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During the present century Madrid has witnessed many stirring scenes. It was entered by the French under Murat on March 23, 1808; struggles, tumults, and insurrections followed, until in December of that year Napoleon took possession of the city, and installed his brother Joseph as King of Spain. He ruled at Madrid till Wellington and the English troops entered the city after the battle of Salamanca, in 1812 ; but in 1823 the French troops were again in Madrid under the Duc d'Angoulême, to support the tyrant Ferdinand VII. Since that time insurrections and revolutions have been very frequent in Madrid, as well as various émentes connected with the alternate elevation to power of Espartero, Narvaez, O'Donnell, and other ministers. In 1868, after Serrano had defeated the royal army at Alcolea, Madrid declared the dethronement of Isabella II., and welcomed Prim with enthusiasm; but as far as the capital was concerned, the revolution was unmarked by violence or destruction.

Since then Madrid has passed through many eventful experiences—the provisional government, the short-lived reign of Amadeus of Savoy, the republic, the accession of Alfonso XII.—and now it is to be hoped that the path of peaceful and prosperous development has been reached.

Madrid at the present day has a population of 367,284, and has considerably outgrown its ancient limits; a railway system connects it with the Bay of Biscay, the Mediterranean, Portugal, and France, thus linking to itself all the most important towns of the peninsula.

The aspect of the city as it is approached is very fine; on every hand new plantations are springing up to replace the long-absent forests of old days ; around the city runs a wellplanted boulevard, with numerous shady walks diverging from it; while, within, spires and domes innumerable rise glittering in the sun. The interior town is about 1} miles long by 1. broad. Towards the south-west are found the most ancient houses, lining the sides of narrow winding streets, and in the central and eastern quarters are spacious and well-lighted streets, built in accordance with modern taste—or want of taste; but throughout the city there is very little to be seen of a Moorish, Mediæval, or early Spanish type, while everywhere Parisian shops and tall houses with gaily-painted stucco fronts abound.

The heart of the city is the Puerta del Sol—not a gate, as its name would imply, but a public place, named after some sun-adorned portal that has long since disappeared. It is at the confluence of nine of the most frequented streets of the city, and has often been compared to the Agora at Athens, or the Forum at Rome. Here the idlers and seekers after news congregate, lounging and smoking round the central fountain or sauntering under the veloria on the sunny side. But it is likewise a scene of busy activity and is on the way to everywhere. “To whichsoever point of the Madrilenian compass you may be bound,” says George Augustus Sala, "whether it be to the Prado, to the Palace, to the Church of our Lady of Atocha, to the Montana del Principe Pio, to dinner, to the club, the tertalia, one of the cosy and elegant little broughams which may be hired here for two shillings an hour-is sure to take you through the Puerta del Sol. All roads lead to Rome, they say: all streets converge in the Puerta. The golden coach of royalty, the dog-cart of the dandy pollo, the sparkling chariot of the diplomatist, the brewer's dray, the mules' team, and the hearse—all cross each other there. It is at once the Gate of Ivory and the Gate of Horn;

all the glittering shams and all the sad realities of Spain meet at the confluence of the nine streets. It is the road to the Palace and the road to the cemetery.




The buildings round the Puerta del Sol are high and regular, displaying an abundance of huge advertisement boards, but nothing characteristic of Spanish architecture. Here are the grandest and dearest hotels and cafés of Madrid, and plenty of rich and elegant shops mostly occupied by foreign tailors, modistes, jewellers, vendors of articles de Paris and suchlike things. On the south side stands the Gobernacion (Ministry of the Interior), an imposing but somewhat heavy building. The buildings on the east side replaced the old Church of í Buon Sucesso, whose clergy enjoyed the special privilege of performing mass up to two o'clock in the afternoon, so that the edifice was a favourite place of devotion with laterising fashionables.

In front of the old Church of Buon Sucesso broke out the insurrection against the French in May, 1808. Joachim Murat with 25,000 French soldiers was holding the city; the Spanish King was detained at Bayonne, and Napoleon had sent orders for the queen and children to be sent there also. It is said that Murat was seeking occasion to intimidate the Madrileños, and ostentatiously sent away the royal family in broad daylight. A tumult broke out—a French officer passing the excited crowd was unhorsed, and a few French soldiers in various parts of the city massacred.

Murat took a bloody revenge. Before noon his artillery had swept the streets and squares, and soldiers had fired volleys down the cross-streets, until tranquillity was restored. To make the intimidation more complete, great numbers of artisans and labourers were shot during the following night, for being found bearing arms—that is to say, they wore the clasp-knives universally carried by men of their class.

The Puerta del Sol has been the birthplace of most of the émeutes and insurrections so prominent in modern Spanish history, and the wall of the Gobernacion is riddled with shotmarks. But these events were seldom marked by special features of interest, and their results were generally transitory. To-day (in spite of the loungers) the Puerta del Sol is gay with busy life and industry. A noisy, ceaseless, open-air traffic is going on all around; all the journals of Madrid are sold here, mostly by women and children, whose shrill voices, especially towards evening, when the most popular sheets appear, make a perfect babel. Here, too, are the clamorous men and urchins, half-clad and often barefoot, who vend cerillos (wax matches). Your true Spaniard is always smoking, but he smokes in a lazy fashion; his cigar is perpetually going out, and the consumption of wax matches is something prodigious. Very prominent also are the vendors of cold water, who, carrying in one hand their straw-wrapped stone bottle, and in front of them a tray of half-pint glasses and a stock of azucarillos (rose-flavoured biscuits made of sugar-paste), shout vociferously, Agua! Quien quiere agua ?” and do a roaring trade, for the copious imbibition of cold water is another of the favourite pursuits of a Madrileño. At the corners of the streets diverging from the Puerta stand the mozos de cordel, mostly sturdy Asturians, each with a rope round his body or over his shoulder, ready to tie together and convey to any part of the city the luggage that may

be committed to his care. Street-vendors of various trifles solicit the patronage of the passers-by, while in the open space where once was a fruit-market, cab-drivers crack their whips beside the principal cab-stand of Madrid. The crowds thronging the side pavements show very little Spanish costume amongst them; the Parisian bonnet has almost universally displaced the graceful mantilla. Occasionally, however, in times of excitement

re-actions of patriotic fervour—the mantillas and other characteristic articles of attire appear for a time, as if by way of demonstration.

In the centre of the Puerta is a basin and a fountain supplied, like all the other fountains in the city, with splendid water from the Guadarama mountains, by means of the

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canal, whose constructor was created Marquis del Lozoya, amidst the acclamation of a grateful city. From morning till night this fountain is ringed by silent men basking in the sun and smoking

Of the streets that radiate from the Puerta del Sol, the finest and largest is the Calle de Alcalá, on the north side of which rises the monumental facade of the vast building, formerly the Ailuana, or Custom House, but now occupied by the Hacienda (Ministry of Finance), the Museo de Historia Natural, and the Academia de San Fernando. In the Museum are many curiosities, including the skeleton of a Megatherium (the finest existing




antediluvian skeleton in the world), two stuffed bulls (formerly noted heroes of the arena), a skeleton of a French drummer, &c. Here also is a splendid collection of marbles, jaspers, porphyries, an index to the mineral resources of Spain that only wait to become a source of untold wealth. The Academy is not of much importance; it contains, however, what some consider the chef-d'æuvre of Murillo—“St. Elizabeth Healing the Lepers.” St. Elizabeth is an exquisite realisation of dignified beauty, the lepers are disgustingly

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realistic. The Calle de Alcalá leads to the Puerta de Alcalá, the finest of the city gates. It is seventy feet in height and consists of five arches, forming altogether a triumphal monument in memory of Charles III.

In the Plaza de las Cortes, which lies to the south of the Calle de Alcalá, stands the not particularly grand Palacio del Congreso, built in 1842-50, and richly adorned in the interior with paintings by modern artists. The public gallery is much frequented by strangers anxious to listen to the flowery, racy, and somewhat Oriental eloquence of Castelar, Canovas, or other popular orators. In the Plaza before the Chamber, in January, 1874, General Pavia planted his artillery and drove out the Deputies, and established a temporary irresponsible government, with the Duke de la Torres at its head. In the centre of the Plaza is a statue of the immortal author of “Don Quixote,” representing him as a warrior, and recalling his bravery at Lepanto (where he lost an arm for his country) rather than his literary genius. It was modelled at Rome by Antonio Sola, and founded in Prussia.

From the Plaza de las Cortes, the Carrera de San Geronimo, one of the most pleasing and most frequented streets in the city, and containing the best shops, leads back to the Puerta del Sol, while opposite to it is the Calle Mayor, leading westward. In the lower part of this busy street are clustered the offices of the Escribanos (notaries), many of them glad to earn a living as public letter-writers, for the poorer class of Spaniards are not yet all able to write their own letters. In this street stands the Casa de Oñate, a vast mansion of an ancient Spanish family. Its owner in 1622 was killed when riding in his carriage, and it is said that the deed was done by order of Philip IV., who was jealous of Oñate's attention to Elizabeth of France. Here also stands the Casa de los Lujanes, an ancient palace to which Francis I. was brought a prisoner, smarting from his defeat at Pavia, before being transferred to a tower of the royal residence.

In close proximity to the Calle Mayor is the Plaza Mayor, which must take rank as the chief of the seventy-two squares of Madrid. It is an immense rectangular space 434 feet long by 334 feet broad, entered from without by several arched passages, and all round it runs an arched colonnade, from which rise columns seventy-one feet high supporting the upper balustrades and balconies of the five-storeyed houses. Beneath the arcades are shops for the sale of various small articles, chiefly the results of local industry—such as bonnets, garters with devices, castanets, knives, Catalonian lace, and so forth ; while in the numerous reading-rooms are to be found large numbers of grave and earnest readers deep in political studies. The central area consists of an elliptical esplanade surrounded by a carriage-drive, and is now an intensely interesting rendezvous of the lower classes of Madrid. At Christmas time the whole area is piled up with an abundance of turkeys, oranges, sweetmeats, and all sorts of good things for the festive

From allusions to the Plaza in the works of Cervantes, it was evidently a crowded spot in his day; he particularises its mendicants and cut-purses. In the centre stands a bronze statue of Philip III., by whom the Plaza was built in the seventeenth century, on the site of a former Plaza built by Juan II. In spite of one or two conflagrations, this ancient and somewhat prison-like enclosure still answers to the description given of it by St. Simon, who' very enthusiastically describes the grand illuminations he beheld here when all the balconies were ablaze with wax-candles, so that he could see to read the smallest characters in the very centre of the area; and the set-pieces of fireworks afterwards exhibited were "marvellous and unparalleled.”

On one side stands the Panaderia, once the head-quarters of the guild of bakers, an immense building commenced in 1590, but only the granite portico dates from that time, the three upper storeys having been built after the great fire of 1672, and covered with ornaments of the Churriguerresque school-a school that derives its name from the extravagant fancies of the architect Churriguerra. Over the window of the principal balcony are the royal arms, denoting the spot from which laws and edicts were promulgated, and from which the royal family surveyed the proceedings on festal occasions.


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