Transcription

[Page 47]

standing crops, but we saw the Arapiles in the distance, very unlike [indecipherable] Australian Arapiles if this drawing be correct.  I spent a whole day going over St Sebastian & without having a [indecipherable] with me, from memory managed to realize the whole [indecipherable].  Then now and then connections of mine fell.  The course which Snodgrass forded must have deepened much since his time, his men would ford it now even on horse back.  The Biscay country is exquisitely beautiful, the more charming from contrast with those dreary dismal Castilles, full of mountains, streams & [indecipherable] & abounding in fine looking active Peasants, Swiss like clean Towns & manifestations[?] of all kinds.  The Basques in fact are no more like Spaniards than the Irish are like the English, tho the contrast is the other way.  From Bayonne we proceeded via Bordeaux where I spent some hours with your friend Guertier [indecipherable] hereafter.  In Paris, and after a pleasant 1 weeks there plunged at once into a London [indecipherable] again.  Well, you will say, what have you learned in this prolonged journey of [indecipherable] as an Asthetic, much as an Utilitarian little or nothing.  Spain is a century behind France & England in the nature of the culture of those particular products which the  similarity of the Australian climates make especially interesting to us, far behind even Australia.  The Vine is easy when cultivated except when the elevation of the land forbids its growth, but except in the neighbourhood of Xeres [Xeres or Jerez] and in the table land round about Valdefuentes.  In no place did I see so much care bestowed upon its cultivation as is commonly manifested in N.S. Wales.  The ground is now prepared for the plants by [indecipherable].  The plants are now staked where they can introduce an artificial supply of water green crops, & cereals are grown between the rows, which by the eye are very rarely symmetrical.  Very little wood is produced, the shoots in the vineyards I saw unformed seldom being more than 4 feet long.  The vines themselves stand about 2 feet above the ground, and are invariably [indecipherable] into the scraps of a black fellows waddy.  [See image for drawing} one eye being left on each shoot.  The produce is very great however I am told.  The whole of Spain may be described as one mass of limestone, so that that most desirable constituent lime is never wanting in the soil, and this [indecipherable] whether from this complete saturation of calcareous matter, or what is now likely the extreme 

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