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 Tell me, recluse Monastic, can it be 
?A disadvantage to thy beams to shine? 
A thousand tapers may gain light from thee: 
?Is thy light less or worse for lighting mine? 
If, wanting light, I stumble, shall 
Thy darkness not be guilty of my fall? 
Make not thyself a prisoner, thou art free: 
?Why dost thou turn thy palace to a jail? 
Thou art an eagle; and befits it thee 
?To live immured like a cloister'd snail? 
Let toys seek corners: things of cost 
Gain worth by view; hid jewels are but lost. 
???????? ???????? ???????? Francis Quarles.
In the afternoon, the commissary going out in search of the objects of his journey, grain and bullocks for the troops, L'Isle strolled out with the ladies to survey the curiosities of Evora, and Moodie followed closely Lady Mabel's steps.
"If I am to play the part of cicerone," said L'Isle, "I will begin by reminding you that the history of many races and eras is indissolubly connected with the Peninsula, and especially the southern part of it. Here we find the land of Tarshish of Scripture, so well known to the Phoenicians, who, in an adjacent province of Spain, built another Sidon, and founded Cadiz before Hector and Achilles fought at Troy.
"Yet they found the Celto-Iberian here before them—who after that built Evora, according to Portuguese historians, some eight or ten centuries before Christ. The Greeks, too, stretched their commerce and their colonies to this land. The Carthaginians made themselves masters of this country. The Romans turned them out, to give place in time to the Vandals; who were driven over into Africa by the Goths—whose dominion was, at the end of two centuries, overthrown by the Arabs; who, after a war of seven centuries, were expelled in turn by the descendants of their Gothic rivals. The land still shows many traces of these revolutions. In the neighborhood of this city the rude altar of the Druid still commemorates the early Celt. The majesty of the Roman temple here forms a singular contrast with the delicacy of the Arabian monuments, and the Gothic architecture with the simplicity of the modern edifices."
"A truly Ciceronian introduction to your duties as cicerone," said Lady Mabel. "But I have yet to see much that you describe so eloquently. To my eye the most striking feature of Evora at this day is its ecclesiastical aspect. It is full of churches, chapels, and monkish barracks, and seems to be held by a strong garrison of these soldiers of the Pope."
"Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men," said old Moodie, in loud soliloquy behind.
"I have often heard the Pope called Antichrist, but never knew him dubbed Baal before," said Lady Mabel. "Although not one of his flock, I cannot but feel a deep interest in the head of the Latin Church, now that the venerable old man is so shamefully treated; carried off and kept a prisoner in France, to be bullied, threatened, and cajoled, with a view to appropriate the papal influence to the furtherance of this Corsican's ambition."
"You had better leave all those feelings to his own flock, my lady."
"Is it possible, Moodie," Lady Mabel retorted, "that you do not know that we are on the Pope's side in this quarrel? We are bound to sympathize with him, not only in politics but in religion, against his unbelieving enemies. We must forget all minor differences, and think only of the faith we hold in common. Even you must admit that it is better to see the Almighty dimly through mists and clouds, or even though our view be obstructed by a crowd of doubtful saints, than to turn our backs on the Christian Godhead, and deny his existence like these godless French. I assure you I have become a strong friend to the Pope."
"The more is the pity," groaned Moodie. "But what is written is written."
"I know, Moodie, that you believe that we who have deserted the Kirk of Scotland, and crossed the border in search of a church, have already traveled a long way toward Rome."
"About half-way, my lady. The church of England is no abiding place, but merely an inn on that road."
"Why," exclaimed Mrs. Shortridge, "is Moodie so much dissatisfied with our church? For my part it does not seem natural to me for genteel people to go any where else."
"You may find, madam," said Moodie, "a great many genteel people going some where else. Gentry is no election to grace."
Mrs. Shortridge resented the insinuation by indignant silence; but Lady Mabel, who had her own object in exasperating Moodie's sectarian zeal, now asked him: "What is the last symptom of backsliding you have seen in me?"
"It seems to me, my lady, that you are getting strangely intimate with the Romish faith and rites, for one who does not believe and practice them. It is a sinful curiosity, like that of the children of Israel, which first made them familiar with the abominations among their neighbors, then led them to practice the idolatries they had witnessed."
"But may there not be something sinful, Moodie, in denouncing the errors and corruptions of the Romanists, without having thoroughly searched them out?"
"We know the great heads of their offense—their perversion of gospel truth—their teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. There is no need to trace every error through all its dark and crooked windings. Truth is one: that God has allotted to his elect. Errors are manifold, and sown broadcast among the reprobate."
"Still it must matter much what degree and kind of error falls to our lot," Lady Mabel suggested.
"Perhaps so," Moodie answered, with doubting assent. "Yet if we are not in the one true path, it may matter little which wrong road we travel."
"Well, Moodie," said she, "however much you may narrow down your Christian faith, you shall not hedge in my Christian charity, and deprive me of all sympathy for the Pope in this his day of persecution."
"Whatever the holy father's errors may have been," said L'Isle, "we may now say of him, a prisoner in France, what was said of Clement the Seventh, when shut up in the Castle of St. Angelo, 'Papa non potest errare.'"
"That is Latin, Moodie," said Lady Mabel, "and to enlighten your ignorance it may be rendered, 'The Pope cannot err.'"
"Why that is nothing but the doctrine of the Pope's infallibility," exclaimed Moodie, indignantly; "and saying it in Latin cannot make it true." And he dropped behind the party.
Gazing on the number of religious houses and habits around them, Lady Mabel said: "Monastic life must hold forth strong allurements. The monks seem to find it easy to recruit their ranks."
"Many motives combine to draw men into the church," L'Isle answered. "Devotion may be the chief; but, in this climate and country, the love of ease, and the want of hopeful prospects in secular life, exercise great influence. Moreover, one monk, like one soldier, serves as a decoy to another. Did you ever see a recruiting sergeant, in all his glory, among a party of rustics at a village alehouse? How skillfully he displays the bright side of a soldier's life, while hiding every dark spot. The church has many a recruiting sergeant, who can put the best of ours to shame. Many a recruit, too, like our young friar, is caught very young."
They had now turned into another street, and L'Isle, stopping the party, pointed out a large building opposite to them.
"What a curious mixture of styles it presents," said Mrs. Shortridge.
"What a barbarous mutilation of a work of art," exclaimed Lady Mabel.
"This is, or rather was," said L'Isle, "the temple of Diana, built before the Christian era, perhaps while Sertorius yet lorded it in the Peninsula, and made Evora his headquarters. The architect," continued he, looking at it with the eye of a connoisseur, "was doubtless a Greek. Time, and the mutilations and additions of the Moor, have not effaced all the beauty of this structure, planned by the genius and reared by the hands of men who lived nineteen centuries ago. The rubble work and plaster wall that fills the space between those columns, so requisite in their proportions—the pinnacles which crown the structure in place of the entablature which has been destroyed, are the work of the Moors, who strove in vain to unite in harmony their own style of building with that of their Roman predecessors. Enough remains to show the chaste, beautiful and permanent character of the edifices of that classic age."
After gazing long with deep interest on this monument of the palmy days and wide-spread sway of the Roman, Lady Mabel said: "Let us see if there be not still left within the building some remains of a piece with so noble an exterior."
"Unhappily," answered L'Isle, "all is changed there. Moreover, though the sacrifices are continued, they are no longer conducted with the decorum of the heathen rites. The temple of the chaste goddess is now the public shambles of the city, defiled throughout by brutal butchers, with the blood and offals of the slaughtered herd."
"Is it possible!" Lady Mabel exclaimed. "Have these people sunk so low? Is so little taste, learning, and reverence for high art left among them, that they can find no better use for this rare memorial of the past."
"No people have proved themselves so destitute of taste, and of reverence for antiquity, as the Portuguese," replied L'Isle. "They seem to have found it a pleasure, or deemed it a duty, to erase the footprints of ancient art. Monuments of all kinds, beautiful and rare, and but lightly touched by the hand of time, have been ruthlessly destroyed here. To give you a single instance: A gentleman of the family of the Mascarenhas, who had traveled in Italy, and acquired a taste for the arts, collected from different parts about the town of Mertola, twelve ancient statues, with a view to place them on pedestals in his country-house. But he dying before completing his intention, these admirable productions of Roman art, the venerable representations of heroes and sages, were hurled into a lime kiln to make cement for the chapel of St. John. And such acts of Vandalism have been perpetrated throughout Portugal."
"The barbarians!" exclaimed Lady Mabel. "The ignorance they condemn themselves to, is scarce punishment enough for the offence."
"It is difficult to say how much they have destroyed," continued L'Isle. "But, beside the voice of history, proofs enough remain that Evora was, in the days of Sertorius, of C?sar, and in after-times, a favorite spot with the Romans. This temple before us, mutilated as it is, and the aqueduct, though repaired in modern times, are still Roman; and no ancient monument in Italy is in better preservation than the beautiful little castellum which crowns its termination. Even where Roman buildings have been destroyed we still see around us the stones with ancient and classic inscriptions built into new walls. The plough, too, of the husbandman still at times turns up the coins of Sertorius, bearing a profile showing the wound he had received in his eye, while the reverse represents his favorite hind leaning against a tree."
"How completely do these things carry us back to ancient times, and make even Plutarch's novels seem verities of real life," said Lady Mabel. "These same Romans, whom we read of and wonder at, have indeed left behind them, wherever they came, foot-prints indelibly stamped on the face of the country."
"They did more," said L'Isle, "wherever civilization extends, they still set their marks upon the minds of men."
"How barbarous seem the Moorish buildings, which we still see here and at Elvas," said Lady Mabel, "compared with these monuments of a yet earlier day."
"The Moors had a style of their own," said L'Isle. "Indifferent to external decoration, they reserved all their ingenuity for the interior of their edifices. Stimulated by a sensuous religion and a luxurious climate, they there lavished whatever was calculated to delight the senses, and accord with a sedentary and voluptuous life. They sought a shady privacy amidst sparkling fountains, artificial breezes, and sweet smelling plants; amidst brilliant colors and a profusion of ornaments, seen by a light sobered from the glare of a southern sun. Numberless were the luxurious palaces the Moors reared in Portugal and Spain. The Alhambra yet stands a model of their excellence in the arts; although many of its glories have departed, its walls have become desolate, and many of them fallen into ruin, though its gardens have been destroyed, and its fountains ceased to play. Charles V. commenced a palace within the enclosure of the Alhambra, in rivalry of what he found there. It stands but an arrogant intrusion, and is already in a state of dilapidation far beyond the work of the Arabs. In them the walls remain unaltered, except by injuries inflicted by the hand of man. The colors of the painting, in which there is no mixture of oil, preserve all their brightness—the beams and wood work of the ceilings show no signs of decay. The art of rendering timber and paints durable, and of making porcelain mosaics, arabesques, and other ornaments, began and ended in western Europe with the Spanish Arabs. But perhaps the most curious achievement attributed to them is, that spiders, flies, and other insects, shunned their apartments at all seasons."
"What!" exclaimed Lady Mabel, "had they attained that perfection in the art of building? Could they exercise those hordes of little demons, lay a spell upon them and turn them out of doors? Had you told me this yesterday I would have been less impressed by it. But, after last night's ordeal, I venerate the Moor. Almost I regret the expulsion of his cleanly superstition, since it has carried with it into exile so rare an art."
Mrs. Shortridge, too, seemed fully to appreciate the value of the lost art, and said, "these Moors must indeed have been a very comfortable people."
"And they crowned their comfort in this world," said L'Isle, "by inventing an equally comfortable system for the next."
"Is it not strange," said Lady Mabel, gazing on the building before them, "that the production of two races, each so skillful, should be so utterly incompatible. Classic and Saracenic art, both beautiful, united make a monster."
"Not so strange," L'Isle answered, "as the simplicity of the Mohammedan faith, amidst all that is fantastic in arts and letters—a grotesque architecture, a wondrous alchemy, the extravagant in poetry and the supernatural in fiction; or the purity of classic art, characterized by simplicity and proportion, yet drawing its inspiration from a wild and copious mythology, made up of the sportive creations of fancy."
"They were a wonderful people, these Romans, as even this obscure corner of Europe can witness," said Lady Mabel, her eyes dwelling on the beautiful colonade, and tracing out the exquisite symmetry of the shafts, and the rich foliage of the Corinthian capitals.
"Were these Romans Christians?" asked Moodie, who had hitherto looked on in silence.
"No," she answered, "they worshipped many false gods."
"Then they were just like all the Romans I have known," said he dryly, and turned his back on the temple.
"Come," said Mrs. Shortridge, "let us take Moodie's hint, and look for something else worth seeing."
As they continued their walk, L'Isle remarked, "In many a place in the peninsula we find a Roman aqueduct, a Moorish castle, and a Gothic cathedral standing close together, yet ages apart. How much of history is embraced in this? We have just been gazing upon the mouldering remains of two phases of civilization, which were at their height, one, while our forefathers were yet heathen and almost savage, the other, while they were but emerging from a rude barbarism. We should never forget that this peninsula was the high road which arts and letters traveled on their progress into Western Europe, and to our own land."
"We are much indebted to letters and the arts for the unanimity with which they came on to us; for certainly," said Lady Mabel, looking round her, "little of either appears to have loitered behind. Every object around us makes the impression of a country and a people who have seen better days; and you cannot help wondering and fearing where this downward path may end."
"The history of humanity is not always the story of progress," said L'Isle; "one nation may be like a young barbarian, his face turned toward civilization, gazing on it with dazzled but admiring eyes; another, a scowling, hoary outlaw, turning his back on human culture and social order."
"Your young barbarian," said Lady Mabel, "makes the more pleasing picture of the two."
"Are there your hoary outlaws?" exclaimed Mrs. Shortridge, as a party of beggars from the door of the Franciscan church hobbled toward them, and beset them for alms.
"Oh, no!" said Lady Mabel, "they are angels in disguise, tempting us to deeds of charity;" and with the devout air of a zealous daughter of the one true church, she distributed sundry small coin among them. "Come, Moodie," she exclaimed, "I know your pocket is never without a store of sixpences, those canny little dogs, that often do the work of shillings. Seize the occasion of doing good works, of appropriating to yourself a meritorious charity; for charity covers a multitude of sins. Lay up some treasure in heaven without loss of time."
The beggars, on this hint, surrounded Moodie; but he, repudiating such perversion of Scripture doctrine, shook them off with little ceremony. And the beggars' instinct saw, in his hard, indignant face, no hope of alms.
"If you will give nothing, at least buy something," said Lady Mabel; "that fellow bawling at you pelus almas, is offering snuff for sale; and the love of snuff, at least, is common ground to Scot and Portuguese."
Thus urged, Moodie paid liberally for a package, and was putting it in his pocket, when Lady Mabel exclaimed, "You do not know, Moodie, what a charitable and Christian deed you have done. Every thing is done in Portugal pelo amor de Deos e pelas almas. That fellow is employed by the priests to sell snuff pelas almas, and all the profits of the trade go to release souls from purgatory."
"Purgatory!" exclaimed Moodie, "I will not be tricked into countenancing that popish abomination;" and he hurled the package back to the man, who gladly picked it up, and turned to seek a second purchaser.
As they walked on toward the church of the Franciscans, Mrs. Shortridge said, "You need not fear a scarcity of objects of charity, Lady Mabel, for poverty seems rife in Evora."
"Yet, from the number of churches and monasteries, there must be much wealth," Lady Mabel answered. "Probably, most of the property is in their possession, and we may expect to see in their shrines and altars a gorgeous display of their riches."
"You will be disappointed in that," said L'Isle. "Evora has passed too lately through the hands of the French, too systematic a people to do things by halves. Their emperor is more systematic still. On taking possession of Portugal, his first edict from Milan imposed a war-contribution on the country of one hundred million of francs, as a ransom for private property of every kind. This being somewhat more than all the money in the country, allowed a sufficiently wide margin for spoliation, without making private property a whit the safer for it; the imperial coffers absorbed this public contribution, leaving the French officers and soldiers to fill their pockets and make their fortunes as they could."
"But what was there left to fill their pockets with?" Lady Mabel asked.
"There must have been a plenty left," said Mrs. Shortridge. "One does not know the wealth of a country till you plunder it. Even some of our fellows, though they came as friends, still continue occasionally to pocket a useful thing. The officers cannot put a stop to it altogether, do what they may."
"But, with some exceptions," said L'Isle, "each French general levied contributions on his own account. Some idea of the amount may be formed from the fact, that at the Convention of Cintra, Junot, who had probably not brought baggage enough into Portugal to load five mules, demanded five ships for the conveyance of his private property. Yet Soult's accumulations in Andalusia are said to exceed Junot's. Whatever may be the result of the war, many a French officer will have made his fortune here. Well did they obey the injunction—
????????"'See thou shake the bags 
Of hoarding abbots; angels imprisoned 
Set thou at liberty.'
"This last, though, in a sense different from the poets; in Lisbon alone, turning thousands of nuns into the streets, that their convents might be converted into barracks. In obedience to the imperial decree, all the gold and silver of the churches, chapels, and fraternities of the city were carried off to the mint; and, in this day of sweeping confiscation, individuals did not forget themselves. Indeed, throughout the country, the French soldier proved that he had the eye of a lynx, the scent of a hound, and the litheness of a ferret after booty, trained to it by the system which makes the war support the war. But Evora has been particularly unlucky. It not only bore its full share of the first burden imposed on the country, but the year after, when the Portuguese, rising too late in armed resistance, lost a battle before the town, the French, entering with the fugitives, massacred nearly a thousand persons, many of them women and children, including some forty priests, a class they made the especial objects of their vengeance; and they plundered the town so thoroughly, that the very cracks in the walls did not escape their search. The best excuse that can be made for their plunderings is, that in the confusion of their own revolution they so completely lost the idea of property, that though they have recovered the thing, they have not yet remastered the idea of it."
A number of friars now coming out of the church attracted Mrs. Shortridge's attention. But Lady Mabel had an English woman's ear for French atrocities, and continued the conversation:
"I can understand that a needy and ignorant soldiery may perpetrate such robberies amidst scenes of violence, and under the temptations of want; but we expect better things from the men who lead them."
"That supposes these men to be of a different class, with different education and habits from the common soldier. The revolution and conscription has leveled all those distinctions. Many a youth of good birth and education is made to bear his musket in the ranks, and does not elevate his comrades to his standard, but is soon degraded to the level of their sentiments and habits. Many a French general, for instance Junot, has been raised from the ranks. Military merit or accident has elevated them to command without a corresponding elevation of sentiment or principles. It is not easy to make a gentleman in one generation: somebody says, it takes three."
"What a moderate man that somebody was!" said Lady Mabel; "I thought that the gentry of a country were like its timber, the slow growth of centuries, and that the beginning of nobility must be lost in the dark ages, unless you can find some great statesman, warrior, or freebooter of later date to start from."
"But," said L'Isle, laughing, "we find men whose pedigree fulfills your requisitions, who are not gentlemen in their own persons. The son of a gentleman is too often one only in name."
"I think," said Lady Mabel, reflecting, "I have myself met with more than one gentleman rogue."
"That is impossible," said L'Isle, "for a gentleman is a superstructure which can be built on only one foundation—an honest man."
"We had better stop defining the gentleman," said Lady Mabel, "lest between us we narrow down the class, until there are not enough left to officer a regiment, or for any other useful purpose."
"This is a fine old building," said Mrs. Shortridge, peeping into the church, "and it will be a convenient time to look at it, for it seems quite empty."
"It is not much worth seeing," said L'Isle, "but there is something beyond it which I would like to show you."
They walked into it; but Moodie at first hung back, and hesitated to enter this idolatrous temple, until, luckily remembering the prophet's permission to Naaman the Syrian to accompany his master to the house of Rimmon, he swallowed his scruples, and followed Lady Mabel.
Passing through the church, they came to an archway, over which was inscribed—
Nos os ossos que aqui estamos 
Pelos vossos esperamos.
Passing through it, they found themselves in a huge vault, its arched ceiling supported by large square piers, which, with the walls, were covered with human skulls, set in a hard cement. By the dim light they saw on all sides thousands of ghastly human heads, grinning at them in death; the only signs of life being a few crouching devotees, prostrate before an illuminated shrine at the extremity of this Golgotha.
Both ladies paused, awe-stricken. Lady Mabel turned pale, and Mrs. Shortridge, after gazing round her for a moment, uttered a little shriek, and covered her face with her hands. To face these objects was painful enough, but to have them grinning on her, as in mockery, behind her back, was more than she could stand. So seizing old Moodie by the arm, he being beside her, she rushed out of this charnel house, and impatiently called to the others to join her in the church.
With an effort Lady Mabel stifled her contagious terror, and, advancing further into the gloomy repository, inspected it on all sides. There was little room left on the walls for more memorials of mortality. Having in silence sated her curiosity and her sense of the horrible, feeling all the while a strange reluctance to break the deathlike stillness of the place by uttering a word, she at length rejoined Mrs. Shortridge. After taking another look into this apartment of death, her eye rested on the inscription over the arch. L'Isle translated it:
Our bones, which here are resting 
Are expecting yours.
"God forbid that mine should find so gloomy a resting place," exclaimed Mrs. Shortridge, with a shudder.
"It is a weakness," said Lady Mabel; "yet we must shrink from this promiscuous mingling of our ashes, and are even choice in the selection of our last resting place. We hope even in death to rejoin our kindred dust in the ancestral vault, or at least to repose under some sunny spot, in the churchyard hallowed to us in life. Is not this your feeling?" she said, appealing to L'Isle.
L'Isle looked grave. "It is a natural feeling clinging to our mortal nature, and doubtless has its use. But I must not indulge it. The soldier is even less at liberty than other men to choose his own grave. The fosse of a beleaguered fortress, a shallow trench in a well-fought field, the ravine of a disputed mountain pass, the strand of some river to be crossed in the face of the enemy—all these have furnished, and will furnish graves for those who fall, and have the luck to find burial; the wolf and the vulture provide for the rest. We have a wide graveyard," he added, more cheerfully, "stretching from hence to the Pyrenees, and, perchance, beyond them. It embraces many a lovely and romantic spot, only the choice of our last resting place is not left to ourselves."
Lady Mabel shuddered at this gloomy picture, and his foreboding tone. She knew how many of her countrymen had fallen, and must fall, in this bloody war. Yet, somehow or other, she had always thought of L'Isle as one who was to live, and not to die prematurely, cut off in youth, health, the pride of manhood, his hopes, powers, aspirations, just in their bloom. She looked at him with deep, painful interest, as if to read his fortune in his face. What special safeguard protected him? The next moment her conscience pricked her, when her father's image rose before her, grown gray in service, and seamed with scars, yet no safer by all his dangers past than the last recruit, and she walked slowly forth from the Franciscan church with sadder and more solemn impressions of the reality and imminence of death than could be generated by all that vast array of grinning skulls.
It was growing late, and they turned toward the estalagem. As they strolled on, L'Isle, in the same strain of thought which had last occupied them, said: "War is essentially a greedy thing, a great and speedy consumer of what has been slowly produced in peace. We hear of veteran armies, but an army of veterans does not, perhaps never existed. We collect materials and munitions of war, expecting to expend them in military operations; but we are not aware, until we have tried it, how close a parallel there is between the fates of the inanimate and the living constituents that furnish forth an army for the field. It is not the sword chiefly that kills; the hospital swallows more than the battle-field. After a few campaigns, what has been falsely called the skeleton, but is, in truth, the soul of an army, the remnant of experienced officers and tried soldiers, only remains, and new flesh, blood, and bones must be provided for this soul, in the shape of new levies. When we see an old soldier glorying in his score of campaigns, we should call to mind the score of youths prematurely covered by the sod."
"Few, then," said Lady Mabel, "can enjoy Gonsalvo of Cordova's fortune. On retiring to a monastery, he avowed that every soldier needed for repentance an interval of some years between his life and his death."
"The great captain's conscience must have pricked him," said L'Isle, "when he made that speech. An unjust war, or a war unjustly waged, lay heavy on him. A soldier knows the likelihood of his dying in his vocation. If he think it criminal, let him abandon it. Up to this day my conscience has not troubled me on that score. War, always an evil, is often a necessity; and I wonder whether, after an hundred years of peace, we would not find nations worse and more worthless than they now are."
Mrs. Shortridge now called their attention to the number of storks in the air. The sun had set, and these grave birds were seeking their roosts; every tower of church and monastery affording a domicil to some feathered family, with the full sanction of the biped denizens below.
"The social position of these long-legged gentry all over the peninsula," said L'Isle, "is one of the characteristics of the country. It is astonishing what an amount of respect, and an immunity from harm, they enjoy. I am afraid they would fare worse at the hands of the more brutal part of our English populace. They are useful, too; but are more indebted for their safety, and the respect shown them here, to the clerical gravity of their demeanor."
They had now reached their lodgings, and were soon after joined by the commissary, who came in rubbing his hands, and exclaiming: "Capital bargains to be made here! Corn plenty, and bullocks that would make a figure in Smithfield. Some farmers have not threshed last year's crop. A curious country this: one province starving, and plenty in the next. It is all owing to the want of roads. But, luckily, Elvas is not far off."
"Yet the Romans," L'Isle remarked, "had once netted over the whole Peninsula with roads."
"When they went away," said the commissary, "the first thing the people of the country did, I suppose, was to let them go to ruin in true Portuguese fashion."
Shortridge now said that he must spend some days in the neighborhood of Evora, and that the party would have to return to Elvas without him. This being agreed to, Lady Mabel suggested that they should find their way back by a different route, and, on consulting the muleteer, they found that it could be done without much lengthening their journey.


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