It was to such a powerful embodiment of the local patriotism that our driver had brought us from another civic palace overlooking the Plaza de la Constitution, chiefly notable now for having been the old theater of the bull-fights. The windows in the houses round still bear the numbers by which they were sold to spectators as boxes; but now the municipality has built a beautiful brand-new bull-ring in San Sebastian; and I do not know just why we were required to inspect the interior of the edifice overlooking this square. I only know that at sight of our bewilderment a workman doing something to the staircase clapped his hands orientally, and the custodian was quickly upon us in response to a form of summons which we were to find so often used in Spain. He was not so crushingly upon us as that other custodian; he was apologetically proud, rather than boastfully; at times he waved his hands in deprecation, and would have made us observe that the place was little, very little; he deplored it like a host who wishes his possessions praised. Among the artistic treasures of the place from which he did not excuse us there were some pen-drawings, such as writing-masters execute without lifting the pen from the paper, by a native of South America, probably of Basque descent, since the Basques have done so much to people that continent. We not only admired these, but we would not consent to any of the custodian's deprecations, especially when it came to question of the pretty salon in which Queen Victoria was received on her first visit to San Sebastian. We supposed then, and in fact I had supposed till this moment, that it was Queen Victoria of Great Britain who was meant; but now I realize that it must have been the queen consort of Spain, who seems already to have made herself so liked there.

She, of course, comes every summer to San Sebastian, and presently our driver took us to see the royal villa by the shore, withdrawn, perhaps from a sense of its extreme plainness, not to say ugliness, among its trees and vines behind its gates and walls. Our driver excused himself for not being able to show us through it; he gladly made us free of an unrestricted view of the royal bathing-pavilion, much more frankly splendid in its gilding, beside the beach. Other villas ranked themselves along the hillside, testifying to the gaiety of the social life in summers past and summers to come. In the summer just past the gaiety may have been interrupted by the strikes taking in the newspapers the revolutionary complexion which it was now said they did not wear. At least, when the King had lately come to fetch the royal household away nothing whatever happened, and the "constitutional guarantees," suspended amidst the ministerial anxieties, were restored during the month, with the ironical applause of the liberal press, which pretended that there had never been any need of their suspension.