From Figuere to Girone, which is a good day’s journey, the country is enclosed, and the hedgerows, corn fields, &c. had in many places the appearance of the finest parts of England, only warmed by a hotter sun, and adorned with woods and trees of other species; instead of the hawthorn, I found the orange and the pomegranate, the myrtle and the cypress; in short, all nature seemed to rejoice here, but man alone.
From many parts of this road we had a view of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Golfe de Royas, a fine bay, over which the heads of the Pyrenees hang; and on the banks of which there seemed to be, not only villages, but large towns; the situations of which appeared so enchanting, that I could hardly resist the temptation of visiting them;—and now wonder why I did not; but at that time, I suppose I did not recollect I had nothing else to do.
We entered this town rather too late, and were followed to our inn by an armed soldier, who demanded, in harsh terms, my attendance upon the Governor; I enquired whether it was customary for a Gentleman, just off a journey, to be so called upon, and was assured it was not; that my passa-porte was sufficient. I therefore gave that to my conductor, and desired him to take it, and return it, which he did, in about half an hour; but required to be paid for his trouble—a request I declined understanding.
This is a fortified city, well built, but every house has the appearance of a convent. I went into the market, where fruit, flesh, and vegetables, were to be sold in abundance; but instead of that noise which French and English markets abound with, a general silence and gravity reigned throughout; which, can hardly be thought possible, where so many buyers and sellers were collected together. I bought a basket of figs, but the vender of them spoke to me as softly as if we had been engaged in a conspiracy, but she did not attempt to impose; I dare say, she asked me no more than she would have demanded of a Spaniard. The manners of people are certainly infectious; my spirits sunk in this town; and I wanted nothing but the language, and a long cloak, to make me a compleat Spaniard. Our inn was the Golden Fountain; and, considering it was in Spain, not a bad one. If the town, however, was gloomy, the country round about it exhibited all the beauties nature can boast of.