strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/iovannet/public_html/explorion/modules/book/book.module on line 559.


Even at Irun, where we arrived in Spain from Bayonne, there began at once to be temperamental differences which ought to have wrought against my weird misgivings of my whereabouts. Only in Spain could a customs inspector have felt of one tray in our trunks and then passed them all with an air of such jaded aversion from an employ uncongenial to a gentleman. Perhaps he was also loath to attempt any inquiry in that Desperanto of French, English, and Spanish which raged around us; but the porter to whom we had fallen, while I hesitated at our carriage door whether I should summon him as Mozo or Usted, was master of that lingua franca and recovered us from the customs without question on our part, and understood everything we could not, say. I like to think he was a Basque, because I like the Basques so much for no reason that I can think of. Their being always Carlists would certainly be no reason with me, for I was never a Carlist; and perhaps my liking is only a prejudice in their favor from the air of thrift and work which pervades their beautiful province, or is an effect of their language as I first saw it inscribed on the front of the Credit Lyonnais at Bayonne. It looked so beautifully regular, so scholarly, so Latin, so sister to both Spanish and Italian, so richly and musically voweled, and yet remained so impenetrable to the most daring surmise, that I conceived at once a profound admiration for the race which could keep such a language to itself. When I remembered how blond, how red-blond our sinewy young porter was, I could not well help breveting him of that race, and honoring him because he could have read those words with the eyes that were so blue amid the general Spanish blackness of eyes. He imparted a quiet from his own calm to our nervousness, and if we had appealed to him on the point I am sure he would have saved us from the error of breakfasting in the station restaurant at the deceitful table d'hote, though where else we should have breakfasted I do not know.