When I dine at home, it is at five o'clock; when I dine abroad, it is at four, for that is the hour at Madrid; I prefer the latest possible, because it makes my studying day longer. After dinner I walk until half past 8 or nine. The houses of the foreign ministers are open to me: the Nuncio, Prince Giustiniani, the French Ambassador Prince Montmorency de Laval, and the English, who is Sir Henry Wellesley, have shown me much kindness and civility. I therefore dine abroad nearly all the time; but as soon as I can speak Spanish tolerably I shall seek Spanish society, which is almost completely distinct from the diplomatic, and is to be found only in late evening parties, called tertulias, which all the principal people have every night, and to which Mr. Erving can introduce me better than anybody else. . . . . Farewell.
Madrid, July 25, 1818.. . . . Spain and the Spanish people amuse me more than anything I have met in Europe. There is more national character here, more originality and poetry in the popular manners and feelings, more force without barbarism, and civilization without corruption, than I have found anywhere else. Would you believe it?—I speak not at all of the highest class,—what seems mere fiction and romance in other countries is matter of observation here, and, in all that relates to manners, Cervantes and Le Sage are historians. For, when you have crossed the Pyrenees, you have not only passed from one country and climate to another, but you have gone back a couple of centuries in your chronology, and find the people still in that kind of poetical existence which we have not only long since lost, but which we have long since ceased to credit on the reports of our ancestors. The pastoral life—I will not say such as it is in Theocritus and Virgil, and still less such as it is in Gesner or Galatea, but a pastoral life which certainly has its poetical side—is still found everywhere in the country. I never come home in the evening that I do not pass half a dozen groups of the lower class of the people dancing to their pipes and castanets some of their beautifully original national dances; for you must observe that, if the Italians are the most musical people in the world, the Spaniards are the most remarkable for a natural and inherent propensity to dance, and have the most