Suddenly, on the way home to our very English hotel, the air of Ronda seemed charged with English. We were already used to the English of our young guide, which so far as it went, went firmly and courageously after forethought and reflection for each sentence, but we were not quite prepared for the English of two polite youths who lifted their hats as they passed us and said, "Good afternoon." The general English lasted quite overnight and far into the next day when we found several natives prepared to try it on us in the pretty Alameda, and learned from one, who proved to be the teacher of it in the public school, that there were some twenty boys studying it there: heaven knows why, but the English hotel and its success may have suggested it to them as a means of prosperity. The students seem each prepared to guide strangers through Ronda, but sometimes they fail of strangers. That was the case with the pathetic young hunchback whom we met in Alameda, and who owned that he had guided none that day. In view of this and as a prophylactic against a course of bad luck, I made so bold as to ask if I might venture to repair the loss of the peseta which he would otherwise have earned. He smiled wanly, and then with the countenance of the teacher, he submitted and thanked me in English which I can cordially recommend to strangers knowing no Spanish.

All this was at the end of another morning when we had set out with the purpose of seeing the rest of Ronda for ourselves. We chose a back street parallel to the great thoroughfare leading to the new bridge, and of a squalor which we might have imagined but had not. The dwellers in the decent-looking houses did not seem to mind the sights and scents of their street, but these revolted us, and we made haste out of it into the avenue where the greater world of Ronda was strolling or standing about, but preferably standing about. In the midst of it, at the entrance of the new bridge we heard ourselves civilly saluted and recognized with some hesitation the donkey's harness-maker who, in his Sunday dress and with his hat on, was not just the work-day presence we knew. He held by the hand a pretty boy of eleven years, whom he introduced as his second son, self-destined to follow the elder brother to America, and duly take up the profession of teaching in Puerto Rico after experiencing the advantages of the Escuela Mann. His father said that he already knew some English, and he proposed that the boy should go about with us and practise it, and after polite demur and insistence the child came with us, to our great pleasure. He bore himself with fit gravity, in his cap and long linen pinafore as he went before us, and we were personally proud of his fine, long face and his serious eyes, dark and darkened yet more by their long lashes. He knew the way to just such a book store as we wanted, where the lady behind the desk knew him and willingly promised to get me some books in the Andalusian dialect, and send them to our hotel by him at half past twelve. Naturally she did not do so, but he came to report her failure to get them. We had offered to pay him for his trouble, but he forbade us, and when we had overcome his scruple he brought the money back, and we had our trouble over again to make him keep it. To this hour I do not know how we ever brought ourselves to part with him; perhaps it was his promise of coming to America next year that prevailed with us; his brother was returning on a visit and then they were going back together.