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UNHEALTHINESS OF THE RICE-CULTIVATORS. 265
are cut, and laid on a kind of low sledge. The outward, tough skin is taken off in the mill. The Chinese effect this operation in a mortar, worked by a lever; but the Valencia method is preferred.
"It is a pity," said Mr. Delville, " that the cultivation of rice is so unhealthy, for the crop is always certain ; and, besides yielding eight per cent, it is not long on the ground. It is sown in June and reaped in September."
“ Is it so very unhealthy, papa ? and why ?"
“Very, Ellen. On account of the stagnant water, malignant fevers frequently prevail in consequence.'
“The Valencians," said Mrs. Delville, as they walked home, “partake of the beauty of their climate. Their healthy countenances, and fine height distinguish them from the rest of Spain.”
“They are gay and frank in their character,” said Mr. Delville; “ and during the fine summer evenings, the sound of music and the song is heard through all their border. Ellen, you walk as if you were tired.” “I am a little, very little.”
shall have time to rest; we are going to leave you for an hour or two, on a visit to the convent of Los Reyes.”
“Ah!" said Edward, “that is a pleasure forbidden to you ladies.”
« Well, you
CONVENT OF LOS REYES.
“I do not think we lose much,” said his sister; "the friars are dirty people, and the nuns do not admit you."
“It is six of one, and half-a-dozen of the other," said Frank, as he ran after his father.
The convento de Los Reyes is about a quarter of a league from Valencia, and one of the finest in Spain. They readily obtained leave to see the interior. They saw nothing, however, that they had not often seen before, till they were shown the manuscripts. A fair copy of Livy excited much admiration; and the rich colours of the illuminated missals; the bright violet, red, and gold, as fresh and pure as when laid on, delighted them; but the gem
of the collection was the Romance of the Rose, written as early as the ninth century. The friar displayed this treasure with enthusiasm.
“This," said Mr. Delville, “as he took it in his hands, “this carries us back to past times. How often has this volume amused the dull hours of the feudal barons, and charmed the knights, and the fair ladies of that martial age; when books were not, and the wandering troubadour was welcomed with the feast and the rich wine-cup !"
The monk entered into these speculations; and their conversation insensibly wandered to Spain, to Valencia and its silk-trade. “It has been injured,” said the monk, “not only by France, but by the loss of her colonies. The mul
DECAY OF THE SILK TRADE.
berry-trees, cut down by the French, were just beginning to grow again, when this outlet for their manufactures being shut up, their trade has languished ever since; and their chief exports are now confined to raw silk. The manufactory is not now worth seeing."
They passed three hours in agreeable conversation; and when they returned to Valencia the monk accompanied them.
It was at Barcelona that Mr. Delville expected his affairs would detain him some months : they reached it from Valencia after an easy journey of two days. Its principal street, the Rambla, presents a gay and animated scene, from the gaudy dress of the peasants.
Their red caps, hanging half way down their backs, their crimson sashes, and lively-coloured plaids, give to an English eye a peculiarly foreign air to the principal street of Barcelona.
“This city and the province of Catalonia,” said Mr. Delville, “is under the government of the Conde d'Espagna, a man whose character is firm and energetic in the highest degree. The following anecdote will illustrate his character better than any description could : deeds not words' is his motto. In 1827 a plot in favour of Don Carlos, brother to king Ferdinand, was formed in Catalonia. The Conde made himself master of all its details, and then represented to the king the absolute
necessity of his appearing on the spot with as little delay as possible. On his arrival, by the advice of the Conde, he called a convocation of bishops, ostensibly to consult concerning the state of the province. The Conde well knew the connexion of the bishops with the plot, and was in possession of documents that proved their guilt. He was delegated by the king to preside at this convocation; and all the bishops being assembled, he addressed them in the following manner. My lord bishop,' said he, taking a paper from his pocket, and unfolding it, you know this ;' and turning to another, and showing another paper,
and you, my lord, know this; and so on, producing documents that connected every one present with the conspiracy. And now, gentlemen,' said he, addressing the assembly, you perceive that I hold in my hands proofs of your treason. You, who have fomented this rebellion, can put it down : and I have instructions from his majesty, if the rebellion be not put down within forty-eight hours, (I am sorry for the alternative, gentlemen, but my instructions are peremptory,) to hang every one of you; and it will be a consolation to you to know that the interests of the church will not suffer; for the king has already named successors to the vacant sees.'
“This reasoning was decisive : the bishops knew the man they had to deal with ; and within forty