Nothing can be more engaging than the tone of perfect ease and cordial courtesy which pervades these family festivals. It is here that the Spanish character is seen in its most attractive light. Nearly everybody knows French, but it is never spoken. The exquisite Castilian, softened by its graceful diminutives into a rival of the Italian in tender melody, is the only medium of conversation; it is rare that a stranger' is seen, but if he is, he must learn Spanish or be a wet blanket forever.
You will often meet, in persons of wealth and distinction, an easy degenerate accent in Spanish, strangely at variance with their elegance and culture. These are Creoles of the Antilles, and they form one of the most valued and popular elements of society in the capital. There is a gall