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The It Amused Me trope as used in popular culture
Ford is answerable for many of the fixed ideas about Spain which itseems quite impossible to remove. Much that may have been true in thelong ago, when he wrote his incomparable Guide Book, has now passed awaywith the all-conquering years; but still all that he ever said isrepeated in each new book with unfailing certainty. Much as he reallyloved Spain, it must be confessed that he now and then wrote of her witha venom and bitterness quite at variance with his usual manner ofjudging things. It is in great part due to him that so muchmisunderstanding exists as to the Spanish custom of "offering" what isnot intended to be accepted. If that peculiarity ever existed—for mypart, I have never met with it at any time—it does so no longer. When aSpaniard speaks of his house as that of "your Grace" (), it is simply a figure of speech, which has no more specialmeaning than our own "I am delighted to see you," addressed to some onewhose existence you had forgotten, and will forget again; but nothingcan exceed the generous hospitality often shown to perfect strangers incountry districts where the accommodation for travellers is bad, whenany real difficulty arises.

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If the money no longer being expended in railways and docks were nowdevoted to irrigation wherever it is needed, a rapid change would becomeapparent over the whole face of the country, and the population wouldincrease in proportion as the land would bear it. Irrigation works havebeen more than once undertaken by the aid of foreign money, and underthe charge of foreign engineers; but the people themselves—thelandowners and peasant proprietors—were not ripe for it, and, alas!some of the canals which would have turned whole valleys into gardenshave been allowed to go to ruin, or to become actually obliterated,while the scanty crops are raised once in two or three years from thesame soil, which will yield three crops in one year by the help ofwater. Difficulties arose about the sale of the water—a prolific causeof dispute even in the old irrigated districts—and the people said:"What do we want with water, except what comes from heaven? If theVirgin thinks we want water, she sends it." Fitting result of theteaching of the Church for so many years, with the example ever held upfor admiration of the patron saint, Isidro, who knelt all day at hisprayers, and left the tilling of his fields to the angels! It would seemthat these ministers of grace are not good husbandmen, since the landbecame the arid waste it now is, while successive Isidros have beenengaged in religious duties, which they were taught were all that wasnecessary.

 

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The late General Concha, Marqués del Duero, was the originator ofsugar-cane cultivation. He spent a large portion of his private fortunein establishing what bids fair to be one of the most productiveindustries of his country. But, like most pioneers of progress, hereaped no benefit himself. His fine estates near Malaga, with theirproductive cane-farms, passed into other hands before he had reaped thereward of his patriotic endeavours. For a long time the cheap,bounty-fed beet sugars of Germany, which never approach beyond being animitation of real sugar—as every housewife can testify who has tried tomake jam with them—were able to undersell the produce of the cane; butthe latest statistics show that this industry is now making steadyprogress, the production of 1899 being thirty-one thousand tons, orexactly three times that of 1899. of the difference betweencane and beet sugars for all domestic purposes, and the superiorcheapness of the more costly article, it is satisfactory to note that inEngland the working classes, through their own co-operative societies,insist on being supplied with the former, knowing by experimental proofits immense superiority; and one may hope that their wisdom may spreadinto households where the servants pull the wires, and care nothingabout economy.


Besides the woollen manufactures of Palencia, Lorca, Jerez, Barcelona,Valencia, and other places, are many cloth factories in Cataluña, aswell as others for the production of silk fabrics, lace, and veryhigh-class embroideries, for which last Spain has long been famous, butwhich have hitherto been little known beyond her own frontiers. Inartistic crafts may be named the pottery works of Pickman, Mesaque,Gomez, and others in Seville, where magnificent reproductions of Moorishand Hespaño-Moresque tiles and pottery are being turned out; there arealso factories for this class of goods in Valencia, Barcelona, Segovia,Talevera, and many other places. Ornamental iron and damascene workholds the high reputation which Spain has never lost, but the output isvery largely increased. Gold and silver inlaid on iron, iron inlaid oncopper and silver, are some of the forms of this beautiful work. Thatexecuted in Madrid differs from that of Toledo, Eibar, and other centresof the craft. The iron gate-work executed in Madrid and Barcelona isvery hard to beat, and the casting of bronzes is carried out with everymodern improvement. The wood-carvers of Spain have always been famous,and the craft appears to be in no danger of falling behind its oldreputation, much beautiful decorative work of this description beingproduced for modern needs. The holds an exhibition inMadrid every other year, and in the intervening years the Government hasone, in the large permanent buildings erected for the purpose at the endof the Fuente Castellana. The manufacture of artistic furniture andother connected industries are encouraged also by a bi-yearly exhibitionin Madrid, where prizes and commendations are given. The chief centresof artistic furniture-making are Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, andZaragoza. Exhibitions of arts and crafts and of all kinds of industriesand manufactures are also held, at intervals, in the principal towns allover the country. An interesting exhibition of Spanish and SouthAmerican productions was held in 1901 in Bilbao with great success.


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It was not only in the mother country that frightful acts of bigotry andlust for wealth were enacted. In Peru the Spaniards found a splendidcivilisation among the strange races of the Incas, a condition of orderwhich many modern states might envy, a religion absolutely free fromfetish worship, and a standard of morality which has never beensurpassed. But they ruthlessly destroyed it all, desecrated the templeswhere the sun was worshipped only as a visible representative of a God"of whom nothing could be known save by His works," as their tenet ran,and substituted the religion which they represented as having beentaught by Jesus of Nazareth; a religion which looked for its chief powerto the horrible Inquisition and its orgies called

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XII. As Antigonus would not venture alone to determine concerning him, he referred the decision to a council; where, when almost all the officers, in great excitement, expressed their surprise that death had not been already inflicted on a man by whom they had been harassed so many years, so severely that they were often reduced to despair, a man who had cut off leaders of the greatest eminence; and in whom, though but a single individual, there was so much to be dreaded, that as long as he lived they could not think themselves safe, while, if he were put to death, they would have no further anxiety; and in conclusion they asked Antigonus, "if he gave Eumenes his life, what friends he would employ? for that they would not act under him with Eumenes." After thus learning the sentiments of the council, he nevertheless took time for consideration till the seventh day following; when, being afraid that a mutiny might break out in the army, he gave orders that no one should be admitted to Eumenes, and that his daily food should be withheld; for he said that "he would offer no personal violence to a man who had once been his friend." Eumenes, however, after suffering from hunger not more than three days, was killed by his guards on the removal of the camp, without Antigonus's knowledge.