The Bible in Spain, Or, the Journeys, Adventures, and Imprisonments of An Englishman: In An Attempt to Circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula

By George Borrow | Go to book overview

No people on earth are prouder than the Basques, but theirs is a kind of republican pride. They have no nobility amongst them, and no one will acknowledge a superior. The poorest carman is as proud as the governor of Tolosa. "He is more powerful than I," he will say, "but I am of as good blood; perhaps hereafter I may become a governor myself." They abhor servitude, at least out of their own country; and though circumstances frequently oblige them to seek masters, it is very rare to find them filling the places of common domestics; they are stewards, secretaries, accountants, etc. True it is, that it was my own fortune to obtain a Basque domestic; but then he always treated me more as an equal than a master, would sit down in my presence, give me his advice unasked, and enter into conversation with me at all times and occasions. Did I check him? Certainly not! For in that case he would have left me, and a more faithful creature I never knew. His fate was a mournful one, as will appear in the sequel.

I have said that the Basques abhor servitude, and are rarely to be found serving as domestics amongst the Spaniards. I allude, however, merely to the males. The females, on the contrary, have no objection whatever to enter houses as servants. Women, indeed, amongst the Basques are not looked upon with all the esteem which they deserve, and are considered as fitted for little else than to perform menial offices, even as in the East, where they are viewed in the light of servants and slaves. The Basque females differ widely in character from the men; they are quick and vivacious, and have in general much more talent. They are famous for their skill as cooks, and in most respectable houses of Madrid a Biscayan female may be found in the kitchen, queen supreme of the culinary department.


CHAPTER XXXVIII.

The Prohibition--Gospel Persecuted--Charge of Sorcery--Ofalia.

ABOUT the middle of January a swoop was made upon me by my enemies, in the shape of a peremptory prohibition from the political governor of Madrid to sell any more New Testaments. This measure by no means took me by surprise, as I had for some time previously been expecting something of the kind, on account of the political sentiments of the ministers then in power. I forthwith paid a visit to Sir George Villiers, informing him of what had occurred. He promised to do all he could to cause the prohibition to be withdrawn. Unfortunately at this time he had not much influence, having opposed with all his might the entrance of the moderado ministry to power, and the nomination of Ofalia to the presidency of the cabinet. I, however, never lost confidence in the Almighty, in whose cause I was engaged.

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