State Library of NSW
The Queen did not appear to advantage. She should have come on horse back or at any rate have rode along the line, but she came in a miserable carriage and four dressed in no way for the occasion. However apathetic her Majesty may have been, there was no lack of enthusiasm among the people, who were assembled there to the amount of many hundred thousands. I forget whether I wrote to you from Spain, if I did I daresay you will pardon me for mentioning a second time the route we took in travelling through that country. We ascended the Pyrenees at Pupiquen finding the mountain roads within very formidable here where they abut the Mediterranean or on one return where they come in upon the Atlantic, in the centre of the chain these mountains are formidable enough. The Frontier is reached before the top of the range is reached, and the change from France to Spain is not more marked in the aspect & language of the people than in the physical aspect of the country. The [indecipherable] & richness of the S. of France is carried up to the very foot of the range, directly you enter Spain you find all dry & barren. We stopped for 4 days at Barcelona making excursions to Martorell & Monserrat, Barcelona being itself a most beautiful city & tho lovely around most picturesque & abounding in old Roman antiquities, and also no ruins of a more modern date, in fact the whole of Catalonia & Valencia have the aspect of having only just been evacuated by a hostile Army. The march of the French vandals is as apparent as if 5 instead of 50 years had only passed since they covered the land. Nothing has since been done to repair these fearful ravages, and so general are they that their fine promises bear the aspect of irredeemable begging & wretchedness. To go among modern Frenchmen, you can scarcely credit the accounts of the atrocious villainies they committed in these unhappy histories. Yet they are undeniable, the evidence is still before our eyes & what they have done they will do again if they have the opportunity. Woe betide England, if her shores should witness a descent of these miscreants. Montjuick [Montjuic] taken by our Lord Peterborough you will recollect in the War of Succession, in the immediate neighbourhood of Barcelona is the only decent Fortress along the whole of the farm land. I saw no other that could keep out the French for a day, except perhaps it might be at Alicante. From Barcelona we travelled in a private conveyance to Valencia, a clearing journey, stopping at night at road side Ventas where were continuously passing under our eyes scenes that brought up ones recollections of Don Quixote in the most vivid manner. We used to dine in the Kitchen always scrupulously clean, with the Muleteers & other travellers seated or lying on the ground below, with enormous rows of mules tied up in the dark open stables
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