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XERES—CATHEDRAL. 23

semicircular tiles that catch the rain which falls irregularly and rarely; and thence convey it by narrow tunnels into the beds above mentioned. By this mode, the garden is completely irrigated.

There are several churches in this place. Amongst the rest, the cathedral is a beautiful structure. It is of the Grecian style of architecture, and characterized by more simplicity of ornament than is presented by the religious buildings of Cadiz. There was considerably less glare, and fewer of those ridiculous appendages which disfigure the noble outline of a Catholic building. A number of votive offerings, such as little leaden and waxen heads, legs, arms, and breasts *: bunches of rarecoloured ribbons, with much other trumpery, were suspended over an arch.

On the following morning we left Xeres. The English consul, Mr. Brackenbury, this evening gave a ball, to which the officers of the Cambrian were invited. The chief beauties of Cadiz had been collected; and, on the

* In Malta these extraordinary offerings are very common.

24 SPANISH SONGS.

whole, there was a sprightly and novel assemblage. Abundance of French officers were present: of whom the General had the air and manners of an English gentleman. This was so striking, that it was noticed by most of our party.

The Spanish ladies have not that grace which fancy teaches us to look for. It might be, that my expectations were too highly raised, or that 1 had not yet lost the remembrance of my own fascinating countrywomen. Be this as it may: any one given rout in London, will bring together far more beauty than it seems all Cadiz could furnish. We were favoured with one or two Spanish songs, by a lady of purely Spanish origin. This last circumstance was announced with no little flourish. She sang to the piano; but her voice in my ear was harsh and discordant. And here I will candidly confess my apprehension, that something of natural prejudice may have followed me from my " father-land/' Not that I am aware of it; but experiencing so little satisfaction in that which has received a world of high-flown encomium; and recollecting at

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the same time how difficult it is to discard at once the feelings which have for years been growing with our growth, I am a little inclined to suspect my impartiality.

CHAPTER II.

Wednesday, 27th Oct.—This morning we put to sea; but, in consequence of a calm, made little way.

Thursday, 28th Oct.—A breeze springing up during the night, about six o'clock we stood off the Rock of Gibraltar. Captain Hamilton sent out a boat to ascertain, whether by touching there we should run the risk of quarantine at Malta; but the very vague answer which was returned, determined him to proceed. There was, therefore, no opportunity to gratify our curiosity by an examination of this celebrated fortress.

Friday, 29th Oct. — The morning being perfectly calm, we remained long in sight of Gibraltar. It lay beautifully encircled in a white wreath of mist, upon which the sun glanced, imparting to it the delicate hue of ISLAND OF GALETA. 27

the plum, when it lies sleeping in the morning dew. About six o'clock, p. M. a Sardinian schooner of war hove in sight. The Cambrian hoisted her colours; but the signal was not returned. Captain Hamilton directed a gun to be fired at her: still she slighted the warning, and a second ball, aimed with more precision, struck the water at no great distance from the bow, while our frigate put about in pursuit. A third shot, however, had the desired effect;—the national flag was hoisted, and we left her to continue her course. The obstinacy of the Sardinian commander was as remarkable as it was unadvised ; and might have been productive of the most unpleasant consequences.

Tuesday, 2d Nov.—A British merchant brig, not lowering her top-sails according to Act of Parliament relating to marine matters, was fired at with a musket. At last, a boat being sent out, the master excused himself under the plea of ignorance; and in truth, from all accounts, he was its absolute personification. He had come from Smyrna.

Saturday, 6th Nov.—Passed the little island

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