Even if the whole of this was not accurate, it offered such an embarrassing abundance to the choice that I am glad I knew little or nothing of the antagonistic origins when I opened my window to the sunny morning which smiled at the notion of the overnight tempest, and lighted all the landscape on that side of the hotel. The outlook was over vast plowed lands red as Virginia or New Jersey fields, stretching and billowing away from the yellow Tagus in the foreground to the mountain-walled horizon, with far stretches of forest in the middle distance. What riches of gray roof, of white wall, of glossy green, or embrowning foliage in the city gardens the prospect included, one should have the brush rather than the pen to suggest; or else one should have an inexhaustible ink-bottle with every color of the chromatic scale in it to pour the right tints. Mostly, however, I should say that the city of Toledo is of a mellow gray, and the country of Toledo a rich orange. Seen from any elevation the gray of the town made me think of Genoa; and if the reader's knowledge does not enable him, to realize it from this association, he had better lose no time in going to Genoa.

I myself should prefer going again to Toledo, where we made only a day's demand upon the city's wealth of beauty when a lifetime would hardly have exhausted it. Yet I would not counsel any one to pass his whole life in Toledo unless he was sure he could bear the fullness of that beauty. Add insurpassable antiquity, add tragedy, add unendurable orthodoxy, add the pathos of hopeless decay, and I think I would rather give a day than a lifetime to Toledo. Or I would like to go back and give another day to it and come every year and give a day. This very moment, instead of writing of it in a high New York flat and looking out on a prospect incomparably sky-scrapered, I would rather be in that glass-roofed patio of our histrionic hotel, engaging the services of one of the most admirable guides who ever fell to the lot of mortal Americans, while much advised by our skull-capped landlord to shun the cicerone of another hotel as "an Italian man," with little or no English.

As soon as we appeared outside the beggars of Toledo swarmed upon us; but I hope it was not from them I formed the notion that the beauty of the place was architectural and not personal, though these poor things were as deplorably plain as they were obviously miserable. The inhabitants who did not ask alms were of course in the majority, but neither were these impressive in looks or bearing. Rather, I should say, their average was small and dark, and in color of eyes and hair as well as skin they suggested the African race that held Toledo for four centuries. Neither here nor anywhere else in Spain are there any traces of the Jews who helped bring the Arabs in; once for all, that people have been banished so perfectly that they do not show their noses anywhere. Possibly they exist, but they do not exist openly, any more than the descendants of the Moorish invaders practise their Moslem rites. As for the beggars, to whom I return as they constantly returned to us, it did not avail to do them charity; that by no means dispersed them; the thronging misery and mutilation in the lame, the halt and the blind, was as great at our coming back to our hotel as our going out of it. They were of every age and sex; the very school-children left their sports to chance our charity; and it is still with a pang that I remember the little girl whom we denied a copper when she was really asking for a florecito out of the nosegay that one of us carried. But how could we know that it was a little flower and not a "little dog" she wanted?

There was something vividly spectacular in the square, by no means large, which we came into on turning the corner from our hotel. It was a sort of market-place as well as business place, and it looked as if it might be the resort at certain hours of the polite as well as the impolite leisure of a city of leisure not apparently overworked in any of its classes. But at ten o'clock in the morning it was empty enough, and after a small purchase at one of the shops we passed from it without elbowing or being elbowed, and found ourselves at the portal of that ancient posada where Cervantes is said to have once sojourned at least long enough to write one of his Exemplary Novels. He was of such a ubiquitous habit that if we had visited every city of Spain we should have found some witness of his stay, but I do not believe we could have found any more satisfactory than this. It is verified by a tablet in its outer wall, and within it is convincingly a posada of his time. It has a large low-vaulted interior, with the carts and wagons of the muleteers at the right of the entrance, and beyond these the stalls of the mules where they stood chewing their provender, and glancing uninterestedly round at the intruders, for plainly we were not of the guests who frequent the place. Such, for a chamber like those around and behind the stalls, on the same earthen level, pay five cents of our money a day; they supply their own bed and board and pay five cents more for the use of a fire.

Some guests were coming and going in the dim light of the cavernous spaces; others were squatting on the ground before their morning meal. An endearing smoke-browned wooden gallery went round three sides of the patio overhead; half-way to this at one side rose an immense earthen watei jar, dim red; piles of straw mats, which were perhaps the bedding of the guests, heaped the ground or hung from the gallery; and the guests, among them a most beautiful youth, black as Africa, but of a Greek perfection of profile, regarded us with a friendly indifference that contrasted strikingly with the fixed stare of the bluish-gray hound beside one of the wagons. He had a human effect of having brushed his hair from his strange grave eyes, and of a sad, hopeless puzzle in the effort to make us out. If he was haunted by some inexplicable relation in me to the great author whose dog he undoubtedly had been in a retroactive incarnation, and was thinking to question me of that ever unfulfilled boyish self-promise of writing the life of Cervantes, I could as successfully have challenged him to say how and where in such a place as that an Exemplary Novelist could have written even the story of The Illustrious Scullion. But he seemed on reflection not to push the matter with me, and I left him still lost in his puzzle while I came away in mine. Whether Cervantes really wrote one of his tales there or not, it is certain that he could have exactly studied from that posada the setting of the scene for the episode of the enchanted castle in Don Quixote, where the knight suffered all the demoniacal torments which a jealous and infuriate muleteer knew how to inflict.