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The Bible in Spain by George Borrow

Part 4 out of 12

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when, just beneath me, amidst a portion of the crowd which had
still maintained its ground, perhaps from not having the means of
escaping, I saw a small gun glitter for a moment, then there was a
sharp report, and a bullet had nearly sent Quesada to his long
account, passing so near to the countenance of the general as to
graze his hat. I had an indistinct view for a moment of a well-
known foraging cap just about the spot from whence the gun had been
discharged, then there was a rush of the crowd, and the shooter,
whoever he was, escaped discovery amidst the confusion which arose.

As for Quesada, he seemed to treat the danger from which he had
escaped with the utmost contempt. He glared about him fiercely for
a moment, then leaving the two nationals, who sneaked away like
whipped hounds, he went up to the young officer who commanded the
cavalry, and who had been active in raising the cry of the
constitution, and to him he addressed a few words with an air of
stern menace; the youth evidently quailed before him, and probably
in obedience to his orders, resigned the command of the party, and
rode slowly away with a discomfited air; whereupon Quesada
dismounted and walked slowly backwards and forwards before the Casa
de Postas with a mien which seemed to bid defiance to mankind.

This was the glorious day of Quesada's existence, his glorious and
last day. I call it the day of his glory, for he certainly never
before appeared under such brilliant circumstances, and he never
lived to see another sun set. No action of any conqueror or hero
on record is to be compared with this closing scene of the life of
Quesada, for who, by his single desperate courage and impetuosity,
ever before stopped a revolution in full course? Quesada did: he
stopped the revolution at Madrid for one entire day, and brought
back the uproarious and hostile mob of a huge city to perfect order
and quiet. His burst into the Puerta del Sol was the most
tremendous and successful piece of daring ever witnessed. I
admired so much the spirit of the "brute bull" that I frequently,
during his wild onset, shouted "Viva Quesada!" for I wished him
well. Not that I am of any political party or system. No, no! I
have lived too long with Rommany Chals and Petulengres {9} to be of
any politics save Gypsy politics; and it is well known that, during
elections, the children of Roma side with both parties so long as
the event is doubtful, promising success to each; and then when the
fight is done, and the battle won, invariably range themselves in
the ranks of the victorious. But I repeat that I wished well to
Quesada, witnessing, as I did, his stout heart and good
horsemanship. Tranquillity was restored to Madrid throughout the
remainder of the day; the handful of infantry bivouacked in the
Puerta del Sol. No more cries of long live the constitution were
heard; and the revolution in the capital seemed to have been
effectually put down. It is probable, indeed, that had the chiefs
of the moderado party but continued true to themselves for forty-
eight hours longer, their cause would have triumphed, and the
revolutionary soldiers at the Granja would have been glad to
restore the Queen Regent to liberty, and to have come to terms, as
it was well known that several regiments, who still continued
loyal, were marching upon Madrid. The moderados, however, were not
true to themselves; that very night their hearts failed them, and
they fled in various directions. Isturitz and Galiano to France;
and the Duke of Rivas to Gibraltar: the panic of his colleagues
even infected Quesada, who, disguised as a civilian, took to
flight. He was not, however, so successful as the rest, but was
recognised at a village about three leagues from Madrid, and cast
into prison by some friends of the constitution. Intelligence of
his capture was instantly transmitted to the capital, and a vast
mob of the nationals, some on foot, some on horseback, and others
in cabriolets, instantly set out. "The nationals are coming," said
a paisano to Quesada. "Then," said he, "I am lost," and forthwith
prepared himself for death.

There is a celebrated coffee-house in the Calle d'Alcala at Madrid,
capable of holding several hundred individuals. On the evening of
the day in question, I was seated there, sipping a cup of the brown
beverage, when I heard a prodigious noise and clamour in the
street; it proceeded from the nationals, who were returning from
their expedition. In a few minutes I saw a body of them enter the
coffee-house marching arm in arm, two by two, stamping on the
ground with their feet in a kind of measure, and repeating in loud
chorus as they walked round the spacious apartment, the following
grisly stanza:-

"Que es lo que abaja
Por aquel cerro?
Ta ra ra ra ra.
Son los huesos de Quesada,
Que los trae un perro -
Ta ra ra ra ra." {10}

"What down the hill comes hurrying there? -
With a hey, with a ho, a sword, and a gun!
Quesada's bones, which a hound doth bear. -
Hurrah, brave brothers!--the work is done."

A huge bowl of coffee was then called for, which was placed upon a
table, around which gathered the national soldiers: there was
silence for a moment, which was interrupted by a voice roaring out,
"el panuelo!" A blue kerchief was forthwith produced, which
appeared to contain a substance of some kind; it was untied, and a
gory hand and three or four dissevered fingers made their
appearance, and with these the contents of the bowl were stirred
up. "Cups! cups!" cried the nationals.

"Ho, ho, Don Jorge," cried Baltasarito, coming up to me with a cup
of coffee, "pray do me the favour to drink upon this glorious
occasion. This is a pleasant day for Spain, and for the gallant
nationals of Madrid. I have seen many a bull funcion, but none
which has given me so much pleasure as this. Yesterday the brute
had it all his own way, but to-day the toreros have prevailed, as
you see, Don Jorge. Pray drink; for I must now run home to fetch
my pajandi to play my brethren a tune, and sing a copla. What
shall it be? Something in Gitano?

"Una noche sinava en tucue."

You shake your head, Don Jorge. Ha, ha; I am young, and youth is
the time for pleasure; well, well, out of compliment to you, who
are an Englishman and a monro, it shall not be that, but something
liberal, something patriotic, the Hymn of Riego--Hasta despues, Don


The Steamer--Cape Finisterre--The Storm--Arrival at Cadiz--The New
Testament--Seville--Italica--The Amphitheatre--The Prisoners--The
Encounter--Baron Taylor--The Street and Desert.

At the commencement of November, I again found myself on the salt
water, on my way to Spain. I had returned to England shortly after
the events which have been narrated in the last chapter, for the
purpose of consulting with my friends, and for planning the opening
of a biblical campaign in Spain. It was now determined by us to
print the New Testament, with as little delay as possible, at
Madrid; and I was to be entrusted with the somewhat arduous task of
its distribution. My stay in England was very short, for time was
precious, and I was eager to return to the field of action.

I embarked in the Thames, on board the M- steamer. We had a most
unpleasant passage to Falmouth; the ship was crowded with
passengers, most of them poor consumptive individuals, and other
invalids fleeing from the cold blasts of England's winter to the
sunny shores of Portugal and Madeira. In a more uncomfortable
vessel, especially steam ship, it has never been my fate to make a
voyage. The berths were small and insupportably close, and of
these wretched holes mine was amongst the worst, the rest having
been bespoken before I arrived on board; so that to avoid the
suffocation which seemed to threaten me should I enter it, I lay
upon the floor of one of the cabins throughout the voyage. We
remained at Falmouth twenty-four hours, taking in coal, and
repairing the engine, which had sustained considerable damage.

On Monday, the seventh, we again started, and made for the Bay of
Biscay. The sea was high and the wind strong and contrary;
nevertheless, on the morning of the fourth day, we were in sight of
the rocky coast to the north of Cape Finisterre. I must here
observe, that this was the first voyage that the captain who
commanded the vessel had ever made on board of her, and that he
knew little or nothing of the coast towards which we were bearing.
He was a person picked up in a hurry, the former captain having
resigned his command on the ground that the ship was not seaworthy,
and that the engines were frequently unserviceable. I was not
acquainted with these circumstances at the time, or perhaps I
should have felt more alarmed than I did, when I saw the vessel
approaching nearer and nearer the shore, till at last we were only
a few hundred yards distant. As it was, however, I felt very much
surprised; for having passed it twice before, both times in steam
vessels, and having seen with what care the captains endeavoured to
maintain a wide offing, I could not conceive the reason of our
being now so near this dangerous region. The wind was blowing hard
towards the shore, if that can be called a shore which consists of
steep abrupt precipices, on which the surf was breaking with the
noise of thunder, tossing up clouds of spray and foam to the height
of a cathedral. We coasted slowly along, rounding several tall
forelands, some of them piled up by the hand of nature in the most
fantastic shapes. About nightfall Cape Finisterre was not far
ahead,--a bluff, brown, granite mountain, whose frowning head may
be seen far away by those who traverse the ocean. The stream which
poured round its breast was terrific, and though our engines plied
with all their force, we made little or no way.

By about eight o'clock at night the wind had increased to a
hurricane, the thunder rolled frightfully, and the only light which
we had to guide us on our way was the red forked lightning, which
burst at times from the bosom of the big black clouds which lowered
over our heads. We were exerting ourselves to the utmost to
weather the cape, which we could descry by the lightning on our
lee, its brow being frequently brilliantly lighted up by the
flashes which quivered around it, when suddenly, with a great
crash, the engine broke, and the paddles, on which depended our
lives, ceased to play.

I will not attempt to depict the scene of horror and confusion
which ensued; it may be imagined, but never described. The
captain, to give him his due, displayed the utmost coolness and
intrepidity; he and the whole crew made the greatest exertions to
repair the engine, and when they found their labour in vain,
endeavoured, by hoisting the sails, and by practising all possible
manoeuvres, to preserve the ship from impending destruction; but
all was of no avail, we were hard on a lee shore, to which the
howling tempest was impelling us. About this time I was standing
near the helm, and I asked the steersman if there was any hope of
saving the vessel, or our lives. He replied, "Sir, it is a bad
affair, no boat could live for a minute in this sea, and in less
than an hour the ship will have her broadside on Finisterre, where
the strongest man-of-war ever built must go to shivers instantly--
none of us will see the morning." The captain, likewise, informed
the other passengers in the cabin to the same effect, telling them
to prepare themselves; and having done so, he ordered the door to
be fastened, and none to be permitted to come on deck. I, however,
kept my station, though almost drowned with water, immense waves
continually breaking over our windward side and flooding the ship.
The water casks broke from their lashings, and one of them struck
me down, and crushed the foot of the unfortunate man at the helm,
whose place was instantly taken by the captain. We were now close
to the rocks, when a horrid convulsion of the elements took place.
The lightning enveloped us as with a mantle, the thunders were
louder than the roar of a million cannon, the dregs of the ocean
seemed to be cast up, and in the midst of all this turmoil, the
wind, without the slightest intimation, VEERED RIGHT ABOUT, and
pushed us from the horrible coast faster than it had previously
driven us towards it.

The oldest sailors on board acknowledged that they had never
witnessed so providential an escape. I said, from the bottom of my
heart, "Our Father--hallowed be thy name."

The next day we were near foundering, for the sea was exceedingly
high, and our vessel, which was not intended for sailing, laboured
terribly, and leaked much. The pumps were continually working.
She likewise took fire, but the flames were extinguished. In the
evening the steam-engine was partially repaired, and we reached
Lisbon on the thirteenth, where in a few days we completed our

I found my excellent friend W- in good health. During my absence
he had been doing everything in his power to further the sale of
the sacred volume in Portuguese: his zeal and devotedness were
quite admirable. The distracted state of the country, however,
during the last six months, had sadly impeded his efforts. The
minds of the people had been so engrossed with politics, that they
found scarcely any time to think of the welfare of their souls.
The political history of Portugal had of late afforded a striking
parallel to that of the neighbouring country. In both a struggle
for supremacy had arisen between the court and the democratic
party; in both the latter had triumphed, whilst two distinguished
individuals had fallen a sacrifice to the popular fury--Freire in
Portugal, and Quesada in Spain. The news which reached me at
Lisbon from the latter country was rather startling. The hordes of
Gomez were ravaging Andalusia, which I was about to visit on my way
to Madrid; Cordova had been sacked and abandoned after a three
days' occupation by the Carlists. I was told that if I persisted
in my attempt to enter Spain in the direction which I proposed, I
should probably fall into their hands at Seville. I had, however,
no fears, and had full confidence that the Lord would open the path
before me to Madrid.

The vessel being repaired, we again embarked, and in two days
arrived in safety at Cadiz. I found great confusion reigning
there; numerous bands of the factious were reported to be hovering
in the neighbourhood. An attack was not deemed improbable, and the
place had just been declared in a state of siege. I took up my
abode at the French hotel in the Calle de la Niveria, and was
allotted a species of cockloft, or garret, to sleep in, for the
house was filled with guests, being a place of much resort, on
account of the excellent table d'hote which is kept there. I
dressed myself and walked about the town. I entered several
coffee-houses: the din of tongues in all was deafening. In one no
less than six orators were haranguing at the same time on the state
of the country, and the probability of an intervention on the part
of England and France. As I was listening to one of them, he
suddenly called upon me for my opinion, as I was a foreigner, and
seemingly just arrived. I replied that I could not venture to
guess what steps the two governments would pursue under the present
circumstances, but thought that it would be as well if the
Spaniards would exert themselves more and call less on Jupiter. As
I did not wish to engage in any political conversation, I instantly
quitted the house, and sought those parts of the town where the
lower classes principally reside.

I entered into discourse with several individuals, but found them
very ignorant; none could read or write, and their ideas respecting
religion were anything but satisfactory,--most professing a perfect
indifference. I afterwards went into a bookseller's shop and made
inquiries respecting the demand for literature, which, he informed
me, was small. I produced a London edition of the New Testament in
Spanish, and asked the bookseller whether he thought a book of that
description would sell in Cadiz. He said that both the type and
paper were exceedingly beautiful, but that it was a work not sought
after, and very little known. I did not pursue my inquiries in
other shops, for I reflected that I was not likely to receive a
very favourable opinion from booksellers respecting a publication
in which they had no interest. I had, moreover, but two or three
copies of the New Testament with me, and could not have supplied
them had they even given me an order.

Early on the twenty-fourth, I embarked for Seville in the small
Spanish steamer the Betis: the morning was wet, and the aspect of
nature was enveloped in a dense mist, which prevented my observing
surrounding objects. After proceeding about six leagues, we
reached the north-eastern extremity of the Bay of Cadiz, and passed
by Saint Lucar, an ancient town near to the spot where the
Guadalquivir disembogues itself. The mist suddenly disappeared,
and the sun of Spain burst forth in full brilliancy, enlivening all
around, and particularly myself, who had till then been lying on
the deck in a dull melancholy stupor. We entered the mouth of "The
Great River," for that is the English translation of Oued al Kiber,
as the Moors designated the ancient Betis. We came to anchor for a
few minutes at a little village called Bonanca, at the extremity of
the first reach of the river, where we received several passengers,
and again proceeded. There is not much in the appearance of the
Guadalquivir to interest the traveller: the banks are low and
destitute of trees, the adjacent country is flat, and only in the
distance is seen a range of tall blue sierras. The water is turbid
and muddy, and in colour closely resembling the contents of a duck-
pool; the average width of the stream is from a hundred and fifty
to two hundred yards, but it is impossible to move along this river
without remembering that it has borne the Roman, the Vandal, and
the Arab, and has been the witness of deeds which have resounded
through the world and been the themes of immortal songs. I
repeated Latin verses and fragments of old Spanish ballads till we
reached Seville, at about nine o'clock of a lovely moonlight night.

Seville contains ninety thousand inhabitants, and is situated on
the eastern bank of the Guadalquivir, about eighteen leagues from
its mouth; it is surrounded with high Moorish walls, in a good
state of preservation, and built of such durable materials that it
is probable they will for many centuries still bid defiance to the
encroachments of time. The most remarkable edifices are the
cathedral and Alcazar, or palace of the Moorish kings; the tower of
the former, called La Giralda, belongs to the period of the Moors,
and formed part of the grand mosque of Seville: it is computed to
be one hundred ells in height, and is ascended not by stairs or
ladders but by a vaulted pathway, in the manner of an inclined
plane: this path is by no means steep, so that a cavalier might
ride up to the top, a feat which Ferdinand the Seventh is said to
have accomplished. The view from the summit is very extensive, and
on a fine clear day the mountain ridge, called the Sierra de Ronda,
may be discovered, though upwards of twenty leagues distant. The
cathedral itself is a noble Gothic structure, reputed the finest of
the kind in Spain. In the chapels allotted to the various saints
are some of the most magnificent paintings which Spanish art has
produced; indeed the Cathedral of Seville is at the present time
far more rich in splendid paintings than at any former period;
possessing many very recently removed from some of the suppressed
convents, particularly from the Capuchin and San Francisco.

No one should visit Seville without paying particular attention to
the Alcazar, that splendid specimen of Moorish architecture. It
contains many magnificent halls, particularly that of the
ambassadors, so called, which is in every respect more magnificent
than the one of the same name within the Alhambra of Granada. This
palace was a favourite residence of Peter the Cruel, who carefully
repaired it without altering its Moorish character and appearance.
It probably remains in much the same state as at the time of his

On the right side of the river is a large suburb, called Triana,
communicating with Seville by means of a bridge of boats; for there
is no permanent bridge across the Guadalquivir, owing to the
violent inundations to which it is subject. This suburb is
inhabited by the dregs of the populace, and abounds with Gitanos or
Gypsies. About a league and a half to the north-west stands the
village of Santo Ponce: at the foot and on the side of some
elevated ground higher up are to be seen vestiges of ruined walls
and edifices, which once formed part of Italica, the birth-place of
Silius Italicus and Trajan, from which latter personage Triana
derives its name.

One fine morning I walked thither, and having ascended the hill, I
directed my course northward. I soon reached what had once been
bagnios, and a little farther on, in a kind of valley between two
gentle declivities, the amphitheatre. This latter object is by far
the most considerable relic of ancient Italica; it is oval in its
form, with two gateways fronting the east and west.

On all sides are to be seen the time-worn broken granite benches,
from whence myriads of human beings once gazed down on the area
below, where the gladiator shouted, and the lion and the leopard
yelled: all around, beneath these flights of benches, are vaulted
excavations from whence the combatants, part human part bestial,
darted forth by their several doors. I spent many hours in this
singular place, forcing my way through the wild fennel and
brushwood into the caverns, now the haunts of adders and other
reptiles, whose hissings I heard. Having sated my curiosity, I
left the ruins, and returning by another way, reached a place where
lay the carcass of a horse half devoured; upon it, with lustrous
eyes, stood an enormous vulture, who, as I approached, slowly
soared aloft till he alighted on the eastern gate of the
amphitheatre, from whence he uttered a hoarse cry, as if in anger
that I had disturbed him from his feast of carrion.

Gomez had not hitherto paid a visit to Seville: when I arrived he
was said to be in the neighbourhood of Ronda. The city was under
watch and ward: several gates had been blocked up with masonry,
trenches dug, and redoubts erected, but I am convinced that the
place would not have held out six hours against a resolute attack.
Gomez had proved himself to be a most extraordinary man, and with
his small army of Aragonese and Basques had, within the last four
months, made the tour of Spain. He had very frequently been hemmed
in by forces three times the number of his own, in places whence
escape appeared impossible, but he had always battled his enemies,
whom he seemed to laugh at. The most absurd accounts of victories
gained over him were continually issuing from the press at Seville;
amongst others, it was stated that his army had been utterly
defeated, himself killed, and that twelve hundred prisoners were on
their way to Saville. I saw these prisoners: instead of twelve
hundred desperadoes, they consisted of about twenty poor lame
ragged wretches, many of them boys from fourteen to sixteen years
of age. They were evidently camp followers, who, unable to keep up
with the army, had been picked up straggling in the plains and
amongst the hills.

It subsequently appeared that no battle had occurred, and that the
death of Gomez was a fiction. The grand defect of Gomez consisted
in not knowing how to take advantage of circumstances: after
defeating Lopez, he might have marched to Madrid and proclaimed Don
Carlos there, and after sacking Cordova he might have captured

There were several booksellers' shops at Seville, in two of which I
found copies of the New Testament in Spanish, which had been
obtained from Gibraltar about two years before, since which time
six copies had been sold in one shop and four in the other. The
person who generally accompanied me in my walks about the town and
the neighbourhood, was an elderly Genoese, who officiated as a kind
of valet de place in the Posada del Turco, where I had taken up my
residence. On learning from me that it was my intention to bring
out an edition of the New Testament at Madrid, he observed that
copies of the work might be extensively circulated in Andalusia.
"I have been accustomed to bookselling," he continued, "and at one
time possessed a small shop of my own in this place. Once having
occasion to go to Gibraltar, I procured several copies of the
Scriptures; some, it is true, were seized by the officers of the
customs, but the rest I sold at a high price, and with considerable
profit to myself."

I had returned from a walk in the country, on a glorious sunshiny
morning of the Andalusian winter, and was directing my steps
towards my lodging: as I was passing by the portal of a large
gloomy house near the gate of Xeres, two individuals dressed in
zamarras emerged from the archway, and were about to cross my path,
when one, looking in my face, suddenly started back, exclaiming in
the purest and most melodious French: "What do I see? If my eyes
do not deceive me--it is himself. Yes, the very same as I saw him
first at Bayonne; then long subsequently beneath the brick wall at
Novogorod; then beside the Bosphorus; and last at--at--Oh, my
respectable and cherished friend, where was it that I had last the
felicity of seeing your well-remembered and most remarkable

Myself.--It was in the south of Ireland, if I mistake not. Was it
not there that I introduced you to the sorcerer who tamed the
savage horses by a single whisper into their ear? But tell me what
brings you to Spain and Andalusia, the last place where I should
have expected to find you?

Baron Taylor.--And wherefore, my most respectable B-? Is not Spain
the land of the arts; and is not Andalusia of all Spain that
portion which has produced the noblest monuments of artistic
excellence and inspiration? Surely you know enough of me to be
aware that the arts are my passion; that I am incapable of
imagining a more exalted enjoyment than to gaze in adoration on a
noble picture. O come with me! for you too have a soul capable of
appreciating what is lovely and exalted; a soul delicate and
sensitive. Come with me, and I will show you a Murillo, such as -.
But first allow me to introduce you to your compatriot. My dear
Monsieur W., turning to his companion (an English gentleman from
whom and from his family I subsequently experienced unbounded
kindness and hospitality on various occasions, and at different
periods at Seville), allow me to introduce to you my most cherished
and respectable friend, one who is better acquainted with Gypsy
ways than the Chef des Bohemiens a Triana, one who is an expert
whisperer and horse-sorcerer, and who, to his honour I say it, can
wield hammer and tongs, and handle a horse-shoe with the best of
the smiths amongst the Alpujarras of Granada.

In the course of my travels I have formed various friendships and
acquaintances, but no one has more interested me than Baron Taylor,
and there is no one for whom I entertain a greater esteem and
regard. To personal and mental accomplishments of the highest
order he unites a kindness of heart rarely to be met with, and
which is continually inducing him to seek for opportunities of
doing good to his fellow creatures, and of contributing to their
happiness; perhaps no person in existence has seen more of the
world and life in its various phases than himself. His manners are
naturally to the highest degree courtly, yet he nevertheless
possesses a disposition so pliable that he finds no difficulty in
accommodating himself to all kinds of company, in consequence of
which he is a universal favourite. There is a mystery about him,
which, wherever he goes, serves not a little to increase the
sensation naturally created by his appearance and manner. Who he
is, no one pretends to assert with downright positiveness: it is
whispered, however, that he is a scion of royalty; and who can gaze
for a moment upon that most graceful figure, that most intelligent
but singularly moulded countenance, and those large and expressive
eyes, without feeling as equally convinced that he is of no common
lineage, as that he is no common man. Though possessed of talents
and eloquence which would speedily have enabled him to attain to an
illustrious position in the state, he has hitherto, and perhaps
wisely, contented himself with comparative obscurity, chiefly
devoting himself to the study of the arts and of literature, of
both of which he is a most bounteous patron.

He has, notwithstanding, been employed by the illustrious house to
which he is said to be related in more than one delicate and
important mission, both in the East and the West, in which his
efforts have uniformly been crowned with complete success. He was
now collecting masterpieces of the Spanish school of painting,
which were destined to adorn the saloons of the Tuileries.

He has visited most portions of the earth, and it is remarkable
enough that we are continually encountering each other in strange
places and under singular circumstances. Whenever he descries me,
whether in the street or the desert, the brilliant hall or amongst
Bedouin haimas, at Novogorod or Stambul, he flings up his arms and
exclaims, "O ciel! I have again the felicity of seeing my
cherished and most respectable B-."


Departure for Cordova--Carmona--German Colonies--Language--The
Sluggish Horse--Nocturnal Welcome--Carlist Landlord--Good Advice--
Gomez--The Old Genoese--The Two Opinions.

After a sojourn of about fourteen days at Seville, I departed for
Cordova. The diligence had for some time past ceased running,
owing to the disturbed state of the province. I had therefore no
resource but to proceed thither on horseback. I hired a couple of
horses, and engaged the old Genoese, of whom I have already had
occasion to speak, to attend me as far as Cordova, and to bring
them back. Notwithstanding we were now in the depths of winter,
the weather was beautiful, the days sunny and brilliant, though the
nights were rather keen. We passed by the little town of Alcala,
celebrated for the ruins of an immense Moorish castle, which stand
on a rocky hill, overhanging a picturesque river. The first night
we slept at Carmona, another Moorish town, distant about seven
leagues from Seville. Early in the morning we again mounted and
departed. Perhaps in the whole of Spain there is scarcely a finer
Moorish monument of antiquity than the eastern side of this town of
Carmona, which occupies the brow of a lofty hill, and frowns over
an extensive vega or plain, which extends for leagues unplanted and
uncultivated, producing nothing but brushwood and carasco. Here
rise tall and dusky walls, with square towers at short distances,
of so massive a structure that they would seem to bid defiance
alike to the tooth of time and the hand of man. This town, in the
time of the Moors, was considered the key to Seville, and did not
submit to the Christian arms till after a long and desperate siege:
the capture of Seville followed speedily after. The vega upon
which we now entered forms a part of the grand despoblado or desert
of Andalusia, once a smiling garden, but which became what it now
is on the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, when it was drained
almost entirely of its population. The towns and villages from
hence to the Sierra Morena, which divides Andalusia from La Mancha,
are few and far between, and even of these several date from the
middle of the last century, when an attempt was made by a Spanish
minister to people this wilderness with the children of a foreign

At about midday we arrived at a place called Moncloa, which
consisted of a venta, and a desolate-looking edifice which had
something of the appearance of a chateau: a solitary palm tree
raised its head over the outer wall. We entered the venta, tied
our horses to the manger, and having ordered barley for them, we
sat down before a large fire, which burned in the middle of the
venta. The host and hostess also came and sat down beside us.
"They are evil people," said the old Genoese to me in Italian, "and
this is an evil house; it is a harbouring place for thieves, and
murders have been committed here, if all tales be true." I looked
at these two people attentively; they were both young, the man
apparently about twenty-five years of age. He was a short thick-
made churl, evidently of prodigious strength; his features were
rather handsome, but with a gloomy expression, and his eyes were
full of sullen fire. His wife somewhat resembled him, but had a
countenance more open and better tempered; but what struck me as
most singular in connexion with these people, was the colour of
their hair and complexion; the latter was fair and ruddy, and the
former of a bright auburn, both in striking contrast to the black
hair and swarthy visages which in general distinguish the natives
of this province. "Are you an Andalusian?" said I to the hostess.
"I should almost conclude you to be a German."

Hostess.--And your worship would not be very wrong. It is true
that I am a Spaniard, being born in Spain, but it is equally true
that I am of German blood, for my grandparents came from Germany,
even like those of this gentleman, my lord and husband.

Myself.--And what chance brought your grandparents into this

Hostess.--Did your worship never hear of the German colonies?
There are many of them in these parts. In old times the land was
nearly deserted, and it was very dangerous for travellers to
journey along the waste, owing to the robbers. So along time ago,
nearly a hundred years, as I am told, some potent lord sent
messengers to Germany, to tell the people there what a goodly land
there was in these parts uncultivated for want of hands, and to
promise every labourer who would consent to come and till it, a
house and a yoke of oxen, with food and provision for one year.
And in consequence of this invitation a great many poor families
left the German land and came hither, and settled down in certain
towns and villages which had been prepared for them, which places
were called German colonies, and this name they still retain.

Myself.--And how many of these colonies may there be?

Hostess.--There are several, both on this side of Cordova and the
other. The nearest is Luisiana, about two leagues from hence, from
which place both my husband and myself come; the next is Carlota,
which is some ten leagues distant, and these are the only colonies
of our people which I have seen; but there are others farther on,
and some, as I have heard say, in the very heart of the Sierra

Myself.--And do the colonists still retain the language of their

Hostess.--We speak Spanish, or rather Andalusian, and no other
language. A few, indeed, amongst the very old people, retain a few
words of German, which they acquired from their fathers, who were
born in the other country: but the last person amongst the
colonists who could understand a conversation in German, was the
aunt of my mother, who came over when a girl. When I was a child I
remember her conversing with a foreign traveller, a countryman of
hers, in a language which I was told was German, and they
understood each other, though the old woman confessed that she had
lost many words: she has now been dead several years.

Myself.--Of what religion are the colonists?

Hostess.--They are Christians, like the Spaniards, and so were
their fathers before them. Indeed, I have heard that they came
from a part of Germany where the Christian religion is as much
practised as in Spain itself.

Myself.--The Germans are the most honest people in the world:
being their legitimate descendants you have of course no thieves
amongst you.

The hostess glanced at me for a moment, then looked at her husband
and smiled: the latter, who had hitherto been smoking without
uttering a word, though with a peculiarly surly and dissatisfied
countenance, now flung the remainder of his cigar amongst the
embers, then springing up he muttered "Disparate!" and
"Conversacion!" and went abroad.

"You touched them in the sore place, Signor," said the Genoese,
after we had left Moncloa some way behind us. "Were they honest
people they would not keep that venta; and as for the colonists, I
know not what kind of people they might be when they first came
over, but at present their ways are not a bit better than those of
the Andalusians, but rather worse, if there is any difference at

A short time before sunset of the third day after our departure
from Seville, we found ourselves at the Cuesta del Espinal, or hill
of the thorn tree, at about two leagues from Cordova;--we could
just descry the walls of the city, upon which the last beams of the
descending luminary were resting. As the neighbourhood in which we
were was, according to the account of my guide, generally infested
with robbers, we used our best endeavours to reach the town before
the night should have entirely closed in. We did not succeed,
however, and before we had proceeded half the distance, pitchy
darkness overtook us. Throughout the journey we had been
considerably delayed by the badness of our horses, especially that
of my attendant, which appeared to pay no regard to whip or spur;
his rider also was no horseman, it being thirty years, as he at
length confessed to me, since he last mounted in a saddle. Horses
soon become aware of the powers of their riders, and the brute in
question was disposed to take great advantage of the fears and
weakness of the old man. There is a remedy, however, for most
things in this world. I became so wearied at last at the snail's
pace at which we were proceeding, that I fastened the bridle of the
sluggish horse to the crupper of mine, then sparing neither spur
nor cudgel, I soon forced my own horse into a kind of trot, which
compelled the other to make some use of his legs. He twice
attempted to fling himself down, to the great terror of his aged
rider, who frequently entreated me to stop and permit him to
dismount. I, however, took no notice of what he said, but
continued spurring and cudgelling with unabated activity, and with
such success, that in less than half an hour we saw lights close
before us, and presently came to a river and a bridge, which
crossing, we found ourselves at the gate of Cordova, without having
broken either our horses' knees or our own necks.

We passed through the entire length of the town ere we reached the
posada; the streets were dark and almost entirely deserted. The
posada was a large building, the windows of which were well fenced
with rejas, or iron grating: no light gleamed from them, and the
silence of death not only seemed to pervade the house, but the
street in which it was situated. We knocked for a long time at the
gate without receiving any answer; we then raised our voices and
shouted. At last some one from within inquired what we wanted.
"Open the door and you will see," we replied. "I shall do no such
thing," answered the individual from within, "until I know who you
are." "We are travellers," said I, "from Seville." "Travellers,
are you," said the voice; "why did you not tell me so before? I am
not porter at this house to keep out travellers. Jesus Maria knows
we have not so many of them that we need repulse any. Enter,
cavalier, and welcome, you and your company."

He opened the gate and admitted us into a spacious courtyard, and
then forthwith again secured the gate with various bolts and bars.
"Are you afraid that the Carlists should pay you a visit," I
demanded, "that you take so much precaution?" "It is not the
Carlists we are afraid of," replied the porter; "they have been
here already, and did us no damage whatever. It is certain
scoundrels of this town that we are afraid of, who have a spite
against the master of the house, and would murder both him and his
family, could they but find an opportunity."

I was about to inquire the cause of this enmity, when a thick bulky
man, bearing a light in his hand, came running down a stone
staircase, which led into the interior of the building. Two or
three females, also bearing lights, followed him. He stopped on
the lowest stair. "Whom have we here?" he exclaimed; then
advancing the lamp which he bore, the light fell full upon my face.
"Ola!" he exclaimed; "Is it you? Only think," said he, turning to
the female who stood next him, a dark-featured person, stout as
himself, and about his own age, which might border upon fifty;
"Only think, my dear, that at the very moment we were wishing for a
guest an Englishman should be standing before our doors; for I
should know an Englishman at a mile's distance, even in the dark.
Juanito," cried he to the porter, "open not the gate any more to-
night, whoever may ask for admission. Should the nationals come to
make any disturbance, tell them that the son of Belington
(Wellington) is in the house ready to attack them sword in hand
unless they retire; and should other travellers arrive, which is
not likely, inasmuch as we have seen none for a month past, say
that we have no room, all our apartments being occupied by an
English gentleman and his company."

I soon found that my friend the posadero was a most egregious
Carlist. Before I had finished supper--during which both himself
and all his family were present, surrounding the little table at
which I sat, and observing my every motion, particularly the manner
in which I handled my knife and fork and conveyed the food to my
mouth--he commenced talking politics: "I am of no particular
opinion, Don Jorge," said he, for he had inquired my name in order
that he might address me in a suitable manner; "I am of no
particular opinion, and I hold neither for King Carlos nor for the
Chica Isabel: nevertheless, I lead the life of a dog in this
accursed Christino town, which I would have left long ago, had it
not been the place of my birth, and did I but know whither to
betake myself. Ever since the troubles have commenced, I have been
afraid to stir into the street, for no sooner do the canaille of
the town see me turning round a corner, than they forthwith
exclaim, 'Halloo, the Carlist!' and then there is a run and a rush,
and stones and cudgels are in great requisition: so that unless I
can escape home, which is no easy matter, seeing that I weigh
eighteen stone, my life is poured out in the street, which is
neither decent nor convenient, as I think you will acknowledge, Don
Jorge! You see that young man," he continued, pointing to a tall
swarthy youth who stood behind my chair, officiating as waiter; "he
is my fourth son, is married, and does not live in the house, but
about a hundred yards down the street. He was summoned in a hurry
to wait upon your worship, as is his duty: know, however, that he
has come at the peril of his life: before he leaves this house he
must peep into the street to see if the coast is clear, and then he
must run like a partridge to his own door. Carlists! why should
they call my family and myself Carlists? It is true that my eldest
son was a friar, and when the convents were suppressed betook
himself to the royal ranks, in which he has been fighting upwards
of three years; could I help that? Nor was it my fault, I trow,
that my second son enlisted the other day with Gomez and the
royalists when they entered Cordova. God prosper him, I say; but I
did not bid him go! So far from being a Carlist, it was I who
persuaded this very lad who is present to remain here, though he
would fain have gone with his brother, for he is a brave lad and a
true Christian. Stay at home, said I, for what can I do without
you? Who is to wait upon the guests when it pleases God to send
them. Stay at home, at least till your brother, my third son,
comes back, for, to my shame be it spoken, Don Jorge, I have a son
a soldier and a sergeant in the Christino armies, sorely against
his own inclination, poor fellow, for he likes not the military
life, and I have been soliciting his discharge for years; indeed, I
have counselled him to maim himself, in order that he might procure
his liberty forthwith; so I said to this lad, Stay at home, my
child, till your brother comes to take your place and prevent our
bread being eaten by strangers, who would perhaps sell me and
betray me; so my son staid at home as you see, Don Jorge, at my
request, and yet they call me a Carlist?"

"Gomez and his bands have lately been in Cordova," said I; "of
course you were present at all that occurred: how did they comport

"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

"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

"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."


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

"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

"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

"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

"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


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

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.


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

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

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

Kosko bakh Anton.


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

"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

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

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