Gordon, C. My Scots Spanish Origin 11 2. My Schooling 20 3. A Frontier Incident 30 4. First War Experience 35 5. My Meetings with King Alfonso 42 6.
With Don Carlos Again 46 7. My First Engagement 53 8. Soldiering in Ireland 62 9. Unruly Times in Ireland 71 Sport in Ireland 77 A Voyage to New Zealand 87 A Maori Meeting 98 An Offer from the Governor of Tasmania I Become a Newspaper Proprietor A Merchant, then an Actor Soldiering in South Australia 2. Polo, Hunting and Steeplechasing 3. The Russian Scare and its Results 4. This was a severe blow to Scotsmen, and history tells that practically every Catholic laird preferred not to have his property confiscated, with the natural result that he ceased — at any rate publicly — to take part in the outward forms of the Catholic religion.
Churches, which Catholic families had built and endowed, passed into the hands of other denominations. Catholic priests who — in devotion to their duty — were willing to risk their lives, had to practise their devotions in secrecy. My great grandfather, Charles Edward Gordon , then quite a young man, happened to be one of those lairds who submitted to the law, preferring to remain lairds.
His younger brother, James Arthur , who chanced to be possessed in his own right of a certain amount of hard cash, began to think seriously.
It appeared to him that, if a law could be passed confiscating landed property unless the owners gave up the Catholic religion, there was no reason why another law should not be passed confiscating actual cash under similar conditions. The more he turned this over in his mind, the surer he became that at any rate the passing of such a second law could not be deemed illogical. He was by no means the only one of the younger sons of Scots families who thought likewise.
It seemed to him that it would be wise to leave the country — at any rate for a while. In those days there were no Canadas, Australias and other new and beautiful countries appealing to these adventurous spirits, but there were European countries where a field was open for their enterprise. My great grand-uncle — youthful as he was — decided that the South of Spain, Andalusia, La Tierra de Santa Maria, would suit him, and he removed himself and his cash to that sunny land.
It is there that the oranges flourish on the banks of the Guadalquivir. It is there that the green groves of olive trees yield their plentiful crops. It is there that the vine brings forth that rich harvest of grapes whose succulent juice becomes the nectar of the gods in the shape of sherry wine.
The Chronicles of a gay Gordon. by: Gordon, J.M. (Joseph Maria), Publication date: Topics: Generals -- England. Publisher: London ; New York. Bookplateleaf: Call number: ADB Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II. External-identifier: urn:oclc:record Identifier.
He decided that white sherry wine offered the best commercial result and resolved to devote himself to its production. Business went well with him. It was prosperous; the wine became excellent and the drinkers many. By this time his brother had married and the union had been blessed with two sons.
When the elder was fifteen years old, it appeared to his uncle James Arthur that it would be a good thing if his brother, the laird, would send the boy to Spain, to be brought up there, with a view to his finally joining him in the business. He decided, therefore, to visit his brother in Scotland, with this object in view. He did so, but the laird did not appear to be kindly inclined to this arrangement. He was willing, however, to let his second son go to Spain, finish his education, and then take on the wine business.
This was not what the uncle wanted. He wished for the elder son, the young laird, or for nobody at all. The matter fell through and the uncle returned to the Sunny South. A couple of years later on, the laird changed his mind, wrote to his brother, and offered to send his eldest son, John David A short time afterwards the young laird arrived in Spain. His father, the laird, lived for many years, during which time — after the death of his uncle — his eldest son had become the head of one of the most successful sherry wine firms that existed in those days in Spain.
He had married in Spain and had had a large family, who had all grown up, and had married also in that country, and it was not till he was some sixty years of age that his father, the laird, died and he succeeded to the Scots properties of Wardhouse and Kildrummy Castle. The law with reference to the forfeiture of lands held by Catholics had become practically void, so that he duly succeeded to the estates. The old laird had driven over in his coach to the nearest Catholic place of worship and had been received back into the Church of his fathers.
Afterwards he had given a great feast to his friends, at which plenty of good old port was drunk to celebrate the occasion. He drove back to his home, and on arrival at the house was found dead in the coach. So we children, when told this story, said that he had only got to Heaven by the skin of his teeth.
He broke the record in driving the mail coach from London to York without leaving the box seat.
And later on, in Aberdeen, he drove his four-in-hand at full gallop into Castlehill Barracks. Anyone who knows the old gateway will appreciate the feat. He, of course, had also been brought up in Spain, and was married to a cousin, and sister of the Conde de Mirasol, but had no children.
When he took up his residence as laird, most of his friends, naturally, were Spanish visitors whom he amused by building a bull-fighting ring not far from the house, importing bulls from Spain and holding amateur bull-fights on Sunday afternoons. This was a sad blow indeed to the sedate Presbyterians in the neighbourhood. His life, however, was short, and, as he left no children, the properties passed to my father, Carlos Pedro , by entail.
Yet all the wine is not really white. There is good brown sherry, and there is just as good golden sherry, and there is Pedro Ximenez. It is wanting in the beautiful and wonderful attractions which adorn many of the Andalusian towns that surround it. There are no royal palaces taken from the Moors by Spanish kings. There is no Seville Cathedral, no Giralda. There is no Alhambra as there is in Granada. There are only parts of the ancient walls that enclosed the old city. Probably he would note the presence of the stately and silent ciguenas, who make their home and build their nests upon the top of every church steeple or tower.
They are not exciting, but there they have been for years, and there they are now, and it is to be presumed that there they will remain. Although there is only one decent hotel in it, there are excellent private houses, full of many comforts and works of art, though their comfort and beauty is all internal.
They are mostly situated in side streets, with no attempt at any outside architectural effects. They love to take their ease, and have a decided objection to hustle.
The womenkind dearly love big families: the bigger they are the better they like them. They are devoted to their husbands and children, and live for them.
The men cannot be called ambitious, but they are perfectly satisfied with their quiet lives, and with looking after their own businesses. This habit of general talk without listeners is also common to the ladies. To be present at a re-union of ladies and listen to the babble of their sweet tongues is a pleasure which a lazy man can thoroughly enjoy.
The local Press is represented principally by three or four — mostly one-sheet — newspapers, which you can read in about three minutes.
Of course their all-absorbing interest, as regards sport, is centred in the bull-fights. For three months before the bull-fighting season begins — which is about Easter — people talk of nothing but bulls and matadors. The relative merits of the different studs which are to supply, not only the local corridas, but practically the tip-top ones throughout the chief cities of Spain, are discussed over and over again, while the admirers of Joselito since killed are as lavish in words and gestures of praise as are those of Belmonte, while, at the same time, the claims of other aspirants to championship as matadors are heard on every side.