Perhaps this description is not very exact, but precision of statement is not to be expected of a Welshman; and if Howell preferred to say Philip built the place in fulfilment of that vow at the battle of St. Quentin, doubtless he believed it; many others did; it has only of late been discovered that Philip was not at St. Quentin, and did not "batter a monastery of St. Lawrence friars" there. I like to think the rest is all as Howell says down to the man and mule for every monk. If there are no men and mules left, there are very few monks either, after the many suppressions of convents. The gardens are there of an unquestionable symmetry and beauty, and the "company of craggy hills" abides all round the prodigious edifice, which is at once so prodigious, and grows larger upon you in the retrospect.

Now that I am this good distance away, and cannot bring myself to book by a second experience, I feel it safe to say that I had a feeling of St. Peter's-like immensity in the church of the Escorial, with more than St. Peter's-like bareness. The gray colorlessness of the architecture somberly prevails in memory over the frescoes of the painters invited to relieve it in the roof and the retablo, and thought turns from the red-and-yellow jasper of altar and pulpit, and the bronze-gilt effigies of kneeling kings and queens to that niche near the oratory where the little terrible man who imagined and realized it all used to steal in from his palace, and worship next the small chamber where at last he died. It is said he also read despatches and state papers in this nook, but doubtless only in the intervals of devotion.

Every one to his taste, even in matters of religion; Philip reared a temple to the life beyond this, and as if with the splendor of the mausoleum which it enshrines he hoped to overcome the victorious grave; the Caliph who built the mighty mosque at Cordova, which outlasts every other glory of his capital, dedicated it to the joy of this life as against the gloom of whose who would have put it under the feet of death. "Let us build," he said to his people, "the Kaaba of the West upon the site of a Christian temple, which we will destroy, so that we may set forth how the Cross shall fall and become abased before the True Prophet. Allah will never place the world beneath the feet of those who make themselves the slaves of drink and sensuality while they preach penitence and the joys of chastity, and while extolling poverty enrich themselves to the loss of their neighbors. For these the sad and silent cloister; for us, the crystalline fountain and the shady grove; for them, the rude and unsocial life of dungeon-like strongholds; for us, the charm of social life and culture; for them, intolerance and tyranny; for us, a ruler who is our father; for them, the darkness of ignorance; for us, letters and instruction as wide-spread as our creed; for them, the wilderness, celibacy, and the doom of the false martyr; for us, plenty, love, brotherhood, and eternal joy."

In spite of the somewhat vaunting spirit of his appeal, the wager of battle decided against the Arab; it was the Crescent that fell, the Cross that prevailed; in the very heart of Abderrahman's mosque a Christian cathedral rises. Yet in the very heart of Philip's temple to the spirit of the cloister, the desert, the martyrdom, one feels that a great deal could be said on Abderrahman's side. This is a world which will not be renounced, in fact, and even in Christian Spain it has triumphed in the arts and sciences beyond its earlier victories in Moslem Spain. One finds Philip himself, with his despatches in that high nook, rather than among the bronze-gilt royalties at the high altar, though his statue is duly there with those of his three wives. The group does not include that poor Bloody Mary of England, who should have been the fourth there, for surely she suffered enough for his faith and him to be of his domestic circle forever.