Jan. 5th – Left this morning at seven o’clock for Seville, where we arrived at half past twelve. The country for about twenty-five miles is flat and marsh. It appears to be laid off in rows of earth on either side of which are ditches full of water. All over this country are pyramids of white sand, which perhaps came out of these ditches; there were many of them 30 or 40 feet in height. The landscape view was beautiful, first a sloping field covered as if with a green carpet; then a dark one just planted; then a hill or two in the distance, these continued, were lovely. In many places we saw flocks and droves of cattle, all with their shepherds and keepers, steers, sheep, hogs, and goats. Now we come to the fields of vineyards, all cut down close to the ground, leaving a few runners here and there. This is a fertile and great wine growing country, all in and around Xeres, you seem to find nothing but vines and wine. They pay particular attention to sherry wine. All through Andaluvia they have fine hunting grounds, to which we can testify, as we saw quantities of game. They are great sportsmen. Now we come to the olive and orange orchards and pine forests. The olives have been gathered and the trees look many of them very old and ragged. They are very careful of the culture of the young trees. We saw a number shaped all the body around with clay, only allowing the top of the tree to be seen. Their foliage is now very tall and ugly. The orange groves are beautiful and are now full of the golden fruit. The pines are wonderful, growing up many feet without a single branch, until within about twenty or twenty-five feet from the top where they branch out and look almost flat and sometimes round on top. We are at the Hotel Londres, a very good house, where they speak French and English. We found a valet-de-place as soon as we arrived who spoke English and went out sight seeing. We first visited the Aleazar, the royal residence, Acasar, the house of Caesar, occupies the site of that of the Roman Creator. It was rebuilt in the 10th and 11th centuries for a Moorish Prince. All of the rooms are perfectly magnificent, beyond anything I ever dreamed of. The grand Patio or court is superb, 70 ft. by 54. It looks like fine lace work. It was Moorish throughout until it was altered by the caprices of Kings and Queens. The hall of the Ambassadors has a glorious half orange roof. Here the grand Royal reception took place. We saw the room in which and the stone on which Don Pedro had his brother murdered, who was visiting him in order to get his jewels. We then went to the Cathedral which is one of the largest in Spain. It has nine entrances, two large organs. Here is the Royal chapel where the Queen worships. It is here that St. Ferdinand is buried. We saw his tomb which was magnificent. It had gold ornaments of the last Moorish King surrendering the keys of Seville to St. Ferdinand. We also saw his crown and his wife’s jewels, all brilliants covering the whole breast of the Virgin who wore them. She was dressed in a beautiful white silk dress trimmed with gold and had the infant Savior all dressed. He had silver shoes on his feet and a figure of brilliants in his hand. She was sitting on the identical throne of St. Ferdinand. In the center of this Cathedral is the tomb of the son of Columbus. There is a slab over it with an inscription and on either side, carved also in marble are the two quaint ships in which Columbus crossed the ocean to America. They had sails and eighteen oars on each side. Columbus is buried in Havana. Over this grave stone, during Holy Week the host is deposited in an enormous wooden temple in the form of a Greek cross. In the Cathedral an image of the Madonna and Child which St. Ferdinand carried with him in battle.
I have neglected to speak of the gardens of Aleazar. It was there we saw orange trees, trimmed in perfection up as high as the wall, with no fruit on them, as they are not allowed to bear; it would spoil their shape, but all through the garden were fine orange and lemon trees. One we saw was 500 years’ old. Mr. M. pulled a fine orange from it. They have the sweet lemon here, which is the first I were saw. The peel is in every respect like our lemon, but inside it is almost as sweet as an orange. We saw a large banana tree with several bunched of fruit hanging from it. There are several curious fountains shooting out of the paved walk with which Philip the V used to frighten the ladies of his court. Indeed, we had to run to get out of the way. There are several labyrinths and also the Spanish Court of arms planted in box bushes. We saw the tank out of which Philip the V fished.
I have neglected to speak of the bells of the Giralda in the tower of the Cathedral; they are twenty-five in number and have been baptized and named after the saints. The largest is named Santa Maria. We witnessed the bell ringing, which to a novice is quite a science. They have a blind man as Musical Director who would call out the bells as they were to be rung. Several men and about six or eight boys did the ringing. We ascended the tower by an easy ascent. To our surprise we had no steps to mount. In the Cathedral I saw a Cardinal and a Canon for the first time. We walked a great deal in Seville. One night we got lost, as the streets are more irregular than those of Boston. We found some difficulty to get back to the Plaza, which is in front of our Hotel. It is a pretty square with three rows of orange trees around it, with iron settees under them. Here the ladies and gentlemen promenade. The ladies walk well, are healthy specimens, but few are pretty.
Yesterday morning, Jan 6th, we walked down to see the bridge across the Guadalquivir; also saw the Moorish or Golden tower, so called because Columbus was said to land the gold from the new world there. Large vessels from London and Havre come up this river. Just after seeing this we passed through the public garden opposite the Duke of Ironpersions house, where in his private garden he has 25,000 orange trees. We saw the house where the Barber of Seville lived; the shop where shaved and where he sold perfumery. We went through the house of the Duke of Medira, Coli, which is a copy of Pilate’s house in Jerusalem. It was built in 1533, FadrigueEnriguez de Rihera, in commemoration of his having performed the pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1519. We saw the Judgment Hall and Pilate’s room. There was a marble table said to be the one where Judas made the bargain for Christ and in the middle of the room the fount where he washed his hands. Going up stairs we saw the room where Christ was imprisoned; the place where there was a fire where Peter warmed his hands and where the cock stood when he crew. When we went out we saw the balcony where Pilate called out to the people to which prisoner he must release onto them. We saw the entrances of several marquises houses, where they had fine gardens. We saw the largest tobacco factory in the world, where they have 4000 employees, and no cholera in them.