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[187] in Europe, with as good prospects of accomplishing the objects for which I came. But you like to have details, and I like to give them to you.

In the first place, I am settled in lodgings procured for me by Mr. Erving, with people he knows to be honest, and whom I find uncommonly neat; which, you will observe, are the two rarest virtues in Spain. In the next place, I rise early,—at half past 5,—and sit down to my books, taking a cup of Spanish chocolate, so thick it may almost be eaten with a fork. I work from this time until eleven o'clock. At this hour my Spanish instructor comes, and remains with me till one. He is a very good master,—as good as there is in Madrid, I suppose,—punctual, patient, and accurate. About half an hour after he is gone—during which I make my second breakfast, according to the fashions of the Continent–comes my other instructor; for, as I have nothing to do here but to learn Spanish, I think it best to multiply the means . . . .This, however, is an entirely different man from the other. His name is Joseph Antonio Conde; and among all the men of letters I have met in Spain,—and I believe I have seen the most considerable in my department,—he has the most learning by far, and the most taste and talent. He was formerly librarian to the king; when the French came he fled; but, on assurances of personal safety, returned from Toulouse, where he had taken refuge, and was soon afterwards placed at the head of that department of the Ministry of the Interior which was devoted to public instruction. On the restoration of the Bourbons he was of course displaced; but still his merits and his honesty were so notorious that he was excepted (and I believe alone) from the sweeping prosecution of all who had served under Joseph, and permitted to live unmolested in Madrid, where he is much respected. He is about fifty years old, extremely ignorant of the world, timid in disposition, awkward in manners, and of childlike simplicity and openness in his feelings. I had letters to him from Paris, and—not because he is poor, for he is not, but because he is solitary from the death of his wife, and unoccupied from the loss of his employments—he comes and reads Spanish poetry with me two or three hours every day. The pleasure he takes in it is evidently great; for he has no less enthusiasm than learning, and nothing gives him so much delight as to see that I share his feelings for his favorite authors, which I truly do; while, on the other hand, the information I get from him is such as I could get, probably, from nobody else, and certainly in no other way.


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