know the order?" and so forth, mingled with threats to call the town guard, and give us lodgings in the town prison. To all this we could only reply by a fresh summons, enforced by a general thump of our sabre hilts at the gate, and a chorus of "Will your grace open the door?—an order from the alcalde! There was really something extremely dramatic in the whole scene. Open the door he would not, pretending to believe that we were a party of thieves freshly arrived, instead of honest old acquaintances. At length he told us to thrust the letter under the planks, which we did. It took him a long time to spell, which, by-the-by, I do not wonder at, as his honour, the sleepy alcalde, had contrived to write it in a most illegible hand. Every now and then Don Juan called to us, "Don't be in a hurry! A little patience, a little patience, signores! which of course did not add to our store. At length the door opened, and one by one in we marched; when, foaming with passion, he instantly relocked it, and swore stoutly that not a soul should leave the posada again that night.
A quarrel was now unavoidable, and it soon arose to a storm. Two or three drunken travellers joined in it, most inopportunely; and threats of violence against us, as Europeans, began to be heard. Doña Dolores rushed into the fray, confronting Garcia, who was unfortunately pot valiant, with the most opprobrious language and gestures. Her apparition threw oil upon the fire, and Don Juan, without more ado, ran into the house, and came back armed with a long cut and thrust sword called a machete, while we, as a matter of necessity—for I may say that all along we acted on the defensive—had now to produce our pistols. The gate was thrown open by the women; the town guards and some of the neighbours rushed in, and without inquiry into the merits of the case, or the origin of the hubbub, immediately ranged themselves on the side of our opponents, with a violence which showed us we had no justice to hope from their intervention. Sabres were drawn, and pistols were cocked, and there was a moment when a bloody fray seemed inevitable.