the outline of which was now clearly defined before them. They separated,—the squire galloped towards a narrow river that crossed the plain ; and the remainder of the travellers avoiding the stream, soon reached a small and stunted wood, through which a sheep-track appeared to wind towards the less sterile portion of the hills. Leaving, for the present, the knight and his scanty train, we follow the fortunes of Perez.

His jaded horse plunging into the little river, bathed, with evident delight, his hot and weary limbs ; but brief time was allowed for the welcome refreshment;-he soon gained the further bank, and bounding over the plain, reached a road well beaten, but far too narrow to be mistaken for the caminos reales, or highway. Perez knew that it was one of the paths forined by the arrieros, or carriers, who (with their long trains of laden mules, and escort of travellers), have for ages made tracks across the vast plains of Spain, which, at a distance, appear not unlike the runs worn on the side of a mountain by its wild denizens.

Some few yards from the mule-track, stood a small low house, for which the withered bush bea side the door claimed the dignity of a posada, or way-side inn. By the open gate of the little path leading to it, sat an aged man, whose face was turned towards the traveller ; not, however, to scan him, for his eyes were sightless; but warned by the footsteps of the panting steed, of the approach of a stranger. His venerable head was uncovered, and nearly bald, a few straggling locks alone remaining to mingle with his flowing beard, which, long and full, and white as snow, descended to his girdle. A rosy child was playing beside him with some fresh-culled flowers, now running here and there to increase his fragrant store ; and now exchanging a few lisping words with the aged mendicant. It was the old man's guide, and its eloquent eyes aided his prayer for alms.

Neither petitioner seemed familiar with severe privations, nor yet degraded by the portion allotted to them ; for it was, indeed, no disgraceful doom to meekly submit to the dispensation of Providence, and thankfully receive the dole of those who give to the poor and helpless for the love of God !

As the horseman approached them, the old man took up a threadbare cap, and holding it on his knee, solicited alms. Perez, whose haste admitted of scarce a thought which aided not his mission, replied, “ Perdon usted por Dios hermano*!"

“ Dios guarde à ustedt !” humbly replied the beggar, returning his cap to the ground.

On hearing those mild words, the heart of the squire relented, and exclaiming, “ Say a prayer, father, for the success of my present undertaking,” he flung a small coin towards the mendicant. Just then the little child ran laughing from a shaded nook beside the road, where he had just found a store of blooming flowers, and in his eagerness to make the old man a sharer in his joy, threw a handful of them towards him : they fell with the dole of Perez into the beggar's once more extended cap.

* “Excuse me, brother, for the love of God !”

+ “God guard thee !"

The traveller smiled, and passed on to the door of the posada. There he alighted ; and having fastened his horse to a post securely fixed near to it for such purposes, entered the low-roofed kitchen, and anxiously inquired for a guide over the sierra.

“A guide !” exclaimed the shrill voice of a woman, who, as if just roused from her siesta, emerged from an inner room ; and rubbing her scarcely awakened eyes, continued.--" Thy best guide, señor, would be the brave Sanchez, whose train of mules will pass this way ere nightfall."

“ He wends his way to the next frontier fort, does he not ?"

“Aye, sure, does he; and will reach it too, God willing, in spite of bandalero, contrebandista, any

of the lawless tribes with whom the unsettled times people our sierras !”



“ Then will he not suit my purpose," replied Perez, " for I am bound to the holy convent of San Martinha. Knowest thou not some peasant who would, for a bright guerdon, undertake to guide me thither? Methinks there must be many a herdsman among your villagers, who, in tending his flock, hath learned the aspect of the mountain for many a league."

The woman stood for a moment silent, then suddenly called at the door she had just left,· Lope, Lope,-come, quick !"

A young embrowned urchin, possessing those shrewd dark eyes and laughing lips that Murillo loved to make immortal, instantly appeared. * Hasten, Lope," said the woman,“ to the cottage of old Pedrillo ; tell him a stranger needs his guidance over the sierra. He is slow, señor," she continued, turning to Perez, “ for he has spent more than sixty summers among

these hills ; but I remember when the fame of his strength and agility extended far beyond his native village, and even now no one so well as

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