One must recall the effect of such a gentle fantasy as his with some such emotion as one recalls a pleasant tale unexpectedly told when one feared a repetition of stale commonplaces, and I now feel a pang of retroactive self-reproach for not spending the whole evening after dinner in reading up the story of that most storied city where this Spanish castle received us. What better could I have done in the smoky warmth of our hearth-fire than to con, by the light of the electric bulb dangling overhead, its annals in some such voluntarily quaint and unconsciously old-fashioned volume as Irving's Legends of the Conquest of Spain; or to read in some such (if there is any such other) imperishably actual and unfadingly brilliant record of impressions as Gautier's Voyage en Espagne, the miserably tragic tale of that poor, wicked, over-punished last of the Gothic kings, Don Roderick? It comes to much the same effect in both, and as I knew it already from the notes to Scott's poem of Don Roderick, which I had read sixty years before in the loft of our log cabin (long before the era of my unguided Spanish studies), I found it better to go to bed after a day which had not been without its pains as well as pleasures. I could recall the story well enough for all purposes of the imagination as I found it in the fine print of those notes, and if I could believe the reader did not know it I would tell him now how this wretched Don Roderick betrayed the daughter of Count Julian whom her father had intrusted to him here in his capital of Toledo, when, with the rest of Spain, it had submitted to his rule. That was in the eighth century when the hearts of kings were more easily corrupted by power than perhaps in the twentieth; and it is possible that there was a good deal of politics mixed up with Count Julian's passion for revenge on the king, when he invited the Moors to invade his native land and helped them overrun it. The conquest, let me remind the reader, was also abetted by the Jews who had been flourishing mightily under the Gothic anarchy, but whom Don Roderick had reduced to a choice between exile or slavery when he came to full power. Every one knows how in a few weeks the whole peninsula fell before the invaders. Toledo fell after the battle of Guadalete, where even the Bishop of Seville fought on their side, and Roderick was lastingly numbered among the missing, and was no doubt killed, as nothing has since been heard of him. It was not until nearly three hundred years afterward that the Christians recovered the city. By this time they were no longer Arians, but good Catholics; so good that Philip II. himself, one of the best of Catholics (as I have told), is said to have removed the capital to Madrid because he could not endure the still more scrupulous Catholicity of the Toledan Bishop.

Nobody is obliged to believe this, but I should be sorry if any reader of mine questioned the insurpassable antiquity of Toledo, as attested by a cloud of chroniclers. Theophile Gautier notes that "the most moderate place the epoch of its foundation before the Deluge," and he does not see why they do not put the time "under the pre-Adamite kings, some years before the creation of the world. Some attribute the honor of laying its first stone to Jubal, others to the Greek; some to the Roman consuls Tolmor and Brutus; some to the Jews who entered Spain with Nebuchadnezzar, resting their theory on the etymology of Toledo, which comes from Toledoth, a Hebrew word signifying generations, because the Twelve Tribes had helped to build and people it."