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Here a difficulty with some "medium " that
would run like liquid-amber or drip like
potable gold over the brown rim of the palette,
compelled the sweet singer of Seville to pause,
and drop his many-coloured painting rag on
the vagrant pool of oil. In a minute or two
when his face seems to have forgot this
vexation, and was placid again as water when
the circles of the pebble you throw in have
smoothed awayhe was busy with a colour
soft as the grey under a dove's wing, or the
shady side of a pearl, deepening the left eyelid
of the Velasquez princess he is copying
for some English merchant at Cadiz, I think
it safe to begin talking.

"I like your Spanish school," I said,
"Balthazar. It is severe, gloomy, solemn and
religious. Even when it unbends it is grave
and thoughtful. Murillo's brown Franciscans,
Zurburan's white Carthusians and
Roelas's Jesuits are all to me interesting,
because they are intensely national. I like
your Valencian flower-pieces, which make
spring eternal on one's walls, and your
Sevillian still-life where the melon rolls portly
and pompous, and the citrons and the olives
are so fresh and tempting."

"And don't you like," says Balthazar,
stopping a moment to rest on his mahl-stick
with its padded mushroom-top, "don't you
like the portraits of Joanes, our Spanish
Raffael, and the Titianesque colour of our
Dumb painter, the beauty of Cano the
hot-headed, and the landscapes of Iriarte the

"I do," I said. "And I like, too, your
studio-legends of painters being let into
Paradise by the saints, whose pictures they
had painted on earth, of the sculptor who,
after many failures—"


"Ah, Becerra, that was his name, who by
advice of the Virgin in a dream, got up and
shaped her image from a rude olive log burning
on the hearth; and of the sculptor who,
having wrought a miraculous image of Christ
at the Pillar, made sure that that was therefore
his last work, and that he should die, and
did die of the plague accordingly, to ensure
the fulfilment of his presentiment. As for your
painters who have been lucky enough to
obtain sittings from actual saints, they are

"The less said about that the better," said
Balthazar, with a rainy-day look, dipping
his biggest brush angrily in the
dirtiest-looking colour he could find on his palette;
"but," he said, "when I have put in the
hazel rings of this Syren's eyes, I will put
up my work for to-day, rinse my brushes, and
scrape my palette. The princess's hair is not
yet dry, and I must wait till to-morrow
before I work at it again. So no thanks. We
will go over the palace of Charles the Fifth
and that Philip the Second, who married your
excellent English Mary."

Vamosand we went, leaving the little
vermilion lips of the princess wet, as if they
had just been kissed. "Juan," said Balthazar,
to the mischievous-looking boy drawing in a
corner, "keep at your work while I am away.
Finish that foot of the Venus. Those eyes
you have been doing this morning look like
oysters. A foot, mind, has only five toes.
You have got six in your charcoal outline."

"That little limb of darkness," he said to
me as we left the room, "directly I go out
gets pelting my casts or painting my poodle
over with red wafers. He is only fit for a
muleteer, and he is as stupid as the king of
the jackasses. Demonio! what are such boys
sent to us for?"

Balthazar showed me everything, and I must
say his reds and blues were as bright as Mr.
Owen Tones's. In fact, why should they not be,
for this palace was decorated for the infamous
Pedro the Cruel by the very Moorish artists
who did the Alhambra for Yusaf the First.
There are here the same arabesques, wrought
as with penknives and pierced with needles
the same flower-stalk pillars dividing the
horse-shoed windowsthe same glazed side dados
and carved soffits. Indeed, this is a concrete
of antiquities and different ages of art, more so
than even the Seville Cathedral that replaces
a mosque which had Roman statues built into
its foundations. Here are Roman columns
with Gothic capitals brought from the Royal
Aragonese Palace at Valencia, which Pedro
the infamous ally of the Black Prince
destroyed; and here, amid badges of this cruel
murderer of his wife, you find all the
traditional figures of Moorish art, the stepped
pyramid, the pine-apple, and the fleur-de-lis.
All these glories of colour are now, thanks
to my friend the Don, re-appearing like
April rainbows from the long deep snow of
saving whitewash that has weighed on them
for forty years.

We visit the Gate of the Colours, where
the royal flag is hoisted when a king was in
the Alcazar, and which tower is now sullenly
mournful in the intense heat, as if nothing
but a king would content it, and the Gate de
la Monteria, by which the royal tenant used
to sally out to the boar chase.

After looking at the quaint Charles the
Fifth garden, cut and ruled in the precise
Roman fashion, we betook ourselves to the
hall of the Embassador, which is specially
beautiful with its dome or half-orange roof.
This is the palace where Pedro murdered
his brother, the Master of Santiago, little
thinking he would fall under his surviving
brother's dagger; and here he murdered the
Red Sultan, the flying usurper of Granada,
in order to obtain his jewels; and, among
them, that very huge Balas ruby, "big as a
pigeon's egg," or "great as a racket ball,"
which the bloody tyrant gave with his own
hands to our Black Prince after the useless
victory of Navarete, and which I, not many
days since, saw, red as ever, in the Tower.

It was apropos of a verse or two of a Cid