Having regard to all these grievances, the councillors decreed that "none of whatsoever order or condition shall dare henceforth to place, or cause to be placed, about the lower floors or entrance of their dwelling, rejas or iron balconies, or anything projecting much or little from the level of the wall. But all projections shall be set three yards, not any less, above the street. If not so much, they shall be set within the wall, on pain of a fine of ten thousand maravedis, and five thousand maravedis to the mason and the carpenter that shall repair their fixing. Further, we order that all balconies and rejas now at a height of less than the aforesaid three yards be taken away within three days from the crying in public of these Ordinances."1
For this deplorable state of things a double influence was to blame; namely, the oriental narrowness of the street, and also the elaborate ornamentation, proceeding very largely from a northern Gothic and non-Spanish source, of these annoying yet impressive gratings. Some of them, sweeping the very soil, and boldly and fantastically curved, may yet be seen at Toro. Those of Granada are no more. Indeed, not only have the rejas of the Spanish private house long ceased to show the decorative cunning of the craftsman, but even in their present unartistic form are largely limited to Andalusia. Yet even thus, they seem to guard a typical and national air, mixed with a subtle, semi-Mussulmanic poetry. Across them, while the term of courtship lasts, the lover whispers with his mistress, oblivious of the outer world, fixing his gaze within, until his sultaness emerges from the gloom, and holds his hand, and looks into his eyes, and listens to his vow. Therefore, in "April's ivory moonlight," beneath the velvet skies of Andalusia, one always is well pleased to pass beside these children of romantic Spain, warming the frigid iron with the breath of youth, and hope, and happiness, and telling" to each other a secret that is known unto us all - at once the sweetest and the saddest, the newest and the oldest story of all stories.
1 These laws affecting balconies were not, or not as time went on, restricted to Granada. "Nobody," prescribes the general Spanish code in force in 1628, "shall make a balcony or oversailing part to fall upon the street, nor yet rebuild or repair any that shall fall." - Pradilla, Suma de Todas las Leyes Penales, Canonicas, Civiles, y destos Reynos.