No people on earth are less given to excess in eating or drinking, than the Spaniards; the Olio, or Olla, a kind of soup and Bouilli, is all that is to be found at the table of some great men: the table of a Bourgeois of Paris is better served than many grandees of Spain; their chocolate, lemonade, iced water, fruits, &c. are their chief luxuries; and the chocolate is, in some houses, a prodigious annual expense, as it is offered to every body who comes in, and some of the first houses in Madrid expend twenty thousand livres a year in chocolate, iced waters, &c. The grandees of Spain think it beneath their dignity to look into accounts, and therefore leave the management of their household expenses to servants, who often plunder and defraud them of great sums of money.
Unlike the French, the Spaniards (like the English) very properly look upon able physicians and surgeons in a very respectable light:—Is it not strange, that the French nation should trust their health and lives in the hands of men, they are apt to think unworthy of their intimacy or friendship?—Men, who must have had a liberal education, and who ought not to be trusted in sickness, if their society was not to be coveted in health. Perhaps the Spanish physicians, who of all others have the least pretensions, are the most caressed. In fevers they encourage their patients to eat, thinking it necessary, where the air is so subtile, to put something into the body for the distemper to feed upon; they bleed often, and in both arms, that the blood may be drawn forth equally; the surgeons do not bleed, but a set of men called sangerros perform that office, and no other; the surgeons consider it dishonourable to perform that operation. They seldom trepan; a surgeon who attempted to perform it, would himself be perhaps in want of it. To all flesh wounds they apply a powder called coloradilla, which certainly effects the cure; it is made of myrrh, mastic, dragon’s blood, bol ammoniac, &c.—When persons of fashion are bled, their friends send them, as soon as it is known, little presents to amuse them all that day; for which reason, the women of easy virtue are often bled, that their lovers may shew their attention, and be bled too.—The French disease is so ignorantly treated, or so little regarded, that it is very general; they consider a gonorrhoea as health to the reins; and except a tertian ague, all disorders are called the calentura, and treated alike, and I fear very injudiciously; for there is not, I am told, in the whole kingdom, any public academy for the instruction of young men, in physic, surgery, or anatomy, except at Madrid.