The plaza is named, of course, for King Fernando, who took Seville from the Moors six hundred years ago, and was canonized for his conquests and his virtues. But I must not enter so rashly upon the history of Seville, or forget the arrears of personal impression which I have to bring up. The very drive from the station was full of impressions, from the narrow and crooked streets, the houses of yellow, blue, and pink stucco, the flowered and fountained patios glimpsed passingly, the half-lengths of church-towers, and the fleeting facades of convents and palaces, all lovely in the mild afternoon light. These impressions soon became confluent, so that without the constant witness of our note-books I should now find it impossible to separate them. If they could be imparted to the reader in their complexity, that would doubtless be the ideal, though he would not believe that their confused pattern was a true reflex of Seville; so I recur to the record, which says that the morning after our arrival we hurried to see the great and beautiful cathedral. It had failed, in our approach the afternoon before, to fulfil the promise of one of our half-dozen guide-books (I forget which one) that it would seem to gather Seville about it as a hen gathers her chickens, but its vastness grew upon us with every moment of our more intimate acquaintance. Our acquaintance quickly ripened into the affectionate friendship which became a tender regret when we looked our last upon it; and vast as it was, it was never too large for our embrace. I doubt if there was a moment in our fortnight's devotion when we thought the doughty canons, its brave-spoken founders, "mad to have undertaken it," as they said they expected people to think, or any moment when we did not revere them for imagining a temple at once so beautiful and so big.

Our first visit was redeemed from the commonplace of our duty-round of the side-chapels by two things which I can remember without the help of my notes. One, and the great one, was Murillo's "Vision of St. Anthony," in which the painter has most surpassed himself, and which not to have seen, Gautier says, is not to have known the painter. It is so glorious a masterpiece, with the Child joyously running down from the clustering angels toward the kneeling saint in the nearest corner of the foreground, that it was distinctly a moment before I realized that the saint had once been cut out of his corner and sent into an incredible exile in America, and then munificently restored to it, though the seam in the canvas only too literally attested the incident. I could not well say how this fact then enhanced the interest of the painting, and then how it ceased from the consciousness, which it must always recur to with any remembrance of it. If one could envy wealth its chance of doing a deed of absolute good, here was the occasion, and I used it. I did envy the mind, along with the money, to do that great thing. Another great thing which still more swelled my American heart and made it glow with patriotic pride was the monument to Columbus, which our suffering his dust to be translated from Havana has made possible in Seville. There may be other noble results of our war on Spain for the suzerainty of Cuba and the conquest of Puerto Rico and the Philippines, but there is none which matches in moral beauty the chance it won us for this Grand Consent. I suppose those effigies of the four Spanish realms of Castile, Leon, Aragon, and Navarre, which bear the coffin of the discoverer in stateliest processional on their shoulders, may be censured for being too boldly superb, too almost swagger, but I will not be the one to censure them. They are painted the color of life, and they advance colossally, royal-robed and mail-clad, as if marching to some proud music, and would tread you down if you did not stand aside. It is perhaps not art, but it is magnificent; nothing less stupendously Spanish would have sufficed; and I felt that the magnanimity which had yielded Spain this swelling opportunity had made America her equal in it.

We went to the cathedral the first morning after our arrival in Seville, because we did not know how soon we might go away, and then we went every morning or every afternoon of our fortnight there. Habitually we entered by that Gate of Pardon which in former times had opened the sanctuary to any wickedness short of heresy; but, as our need of refuge was not pressing, we wearied of the Gate of Pardon, with its beautiful Saracenic arch converted to Christianity by the Renaissance bas-relief obliterating the texts from the Koran. We tried to form the habit of going in by other gates, but the Gate of Pardon finally prevailed; there was always a gantlet of cabmen to be run beside it, which brought our sins home to us. It led into the badly paved Court of Oranges, where the trees seem planted haphazard and where there used also to be fountains. Gate and court are remnants of the mosque, patterned upon that of Cordova by one of the proud Moorish kings of Seville, and burned by the Normans when they took and sacked his city. His mosque had displaced the early Christian basilica of San Vicente, which the still earlier temple to Venus Salambo had become. Then, after the mosque was rebuilt, the good San Fernando in his turn equipped it with a Gothic choir and chapels and turned it into the cathedral, which was worn out with pious uses when the present edifice was founded, in their folie des grandeurs, by those glorious madmen in the first year of the fifteenth century.