I have already told you, that the most beautiful, indeed the only beautiful woman, I saw at Barcelona, was the Intendant’s daughter; and I assure you, her, black petticoat and white veil could not conceal it; nor, indeed, is the dress an unbecoming one. Among the peasants, and common females, you never see any thing like beauty, and, in general, rather deformity of feature. No wonder then, where beauty is scarce, and to be found only among women of condition, that those women are much admired, and that they gain prodigious influence over the men.—In no part of the world, therefore, are women more caressed and attended to, than in Spain. Their deportment in public is grave and modest; yet they are very much addicted to pleasure; nor is there scarce one among them that cannot, nay, that will not dance the Fandango in private, either in the decent or indecent manner. I have seen it danced both ways, by a pretty woman, than which nothing can be more immodestly agreeable; and I was shewn a young Lady at Barcelona, who in the midst of this dance ran out of the room, telling her partner, she could stand it no longer;—he ran after her, to be sure, and must be answerable for the consequences. I find in the music of the Fandango, written under one bar, Salida, which signifies going out; it is where the woman is to part a little from her partner, and to move slowly by herself; and I suppose it was at that bar the lady was so overcome, as to determine not to return. The words Perra Salida should therefore be placed at that bar, when the ladies dance it in the high gout.
The men dress as they do in France and England, except only their long cloak, which they do not care to give up. It is said that Frenchmen are wiser than, from the levity of their behaviour, they seem to be; and I fancy the Spaniards look wiser from their gravity of countenance, than they really are; they are extremely reserved; and make no professions of friendship till they feel it, and know the man, and then they are friendly in the highest degree.
I met with a German merchant at Barcelona, who told me he had dealt for goods to the value of five thousand pounds a year with a Spaniard in that town; and though he had been often at Barcelona before, that he had never invited him to dine or eat with him, till that day.
The farrier who comes to shoe your horse has sometimes a sword by his side; and the barber who shaves you crosses himself before he crosses your chin.
There is a particular part of the town where the ladies of easy virtue live; and if a friend calls at the apartment of one of those females, who happens to be engaged, one of her neighbours tells you, she is amancebados y casarse a mediacarta; i.e. that she is half-married.—If you meet a Spanish woman of any fashion, walking alone without the town, you may join her, and enter into