Studio: international art — 1.1893

Page: 73
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Sketching Grounds. No. II.—Spain

leading to the living rooms, and at the far end, were lined with soldiers from the garrison, and

where men sat eating soup round an open fireplace what with firing of guns, ringing of bells, fireworks,

in the gloom, a spot of blue sky looked like a tur- and other things, the uproar was deafening. Cau-

quoise set in ebony. While M. aired his Spanish franc was our next point; to get there we hired

with the last representative of the family, I made an ancient coach hauled by one mule and a horse,

a sketch of the place, and as I was doing so a The driver gave us endless amusement; the mule—

shepherd brought in a sheep. Tossing it back- Noblesse by name—often refused to go, and when

wards on a bottomless chair, he cut its throat while we suggested the whip, the driver indignantly re-
a woman held a bowl to catch the blood, to the

great delight of a child, who dabbled its hand in us* •

the warm fluid and crowed with glee. This would «•- ;-3ISiSiwfe <3Mm»«.-

have made a picture : the tone and gloomy colour
of the thing was mighty. Save that we nearly lost
our way, our return to the station was unmarked
by any incident, but on our arrival there a surprise
awaited us. Our brass-bound friend the station-
master explained that we had done wrong, and so
much had we sinned that I became lost in the
maze of our transgressions ; anyway, we had to pay
something like five fares for missing our station,
and we were once more made to feel that the
Spaniard was one too much for us. At length we
reached Huesca, and put up at the hotel.

Huesca is an interesting old city; here in the _ v;

past the kings of Aragon lived. In one of its ' "t5"

churches are the remains of two children, martyred "HJBPBMP*^

by Dacian, whose bodies were found in the cave m the market place, saragossa
of a hermit. The said remains seem to have been

the object of much covetousness; in fact, every town torted that the mule was a noble animal, and like
seems to have had them on hire. all noble things would not suffer the degradation
In my last letter to you we were at Huren ; our of the whip. Mounting a steep pass, we came into
movements since then have been as follows : From a valley filled with stones, a river running through it,
Huren we took the coach, an ancient turn-out, and in the middle, perched on a rocky eminence,
painted yellow, drawn by a team of mules. For a strange little town called Costello, looking as if
many miles our route lay along a road shaded by it had been ' bodily transplanted from the back-
great trees on either side, then through a great plain ground of some early master. The evening set in
dotted with a white farmhouse here and there. At stormy and dark ; " Mucho freo ! " is the frequent
Agerbe we changed our mules for horses, and com- exclamation of the driver. Countless fires began
menced to ascend the Serra de Quarra. Here the to gleam forth from the hillsides, and around them
scenery was wild—pine forests and rushing torrents, outlined the dark form of a goatherd, and here and
not paintable, but fine to look at. It soon got there a soldier silhouetted against the deep grey of
appreciably colder, and towards night we came to the sky, watching for contrabesta, or smugglers,
the steep brow of the mountain, where beneath in the The route now, owing to the antics of Noblesse,
valley was Jacca ; the horses made a final effort, and struck one as somewhat dangerous, holding out as
with a rattle we drove through the gates and up to it did the prospect of a drop into the ravine, many
the posada. Jacca claims to be the oldest town in feet below. At last we rattled into the one street
Spain ; but, being a fortified place, we found to our Caufranc possesses, and at the posada regaled our-
disgust that we were not allowed to sketch. The selves with a choice meal. We intended staying
day following being a great feast-day, we stayed on there to work, but found that it was not allowed, so
to see it; we found the streets filled with a seething, we went back to Jacca, hired a cart, and drove here
gesticulating mass of humanity, and in the midst a every day; I need not tell you that working with
curious kind of ark carried on men's shoulders ; be- the momentary expectation of having one's sketch
fore it a man playing a strange old pipe, and dancing confiscated or destroyed, was not the happiest pos-
boys covered with flowers and ribbons : the streets sible state. We then with many regrets, left Costello

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