Barcelona

BARCELONA

The flower market of the Rambla—Streets of the old town—The Cathedral of Barcelona—Description of the Columbus monument—All Saints' Day in Spain—Mont Tibidaho—Diverse centers of intellectual activity—Ancient history—Philanthropic and charitable institutions.

 

“BARCELONA , shrine of courtesy, harbor of the wayfarer, shelter of the poor, cradle of the brave, champion of the outraged, nurse of friendship, unique in position, unique in beauty!”

Such was the eulogium bestowed upon Barcelona by the great Cervantes several hundred years ago, an eulogium warranted by a stranger's experience in our own day. The matchless site of the second city of Spain, its luxuriant surroundings, awaken enthusiasm as of old, whilst even the briefest possible sojourn suffices to make us feel at home. A winning urbanity, a cosmopolitan amiableness, characterize the townsfolk, Spanish hauteur is here replaced by French cordiality. Softness of manner and graces of speech lend additional charm to a race conspicuous for personal beauty. The Barcelonese are described by a contemporary as laborious and energetic, ambitious of social advance, tenacious of personal dignity, highly imaginative, at the same time eminently practical, steadfast in friendship, vehement in hate. The stir and magnificence of the city attest the progressive character of the inhabitants.

Few European capitals can boast of finer public monuments, few indeed possess such a promenade as its famous Rambla. The Rambla may be regarded as an epitome, not only of the entire city, but of all Spain, and here the curious traveller should take up his quarters. A dozen brilliant or moving spectacles meet the eye in a day, whilst the normal aspect is one of unimaginable picturesqueness and variety. The dark-eyed flower-girls with their rich floral displays; the country folks still adhering to the costume of Catalonia—the men sandaled and white-hosed, for headgear, slouch caps of crimson, scarlet, or peach-colored felt, the women with gorgeous silk kerchiefs pinned under the chin—the Asturian nursemaids in poppy-red skirts barred with black, and dainty gold and lace caps; the ladies fanning themselves as they go in November, with black lace mantillas over their pretty heads; the Guardia Civile in big, awe-inspiring cocked hats and long black cloaks reaching to the ankle; the trim soldiery in black and red tunics, knickerbockers and buskins, their officers ablaze with gold braid and lace; the spick-and-span city police, each neat as a dandy in a melodrama, not a hair out of place, collars and cuffs of spotless white, ironed to perfection, well-fitting costumes, swords at their sides; the priests and nuns; the seafaring folk of many nationalities; the shepherds of uncouth appearance from the neighboring mountains—all these at first make us feel as if we were taking part in a masquerade.

Now way is made for the funeral train of some rich citizen, the lofty car of sumptuous display of black and gold drapery, wreaths of fresh roses, violet, and heliotrope, large as carriage-wheels, fastened to the sides, the coffin, encased in black and violet velvet, studded with gold nails; following slowly, a long procession of carriages bearing priests, choristers, and mourners. And now the sounds of martial music summon the newcomer a second time to his window. It is a soldier who is borne to his rest. Six comrades accompany the bier, carrying long inverted tapers; behind march commanding officers and men, the band playing strains all too spirited it seems for such an occasion. There is always something going on in this splendid avenue animated from early morning till past midnight, market-place, parade ground, promenade in one.

The daily flower-market of itself would almost repay the journey from London. When northern skies are gloomiest, and fogs are daily fare, the Rambla is at its best. The yellowing leaves of the plane-trees look golden under the dazzling blue sky, and brilliant as in a picture are the flower-sellers and their wares. These distractingly pretty girls, with their dark locks pulled over the brow, their lovely eyes, rich olive complexions, and gleaming white teeth, have nothing of the mendicant about them. As they offer their flowers—perhaps fastening roses to a half-finished garland with one hand, whilst with the other a pot of heliotrope is reached down—the passer-by is engagingly invited to purchase. The Spanish language, even the dialect of Catalonia, is music to begin with, and the flower-maidens make it more musical still by their gentle, caressing ways. Some wear little mantillas of black, blonde, or cashmere; others, silk kerchiefs of brightest hue—orange, crimson, deep purple, or fanciful patterns of many colors. Barcelona is a flower-garden all the year round, and in mid-winter we strollbetween piled-up masses of rose, carnation, and violet, to say nothing of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

It is especially on All Saints' and All Souls' Days that the flower-market of the Rambla is seen to advantage; enormous sums are spent upon wreaths and garlands for the cemetery, the poorest then contriving to pay his floral tribute to departed kith and kin.

In striking contrast with the wide, airy, ever brilliantly illuminated Rambla, electric light doing duty for sunshine at night, are the streets of the old town. The stranger may take any turning—either to right or left—he is sure to find himself in one of these dusky narrow thoroughfares, so small ofttimes the space between window and opposite window that neighbors might almost shake hands. With their open shops of gay woolen stuffs, they vividly recall Cairene bazaars. Narrow as is the accommodation without, it must be narrower still within, since when folks move from one house to another their goods and chattels are hoisted up and passed through the front windows. The sight of a chest of drawers or a sofa in cloudland is comical enough, although the system certainly has its advantages. Much manual labor is thereby spared, and the furniture doubtless escapes injury from knocking about.

The wise traveller will elect to live on the Rambla, but to spend his time in the old town. Wherever he goes he is sure to come upon some piece of antiquity, whilst here, in a great measure, he loses sight of the cosmopolitan element characterizing the new quarters. Novel and striking as is its aspect to the stranger, Barcelona must nevertheless be described as the least Spanish of Spanish towns. The second seaport of Spain is still—as it was in the Middle Ages—one of the most important seats of international commerce on the Mediterranean. As we elbow our way along the crowded Rambla we encounter a diversity of types and hear a perplexing jargon of many tongues. A few minutes suffice to transport us into the old-world city familiar to Ford—not, however, to be described by the twentieth century tourist in Ford's own words. “A difficult language,” he wrote just upon half a century ago, “rude manners, and a distrust of strangers, render Barcelona a disagreeable city.” Nowhere nowadays is more courtesy shown to the inquiring stranger. He is not even obliged to ask his way in these narrow tortuous streets. The city police, to be found at every turn, uninvited come to his aid, and, bringing out a pocket-map, with an infinity of pains make clear to him the route he has to take. The handsome Calle San Fernando leads to the somber but grandiose old Cathedral with its lovely cloisters, magnificent towers and bells, deep-voiced as that of Big Ben itself. All churches in Spain, by the way, must be visited in the forenoon; even then the light is so dim that little can be seen of their treasures—pictures, reliquaries, marble tombs. The Cathedral of Barcelona forms no exception to the rule. Only lighted by windows of richly stained old glass, we are literally compelled to grope our way along the crowded aisles. Mass is going on from early morning till noon, and in the glimmering jeweled light we can just discern the moving figures of priests and acolytes before the high altar, and the scattered worshippers kneeling on the floor. Equally vague are the glimpses we obtain of the chapels, veritable little museums of rare and beautiful things unfortunately consigned to perpetual obscurity, veiled in never-fading twilight. What a change we find outside! The elegant Gothic cloisters, rather to be described as a series of chapels, each differing from the other, each sumptuously adorned, enclose a sunny open space or patio, planted with palms, orange and lemon trees, the dazzlingly bright foliage and warm blue sky in striking contrast to the somber gray of the building-stone. A little farther off, on the other side, we may see the figures of the bell-ringers high up in the open belfry tower, swinging the huge bells backwards and forwards with tremendous effort, a sight never to be missed on Sundays and fête days.

This stately old Cathedral, like so many others, was never finished and works of reparation and restoration are perpetually going on. Close by stands the Palais de Justice, with its beautiful Gothic court and carved stone staircase, the balustrade supported by lovely little statuettes or gargoyles, each an artistic study in itself. Abutting this is the Palais de Diputacion, Provincial or local Parliament House, a building of truly Spanish grandeur. Its wide marble staircases, its elaborate ceilings of carved wood, its majestic proportions, will, perhaps, have less interest for some travellers than its art-treasures, two chefs d'œuvre  of the gifted Fortuny. Barcelona was the patron of this true genius—Catalan by birth—so unhappily cut off in his early prime. With no little pride the stately officials show these canvases—the famous “Odalisque” and the “Battle of Tetuan”—the latter, alas! left unfinished. It is a superb piece of life and color, but must be seen on a brilliant day as the hall is somber. Nothing can exceed the courtesy of the Barcelonese to strangers, and these pictures are shown out of the regular hours. But let no one incautiously offer a fee. The proffered coin will be politely, even smilingly, rejected, without humiliating reproof, much less a look of affront. Ford's remark that “a silver key at all times secures admission” does not hold good in these days.

Near the Cathedral, law courts, and Provincial Parliament House stands another picturesque old palace of comparatively modern date, yet Saracenic aspect, and containing one of the most curious historic treasures in Europe. This is the palace of the kings of Aragon, or Archivo General de la Corona de Aragon. The exterior, as is usual with Spanish buildings, is massive and gloomy. Inside is a look of Oriental lightness and gaiety. Slender columns, painted red, enclose an open court, and support a little terrace planted with shrubs and flowers. Here in perfect order and preservation, without a break, are stored the records of upwards of a thousand years, the earlier consisting of vellum scrolls and black letter, the latter showing the progress of printing from its beginning down to our own day. The first parchment bears date a. d. 875. Among the curiosities of the collection are no less than eight hundred and two Papal Bulls from the year 1017 to 1796. Besides the archives of Barcelona itself, and of the kingdom of Aragon, to which it was annexed in the twelfth century, the palace contains many deeply interesting manuscripts found in the suppressed monasteries.

The archives have been ingeniously arranged by the learned keeper of records. The bookcases, which are not more than six feet high, stand on either side of the vast library, at some distance from the wall, made staircase-wise; one set of volumes just above the other, with the result that no accumulation of dust is possible, and that each set is equally accessible. The effect on the eye of these symmetrically-placed volumes in white vellum is very novel and pleasing. We seem to be in a hall, the walls of which are of fluted cream-colored marble.

The little museum of local antiquities in the ruined Church of Santa Agneda, the somber old churches of San Pablo del Campo, Santa Maria del Mar and Belen, the fragments of mediæval domestic architecture remaining here and there—all these will detain the archæologist. Of more general interest are the modern monuments of Barcelona. In no city have civic lavishness and public spirit shone forth more conspicuously.

A penny tramway—you may go anywhere here for a penny—takes you to the beautiful Park and Fountain of Neptune. The word “fountain” gives an inadequate notion of the splendid pile, with its vast triple-storied marble galleries, its sculptured Naiads and dolphins, and on the summit, towering above park and lake and cascades, its three gigantic sea-horses and charioteers richly gilt, gleaming as if indeed of massive gold. Is there any more sumptuous fountain in the world? I doubt it. In spite of the gilded sea-horses and chariot, there is no tawdriness here; all is bold, splendid, and imposing. Below the vast terraced galleries and wide staircases, all of pure marble, flows in a broad sheet the crystal-clear water, home of myriads of gold fish. The entourage  is worthy of so superb a construction. The fountain stands in the midst of a scrupulously-kept, tastefully laid-out, ever-verdant park or public pleasure-ground. In November all is fresh and blooming as in an English June. Palms, magnolias, bananas, oleanders, camellias, the pepper-tree, make up a rich, many-tinted foliage. Flowers in winter-time are supplanted by beds of brilliant leaved plants that do duty for blossoms. The purple, crimson, and sea-green leaves are arranged with great effect, and have a brilliant appearance. Here surrounded by gold green turf, are little lakes which may be sailed across in tiny pleasure skiffs. At the chief entrance, conspicuously placed, stands the fine equestrian monument to Prim, inaugurated with much civil and military pomp some years ago. It is a bold statue in red bronze. The general sits his horse, hat in hand, his fine, soldier-like face turned towards the city. On the sides of the pedestal are bas-reliefs recording episodes of his career, and on the front these words only, “Barcelona à Prim.” The work is that of a Spanish artist, and the monument as a whole reflects great credit alike to local art and public spirit.

But a few minutes' drive brings us within sight of a monument to one of the world's heroes. I allude to the memorial column recently raised to Columbus by this same public-spirited and munificent city of Barcelona. Columbus, be it remembered, was received here by Ferdinand and Isabella after his discovery of America in 1493. Far and wide over hills and city, palm-girt harbor, and sea, as a lighthouse towers the tremendous obelisk, the figure of the great Genoese surmounting it, his feet placed on a golden sphere, his outstretched arm pointing triumphantly in the direction of his newly-discovered continent as much as to say, “It is there!”

Never did undertaking reflect more credit upon a city than this stupendous work. The entire height of the monument is about two-thirds of the height of the Monument of London. The execution was entrusted to Barcelonese craftsmen and artists; the materials—bronze, stone, and marble—all being supplied in the neighborhood.

On the upper tier of the pedestal are statues of the four noble Catalans who materially aided Columbus in his expedition—by name Fray Boyl, monk of Montserrat, Pedro Margarit, Jaime Ferrer, and Luis Sentangel. Below are allegorical figures representing, in the form of stately matrons, the four kingdoms of Catalonia, Castille, Aragon, and Leon. Bas-reliefs, illustrating scenes in the career of the discoverer, adorn the hexagonal sides, six magnificent winged lions of greystone keep jealous watch over the whole, and below these, softening the aspect of severity, is a belt of turf, the following inscription being perpetually written in flowers: “Barcelona à Colon.” The column is surmounted by a globe burnished with gold, and above rises the colossal figure of Columbus.

No happier site could have been selected. The monument faces the sea, and is approached from the town by a palm-bordered walk and public garden. The first object to greet the mariner's eye as he sights land is the figure of Columbus poised on his glittering ball; the last to fade from view is that beacon-like column towering so proudly above city and shore. A little excursion must be made by boat or steamer, in order to realize the striking effect of this monument from the sea.

To obtain a bird's-eye view of Barcelona itself, the stranger should go some distance inland. The Fort of Montjuich, commanding the town from the south, or Mont Tibidaho to the north, will equally answer his purpose. A pretty winding path leads from the shore to a pleasure-garden just below the fort, and here we see the entire city spread as in a map at our feet. The panorama is somewhat monotonous, the vast congeries of white walls and grey roofs only broken by gloomy old church towers and tall factory chimneys, but thus is realized for the first time the enormous extent of the Spanish Liverpool and Manchester in one. Thus, indeed, may Barcelona be styled. Looking seaward, the picture is animated and engaging—the wide harbor bristling with shipping, lateen-sailed fishing boats skimming the deep-blue sunny waves, noble vessels just discernible on the dim horizon.

 

 

The once celebrated promenade of the Murallo del Mar, eulogized by Ford and other writers, no longer exists, but the stranger will keep the sea-line in search of the new cemetery. A very bad road leads thither, on All Saints' and All Souls' days followed by an unbroken string of vehicles, omnibuses, covered carts, hackney carriages, and private broughams; their occupants, for the most part, dressed in black. The women, wearing black Cashmere mantillas, are hardly visible, being hidden by enormous wreaths, crosses, and bouquets of natural and also of artificial flowers. The new cemetery is well placed, being several miles from the city, on high ground between the open country and the sea. It is tastefully laid out in terraces—the trees and shrubs testifying to the care bestowed on them. Here are many costly monuments—mausoleums, we should rather say—of opulent Barcelonese, each family possessing its tiny chapel and burial-place.

It is to be hoped that so progressive a city as Barcelona will ere long adopt the system of cremation. Nothing can be less hygienic, one would think, than the present mode of burial in Spain. To die there is literally—not figuratively—to be laid on the shelf. The terrace-like sides of the cemetery ground have been hollowed out into pigeon-holes, and into these are thrust the coffins, the marble slab closing the aperture bearing a memorial inscription. Ivy and other creepers are trained around the various divisions, and wreaths of fresh flowers and immortelles adorn them; the whole presenting the appearance of a huge chest of drawers divided into mathematically exact segments. To us there is something uncanny—nay, revolting—in such a form of burial; which, to say the least of it, cannot be warranted on æsthetic, much less scientific, principles. It is satisfactory to find that at last Protestants and Jews have their own burial-place here, shut off from the rest, it is true by a wall at least twenty feet high, but a resting-place for all that. It was not so very long ago that Malaga was the only Spanish town according Protestants this privilege, the concession being wrung from the authorities by the late much-esteemed British consul, Mr. Mark.

For some days preceding the festival of All Saints the cemetery presents a busy scene. Charwomen, gardeners, masons, and painters then take possession of the place. Marble is scoured, lettering is repainted, shrubs clipped, turf cut—all is made spick and span, in time for the great festival of the dead. It must be borne in mind that All Saints' Day in Spain has no analogy with the same date in our own calendar. Brilliant sunshine, air soft and balmy as of July, characterize the month of November here. These visits to the cemetery are, therefore, less depressing than they would be performed amid English fog and drizzle. We Northerners, moreover, cannot cast off gloomy thoughts and sad retrospection as easily as the more elastic, more joyous Southern temperament. Mass over, the pilgrimage to the cemetery paid, all is relaxation and gaiety. All Saints' and All Souls' days are indeed periods of unmitigated enjoyment and relaxation. Public offices, museums, schools, shops,are closed. Holiday folk pour in from the country. The city is as animated as Paris on the 14th of July.

In the forenoon it is difficult to elbow one's way through the crowded thoroughfares. Every street is thronged, men flocking to mass as zealously as devotees of the other sex. In these early hours most of the ladies wear black; their mourning garb later in the day to be exchanged for fashionable toilettes of all colors. The children are decked out gaily, as for a fancy fair. Service is being held in every church, and from all parts may be heard the sonorous Cathedral bells. Its vast, somber interior, now blazing with wax-lights, is a sight to remember. Crowds in rapt devotion are kneeling on the bare stones, the ladies heedless of their silks; here and there the men kneeling on a glove or pocket-handkerchief, in order to protect their Sunday pantaloons. Rows of poor men—beggars, it would seem, tidied up for the occasion—sit in rows along the aisle, holding lighted tapers. The choir is filled with choristers, men and boys intoning the service so skilfully that they almost seem to sing. Soon the crowds fall back, and a procession passes from choir to high altar—priests and dignitaries in their gorgeous robes, some of black, embroidered with crosses in gold, others of white and purple or yellow, the bishop coming last, his long violet train borne by a priest; all the time the well-trained voices of the choristers—sweet treble of the boys, tenor, and base—making up for lack of music. At last the long ceremony comes to an end, and the vast congregation pours out to enjoy the balmy air, the warm sunshine, visits, confectionery, and other distractions.

Such religious holidays should not be missed by the traveller, since they still stamp Spain as the most Catholic country in the world. Even in bustling, cosmopolitan, progressive Barcelona people seem to spend half their time in church.

In the capital of Catalonia, twentieth-century civilization and the mediæval spirit may still be called next-door neighbors. The airy boulevards and handsome villas of suburban Algiers are not more strikingly contrasted with the ancient Moorish streets than the new quarters of Barcelona with the old. The Rambla, its electric lights, its glittering shops, cafés, clubs, and theaters, recalls a Parisian boulevard. In many of the tortuous, malodorous streets of the old town there is hardly room for a wheelbarrow to be drawn along; no sunbeam has ever penetrated the gloom.

Let us take a penny tramway from the Rambla to the gloomy, grandiose old church of Santa Maria del Mar. Between the city and the sea rises the majestic monument to Columbus, conspicuous as a lighthouse alike from land and sea. We follow a broad palm-bordered alley and pleasure garden beyond which are seen the noble harbor bristling with masts and the soft blue Mediterranean. Under the palms lounge idle crowds listening to a band, shading themselves as best they can from the burning sun of November! What a change when we leave the tramway and the airy, handsome precincts of the park, and plunge into the dark, narrow street behind the Lonja Palace. The somber picture is not without relief. Round about the ancient façade of the church are cloth-shops, the gay wares hanging from each story, as if the shopmen made a display of all their wares. Here were reds, yellows, greens of brightest hue, some of these woolen blankets, shawls, and garments of everydescription being gay to crudeness; grass green, scarlet, orange, sky-blue, dazzled the eye, but the general effect was picturesque and cheerful. The dingy little square looked ready for a festival. In reality, a funeral service was taking place in the church. If Spanish interiors are always dark and depressing, what must they be when draped with black? No sooner does the door swing behind us here than daylight is shut out completely as on entering a mine; we are obliged to grope our way by the feeble rays of light penetrating the old stained glass of the clerestory. The lovely lancets of the aisles are hidden by huge black banners, the vast building being only lighted by a blaze of wax tapers here and there. Sweet soft chanting of boys' voices, with a delicious organ accompaniment, was going on when I entered, soon to be exchanged for the unutterably monotonous and lugubrious intoning of black-robed choristers. They formed a procession and, chanting as they went, marched to a side altar before which a priest was performing mass. The Host elevated, all marched back again, the dreary intoning now beginning afresh. It is impossible to convey any adequate notion of the dreariness of the service. If the Spaniards understand how to enjoy to the uttermost what Browning calls “the wild joy of living,” they also know how to clothe death with all the terrors of mediæval superstition. It takes one's breath away, too, to calculate the cost of a funeral here, what with the priests accomplished in the mystic dance—so does a Spanish writer designate the performance—the no less elaborate services of the choristers, the lighting up of the church, the display of funeral drapery. The expense, fortunately, can only be incurred once. These ancient churches—all somberness and gloom, yet on fête days ablaze with light and colors—symbolize the leading characteristics of Spanish character. No sooner does the devotee rise from his knees than the Southern passion for joy and animation asserts itself. Religious exercise and revel, penitence and enjoyment, alternate one with the other; the more devout the first, all the more eagerly indulged in the last.

On the Sunday morning following the Festival of All Saints—the 4th of November—the splendid old cathedral was the scene of a veritable pageant. Wax lights illuminated the vast interior from end to end, the brocades and satins of priestly robes blazed with gold embroidery, the rich adornments and treasure of altar and chapels could be seen in full splendor. Before the grand music of the organ and the elevation, a long, very long, sermon had to be listened to, the enormous congregation for the most part standing; scattered groups here and there squatted on the stone piers, not a chair to be had anywhere, no one seeming to find the discourse too long. When at last the preacher did conclude, the white-robed choristers, men and boys, passed out of the choir, and formed a double line. Then the bishop in solemn state descended from the high altar. He wore a crimson gown with long train borne by a priest, and on his head a violet cap, with pea-green tuft. The dresses of the attendant clergy were no less gorgeous and rich in texture, some of crimson with heavy gold trimmings, others of mauve, guinea-gold, peach color, or creamy white, several wearing fur caps. The procession made the round of the choir, then returned to the starting-point. As I sat behind the high altar on one of the high-backed wooden benches destined for the aged poor, two tiny chorister boys came up, both in white surplices, one with a pink, the other with sky-blue collar. Here they chatted and laughed with their hands on the bell-rope, ready to signal the elevation. On a sudden the tittering ceased, the childish hands tugged at the rope, the tinkling of the bell was heard, and the multitude, as one man, fell on its knees, the organ meantime being played divinely. Service over, the crowds emerged into the dazzling sunshine: pleasure parties, steamboat trips, visits, theaters, bull-fights occupied the rest of the day, the Rambla presenting the appearance of a masquerade.

An excursion northwards of the city is necessary, in order to see its charming, fast-increasing suburbs. Many, as is the case with those of Paris, Passy, Auteuil, Belleville, and others, were formerly little towns, but are fast becoming part of Barcelona itself.

Most musically named is Gracia, approached by rail or tramway, where rich citizens have their orange and lemon gardens, their chateaux and villas, and where religious houses abound. In this delightful suburban retreat alone no less than six nunneries may be counted; somber prison-like buildings, with tiny barred windows, indicating the abode of cloistered nuns of ascetic orders. That of the Order of St. Domingo has been recently founded. The house looks precisely like a prison. Here also are several congregations of the other sex—the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, the Fathers of San Filipe, and others.

Gracia may be called the Hampstead of Barcelona. Hardly a house but possesses its garden. Above the high walls trail gorgeous creepers and datura, whilst through the iron gates we obtain glimpses of dahlias in full splendor, roses red and white, and above these the glossy-leaved orange and lemon trees with their ripening fruit. The pleasantest suburb of Barcelona is well worthy of its name. As Sarria is approached, the scenery becomes more rural, and under the brilliant November sunshine reminds the traveller of the East, the square, white, low-roofed houses rising amid olive and palm trees. The aloes and prickly pears on the waste ground again and again recall Algeria. Here are vast stretches of vegetable gardens and vineyards supplying the city markets, and standing in their own grounds on sunny hill-sides, the quintas or country houses of rich citizens and grandees.

From the little town of Sarria—hardly as yet to be called suburban—a glorious view is obtained of city, port, and sea. The narrow dusty streets, with their close-shuttered houses, have a sleepy look; yet Sarria possesses one of the largest cotton-mills in Spain, several thousand hands being employed by one firm. The branch railway ends at Sarria. Here tourists and holiday-makers alight; the hardy pedestrian to reach the summit of Mont Tibidaho on foot—a matter of two hours or so—the less enterprising, to accept one of the covered cars awaiting excursionists outside the station. Mont Tibidaho is the favorite holiday ground of the citizens. Even in November numerous pleasure parties are sure to be found here, and the large restaurants indicate the extent of summer patronage. On the breezy heights round about are the sumptuous mansions of nobles and merchant princes; whilst down below are numerous picturesque valleys, notably that of San Cugat. The stranger fortunate enough to obtain admission will find himself in the kind of fairyland described by Tennyson in his “Haroun-al-Raschid,” Owen Meredith in “The Siege of Constantinople,” or Gayangos in his delightful translation of the “Chronicles of Al-Makkari.” Marble courts, crystal fountains, magnificent baths, mosaic pavements, statuary, tapestries, aviaries, rare exotics, gold and silver plate, are now combined with all modern appliances of comfort. A sojourn in one of the well-appointed hotels will suffice to give some notion of Spanish society. During the holidays many families from the city take up their quarters here. Social gatherings, picnics, excursions, concerts, are the order of the day, and good military bands enliven the gardens on Sundays.

To the south-east of Barcelona lies the suburb of Barceloneta, frequented by the seafaring population. Penny boats ply between city and suburb, on Sundays and holidays the music of a barrel-organ being thrown into the bargain. The harbor is then black with spectators, and the boats and little steamers, making the cruise of the port for half a franc, are crowded with holiday-makers. The bright silk head-dresses of the women, the men's crimson or scarlet sombreros and plaids, the uniforms of the soldiers, the gay dresses of the ladies, make up a picturesque scene. On board the boats the music of the barrel-organ must on no account be paid for. A well-intentioned stranger who should offer the musician a penny is given to understand that the treat is gratuitous and generously supplied by the owners of the craft. Greed being almost universal in those parts of the world frequented by tourists, it is gratifying to be able to chronicle such exceptions. Seldom, indeed, has the sightseer at Barcelona to put his hand in his pocket.

If inferior to other Spanish cities in picturesqueness and interest generally, the capital of Catalonia atones for the deficit by its abundance of resources. It possesses nothing to be called a picture-gallery; the museums are second-rate, the collections of antiquities inconsiderable. But what other city in Spain can boast of so many learned bodies and diverse centers of intellectual activity? Excessive devotion and scientific inquiry do not here seem at variance. Strange to say, a population that seems perpetually on its knees is the first to welcome modern ideas.

The Academy of Arts was founded in 1751, and owes its origin to the Junta, or Tribunal of Commerce of Catalonia. This art school is splendidly lodged in the Lonja Palace, and attached to it is a museum, containing a few curious specimens of old Spanish masters, some rather poor copies of the Italian schools, and one real artistic treasure of the first water. This is a collection of studies in black and white by the gifted Fortuny, whose first training was received here. The sketches are masterly, and atone for the insignificance of the remaining collection. Students of both sexes are admitted to the classes, the course of study embracing painting in all its branches, modeling, etching, linear drawing and perspective, anatomy and æsthetics. It is gratifying to find that girls attend these classes, although as yet in small numbers.

The movement in favor of the higher education of women marches at a snail's pace in Spain. The vast number of convents and what are called “Escuelas Pias,” or religious schools, attest the fact that even in the most cosmopolitan and enlightened Spanish town the education of girls still remains chiefly in the hands of the nuns. Lay schools and colleges exist, also a normal school for the training of female teachers, founded a few years ago. Here and there we find rich families entrusting their girls to English governesses, but such cases are rare.

We must remember, however, that besides the numerous “Escuelas pias” and secular schools, several exist opened under the auspices of the Spanish Evangelical body, and also the League for the Promotion of lay Teaching. We need not infer, then, that because they do not attend the municipal schools the children go untaught.

How reluctantly Catholic countries are won over to educate their women we have witnessed in France. Here in the twentieth century the chief occupation of an educated Spanish lady seems to be that of counting her beads in church.

Music is universally taught, the cultivation of the piano being nowhere more assiduous. Pianoforte teachers may be counted by the hundred; and a Conservatorium, besides academies due to private initiative, offers a thorough musical training to the student. Elegant pianos, characterized by great delicacy of tone and low price, are a leading feature of Barcelona manufacture, notably of the firm Bernareggi.

The University, attended by two thousand five hundred students, was founded so long ago as 1430, and rebuilt in 1873.

A technical school—the only complete school of arts and sciences existing in Spain—was opened under the same roof in 1850; and, in connection with it, night classes are held. Any workman provided with a certificate of good conduct can attend these classes free of cost. Schools of architecture and navigation are also attached to the University.

Thirst after knowledge characterizes all classes of the community. A workman's literary club, or Athenæum, founded a few years back, is now a flourishing institution, aided by municipal funds. No kind of recreation is allowed within its walls. Night-schools opened here are attended by several hundred scholars. Barcelona also boasts of an Academy of Belles Lettres, the first founded in Spain; schools of natural science, chemistry, agriculture, of medicine and surgery, of jurisprudence, an academy devoted to the culture of the Catalonian language, and containing library and museum. This society has greatly contributed to the protection of ancient buildings throughout the province, besides amassing valuable treasure, legend, botanical and geological specimens and antiquities. The Archæological Society of Barcelona has also effected good work: to its initiative the city is mainly indebted for the charming little collection of antiquities known as the “Museo Provincial,” before alluded to.

In places of public entertainment Barcelona is unusually rich. Its Opera House, holding four thousand spectators, equals in spaciousness the celebrated house of Moscow. The unpretentious exterior gives no idea of the splendor within. A dozen theaters may be counted besides. Bull-fights, alas! still disgrace the most advanced city of the Peninsula. The bull-ring was founded in 1834, and the brutal spectacle still attracts enormous crowds, chiefly consisting of natives. The bull-fight is almost unanimously repudiated by foreign residents of all ranks.

A few words must now be said about the history of this ancient place. The city founded here by Hamilcar Barco, father of the great Hannibal, is supposed to stand on the site of one more ancient still, existing long before the foundation of Rome. The Carthaginian city in 206 b. c. became a Roman colonia, under the title of “Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barzino,” which was eclipsed in importance, however, by Tarragona, the Roman capital. In 409 a. d. it was taken by the Goths, and under their domination increased in size and influence, coining its own money stamped with the legend “Barcinona.” On the destruction of Tarragona by the Moors Barcelona capitulated, was treated with clemency, and again became a metropolis. After many vicissitudes it was ruled in the ninth century by a Christian chief of its own, whose descendants till the twelfth governed it under the title of Counts of Barcelona, later assuming that of Kings of Aragon, to which kingdom the province was annexed. During the Middle Ages Barcelona played a foremost part in the history of commerce. In the words of Ford, “Like Carthage of old, it was the lord and terror of the Mediterranean. It divided with Italy the enriching commerce of the East. It was then a city of commerce, conquest, and courtiers, of taste, learning, and luxury—the Athens of the troubadour.”

Its celebrated commercial code, framed in the thirteenth century, obtained acceptance throughout Europe. Here one of the first printing-presses in Spain was set up, and here Columbus was received by Ferdinand and Isabella after his discovery of a new world. A hundred years later a ship was launched from the port, made to move by means of steam. The story of Barcelona is henceforth but a catalogue of tyrannies and treacheries, against which the brave, albeit turbulent, city struggled single-handed. In 1711 it was bombarded and partly ruined by Philip V.; a few years later, after a magnanimous defense, it was stormed by Berwick, on behalf of Louis XIV., and given up to pillage, outrage, fire, and sword. Napoleon's fraudulent seizure of Barcelona is one of the most shameful pages of his shameful history. The first city—the key of Spain, as he called it—only to be taken in fair war by eighty thousand men, was basely entrapped, and remained in the hands of the French till the Treaty of Paris in 1814. From that time Barcelona has only enjoyed fitful intervals of repose. In 1827 a popular rising took place in favor of Don Carlos. In 1834 Queen Christina was opposed, and in 1840 public opinion declared for Espartero. In 1856 and 1874 insurrections occurred, not without bloodshed.

Barcelona is a great gathering-place of merchants from all parts of Europe. In its handsome hotels is heard a very Babel of tongues. The principal manufactures consist of woolen stuffs—said to be inferior to English in quality—silk, lace, firearms, hats, hardware, pianos; the last, as has been already stated, of excellent quality, and low in price. Porcelain, crystal, furniture, and inlaid work, must be included in this list, also ironwork and stone blocks.

Beautifully situated on the Mediterranean between the mouths of two rivers,—the Llobregat and the Besos—and possessing one of the finest climates in the world, Barcelona is doubtless destined ere long to rival Algiers as a health resort. Three lines of railway now connect it directly with Paris, from which it is separated by twenty-eight hours' journey. The traveller may leave Barcelona at five o'clock in the morning and reach Lyons at midnight with only a change of carriages on the frontier. The route viâ Bordeaux is equally expeditious; that by way of Clermont-Ferrand less so, but more picturesque. Hotels in the capital of Catalonia leave nothing to desire on the score of management, hygiene, comfort, and prices strictly regulated by tariff. The only drawback to be complained of is the total absence of the feminine element—not a woman to be seen on the premises. Good family hotels, provided with lady clerks and chambermaids, is a decided desideratum. The traveller wishing to attain a knowledge of the Spanish language, and see something of Spanish life and manners, may betake himself to one of the numerous boarding-houses.

Barcelona is very rich in philanthropic and charitable institutions. Foremost of these is its Hospital of Santa Cruz, numbering six hundred beds. It is under the conjoint management of sisters and brothers of charity and lay nurses of both sexes. An asylum for the insane forms part of the building, with annexes for the convalescent. The Hospital del Sagrado Corazon, founded by public subscription in 1870 for surgical cases, also speaks volumes for the munificence of the citizens. The only passport required of the patient is poverty. One interesting feature about this hospital is that the committee of management consists of ladies. The nursing staff is formed of French Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Besides these must be named the orphanage for upwards of two thousand children of both sexes—Casa de Caridad de la Provincia de Barcelona—asylums for abandoned infants, for the orphaned children of seamen, maternity hospitals, crêches, etc. There is also a school for the blind and deaf mutes, the first of the kind established in Spain. Here the blind of both sexes receive a thorough musical training, and deaf mutes are taught according to the system known as lip-speech. All teaching is gratuitous.

Barcelona possesses thirty-eight churches, without counting the chapels attached to convents, and a vast number of conventual houses. Several evangelical services are held on Sundays both in the city and in the suburb of Barceloneta. The Protestant communities of Spain, England, France, Germany, Sweden, and other countries, have here their representative and organization. Sunday-schools and night-schools for adults are held in connection with these churches. The Protestant body seems active. We find here a branch depôt of the Religious Tract Society; various religious magazines, many of them translations from the English and German, are published. Among these are the “Revista Christiana,” intended for the more thoughtful class of readers; “La Luz,” organ of the Reformed Church of Spain; and several illustrated periodicals for children. Will Protestantism ever take deep root in the home of the Inquisition? Time will show.

That very advanced political opinions should be held here need hardly surprise us. We find the following Democratic clubs in existence: The Historic Republican Club (“Centro Republicano Historico”), the Possibilist Republican Club (“Circulo Republicano Possibilista”), the Democratic Progressist Club, the Federal Republican Club, and many others. When next a great popular movement takes place in Spain—and already the event looms in the distance—without doubt the first impulse will be given at Barcelona.

Electric lighting was early introduced here, a company being founded so long back as 1880, and having branches in the capital, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, and other towns. The importance of Barcelona as a center of commerce is attested by the extraordinary number of banks. At every turn the stranger comes upon a bank. “Compared to the mighty hives of English industry and skill, here everything is petty,” wrote Ford, fifty years ago. Very different would be his verdict could he revisit the Manchester and Liverpool of Catalonia in our own day.

One curious feature of social life in Spain is the extraordinary number of religious fête days and public holidays. No Bank Holiday Act is needed, as in the neighboring country of France. Here is a list of days during which business is for the most part suspended in this recreation-loving city: Twelfth-cake Day is the great festival of the little ones—carnival is kept up, if with less of former splendor, nevertheless with much spirit; on Ash Wednesday rich and poor betake themselves to the country; Holy Thursday and Good Friday are celebrated with great pomp in the churches; on Easter Eve takes place a procession of shepherds in the park; Easter Monday is a day given up to rural festivity; the 19th of March St. José's Day—is a universal fête, hardly a family in Spain without a José among its number. The first Sunday in May is a feast of flowers and poetic competitions; the days consecrated to St. Juan and St. Pedro are public holidays, patronized by enormous numbers of country-folks; All Saints' and All Souls' Days are given up, as we have seen, to alternate devotion and festivity. On the 20th of December is celebrated the Feast of the Nativity, the fair and the displays of the shops attracting strangers from all parts. But it is especially the days sacred to the Virgin that are celebrated by all classes. Balls, banquets, processions, miracle-plays, illuminations, bull-fights, horse-races, scholastic fêtes, industrial exhibitions, civic ceremonial, besides solemn services, occupy old and young, rich and poor. Feasting is the order of the day, and the confectioners' windows are wonderful to behold.

Although many local customs are dying out, we may still see some of the curious street sights described by Ford fifty years ago, and the Mariolatry he deplored is still as active as ever. The goodly show of dainties in the shops, however, belie his somewhat acrimonious description of a Spanish reception. “Those who receive,” he wrote, “provide very little refreshment unless they wish to be covered with glory; space, light, and a little bad music, are sufficient to amuse these merry, easily-pleased souls, and satisfy their frugal bodies. To those who, by hospitality and entertainment, can only understand eating and drinking—food for man and beast—such hungry proceedings will be more honored in the breach than in the observance; but these matters depend much on latitude and longitude.” Be this as it may, either the climate of Barcelona has changed, or international communication has revolutionized Spanish digestion. Thirty years ago, when travelling in Spain, it was no unusual sight to see a spare, aristocratic hidalgo enter a restaurant, and, with much form and ceremony, breakfast off a tiny omelette. Nowadays we find plenty of Spanish guests at public ordinaries doing ample justice to a plentiful board. English visitors in a Spanish house will not only get good music, in addition to space and light, but abundant hospitality of material sort.

The Spain of which Ford wrote so humorously, and, it must be admitted, often so maliciously, is undergoing slow, but sure, transformation. Many national characteristics remain—the passion for the brutal bull-fight still disgraces a polished people, the women still spend the greater portion of their lives in church, religious intolerance at the beginning of the twentieth century must be laid to the charge of a slowly progressive nation. On the other hand, and nowhere is the fact more patent than at Barcelona, the great intellectual and social revolution, described by contemporary Spanish novelists, is bringing the peninsula in closer sympathy with her neighbors. Many young Spaniards, for  instance, are now educated in England, English is freely spoken at Malaga, and its literature is no longer unknown to Spanish readers. These facts indicate coming change. The exclusiveness which has hitherto barred the progress of this richly-dowed and attractive country is on the wane. Who shall say? We may ere long see dark-eyed students from Barcelona at Girton College, and a Spanish society for the protection of animals prohibiting the torture of bulls and horses for the public pleasure.

Already—all honor to her name—a Spanish woman novelist, the gifted Caballero, has made pathetic appeals to her country-folks for a gentler treatment of animals in general. For the most part, it must be sadly confessed, in vain!

In spite of its foremost position, in intellectual and commercial pre-eminence, Barcelona has produced no famous men. Her noblest monument is raised to an alien; Lopez, a munificent citizen, honored by a statue, was born at Santander. Prim, although a Catalan, did not first see the light in the capital. By some strange concatenation of events, this noble city owes her fame rather to the collective genius and spirit of her children than to any one. A magnanimous stepmother, she has adopted those identified with her splendor to whom she did not herself give birth.

Balzac wittily remarks that the dinner is the barometer of the family purse in Paris. One perceives whether Parisians are flourishing or no by a glance at the daily board. Clothes afford a nice indication of temperature all the world over. We have only to notice what people wear, and we can construct a weather-chart for ourselves. Although the late autumn was, on the whole, favorable, I left fires, furs, and overcoats in Paris. At Lyons, a city afflicted with a climate the proper epithet of which is “muggy,” ladies had not yet discarded their summer clothes, and were only just beginning to refurbish felt hats and fur-lined pelisses.

At Montpellier the weather was April-like—mild, blowy, showery; waterproofs, goloshes, and umbrellas were the order of the day. On reaching Barcelona I found a blazing sun, windows thrown wide open, and everybody wearing the lightest garments. Such facts do duty for a thermometer.

Boasting, as it does of one of the finest climates in the world, natural position of rare beauty, a genial, cosmopolitan, and strikingly handsome population, and lastly, accessibility, Barcelona should undoubtedly be a health resort hardly second to Algiers. Why it is not, I will undertake to explain.

In the first place, there is something that invalids and valetudinarians require more imperatively than a perfect climate. They cannot do without the ministrations of women. To the suffering, the depressed, the nervous, feminine influence is ofttimes of more soothing—nay, healing—power than any medical prescription.

Let none take the flattering unction to their souls—as well look for a woman in a Bashaw's army, or on a man-of-war, as in the palatial, well-appointed, otherwise irreproachable hotels of Barcelona! They boast of marble floors, baths that would not have dissatisfied a Roman epicure, salons luxurious as those of a West-end club, newspapers in a score of languages, a phalanx of gentlemanly waiters, a varied ordinary, delicious wines, but not a daughter of Eve, old or young, handsome or ugly—if, indeed, there exists an ugly woman in Barcelona—to be caught sight of anywhere! No charming landlady, as in French hotels, taking friendliest interest in her guests, no housemaids, willing and nimble as the Marys and Janes we have left at home, not even a rough, kindly, garrulous charwoman scrubbing the floors. The fashionable hotel here is a vast barrack conducted on strictly impersonal principles. Visitors obtain their money's worth, and pay their bills. There the transaction between innkeeper and traveller ends.

Good family hotels or “pensions,” in which invalids would find a home-like element, are sadly needed in this engaging, highly-favored city. The next desideratum is a fast train from Port Bou—the first Spanish town on the frontier. An express on the Spanish line would shorten the journey to Lyons by several hours. New carriages are needed as much as new iron roads. Many an English third-class is cleaner and more comfortable than the so-called “first” here. It must be added that the officials are all politeness and attention, and that beyond slowness and shabbiness the traveller has nothing to complain of. Exquisite urbanity is still a characteristic of the Barcelonese as it was in the age of Cervantes. One exception will be mentioned farther on.

If there are no women within the hotel walls—except, of course, stray lady tourists—heaven be praised, there are enough, and to spare, of most bewitching kind without. Piquancy is, perhaps, the foremost charm of a Spanish beauty, whether a high-born señora in her brougham, or a flower-girl at her stall. One and all seem born to turn the heads of the other sex, after the fashion of Carmen in Merimée's story. Nor is outward attraction confined to women. The city police, cab-drivers, tramway-conductors, all possess what Schopenhauer calls the best possible letter of introduction, namely, good looks.

The number of the police surprise us. These bustling, brilliant streets, with their cosmopolitan crowds, seem the quietest, most orderly in the world. It seems hard to believe that this tranquillity and contentment should be fallacious—on the surface only. Yet such is the case, as shown by the recent outbreak of rioting and bloodshed.

“I have seen revolution after revolution,” said to me a Spanish gentleman of high position, an hidalgo of the old school; “I expect to see more if my life is sufficiently prolonged. Spain has no government; each in power seeks but self-aggrandizement. Our army is full of Boulangers, each ready to usurp power for his own ends. You suggest a change of dynasty? We could not hope to be thereby the gainers. A Republic, say you? That also has proved a failure with us. Ah, you English are happy; you do not need to change abruptly the existing order of things, you effect revolutions more calmly.”

I observed that perhaps national character and temperament had something to do with the matter. He replied very sadly, “You are right; we Southerners are more impetuous, of fiercer temper. Whichever way I look, I see no hope for unhappy Spain.”

Such somber reflections are difficult to realize by the passing traveller. Yet, when we consider the tremendous force of such a city as Barcelona, its progressive tendencies, its spirit of scientific inquiry, we can but admit that an Ultramontane regency and reactionary government must be out of harmony with the tendencies of modern Spain.

There is only one occupation which seems to have a deteriorating effect upon the Spanish temper. The atmosphere of the post-office, at any rate, makes a Catalan rasping as an east wind, acrimonious as a sloe-berry. I had been advised to provide myself with a passport before revisiting Spain, but I refused to do so on principle.

What business have we with this relic of barbarism at the beginning of the twentieth century, in times of peace among a friendly people? The taking a passport under such circumstances seemed to me as much of an anachronism as the wearing of a scapular, or seeking the royal touch for scrofula. By pure accident, a registered letter containing bank notes was addressed to me at the Poste Restante. Never was such a storm in a teacup, such groaning of the mountain before the creeping forth of a tiny mouse! The delivery of registered letters in Spain is accompanied with as much form as a marriage contract in France. Let future travellers in expectation of such documents provide themselves, not only with a passport, but a copy of their baptismal register, of the marriage certificate of their parents, the family Bible—no matter its size—and any other proofs of identity they can lay hands upon. They will find none superfluous.