as I do. There is one particular festival of the year at which four dignified ecclesiastics are sure to visit me; and then, when all is made close and secure, and the fitting ceremonies have been gone through, they sit down upon the floor and curse.
Myself.--Are you numerous in the large towns?
Abarbenel.--By no means; our places of abode are seldom the large towns; we prefer the villages, and rarely enter the large towns but on business. Indeed, we are not a numerous people, and there are few provinces of Spain which contain more than twenty families. None of us are poor, and those among us who serve, do so more from choice than necessity, for by serving each other we acquire different trades. Not unfrequently the time of service is that of courtship also, and the servants eventually marry the daughters of the house.
We continued in discourse the greater part of the night; the next morning I prepared to depart. My companion, however, advised me to remain where I was for that day. "And if you respect my counsel," said he, "you will not proceed farther in this manner. To-night the diligence will arrive from Estremadura, on its way to Madrid. Deposit yourself therein; it is the safest and most speedy mode of travelling. As for your animals, I will myself purchase her. My servant is here, and has informed me that she will be of service to us. Let us, therefore, pass the day together in communion, like brothers, and then proceed on our separate journeys." We did pass the day together; and when the diligence arrived I deposited myself within, and on the morning of the second day arrived at Madrid.
Lodging at Madrid--My Hostess--British Ambassador--Mendizabal-- Baltasar--Duties of a National--Young Blood--The Execution-- Population of Madrid--The Higher Orders--The Lower Classes--The Bull Fighter--The Crabbed Gitano.
It was the commencement of February when I reached Madrid. After staying a few days at a posada, I removed to a lodging which I engaged at No. 3, in the Calle de la Zarza, a dark dirty street, which, however, was close to the Puerta del Sol, the most central point of Madrid, into which four or five of the principal streets debouch, and which is, at all times of the year, the great place of assemblage for the idlers of the capital, poor or rich.
It was rather a singular house in which I had taken up my abode. I occupied the front part of the first floor; my apartments consisted of an immense parlour, and a small chamber on one side in which I slept; the parlour, notwithstanding its size, contained very little furniture: a few chairs, a table, and a species of sofa, constituted the whole. It was very cold and airy, owing to the draughts which poured