previous next

[222] March, 1808, and the meeting in October, of the Central Junta, which fled before the approach of the French to Seville, on the 21st November.1 This flight probably finishes the history of the political importance of Aranjuez; but its exquisite scenery, and all the beauties which nature has so lavishly poured around it, and which, from the time of Argensola to that of Quintana, have been one of the favorite subjects of Spanish poetry, will remain the same, whether cultivated and cherished by royal favor and taste, or suffered to wanton in their native luxuriance.

On the afternoon of the 14th I left Aranjuez, and came on to Ocaña, the city whose name often occurs in the ancient Spanish ballads, and whose architecture still bears traces of its Moorish origin. . . . . In the evening I came on fifty-five miles to Madrilejos. . . . . Here I had a singular proof of Spanish fidelity and hospitality. My license to post was endorsed with a particular order from the Ministry, that the postmasters should receive me with attention, and give me any assistance I might need. The one at Madrilejos showed, from the moment I entered his house, a kind of dignified obedience to this order, which struck me; and on his relating a story of a robbery, when three thousand reals were taken, and my reply that, in a similar case, less would be taken from me, he began to suspect that I might be in want of money. At first, therefore, he slightly intimated that if I wanted anything, I might be sure he would supply my needs; and finding I did not reply very directly, pressed me further,—offered me money at once, and would not be satisfied until I proved to him that I was in no want, or fear of it. This was no empty offer; I am sure I might have commanded that man's purse and house.

On the 15th I made an easy journey of seventy miles, for the Post is so rapid, and so little fatiguing, that eight hours is enough for it, and it can be done without real weariness2 . . . . . I went out of my way a little, to see where the Guadiana disappears,—a phenomenon which is no less interesting than extraordinary. The precise spot is nowhere so well marked as in the map to Pellicer's Don Quixote,

1 Southey gives this as the date of a proclamation issued from Aranjuez by the Junta, and describes their retreat later, without specifying the day.

2 Mr. Ticknor described this mode of travelling as pleasant; the courier, with the mail, riding a few yards before him; both mounted on small horses, which were changed every hour, going steadily at an easy gallop. To secure some change of position, during a journey of many hours, the stirrups were made extremely short at starting, and gradually lengthened, as the day went on. Mr. Ticknor had his own saddle, of course, and carried, attached to it, a skin of wine, and a haversack with bread, and, occasionally, some other food.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Seville (Spain) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Elisha Ticknor (2)
Robert Southey (1)
Don Quixote (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March, 1808 AD (1)
November 21st (1)
October (1)
15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: