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
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the subject was surrounded with difficulties, and that the great body of the clergy had taken up the matter against me; he conjured me, however, to be patient and peaceable, in which case he said he would endeavour to devise some plan to satisfy me. Amongst other things, he observed that the bishops hated a sectarian more than an Atheist. Whereupon I replied, that like the Pharisees of old, they cared more for the gold of the temple than the temple itself. Throughout the whole of our interview, he evidently laboured under great fear, and was continually looking behind and around him, seemingly in dread of being overheard, which brought to my mind an expression of a friend of mine, that if there be any truth in metempsychosis, the soul of Count Ofalia must have originally belonged to a mouse. We parted in kindness, and I went away, wondering by what strange chance this poor man had become prime minister of a country like Spain.


CHAPTER XXXIX.

The Two Gospels--The Alguazil--The Warrant--The Good Maria--The Arrest--Sent to Prison--Reflections--The Reception--The Prison Room--Redress Demanded.

AT length the Gospel of St. Luke in the gipsy language was in a state of readiness. I therefore deposited a certain number of copies in the despacho, and announced them for sale. The Basque, which was by this time also printed, was likewise advertised. For this last work there was little demand. Not so, however, for the Gipsy Luke, of which I could have easily disposed of the whole edition in less than a fortnight. Long, however, before this period had expired, the clergy were up in arms. "Sorcery!" said one bishop. "There is more in this than we can dive into," exclaimed a second. "He will convert all Spain by means of the Gipsy language," cried a third. And then came the usual chorus on such occasions, of Que infamia! Que picardia! At last, having consulted together, away they hurried to their tool the corregidor, or, according to the modern term, the gefe politico of Madrid. I have forgotten the name of this worthy, of whom I had myself no personal knowledge whatever. Judging from his actions, however, and from common report, I should say that he was a stupid wrong-headed creature, savage withal--a melange of borrico, mule, and wolf. Having an inveterate antipathy to all foreigners, he lent a willing ear to the complaint of my accusers, and forthwith gave orders to make a seizure of all the copies of the Gipsy Gospel which could be found in the despacho. The consequence was, that a numerous body of alguazils directed their steps to the Calle del principe; some thirty copies of the book in question were pounced upon, and about the same number of St. Luke in Basque. With this spoil these satellities returned in triumph to the gefatura politica, where they divided the copies of the Gipsy volume amongst themselves, selling

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