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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes, April 2, 1904

Seville

April 2nd

Dear Mildred.

I hope my last voluminous epistleSee letter of March 6, 1904. didn’t frighten you. I really can’t summon up the requisite courage to write again on foolscap. Foolscap is standard-size paper measuring 13 1/2 x 17 inches. I left Salamanca on Friday before Palm Sunday armed with 11 letters of introduction to various people from the Rector. Of the 5 for Madrid, I only had time to present 2 and shall present the rest on my return. If the other three are as interesting as the others were I shall seriously think of staying for a month at Madrid before coming home.

One was an editor of a paper—his name is MaeztuRamiro de Maetzu (1875–1936), a philosopher and essayist who, after periods in Paris and Cuba, returned to Spain and became a journalist first in Bilbao and then (in 1898) in Madrid as one of the “Generación del 1898.” and he is Basque. Japonophile, anglophile. He can’t see any good in the French. I must say France looks much less pleasant from Spain than from another point of vantage. As of late civilization has come to Spain through France one is continually confronted with its most unpleasant sides. I think if I were Spanish I should also renounce my love for everything French. The other letter I presented was to El. Sr. Conde de Morella.Ramón Cabrera, 2nd Count of Morella (1854–1940). He is the son of Cabrera,Ramón Cabrera y Griñó, Count of Morella (1806–1877), a Spanish Carlist general who refused to accept the defeat of the Carlists in 1839 and continued the war in Valencia and Catalonia until driven into France in 1840. The Carlists were the supporters of the Carlist dynasty within the Spanish Bourbon (Anjou) dynasty. This dynasty originated just before the death of Ferdinand VII, the king of Spain at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The Carlists supported as successor Ferdinand’s younger brother, Charles, and not Ferdinand's daughter, Elizabeth. At Ferdinand's death, the Carlists crowned the brother king as Charles V (reigned 1833–1855). This started the First Carlist War (1833–1840), which was followed by two additional wars of 1846–1849 and 1872–1876. the great Carlist general.

I went to his home expecting to find a Spaniard of the old school, and this was what befell me. I went to a beautiful apartment, exactly like the flats in the Avenue du Bois and was received by a French woman, Mme. de Morella. She speaks English exquisitely. I don’t believe any English woman could speak it so sweetly, and French rather less well I thought. When Morella arrived, lo he was an EnglishmanRamón Cabrera y Griñó was exiled in England, where he married Marianne Catherine Richards (1820–1915). Their four children grew up in England. See Conxa Rodríguez Vives, Ramon Cabrera, a l’exili (Barcelona: Publicaciones de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 1989). speaking the language like an Oxford man, or rather and much better, a guardsman, for he hasn’t the Oxford high pitch which is more disagreeable to me than a twang. Well, not only is his accent perfect, but he knows all the current fashionable argot. He was brought up in England, where his father took refuge, and is now employed in the Spanish Diplomatic Service, but he has a worse Spanish accent than I, and speaks French abominably. His brotherLeopold Carles Cabrera (1860–1909). was staying at Madrid while I was there, and he can hardly make himself understood in Spanish. Another brotherFerran August Cabrera (1855–1914). is Major Domo of the palace at Berlin. There is a sonRamón Henry Cabrera, 3rd Count of Morella (1889–1938). of the house, a nice boy of 15, who speaks French, English, Spanish, each with an accent.

I lunched and had tea with them several times and I can’t attempt to write what MorellaRamón Cabrera, 2nd Count of Morella (1854–1940). tells me about the Spanish Government. I must wait till we meet. By the way, if you were not coming over, I think I should stay here till forcibly removed. The temptation to learn to speak Spanish without an accent is besetting me, and there is so much that is delightful. The gardens here are full of orange trees with ripe fruit and blossoms on the same branches.

I went to a bull fight with the young Morella or rather CabreraRamón Henry Cabrera, 3rd Count of Morella (1889–1938). in Madrid, and after the horses were over, at which I did not look, I enjoyed it! I know it is abominable, but I am going again tomorrow—Easter Sunday. The people are so interesting—they go frantic if the torero“Bull fighter.” is good (never say toreador, it’s a French invention) and throw him tie pins, watches, cigars, their hats and coats, but if he is bad they stand up and swear at him in a way that amazed and delighted me. I had supposed that the Thames bargee"Bargeman." had reached the highest point attainable in that science, but he isn’t a patch on the Spaniard. They begin with the victim’s ancestry and descend to his grand-children, using such picturesque figures of speech. I suppose they owe this facility of expression to the Moorish connection. By the way, if they like the torero, they shout “bendita sea tu madre”—“blessed be thy mother” and even if one doesn’t like the eloquence, the clothes and fans are worth going to see.

The processions of Holy Week here are disgusting. I was bored to death. The only thing is the costumes, and the penitants [sic] in the crowd who sing the “Saeta,”Saeta, a Spanish religious song sung most often during public processions. or sort of dirge. But I don’t intend coming to Seville again for Holy Week. It is hot and delightful [sic].

Yours sincerely

Royall Tyler

 
Associated People: Miguel de Unamuno

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