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field and to graver themes. For a time he busied himself on some American essays of a semi-political nature, which were never finished, and he seriously contemplated a Life of Washington; but all these projects were thrown aside for one that kindled his imagination, — the Life of Columbus; and in February, 1826, he was domiciled at Madrid, and settled down to a long period of unremitting and intense labor,


IRVING's residence in Spain, which was prolonged till September, 1829, was the most fruitful period in his life, and of considerable consequence to literature. It is not easy to overestimate the debt of Americans to the man who first opened to them the fascinating domain of early Spanish history and romance. We can conceive of it by reflecting upon the blank that would exist without “The Alhambra,” “The Conquest of Granada,” “The Legends of the Conquest of Spain,” and I may add the popular loss if we had not “The Lives of Columbus and his Companions.” Irving had the creative touch, or at least the magic of the pen, to give a definite, universal, and romantic interest to whatever he described. We cannot deny him that. A few lines about the inn of the Red Horse at Stratford-on-Avon created a new object of pilgrimage right in

the presence of the house and tomb of the poet. And how much of the romantic interest of all the English-reading world in the Alhambra is due to him; the name invariably recalls his own, and every visitor there is conscious of his presence. He has again and again been criticised almost out of court, and written down to the rank of the mere idle humorist; but as often as I take up “ The Conquest of Granada” or “ The Alhambra ” I am aware of something that has eluded the critical analysis, and I conclude that if one cannot write for the few it may be worth while to write for the many

It was Irving's intention, when he went to Madrid, merely to make a translation of some historical documents which were then appearing, edited by M. Navarrete, from the papers of Bishop Las Casas and the journals of Columbus, entitled “The Voyages of Columbus." But when he found that this publication, although it contained many documents, hitherto unknown, that threw much light on the discovery of the New World, was rather a rich mass of materials for å history than a history itself,

and that he had access in Madrid libraries to great collections of Spanish colonial history, he changed his plan, and determined to write a Life of Columbus. His studies for this led him deep into the old chronicles and legends of Spain, and out of these, with his own travel and observation, came those books of mingled fables, sentiment, fact, and humor which are after all the most enduring fruits of his residence in Spain. Notwithstanding his absorption in literary pursuits, Irving was not denied the charm of domestic society, which was all his life his chief delight. The house he most frequented in Madrid was that of Mr. D'Oubril, the Russian Minister. In his charming household were Madame D'Oubril and her niece, Mademoiselle Antoinette Bollviller, and Prince Dolgorouki, a young attaché of the legation. His letters to Prince Dolgorouki and to Mademoiselle Antoinette give a most lively and entertaining picture of his residence and travels in Spain. In one of them to the prince, who was temporarily absent from the city, we have glimpses of the happy hours, the happiest of all hours, passed in this refined family

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