alcalde. To the alcalde, then, we insisted upon goings to ascertain if such an order existed, and if so, to procure a dispensation; as, unless our preparations of departure were completed now, we should be liable to detention on the morrow, when we ought to be travelling. This could not be refused, the door was opened, and three of us sallied forth, under the threat that we should sleep in the streets, for that none of us should re-enter. Accordingly the door was slammed at our backs, and locked, amid a volley of abuse and ribaldry from the household.
I must say, that we felt justly irritated; as, far from provoking this treatment, we had borne the previous churlishness with equanimity, both of temper and manner; and had given good words in exchange for bad.
We soon found the house of the alcalde. After much knocking, the door was opened, and we demanded to see his honour. After five minutes' delay, we were cautiously admitted into a small apartment. Five minutes again elapsed; when the magistrate, a sleepy, heavily built, good-natured man, made his appearance, half dressed, having already been in bed. We told our case, and satisfied him as to our being honest and responsible personages. He immediately denied that he had given the order complained of; but said that the number of banditti in the country had given rise to one, according to which, no armed parties should be let into the town after nine o'clock, without an order from him, but which, of course, was in nowise applicable to us. He offered to send a verbal message to Don Juan, our ungracious host, to desire that he would put no impediments in our way, but let us have free ingress and egress night and day: but this would not serve our purpose; and, in fine, after much talk, we persuaded him to give us a written document to the same purport. He was extremely civil, and at parting complained grievously of the responsibilities and toils of his post.
Thus furnished, we returned to the posada. The door was of course fast; and upon knocking, we were challenged by Don Juan: "Who we were?" "What we were making a noise at the door for?" "Did we not