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These were the raisins that will smoke at
many a Christmas table at home. I shall
see them at Mrs. P.'s and Mr. S.'s, and
shall little think that those were the old
friends I saw driving along in the small
boxes on the sea-shore of Malaga. I now am
burning hot; then I shall be pinched with
cold, and amongst a crowd of eager, happy
faces, shall forget all about Hiccup, my
Rosinante, and grave El Moro.

Now and then, at a bend of the sea-side
load which sloped down to the sea, where a
stranded Dutch ship still held up one drowning
arm out of the water, we would come to a
patient donkey, standing by an alarmed boy
kneeling over a white pile of square brick-shaped
boxes which had fallen to the ground,
owing to some unlucky flaw in the cord that is
usually twisted and knotted a thousand times
round, over and under the precious cases
that contain the future Christmas plum-puddings
of England. Woe to little Perez, should
his strong-armed father guess the nature of
his loitering, if one lid be split, or one box
leak out its withered grapes. Now laggard
at a wine-stall canters past us to join the
caravan of his companions. Now a dozen
boys who have leagued together for mischief
or talk, or perhaps a bath in some quiet pool
under a sun-scorched rock, huddle past in a
rough trot, trying to make up for lost time.
All day, from dark and dawn to sunset and
dusk, these strings and trains of pack-asses,
with their smoking, tramping, side-saddle
drivers, pass us by twos, threes, and dozens
at a time, for the vintage has begun on the
low, red earth-hills, and the raisins are drying
fast on the hot terraces of rock round Velez
Malaga, at the foot of the sierra, where the
Moors held out so long against the Christians.

By road, you must not imagine a sharp,
defined, level billiard-board Macadam road,
such as runs from Kennington to Clapham, or
from Leicester Square to Kensington, with
tomb-stone records of departed miles, and
banked terrace side-walks. Oh, no! This
is quite another thing. Even just under the
castle of Malaga, from which Blake threatened
to bombard the town, if the priest who had
raised the mob against his sailors was
not surrendered,—it was but a lane, ankle-deep
in black dust, rutted and stony;
and now it is quite a joke as we leave the
broad, flickering blue sea, with the wreck
find the dancing, bare-legged fishermen who,
knee deep in tumbling surf, are dragging in
a net, or gathered under a boat, held up with
oars, are boiling something in a fiery pot.
It is a mere sand track bordered by desert,
where nothing grows but sea holly and a few
abnormal weeds. The road looks like
deserted building land, for it is uneven, and
baked in mounds, running in places to mere
sea-beach, loose, grey, and shifting, with here
a white cuttle-fish carcase, there a dry star-fish.
There are beautiful glimpses, however,
of sea, under rock and round points, and I am
sorry when we turn abruptly to the left and
leave a shore which is wild enough for
mermaid dances or syren's carollings. It
reminded me of the wild coast Don Juan, in
Molière's play, is thrown upon.

Now we begin to pass long avenues hedged
by huge cacti twelve feet high or more
their great, semi-tubular, thorny plumes
flaunting far above my horse's headtheir
strange guttered leaves jagged like sharks'
jaws, and sometimes the dry stalk of their
dead flower stretching up from them as thick
as a sapling ground ash, and at the base of
the circumference of a strong man's arm.
Miles of these till I know their metallic
worn spiked fronds, and snapped, jagged
tumble of growth by heartoriental and
unreal as they are; and then come
intermingling miles of prickly pear, growing like
prickly flat fish matted together, and at all
strange corners and angles studded with
fruit as large as eggs, ripe and unripe,
the unripe green and fleshy, the ripe of a
dull unhealthy redthe food of Spanish
kings and Spanish beggars. They are such
things as I should use to decorate the country
of an ogre king in a pantomime; for they
look gigantic, antediluvian, and maliciously
eccentric. For fences they would keep out
an army, their stalks harden into knotty
stubs, gnarled and tough as forest wood. I
amuse myself wantonly as I pace along on
Hiccup, piercing the fleshy arms of the aloes
with lunges of my riding switch, with slicing
off the fruit or severing them, so that they
show their seeds like a laughing man's teeth.
Or I slash at the quilled leaves till I beat
them into a green pash, and can draw out
the white moist threads which the Spaniards
use for so many purposes of ornament; for
they are almost as serviceable as the cotton
which I saw growing near Seville.

This amusement I obtained chiefly when
I and El Moro drew bridle at some small
farm, where a rugged gipsy sort of woman
would be driving a donkey that, fastened to
a yoke, kept plodding lazily round in a circle
turning the noria (the anaoura of the Moors)
or large water-wheel, which, covered at intervals
with red water-jars, kept dipping them
into the well, and discharging their contents
into the garden reservoir.

Why did we stop when it was getting so
burning and fiery hot? To buy a draught
of water from a green pipkin, and to give
our horses each a precious halfpennyworth
of water out of the roadside tank. How
we turned up our elbows, and how the
horses sucked and panted and drained!
Even the mill-wheel donkey made the event
of our halt a pretext for stopping, and was
only roused by a shout and a clattering
ignoble wallop that sent him on, twitching
his ears and swinging his rope of a tail
deprecatingly. At every hut we pass there are
calabashes tied up for the passing traveller