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which used to have a king of its own, but now belongs to the King of Italy.
Naples is famous for having more people in it than any other town in Italy ; but I think it is a pity they should stay there, for it is said that nearly 40,000 of them are beggars, and have no homes. You have all seen Punch and Judy. That show came first from Naples, and the people would be contented to stare at it all day long. Naples was also famous for having many inhabitants who had very miserable homes. What should you think the most miserable home? one of the cold arches under a London railway bridge? or an Irish cabin with no roof to it? or a crowded room in the closest part of Edinburgh ? The home I mean in Naples would be worse than any of these. What would you think of a prison ? In England bad people are put into prison to make them better, and to keep them from hurting others; but however bad they are they are never ill used. At Naples not long ago there was a king who put good people in prison because they gave him advice which he did not like to take. The prisons are horrible dungeons, underground, dirty, and full of reptiles ; and there prisoners were chained together like wild beasts for years and years, till at last they got so ill, that when they were set free they could no longer enjoy life.
About ten miles from Naples is the famous burning mountain, Vesuvius. The inside of this mountain contains stuff like melted sealing-wax, which is called lava. Every now and then this lava bursts out of the top of the mountain and passes along the country in a burning stream. Many hundred years ago two whole cities were buried in this lava, which hardened over it. Horses, temples, shops, and people were destroyed by it. More than 1600 years afterwards a workman, when digging, discovered part of a house, and afterwards whole streets were found, which had been buried under the lava, long, long before.
South of Italy lies the island of Sicily. There is a volcanic mountain there. Sicily is very fertile, and in old times used to be called the granary of Europe, because it produced so much corn.
Mountains of Turly.—The Alps to the north. The highest is Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, 15,744 feet high, or nearly three miles high. The Apennines, which, run down the middle of Italy.
In the north of Italy are beautiful lakes.
SPAIN is separated from France by some high mountains, called the Pyrenees. Years ago the Spaniards were a very powerful people ; but they are not so now. They have been badly governed: they are ignorant; and, moreover, the roads are so bad, and travelling so difficult, that few natives of other countries visit Spain.
It is always a fine thing for people to be on good terms with their neighbours. People can teach each other a great deal ; that is the reason our Prince
Consort had exhibitions in London. Foreign workmen sent over beautiful things which they had made, and then English workmen tried to imitate them. But the Spaniards have liked to think that they knew best in everything, and “ did not want to be told;" so the consequence is, that little has, until quite lately, been done to improve the country. But the government of Spain has lately been changed. The Spaniards had a foolish and superstitious queen, and in those days there was small chance of much improvement; but the present king allows much more freedom, and we may hope that increased opportunities of education may make the Spaniards more anxious to improve. The “dark places of the earth” are always full of cruelty, for cruelty and barbarism are in most cases the result of ignorance. The less people know, the more savage they usually are.
There is a great deal to be done in Spain before it will be a pleasant country. The roads, as I said, are so bad that packages have to be carried on the backs of mules ; and more causes than bad roads make travelling unpleasant: there are such a number of highway robbers, brigands as they are called, who stop travellers, rob, and sometimes murder them.
Then, if you went to Spain, I hope you would not like the national sport. What do I mean by that ? In England I think the favourite game is cricket. In Holland people amuse themselves by skating. In France, you could see grown-up people riding on wooden horses in merry-go-rounds at the fair. If you visited Naples, in Italy, you would find the people looking at Punch.
But what do the Spaniards do? If they played at cricket it would be a wholesome occupation, only it is too hot in Spain for running, excepting in the early morning or late evening; if they rode wooden horses, or stared at Punch, it would be innocent, though babyish. What do they do then? They go and see bulls fight with each other, and with men and horses, till sometimes men, and always bulls and horses, are killed.
Is not this a cruel sport? Is it not a cowardly sport ? And it is also ungrateful, for when a poor Spanish horse is too worn out to do any more work, his master, instead of turning him out to grass for the rest of his life, sends him to be killed by a bull. Women and children go to see this horrid
There are many wild beasts in Spain-bears and wolves. There are also tame ones, for there are many sheep. The dresses we call merino are made from the wool which grows on the backs of Spanish sheep. There are a great many silkworms in Spain, which spin the thread which is afterwards made into beautiful silk at Lyons. The Spaniards also keep numbers of bees, for the sake of the honey. The chief trade is wine-making, for many vines grow in Spain.
It is a very hot country, so hot that in the towns everybody goes to sleep in the middle of the day for two hours. Labourers, shop-people, ladies, and gentlemen, all lie down to rest,—even the post-office is shut.
The capital of Spain is Madrid.
Madrid is not a very pleasant town; in the summer it is frightfully hot, and in the winter it is very windy.
There are many gipsies in Spain, but they do not wander about as they do in England.
Seville is another big town; near it are numbers of orange-trees. You have seen Seville oranges in the shops. At Seville there is the largest tobacco manufactory in Europe. The Spanish are very fond of smoking. There is a cathedral in this town, where is the tomb of Christopher Columbus, who discovered America. To the south of Spain is Gibraltar, a very strong fortress, which belongs to England.
Rivers.—The largest river is the Tagus.
Religion.—Roman Catholic. Other religions are permitted.
PORTUGAL PORTUGAL looks like a little slice of Spain, and it is very like its elder sister in most things. The Portuguese dislike the Spaniards, just as next-door neighbours frequently do.
In Portugal a good deal of wine is made. Our Port wine comes from Oporto, in Portugal.
The capital is Lisbon, which was destroyed by an earthquake, more than 100 years ago. It has been rebuilt.