508 Life and Letters of Francis Calton
Wednesday midday. March 22.
Yesterday was calm, warm and enjoyable. We reached the neighbourhood of Gibraltar during the dark and got up quite early to see the grand outlines of the hills and a brilliant planet. Some time after the day broke and ultimately we landed at 7 a.m. Then we took a walk and afterwards a pleasant hour's drive under the big rock, then to breakfast at 92 1 and a sleep after. It is quite warm, flowers in masses and green all about. To-morrow (Thursday) we reach Ronda late, sleep two nights there and reach Hotel Madrid, Seville, on Saturday to stay there nine days, that is over Easter Monday. Eva is very bright and has been practically free from sea-squeamishness since yesterday afternoon. We both left the ship with some regret, having begun to enjoy sea life and having made various acquaintances. I quite see how pleasant it might be to take summer cruises on these big ships with a party of friends. Good-bye now, with best love to Bessy and to all. Ever affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
Note the Id. Gibraltar stamp on the envelope.
Address up to April 9, midday post, Hotel Washington Irving, Granada, Spain.
SEVILLE, morning of April 3, 1899. (Your letter of Tuesday, March 28, arrived last night, Easter Sunday, 5 or 6 days on the road.)
DEAREST EMMA AND BEssy, It seems so odd to have only just received a reply to my Gibraltar letter, for though we have been only 12 days in Spain, it seems to have been months, and we have been eight days at Seville, doing something fresh every day and getting a more complete change of ideas in a short time than I had thought possible. Eva is a capital companion and. Eschbach is quite a first-class courier. Though old and half-blind, he always knows everything or finds out everything we want. He is always at hand and ingratiates himself everywhere. I would back him and Gifi, each in their way, against any men in their profession whom I have seen. The religious processions and church services were almost constant in the late afternoons of Thursday and Good Friday, and in Saturday morning's service the "veil was rent," pistols fired, bells rung everywhere and Lent was over. We drove out to see the bulls, which had just arrived and had been driven along with belled oxen to keep them quiet ; they were in a paddock beyond the suburbs. All fashionable Seville was there, and the bull-fighters too. Nay more, Eschbach made friends with one of them and suggested that we should take him inside our little open carriage, to explain everything, which we did, to our mutual satisfactions. He chattered away and was most amusing and gave us a good lesson in elementary Spanish at the same time. He was quite a natural gentleman. Of course I went to the bull fight, which did not horrify me as I had expected ; I found it full of interest. I won't go into details, though they differed in importance, as it seemed to me, from what others. have said. The six bulls between them tossed and killed at least a dozen horses and the riders got ugly falls, but none were hurt. The bull heaves them in the air, rider and all, with his great force. It is not a rapid dash that he makes at them, but a murderous business-like push, working his horn deeply in. I don't mean that all four legs of the horses were lifted off the ground at once, but three of them were sometimes, and always two. Every one of the six fights had its peculiar features, and it is this variety of incident that makes it so attractive to Spaniards. Moreover there is no cry of pain, no visible sign of pain to curdle one's blood. The badly wounded horses still obey the bridle, showing that they are not in any agony. One must not read one's fancies into facts. The squeal of a scared rabbit affects my own nerves more than anything I saw in the ring, and the feats of cool daring and agility were marvellous. I am glad though, that Eva did not care to go. She had her experience, by lighting her mosquito curtains by accident, while dressing for dinner. The blaze was furious, but there is so little material in them to burn, that the body of heat was really small and insufficient to set a house on fire. It is like those futile attempts to light a coal fire with a newspaper only. She was neither hurt nor frightened, but was wet through by pouring the contents of two big cans of hot water and two jugs of cold water upon the blaze and partly on herself. She sketches much and makes many' studies of heads, and goes about to churches in Bessy's beautiful black lace shawl as a mantilla, having been well instructed in the art of wearing it by an Anglo-Spanish lady, who vastly admired the lace. We have both been quite well, except that I was slightly out of sorts with a usual traveller's ailment for two or three days. As to my old cough, it has gone away, though the throat does not seem yet to be quite strong again. It betters every week. We leave here to-day (Monday) for Cadiz, cross to Tangiers