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the people of fashion in Valencia. He says that in every part' there are benches, arbour s, and green plots,
From all sides are wafted the perfumes of the rose, the orange, and the narcissus ; every thicket resounds with vocal and instrumental music; from all quarters. O delicious, 0 celestial evenings, when all the senses"revel in delight, and the benign goddess sees none but happy mortals around her.'
. Among the other curiosities of Valencia, M. Fischer mentions four companies of knights, under the name of La Real Maestranza, whose important object it was to defend the immaculate conception'and to improve the breed of horses. This body of knights on some extraordinary occasions hold a superb tournament which the author describes. , · The shoes called alpargates, are very simple, but ingeni. : ous contrivances, and appear to have been in use in the times of the Moors. These alpargates are made of hemp, or esparto with a platted sole,
. An inch thick, the bottom of which is besmeared with pitch. The quarters never exceed an inch and a half in height, and the upper leather is not more than three or four long.
• These alpargates are bound with ribbands, the ends of which serve to tie them. They cross each other upon the leg as high as the calf, and in full dress are adorned with a profusion of fringes, bows, &c.
A queen is not so proud of the most costly part of her dress, as a Valencian country girl of her Sunday-alpargates, tied with red and blue ribbands. For the rest, they are the most convenient and the cheapest shoes that can be devised, and are in consequence a very profitable article of trade in various parts of Valencia.'
Rice, which was formerly cultivated along the greater part of the coast of Valencia, is still grown in considerable quantities, and forms a profitable article of commerce. The author says that the cultivation of this grain is injurious to the population of the country. He ought rather to have said, that the marsby districts, which most invite the culture are unfavourable to health, and consequently to population. Barilla,which is employed in the manufacture of glass,forms a considerable branch of the export trade. Valencia also produces many of the inferior species of glass wort, from which the soda is made. Of this article about fourteen bundred tons, are yearly exported to England, France, and Holland.'
Epidemic disorders of the putrid kivid, are very prevalent in some of the districts of Valencia, particularly in the rice districts on the banks of the Riberas del Lucar. This evil might be exterminated by draining the inarshes and la. goods, . .
· The sugar-cane is still cultivated only at Gandia, and in the neighbouring village of Benirreda, and Benipeix, where it is planted for the sake of the fresh juice, or for the purpose of improving the land.
The author describes the mode of culture, which we pass over, to make room for other information.
Valencia possesses many quarries of the finest marble, which is not inferior in beauty to that of Italy, and might be procured for half the price." The Valencians are said to adhere to their ancient mode,and obstipately to resist the new improvements in the preparation of silk, which is still the primary and most profitable product of the province. There is not a sufficient subdivision of labour in the manufacture; and there is a want of scientific machinery. Valencia is computed to produce annually on an average 1,500,000 pounds of silk. Hence the country is adorned with in numerable plantations of mulberry-trees, and silk-dressers, &c. &c. are every where seen. The high roads in the plain of Valencia are said to be excellent; but the cross roads, many of which are five or six feet lower than the neighbour. ing fields are impassable during the inundations of winter. Besides the salt works of the province, which are very lucrative, the author mentions the singular salt rock of Pinoso, three leagues to the south-east of Monovar. · It is composed of solid masses of salt, as hard as stone, which in
some places are white, in others red, and in others grey. It extends two leagues from east to west, and one from north to south, without any variation of its component parts, though it is full of deep furrows and clefts.
Its summit is not less than two hundred feet high, and upon it have been erccted three small towers for the watchmen stationed on the coast. Near these two towers rise six springs ; two of them are fresh at their source, but they soon become impregnated with saline particles, which they deposit, in the form of crystals, upon the stones and plants which they meet with in their course.
“The salt of the Pinoso' is extremely coarse ; and amidst so great a superabundance of better, very little, or none at all of it is used. It is nevertheless a curious circumstance to see so prodigious a rock of solid salt, rising detached above the surface of the earth.'
The esparto, which is a species of feather-grass is said to abound in all clie uncultivated mountains and eminences of Valencia. This vegetable product is of singular utility and importance.
Out of it are made forty-five different kinds of articles, such as cordage, mets, baskets, nets, &c. the demand for which has gradu
ally extended over Europe. In the first class the cables are parti
The mountains of Valencia are principally composed of limestone intermixed with strata of shell fish.
Many of these strata, are twelve or fourteen feet thick ; and great numbers of the shells, which are invariably found in families retain their natural polish, and their original form.'
Among the numerous wines which are produced in the province of Valencia, the best are those of Alicanto and Benecarlo. The common wines are almost all consumed in the pro. vince or used in the distilleries; the brandies of Valencia are em. ployed to adulterate the French brandies ; and not a small
quantity of this spirit is smuggled into England by the way of · Guernsey. Six different species of the common almond-tree are found in Valencia. The author says that it is
Very common to inelose fields, with almond-trees, which in February, when they are in bloom, afford a charming spectacle. Nothing can be more enchanting ihan to see, beneath the most beauuful sky, long rows of flourishing almond-trces, with their young brilliant foliage, and roseate blossoms.'
The author ascribes the badness of the common oils of Valencia to the injudicious management of the trees, to the want of care in sorting the fruit, to the promiscuous . use of the sound and the decayed for the extraction of the oil. The practice of irrigation which is so prevalent in : the plains of Valencia, and which renders water an inva. luable commodity, gives rise to a singular glass of depre. dators, called water-thieves. Sometimes the poor induse trious eludes, and sometimes he bribes the watch while he' fills his buckets and calabashes with the precious fluid, or forms a secret communication with the principal canal, by means of cork-pipes through which the water 'runs merrily' into the casks of the plunderer, which are placed in a lower situation. Sometimes the thief ventures io turn off one of the numerous secondary canals which his family are employed in conveying in casks, buckets, &c. to his stolen reservoir. · The trovadores or itinerant bards and inusicians, though
found in the other provinces of the peninsula, are most numerous in alencia.
• Go in the evening into any venta or posada you please in Valencia, and you are sure to find one of these trovadores with his harp or guitar. Here he sings a great number of popular songs, or pieces which he composes, extempore, according to the nature of ihe subject which is given him.
All these songs are composed in the Valencian dialect,which is very easily learned by those who understand any thing of the French or Italian. '
The talents of these improvisatori are most eminently displayed in decimas or little poetic pictures of ten lines. One of the áuditors gives the trovador the last line, and he immediately composes the other nine, which must correspond with the other in subject, rhyme, and metre. - Though these decimas often contain nothing but pleasing tautologies, yet they are always harmonious, and sometimes truly excellent in every respect.
"The trovadores are held by their countrymen, in all ihe consideration which their talents seem to deserve. They are generally employed to invite the guests to weddings, likewise as me. morialists and in other capacities; they are distinguished by their convivial manners, and by their easy, careless, poetic life.'
One of the favourite exercises of the Valencians, says the author, is
• Slinging, in which the herdsmen, who keep their cattle and flocks in order by means of it, are particularly clever. For this, purpose they use round, smooth pieces of marble, and often place the mark at the distance of three or four hundred ells. The slings are made of esparto, they are lined at the bottom with leaves of the aloe, and seem to bear a very close resemblance to those of the ancient Balearic islanders.' . ..
Spain is well known to be peopled with saints; and in no part is this class of gentry, more numerous than in Valencia; every disease has its appropriate saint; thus St. Lucia, is invoked in diseases of the eyes, and St. Blase in those of the throat. St. Casilda vouchsafes her aid in hemorrhages, and St, Apollonia in the tooth-ache. The Valencian coachmen and carriers are very warm devotees to these saiuts. Each makes choice of his particular patron, or patroness,, whose image he does not fail to carry about with him on his rout, to which he pays very assiduous adoration, while his journey is prose .. perous, but against which he vents bis reseptinent with*out any moderation or complaisance, as soon as it is otherwise.
hich is ab built in many pepeks.
Murviedro, which is about four leagues from Valencia, and one from the sea, is built nearly on the site where Saguntum once stood. Here are many remains of the former grandeur both of the Romans and Greeks. .
Jugglers, merry-andrews, rope-dancers, puppet-players, &c. are said to be produced in abundance in the northern parts of the province of Valencia, where, as the means of subsistence are not so easy to be procured, the inhabitants are, we suppose, obliged to live more by their wits. Of the jugglers, some in the eyes of the credulous natives eat fire, and devour serpents, transform painted frogs into living animals, and convert water into wine! The puppet-show men, and the directors of dancing dogs and monkies
Sometimes represent regular ballets, at others ludicrous imitations of foreign dances, and both these exhibitions frequently have a moral or a political tendency.
This was very commonly the case during the last war with France, and also at the introduction of any new country-dances. At the puppet-show the spectator was 'amused with the whole history of the revolution, the guillotine, the national assembly, &c. of course with the necessary improvements, wbile the dancing dogs and apes were caricaturing the new fashioned petimetras and madamitas, muscadins and incroyables.
• The former concluded with the air of the Marseillois, and the latter with the Carmagnole, which the directors of these exChibitious always accompanied with violent anti-gallican verses. It is not improbable that these representations may continue in vogue these twenty years, especially as the Valencians have never been very partial to the French..
Of the orange-trees which abound in Valencia, those which are propagated from slips, grow much more ra. pidly and bear a more delicious fruit, than those which are produced from seed; but they do not attain to the same size nor to an equal age. The author describes the two methods of raising orange-trees, from seed, and froni slips. :
The imposts on the province of Valencia are divided into royal and manerial. The former are very inconsiderable, but the latter appear to be grievously oppressive. They are said to consist in tbe appropriation of a sixth, a Gifth, a fourth, or even a third of the whole pro.. duce of the husbandmen. Besides this may be reckoned the nunerous exactions on account of privilege, as of privileged presses, ovens, shops, &c. &c. The exercise of such rights must have a powerful tendency to make the nobility and landed proprietors objects of popular detęs.