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[225] even now the only considerable alteration is the construction of a chapel in the centre, which, however, is so hidden by the columns, that, from many parts of the church, it cannot even be seen. . . . .

You enter by the court and portico, where the faithful, like Moses, put off their shoes because it was holy ground. The very fountains still flow there which flowed for their ablutions; and the orange-trees, the cypresses, and the palms, which still form its refreshing shade, harmonize with the Eastern associations and imagery the edifice itself awakens in the imagination. On the inside, you are continually passing Arabic inscriptions taken from their holy books; you see the sanctuary where they preserved the volumes of the Coran; you enter the dark recess where the doctors met for the exposition of the law; and you sit in the very seat where sat that long and splendid line of proud Moorish kings, from Abderrahman to Hisem. . . . .

The Mosque, however, as the popular feeling still insists on calling it, was not the only thing that interested me in Cordova. A visit that I made on the 19th to the hermits that live in the mountains, about ten miles from the city, gave me a view of the human character on a side where I had not before seen it, or, at least, had caught only some imperfect and indistinct glimpses of it. The Duke de Rivas and his brother Don Angel called on me at five o'clock in the morning on horseback. They were dressed in the picturesque and ancient costume of the country, such as the Picadores wear at Madrid,1 and which the Andalusian gentlemen and nobility often put on, because it is really very beautiful and rich, and because it is, besides, popular, and produces a good effect when they go among their peasantry and vassals, whose own dress, in very humble forms and materials, it still remains.

It was a beautiful morning; their horses and the one they brought for me were fine Arabians, and we rode gayly up the dark sides of the Sierra until nearly eight o'clock, when we had almost reached the summit. There, by the side of a little fountain that gushed from the rocks, we found a cloth spread on the ground and covered with a breakfast of cold meats, fruits, and wine, which the Duke had sent up beforehand. In this romantic spot, under the shade of some pomegranate-trees, and with a magnificent view of Cordova, the rich plain that spreads for fifty miles above and below it, and the Guadalquivir winding through the whole of it, we stretched ourselves on the grass, and I made a breakfast such as is so often described in works of fiction, but which I never realized before, and which I can never forget. When we had finished, we walked up the rest of the mountain, as the

1 In the bull-fights.

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