We followed him through large, dark rooms, high-ceiled and airy; caught glimpses of a mighty marble bath in a cool green chamber, of a kitchen where they cook with charcoal, and finally halted in a place mysterious as an alchemist?s laboratory.{138} There were cauldrons of beaten copper, measures for wet and dry, an antique balance with brass weights, strange glass vessels, a press, an old still. As we stood admiring a huge marble mortar, Concepcion came into the laboratory. She wore a short white dress and apron, and, on her chatelaine, a bunch of big keys.

?Always on time!? Pemberton exclaimed. ???? ?At half past nine every morning Concepcion unlocks the despensa, and gives out whatever is needed for the day.?

?The grapes for the agraz are pounded in that mortar,? said Concepcion, who saw I was interested in the strange vessels, ?and those big stone rollers are used for crushing and grinding the chocolate.?

?Do you remember how good the smell of chocolate is, when they are making you a cup at home?? said Pemberton. ?Imagine what it must be to have the whole house filled with it! Ah! the making of the chocolate is an important event. Rodrigo and I are always impatient for it to begin.?

?When the time has come to make the chocolate,? Concepcion went on, ?the cacao is bought. It comes in great sacks,?the best from the Havana, cinnamon from Ceylon?being sure it is the most fresh?sugar the finest, and supreme{139} vanilla. When all is ready, we call the chocolateros, two good men, who make the chocolate under my direction, according to a family recipe. When it all is finished, it is poured out into those large troughs to cool. Then it is cut in squares; each large square is just big enough to make a cup of chocolate for grown-up people; and the little squares to make the children?s chocolate. When hard, it is put away on these shelves; as the cupboard is airy it keeps itself for a year.? When she learned that some housekeepers bought their chocolate ready made, Concepcion was scandalized. ?It will be mixed with flour of chestnuts, or other inferior things; there is no chocolate like the Andalusian!? she declared.