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The Bible in Spain
by George Borrow
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"Gomez and his bands have lately been in Cordova," said I; "of course you were present at all that occurred: how did they comport themselves?"

"Bravely well," replied the innkeeper, "bravely well, and I wish they were here still. I hold with neither side, as I told you before, Don Jorge, but I confess I never felt greater pleasure in my life than when they entered the gate; and then to see the dogs of nationals flying through the streets to save their lives—that was a sight, Don Jorge—those who met me then at the corner forgot to shout 'Halloo, Carlista!' and I heard not a word about cudgelling; some jumped from the wall and ran no one knows where, whilst the rest retired to the house of the Inquisition, which they had fortified, and there they shut themselves up. Now you must know, Don Jorge, that all the Carlist chiefs lodged at my house, Gomez, Cabrera, and the Sawyer; and it chanced that I was talking to my Lord Gomez in this very room in which we are now, when in came Cabrera in a mighty fury—he is a small man, Don Jorge, but he is as active as a wild cat and as fierce. 'The canaille,' said he, 'in the Casa of the Inquisition refuse to surrender; give but the order, General, and I will scale the walls with my men and put them all to the sword'; but Gomez said, 'No, we must not spill blood if we can avoid it; order a few muskets to be fired at them, that will be sufficient!' And so it proved, Don Jorge, for after a few discharges their hearts failed them, and they surrendered at discretion: whereupon their arms were taken from them and they were permitted to return to their own houses; but as soon as ever the Carlists departed, these fellows became as bold as ever, and it is now once more, 'Halloo, Carlista!' when they see me turning the corner, and it is for fear of them that my son must run like a partridge to his own home, now that he has done waiting on your worship, lest they meet him in the street and kill him with their knives!"

"You tell me that you were acquainted with Gomez: what kind of man might he be?"

"A middle-sized man," replied the innkeeper; "grave and dark. But the most remarkable personage in appearance of them all was the Sawyer: he is a kind of giant, so tall, that when he entered the doorway he invariably struck his head against the lintel. The one I liked least of all was one Palillos, who is a gloomy savage ruffian whom I knew when he was a postillion. Many is the time that he has been at my house of old; he is now captain of the Manchegan thieves, for though he calls himself a royalist, he is neither more nor less than a thief: it is a disgrace to the cause that such as he should be permitted to mix with honourable and brave men; I hate that fellow, Don Jorge: it is owing to him that I have so few customers. Travellers are, at present, afraid to pass through La Mancha, lest they fall into his hands. I wish he were hanged, Don Jorge, and whether by Christinos or Royalists, I care not."

"You recognized me at once for an Englishman," said I, "do many of my countrymen visit Cordova?"

"Toma!" said the landlord, "they are my best customers; I have had Englishmen in this house of all grades, from the son of Belington to a young medico, who cured my daughter, the chica here, of the ear-ache. How should I not know an Englishman? There were two with Gomez, serving as volunteers. Vaya que gente; what noble horses they rode, and how they scattered their gold about; they brought with them a Portuguese, who was much of a gentleman but very poor; it was said that he was one of Don Miguel's people, and that these Englishmen supported him for the love they bore to royalty; he was continually singing

'El Rey chegou—El Rey chegou, E en Belem desembarcou!' {11}

Those were merry days, Don Jorge. By the by, I forgot to ask your worship of what opinion you are?"

The next morning, whilst I was dressing, the old Genoese entered my room: "Signore," said he, "I am come to bid you farewell. I am about to return to Seville forthwith with the horses."

"Wherefore in such a hurry," I replied; "assuredly you had better tarry till to-morrow; both the animals and yourself require rest; repose yourselves to-day and I will defray the expense."

"Thank you, Signore, but we will depart forthwith, for there is no tarrying in this house."

"What is the matter with the house?" I inquired.

"I find no fault with the house," replied the Genoese, "it is the people who keep it of whom I complain. About an hour since, I went down to get my breakfast, and there, in the kitchen, I found the master and all his family: well, I sat down and called for chocolate, which they brought me, but ere I could dispatch it, the master fell to talking politics. He commenced by telling me that he held with neither side, but he is as rank a Carlist as Carlos Quinto: for no sooner did he find that I was of the other opinion, than he glared at me like a wild beast. You must know, Signore, that in the time of the old constitution I kept a coffee-house at Seville, which was frequented by all the principal liberals, and was, indeed, the cause of my ruin: for as I admired their opinions, I gave my customers whatever credit they required, both with regard to coffee and liqueurs, so that by the time the constitution was put down and despotism re-established, I had trusted them with all I had. It is possible that many of them would have paid me, for I believe they harboured no evil intention; but the persecution came, the liberals took to flight, and, as was natural enough, thought more of providing for their own safety than of paying me for my coffee and liqueurs; nevertheless, I am a friend to their system, and never hesitate to say so. So the landlord, as I told your worship before, when he found that I was of this opinion, glared at me like a wild beast: 'Get out of my house,' said he, 'for I will have no spies here,' and thereupon he spoke disrespectfully of the young Queen Isabel and of Christina, who, notwithstanding she is a Neapolitan, I consider as my countrywoman. Hearing this, your worship, I confess that I lost my temper and returned the compliment, by saying that Carlos was a knave and the Princess of Beira no better than she should be. I then prepared to swallow the chocolate, but ere I could bring it to my lips, the woman of the house, who is a still ranker Carlist than her husband, if that be possible, coming up to me struck the cup into the air as high as the ceiling, exclaiming, 'Begone, dog of a negro, you shall taste nothing more in my house; may you be hanged even as a swine is hanged.' So your worship sees that it is impossible for me to remain here any longer. I forgot to say that the knave of a landlord told me that you had confessed yourself to be of the same politics as himself, or he would not have harboured you."

"My good man," said I, "I am invariably of the politics of the people at whose table I sit, or beneath whose roof I sleep, at least I never say anything which can lead them to suspect the contrary; by pursuing which system I have more than once escaped a bloody pillow, and having the wine I drank spiced with sublimate."



CHAPTER XVII



Cordova—Moors of Barbary—The English—An Old Priest—The Roman Breviary—The Dovecote—The Holy Office—Judaism—Desecration of Dovecotes—The Innkeeper's Proposal.

Little can be said with respect to the town of Cordova, which is a mean dark gloomy place, full of narrow streets and alleys, without squares or public buildings worthy of attention, save and except its far-famed cathedral; its situation, however, is beautiful and picturesque. Before it runs the Guadalquivir, which, though in this part shallow and full of sandbanks, is still a delightful stream; whilst behind it rise the steep sides of the Sierra Morena, planted up to the top with olive groves. The town or city is surrounded on all sides by lofty Moorish walls, which may measure about three quarters of a league in circumference; unlike Seville, and most other towns in Spain, it has no suburbs.

I have said that Cordova has no remarkable edifices, save its cathedral; yet this is perhaps the most extraordinary place of worship in the world. It was originally, as is well known, a mosque, built in the brightest days of Arabian dominion in Spain; in shape it was quadrangular, with a low roof, supported by an infinity of small and delicately rounded marble pillars, many of which still remain, and present at first sight the appearance of a marble grove; the greater part, however, were removed when the Christians, after the expulsion of the Moslems, essayed to convert the mosque into a cathedral, which they effected in part by the erection of a dome, and by clearing an open space for a choir. As it at present exists, the temple appears to belong partly to Mahomet, and partly to the Nazarene; and though this jumbling together of massive Gothic architecture with the light and delicate style of the Arabians produces an effect somewhat bizarre, it still remains a magnificent and glorious edifice, and well calculated to excite feelings of awe and veneration within the bosoms of those who enter it.

The Moors of Barbary seem to care but little for the exploits of their ancestors: their minds are centred in the things of the present day, and only so far as those things regard themselves individually. Disinterested enthusiasm, that truly distinguishing mark of a noble mind, and admiration for what is great, good, and grand, they appear to be totally incapable of feeling. It is astonishing with what indifference they stray amongst the relics of ancient Moorish grandeur in Spain. No feelings of exultation seem to be excited by the proof of what the Moor once was, nor of regret at the consciousness of what he now is. More interesting to them are their perfumes, their papouches, their dates, and their silks of Fez and Maraks, to dispose of which they visit Andalusia; and yet the generality of these men are far from being ignorant, and have both heard and read of what was passing in Spain in the old time. I was once conversing with a Moor at Madrid, with whom I was very intimate, about the Alhambra of Granada, which he had visited. "Did you not weep," said I, "when you passed through the courts, and thought of the, Abencerrages?" "No," said he, "I did not weep; wherefore should I weep?" "And why did you visit the Alhambra?" I demanded. "I visited it," he replied, "because being at Granada on my own affairs, one of your countrymen requested me to accompany him thither, that I might explain some of the inscriptions. I should certainly not have gone of my own accord, for the hill on which it stands is steep." And yet this man could compose verses, and was by no means a contemptible poet. Once at Cordova, whilst I was in the cathedral, three Moors entered it, and proceeded slowly across its floor in the direction of a gate, which stood at the opposite side; they took no farther notice of what was around them than by slightly glancing once or twice at the pillars, one of them exclaiming, "Huaije del Mselmeen, huaije del Mselmeen" (things of the Moors, things of the Moors); and showed no other respect for the place where Abderrahman the Magnificent prostrated himself of old, than facing about on arriving at the farther door and making their egress backwards; yet these men were hajis and talebs, men likewise of much gold and silver, men who had read, who had travelled, who had seen Mecca, and the great city of Negroland.

I remained in Cordova much longer than I had originally intended, owing to the accounts which I was continually hearing of the unsafe state of the roads to Madrid. I soon ransacked every nook and cranny of this ancient town, formed various acquaintances amongst the populace, which is my general practice on arriving at a strange place. I more than once ascended the side of the Sierra Morena, in which excursions I was accompanied by the son of my host,—the tall lad of whom I have already spoken. The people of the house, who had imbibed the idea that I was of the same way of thinking as themselves, were exceedingly courteous; it is true, that in return I was compelled to listen to a vast deal of Carlism, in other words, high treason against the ruling powers in Spain, to which, however, I submitted with patience. "Don Jorgito," said the landlord to me one day, "I love the English; they are my best customers. It is a pity that there is not greater union between Spain and England, and that more English do not visit us. Why should there not be a marriage? The king will speedily be at Madrid. Why should there not be bodas between the son of Don Carlos and the heiress of England?"

"It would certainly tend to bring a considerable number of English to Spain," said I, "and it would not be the first time that the son of a Carlos has married a Princess of England."

The host mused for a moment, and then exclaimed, "Carracho, Don Jorgito, if this marriage could be brought about, both the king and myself should have cause to fling our caps in the air."

The house or posada in which I had taken up my abode was exceedingly spacious, containing an infinity of apartments, both large and small, the greater part of which were, however, unfurnished. The chamber in which I was lodged stood at the end of an immensely long corridor, of the kind so admirably described in the wondrous tale of Udolfo. For a day or two after my arrival I believed myself to be the only lodger in the house. One morning, however, I beheld a strange-looking old man seated in the corridor, by one of the windows, reading intently in a small thick volume. He was clad in garments of coarse blue cloth, and wore a loose spencer over a waistcoat adorned with various rows of small buttons of mother of pearl; he had spectacles upon his nose. I could perceive, notwithstanding he was seated, that his stature bordered upon the gigantic. "Who is that person?" said I to the landlord, whom I presently met; "is he also a guest of yours?" "Not exactly, Don Jorge de mi alma," replied he, "I can scarcely call him a guest, inasmuch as I gain nothing by him, though he is staying at my house. You must know, Don Jorge, that he is one of two priests who officiate at a large village at some slight distance from this place. So it came to pass, that when the soldiers of Gomez entered the village, his reverence went to meet them, dressed in full canonicals, with a book in his hand, and he, at their bidding, proclaimed Carlos Quinto in the market-place. The other priest, however, was a desperate liberal, a downright negro, and upon him the royalists laid their hands, and were proceeding to hang him. His reverence, however, interfered, and obtained mercy for his colleague, on condition that he should cry Viva Carlos Quinto! which the latter did in order to save his life. Well; no sooner had the royalists departed from these parts than the black priest mounts his mule, comes to Cordova, and informs against his reverence, notwithstanding that he had saved his life. So his reverence was seized and brought hither to Cordova, and would assuredly have been thrown into the common prison as a Carlist, had I not stepped forward and offered to be surety that he should not quit the place, but should come forward at any time to answer whatever charge might be brought against him; and he is now in my house, though guest I cannot call him, for he is not of the slightest advantage to me, as his very food is daily brought from the country, and that consists only of a few eggs and a little milk and bread. As for his money, I have never seen the colour of it, notwithstanding they tell me that he has buenas pesetas. However, he is a holy man, is continually reading and praying and is, moreover, of the right opinion. I therefore keep him in my house, and would be bail for him were he twenty times more of a skinflint than he seems to be."

The next day, as I was again passing through the corridor, I observed the old man in the same place, and saluted him. He returned my salutation with much courtesy, and closing the book, placed it upon his knee as if willing to enter into conversation. After exchanging a word or two, I took up the book for the purpose of inspecting it.

"You will hardly derive much instruction from that book, Don Jorge," said the old man; "you cannot understand it, for it is not written in English."

"Nor in Spanish," I replied. "But with respect to understanding the book, I cannot see what difficulty there can be in a thing so simple; it is only the Roman breviary written in the Latin tongue."

"Do the English understand Latin?" exclaimed he. "Vaya! Who would have thought that it was possible for Lutherans to understand the language of the church? Vaya! the longer one lives the more one learns."

"How old may your reverence be?" I inquired.

"I am eighty years, Don Jorge; eighty years, and somewhat more."

Such was the first conversation which passed between his reverence and myself. He soon conceived no inconsiderable liking for me, and favoured me with no little of his company. Unlike our friend the landlord, I found him by no means inclined to talk politics, which the more surprised me, knowing, as I did, the decided and hazardous part which he had taken on the late Carlist irruption into the neighbourhood. He took, however, great delight in discoursing on ecclesiastical subjects and the writings of the fathers.

"I have got a small library at home, Don Jorge, which consists of all the volumes of the fathers which I have been able to pick up, and I find the perusal of them a source of great amusement and comfort. Should these dark days pass by, Don Jorge, and you should be in these parts, I hope you will look in upon me, and I will show you my little library of the fathers, and likewise my dovecote, where I rear numerous broods of pigeons, which are also a source of much solace and at the same time of profit."

"I suppose by your dovecote," said I, "you mean your parish, and by rearing broods of pigeons, you allude to the care you take of the souls of your people, instilling therein the fear of God, and obedience to his revealed law, which occupation must of course afford you much solace and spiritual profit."

"I was not speaking metaphorically, Don Jorge," replied my companion; "and by rearing doves, I mean neither more nor less than that I supply the market of Cordova with pigeons, and occasionally that of Seville; for my birds are very celebrated, and plumper or fatter flesh than theirs I believe cannot be found in the whole kingdom. Should you come into my village, you will doubtless taste them, Don Jorge, at the venta where you will put up, for I suffer no dovecotes but my own within my district. With respect to the souls of my parishioners, I trust I do my duty—I trust I do, as far as in my power lies. I always took great pleasure in these spiritual matters, and it was on that account that I attached myself to the Santa Casa of Cordova, the duties of which I assisted to perform for a long period."

"Your reverence has been an inquisitor?" I exclaimed, somewhat startled.

"From my thirtieth year until the time of the suppression of the holy office in these afflicted kingdoms."

"You both surprise and delight me," I exclaimed. "Nothing could have afforded me greater pleasure than to find myself conversing with a father formerly attached to the holy house of Cordova."

The old man looked at me steadfastly; "I understand you, Don Jorge. I have long seen that you are one of us. You are a learned and holy man; and though you think fit to call yourself a Lutheran and an Englishman, I have dived into your real condition. No Lutheran would take the interest in church matters which you do, and with respect to your being an Englishman, none of that nation can speak Castilian, much less Latin. I believe you to be one of us—a missionary priest, and I am especially confirmed in that idea by your frequent conversations and interviews with the Gitanos; you appear to be labouring among them. Be, however, on your guard, Don Jorge, trust not to Egyptian faith; they are evil penitents, whom I like not. I would not advise you to trust them."

"I do not intend," I replied; "especially with money. But to return to more important matters: —of what crimes did this holy house of Cordova take cognizance?"

"You are of course aware of the matters on which the holy office exercises its functions. I need scarcely mention sorcery, Judaism, and certain carnal misdemeanours."

"With respect to sorcery," said I, "what is your opinion of it? Is there in reality such a crime?"

"Que se io {12}?" said the old man, shrugging up his shoulders. "How should I know? The church has power, Don Jorge, or at least it had power, to punish for anything, real or unreal; and as it was necessary to punish in order to prove that it had the power of punishing, of what consequence whether it punished for sorcery or any other crime."

"Did many cases of sorcery occur within your own sphere of knowledge?"

"One or two, Don Jorge; they were by no means frequent. The last that I remember was a case which occurred in a convent at Seville: a certain nun was in the habit of flying through the windows and about the garden over the tops of the orange trees; declarations of various witnesses were taken, and the process was arranged with much formality; the fact, I believe, was satisfactorily proved: of one thing I am certain, that the nun was punished."

"Were you troubled with much Judaism in these parts?"

"Wooh! Nothing gave so much trouble to the Santa Casa as this same Judaism. Its shoots and ramifications are numerous, not only in these parts, but in all Spain; and it is singular enough, that even among the priesthood, instances of Judaism of both kinds were continually coming to our knowledge, which it was of course our duty to punish."

"Is there more than one species of Judaism?" I demanded.

"I have always arranged Judaism under two heads," said the old man, "the black and the white: by the black, I mean the observance of the law of Moses in preference to the precepts of the church; then there is the white Judaism, which includes all kinds of heresy, such as Lutheranism, freemasonry, and the like."

"I can easily conceive," said I, "that many of the priesthood favoured the principles of the reformation, and that the minds of not a few had been led astray by the deceitful lights of modern philosophy, but it is almost inconceivable to me that there should be Jews amongst the priesthood who follow in secret the rites and observances of the old law, though I confess that I have been assured of the fact ere now."

"Plenty of Judaism amongst the priesthood, whether of the black or white species; no lack of it, I assure you, Don Jorge; I remember once searching the house of an ecclesiastic who was accused of the black Judaism, and after much investigation, we discovered beneath the floor a wooden chest, in which was a small shrine of silver, inclosing three books in black hogskin, which, on being opened, were found to be books of Jewish devotion, written in Hebrew characters, and of great antiquity; and on being questioned, the culprit made no secret of his guilt, but rather gloried in it, saying that there was no God but one, and denouncing the adoration of Maria Santissima as rank idolatry."

"And between ourselves, what is your own opinion of the adoration of this same Maria Santissima?"

"What is my opinion! Que se io?" said the old man, shrugging up his shoulders still higher than on the former occasion; "but I will tell you; I think, on consideration, that it is quite right and proper; why not? Let any one pay a visit to my church, and look at her as she stands there, tan bonita, tan guapita—so well dressed and so genteel—with such pretty colours, such red and white, and he would scarcely ask me why Maria Santissima should not be adored. Moreover, Don Jorgito mio, this is a church matter and forms an important part of the church system."

"And now, with respect to carnal misdemeanours. Did you take much cognizance of them?"

"Amongst the laity, not much; we, however, kept a vigilant eye upon our own body, but, upon the whole, were rather tolerant in these matters, knowing that the infirmities of human nature are very great indeed: we rarely punished, save in cases where the glory of the church and loyalty to Maria Santissima made punishment absolutely imperative."

"And what cases might those be?" I demanded.

"I allude to the desecration of dovecotes, Don Jorge, and the introduction therein of strange flesh, for purposes neither seemly nor convenient."

"Your reverence will excuse me for not yet perfectly understanding."

"I mean, Don Jorge, certain acts of flagitiousness practised by the clergy in lone and remote palomares (dovecotes) in olive grounds and gardens; actions denounced, I believe, by the holy Pablo in his first letter to Pope Sixtus. {13} You understand me now, Don Jorge, for you are learned in church matters."

"I think I understand you," I replied.

After remaining several days more at Cordova, I determined to proceed on my journey to Madrid, though the roads were still said to be highly insecure. I, however, saw but little utility in tarrying and awaiting a more tranquil state of affairs, which might never arrive. I therefore consulted with the landlord respecting the best means of making the journey. "Don Jorgito," he replied, "I think I can tell you. You say you are anxious to depart, and I never wish to keep guests in my house longer than is agreeable to them; to do so, would not become a Christian innkeeper: I leave such conduct to Moors, Christinos, and Negroes. I will further you on your journey, Don Jorge: I have a plan in my head, which I had resolved to propose to you before you questioned me. There is my wife's brother, who has two horses which he occasionally lets out for hire; you shall hire them, Don Jorge, and he himself shall attend you to take care of you, and to comfort you, and to talk to you, and you shall pay him forty dollars for the journey. Moreover, as there are thieves upon the route, and malos sujetos, such as Palillos and his family, you shall make an engagement and a covenant, Don Jorge, that provided you are robbed and stripped on the route, and the horses of my wife's brother are taken from him by the thieves, you shall, on arriving at Madrid, make good any losses to which my wife's brother may be subject in following you. This is my plan, Don Jorge, which no doubt will meet with your worship's approbation, as it is devised solely for your benefit, and not with any view of lucre or interest either to me or mine. You will find my wife's brother pleasant company on the route: he is a very respectable man, and one of the right opinion, and has likewise travelled much; for between ourselves, Don Jorge, he is something of a Contrabandista and frequently smuggles diamonds and precious stones from Portugal, which he disposes of sometimes in Cordova and sometimes at Madrid. He is acquainted with all the short cuts, all the atajos, Don Jorge, and is much respected in all the ventas and posadas on the way; so now give me your hand upon the bargain, and I will forthwith repair to my wife's brother to tell him to get ready to set out with your worship the day after to-morrow."



CHAPTER XVIII



Departure from Cordova—The Contrabandista—Jewish Cunning—Arrival at Madrid.

One fine morning, I departed from Cordova, in company with the Contrabandista; the latter was mounted on a handsome animal, something between a horse and a pony, which he called a jaca, of that breed for which Cordova is celebrated. It was of a bright bay colour, with a star in its forehead, with strong but elegant limbs, and a long black tail, which swept the ground. The other animal, which was destined to carry me to Madrid, was not quite so prepossessing in its appearance: in more than one respect it closely resembled a hog, particularly in the curving of its back, the shortness of its neck, and the manner in which it kept its head nearly in contact with the ground: it had also the tail of a hog, and meandered over the ground much like one. Its coat more resembled coarse bristles than hair, and with respect to size, I have seen many a Westphalian hog quite as tall. I was not altogether satisfied with the idea of exhibiting myself on the back of this most extraordinary quadruped, and looked wistfully on the respectable animal on which my guide had thought proper to place himself; he interpreted my glances, and gave me to understand that as he was destined to carry the baggage, he was entitled to the best horse; a plea too well grounded on reason for me to make any objection to it.

I found the Contrabandista by no means such pleasant company on the road as I had been led to suppose he would prove from the representation of my host of Cordova. Throughout the day he sat sullen and silent, and rarely replied to my questions, save by a monosyllable; at night, however, after having eaten well and drank proportionably at my expense, he would occasionally become more sociable and communicative. "I have given up smuggling," said he, on one of these occasions, "owing to a trick which was played upon me the last time that I was at Lisbon: a Jew whom I had been long acquainted with palmed upon me a false brilliant for a real stone. He effected it in the most extraordinary manner, for I am not such a novice as not to know a true diamond when I see one; but the Jew appears to have had two, with which he played most adroitly, keeping the valuable one for which I bargained, and substituting therefor another which, though an excellent imitation, was not worth four dollars. I did not discover the trick until I was across the border, and upon my hurrying back, the culprit was not to be found; his priest, however, told me that he was just dead and buried, which was of course false, as I saw him laughing in the corners of his eyes. I renounced the contraband trade from that moment."

It is not my intention to describe minutely the various incidents of this journey. Leaving at our right the mountains of Jaen, we passed through Andujar and Bailen, and on the third day reached Carolina, a small but beautiful town on the skirts of the Sierra Morena, inhabited by the descendants of German colonists. Two leagues from this place, we entered the defile of Despena Perros, which, even in quiet times, has an evil name, on account of the robberies which are continually being perpetrated within its recesses, but at the period of which I am speaking, it was said to be swarming with banditti. We of course expected to be robbed, perhaps stripped and otherwise ill-treated; but Providence here manifested itself. It appeared that, the day before our arrival, the banditti of the pass had committed a dreadful robbery and murder, by which they gained forty thousand rials. This booty probably contented them for a time; certain it is that we were not interrupted: we did not even see a single individual in the pass, though we occasionally heard whistles and loud cries. We entered La Mancha, where I expected to fall into the hands of Palillos and Orejita. Providence again showed itself. It had been delicious weather, suddenly the Lord breathed forth a frozen blast, the severity of which was almost intolerable; no human beings but ourselves ventured forth. We traversed snow-covered plains, and passed through villages and towns to all appearance deserted. The robbers kept close in their caves and hovels, but the cold nearly killed us. We reached Aranjuez late on Christmas Day, and I got into the house of an Englishman, where I swallowed nearly a pint of brandy; it affected me no more than warm water.

On the following day we arrived at Madrid, where we had the good fortune to find everything tranquil and quiet. The Contrabandista continued with me for two days, at the end of which time he returned to Cordova upon the uncouth animal on which I had ridden throughout the journey. I had myself purchased the jaca, whose capabilities I had seen on the route, and which I imagined might prove useful in future journeys. The Contrabandista was so satisfied with the price which I gave him for his beast, and the general treatment which he had experienced at my hands during the time of his attendance upon me, that he would fain have persuaded me to retain him as a servant, assuring me that, in the event of my compliance, he would forget his wife and children and follow me through the world. I declined, however, to accede to his request, though I was in need of a domestic; I therefore sent him back to Cordova, where, as I subsequently learned, he died suddenly, about a week after his return.

The manner of his death was singular: one day he took out his purse, and, after counting his money, said to his wife, "I have made ninety-five dollars by this journey with the Englishman and by the sale of the jaca; this I could easily double by one successful venture in the smuggling lay. To-morrow I will depart for Lisbon to buy diamonds. I wonder if the beast requires to be shod?" He then started up and made for the door, with the intention of going to the stable; ere, however, his foot had crossed the threshold, he fell dead on the floor. Such is the course of the world. Well said the wise king: Let no one boast of the morrow.



CHAPTER XIX



Arrival at Madrid—Maria Diaz—Printing of the Testament—My Project—Andalusian Steed—Servant Wanted—An Application—Antonio Buchini—General Cordova—Principles of Honour.

On my arrival at Madrid I did not repair to my former lodgings in the Calle de la Zarza, but took others in the Calle de Santiago, in the vicinity of the palace. The name of the hostess (for there was, properly speaking, no host) was Maria Diaz, of whom I shall take the present opportunity of saying something in particular.

She was a woman of about thirty-five years of age, rather good- looking, and with a physiognomy every lineament of which bespoke intelligence of no common order. Her eyes were keen and penetrating, though occasionally clouded with a somewhat melancholy expression. There was a particular calmness and quiet in her general demeanour, beneath which, however, slumbered a firmness of spirit and an energy of action which were instantly displayed whenever necessary. A Spaniard and, of course, a Catholic, she was possessed of a spirit of toleration and liberality which would have done honour to individuals much her superior in station. In this woman, during the remainder of my sojourn in Spain, I found a firm and constant friend, and occasionally a most discreet adviser: she entered into all my plans, I will not say with enthusiasm, which, indeed, formed no part of her character, but with cordiality and sincerity, forwarding them to the utmost of her ability. She never shrank from me in the hour of danger and persecution, but stood my friend, notwithstanding the many inducements which were held out to her by my enemies to desert or betray me. Her motives were of the noblest kind, friendship and a proper feeling of the duties of hospitality; no prospect, no hope of self-interest, however remote, influenced this admirable woman in her conduct towards me. Honour to Maria Diaz, the quiet, dauntless, clever Castilian female. I were an ingrate not to speak well of her, for richly has she deserved an eulogy in the humble pages of The Bible in Spain.

She was a native of Villa Seca, a hamlet of New Castile, situated in what is called the Sagra, at about three leagues' distance from Toledo: her father was an architect of some celebrity, particularly skilled in erecting bridges. At a very early age she married a respectable yeoman of Villa Seca, Lopez by name, by whom she had three sons. On the death of her father, which occurred about five years previous to the time of which I am speaking, she removed to Madrid, partly for the purpose of educating her children, and partly in the hope of obtaining from the government a considerable sum of money for which it stood indebted to her father, at the time of his decease, for various useful and ornamental works, principally in the neighbourhood of Aranjuez. The justness of her claim was at once acknowledged; but, alas! no money was forthcoming, the royal treasury being empty. Her hopes of earthly happiness were now concentrated in her children. The two youngest were still of a very tender age; but the eldest, Juan Jose Lopez, a lad of about sixteen, was bidding fair to realize the warmest hopes of his affectionate mother; he had devoted himself to the arts, in which he made such progress that he had already become the favourite pupil of his celebrated namesake Lopez, the best painter of modern Spain. Such was Maria Diaz, who, according to a custom formerly universal in Spain, and still very prevalent, retained the name of her maidenhood though married. Such was Maria Diaz and her family.

One of my first cares was to wait on Mr. Villiers, who received me with his usual kindness. I asked him whether he considered that I might venture to commence printing the Scriptures without any more applications to government. His reply was satisfactory: "You obtained the permission of the government of Isturitz," said he, "which was a much less liberal one than the present. I am a witness to the promise made to you by the former ministers, which I consider sufficient. You had best commence and complete the work as soon as possible, without any fresh application; and should any one attempt to interrupt you, you have only to come to me, whom you may command at any time." So I went away with a light heart, and forthwith made preparation for the execution of the object which had brought me to Spain.

I shall not enter here into unnecessary details, which could possess but little interest for the reader; suffice it to say that, within three months from this time, an edition of the New Testament, consisting of five thousand copies, was published at Madrid. The work was printed at the establishment of Mr. Borrego, a well-known writer on political economy, and proprietor and editor of an influential newspaper called El Espanol. To this gentleman I had been recommended by Isturitz himself, on the day of my interview with him. That unfortunate minister had, indeed, the highest esteem for Borrego, and had intended raising him to the station of minister of finance, when the revolution of the Granja occurring, of course rendered abortive this project, with perhaps many others of a similar kind which he might have formed.

The Spanish version of the New Testament which was thus published, had been made many years before by a certain Padre Filipe Scio, confessor of Ferdinand the Seventh, and had even been printed, but so encumbered by notes and commentaries as to be unfitted for general circulation, for which, indeed, it was never intended. In the present edition, the notes were of course omitted, and the inspired word, and that alone, offered to the public. It was brought out in a handsome octavo volume, and presented, upon the whole, a rather favourable specimen of Spanish typography.

The mere printing, however, of the New Testament at Madrid could be attended with no utility whatever, unless measures, and energetic ones, were taken for the circulation of the sacred volume.

In the case of the New Testament, it would not do to follow the usual plan of publication in Spain, namely, to entrust the work to the booksellers of the capital, and rest content with the sale which they and their agents in the provincial towns might be able to obtain for it, in the common routine of business; the result generally being, the circulation of a few dozen copies in the course of the year; as the demand for literature of every kind in Spain was miserably small.

The Christians of England had already made considerable sacrifices in the hope of disseminating the word of God largely amongst the Spaniards, and it was now necessary to spare no exertion to prevent that hope becoming abortive. Before the book was ready, I had begun to make preparations for putting a plan into execution, which had occupied my thoughts occasionally during my former visit to Spain, and which I had never subsequently abandoned. I had mused on it when off Cape Finisterre in the tempest; in the cut-throat passes of the Morena; and on the plains of La Mancha, as I jogged along a little way ahead of the Contrabandista.

I had determined, after depositing a certain number of copies in the shops of the booksellers of Madrid, to ride forth, Testament in hand, and endeavour to circulate the word of God amongst the Spaniards, not only of the towns but of the villages; amongst the children not only of the plains but of the hills and mountains. I intended to visit Old Castile, and to traverse the whole of Galicia and the Asturias,—to establish Scripture depots in the principal towns, and to visit the people in secret and secluded spots,—to talk to them of Christ, to explain to them the nature of his book, and to place that book in the hands of those whom I should deem capable of deriving benefit from it. I was aware that such a journey would be attended with considerable danger, and very possibly the fate of St. Stephen might overtake me; but does the man deserve the name of a follower of Christ who would shrink from danger of any kind in the cause of Him whom he calls his Master? "He who loses his life for my sake, shall find it," are words which the Lord himself uttered. These words were fraught with consolation to me, as they doubtless are to every one engaged in propagating the gospel in sincerity of heart, in savage and barbarian lands.

I now purchased another horse; for these animals, at the time of which I am speaking, were exceedingly cheap. A royal requisition was about to be issued for five thousand, the consequence being, that an immense number were for sale, for, by virtue of this requisition, the horses of any person not a foreigner could be seized for the benefit of the service. It was probable that, when the number was made up, the price of horses would be treble what it then was, which consideration induced me to purchase this animal before I exactly wanted him. He was a black Andalusian stallion of great power and strength, and capable of performing a journey of a hundred leagues in a week's time, but he was unbroke, savage, and furious. A cargo of Bibles, however, which I hoped occasionally to put on his back, would, I had no doubt, thoroughly tame him, especially when labouring up the flinty hills of the north of Spain. I wished to have purchased a mule, but, though I offered thirty pounds for a sorry one, I could not obtain her; whereas the cost of both the horses, tall powerful stately animals, scarcely amounted to that sum.

The state of the surrounding country at this time was not very favourable for venturing forth: Cabrera was within nine leagues of Madrid, with an army nearly ten thousand strong; he had beaten several small detachments of the queen's troops, and had ravaged La Mancha with fire and sword, burning several towns; bands of affrighted fugitives were arriving every hour, bringing tidings of woe and disaster, and I was only surprised that the enemy did not appear, and by taking Madrid, which was almost at his mercy, put an end to the war at once. But the truth is, that the Carlist generals did not wish the war to cease, for as long as the country was involved in bloodshed and anarchy, they could plunder and exercise that lawless authority so dear to men of fierce and brutal passions. Cabrera, moreover, was a dastardly wretch, whose limited mind was incapable of harbouring a single conception approaching to grandeur; whose heroic deeds were confined to cutting down defenceless men, and to forcing and disembowelling unhappy women; and yet I have seen this wretched fellow termed by French journals (Carlist of course) the young, the heroic general. Infamy on the cowardly assassin! The shabbiest corporal of Napoleon would have laughed at his generalship, and half a battalion of Austrian grenadiers would have driven him and his rabble army headlong into the Ebro.

I now made preparations for my journey into the north. I was already provided with horses well calculated to support the fatigues of the road and the burdens which I might deem necessary to impose upon them. One thing, however, was still lacking, indispensable to a person about to engage on an expedition of this description; I mean a servant to attend me. Perhaps there is no place in the world where servants more abound than at Madrid, or at least fellows eager to proffer their services in the expectation of receiving food and wages, though, with respect to the actual service which they are capable of performing, not much can be said; but I was in want of a servant of no common description, a shrewd active fellow, of whose advice, in cases of emergency, I could occasionally avail myself; courageous withal, for it certainly required some degree of courage to follow a master bent on exploring the greater part of Spain, and who intended to travel, not under the protection of muleteers and carmen, but on his own cabalgaduras. Such a servant, perhaps, I might have sought for years without finding; chance, however, brought one to my hand at the very time I wanted him, without it being necessary for me to make any laborious perquisitions. I was one day mentioning the subject to Mr. Borrego, at whose establishment I had printed the New Testament, and inquiring whether he thought that such an individual was to be found in Madrid, adding that I was particularly anxious to obtain a servant who, besides Spanish, could speak some other language, that occasionally we might discourse without being understood by those who might overhear us. "The very description of person," he replied, "that you appear to be in need of, quitted me about half an hour ago, and, it is singular enough, came to me in the hope that I might be able to recommend him to a master. He has been twice in my service: for his talent and courage I will answer; and I believe him to be trustworthy, at least to masters who may chime in with his humour, for I must inform you that he is a most extraordinary fellow, full of strange likes and antipathies, which he will gratify at any expense, either to himself or others. Perhaps he will attach himself to you, in which case you will find him highly valuable; for if he please he can turn his hand to any thing, and is not only acquainted with two but half a dozen languages."

"Is he a Spaniard?" I inquired.

"I will send him to you to-morrow," said Borrego, "you will best learn from his own mouth who and what he is."

The next day, as I had just sat down to my "sopa," my hostess informed me that a man wished to speak to me. "Admit him," said I, and he almost instantly made his appearance. He was dressed respectably in the French fashion, and had rather a juvenile look, though I subsequently learned that he was considerably above forty. He was somewhat above the middle stature, and might have been called well made, had it not been for his meagreness, which was rather remarkable. His arms were long and bony, and his whole form conveyed an idea of great activity united with no slight degree of strength: his hair was wiry, but of jetty blackness; his forehead low; his eyes small and grey, expressive of much subtlety and no less malice, strangely relieved by a strong dash of humour; the nose was handsome, but the mouth was immensely wide, and his under jaw projected considerably. A more singular physiognomy I had never seen, and I continued staring at him for some time in silence. "Who are you?" I at last demanded.

"Domestic in search of a master," answered the man in good French, but in a strange accent. "I come recommended to you, my Lor, by Monsieur B."

Myself.—Of what nation may you be? Are you French or Spanish?

Man.—God forbid that I should be either, mi Lor, j'ai l'honneur d'etre de la nation Grecque, my name is Antonio Buchini, native of Pera the Belle near to Constantinople.

Myself.—And what brought you to Spain?

Buchini.—Mi Lor, je vais vous raconter mon histoire du commencement jusqu'ici: —my father was a native of Sceira in Greece, from whence at an early age he repaired to Pera, where he served as janitor in the hotels of various ambassadors, by whom he was much respected for his fidelity. Amongst others of these gentlemen, he served him of your own nation: this occurred at the time that there was war between England and the Porte. {14} Monsieur the Ambassador had to escape for his life, leaving the greater part of his valuables to the care of my father, who concealed them at his own great risk, and when the dispute was settled, restored them to Monsieur, even to the most inconsiderable trinket. I mention this circumstance to show you that I am of a family which cherishes principles of honour, and in which confidence may be placed. My father married a daughter of Pera, et moi je suis l'unique fruit de ce mariage. Of my mother I know nothing, as she died shortly after my birth. A family of wealthy Jews took pity on my forlorn condition and offered to bring me up, to which my father gladly consented; and with them I continued several years, until I was a beau garcon; they were very fond of me, and at last offered to adopt me, and at their death to bequeath me all they had, on condition of my becoming a Jew. Mais la circoncision n'etoit guere a mon gout; especially that of the Jews, for I am a Greek, am proud, and have principles of honour. I quitted them, therefore, saying that if ever I allowed myself to be converted, it should be to the faith of the Turks, for they are men, are proud, and have principles of honour like myself. I then returned to my father, who procured me various situations, none of which were to my liking, until I was placed in the house of Monsieur Zea.

Myself.—You mean, I suppose, Zea Bermudez, who chanced to be at Constantinople.

Buchini.—Just so, mi Lor, and with him I continued during his stay. He put great confidence in me, more especially as I spoke the pure Spanish language, which I acquired amongst the Jews, who, as I have heard Monsieur Zea say, speak it better than the present natives of Spain.

I shall not follow the Greek step by step throughout his history, which was rather lengthy: suffice it to say, that he was brought by Zea Bermudez from Constantinople to Spain, where he continued in his service for many years, and from whose house he was expelled for marrying a Guipuscoan damsel, who was fille de chambre to Madame Zea; since which time it appeared that he had served an infinity of masters; sometimes as valet, sometimes as cook, but generally in the last capacity. He confessed, however, that he had seldom continued more than three days in the same service, on account of the disputes which were sure to arise in the house almost immediately after his admission, and for which he could assign no other reason than his being a Greek, and having principles of honour. Amongst other persons whom he had served was General Cordova, who he said was a bad paymaster, and was in the habit of maltreating his domestics. "But he found his match in me," said Antonio, "for I was prepared for him; and once, when he drew his sword against me, I pulled out a pistol and pointed it in his face. He grew pale as death, and from that hour treated me with all kinds of condescension. It was only pretence, however, for the affair rankled in his mind; he had determined upon revenge, and on being appointed to the command of the army, he was particularly anxious that I should attend him to the camp. Mais je lui ris au nez, made the sign of the cortamanga—asked for my wages, and left him; and well it was that I did so, for the very domestic whom he took with him he caused to be shot upon a charge of mutiny."

"I am afraid," said I, "that you are of a turbulent disposition, and that the disputes to which you have alluded are solely to be attributed to the badness of your temper."

"What would you have, Monsieur? Moi je suis Grec, je suis fier et j'ai des principes d'honneur. I expect to be treated with a certain consideration, though I confess that my temper is none of the best, and that at times I am tempted to quarrel with the pots and pans in the kitchen. I think, upon the whole, that it will be for your advantage to engage me, and I promise you to be on my guard. There is one thing that pleases me relating to you, you are unmarried. Now, I would rather serve a young unmarried man for love and friendship, than a Benedict for fifty dollars per month. Madame is sure to hate me, and so is her waiting woman; and more particularly the latter, because I am a married man. I see that mi Lor is willing to engage me."

"But you say you are a married man," I replied; "how can you desert your wife, for I am about to leave Madrid, and to travel into the remote and mountainous parts of Spain."

"My wife will receive the moiety of my wages, while I am absent, mi Lor, and therefore will have no reason to complain of being deserted. Complain! did I say; my wife is at present too well instructed to complain. She never speaks nor sits in my presence unless I give her permission. Am I not a Greek, and do I not know how to govern my own house? Engage me, mi Lor, I am a man of many capacities: a discreet valet, an excellent cook, a good groom and light rider; in a word, I am [Greek text]. What would you more?"

I asked him his terms, which were extravagant, notwithstanding his principes d'honneur. I found, however, that he was willing to take one half.

I had no sooner engaged him, than seizing the tureen of soup, which had by this time become quite cold, he placed it on the top of his forefinger, or rather on the nail thereof, causing it to make various circumvolutions over his head, to my great astonishment, without spilling a drop, then springing with it to the door, he vanished, and in another moment made his appearance with the puchera, which, after a similar bound and flourish, he deposited on the table; then suffering his hands to sink before him, he put one over the other and stood at his ease with half-shut eyes, for all the world as if he had been in my service twenty years.

And in this manner Antonio Buchini entered upon his duties. Many was the wild spot to which he subsequently accompanied me; many the wild adventure of which he was the sharer. His behaviour was frequently in the highest degree extraordinary, but he served me courageously and faithfully: such a valet, take him for all in all,

"His like I ne'er expect to see again."

Kosko bakh Anton.



CHAPTER XX



Illness—Nocturnal Visit—A Master Mind—The Whisper—Salamanca— Irish Hospitality—Spanish Soldiers—The Scriptures advertised.

But I am anxious to enter upon the narrative of my journey, and shall therefore abstain from relating to my readers a great many circumstances which occurred previously to my leaving Madrid on this expedition. About the middle of May I had got everything in readiness, and I bade farewell to my friends. Salamanca was the first place which I intended to visit.

Some days previous to my departure I was very much indisposed, owing to the state of the weather, for violent and biting winds had long prevailed. I had been attacked with a severe cold, which terminated in a disagreeable cough, which the many remedies I successively tried seemed unable to subdue. I had made preparations for departing on a particular day, but, owing to the state of my health, I was apprehensive that I should be compelled to defer my journey for a time. The last day of my stay in Madrid, finding myself scarcely able to stand, I was fain to submit to a somewhat desperate experiment, and by the advice of the barber- surgeon who visited me, I determined to be bled. Late on the night of that same day he took from me sixteen ounces of blood, and having received his fee left me, wishing me a pleasant journey, and assuring me, upon his reputation, that by noon the next day I should be perfectly recovered.

A few minutes after his departure, whilst I was sitting alone, meditating on the journey which I was about to undertake, and on the ricketty state of my health, I heard a loud knock at the street door of the house, on the third floor of which I was lodged. In another minute Mr. S- of the British Embassy entered my apartment. After a little conversation, he informed me that Mr. Villiers had desired him to wait upon me to communicate a resolution which he had come to. Being apprehensive that, alone and unassisted, I should experience great difficulty in propagating the gospel of God to any considerable extent in Spain, he was bent upon exerting to the utmost his own credit and influence to further my views, which he himself considered, if carried into proper effect, extremely well calculated to operate beneficially on the political and moral state of the country. To this end it was his intention to purchase a very considerable number of copies of the New Testament, and to dispatch them forthwith to the various British consuls established in different parts of Spain, with strict and positive orders to employ all the means which their official situation should afford them to circulate the books in question and to assure their being noticed. They were, moreover, to be charged to afford me, whenever I should appear in their respective districts, all the protection, encouragement, and assistance which I should stand in need of.

I was of course much rejoiced on receiving this information, for though I had long been aware that Mr. Villiers was at all times willing to assist me, he having frequently given me sufficient proof, I could never expect that he would come forward in so noble, and, to say the least of it, considering his high diplomatic situation, so bold and decided a manner. I believe that this was the first instance of a British ambassador having made the cause of the Bible Society a national one, or indeed of having favoured it directly or indirectly. What renders the case of Mr. Villiers more remarkable is, that on my first arrival at Madrid I found him by no means well disposed towards the Society. The Holy Spirit had probably illumined his mind on this point. I hoped that by his means our institution would shortly possess many agents in Spain, who, with far more power and better opportunities than I myself could ever expect to possess, would scatter abroad the seed of the gospel, and make of a barren and thirsty wilderness a green and smiling corn-field.

A word or two about the gentleman who paid me this nocturnal visit. Though he has probably long since forgotten the humble circulator of the Bible in Spain, I still bear in mind numerous acts of kindness which I experienced at his hands. Endowed with an intellect of the highest order, master of the lore of all Europe, profoundly versed in the ancient tongues, and speaking most of the modern dialects with remarkable facility,—possessed, moreover, of a thorough knowledge of mankind,—he brought with him into the diplomatic career advantages such as few, even the most highly gifted, can boast of. During his sojourn in Spain he performed many eminent services for the government which employed him; services which, I believe, it had sufficient discernment to see, and gratitude to reward. He had to encounter, however, the full brunt of the low and stupid malignity of the party who, shortly after the time of which I am speaking, usurped the management of the affairs of Spain. This party, whose foolish manoeuvres he was continually discomfiting, feared and hated him as its evil genius, taking every opportunity of showering on his head calumnies the most improbable and absurd. Amongst other things, he was accused of having acted as an agent to the English government in the affair of the Granja, bringing about that revolution by bribing the mutinous soldiers, and more particularly the notorious Sergeant Garcia. Such an accusation will of course merely extract a smile from those who are at all acquainted with the English character, and the general line of conduct pursued by the English government. It was a charge, however, universally believed in Spain, and was even preferred in print by a certain journal, the official organ of the silly Duke of Frias, one of the many prime ministers of the moderado party who followed each other in rapid succession towards the latter period of the Carlist and Christino struggle. But when did a calumnious report ever fall to the ground in Spain by the weight of its own absurdity? Unhappy land, not until the pure light of the Gospel has illumined thee wilt thou learn that the greatest of all gifts is charity.

The next day verified the prediction of the Spanish surgeon; I had to a considerable degree lost my cough and fever, though, owing to the loss of blood, I was somewhat feeble. Precisely at twelve o'clock the horses were led forth before the door of my lodging in the Calle de Santiago, and I prepared to mount: but my black entero of Andalusia would not permit me to approach his side, and whenever I made the attempt, commenced wheeling round with great rapidity.

"C'est un mauvais signe, mon maitre," said Antonio, who, dressed in a green jerkin, a Montero cap, booted and spurred, stood ready to attend me, holding by the bridle the horse which I had purchased from the contrabandista. "It is a bad sign, and in my country they would defer the journey till to-morrow."

"Are there whisperers in your country?" I demanded; and taking the horse by the mane, I performed the ceremony after the most approved fashion: the animal stood still, and I mounted the saddle, exclaiming -

"The Rommany Chal to his horse did cry, As he placed the bit in his horse's jaw; Kosko gry! Rommany gry! Muk man kistur tute knaw."

We then rode forth from Madrid by the gate of San Vincente, directing our course to the lofty mountains which separate Old from New Castile. That night we rested at Guadarama, a large village at their foot, distant from Madrid about seven leagues. Rising early on the following morning, we ascended the pass and entered into Old Castile.

After crossing the mountains, the route to Salamanca lies almost entirely over sandy and arid plains, interspersed here and there with thin and scanty groves of pine. No adventure worth relating occurred during this journey. We sold a few Testaments in the villages through which we passed, more especially at Penaranda. About noon of the third day, on reaching the brow of a hillock, we saw a huge dome before us, upon which the fierce rays of the sun striking, produced the appearance of burnished gold. It belonged to the cathedral of Salamanca, and we flattered ourselves that we were already at our journey's end; we were deceived, however, being still four leagues distant from the town, whose churches and convents, towering up in gigantic masses, can be distinguished at an immense distance, flattering the traveller with an idea of propinquity which does not in reality exist. It was not till long after nightfall that we arrived at the city gate, which we found closed and guarded, in apprehension of a Carlist attack; and having obtained admission with some difficulty, we led our horses along dark, silent, and deserted streets, till we found an individual who directed us to a large, gloomy, and comfortless posada, that of the Bull, which we, however, subsequently found was the best which the town afforded.

A melancholy town is Salamanca; the days of its collegiate glory are long since past by, never more to return: a circumstance, however, which is little to be regretted; for what benefit did the world ever derive from scholastic philosophy? And for that alone was Salamanca ever famous. Its halls are now almost silent, and grass is growing in its courts, which were once daily thronged by at least eight thousand students; a number to which, at the present day, the entire population of the city does not amount. Yet, with all its melancholy, what an interesting, nay, what a magnificent place is Salamanca! How glorious are its churches, how stupendous are its deserted convents, and with what sublime but sullen grandeur do its huge and crumbling walls, which crown the precipitous bank of the Tormes, look down upon the lovely river and its venerable bridge.

What a pity that, of the many rivers in Spain, scarcely one is navigable. The beautiful but shallow Tormes, instead of proving a source of blessing and wealth to this part of Castile, is of no further utility than to turn the wheels of various small water mills, standing upon weirs of stone, which at certain distances traverse the river.

My sojourn at Salamanca was rendered particularly pleasant by the kind attentions and continual acts of hospitality which I experienced from the inmates of the Irish College, to the rector of which I bore a letter of recommendation from my kind and excellent friend Mr. O'Shea, the celebrated banker of Madrid. It will be long before I forget these Irish, more especially their head, Dr. Gartland, a genuine scion of the good Hibernian tree, an accomplished scholar, and a courteous and high-minded gentleman. Though fully aware who I was, he held out the hand of friendship to the wandering heretic missionary, although by so doing he exposed himself to the rancorous remarks of the narrow-minded native clergy, who, in their ugly shovel hats and long cloaks, glared at me askance as I passed by their whispering groups beneath the piazzas of the Plaza. But when did the fear of consequences cause an Irishman to shrink from the exercise of the duties of hospitality? However attached to his religion—and who is so attached to the Romish creed as the Irishman?—I am convinced that not all the authority of the Pope or the Cardinals would induce him to close his doors on Luther himself, were that respectable personage at present alive and in need of food and refuge.

Honour to Ireland and her "hundred thousand welcomes!" Her fields have long been the greenest in the world; her daughters the fairest; her sons the bravest and most eloquent. May they never cease to be so.

The posada where I had put up was a good specimen of the old Spanish inn, being much the same as those described in the time of Philip the Third or Fourth. The rooms were many and large, floored with either brick or stone, generally with an alcove at the end, in which stood a wretched flock bed. Behind the house was a court, and in the rear of this a stable, full of horses, ponies, mules, machos, and donkeys, for there was no lack of guests, who, however, for the most part slept in the stable with their caballerias, being either arrieros or small peddling merchants who travelled the country with coarse cloth or linen. Opposite to my room in the corridor lodged a wounded officer, who had just arrived from San Sebastian on a galled broken-kneed pony; he was an Estrimenian, and was returning to his own village to be cured. He was attended by three broken soldiers, lame or maimed, and unfit for service: they told me that they were of the same village as his worship, and on that account he permitted them to travel with him. They slept amongst the litter, and throughout the day lounged about the house smoking paper cigars. I never saw them eating, though they frequently went to a dark cool corner, where stood a bota or kind of water pitcher, which they held about six inches from their black filmy lips, permitting the liquid to trickle down their throats. They said they had no pay, and were quite destitute of money, that su merced the officer occasionally gave them a piece of bread, but that he himself was poor and had only a few dollars. Brave guests for an inn, thought I; yet, to the honour of Spain be it spoken, it is one of the few countries in Europe where poverty is never insulted nor looked upon with contempt. Even at an inn, the poor man is never spurned from the door, and if not harboured, is at least dismissed with fair words, and consigned to the mercies of God and his mother. This is as it should be. I laugh at the bigotry and prejudices of Spain; I abhor the cruelty and ferocity which have cast a stain of eternal infamy on her history; but I will say for the Spaniards, that in their social intercourse no people in the world exhibit a juster feeling of what is due to the dignity of human nature, or better understand the behaviour which it behoves a man to adopt towards his fellow beings. I have said that it is one of the few countries in Europe where poverty is not treated with contempt, and I may add, where the wealthy are not blindly idolized. In Spain the very beggar does not feel himself a degraded being, for he kisses no one's feet, and knows not what it is to be cuffed or spitten upon; and in Spain the duke or the marquis can scarcely entertain a very overweening opinion of his own consequence, as he finds no one, with perhaps the exception of his French valet, to fawn upon or flatter him.

During my stay at Salamanca, I took measures that the word of God might become generally known in this celebrated city. The principal bookseller of the town, Blanco, a man of great wealth and respectability, consented to become my agent here, and I in consequence deposited in his shop a certain number of New Testaments. He was the proprietor of a small printing press, where the official bulletin of the place was published. For this bulletin I prepared an advertisement of the work, in which, amongst other things, I said that the New Testament was the only guide to salvation; I also spoke of the Bible Society, and the great pecuniary sacrifices which it was making with the view of proclaiming Christ crucified, and of making his doctrine known. This step will perhaps be considered by some as too bold, but I was not aware that I could take any more calculated to arouse the attention of the people—a considerable point. I also ordered numbers of the same advertisement to be struck off in the shape of bills, which I caused to be stuck up in various parts of the town. I had great hope that by means of these a considerable number of New Testaments would be sold. I intended to repeat this experiment in Valladolid, Leon, St. Jago, and all the principal towns which I visited, and to distribute them likewise as I rode along: the children of Spain would thus be brought to know that such a work as the New Testament is in existence, a fact of which not five in one hundred were then aware, notwithstanding their so frequently- repeated boasts of their Catholicity and Christianity.



CHAPTER XXI



Departure from Salamanca—Reception at Pitiegua—The Dilemma— Sudden Inspiration—The Good Presbyter—Combat of Quadrupeds—Irish Christians—Plains of Spain—The Catalans—The Fatal Pool— Valladolid—Circulation of the Scriptures—Philippine Missions— English College—A Conversation—The Gaoleress.

On Saturday, the tenth of June, I left Salamanca for Valladolid. As the village where we intended to rest was only five leagues distant, we did not sally forth till midday was past. There was a haze in the heavens which overcast the sun, nearly hiding his countenance from our view. My friend, Mr. Patrick Cantwell, of the Irish College, was kind enough to ride with me part of the way. He was mounted on a most sorry-looking hired mule, which, I expected would be unable to keep pace with the spirited horses of myself and man, for he seemed to be twin brother of the mule of Gil Perez, on which his nephew made his celebrated journey from Oviedo to Penaflor. I was, however, very much mistaken. The creature on being mounted instantly set off at that rapid walk which I have so often admired in Spanish mules, and which no horse can emulate. Our more stately animals were speedily left in the rear, and we were continually obliged to break into a trot to follow the singular quadruped, who, ever and anon, would lift his head high in the air, curl up his lip, and show his yellow teeth, as if he were laughing at us, as perhaps he was. It chanced that none of us was well acquainted with the road; indeed, I could see nothing which was fairly entitled to that appellation. The way from Salamanca to Valladolid is amongst a medley of bridle-paths and drift-ways, where discrimination is very difficult. It was not long before we were bewildered, and travelled over more ground than was strictly necessary. However, as men and women frequently passed on donkeys and little ponies, we were not too proud to be set right by them, and by dint of diligent inquiry we at length arrived at Pitiegua, four leagues from Salamanca, a small village, containing about fifty families, consisting of mud huts, and situated in the midst of dusty plains, where corn was growing in abundance. We asked for the house of the cura, an old man whom I had seen the day before at the Irish College, and who, on being informed that I was about to depart for Valladolid, had exacted from me a promise that I would not pass through his village without paying him a visit and partaking of his hospitality.

A woman directed us to a cottage somewhat superior in appearance to those contiguous. It had a small portico, which, if I remember well, was overgrown with a vine. We knocked loud and long at the door, but received no answer; the voice of man was silent, and not even a dog barked. The truth was, that the old curate was taking his siesta, and so were his whole family, which consisted of one ancient female and a cat. The good man was at last disturbed by our noise and vociferation, for we were hungry, and consequently impatient. Leaping from his couch, he came running to the door in great hurry and confusion, and perceiving us, he made many apologies for being asleep at a period when, he said, he ought to have been on the lookout for his invited guest. He embraced me very affectionately and conducted me into his parlour, an apartment of tolerable size, hung round with shelves, which were crowded with books. At one end there was a kind of table or desk covered with black leather, with a large easy chair, into which he pushed me, as I, with the true eagerness of a bibliomaniac, was about to inspect his shelves; saying, with considerable vehemence, that there was nothing there worthy of the attention of an Englishman, for that his whole stock consisted of breviaries and dry Catholic treatises on divinity.

His care now was to furnish us with refreshments. In a twinkling, with the assistance of his old attendant, he placed on the table several plates of cakes and confectionery, and a number of large uncouth glass bottles, which I thought bore a strong resemblance to those of Schiedam, and indeed they were the very same. "There," said he, rubbing his hands; "I thank God that it is in my power to treat you in a way which will be agreeable to you. In those bottles there is Hollands thirty years old"; and producing two large tumblers, he continued, "fill, my friends, and drink, drink it every drop if you please, for it is of little use to myself, who seldom drink aught but water. I know that you islanders love it, and cannot live without it; therefore, since it does you good, I am only sorry that there is no more."

Observing that we contented ourselves with merely tasting it, he looked at us with astonishment, and inquired the reason of our not drinking. We told him that we seldom drank ardent spirits; and I added, that as for myself, I seldom tasted even wine, but like himself, was content with the use of water. He appeared somewhat incredulous, but told us to do exactly what we pleased, and to ask for what was agreeable to us. We told him that we had not dined, and should be glad of some substantial refreshment. "I am afraid," said he, "that I have nothing in the house which will suit you; however, we will go and see."

Thereupon he led us through a small yard at the back part of his house, which might have been called a garden, or orchard, if it had displayed either trees or flowers; but it produced nothing but grass, which was growing in luxuriance. At one end was a large pigeon-house, which we all entered: "for," said the curate, "if we could find some nice delicate pigeons they would afford you an excellent dinner." We were, however, disappointed; for after rummaging the nests, we only found very young ones, unfitted for our purpose. The good man became very melancholy, and said he had some misgivings that we should have to depart dinnerless. Leaving the pigeon-house, he conducted us to a place where there were several skeps of bees, round which multitudes of the busy insects were hovering, filling the air with their music. "Next to my fellow creatures," said he, "there is nothing which I love so dearly as these bees; it is one of my delights to sit watching them, and listening to their murmur." We next went to several unfurnished rooms, fronting the yard, in one of which were hanging several flitches of bacon, beneath which he stopped, and looking up, gazed intently upon them. We told him that if he had nothing better to offer, we should be very glad to eat some slices of this bacon, especially if some eggs were added. "To tell the truth," said he, "I have nothing better, and if you can content yourselves with such fare I shall be very happy; as for eggs you can have as many as you wish, and perfectly fresh, for my hens lay every day."

So, after every thing was prepared and arranged to our satisfaction, we sat down to dine on the bacon and eggs, in a small room, not the one to which he had ushered us at first, but on the other side of the doorway. The good curate, though he ate nothing, having taken his meal long before, sat at the head of the table, and the repast was enlivened by his chat. "There, my friends," said he, "where you are now seated, once sat Wellington and Crawford, after they had beat the French at Arapiles, and rescued us from the thraldom of those wicked people. I never respected my house so much as I have done since they honoured it with their presence. They were heroes, and one was a demigod." He then burst into a most eloquent panegyric of El Gran Lord, as he termed him, which I should be very happy to translate, were my pen capable of rendering into English the robust thundering sentences of his powerful Castilian. I had till then considered him a plain uninformed old man, almost simple, and as incapable of much emotion as a tortoise within its shell; but he had become at once inspired: his eyes were replete with a bright fire, and every muscle of his face was quivering. The little silk skull-cap which he wore, according to the custom of the Catholic clergy, moved up and down with his agitation, and I soon saw that I was in the presence of one of those remarkable men who so frequently spring up in the bosom of the Romish church, and who to a child-like simplicity unite immense energy and power of mind,—equally adapted to guide a scanty flock of ignorant rustics in some obscure village in Italy or Spain, as to convert millions of heathens on the shores of Japan, China, and Paraguay.

He was a thin spare man, of about sixty-five, and was dressed in a black cloak of very coarse materials, nor were his other garments of superior quality. This plainness, however, in the appearance of his outward man was by no means the result of poverty; quite the contrary. The benefice was a very plentiful one, and placed at his disposal annually a sum of at least eight hundred dollars, of which the eighth part was more than sufficient to defray the expenses of his house and himself; the rest was devoted entirely to the purest acts of charity. He fed the hungry wanderer, and dispatched him singing on his way, with meat in his wallet and a peseta in his purse, and his parishioners, when in need of money, had only to repair to his study and were sure of an immediate supply. He was, indeed, the banker of the village, and what he lent he neither expected nor wished to be returned. Though under the necessity of making frequent journeys to Salamanca, he kept no mule, but contented himself with an ass, borrowed from the neighbouring miller. "I once kept a mule," said he, "but some years since it was removed without my permission by a traveller whom I had housed for the night: for in that alcove I keep two clean beds for the use of the wayfaring, and I shall be very much pleased if yourself and friend will occupy them, and tarry with me till the morning."

But I was eager to continue my journey, and my friend was no less anxious to return to Salamanca. Upon taking leave of the hospitable curate, I presented him with a copy of the New Testament. He received it without uttering a single word, and placed it on one of the shelves of his study; but I observed him nodding significantly to the Irish student, perhaps as much as to say, "Your friend loses no opportunity of propagating his book"; for he was well aware who I was. I shall not speedily forget the truly good presbyter, Anthonio Garcia de Aguilar, Cura of Pitiegua.

We reached Pedroso shortly before nightfall. It was a small village containing about thirty houses, and intersected by a rivulet, or as it is called a regata. On its banks women and maidens were washing their linen and singing couplets; the church stood lone and solitary on the farther side. We inquired for the posada, and were shown a cottage differing nothing from the rest in general appearance. We called at the door in vain, as it is not the custom of Castile for the people of these halting places to go out to welcome their visitors: at last we dismounted and entered the house, demanding of a sullen-looking woman where we were to place the horses. She said there was a stable within the house, but we could not put the animals there as it contained malos machos (savage mules) belonging to two travellers who would certainly fight with our horses, and then there would be a funcion, which would tear the house down. She then pointed to an outhouse across the way, saying that we could stable them there. We entered this place, which we found full of filth and swine, with a door without a lock. I thought of the fate of the cura's mule, and was unwilling to trust the horses in such a place, abandoning them to the mercy of any robber in the neighbourhood. I therefore entered the house, and said resolutely, that I was determined to place them in the stable. Two men were squatted on the ground, with an immense bowl of stewed hare before them, on which they were supping; these were the travelling merchants, the masters of the mutes. I passed on to the stable, one of the men saying softly, "Yes, yes, go in and see what will befall." I had no sooner entered the stable than I heard a horrid discordant cry, something between a bray and a yell, and the largest of the machos, tearing his head from the manger to which he was fastened, his eyes shooting flames, and breathing a whirlwind from his nostrils, flung himself on my stallion. The horse, as savage as himself, reared on his hind legs, and after the fashion of an English pugilist, repaid the other with a pat on the forehead, which nearly felled him. A combat instantly ensued, and I thought that the words of the sullen woman would be verified by the house being torn to pieces. It ended by my seizing the mute by the halter, at the risk of my limbs, and hanging upon him with all my weight, whilst Antonio, with much difficulty, removed the horse. The man who had been standing at the entrance now came forward, saying, "This would not have happened if you had taken good advice." Upon my stating to him the unreasonableness of expecting that I would risk horses in a place where they would probably be stolen before the morning, he replied, "True, true, you have perhaps done right." He then refastened his macho, adding for additional security a piece of whipcord, which he said rendered escape impossible.

After supper I roamed about the village. I addressed two or three labourers whom I found standing at their doors; they appeared, however, exceedingly reserved, and with a gruff "buenas noches" turned into their houses without inviting me to enter. I at last found my way to the church porch, where I continued some time in meditation. At last I bethought myself of retiring to rest; before departing, however, I took out and affixed to the porch of the church an advertisement to the effect that the New Testament was to be purchased at Salamanca. On returning to the house, I found the two travelling merchants enjoying profound slumber on various mantas or mule-cloths stretched on the floor. "You are a French merchant, I suppose, Caballero," said a man, who it seemed was the master of the house, and whom I had not before seen. "You are a French merchant, I suppose, and are on the way to the fair of Medina." "I am neither Frenchman nor merchant," I replied, "and though I purpose passing through Medina, it is not with the view of attending the fair." "Then you are one of the Irish Christians from Salamanca, Caballero," said the man; "I hear you come from that town." "Why do you call them Irish Christians?" I replied. "Are there pagans in their country?" "We call them Christians," said the man, "to distinguish them from the Irish English, who are worse than pagans, who are Jews and heretics." I made no answer, but passed on to the room which had been prepared for me, and from which, the door being ajar, I heard the following conversation passing between the innkeeper and his wife:-

Innkeeper.—Muger, it appears to me that we have evil guests in the house.

Wife.—You mean the last comers, the Caballero and his servant. Yes, I never saw worse countenances in my life.

Innkeeper.—I do not like the servant, and still less the master. He has neither formality nor politeness: he tells me that he is not French, and when I spoke to him of the Irish Christians, he did not seem to belong to them. I more than suspect that he is a heretic or a Jew at least.

Wife.—Perhaps they are both. Maria Santissima! what shall we do to purify the house when they are gone?

Innkeeper.—O, as for that matter, we must of course charge it in the cuenta.

I slept soundly, and rather late in the morning arose and breakfasted, and paid the bill, in which, by its extravagance, I found the purification had not been forgotten. The travelling merchants had departed at daybreak. We now led forth the horses, and mounted; there were several people at the door staring at us. "What is the meaning of this?" said I to Antonio.

"It is whispered that we are no Christians," said Antonio; "they have come to cross themselves at our departure."

In effect, the moment that we rode forward a dozen hands at least were busied in this evil-averting ceremony. Antonio instantly turned and crossed himself in the Greek fashion,—much more complex and difficult than the Catholic.

"Mirad que Santiguo! que Santiguo de los demonios!" {15} exclaimed many voices, whilst for fear of consequences we hastened away.

The day was exceedingly hot, and we wended our way slowly along the plains of Old Castile. With all that pertains to Spain, vastness and sublimity are associated: grand are its mountains, and no less grand are its plains, which seem of boundless extent, but which are not tame unbroken flats, like the steppes of Russia. Rough and uneven ground is continually occurring: here a deep ravine and gully worn by the wintry torrent; yonder an eminence not unfrequently craggy and savage, at whose top appears the lone solitary village. There is little that is blithesome and cheerful, but much that is melancholy. A few solitary rustics are occasionally seen toiling in the fields—fields without limit or boundary, where the green oak, the elm or the ash are unknown; where only the sad and desolate pine displays its pyramid-like form, and where no grass is to be found. And who are the travellers of these districts? For the most part arrieros, with their long trains of mules hung with monotonous tinkling bells. Behold them with their brown faces, brown dresses, and broad slouched hats;—the arrieros, the true lords of the roads of Spain, and to whom more respect is paid in these dusty ways than to dukes and condes;—the arrieros, sullen, proud, and rarely courteous, whose deep voices may be sometimes heard at the distance of a mile, either cheering the sluggish animals, or shortening the dreary way with savage and dissonant songs.

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