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ARAN ISLANDS—ARANY

remarkable capacity for work, and his popularity made him indispensable to the king. But he was a trying servant, for his temper was captious and his tongue sarcastic, while his aristocratic arrogance led him to display an offensive contempt for the golillas (the stiff collars), as he called the lawyers and public servants whom the king preferred to choose as ministers, and he permitted himself an amazing freedom of language with his sovereign. At last Charles III. sent him as ambassador to Paris in a disguised disgrace. Aranda held this position till 1787, but in Paris he was chiefly known for his oddities of manner and for perpetual wrangling with the French on small points of etiquette. He resigned his post for private reasons. In the reign of Charles IV., with whom he had been on familiar terms during the life of the old king, he was for a very short time prime minister in 1792. In reality he was merely used as a screen by the queen Maria Louisa and her favourite Godoy. His open sympathy with the French Revolution brought him into collision with the violent reaction produced in Spain by the excesses of the Jacobins, while his temper, which had become perfectly uncontrollable with age, made him insufferable to the king. After his removal from office he was imprisoned for a short time at Granada, and was threatened with a trial by the Inquisition. The proceedings did not go beyond the preliminary stage, and Aranda died at Epila on the 9th of January 1798.

See Don Jacobo de la Pezuela in the Revista de España, vol. xxv. (1872); Don Antonio Ma. Fabié, in the Diccionario general de politica y administration of Don E. Suarez Inclan (Madrid, 1868), vol. i.; M. Morel Fatio, Études sur l’Espagne (2nd series, Paris, 1890).

 (D. H.) 

ARAN ISLANDS, or South Aran, three islands lying across Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland, in a south-easterly direction, forming a kind of natural breakwater. They belong to the county Galway, and their population in 1901 was 2863. They are called respectively—beginning with the northernmost—Inishmore (or Aranmore), the Great Island; Inishmaan, the Middle Island; and Inisheer, the Eastern Island. The first has an elevation of 354 ft., the second of 259, and the third of 202. Their formation is carboniferous limestone. These islands are remarkable for a number of architectural remains of a very early date. In Inishmore there stand, on a cliff 220 ft. high, large remains of a circular cyclopean tower, called Dun-Aengus, ascribed to the Fir-bolg or Belgae; or, individually, to the first of three brothers, Aengus, Conchobar and Nil, who reached Aran Islands from Scotland in the 1st century A.D. There are seven other similar structures in the group. Inishmore also bears the name of Aran-na-naomh, Aran-of-the-Saints, from the number of religious recluses who took up their abode in it, and gave a celebrity to the holy wells, altars and shrines, to which many are still attracted. No less, indeed, than twenty buildings of ecclesiastical or monastic character have been enumerated in the three islands. On Inishmore are remains of the abbey of Killenda. Christianity was introduced in the 5th century, and Aran soon became one of the most famous island-resorts of religious teachers and ascetics. The extraordinary fame of the foundations here has been inferred from the inscription “VII. Romani” on a stone in the church Teampull Brecain on Inishmore, attributed to disciples from Rome. The total area of the islands is 11,579 acres. The Congested Districts Board made many efforts to improve the condition of the inhabitants, especially by introducing better methods of fishing. A curing station is established at Killeany, the harbour of Inishmore.

ARANJUEZ (perhaps the ancient Ara Jovis), a town of central Spain, in the province of Madrid, 30 m. S. of Madrid, on the left bank of the river Tagus, at the junction of the main southern railways to Madrid, and at the western terminus of the Aranjuez-Cuenca railway. Pop. (1900) 12,670. Aranjuez occupies part of a wide valley, about 1500 ft. above the sea. Its formal, straight streets, crossing one another regularly at right angles, and its uniform, two-storeyed houses were built in imitation of the Dutch style, under the direction of Jerónimo, marquis de Grimaldi (1716-1788), ambassador of Charles III. at the Hague. A rapid in the Tagus, artificially converted into a weir, renders irrigation easy, and has thus created an oasis in the midst of the barren plateau of New Castile. On every side the town is surrounded by royal parks and woods of sycamores, plane-trees and elms, often of extraordinary size. The prevalence of the dark English elms, first introduced into the country and planted here by order of Philip II. (1527-1598), gives to the Aranjuez district a character wholly distinct from that of other Spanish landscapes; and at an early period, despite the unhealthy climate, and especially the oppressive summer heat, which often approaches 100° F., Aranjuez became a favourite residence of the Spanish court. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the master of the Order of Santiago had a country seat here, which passed, along with the mastership, into the possession of the crown of Spain in 1522. Its successive occupants, from the emperor Charles V. (1500-1558) down to Ferdinand VII. (1784-1833), modified it according to their respective tastes. The larger palace was built by Pedro Caro for Philip V. (1683-1746), in the French style of the period. It overlooks the Jardin de la Isla, a beautiful garden laid out for Philip II. on an island in the Tagus, which forms the scene of Schiller’s famous drama Don Carlos. The Casa del Labrador, or Labourer’s Cottage, as it is called, is a smaller palace built by Charles IV. in 1803, and full of elaborate ornamentation. The chief local industry is farming, and an annual fair is held in September for the sale of live stock. Great attention is given to the rearing of horses and mules, and the royal stud used to be remarkable for the beauty of its cream-coloured breed. The treaty of 1772 between France and Spain was concluded at Aranjuez, which afterwards suffered severely from the French during the Peninsular War. Here, also, in 1808, the insurrection broke out which ended in the abdication of Charles IV.

For a fuller description of Aranjuez see D. S. Viñas y Rey, Aranjuez (Madrid, 1890); F. Nard, Guia de Aranjuez, su historia y descripcion (Madrid, 1851), (illustrated); Alvarez de Quindos, Descripcion historica del real basque y casa de Aranjuez (Madrid, 1804).

ARANY, JÁNOS (1817-1882), the greatest poet of Hungary after Petöfi, was born at Nagy-Szalontá on the 2nd of March 1817, the son of György Arany and Sara Mégyeri; his people were small Calvinist yeomen of noble origin, whose property consisted of a rush-thatched cottage and a tiny plot of land. An only son, late born, seeing no companions of his own age, hearing nothing but the voices of his parents and the hymns and prayers in the little Calvinist chapel, Arany grew up a grave and gentle, but by no means an ignorant child. His precocity was remarkable. At six years of age he went to school at Szalontá, where he read everything he could lay his hands upon in Hungarian and Latin. From 1832 to 1836 Arany was a preceptor at Kis-Ujszállás and Debreczen, still a voracious reader with a wider field before him, for he had by this time taught himself French and German. Tiring of the monotony of a scholastic life, he joined a troupe of travelling actors. The hardships he suffered were as nothing compared with the pangs of conscience which plagued him when he thought of the despair of his father, who had meant to make a pastor of this prodigal son, to whom both church and college now seemed for ever closed. At last he borrowed sixpence from the stage-manager and returned home, carrying all his property tied up in a handkerchief. Shortly after his home-coming his mother died and his father became stone-blind. Arany at once resolved that it was his duty never to leave his father again, and a conrectorship which he obtained at this time enabled them to live in modest comfort. In 1840 he obtained a notaryship also, and the same year married Juliana Ercsey, the penniless orphan daughter of an advocate. The next few happy years were devoted to his profession and a good deal of miscellaneous reading, especially of Shakespeare (he learnt English in order to compare the original with his well-thumbed German version) and Homer. Meanwhile the reactionaries of Vienna were goading the Magyar Liberals into revolt, and Arany found a safety-valve for his growing indignation by composing a satirical poem in hexameters, entitled “The Lost Constitution.” The Kisfaludy Society, the great literary association of Hungary, about this time happened to advertise a prize for the best satire on current