Meanwhile our shining hotel had begun to thrill with something besides the cold which nightly pierced it from the snowy Sierra. This was the excitement pending from an event promised the next day, which was the production of a drama in verse, of peculiar and intense interest for Granada, where the scene of it was laid in the Alhambra at one of the highest moments of its history, and the persons were some of those dearest to its romance. Not only the company to perform it (of course the first company in Spain) had been in the hotel overnight, and the ladies of it had gleamed and gloomed through the cold corridors, but the poet had been conspicuous at dinner, with his wife, young and beautiful and blond, and powdered so white that her blondness was of quite a violet cast. There was not so much a question of whether we should take tickets as whether we could get them, but for this the powerful influence of our guide availed, and he got tickets providentially given up in the morning for a price so exorbitant I should be ashamed to confess it. They were for the afternoon performance, and at three o'clock we went with the rest of the gay and great world of Granada to the principal theater.

The Latin conception of a theater is of something rather more barnlike than ours, but this theater was of a sufficiently handsome presence, and when we had been carried into it by the physical pressure exerted upon us by the crowd at the entrance we found its vastness already thronged. The seats in the orchestra were mostly taken; the gallery under the roof was loud with the impatience for the play which the auditors there testified by cries and whistlings and stampings until the curtain lifted; the tiers of boxes rising all round the theater were filled with family parties. The fathers and mothers sat in front with the children between them of all ages down to babies in their nurses' arms. These made themselves perfectly at home, in one case reaching over the edge of the box and clawing the hair of a gentleman standing below and openly enjoying the joke. The friendly equality of the prevailing spirit was expressed in the presence of the family servants at the back of the family boxes, from which the latest fashions showed themselves here and there, as well as the belated local versions of them. In the orchestra the men had promptly lighted their cigars and the air was blue with smoke. Friends found one another, to their joyful amaze, not having met since morning; and especially young girls were enraptured to recognize young men; one girl shook hands twice with a young man, and gurgled with laughter as long as he stood near her.

As a lifelong lover of the drama and a boyish friend of Granadan romance, I ought to have cared more for the play than the people who had come to it, but I did not. The play was unintentionally amusing enough; but after listening for two hours to the monotonous cadences of the speeches which the persons of it recited to one another, while the ladies of the Moorish world took as public a part in its events as if they had been so many American Christians, we came away. We had already enjoyed the first entr'acte, when the men all rose and went out, or lighted fresh cigars and went to talk with the Paris hats and plumes or the Spanish mantillas and high combs in the boxes. The curtain had scarcely fallen when the author of the play was called before it and applauded by the generous, the madly generous, spectators. He stood bowing and bowing on tiptoe, as if the wings of his rapture lifted him to them and would presently fly away with him. He could not drink deep enough of the delicious draught, put brimming to his lips, and the divine intoxication must have lasted him through the night, for after breakfast the next morning I met him in our common corridor at the hotel smiling to himself, and when I could not forbear smiling in return he smiled more; he beamed, he glowed upon me as if I were a crowded house still cheering him to the echo. It was a beautiful moment and I realized even better than the afternoon before what it was to be a young poet and a young Spanish poet, and to have had a first play given for the first time in the city of Granada, where the morning papers glowed with praise so ardent that the print all but smoked with it. We were alone in the corridor where we met, and our eyes confessed us kindred spirits, and I hope he understood me better than if I had taken him in my arms and kissed him on both cheeks.

I really had no time for that; I was on my way down-stairs to witness the farewell scene between the leading lady and the large group of young Granadans who had come up to see her off. When she came out to the carriage with her husband, by a delicate refinement of homage they cheered him, and left him to deliver their devotion to her, which she acknowledged only with a smile. But not so the leading lady's lady's-maid, when her turn came to bid good-by from our omnibus window to the assembled upper servants of the hotel. She put her head out and said in a voice hoarse with excitement and good-fellowship,"Adios, hombres!" ("Good-by, men!"), and vanished with us from their applausive presence.

With us, I say, for we, too, were leaving Granada in rain which was snow on the Sierra and so cold that we might well have seemed leaving Greenland. The brave mules which had so gallantly, under the lash of the running foot-boy beside them, galloped uphill with us the moonlight night of our coming, now felt their anxious way down in the dismal drizzle of that last morning, and brought us at last to the plaza before the station. It was a wide puddle where I thought our craft should have floundered, but it made its way to the door, and left us dry shod within and glad to be quitting the city of my young dreams.