I do not know but we chose our hotel when we left the Ritz because it was so Italian, so Roman. It had a wide grape arbor before it, with a generous spread of trellised roof through which dangled the grape bunches among the leaves of the vine. Around this arbor at top went a balustrade of marble, with fat putti, or marble boys, on the corners, who would have watched over the fruit if they had not been preoccupied with looking like so many thousands of putti in Italy. They looked like Italian putti with a difference, the difference that passes between all the Spanish things and the Italian things they resemble. They were coarser and grosser in figure, and though amiable enough in aspect, they lacked the refinement, the air of pretty appeal which Italian art learns from nature to give the faces of putti. Yet they were charming, and it was always a pleasure to look at them posing in pairs at the corners of the balustrade, and I do not know but dozing in the hours of siesta. If they had been in wood Spanish art would have known how to make them better, but in stone they had been gathering an acceptable weather stain during the human generations they had been there, and their plump stomachs were weather-beaten white.

I do not know if they had been there long enough to have witnessed the murder of Cromwell's ambassador done in our street by two Jacobite gentlemen who could not abide his coming to honor in the land where they were in exile from England. That must have been sometime about the middle of the century after Philip II., bigot as he was, could not bear the more masterful bigotry of the archbishop of Toledo, and brought his court from that ancient capital, and declared Madrid henceforward the capital forever; which did not prevent Philip III. from taking his court to Valladolid and making that the capital en titrewhen he liked. However, some other Philip or Charles, or whoever, returned with his court to Madrid and it has ever since remained the capital, and has come, with many natural disadvantages, to look its supremacy. For my pleasure I would rather live in Seville, but that would be a luxurious indulgence of the love of beauty, and like a preference of Venice in Italy when there was Rome to live in. Madrid is not Rome, but it makes you think of Rome as I have said, and if it had a better climate it would make you think of Rome still more. Notoriously, however, it has not a good climate and we had not come at the right season to get the best of the bad. The bad season itself was perverse, for the rains do not usually begin in their bitterness at Madrid before November, and now they began early in October. The day would open fair, with only a few little white clouds in the large blue, and if we could trust other's experience we knew it would rain before the day closed; only a morning absolutely clear could warrant the hope of a day fair till sunset. Shortly after noon the little white clouds would drift together and be joined by others till they hid the large blue, and then the drops would begin to fall. By that time the air would have turned raw and chill, and the rain would be of a cold which it kept through the night.

This habit of raining every afternoon was what kept us from seeing rank, riches, and beauty in the Paseo de la Castellana, where they drive only on fine afternoons; they now remained at home even more persistently than we did, for with that love of the fashionable world for which I am always blaming myself I sometimes took a cab and fared desperately forth in pursuit of them. Only once did I seem to catch a glimpse of them, and that once I saw a closed carriage weltering along the drive between the trees and the trams that border it, with the coachman and footman snugly sheltered under umbrellas on the box. This was something, though not a great deal; I could not make out the people inside the carriage; yet it helped to certify to me the fact that the great world does drive in the Paseo de la Castellana and does not drive in the Paseo del Prado; that is quite abandoned, even on the wettest days, to the very poor and perhaps unfashionable people.