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

CHAPTER XLII.

Liberation from Prison--The Apology--Human Nature--The Greek's Return --Church of Rome--Light of Scripture--Archbishop of Toledo--An Interview--Stones of Price--A Resolution--The Foreign Language--Benedict's Farewell--Treasure Hunt at Compostella--Truth and Fiction.

I REMAINED about three weeks in the prison of Madrid, and then left it. If I had possessed any pride, or harboured any rancour against the party who had consigned me to durance, the manner in which I was restored to liberty would no doubt have been highly gratifying to those evil passions; the government having acknowledged, by a document transmitted to Sir George, that I had been incarcerated on insufficient grounds, and that no stigma attached itself to me from the imprisonment I had undergone; at the same time agreeing to defray all the expenses to which I had been subjected throughout the progress of this affair.

It moreover expressed its willingness to dismiss the individual owing to whose information I had been first arrested, namely, the corchete or police officer who had visited me in my apartments in the Calle de Santiago, and behaved himself in the manner which I have described in a former chapter. I declined, however, to avail myself of this condescension of the government, more especially as I was informed that the individual in question had a wife and family, who, if he were disgraced, would be at once reduced to want. I moreover considered that, in what he had done and said, he had probably only obeyed some private orders which he had received; I therefore freely forgave him, and if he does not retain his situation at the present moment, it is certainly no fault of mine.

I likewise refused to accept any compensation for my expenses, which were considerable. It is probable that many persons in my situation would have acted very differently in this respect, and I am far from saying that herein I acted discreetly or laudably; but I was averse to receive money from people such as those of which the Spanish government was composed, people whom I confess I heartily despised, and I was unwilling to afford them an opportunity of saying that after they had imprisoned an Englishman unjustly, and without a cause, he condescended to receive money at their hands. In a word, I confess my own weakness; I was willing that they should continue my debtors, and have little doubt that they had not the slightest objection to remain so: they kept their money, and probably laughed in their sleeves at my want of common sense.

The heaviest loss which resulted from my confinement, and for which no indemnification could be either offered or received, was in the death of my affectionate and faithful Basque Francisco, who, having attended me during the whole time of my imprisonment, caught the pestilential typhus or gaol fever within was then raging in the Carcel de la Corte, of which he expired within a few days subsequent to my liberation. His death occurred late one evening; the next morning, as

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