Projected Journey--A Scene of Blood--The Friar-- Seville--Beauties of Seville--Orange Trees and Flowers--Murillo--The Guardian Angel-- Dionysius--My Coadjutors--Demand for the Bible.
BY the middle of April I had sold as many Testaments as I thought Madrid would bear: I therefore called in my people, for I was afraid to overstock the market, and to bring the book into contempt by making it too common. I had, indeed, by this time, barely a thousand copies remaining of the edition which I had printed two years previously; and with respect to Bibles, every copy was by this time disposed of, though there was still a great demand for them, which, of course, I was unable to satisfy.
With the remaining copies of the Testament, I now determined to betake myself to Seville, where little had hitherto been effected in the way of circulation: my preparations were soon made. The roads were at this time in a highly dangerous state, on which account I thought to go along with a convoy, which was about to start for Andalusia. Two days, however, before its departure, understanding that the number of people who likewise proposed to avail themselves of it was likely to be very great, and reflecting on the slowness of this way of travelling, and moreover the insults to which civilians were frequently subjected from the soldiers and petty officers, I determined to risk the journey with the mail. This resolution I carried into effect. Antonio, whom I had resolved to take with me, and my two horses, departed with the convoy, whilst in a few days I followed with the mail courier. We travelled all the way without the slightest accident, my usual wonderful good fortune accompanying us. I might well call it wonderful, for I was running into the den of the lion; the whole of La Mancha, with the exception of a few fortified places, being once more in the hands of Palillos and his banditti, who, whenever it pleased them, stopped the courier, burnt the vehicle and letters, murdered the paltry escort, and carried away any chance passenger to the mountains, where an enormous ransom was demanded, the alternative being four shots through the head, as the Spaniards say.
The upper part of Andalusia was becoming rapidly nearly as bad as La Mancha. The last time the mail had passed, it attacked at the defile of La Rumblar by six mounted robbers; it was guarded by an escort of as many soldiers, but the former suddenly galloped from behind a solitary venta, and dashed the soldiers to the ground, who were taken quite by surprise, the hoofs of the robbers' horses making no noise on account of the sandy nature of the ground. The soldiers were instantly disarmed and bound to olive trees, with the exception of two, who escaped amongst the rocks; they were then mocked and tormented by the robbers, or rather fiends, for nearly half an hour, when they were shot; the head of the corporal who commanded being blown to fragments with a blunderbuss. The robbers then burned the coach, which they accomplished by igniting the letters by means of the