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in purple cloudy phalanx, through breaks of
the snow mountains, just as I come to the
murder-crosses, where long ago old vendettas
were wrought out, and good blood shed by
bad men.

I get in that state of fire and romance, that
I should not be startled by meeting the Cid,
of a giant size, and lapped in gold armour,
mounted on his black charger with the white
star on its forehead, riding down to see if his
portmanteau has come from Gibraltar by the
Peninsular and Oriental steamer. I half
expect to see old Boabdil wiping his eyes
with a Crystal Palace Exhibition handkerchief,
and wending to exile as a waiter at the
Dromedary Tavern, in the Moor's Street, at
Algiers. But I do really meet nothing but
some more mules, the driver's of which
pronounce the usual grave salutation, " Vaya
con Dios."

It was late when we got to Alhama, which
we approached by a road that traversed
dreadful ravines, and which compelled me to
dismount from Hiccup, and lead that fitful
beast, now more stammering and intermittent
in pace than ever. In the darkness, the
yawning gulf's at the side of the road looked
abysses of purgatory, and we both gave a
hearty and involuntary exclamation of
satisfaction when the twinkling lights of Alhama
broke upon us from what seemed the bottom
of a well, down which we seemed doomed to
ever wind and wind, jaded and forlorn, from
dusk to midnight. More stony and tumbly
the road became, more rutted, and unsafe,
and moss-trooperish; but at last we wound
round all the screw, and crawled into Alhama,
sore not of foot, but wearied to the bone.

I soon secured a room away from the sort
of stable court-yard and blacksmith's kitchen,
which was crowded with muleteers; ordered
a charcoal fire to be irritated and put on its
mettle; and, seeing the horses first both put
to their niggard but wholesome meal of
chopped straw, which is the horse-diet of
Spain, stumbled up the brick stairs to my
bedroom,—a white-washed enclosure, with
no bed, and no furniture but a chair and a
rickety table. It was a caravanserai room,
and that is all.

A grinning Maritornes soon put this to
rights, rattled in a trestle-bed, shook it in
place, put on clean sheets and a motley
counterpane; brought a great pitcher of
water, which I kept for five minutes at my
mouth, and only dropped at last from
exhaustion; she fetched clean towels; shaking
nearly everything that she could shake in my
face, and calling out, " Muy limpio,"— my
own words, tolled out so often, and at so many
Spanish inns. Then eggs, bacon, a bottle of
wine, thick and strong, some fruit, and some
fat chocolate, that ran over the cup in a
brown paste; that was my slipper. Didn't
I sleep afterwards, till daybreak and past!
when we started again for the mountains.

Of my next day's ride I will not say much.
After more thirsty walkings, more scramblings
over barren mountains, more windings
round whity-brown cliffs, and more fordings
of half-drained streams, we got to El Ultimo
Sospiro (the Last Sigh), or the mountain
where Boabdil the exiled king is said to
have turned back to take his last look at his
native city, which he had not defended like
a man, and yet wept for like a woman.

Grenada, Grenada lay before us, as we
rode down into the green and still fruitful
Vega, that spread far and wide below.


PEOPLE shook their heads at the marriage.
He was too old, too grave (some said austere:
others sullen) and she was too young and too
inexperienced to understand herself. It was
a pity, they said, that the father allowed it;
but, he was such a careless, indifferent,
good-for-nothing fellow, that he was neither guide
nor father to her, and did not trouble
himself as to what became of her. Therefore,
some among the friends took the other side,
and thought anything good which should
rescue her from an uncongenial home, and
give her that protection and respectability,
which she scarcely received from her father,
with his dyed hair and padded coats: out all
day and up all night: filling his house with
strange men of questionable habits and
associations. The Ayes had it, and the marriage
preparations went on. Pretty Annie Farre
indulged in her quiet dreams of peace and
home, and drew out for herself the plan of her
housekeeping, which was to be so wonderfully
perfect and complete; and pictured the delight
that she should find in the order and
regularity of her married life, and was contented,
satisfied, and quite resolved.

Percy Clarke himself, though he was grave
and somewhat stern to those with whom he
had no special connection, had been a devoted
son to that unloveable old mother of his;
and was not that a guarantee for Annie?
Then, how calm and uniform he was in
his manners to her; and this was much to
a timid reserved nature, such as Annie's;
whose nerves had been jarred by her father's
noisy life and dissolute imperative ways, and
to whom that whirlwind of passionate,
demonstrative, insatiable love, which novelists
and youth delight in, would have been
simple destruction. Annie reasoned deliberately
about her marriage, and did not think
it a bad thing on the whole. Although she
was only twenty and he eight-and-thirty,
and though her rich brown hair hung
bright and thick and warm over her young
face, and his wandered spare and grey down
his sallow shrunken face. She was not
romantically in love with him; she knew
that; but she respected him. He was
quiet, regular, and unexacting. Above all he
was a relief and a release. It was not a
future to turn from without some special