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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/67

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CHAPTER II.


LEFT ALONE.


A CLOSE observer might have noticed that all wore long cloaks, torn and patched, but covering them, and if need be concealing them up to the very eyes,—useful alike against the north wind and curiosity. They moved with ease under these cloaks. The greater number wore a handkerchief tied round the head,—a sort of rudiment which marks the commencement of the turban in Spain. This head-dress was nothing unusual in England. At that time the South was in fashion in the North; perhaps this was connected with the fact that the North was beating the South. It conquered and admired. After the defeat of the Armada, Castilian was considered in the halls of Elizabeth as the court language. To speak English in the palace of the Queen of England was deemed almost an impropriety. To adopt partially the manners of those upon whom we impose our laws is very common. It was thus that Castilian fashions penetrated into England; while as an offset, English interests crept into Spain.

One of the men in the group embarking appeared to be a chief. He had sandals on his feet, and was bedizened with gold-lace tatters and a tinsel waistcoat, shining under his cloak like the belly of a fish. Another pulled down over his face a huge piece of felt, cut like a sombrero; this felt had no hole for a pipe, thus indicating the wearer to be a man of letters.