For Hugo’s conception of the power and position of Spain at this epoch, see Le Rhin: Conclusion, II, III.
L. 130. Prescott describes Philip as being habitually grave in manner, unsocial and sombre, and always dressed in black. The Order of the Golden Fleece was the only jewel he ever wore.
L. 137. ’Better a ruined kingdom, true to itself and its king, than one left unharmed to the profit of the Devil and the heretics. ’—Correspondence of Philip, quoted by Prescott in the History of Philip II.
Burgos, the ancient capital of Old Castile. Aranjuez, a town in the province of Toledo, where Philip had a summer residence.
la toison d’or, the Golden Fleece, an order of knighthood founded by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1420.
grincer un sourire: a bold and vivid expression, grincer meaning ’to gnash the teeth.’
gastadour, from the Lat. vastator, ravager, despoiler.
l’Escaut, the Scheldt. The Adour is a river in Southern France, but no ships for the Armada came from France. One suspects the influence of gastadour in the line above.
mestre de camp, an old term for commander of a regiment.
L. 182. There were no German vessels in the Armada. ourque, more usually written bourque, is a small Dutch or Flemish cargo-boat with two masts. It is something between the modern ketch and the old Flemish ‘bilander’.
moco, Spanish word for ‘cabin-boy’.
Pausilippe, a promontory near Naples.
Placed by itself under the heading L’Inquisition in the series of 1859, and preceded by the following note:—’Le bapteme des volcans est un ancien usage qui remonte aux premiers temps de la conquete. Tous les crateres du Nicaragua furent alors sanctifies, a l’exception du Momotombo, d’ou l’on ne vit jamais revenir les religieux qui s’etaient charges d’aller y planter la croix.’ (SQUIER, Voyage dans l’Amerique du Sud.)
Momotombo is a volcano in the state of Nicaragua. E.G.Squier was an American antiquarian and author who was appointed charge d’affaires to all the Central American States in 1849. He does not appear to have written any work with the title quoted by Hugo. The passage quoted occurs in his Nicaragua, its people, scenery, and monuments, published in 1852. He relates in this book an instance of a bishop being asked to baptize a volcanic vent which had suddenly opened in a mountain!
Torquemada (1420-1489) was the notorious inquisitor-general of Castile and Aragon, whose name has become a by-word for relentless persecution and cruelty.
le golfe d’Otrante, between Italy and Albania.