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CHAPTER III. THE MULETEER. The traveller pursued his way down
stairs. He did not, however, as the priest had anticipated, go
direct into the street. With all his seeming recklessness of
manner, he had apparently been taught prudence by experience, for
instead of making for the great door of the inn, he stopped at the
foot of the stairs, and commenced casting upon either side of him a
lazy glance at the horses and mules around him. The stable is the
entrance hall of the Spanish inns. Barely possessing food for the
traveller, and exhibiting in their bare walls and dirty and
unfinished apartments the most perfectabsence even of those more
simple luxuries which can be found in England in the meanest
alehouse, their accommodations for the four- legged visitants offer
a strange contrast to those provided for their masters. The stables
are always large, cool, and airy, and the chopped straw and barley,
the invariable food in the Peninsula for beasts of all sorts
intended for the road, abundant and of the best quality. The reason
of this is simple enough. The higher classes travel little, and
when they do move, have somewhat the appearance, and adopt the
tactics of a small army on its march. The grandee and his family
are accompanied by cooks, servants, proveditores, house - stewards,
and market-men. They carry with them their provision in carts or on
baggage mules. They have their wine, their hams, their sauces?while
the coarser elements, such as poultry, partridges, flour, and
liquor for their attendants, are purchased in any locality at which
their halt may take place. Thus the innkeeper is called upon to
provide them with nothing but shelter for the night, and his house
degenerates into a caravanserai. Where the chances of profit are
thus extremely rare, and very grudgingly p...
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