high words are given on both sides. To be brief, the volunteer repulses him rudely, with a punch in his stomach from the butt
* From the French of Prosper Merimée, author of ' A Bull-Fight at Madrid, translated in our October number.
end of his musket. The majo withdrew; but the bystanders — who observed the paleness which overspread his features, his clenched fists, expanded nostrils, and the expression of his eyes — anticipated some speedy and severe revenge.
Fifteen days afterwards, the brutal volunteer was sent with a detachment in pursuit of some smugglers. He slept in a solitary inn. At night, a voice was heard calling the volunteer. Open, it is a messenger from your wife.' The volunteer comes down, half dressed. Hardly had he opened the door, when the discharge of a blunderbuss lodged a dozen bullets in his breast. The murderer disappeared. Who was he? No one could imagine. It was certainly not the majo who killed him, for he found a dozen religious women and good loyalists, who would kiss their thumb and swear by the name of their saint, that they had seen the aforesaid gentleman, each one in her own village, at precisely the hour and minute when the crime was committed.
And the majo appeared in public, with the open front and serene air of a man who had relieved himself of an irksome duty. It is thus at Paris, that an individual shows himself at Tortoni's, on the evening of a duel, in which he has run some impertinent fellow through the arm. Observe in passing, that assassination is here the duel of the lower orders — a duel much more serious than with us, since it is usually followed by two deaths ; whilst in good society, people are better satisfied with scratching than killing.
Everything went on swimmingly, till an over-zealous alguazil — either because he was newly appointed to office, or because he was in love with a woman who preferred the majo to himself — intimated a disposition to arrest this amiable individual. While he confined himself to menaces, his rival only laughed; but when he undertook to seize him by the collar, he made him swallow a neat's tongue. It is an expression they have for a blow with a knife. Did the law of self-defence permit him thus to vacate the office of an alguazil ?
The alguazils are much respected in Spain, almost as much as the constables in England. Misusing one of them is a hanging matter. So the majo was apprehended, thrown into prison, judged, and, after a very long process, condemned -- for the forms of justice are even more tardy here than among us.
With a little good-nature and benevolence, you will readily admit that this man did not merit his fate; that he was the victim of a sad fatality; and that, without overloading their consciences, the judges could have restored him to the society of which, as the lawyers say, he was so distinguished an ornament.' But the judges were unmoved by any of these elevated and poetical considerations; they unanimously condemned him to death.
One evening, passing by chance through the market-place, I observed a number of workmen engaged by torch-light in raising the rafters of a gallows. A guard of soldiers around them repelled the approach of the inquisitive. The reason of this precaution is as follows. The gallows is raised by corvée ; and the workmen put in requisition cannot refuse the service, under the penalty of a condemnation for rebellion. By way of compensation, the authorities provide that they discharge their task — which public opinion considers a disgraceful one — in secret. On this account, they work only at night, surrounded by a guard of soldiers, who keep off the crowd and prevent the workmen from being recognized. So they avoid the epithet of gallows-builders, on the morrow.
At Valencia, there is an old Gothic tower, which answers the purposes of a prison. Its architecture is rather pretty, particularly in the front which faces the river. It is situated at an extremity of the city, and serves as a gate. They call it the Gate of the Mountaineers. From its platform, you can trace the course of the Guadalaviar, the five bridges which cross it, the promenades of Valencia, and the smiling country which surrounds it. It is but a sad pleasure to look upon green fields, when one is shut within four walls ; but still it is a pleasure — and the prisoner must needs thank the jailer, who permits him to ascend the platform. For the prisoner, the smallest pleasure has its value.
It was from this prison that the condemned was to deliver himself, to cross the most populous streets of the city, mounted on an ass, to the market-place, where he was to quit the world.
I found myself at an early hour before the Gate of the Mountaineers,' with one of my Spanish friends, who was kind enough to accompany me. I expected to find a considerable crowd collected in the morning, but was deceived. The artizans were quietly occupied in their workshops; the peasants left the city after they had sold their vegetables ; nothing indicated that any unusual scene was to be exhibited, except a dozen of dragoons ranged before the gate of the city. The little curiosity displayed by the Valencians to witness executions, ought not to be attributed, I think, to any excess of sensibility. I know not if I ought to think, with my guide, that they have been so blasés with such exhibitions as to have lost all taste for them. Perhaps this indifference may arise from the laborious habits of the people of Valencia. Love of labor and gain distinguishes them, not merely among the people of Spain, but even among those of all Europe.
At eleven o'clock the gate of the prison is opened, and a numerous procession of Franciscans makes its appearance. It was preceded by a large crucifix borne by a penitant, escorted by two Acolytes, each one of whom carried a lantern fixed at the end of