There was a brilliant entertainment at the French embassy; and thither flocked, all the rank and chivalry of Madrid. Calderon drew down the blind and hastily enjoined silence on Beatriz. It was some minutes before the driver extricated himself from the throng; and then, as if to make amends for the delay, he put his horses to their full speed, and carefully selected the most obscure and solitary thoroughfares. At length, the carriage entered the range of suburbs which still at this day the traveller passes on his road from Madrid to France. The horses stopped before a lonely house that stood a little apart from the road, and which from the fashion of its architecture appeared of considerable antiquity. The stranger descended and knocked twice at the door: it was opened by an old man, whose exaggerated features, bended frame, and long beard, proclaimed him of the race of Israel. After a short and whispered parley, the stranger returned to Beatriz, gravely assisted her from the carriage, and, leading her across the threshold, and up a flight of rude stairs, dimly lighted, entered a chamber richly furnished. The walls were hung with stuffs of gorgeous colouring and elaborate design. Pedestals of the whitest marble placed at each corner of the room supported candelabra of silver. The sofas and couches were of the heavy but sumptuous fashion which then prevailed in the palaces of France and Spain; and of which Venice (the true model of the barbaric decorations with which Louis the Fourteenth corrupted the taste of Paris) was probably the original inventor.