The French front stretched as a chord across an arc of the river, which here takes a long sweep to the south; and the British faced it around this arc, with their left, centre, and right, upon three tributary streams the Guarena, Trabancos, and Zapardiel over which last, and just before it joins the Douro, towers the rock of Rueda, crowned with a ruinated castle.

In short, when the procession had filed past the edge of my tent-flap, I crawled out to watch: and then it occurred to me as worth a lazy man's while to cross the Zapardiel by the pontoon bridge below and head these comedians off upon the highroad. They promised to repay a closer view. So I did; gained the road, and, seating myself beside it, hailed them as they came.

Already, however, the stream of tipplers had begun to set back towards the camp, and my main difficulty was to steer against it, avoiding disputes as to the rule of the road. I had no intention of climbing to the castle: my whim was and herein again I set my training a test to walk straight to the particular opening from which, across the Zapardiel, I had seen my comedians emerge.

I come from watching Caffarelli in the north, and for the last four days have been taking a holiday and twiddling my fingers in camp here, just across the Zapardiel. Happening this afternoon to stroll to this amazing rock, I fell in with the reverend father here, and most incautiously told him my name: since which he has been leading me a dance which may or may not have turned my hair grey."