A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 eBook

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777.
new object, yet a great deficiency would appear, were you to see the same women dressed in the high fashion of England or France.  England, for real and natural female beauty, perhaps surpasses all the world; France, for dress, elegance, and ease.  The Spanish women are violent in their passions, and generally govern every body under their roof; husbands who contend that point with them, often finish their days in the middle of a street, or in a prison; on the other hand, I am told, they are very liberal, compassionate, and charitable.  They have at Barcelona a fine theatre, and tolerable good music; but the actors of both sexes are execrable beyond all imagination:  their first woman, who they say is rich by means of one talent or other, (for me, like my little Lyons water girl, has two talents) is as contemptible in her person as in her theatrical abilities:  it is no wonder, indeed; for these people are often taken from some of those gipsey troops, I mentioned in a former letter, and have, consequently, no other qualifications for the stage but impudence instead of confidence, and ignorance instead of a liberal education.  Perhaps you will conclude, that the theatre at Madrid affords much better entertainment; on the contrary, I am well assured it is in general much worse:  a Gentleman who understands the language perfectly, who went to Madrid with no other view but to gratify his curiosity, in seeing what was worthy of notice there, went only once to the theatre, where the heat of the house, and the wretchedness of the performance, were equally intolerable; nor are the subjects very inviting to a stranger, as they often perform what they call “Autos Sacramentales”—­sacramental representations.  The people of fashion, in general, have no idea of serving their tables with elegance, or eating delicately; but rather, in the stile of our fore-fathers, without spoon or fork, they use their own fingers, and give drink from the glass of others; foul their napkins and cloaths exceedingly, and are served at table by servants who are dirty, and often very offensive.  I was admitted, by accident, to a Gentleman’s house, of large fortune, while they were at dinner; there were seven persons at a round table, too small for five; two of the company were visitors; yet neither their dinner was so good, nor their manner of eating it so delicate, as may be seen in the kitchen of a London tradesman.  The dessert (in a country where fruit is so fine and so plenty) was only a large dish of the seeds of pomegranates, which they eat with wine and sugar.  In truth, Sir, an Englishman who has been in the least accustomed to eat at genteel tables, is, of all other men, least qualified to travel into either kingdoms, and particularly into Spain; especially, if what Swift says be true, that “a nice man is a man of dirty ideas,”—­I know not the reason, whether it proceeds from climate, or food, or from the neglect of the poorer order of
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A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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