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[195] rooms above, without feeling it to be a reproach to a great capital to have such an establishment.

Above the Museum of Natural History, in the same building, is the collection of paintings begun in 1774 by Charles III. It is rich in the Italian school, which Spain had such fine opportunities for acquiring when Charles V. possessed, as it were, all Italy, and afterwards by the union of the crown of Naples to the family. But it is the Spanish school—Velasquez and Murillo—that shines forth there; and in looking at the purity and dignity and beauty of its merely human forms, I sometimes become unfaithful to the ideals of Correggio, Titian, and Raphael that I had been accustomed to admire in Italy. There are, too, fine pictures at Medina Celi's, and at all the sitios, especially at Aranjuez and the Escurial and in the palace; and the king has commenced a gallery near the Botanical Garden, where he is going to have all united that belong to himself. It is the Marquis of Sta. Cruz—who, for a grandee, is a man of taste—that is at the head of all there is good in this establishment, and the king suffers him to do what he pleases; not because he understands and feels what it would be to have a grand gallery of as fine pictures as there are in Europe, but simply because he knows and cares nothing about such things, and, as he often says, much prefers paper-hangings, and will be very glad when the old gilt frames are taken down from his walls.

Among the public institutions should also be numbered those that relate to education, where this general distinction may be made,— that those concerning the humbler education of the lower classes are to a certain point good, but those relating to the higher branches of education and the higher classes of society are bad.

In the first place, there are sixty-four women's schools established in the city, and paid by the municipality, where the children of the poor receive the first elements of education on a very good plan and to a very good effect. After this follow the escuelas gratuitas, which are in the hands of two convents of friars, called the Calasanzios; who also do their duty very well in instructing in two different schools, established at the two sides of the city, all who choose to come to them, in reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, the principles and dogmas of their faith, and, if they choose, Latin grammar. These schools are properly called escuelas pias, and by a vulgar corruption esculapios, and are every way to be praised,— religion being put out of the question, where the friars certainly exercise an undue influence. These two classes of schools are so suecessful

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Marchioness De Sta (1)
Murillo (1)
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