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social and jocose; but I thought I could see a lurking devil in his eye, and something hard-hearted and derisive in his laugh. The English guests were his cronies, and, with them, I perceived his jokes were coarse, and his humor inclined to buffoonery. At that time, Maria Christiana, then a beautiful Neapolitan princess in the flower of her years, was daily expected at Barcelona, on her way to Madrid to be married to Ferdinand VII. While the Count and his guests were seated at table, after dinner, enjoying the wine and cigars, one of the petty functionaries of the city, equivalent to a deputy alderman, was announced. The Count winked to the company, and promised a scene for their amusement. The city dignitary came bustling into the apartment with an air of hurried zeal and momentous import, as if about to make some great revelation. He had just received intelligence, by letter, of the movements of the Princess, and the time when she might be expected to arrive, and had hastened to communicate it at head-quarters. There was nothing in the intelligence that had not been previously known to the Count, and that he had not communicated to us during dinner; but he affected to receive the information with great surprise, made the functionary repeat it over and over, each time deepening the profundity of his attention; finally he bowed the city oracle quite out of the saloon, and almost to the head of the staircase, and sent him home swelling with the idea that he had communicated a state secret, and fixed himself in the favor of the Count. The latter returned to us, laughing immoderately at the manner in which he had played off the little dignitary, and mimicking the voice and manner with which the latter had imparted his important nothings. It was altogether a high farce, more comic in the acting than in the description; but it was the sportive gambling of the tiger, and I give it to show how the tyrant, in his hours of familiarity, may play the buffoon.
The Count de Espagne was a favorite general of Ferdinand, and, during the life of that monarch, continued in high military command. In the civil wars, he espoused the cause of Don Carlos, and was charged with many sanguinary acts. His day of retribution came. He fell into the hands of his enemies, and was murdered, it is said, with savage cruelty while being conducted a prisoner among the mountains. Such are the
bloody reverses which continually occur in this eventful country, especially in these revolutionary times.
I thought of all these things as I ascended the grand staircase. Fifteen years had elapsed since I took leave of the Count at the top of this staircase, and it seemed as if his hard-hearted, derisive laugh still sounded in my ears. He was then a loyal subject and a powerful commander; he had since been branded as a traitor and a rebel, murdered by those whom he had oppressed, and hurried into a bloody grave. The beautiful young Princess, whose approach was at that time the theme of every tongue, had since gone through all kinds of reverses. She had been on a throne, she had been in exile, she was now a widowed Queen, a subject of her own daughter, and a sojourner in this palace.
On entering the royal apartments, I recognized some of the old courtiers whom I had been accustomed to see about the royal person at Madrid, and was cordially greeted by them, for at Barcelona we all come together sociably, as at a watering-place. The "introducer of ambassadors" (the Chevalier de Arana) conducted my companions and myself into a saloon, where we waited to be summoned into the royal presence I being the highest in diplomatic rank of the party present, was first summoned. On entering, I found the little Queen standing in the centre of the room, and, at a little distance behind her, the Marchioness of Santa Cruz, first lady in attendance. She received me in a quiet, graceful manner, with considerable self-possession, expressing, in a low voice, the hope that I had made a pleasant journey, etc. This must be the hardest task for so young a creature, to have to play the Queen solus, receiving, one by one, the diplomatic corps, and beginning the conversation with each. Our interview was brief. I presented my two letters, expressed the satisfaction which I (really) felt at seeing, by her improved looks, that the sojourn at Barcelona had been beneficial to her, etc., after which I retired, to give place to my companions. We had afterward, one by one, an audience of the Queen-mother, who is looking very well, though, I am told, she is still subject to great anxiety and frequent depression of spirits, feeling the uncertainty of political affairs in Spain, and the difficulties and dangers which surround the throne of her youthful daughter. Noth
ing could be more gracious and amiable than her reception. Her smile is one of the most winning I have ever witnessed; and the more I see of her, the less I wonder at that fascination which, in her younger and more beautiful days, was so omnipotent, and which, even now, has such control over all who are much about her person.
Eleven days after the date of the foregoing letter, to which he refers me, with a hint that he should have to "greatly retrench the epistolary prodigality of [his] pen," he writes me from Barcelona, as follows:—
July 18th.-Yesterday I received my letters by the steam packet of the 15th of June, among which is a despatch from Government, granting me the temporary leave of absence for the benefit of my health which I had solicited. I shall avail myself of the leave of absence toward the end of this month, to make an excursion to Paris previous to returning to Madrid. I shall thus escape the dry, parching summer heat of the Spanish capital, be enabled, if necessary, to consult the French physician who attended me last autumn, refresh and recruit myself by a pleasant tour and complete change of climate, and return to Madrid early in the autumn, fully prepared, I trust, to enter with vigor upon my literary as well as my diplomatic occupations.
FROM BARCELONA TO PARIS.-MARSEILLES.-AVIGNON.-LYONS.- VERSAILLES
the following extract we have a pleasant picture of the author's wayfaring from Barcelona to Marseilles :
[To Mrs. Paris.]
BARCELONA, July 28, 1844.
MY DEAR SISTER:
To-morrow I embark in a Spanish steamer for Marseilles, on my way to Paris. I leave this beautiful city with regret, for my time has passed here most happily. Indeed, one enjoys the very poetry of existence in these soft, southern climates which border the Mediterranean. All here is picture and romance. Nothing has given me greater delight than occasional evening drives with some of my diplomatic colleagues to those country seats, or Torres, as they are called, situated on the slopes of the hills, two or three miles from the city, surrounded by groves of oranges, citrons, figs, pomegranates, etc., etc., with terraced gardens gay with flowers and fountains. Here we would sit on the lofty terraces overlooking the rich and varied plain; the distant city gilded by the setting sun, and the blue sea beyond. Nothing can be purer and softer and sweeter than the evening air inhaled in these favored retreats.
July 29th. On board of the Spanish steamer Villa de Madrid.—At seven o'clock this morning we left Barcelona, and have been all day gliding along a smooth summer sea, in sight of the Spanish coast, which is here very mountainous and picturesque. Old ruined castles are to be seen here and there on the summit of cragged heights, with villages gleaming along the shore below them. The Catalonian coast is studded with bright little towns, the seats of industry and enterprise, for Catalonia is the New England of Spain, full of bustle and activity. We have, as usual, a clear blue sky overhead; the air is bland and delightful, and the sea enlivened here and there by the picturesque Mediterranean vessels, with their tapering lateen sails. To-night we shall have delightful sailing by the light of the full moon-a light which I have peculiarly enjoyed, of late, among the orange gardens of Barcelona.
On board of the steamer we have a joyous party of Catalans, gentlemen and ladies, who are bound to St. Filian, a town on the coast, where there is to be held some annual fête. They have all the gayety and animation which distinguish the people of these provinces.
While I am writing at a table in the cabin, I am sensible of the power of a pair of splendid Spanish eyes which are occasionally flashing upon me, and which almost seem to throw a light upon the paper. Since I cannot break the spell, I will describe the owner of them. She is a young married lady, about four or five and twenty, middle sized, finely modeled, a Grecian outline of face, a complexion sallow yet healthful, raven black hair, eyes dark, large, and beaming, softened by long eyelashes, lips full and rosy red, yet finely chiseled, and teeth of dazzling whiteness. She is dressed in black, as if in mourning; on one hand is a black glove; the other hand, ungloved, is small, exquisitely formed, with taper fingers and blue veins. She has just put it up to adjust her clustering black locks. I never saw female hand more exquisite. Really, if I were a young man, I should not be able to draw the portrait of this beautiful creature so calmly.
I was interrupted in my letter-writing, by an observation of the lady whom I was describing. She had caught my eye occasionally, as it glanced from my letter toward her. 'Really, Señor," said she, at