Madrid is a capital with malice aforethought. Usually the seat of government is established in some important town from the force of circumstances. Some cities have an attraction too powerful for the court to resist. There is no capital of England possible but London. Paris is the heart of France. Rome is the predestined capital of Italy in spite of the wandering flirtations its varying governments in different centuries have carried on with Ravenna, or Naples, or Florence. You can imagine no Residenz for Austria but the Kaiserstadt, - the gemuthlich Wien. But there are other capitals where men have arranged things and consequently bungled them. The great Czar Peter slapped his imperial court down on the marshy shore of the Neva, where he could look westward into civilization and watch with the jealous eye of an intelligent barbarian the doings of his betters. Washington is another specimen of the cold-blooded handiwork of the capital builders. We shall think nothing less of the clarum et venerabile nomen of its founder if we admit he was human, and his wishing the seat of government nearer to Mount Vernon than Mount Washington sufficiently proves this. But Madrid more plainly than any other capital shows the traces of having been set down and properly brought up by the strong hand of a paternal government; and like children with whom the same regimen has been followed, it presents in its maturity a curious mixture of lawlessness and insipidity.

Its greatness was thrust upon it by Philip II. Some premonitory symptoms of the dangerous honor that awaited it had been seen in preceding reigns. Ferdinand and Isabella occasionally set up their pilgrim tabernacle on the declivity that overhangs the Manzanares. Charles V. found the thin, fine air comforting to his gouty articulations. But Philip II. made it his court. It seems hard to conceive how a king who had his choice of Lisbon, with its glorious harbor and unequalled communications; Seville, with its delicious climate and natural beauty; and Salamanca and Toledo, with their wealth of tradition, splendor of architecture, and renown of learning, should have chosen this barren mountain for his home, and the seat of his empire. But when we know this monkish king we wonder no longer. He chose Madrid simply because it was cheerless and bare and of ophthalmic ugliness. The royal kill-joy delighted in having the dreariest capital on earth. After a while there seemed to him too much life and humanity about Madrid, and he built the Escorial, the grandest ideal of majesty and ennui that the world has ever seen. This vast mass of granite has somehow acted as an anchor that has held the capital fast moored at Madrid through all succeeding years.

It was a dreary and somewhat shabby court for many reigns. The great kings who started the Austrian dynasty were too busy in their world conquest to pay much attention to beautifying Madrid, and their weak successors, sunk in ignoble pleasures, had not energy enough to indulge the royal folly of building. When the Bourbons came down from France there was a little flurry of construction under Philip V., but he never finished his palace in the Plaza del Oriente, and was soon absorbed in constructing his castle in cloud-land on the heights of La Granja. The only real ruler the Bourbons ever gave to Spain was Charles III., and to him Madrid owes all that it has of architecture and civic improvement. Seconded by his able and liberal minister, Count Aranda, who was educated abroad, and so free from the trammels of Spanish ignorance and superstition, he rapidly changed the ignoble town into something like a city. The greater portion of the public buildings date from this active and beneficent reign. It was he who laid out the walks and promenades which give to Madrid almost its only outward attraction. The Picture Gallery, which is the shrine of all pilgrims of taste, was built by him for a Museum of Natural Science. In nearly all that a stranger cares to see, Madrid is not an older city than Boston.

There is consequently no glory of tradition here. There are no cathedrals. There are no ruins. There is none of that mysterious and haunting memory that peoples the air with spectres in quiet towns like Ravenna and Nuremberg. And there is little of that vast movement of humanity that possesses and bewilders you in San Francisco and New York. Madrid is larger than Chicago; but Chicago is a great city and Madrid a great village. The pulsations of life in the two places resemble each other no more than the beating of Dexter's heart on the home-stretch is like the rising and falling of an oozy tide in a marshy inlet.

There is nothing indigenous in Madrid. There is no marked local color. It is a city of Castile, but not a Castilian city, like Toledo, which girds its graceful waist with the golden Tagus, or like Segovia, fastened to its rock in hopeless shipwreck.

But it is not for this reason destitute of an interest of its own. By reason of its exceptional history and character it is the best point in Spain to study Spanish life. It has no distinctive traits itself, but it is a patchwork of all Spain. Every province of the Peninsula sends a contingent to its population. The Gallicians hew its wood and draw its water; the Asturian women nurse its babies at their deep bosoms, and fill the promenades with their brilliant costumes; the Valentians carpet its halls and quench its thirst with orgeat of chufas; in every street you shall see the red bonnet and sandalled feet of the Catalan; in every cafe, the shaven face and rat-tail chignon of the Majo of Andalusia. If it have no character of its own, it is a mirror where all the faces of the Peninsula may sometimes be seen. It is like the mockingbird of the West, that has no song of its own, and yet makes the woods ring with every note it has ever heard.

Though Madrid gives a picture in little of all Spain, it is not all Spanish. It has a large foreign population. Not only its immediate neighbors, the French, are here in great numbers, - conquering so far their repugnance to emigration, and living as gayly as possible in the midst of traditional hatred, - but there are also many Germans and English in business here, and a few stray Yankees have pitched their tents, to reinforce the teeth of the Dons, and to sell them ploughs and sewing-machines. Its railroads have waked it up to a new life, and the Revolution has set free the thought of its people to an extent which would have been hardly credible a few years ago. Its streets swarm with newsboys and strangers, - the agencies that are to bring its people into the movement of the age.

It has a superb opera-house, which might as well be in Naples, for all the national character it has; the court theatre, where not a word of Cas-tilian is ever heard, nor a strain of Spanish music. Even cosmopolite Paris has her grand opera sung in French, and easy-going Vienna insists that Don Juan shall make love in German. The champagny strains of Offenbach are heard in every town of Spain oftener than the ballads of the country. In Madrid there are more pilluelos who whistle Bu qui s'avance than the Hymn of Riego. The Cancan has taken its place on the boards of every stage in the city, apparently to stay; and the exquisite jota and cachucha are giving way to the bestialities of the casino cadet. It is useless perhaps to fight against that hideous orgie of vulgar Menads which in these late years has swept over all nations, and stung the loose world into a tarantula dance from the Golden Horn to the Golden Gate. It must have its day and go out; and when it has passed, perhaps we may see that it was not so utterly causeless and irrational as it seemed; but that, as a young American poet has impressively said, "Paris was proclaiming to the world in it somewhat of the pent-up fire and fury of her nature, the bitterness of her heart, the fierceness of her protest against spiritual and political repression. It is an execration in rhythm, - a dance of fiends, which Paris has invented to express in license what she lacks in liberty."

This diluted European, rather than Spanish, spirit may be seen in most of the amusements of the politer world of Madrid. They have classical concerts in the circuses and popular music in the open air. The theatres play translations of French plays, which are pretty good when they are in prose, and pretty dismal when they are turned into verse, as is more frequent, for the Spanish mind delights in the jingle of rhyme. The fine old Spanish drama is vanishing day by day. The masterpieces of Lope and Calderon, which inspired all subsequent playwriting in Europe, have sunk almost utterly into oblivion. The stage is flooded with the washings of the Boulevards. Bad as the translations are, the imitations are worse. The original plays produced by the geniuses of the Spanish Academy, for which they are crowned and sonneted and pensioned, are of the kind upon which we are told that gods and men and columns look austerely.

This infection of foreign manners has completely gained and now controls what is called the best society of Madrid. A soiree in this circle is like an evening in the corresponding grade of position in Paris or Petersburg or New York in all external characteristics. The toilets are by Worth; the beauties are coiffed by the deft fingers of Parisian tiring-women; the men wear the penitential garb of Poole; the music is by Gounod and Verdi; Strauss inspires the rushing waltzes, and the married people walk through the quadrilles to the measures of Blue Beard and Fair Helen, so suggestive of conjugal rights and duties. As for the suppers, the trail of the Neapolitan serpent is over them all. Honest eating is a lost art among the effete denizens of the Old World. Tantalizing ices, crisped shapes of baked nothing, arid sandwiches, and the feeblest of sugary punch, are the only supports exhausted nature receives for the shock of the cotillon. I remember the stern reply of a friend of mine when I asked him to go with me to a brilliant reception, - "No! Man liveth not by biscuit-glace alone!" His heart was heavy for the steamed cherry-stones of Harvey and the stewed terrapin of Augustin.

The speech of the gay world has almost ceased to be national. Every one speaks French sufficiently for all social requirements. It is sometimes to be doubted whether this constant use of a foreign language in official and diplomatic circles is a cause or effect of paucity of ideas. It is impossible for any one to use another tongue with the ease and grace with which he could use his own. You know how tiresome the most charming foreigners are when they speak English. A fetter-dance is always more curious than graceful. Yet one who has nothing to say can say it better in a foreign language. If you must speak nothing but phrases, Ollendorff's are as good as any one's. Where there are a dozen people all speaking French equally badly, each one imagines there is a certain elegance in the hackneyed forms. I know of no other way of accounting for the fact that clever people seem stupid and stupid people clever when they speak French. This facile language thus becomes the missionary of mental equality, - the principles of '89 applied to conversation. All men are equal before the phrase-book.

But this is hypercritical and ungrateful. We do not go to balls to hear sermons nor discuss the origin of matter. If the young grandees of Spain are rather weaker in the parapet than is allowed in the nineteenth century, if the old boys are more frivolous than is becoming to age, and both more ignorant of the day's doings than is consistent with even their social responsibilities, in compensation the women of this circle are as pretty and amiable as it is possible to be in a fallen world. The foreigner never forgets those piquant, mutines faces of Andalusia and those dreamy eyes of Malaga, - the black masses of Moorish hair and the blond glory of those graceful heads that trace their descent from Gothic demigods. They were not very learned nor very witty, but they were knowing enough to trouble the soundest sleep. Their voices could interpret the sublimest ideas of Mendelssohn. They knew sufficiently of lines and colors to dress themselves charmingly at small cost, and their little feet were well enough educated to bear them over the polished floor of a ball-room as lightly as swallows' wings. The flirting of their intelligent fans, the flashing of those quick smiles where eyes, teeth, and lips all did their dazzling duty, and the satin twinkling of those neat boots in the waltz, are harder to forget than things better worth remembering.

Since the beginning of the Revolutionary regime there have been serious schisms and heart-burnings in the gay world. The people of the old situation assumed that the people of the new were rebels and traitors, and stopped breaking bread with them. But in spite of this the palace and the ministry of war were gay enough, - for Madrid is a city of office-holders, and the White House is always easy to fill, even if two thirds of the Senate is uncongenial. The principal fortress of the post was the palace of the spirituelle and hospitable lady whose society name is Duchess of Penaranda, but who is better known as the mother of the Empress of the French. Her salon was the weekly rendezvous of the irreconcilable adherents of the House of Bourbon, and the aristocratic beauty that gathered there was too powerful a seduction even for the young and hopeful partisans of the powers that be. There was nothing exclusive about this elegant hospitality. Beauty and good manners have always been a passport there. I have seen a proconsul of Prim talking with a Carlist leader, and a fiery young democrat dancing with a countess of Castile.

But there is another phase of society in Madrid which is altogether pleasing, - far from the domain of politics or public affairs, where there is no pretension or luxury or conspiracy, - the old-fashioned Tertulias of Spain. There is nowhere a kindlier and more unaffected sociableness. The leading families of each little circle have one evening a week on which they remain at home. Nearly all their friends come in on that evening. There is conversation and music and dancing. The young girls gather together in little groups, - not confined under the jealous guard of their mothers or chaperons, - and chatter of the momentous events of the week - their dresses, their beaux, and their books. Around these compact formations of loveliness skirmish light bodies of the male enemy, but rarely effect a lodgment. A word or a smile is momently thrown out to meet the advance; but the long, desperate battle of flirtation, which so often takes place in America in discreet corners and outlying boudoirs, is never seen in this well-organized society. The mothers in Israel are ranged for the evening around the walls in comfortable chairs, which they never leave; and the colonels and generals and chiefs of administration, who form the bulk of all Madrid gatherings, are gravely smoking in the library or playing interminable games of tresillon, seasoned with temperate denunciations of the follies of the time.

Nothing can be more engaging than the tone of perfect ease and cordial courtesy which pervades these family festivals. It is here that the Spanish character is seen in its most attractive light. Nearly everybody knows French, but it is never spoken. The exquisite Castilian, softened by its graceful diminutives into a rival of the Italian in tender melody, is the only medium of conversation; it is rare that a stranger' is seen, but if he is, he must learn Spanish or be a wet blanket forever.

You will often meet, in persons of wealth and distinction, an easy degenerate accent in Spanish, strangely at variance with their elegance and culture. These are Creoles of the Antilles, and they form one of the most valued and popular elements of society in the capital. There is a gallantry and dash about the men, and an intelligence and independence about the women, that distinguish them from their cousins of the Peninsula. The American element has recently grown very prominent in the political and social world. Admiral Topete is a Mexican. His wife is one of the distinguished Cuban family of Arrieta. General Prim married a Mexican heiress. The magnificent Duchess de la Torre, wife of the Regent Serrano, is a Cuban born and bred.

In one particular Madrid is unique among capitals, - it has no suburbs. It lies in a desolate table-land in the windy waste of New Castile; on the north the snowy Guadarrama chills its breezes, and on every other side the tawny landscape stretches away in dwarfish hills and shallow ravines barren of shrub or tree, until distance fuses the vast steppes into one drab plain, which melts in the hazy verge of the warm horizon. There are no villages sprinkled in the environs to lure the Madrilenos out of their walls for a holiday. Those delicious picnics that break with such enchanting freshness and variety the steady course of life in other capitals cannot here exist. No Parisian loves la bonne ville so much that he does not call those the happiest of days on which he deserts her for a row at Asnieres, a donkey-ride at Enghien, or a bird-like dinner in the vast chestnuts of Sceaux. "There is only one Kaiserstadt," sings the loyal Kerl of Vienna, but he shakes the dust of the Graben from his feet on holiday mornings, and makes his merry pilgrimage to the lordly Schoen-brunn or the heartsome Dornbach, or the wooded eyry of the Kahlenberg. What would white-bait be if not eaten at Greenwich? What would life be in the great cities without the knowledge that just outside, an hour away from the toil and dust and struggle of this money-getting world, there are green fields, and whispering forests, and verdurous nooks of breezy shadow by the side of brooks where the white pebbles shine through the mottled stream, - where you find great pied pan-sies under your hands, and catch the black beady eyes of orioles watching you from the thickets, and through the lush leafage over you see patches of sky flecked with thin clouds that sail so lazily you cannot be sure if the blue or the white is moving? Existence without these luxuries would be very much like life in Madrid.

Yet it is not so dismal as it might seem. The Grande Duchesse of Gerolstein, the cheeriest moralist who ever occupied a throne, announces just before the curtain falls, "Quand on n'a pas ce qu'on aime, il faut aimer ce qu'on a." But how much easier it is to love what you have when you never imagined anything better! The bulk of the good people of Madrid have never left their natal city. If they have been, for their sins, some day to Val-lecas or Carabanchel or any other of the dusty villages that bake and shiver on the arid plains around them, they give fervid thanks on returning alive, and never wish to go again. They shudder when they hear of the summer excursions of other populations, and commiserate them profoundly for living in a place they are so anxious to leave. A lovely girl of Madrid once said to me she never wished to travel, - some people who had been to France preferred Paris to Madrid; as if that were an inexplicable insanity by which their wanderings had been punished. The indolent incuriousness of the Spaniard accepts the utter isolation of his city as rather an advantage. It saves him the trouble of making up his mind where to go. Vamonos al Prado! or, as Browning says, -

  "Let's to the Prado and make the most of time."

The people of Madrid take more solid comfort in their promenade than any I know. This is one of the inestimable benefits conferred upon them by those wise and liberal free-thinkers Charles III. and Aranda. They knew how important to the moral and physical health of the people a place of recreation was. They reduced the hideous waste land on the east side of the city to a breathing-space for future generations, turning the meadow into a promenade and the hill into the Buen Retiro. The people growled terribly at the time, as they did at nearly everything this prematurely liberal government did for them. The wise king once wittily said: "My people are like bad children that kick the shins of their nurse whenever their faces are washed."

But they soon became reconciled to their Prado, - a name, by the way, which runs through several idioms, - in Paris they had a Pre-aux-clercs, the Clerks' Meadow, and the great park of Vienna is called the Prater. It was originally the favorite scene of duels, and the cherished trysting-place of lovers. But in modern times it is too popular for any such selfish use.

The polite world takes its stately promenade in the winter afternoons in the northern prolongation of the real Prado, called in the official courtier style Las delicias de Isabel Segunda, but in common speech the Castilian Fountain, or Castellana, to save time. So perfect is the social discipline in these old countries that people who are not in society never walk in this long promenade, which is open to all the world. You shall see there, any pleasant day before the Carnival, the aristocracy of the kingdom, the fast young hopes of the nobility, the diplomatic body resident, and the flexible figures and graceful bearing of the high-born ladies of Castile. Here they take the air as free from snobbish competition as the good society of Olympus, while a hundred paces farther south, just beyond the Mint, the world at large takes its plebeian constitutional. How long, with a democratic system of government, this purely conventional respect will be paid to blue-ness of blood cannot be conjectured. Its existence a year after the Revolution was to me one of the most singular of phenomena.

After Easter Monday the Castellana is left to its own devices for the summer. With the warm long days of May and June, the evening walk in the Salon begins. Europe affords no scene more original and characteristic. The whole city meets in this starlit drawing-room. It is a vast evening party al fresco, stretching from the Alcala to the Course of San Geronimo. In the wide street beside it every one in town who owns a carriage may be seen moving lazily up and down, and apparently envying the gossiping strollers on foot. On three nights in the week there is music in the Retiro Garden, - not as in our feverish way beginning so early that you must sacrifice your dinner to get there, and then turning you out disconsolate in that seductive hour which John Phoenix used to call the "shank of the evening," but opening sensibly at half past nine and going leisurely forward until after midnight. The music is very good. Sometimes Arban comes down from Paris to recover from his winter fatigues and bewitch the Spains with his wizardbaton.

In all this vast crowd nobody is in a hurry. They have all night before them. They stayed quietly at home in the stress of the noontide when the sunbeams were falling in the glowing streets like javelins, - they utilized some of the waste hours of the broiling afternoon in sleep, and are fresh as daisies now. The women are not haunted by the thought of lords and babies growling and wailing at home. Their lords are beside them, the babies are sprawling in the clean gravel by their chairs. Late in the small hours I have seen these family parties in the promenade, the husband tranquilly smoking his hundredth cigarette, hisplacens uxor dozing in her chair, one baby asleep on the ground, and another slumbering in her lap.

This Madrid climate is a gallant one, and kindlier to the women than the men. The ladies are built on the old-fashioned generous plan. Like a Southern table in the old times, the only fault is too abundant plenty. They move along with a superb dignity of carriage that Banting would like to banish from the world, their round white shoulders shining in the starlight, their fine heads elegantly draped in the coquettish and always graceful mantilla. But you would look in vain among the men of Madrid for such fulness and liberality of structure. They are thin, eager, sinewy in ap' pearance, - though it is the spareness of the Turk, not of the American. It comes from tobacco and the Guadarrama winds. This still, fine, subtle air that blows from the craggy peaks over the treeless plateau seems to take all superfluous moisture out of the men of Madrid. But it is, like Benedick's wit, "a most manly air, it will not hurt a woman." This tropic summer-time brings the halcyon days of the vagabonds of Madrid. They are a temperate, reasonable people, after all, when they are let alone. They do not require the savage stimulants of our colder-blooded race. The fresh air is a feast. As Walt Whitman says, they loaf and invite their souls. They provide for the banquet only the most spiritual provender. Their dissipation is confined principally to starlight and zephyrs; the coarser and wealthier spirits indulge in ice, agraz, and meringues dissolved in water. The climax of their luxury is a cool bed. Walking about the city at midnight, I have seen the fountains all surrounded by luxurious vagabonds asleep or in revery, dozens of them stretched along the rim of the basins, in the spray of the splashing water, where the least start would plunge them in. But the dreams of these Latin beggars are too peaceful to trouble their slumber. They lie motionless, amid the roar of wheels and the tramp of a thousand feet, their bed the sculptured marble, their covering the deep, amethystine vault, warm and cherishing with its breath of summer winds, bright with its trooping stars. The Providence of the worthless watches and guards them!

The chief commerce of the streets of Madrid seems to be fire and water, bane and antidote. It would be impossible for so many match-venders to live anywhere else, in a city ten times the size of Madrid. On every block you will find a wandering merchant dolefully announcing paper and phosphorus, - the one to construct cigarettes and the other to light them. The matches are little waxen tapers very neatly made and enclosed in pasteboard boxes, which are sold for a cent and contain about a hundred fosforos. These boxes are ornamented with portraits of the popular favorites of the day, and afford a very fair test of the progress and decline of parties. The queen has disappeared from them except in caricature, and the chivalrous face of Castelar and the heavy Bourbon mouth of Don Carlos are oftener seen than any others. A Madrid smoker of average industry will use a box a day. They smoke more cigarettes than cigars, and in the ardor of conversation allow their fire to go out every minute. A young Austrian, who was watching a senorito light his wisp of paper for the fifth time, and mentally comparing it with the volcano volume and kern-deutsch integrity of purpose of the meerschaums of his native land, said to me: "What can you expect of a people who trifle in that way with the only work of their lives?"

It is this habit of constant smoking that makes the Madrilenos the thirstiest people in the world; so that, alternating with the cry of "Fire, lord-lings! Matches, chevaliers!" you hear continually the drone so tempting to parched throats, "Water! who wants water? freezing water! colder than snow!" This is the daily song of the Gallician who marches along in his irrigating mission, with his brown blouse, his short breeches, and pointed hat, like that Aladdin wears in the cheap editions; a little varied by the Valentian in his party-colored mantle and his tow trousers, showing the bronzed leg from the knee to the blue-bordered sandals. Numerous as they are, they all seem to have enough to do. They carry their scriptural-looking water-jars on their backs, and a smart tray of tin and burnished brass, with meringues and glasses, in front. The glasses are of enormous but not extravagant proportions. These dropsical Iberians will drink water as if it were no stronger than beer. In the winter-time, while the cheerful invitation rings out to the same effect, - that the beverage is cold as the snow, - the merchant prudently carries a little pot of hot water over a spirit-lamp to take the chill off for shivery customers.

Madrid is one of those cities where strangers fear the climate less than residents. Nothing is too bad for the Castilian to say of his native air. Before you have been a day in the city some kind soul will warn you against everything you have been in the habit of doing as leading to sudden and severe death in this subtle air. You will hear in a dozen different tones the favorite proverb, which may be translated, -

  The air of Madrid is as sharp as a knife, - 
  It will spare a candle and blow out your life: -

and another where the truth, as in many Spanish proverbs, is sacrificed to the rhyme, saying that the climate is tres meses invierno y nueve infierno, - three months winter and nine months Tophet. At the first coming of the winter frosts the genuine son of Madrid gets out his capa, the national full round cloak, and never leaves it off till late in the hot spring days. They have a way of throwing one corner over the left shoulder, so that a bright strip of gay lining falls outward and pleasantly relieves the sombre monotony of the streets. In this way the face is completely covered by the heavy woollen folds, only the eyes being visible under the sombrero. The true Spaniard breathes no out-of-doors air all winter except through his cloak, and they stare at strangers who go about with uncovered faces enjoying the brisk air as if they were lunatics. But what makes the custom absurdly incongruous is that the women have no such terror of fresh air. While the hidalgo goes smothered in his wrappings his wife and daughter wear nothing on their necks and faces but their pretty complexions, and the gallant breeze, grateful for this generous confidence, repays them in roses. I have sometimes fancied that in this land of traditions this difference might have arisen in those days of adventure when the cavaliers had good reasons for keeping their faces concealed, while the senoras, we are bound to believe, have never done anything for which their own beauty was not the best excuse.

Nearly all there is of interest in Madrid consists in the faces and the life of its people. There is but one portion of the city which appeals to the tourist's ordinary set of emotions. This is the old Moors' quarter, - the intricate jumble of streets and places on the western edge of the town, overlooking the bankrupt river. Here is St. Andrew's, the parish church where Isabella the Catholic and her pious husband used to offer their stiff and dutiful prayers. Behind it a market-place of the most primitive kind runs precipitately down to the Street of. Segovia, at such an angle that you wonder the turnips and carrots can ever be brought to keep their places on the rocky slope. If you will wander through the dark alleys and hilly streets of this quarter when twilight is softening the tall tenement-houses to a softer purpose, and the doorways are all full of gossiping groups, and here and there in the little courts you can hear the tinkling of a guitar and the drone of ballads, and see the idlers lounging by the fountains, and everywhere against the purple sky the crosses of old convents, while the evening air is musical with slow chimes from the full-arched belfries, it will not be hard to imagine you are in the Spain you have read and dreamed of. And, climbing out of this labyrinth of slums, you pass under the gloomy gates that lead to the Plaza Mayor. This once magnificent square is now as squalid and forsaken as the Place Royale of Paris, though it dates from a period comparatively recent. The mind so instinctively revolts at the contemplation of those orgies of priestly brutality which have made the very name of this place redolent with a fragrance of scorched Christians, that we naturally assign it an immemorial antiquity. But a glance at the booby face of Philip III. on his round-bellied charger in the centre of the square will remind us that this place was built at the same time the Mayflower's passengers were laying the massive foundations of the great Republic. The Autos-da-Fe, the plays of Lope de Vega, and the bull-fights went on for many years with impartial frequency under the approving eyes of royalty, which occupied a convenient balcony in the Panaderia, that overdressed building with the two extinguisher towers. Down to a period disgracefully near us, those balconies were occupied by the dull-eyed, pendulous-lipped tyrants who have sat on the throne of St. Ferdinand, while there in the spacious court below the varied sports went on, - to-day a comedy of Master Lope, to-morrow the gentle and joyous slaying of bulls, and the next day, with greater pomp and ceremony, with banners hung from the windows, and my lord the king surrounded by his women and his courtiers in their bravest gear, and the august presence of the chief priests and their idol in the form of wine and wafers, - the judg-ment and fiery sentence of the thinking men of Spain.

Let us remember as we leave this accursed spot that the old palace of the Inquisition is now the Ministry of Justice, where a liberal statesman has just drawn up the bill of civil marriage; and that in the convent of the Trinitarians a Spanish Rationalist, the Minister of Fomento, is laboring to secularize education in the Peninsula. There is much coiling and hissing, but the fangs of the ser-pent are much less prompt and effective than of old.

The wide Calle Mayor brings you in a moment out of these mouldy shadows and into the broad light of nowadays which shines in the Puerta del Sol. Here, under the walls of the Ministry of the Interior, the quick, restless heart of Madrid beats with the new life it has lately earned. The flags of the pavement have been often stained with blood, but of blood shed in combat, in the assertion of individual freedom. Although the government holds that fortress-palace with a grasp of iron, it can exercise no control over the free speech that asserts itself on the very sidewalk of the Principal. At every step you see news-stands filled with the sharp critical journalism of Spain, - often ignorant and unjust, but generally courteous in expression and independent in thought. Every day at noon the northern mails bring hither the word of all Europe to the awaking Spanish mind, and within that massive building the converging lines of the telegraph are whispering every hour their persuasive lessons of the world's essential unity.

The movement of life and growth is bearing the population gradually away from that dark mediaeval Madrid of the Catholic kings through the Puerta del Sol to the airy heights beyond, and the new, fresh quarter built by the philosopher Bourbon Charles III. is becoming the most important part of the city. I think we may be permitted to hope that the long reign of savage faith and repression is broken at last, and that this abused and suffering people is about to enter into its rightful inheritance of modern freedom and progress.