I did not doubt the fact when I read of it under the level boughs of the beechen tree with J. W., sixty years ago, by the green woodland light of the primeval forest which hemmed our village in, and since I am well away from the Alhambra again I do not doubt it now. I doubt nothing that Irving says of the Alhambra; he is the gentle genius of the place, and I could almost wish that I had paid the ten pesetas extra which the custodian demanded for showing his apartment in the palace. On the ground the demand of two dollars seemed a gross extortion; yet it was not too much for a devotion so rich as mine to have paid, and I advise other travelers to buy themselves off from a vain regret by giving it. If ever a memory merited the right to levy tribute on all comers to the place it haunts, Washington Irving's is that memory. HisConquest of Granada is still the history which one would wish to read; his Tales of the Alhambra embody fable and fact in just the right measure for the heart's desire in the presence of the monuments they verify or falsify. They belong to that strange age of romance which is now so almost pathetic and to which one cannot refuse his sympathy without sensible loss. But for the eager make-believe of that time we should still have to hoard up much rubbish which we can now leave aside, or accept without bothering to assay for the few grains of gold in it. Washington Irving had just the playful kindness which sufficed best to deal with the accumulations of his age; if he does not forbid you to believe, he does not oblige you to disbelieve, and he has always a tolerant civility in his humor which comports best with the duty of taking leniently a history impossible to take altogether seriously. Till the Spaniards had put an end to the Moorish misrule, with its ruthless despotism and bloody civil brawls, the Moors deserved to be conquered; it was not till their power was broken forever that they became truly heroic in their vain struggles and their unavailing sorrows. Then their pathetic resignation to persecution and exile lent dignity even to their ridiculous religion; but it was of the first and not the second period that Irving had to treat.