Our pride in our equipage soon gave way to our interest in the market for sheep, cattle, horses, and donkeys which we passed through just outside the city. The market folk were feeling the morning's cold; shepherds folded in their heavy shawls leaned motionless on their long staves, as if hating to stir; one ingenious boy wore a live lamb round his neck which he held close by the legs for the greater comfort of it; under the trees by the roadside some of the peasants were cooking their breakfasts and warming themselves at the fires. The sun was on duty in a cloudless sky; but all along the road to the Cartuja we drove between rows of trees so thickly planted against his summer rage that no ray of his friendly heat could now reach us. At times it seemed as if from this remorselessly shaded avenue we should escape into the open; the trees gave way and we caught glimpses of wide plains and distant hills; then they closed upon us again, and in their chill shadow it was no comfort to know that in summer, when the townspeople got through their work, they came out to these groves, men, women, and children, and had supper under their hospitable boughs.

One comes to almost any Cartuja at last, and we found ours on a sunny top just when the cold had pinched us almost beyond endurance, and joined a sparse group before the closed gate of the convent. The group was composed of poor people who had come for the dole of food daily distributed from the convent, and better-to-do country-folk who had brought things to sell to the monks, or were there on affairs not openly declared. But it seemed that it was a saint's day; the monks were having service in the church solely for their own edification, and they had shut us sinners out not only by locking the gate, but by taking away the wire for ringing the bell, and leaving nothing but a knocker of feeble note with which different members of our indignation meeting vainly hammered. Our guide assumed the virtue of the greatest indignation, though he ought to have known that we could not get in on that saint's day; but it did not avail, and the little group dispersed, led off by the brown peasant who was willing to share my pleasure in our excursion as a good joke on us, and smiled with a show of teeth as white as the eggs in his basket. After all, it was not wholly a hardship; we could walk about in the sunny if somewhat muddy open, and warm ourselves against the icily shaded drive back to town; besides, there was a little girl crouching at the foot of a tree, and playing at a phase of the housekeeping which is the game of little girls the world over. Her sad, still-faced mother standing near, with an interest in her apparently renewed by my own, said that she was four years old, and joined me in watching her as she built a pile of little sticks and boiled an imaginary little kettle over them. I was so glad even of a make-believe fire that I dropped a copper coin beside it, and the mother smiled pensively as if grateful but not very hopeful from this beneficence, though after reflection I had made my gift a "big dog" instead of a "small dog," as the Spanish call a ten and a five centimo piece. The child bent her pretty head shyly on one side, and went on putting more sticks under her supposititious pot.

I found the little spectacle reward enough in itself and in a sort compensation for our failure to see the exquisite alabaster tomb of Juan II. and his wife Isabel which makes the Cartuja Church so famous. There are a great many beautiful tombs in Burgos, but none so beautiful there (or in the whole world if the books say true) as this; though we made what we could of some in the museum, where we saw for the first time in the recumbent effigies of a husband and wife, with features worn away by time and incapable of expressing the disappointment, the surprise they may have felt in the vain effort to warm their feet on the backs of the little marble angels put there to support them. We made what we could, too, of the noted Casa de Miranda, the most famous of the palaces in which the Castilian nobles have long ceased to live at Burgos. There we satisfied our longing to see a patio, that roofless colonnaded court which is the most distinctive feature of Spanish domestic architecture, and more and more distinctively so the farther south you go, till at Seville you see it in constant prevalence. At Burgos it could never have been a great comfort, but in this House of Miranda it must have been a great glory. The spaces between many of the columns have long been bricked in, but there is fine carving on the front and the vaulting of the staircase that climbs up from it in neglected grandeur. So many feet have trodden its steps that they are worn hollow in the middle, and to keep from falling you must go up next the wall. The object in going up at all is to join in the gallery an old melancholy custodian in looking down into the patio, with his cat making her toilet beside him, and to give them a fee which they receive with equal calm. Then, when you have come down the age-worn steps without breaking your neck, you have done the House of Miranda, and may lend yourself with what emotion you choose to the fact that this ancient seat of hidalgos has now fallen to the low industry of preparing pigskins to be wine-skins.

I do not think that a company of hidalgos in complete medieval armor could have moved me more strongly than that first sight of these wine-skins, distended with wine, which we had caught in approaching the House of Miranda. We had to stop in the narrow street, and let them pass piled high on a vintner's wagon, and looking like a load of pork: they are trimmed and left to keep the shape of the living pig, which they emulate at its bulkiest, less the head and feet, and seem to roll in fatness. It was joy to realize what they were, to feel how Spanish, how literary, how picturesque, how romantic. There they were such as the wine-skins are that hang from the trees of pleasant groves in many a merry tale, and invite all swains and shepherds and wandering cavaliers to tap their bulk and drain its rich plethora. There they were such as Don Quixote, waking from his dream at the inn, saw them malignant giants and fell enchanters, and slashed them with his sword till he had spilled the room half full of their blood. For me this first sight of them was magic. It brought back my boyhood as nothing else had yet, and I never afterward saw them without a return to those days of my delight in all Spanish things.

Literature and its associations, no matter from how lowly suggestion, must always be first for me, and I still thought of those wine-skins in yielding to the claims of the cathedral on my wonder and reverence when now for the second time we came to it. The funeral ceremony of the dean was still in course, and after listening for a moment to the mighty orchestral music of it - the deep bass of the priests swelling up with the organ notes, and suddenly shot with the shrill, sharp trebles of the choir-boys and pierced with the keen strains of the violins - we left the cathedral to the solemn old ecclesiastics who sat confronting the bier, and once more deferred our more detailed and intimate wonder. We went, in this suspense of emotion, to the famous Convent of Las Huelgas, which invites noble ladies to its cloistered repose a little beyond the town. We entered to the convent church through a sort of slovenly court where a little girl begged severely, almost censoriously, of us, and presently a cold-faced young priest came and opened the church door. Then we found the interior of that rank Spanish baroque which escapes somehow the effeminate effusiveness of the Italian; it does not affect you as decadent, but as something vigorously perfect in its sort, somberly authentic, and ripe from a root and not a graft. In its sort, the high altar, a gigantic triune, with massive twisted columns and swagger statues of saints and heroes in painted wood, is a prodigy of inventive piety, and compositely has a noble exaltation in its powerful lift to the roof.

The nuns came beautifully dressed to hear mass at the grilles giving into the chapel adjoining the church; the tourist may have his glimpse of them there on Sundays, and on week-days he may have his guess of their cloistered life and his wonder how much it continues the tradition of repose which the name of the old garden grounds implies. These lady nuns must be of patrician lineage and of fortune enough to defray their expense in the convent, which is of the courtliest origin, for it was founded eight hundred years ago by Alfonso VIII. "to expiate his sins and to gratify his queen," who probably knew of them. I wish now I had known, while I was there, that the abbess of Las Huelgas had once had the power of life and death in the neighborhood, and could hang people if she liked; I cannot think just what good it would have done me, but one likes to realize such things on the spot. She is still one of the greatest ladies of Spain, though perhaps not still "lady of ax and gibbet," and her nuns are of like dignity. In their chapel are the tombs of Alfonso and his queen, whose figures are among those on the high altar of the church. She was Eleanor Plantagenet, the daughter of our Henry II., and was very fond of Las Huelgas, as if it were truly a rest for her in the far-off land of Spain; I say our Henry II., for in the eleventh century we Americans were still English, under the heel of the Normans, as not the fiercest republican of us now need shame to own.

In a sense of this historical unity, at Las Huelgas we felt as much at home as if we had been English tourists, and we had our feudal pride in the palaces where the Gastilian nobles used to live in Burgos as we returned to the town. Their deserted seats are mostly to be seen after you pass through the Moorish gate overarching the stony, dusty, weedy road hard by the place where the house of the Cid is said to have stood. The arch, so gracefully Saracenic, was the first monument of the Moslem obsession of the country which has left its signs so abundantly in the south; here in the far north the thing seemed almost prehistoric, almost preglacially old, the witness of a world utterly outdated. But perhaps it was not more utterly outdated than the residences of the nobles who had once made the ancient Castilian capital splendid, but were now as irrevocably merged in Madrid as the Arabs in Africa.