The Countess of Quintanilla, ne Aline Griffith, grew up in Pearl River, New York. At twenty-two, she went to Spain as an agent for the OSS (it was 1944), where she met and married Luis, the Conde of Quintanilla. When she learned that his land holdings included a number of estates that he had inherited but never sited, she determined to see one for herself. She chose Pascualete in Estremadura. To see the estate was to love it, and her account becomes one of the search for asculalete's past, spurred on by the tantalizing escudas, the cont of arms set in the floors and doorways of the ""palacio."" The Contesa also embarked upon the task of modernizing and bringing to life the ""palacio"" as a country estate where friends ould join them for shoots or holidays. She involved the village priest in her studies of palaeography, her friend Pillete, owner of the Bar Imperial which became er headquarters in her renovations. On the estate, Maria took care of her chickens to eventual satisfaction, while her husband Primitivo learned to care for her horses nd wear a uniform with distinction. Known as one of the ten best dressed women in the world, the Contesa's sense of style is apparent in her flair, fashionable for the boutique and bistro set.