Our search for literature in Ronda was not wholly a failure. At another bookstore, I found one of those local histories which I was always vainly trying for in other Spanish towns, and I can praise the Historia de Ronda par Federico Lozano Gutierrez as well done, and telling all that one would ask to know about that famous city. The author's picture is on the cover, and with his charming letter dedicating the book to his father goes far to win the reader's heart. Outside the bookseller's a blind minstrel was playing the guitar in the care of a small boy who was selling, not singing, the ballads. They celebrated the prowess of Spain in recent wars, and it would not be praising them too highly to say that they seemed such as might have been written by a drum-major. Not that I think less of them for that reason, or that I think I need humble myself greatly to the historian of Ronda for associating their purchase with that of his excellent little book. If I had bought some of the blind minstrel's almanacs and jest-books I might indeed apologize, but ballads are another thing.

After we left the bookseller's, our little guide asked us if we would like to see a church, and we said that we would, and he took us into a white and gold interior, with altar splendors out of proportion to its simplicity, all in the charge of a boy no older than himself, who was presently joined by two other contemporaries. They followed us gravely about, and we felt that it was an even thing between ourselves and the church as objects of interest equally ignored by Baedeker. Then we thought we would go home and proposed going by the Alameda.

That is a beautiful place, where one may walk a good deal, and drive, rather less, but not sit down much unless indeed one likes being swarmed upon by the beggars who have a just priority of the benches. There seemed at first to be nobody walking in the Alameda except a gentleman pacing to and from the handsome modern house at the first corner, which our guide said was this cavalier's house. He interested me beyond any reason I could give; he looked as if he might represent the highest society in Ronda, but did not find it an adequate occupation, and might well have interests and ambitions beyond it. I make him my excuses for intruding my print upon him, but I would give untold gold if I had it to know all about such a man in such a city, walking up and down under the embrowning trees and shrinking flowers of its Alameda, on a Sunday morning like that.

Our guide led us to the back gate of our hotel garden, where we found ourselves in the company of several other students of English. There was our charming young guide of the day before and there was that sad hunchback already mentioned, and there was their teacher who seemed so few years older and master of so little more English. Together we looked into the valley into which the vision makes its prodigious plunge at Ronda before lifting again over the fertile plain to the amphitheater of its mighty mountains; and there we took leave of that nice boy who would not follow us into our garden because, as he showed us by the sign, it was forbidden to any but guests. He said he was going into the country with his family for the afternoon, and with some difficulty he owned that he expected to play there; it was truly an admission hard to make for a boy of his gravity. We shook hands at parting with him, and with our yesterday's guide, and with the teacher and with the hunchback; they all offered it in the bond of our common English; and then we felt that we had parted with much, very much of what was sweetest and best in Ronda.