THE WOMAN FROM NAPLES
 BY the will of Ferdinand the Seventh, his successor was to be his daughter, Isabella, who was
less than three years old when he died; and, until she grew up, her mother, Christina,
whom the people called "the woman from Naples," was to be regent. To this will Ferdinand's
brother Carlos refused to submit, on the ground that, according to his understanding of
the law, women could not reign in Spain; he gathered round him a party of friends who were
willing to fight for him. He was a narrow-minded, pig-headed, fat-witted Bourbon, who
could never quite thoroughly get it through his head that the world moves.
I dare say that he would have cut less figure, but for the temper of the people at the
time. In the cities, and among educated Spaniards, the long domination of the Church had
disgusted them. The priests were hated and loathed as fiercely as they had once been
reverenced. To a mob at Madrid, Seville, or Cadiz, a priest in canonicals was like a red
rag to a bull. In Madrid a white-haired old priest in his robes passed a party of workmen.
"Old man," cried one of them, "why do you wear a woman's petticoat?"
"Because," said the graybeard, intrepidly, "I am a priest of God."
"Take that for your God," said the workman, knocking the old man down.
"ALL THE DAY LONG I AM HAPPY."
The priest rose, wiped the blood from his face, and tendered the other cheek, " Strike
there, too," said he to
 the ruffian; and the crowd, admiring his grit, shouted, "Good for you, father!"
Isabella's reign had hardly begun when cholera, which was then raging all over the world,
broke out in Spain. Ignorant people said it was the work of the monks; that they had
poisoned the wells. Riots broke out, monasteries were attacked, and the priests murdered
by scores, while in the chief cities mobs went round shouting, "Down with the monks!"
On the other hand, in the country parts, and especially in tile pasture country of the
north, Navarre, the Asturias, the Basque provinces, and Galicia, where old fashions
prevailed, where only one person in eight could read, and there were no books or
newspapers, where the peasants wore the garb which their ancestors had worn in the Middle
Ages, and tended their flocks and fished the bays just as they had done before the
discovery of America, the priests were as strong as they ever had been. The peasants would
stand no trifling with the Church, and when they heard from their curas that Don Carlos
was a true Christian, who told his beads early and often, and who, if he became king,
would probably restore the Holy Inquisition, while the woman from Naples and her friends
were little better than infidels, who had robbed the Church already, and were likely to
rob it again, they said they were for Don Carlos, and they fought for him in their old,
gallant, stupid way.
They were so loyal to their faith that they kept up the war for seven years. Don Carlos
did not do any fighting. He preferred to walk the boulevards in Paris, to dine at his
clubs in London, to skim the bay of Naples in his yacht with ladies; but he read the
accounts of the Basque peasants dying for him with a good deal of interest.
His best general was an old officer of the army whose name was Zumalacarregui. He may
remind you of the old fighting monks of crusading times: a hard, cold, iron man, who
hardly ever spoke, never did any man wrong,
 never spared a sinner, or kissed a girl; but who went right on with his work as if there
were no such things in the world as love or mercy or tenderness or human weakness. This
old warrior won so many battles that the people of Madrid and Seville and Cadiz could not
contain their rage, and whenever a crowd assembled shouts arose, "Down with the monks!"
The people of Spain generally were against Don Carlos. It seemed to them mean to try and
cheat a little three-year-old girl out of her throne. They got up a good deal of sentiment
about sweet little innocent Isabel. I believe the sentiment did not last after the sweet
little innocent grew to be a woman; but while she was a baby it was strong. The regent
struck back at the priests by laying hands on the property of the regular religious
orders. In this way the government fought the Church with its own money.
But the woman from Naples did not make her way into the Spanish heart. Her husband died in
September, 1833; in December of the same year she was secretly married to a private
soldier named Munoz, by whom she had ten children. The Spaniards said that she was so busy
trying to get money for these children that she had no time to think of the kingdom. She
made her husband a duke, and spent her days in riding with him, and her evenings in
singing and dancing in his company.
Against the Carlists, as the followers of Don Carlos was called, the queen regent sent a
valiant and skilful general named Espartero, a native of La Mancha, and after several
years' fighting, he put them down. Then said Christina, "There are some towns here which
are giving me trouble about their fueros which I have taken away. Go and put down these
people with a little cannon shot and a few cavalry charges."
"Madam," said Espartero, "they may, as you say, be put clown with a little cannon shot and
a few cavalry charges. But I will not be the man to put them down. I would rather resign
 Christina promised to restore the fueros. But in a few days she changed her mind, and said
that she would not restore them, whereupon Valencia and Barcelona broke out in revolt.
Espartero said it was none of his business. Thereupon the regent flew into a temper, and
went off to Paris. The Cortes was not distressed at losing her, and appointed Espartero
regent in her place. This was in 1840.
He proved an excellent regent, but was not calm-tempered enough to manage the government
in such troubled times. Christina intrigued against him, and all the hungry politicians
who wanted office and plunder, and to whom Espartero would give neither, worked against
him. In 1843, weary of strife, he resigned, and the Cortes declared that little Isabella,
who was thirteen, had come of age, and she was crowned queen. Then Christina came back to
Madrid, and ruled the country under her daughter's name.
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