There are four crowns also for the head of the Virgin; two of plated gold, richly set with diamonds, two of solid gold; one of which has two thousand five hundred large emeralds in it, and is valued at fifty thousand ducats; the fourth, and richest, is set with one thousand one hundred and twenty-four diamonds, five of which number are valued at five hundred ducats each; eighteen hundred large pearls, of equal size; thirty-eight large emeralds, twenty-one zaphirs, and five rubies; and at the top of this crown is a gold ship, adorned with diamonds of eighteen thousand dollars value. The gold alone of these crowns weighs twenty-five pounds, and, with the jewels and setting, upwards of fifty. These crowns have been made at Montserrat, from the gold and separate jewels presented to the convent from time to time by the crowned heads and princes of Europe. There is also another small crown, given by the Marquis de Aytona, set with sixty-six brilliants.
The Infanta gave four silver candlesticks, which cost two thousand four hundred ducats.
Ann of Austria, daughter to Philip the third, gave a garment for the Virgin, which cost a thousand ducats.
There are thirty chalices of gilt plate, and one of solid gold, which cost five thousand ducats.
Prince Charles of Austria, with his consort Christiana of Brunswick, visited Montserrat in the year 1706, and having kissed the Virgin’s hand, left at her feet his gold-hilted sword, set with seventy-nine large brilliants. This sword was given the Emperor by Anne, Queen of England.
In the church are six silver candlesticks, nine palms high, made to hold wax flambeaux. There are diamonds and jewels, given by the Countess de Aranda, Count Alba, Duchess of Medina, and forty other people of high rank, from the different courts of Europe, to the value of more than an hundred thousand ducats.—But were I to recite every particular from the list of donations, which my friend, Pere Pascal, gave me, and which now lies before me, with the names of the donors, they would fill a volume instead of a letter.
I know you will expect to hear something of the Ladies of Spain; but I must confess I had very little acquaintance among them: when they appear abroad in their coaches, they are dressed in the modern French fashion, but not in the extreme; when they walk out, their head and shape is always covered with a black or white veil, richly laced; and however fine their gowns are, they must be covered with a very large black silk petticoat; and thus holding the fan in one hand, and hanging their chapelets over the wrist of the other, they walk out, preceded by one or two shabby-looking servants, called pages, who wear swords, and always walk bare-headed.