It was hard by her cottage that we saw our first mosque, which had begun by being a Gothic church, but had lost itself in paynim hands for centuries, in spite of the lamp always kept burning in it. Then one day the Cid came riding by, and his horse, at sight of a white stone in the street pavement, knelt down and would not budge till men came and dug through the wall of the mosque and disclosed this indefatigable lamp in the church. We expressed our doubt of the man's knowing so unerringly that the horse meant them to dig through the mosque. "If you can believe the rest I think you can believe that," our guide argued.

He was like so many taciturn Spaniards, not inconversable, and we had a pleasure in his unobtrusive intelligence which I should be sorry to exaggerate. He supplied us with such statistics of his city as we brought away with us, and as I think the reader may join me in trusting, and in regretting that I did not ask more. Still it is something to have learned that in Toledo now each family lives English fashion in a house of its own, while in the other continental cities it mostly dwells in a flat. This is because the population has fallen from two hundred thousand to twenty thousand, and the houses have not shared its decay, but remain habitable for numbers immensely beyond those of the households. In the summer the family inhabits the first floor which the patio and the subterranean damp from the rains keep cool; in the winter it retreats to the upper chambers which the sun is supposed to warm, and which are at any rate dry even on cloudy days. The rents would be thought low in New York: three dollars a month get a fair house in Toledo; but wages are low, too; three dollars a month for a manservant and a dollar and a half for a maid. If the Toledans from high to low are extravagant in anything it is dress, but dress for the outside, not the inside, which does not show, as our guide satirically explained. They scrimp themselves in food and they pay the penalty in lessened vitality; there is not so much fever as one might think; but there is a great deal of consumption; and as we could not help seeing everywhere in the streets there were many blind, who seemed oftenest to have suffered from smallpox. The beggars were not so well dressed as the other classes, but I saw no such delirious patchwork as at Burgos. On the other hand, there were no idle people who were fashionably dressed; no men or women who looked great-world.

Perhaps if the afternoon had kept the sunny promise of the forenoon they might have been driving in the Paseo, a promenade which Toledo has like every Spanish city; but it rained and we did not stop at the Paseo which looked so pleasant.

The city, as so many have told and as I hope the reader will imagine, is a network of winding and crooked lanes, which the books say are Moorish, but which are medieval like those of every old city. They nowhere lend themselves to walking for pleasure, and the houses do not open their patios to the passer with Andalusian expansiveness; they are in fact of a quite Oriental reserve. I remember no dwellings of the grade, quite, of hovels; but neither do there seem to be many palaces or palatial houses in my hurried impression. Whatever it may be industrially or ecclesiastically, Toledo is now socially provincial and tending to extinction. It is so near Madrid that if I myself were living in Toledo I would want to live in Madrid, and only return for brief sojourns to mourn my want of a serious object in life; at Toledo it must be easy to cherish such an object.

Industrially, of course, one associates it with the manufacture of the famous Toledo blades, which it is said are made as wonderful as ever, and I had a dim idea of getting a large one for decorative use in a, New York flat. But the foundry is a mile out of town, and I only got so far as to look at the artists who engrave the smaller sort in shops open to the public eye; and my purpose dwindled to the purchase of a little pair of scissors, much as a high resolve for the famous marchpane of Toledo ended in a piece of that pastry about twice the size of a silver dollar. Not all of the twenty thousand people of Toledo could be engaged in these specialties, and I owe myself to blame for not asking more about the local industries; but it is not too late for the reader, whom I could do no greater favor than sending him there, to repair my deficiency. In self-defense I urge my knowledge of a military school in the Alcazar, where and in the street leading up to it we saw some companies of the comely and kindly-looking cadets. I know also that there are public night schools where those so minded may study the arts and letters, as our guide was doing in certain directions. Now that there are no longer any Jews in Toledo, and the Arabs to whom they betrayed the Gothic capital have all been Christians or exiles for many centuries, we felt that we represented the whole alien element of the place; there seemed to be at least no other visitors of our lineage or language.


We were going to spend the rest of the day driving out through the city into the country beyond the Tagus, and we drove off in our really splendid turnout through swarms of beggars whose prayers our horses' bells drowned when we left them to their despair at the hotel door. At the moment of course we believe that it was a purely dramatic misery which the wretched creatures represented; but sometimes I have since had moments of remorse in which I wish I had thrown big and little dogs broadcast among them. They could not all have been begging for the profit or pleasure of it; some of them were imaginably out of work and worthily ragged as I saw them, and hungry as I begin to fear them. I am glad now to think that many of them could not see with their poor blind eyes the face which I hardened against them, as we whirled away to the music of our horses' bells.

The bells pretty well covered our horses from their necks to their haunches, a pair of gallant grays urged to their briskest pace by the driver whose short square face and humorous mouth and eyes were a joy whenever we caught a glimpse of them. He was one of those drivers who know everybody; he passed the time of day with all the men we met, and he had a joking compliment for all the women, who gladdened at sight of him from the thresholds where they sat sewing or knitting: such a driver as brings a gay world to home-keeping souls and leaves them with the feeling of having been in it. I would have given much more than I gave the beggars in Toledo to know just in what terms he and his universal acquaintance bantered each other; but the terms might sometimes have been rather rank. Something, at any rate, qualified the air, which I fancied softer than that of Madrid, with a faint recurrent odor, as if in testimony of the driver's derivation from those old rancid Christians, as the Spaniards used to call them, whose lineage had never been crossed with Moorish blood. If it was merely something the carriage had acquired from the stable, still it was to be valued for its distinction in a country of many smells; and I would not have been without it.

When we crossed the Tagus by a bridge which a company of workmen willingly paused from mending to let us by, and remained standing absent-mindedly aside some time after we had passed, we found ourselves in a scene which I do not believe was ever surpassed for spectacularity in any theater. I hope this is not giving the notion of something fictitious in it; I only mean that here Nature was in one of her most dramatic moods. The yellow torrent swept through a deep gorge of red earth, which on the farther side climbed in precipitous banks, cleft by enormous fissures, or chasms rather, to the wide plateau where the gray city stood. The roofs of mellow tiles formed a succession of levels from which the irregular towers and pinnacles of the churches stamped themselves against a sky now filled with clouds, but in an air so clear that their beautiful irregularities and differences showed to one very noble effect. The city still looked the ancient capital of the two hundred thousand souls it once embraced, and in its stony repair there was no hint of decay.

On our right, the road mounted through country wild enough at times, but for the most part comparatively friendly, with moments of being almost homelike. There were slopes which, if massive always, were sometimes mild and were gray with immemorial olives. In certain orchard nooks there were apricot trees, yellowing to the autumn, with red-brown withered grasses tangling under them. Men were gathering the fruit of the abounding cactuses in places, and in one place a peasant was bearing an arm-load of them to a wide stone pen in the midst of which stood a lordly black pig, with head lifted and staring, indifferent to cactuses, toward Toledo. His statuesque pose was of a fine hauteur, and a more imaginative tourist than I might have fancied him lost in a dream of the past, piercing beyond the time of the Iberian autochtons to those prehistoric ages

  When wild in woods the noble savage ran,

pursuing or pursued by his tusked and bristled ancestor, and then slowly reverting through the different invasions and civilizations to that signal moment when, after three hundred Moslem years, Toledo became Christian again forever, and pork resumed its primacy at the table. Dark, mysterious, fierce, the proud pig stood, a figure made for sculpture; and if he had been a lion, with the lion's royal ideal of eating rather than feeding the human race, the reader would not have thought him unworthy of literature; I have seldom seen a lion that looked worthier of it.

We must have met farmer-folk, men and women, on our way and have seen their white houses farther or nearer. But mostly the landscape was lonely and at times nightmarish, as the Castilian landscape has a trick of being, and remanded us momently to the awful entourage of our run from Valladolid to Madrid. We were glad to get back to the Tagus, which if awful is not grisly, but wherever it rolls its yellow flood lends the landscape such a sublimity that it was no esthetic descent from the high perch of that proud pig to the mighty gorge through which, geologically long ago, the river had torn its way. When we drove back the bridge-menders stood aside for us while we were yet far off, and the women came to their doorways at the sound of our bells for another exchange of jokes with our driver. By the time a protracted file of mules had preceded us over the bridge, a brisk shower had come up, and after urging our grays at their topmost speed toward the famous church of San Juan de los Reyes Catolicos, we still had to run from our carriage door through the rain.

Happily the portal was in the keeping of one of those authorized beggars who guard the gates of heaven everywhere in that kind country, and he welcomed us so eagerly from the wet that I could not do less than give him a big dog at once. In a moment of confusion I turned about, and taking him for another beggar, I gave him another big dog; and when we came out of the church he had put off his cap and arranged so complete a disguise with the red handkerchief bravely tied round his head, that my innocence was again abused, and once more a big dog passed between us. But if the merit of the church might only be partially attributed to him, he was worth the whole three. The merit of the church was incalculable, for it was meant to be the sepulcher of the Catholic Kings, who were eventually more fitly buried in the cathedral at Granada, in the heart of their great conquest; and it is a most beautiful church, of a mingled Saracenic plateresque Gothic, as the guide-books remind me, and extravagantly baroque as I myself found it. I personally recall also a sense of chill obscurity and of an airy gallery wandering far aloof in the upper gloom, which remains overhead with me still, and the yet fainter sense of the balconies crowning like capitals the two pillars fronting the high altar. I am now sorry for our haste, but one has not so much time for enjoying such churches in their presence as for regretting them in their absence. One should live near them, and visit them daily, if one would feel their beauty in its recondite details; to have come three thousand miles for three minutes of them is no way of making that beauty part of one's being, and I will not pretend that I did in this case. What I shall always maintain is that I had a living heartache from the sight of that space on the fagade of this church which is overhung with the chains of the Christian captives rescued from slavery among the Moors by the Catholic Kings in their conquest of Granada. They were not only the memorials of the most sorrowful fact, but they represented the misery of a thousand years of warfare in which the prisoners on either side suffered in chains for being Moslems or being Christians. The manacles and the fetters on the church front are merely decorative to the glance, but to the eye that reads deeper, how structural in their tale of man's inhumanity to man! How heavily they had hung on weary limbs! How pitilessly they had eaten through bleeding ulcers to the bone! Yet they were very, very decorative, as the flowers are that bloom on battle-fields.

Even with only a few minutes of a scant quarter-hour to spare, I would not have any one miss seeing the cloister, from which the Catholic Kings used to enter the church by the gallery to those balcony capitals, but which the common American must now see by going outside the church. The cloister is turned to the uses of an industrial school, as we were glad to realize because our guide, whom we liked so much, was a night student there. It remains as beautiful and reverend as if it were of no secular use, full of gentle sculptures, with a garden in the middle, raised above the pavement with a border of thin tiles, and flower-pots standing on their coping, all in the shadow of tall trees, overhanging a deep secret-keeping well. From this place, where you will be partly sheltered from the rain, your next profitable sally through the storm will be to Santa Maria la Blanca, once the synagogue of the richest Jews of Toledo, but now turned church in spite of its high authorization as a place of Hebrew worship. It was permitted them to build it because they declared they were of that tribe of Israel which, when Caiaphas, the High Priest, sent round to the different tribes for their vote whether Jesus should live or die, alone voted that He should live. Their response, as Theophile Gautier reports from the chronicles, is preserved in the Vatican with a Latin version of the Hebrew text. The fable, if it is a fable, has its pathos; and I for one can only lament the religious zeal to which the preaching of a fanatical monk roused the Christian neighborhood in the fifteenth century, to such excess that these kind Jews were afterward forbidden their worship in the place. It is a very clean-looking, cold-looking white monument of the Catholic faith, with a retablo attributed to Berruguete, and much plateresque Gothic detail mingled with Byzantine ornament, and Moorish arabesquing and the famous stucco honeycombing which we were destined at Seville and Granada to find almost sickeningly sweet. Where the Rabbis read the law from their pulpit the high altar stands, and the pious populace has for three hundred years pushed the Jews from the surrounding streets, where they had so humbled their dwellings to the lowliest lest they should rouse the jealousy of their sleepless enemies.


When we had visited this church there remained only the house of the painter known as El Greco, for whom we had formed such a distaste, because of the long features of the faces in his pictures, that our guide could hardly persuade us his house was worth seeing. Now I am glad he prevailed with us, for we have since come to find a peculiar charm in these long features and the characteristic coloring of El Greco's pictures. The little house full of memorials and the little garden full of flowers, which ought to have been all forget-me-nots, were entirely delightful. As every one but I knew, and even I now know, he was born a Greek with the name of Theotocopuli, and studied tinder Titian till he found his account in a manner of his own, making long noses and long chins and high narrow foreheads in ashen gray, and at last went mad in the excess of his manner. The house has been restored by the Marquis de la Vega, according to his notion of an old Spanish house, and has the pleasantest small patio in the world, looked down into from a carved wooden gallery, with a pavement of red tiles interset with Moorish tiles of divers colors. There are interesting pictures everywhere, and on one wall the certificate of the owner's membership in the Hispanic Society of America, which made me feel at home because it was signed with the name of an American friend of mine, who is repressed by prosperity from being known as a poet and one of the first Spanish scholars of any time.

The whole place is endearingly homelike and so genuinely hospitable that we almost sat down to luncheon in the kitchen with the young Spanish king who had lunched with the Marquis there a few weeks before. There was a veranda outside where we could linger till the rain held up, and look into the garden where the flowers ought to have been forget-me-nots, but were as usual mostly marigolds and zinnias. They crowded round tile-edged pools, and other flowers bloomed in pots on the coping of the garden-seats built up of thin tiles carved on their edges to an inward curve. It is strongly believed that there are several stories under the house, and the Marquis is going some day to dig them up or out to the last one where the original Jewish owner of the house is supposed to have hid his treasure. In the mean time we could look across the low wall that belted the garden in, to a vacant ground a little way off where some boys were playing with a wagon they had made. They had made it out of an oblong box, with wheels so rudely and imperfectly rounded, that they wabbled fearfully and at times gave way under the body; just as they did with the wagons that the boys I knew seventy years ago used to make.

I became so engrossed in the spectacle, so essentially a part of the drama, that I did not make due account of some particulars of the subterranean six stories of El Greco's house. There must have been other things worth seeing in Toledo, thousands of others, and some others we saw, but most we missed, and many I do not remember. It was now coming the hour to leave Toledo, and we drove back to our enchanted castle for our bill, and for the omnibus to the station. I thought for some time that there was no charge for the fire, or even the smoke we had the night before, but my eyes were holden from the item which I found later, by seeing myself addressed as Milor. I had never been addressed as a lord in any bill before, but I reflected that in the proud old metropolis of the Goths I could not be saluted as less, and I gladly paid the bill, which observed a golden mean between cheapness and dearness, and we parted good friends with our host, and better with our guide, who at the last brought out an English book, given him by an English friend, about the English cathedrals. He was fine, and I could not wish any future traveler kinder fortune than to have his guidance in Toledo. Some day I am going back to profit more fully by it, and to repay him the various fees which he disbursed for me to different doorkeepers and custodians and which I forgot at parting and he was too delicate to remind me of.

When all leaves were taken and we were bowed out and away our horses, covered with bells, burst with the omnibus through a solid mass of beggars come to give us a last chance of meriting heaven by charity to them, and dashed down the hill to the station. There we sat a long half-hour in the wet evening air, wondering how we had been spared seeing those wretches trampled under our horses' feet, or how the long train of goats climbing to the city to be milked escaped our wheels. But as we were guiltless of inflicting either disaster, we could watch with a good conscience the quiescent industry of some laborers in the brickyard beyond the track. Slowly and more slowly they worked, wearily, apathetically, fetching, carrying, in their divided skirts of cross-barred stuff of a rich Velasquez dirt color. One was especially worthy of admiration from his wide-brimmed black hat and his thoughtful indifference to his task, which was stacking up a sort of bundles of long grass; but I dare say he knew what it all meant. Throughout I was tormented by question of the precise co-racial quality of some English-speaking folk who had come to share our bone-breaking return to Madrid in the train so deliberately waiting there to begin afflicting us. English English they certainly were not; American English as little. If they were Australian English, why should not it have been a convention of polite travel for them to come up and say so, and save us that torment of curiosity? But perhaps they were not Australians.