relating to which I have described on a former occasion, and informing him that unless steps were instantly taken to remove them from the country, they would be destroyed at Toledo, to which place they had been conveyed. I replied that I should give myself no trouble about the matter; and that if the authorities of Toledo, civil or ecclesiastic, determined upon burning these books, my only hope was that they would commit them to the flames with all possible publicity, as by so doing they would but manifest their own hellish rancour and their hostility to the word of God.
Being eager to resume my labours, I had no sooner arrived at Madrid than I wrote to Lopez at Villa Seca, for the purpose of learning whether he was inclined to co-operate in the work, as on former occasions. In reply, he informed me that he was busily employed in his agricultural pursuits: to supply his place, however, he sent over an elderly villager, Victoriano Lopez by name, a distant relation of his own.
What is a missionary in the heart of Spain without a horse? Which consideration induced me now to purchase an Arabian of high caste, which had been brought from Algiers by an officer of the French legion. The name of this steed, the best I believe that ever issued from the desert, was Sidi Habismilk.
Work of Distribution Resumed--Adventure at Cobenna--Power of the Clergy--Rural Authorities--Fuente La Higuera--Victoriano's Mishap-- Village Prison--The Rope--Antonio's Errand--Antonio at Mass.
IN my last chapter, I stated that, immediately after my arrival at Madrid, I proceeded to get everything in readiness for commencing operations in the neighbourhood; and I soon entered upon my labours in reality. Considerable success attended my feeble efforts in the good cause, for which at present, after the lapse of some years, I still look back with gratitude to the Almighty.
All the villages within the distance of four leagues to the east of Madrid, were visited in less than a fortnight, and Testaments to the number of nearly two hundred disposed of. These villages for the most part are very small, some of them consisting of not more than a dozen houses, or I should rather say miserable cabins. I left Antonio, my Greek, to superintend matters in Madrid, and proceeded with Victoriano, the peasant from Villa Seca, in the direction which I have already mentioned. We, however, soon parted company, and pursued different routes.
The first village at which I made an attempt was Cobenna, about three leagues from Madrid. I was dressed in the fashion of the peasants in the neighbourhood of Segovia, in Old Castile; namely, I had on my head a species of leather helmet or montera, with a jacket