One house in some forgotten square commemorates the state in which the Castilian nobles used to live in Burgos before Toledo, and then Valladolid, contested the primacy of the grim old capital of the northern uplands. We stayed for a moment to glance from our carriage through the open portal into its leafy patio shivering in the cold, and then we bade our guide hurry back with us to the hot luncheon which would be the only heat in our hotel. But to reach this we had to pass through another square, which we found full of peasants' ox-carts and mule-teams; and there our guide instantly jumped down and entered into a livelier quarrel with those peaceable men and women than I could afterward have believed possible in Spain. I bade him get back to his seat beside the driver, who was abetting him with an occasional guttural and whom I bade turn round and go another way. I said that I had hired this turnout, and I was master, and I would be obeyed; but it seemed that I was wrong. My proud hirelings never left off their dispute till somehow the ox-carts and mule-teams were jammed together, and a thoroughfare found for us. Then it was explained that those peasants were always blocking that square in that way and that I had, however unwillingly, been discharging the duty of a public-spirited citizen in compelling them to give way. I did not care for that; I prized far more the quiet with which they had taken the whole affair. It was the first exhibition of the national repose of manner which we were to see so often again, south as well as north, and which I find it so beautiful to have seen. In a Europe abounding in volcanic Italians, nervous Germans, and exasperated Frenchmen, it was comforting, it was edifying to see those Castilian peasants so self-respectfully self-possessed in the wrong.

From time to time in the opener spaces we had got into the sun from the chill shadow of the narrow streets, but now it began to be cloudy, and when we re-entered our hotel it was almost as warm indoors as out. We thought our landlord might have so far repented as to put on the steam; but he had sternly adhered to his principle that the radiators were enough of themselves; and after luncheon we had nothing for it but to go away from Burgos, and take with us such scraps of impression as we could. We decided that there was no street of gayer shops than those gloomy ones we had chanced into here and there; I do not remember now anything like a bookseller's or a milliner's or a draper's window. There was no sign of fashion among the ladies of Burgos, so far as we could distinguish them; there was not a glowering or perking hat, and I do not believe there was a hobble-skirt in all the austere old capital except such as some tourist wore; the black lace mantillas and the flowing garments of other periods flitted by through the chill alleys and into the dim doorways. The only cheerfulness in the local color was to be noted in the caparison of the donkeys, which we were to find more and more brilliant southward. Do I say the only cheerfulness? I ought to except also the involuntary hilarity of a certain poor man's suit which was so patched together of myriad scraps that it looked as if cut from the fabric of a crazy-quilt. I owe him this notice the rather because he almost alone did not beg of us in a city which swarmed with beggars in a forecast of that pest of beggary which infests Spain everywhere. I do not say that the thing is without picturesqueness, without real pathos; the little girl who kissed the copper I gave her in the cathedral remains endeared to me by that perhaps conventional touch of poetry.

There was compensation for the want of presence among the ladies of Burgos, in the leading lady of the theatrical company who dined, the night before, at our hotel with the chief actors of her support, before giving a last performance in our ancient city. It happened another time in our Spanish progress that we had the society of strolling players at our hotel, and it was both times told us that the given company was the best dramatic company in Spain; but at Burgos we did not yet know that we were so singularly honored. The leading lady there had luminous black eyes, large like the head-lamps of a motor-car, and a wide crimson mouth which she employed as at a stage banquet throughout the dinner, while she talked and laughed with her fellow-actors, beautiful as bull-fighters, cleanshaven, serious of face and shapely of limb. They were unaffectedly professional, and the lady made no pretense of not being a leading lady. One could see that she was the kindest creature in the world, and that she took a genuine pleasure in her huge, practicable eyes. At the other end of the room a Spanish family - father, mother, and small children, down to some in arms - were dining and the children wailing as Spanish children will, regardless of time and place; and when the nurse brought one of the disconsolate infants to be kissed by the leading lady one's heart went out to her for the amiability and abundance of her caresses. The mere sight of their warmth did something to supply the defect of steam in the steam-heating apparatus, but when one got beyond their radius there was nothing for the shivering traveler except to wrap himself in the down quilt of his bed and spread his steamer-rug over his knees till it was time to creep under both of them between the glacial sheets.

We were sorry we had not got tickets for the leading lady's public performance; it could have been so little more public; but we had not, and there was nothing else in Burgos to invite the foot outdoors after dinner. From my own knowledge I cannot yet say the place was not lighted; but my sense of the tangle of streets lying night long in a rich Gothic gloom shall remain unimpaired by statistics. Very possibly Burgos is brilliantly lighted with electricity; only they have not got the electricity on, as in our steam-heated hotel they had not got the steam on.