It was not the weather for fans in Madrid, where it rained that cold rain every afternoon, and once the whole of one day, and we could not reasonably expect to see fans in the hands of ladies in real life so much as in the pictures of ladies on the fans themselves. In fact, I suppose that to see the Madrilenas most in character one should see them in summer which in southern countries is the most characteristic season. Theophile Gautier was governed by this belief when he visited Spain in the hottest possible weather, and left for the lasting delight of the world the record of that Voyage en Espagne which he made seventy-two years ago. He then thought the men better dressed than the women at Madrid. Their boots are as "varnished, and they are gloved as white as possible. Their coats are correct and their trousers laudable; but the cravat is not of the same purity, and the waistcoat, that only part of modern dress where the fancy may play, is not always of irreproachable taste." As to the women: "What we understand in France as the Spanish type does not exist in Spain. . . One imagines usually, when one says mantilla and senora, an oval, rather long and pale, with large dark eyes, surmounted with brows of velvet, a thin nose, a little arched, a mouth red as a pomegranate, and, above all, a tone warm and golden, justifying the verse of romance, She is yellow like an orange. This is the Arab or Moorish type and not the Spanish type. The Madrilenas are charming in the full acceptation of the word; out of four three will be pretty; but they do not answer at all to the idea we have of them. They are small, delicate, well formed, the foot narrow and the figure curved, the bust of a rich contour; but their skin is very white, the features delicate and mobile, the mouth heart-shaped and representing perfectly certain portraits of the Regency. Often they have fair hair, and you cannot take three turns in the Prado without meeting eight blonds of all shades, from the ashen blond to the most vehement red, the red of the beard of Charles V. It is a mistake to think there are no blonds in Spain. Blue eyes abound there, but they are not so much liked as the black."

Is this a true picture of the actual Madrilenas? What I say is that seventy-two years have passed since it was painted and the originals have had time to change. What I say is that it was nearly always raining, and I could not be stire. What I say, above all, is that I am not a Frenchman of the high Romantic moment and that what I chiefly noticed was how beautiful the mantilla was whether worn by old or young, how fit, how gentle, how winning. I suppose that the women we saw walking in it were never of the highest class; who would be driving except when we saw them going to church. But they were often of the latest fashion, with their feet hobbled by the narrow skirts, of which they lost the last poignant effect by not having wide or high or slouch or swashbuckler hats on; they were not top-heavy. What seems certain is that the Spanish women are short and slight or short and fat. I find it recorded that when a young English couple came into the Royal Armory the girl looked impossibly tall and fair.

The women of the lower classes are commonly handsome and carry themselves finely; their heads are bare, even of mantillas, and their skirts are ample. When it did not rain they added to the gaiety of the streets, and when it did to their gloom. Wet or dry the streets were always thronged; nobody, apparently, stayed indoors who could go out, and after two days' housing, even with a fire to air and warm our rooms, we did not wonder at the universal preference. As I have said, the noise that we heard in the streets was mainly the clatter of shoes and hoofs, but now and then there were street cries besides those I have noted. There was in particular a half-grown boy in our street who had a flat basket decorated with oysters at his feet, and for long hours of the day and dark he cried them incessantly. I do not know that he ever sold them or cared; his affair was to cry them.