Nothing was out of the common on the way to the station, and our sense of the ordinary was not relieved when we found ourselves in a car of the American open-saloon pattern, well filled with other Americans bent upon the same errand as ourselves; though I am bound to say that the backs of the transverse seats rose well toward the roof of the car with a certain originality.

When we cleared the city streets and houses, we began running out into the country through suburbs vulgarly gay with small, bright brick villas, so expressive of commuting that the eye required the vision of young husbands and fathers going in at the gates with gardening tools on their shoulders and under their arms. To be sure, the time of day and the time of year were against this; it was now morning and autumn, though there was a vernal brilliancy in the air; and the grass, flattered by the recent rains, was green where we had last seen it gray. Along a pretty stream, which, for all I know may have been the Manzanares, it was so little, files of Lombardy poplars followed away very agreeably golden in foliage; and scattered about were deciduous-looking evergreens which we questioned for live-oaks. We were going northward over the track which had brought us southward to Madrid two weeks before, and by and by the pleasant levels broke into rough hills and hollows, strewn with granite boulders which, as our train mounted, changed into the savage rock masses of New Castile, and as we drew near the village of Escorial gave the scene the look of that very desolate country. But it could not be so gloomy in the kind sunlight as it was when lashed by the savage storm which we had seen it cowering under before; and at the station we lost all feeling of friendlessness in the welcome of the thronging guides and hotel touters.

Our ideal was a carriage which we could keep throughout the day and use for our return to the train in the afternoon; and this was so exactly the ideal of a driver to whom we committed ourselves that we were somewhat surprised to have his vehicle develop into a motor-omnibus, and himself into a conductor.

When we arrived at the palace some miles off, up a winding way, he underwent another change, and became our guide to the Escorial. In the event he proved a very intelligent guide, as guides go, and I really cannot now see how we could have got on without him. He adapted the Spanish names of things to our English understanding by shortening them; a patio became a pat', and an old master an old mast'; and an endearing quality was imparted to the grim memory of Philip II. by the diminutive of Philly. We accepted this, but even to have Charles V. brought nearer our hearts as Charley Fif, we could not bear to have our guide exposed to the mockery of less considerate travelers. I instructed him that the emperor's name was Charles, and that only boys and very familiar friends of that name were called Charley among us. He thanked me, and at once spoke again of Charley Fif; which I afterward found was the universally accepted style of the great emperor among the guides of Spain. In vain I tried to persuade them out of it at Cordova, at Seville, at Granada, and wherever else they had to speak of an emperor whose memory really seems to pervade the whole land.