دانلود رایگان کتاب The Will Hostage-Elizabeth Ashton
THE Hotel Marques de Valpenza was en fete to celebrate an engagement party. One of the renovated Spanish castles that had been taken over by the government to turn into a parador, it had become famous throughout New Castile as a must for visitors to Spain@that is, the ones wealthy enough to afford its astronomical tariff. The last of the Valpenzas, possessing nothing except his mouldering home and his
title deeds, had been thankful to relinquish his outdated marquisate and retire to a modest villa on the coast.
His castle had been refurbished with skill and care to retain its mediaeval appearance, plus the necessary mod cons. The original tiltyard in its centre had been made into a patio ornamented with potted shrubs and coloured tiles, while an elegant fountain lifted a plumed jet in its centre.
The baronial dining hall had been opened on to it on one side, separated from it by a wrought-iron grille, and the diners at the long refectory tables could view the fountain and the greenery through the delicate whorls ‘of its black tracery. Standing on a bare hill top on the arid plateau of the meseta, the surrounding country had little to recommend it to sightseers, but the Valpenza was a convenient halting place on the long run from Madrid to Cadiz, and so popular had it become that the traveller had to book well in advance to be sure of a vacancy.
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