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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

To the Rev. A. Brandram

(Endorsed: recd. Feb.29th, 1836)
MADRID, CALLE DE LA ZARZA,
Feby. 13th, 1836.

The game is now in our own hands, and it is our fault if we do not win it, for a little patience and a little prudence is all that is required. I came to Madrid without a single letter of introduction, and without knowing an individual there. I have now some powerful friends, and through the kindness of Sir Geo. Villiers, the British Ambassador at the Spanish Court, I have had an interview with that most singular man, Mendizabal, whom it is as difficult to get nigh as it is to approach the North Pole. I have obtained his promise that when matters are in some degree settled in this country, he will allow us to commence our operations; but the preposterous idea, which by some means or other he has embraced, that we have been endeavouring to foment disturbances amongst the slaves of Cuba, prevents his looking upon us with favourable eyes.

I now write for orders; if you have received my letters and journals (copious extracts from which you had better print), you will see how successful I have been in the Alemtejo, as our books are now for sale at Evora and Elvas, the two principal towns, and the Gospel of Christ has been preached to many who were ignorant of it even by name; you will see what I have been doing at Badajoz, especially amongst the Spanish Gypsies, whose dialect of the Rommany I have so far mastered as to be able to translate into it with tolerable ease. Now, until my friends here and myself can claim the fulfilment of Mr. Mendizabal's promise, do you wish me to go to Granada, or back to Badajoz, and finish my translation of St. Luke into Rommany, with the assistance of the Gypsies of those places, who are far more conversant with their native language than their brethren in other parts of Spain; or shall I return to Lisbon and exert all my interest towards the execution of the plan which I communicated first to Mr. Wilby, and then to yourself, namely, attempting to induce the Government to adopt the Scriptures in the schools which they are about to establish? Since I have been at Madrid I have obtained letters to individuals of great importance at Lisbon, and I know that Don Jose d'Azveto will do anything to serve me within the limits of reason. Therefore let the Committee be summoned, and a resolution forthwith adopted as to my next course. I think all our negotiations in the Peninsula may be brought to a successful termination in a few months; then you must send over an agent, a plain man of business, to engage colporteurs and to come to arrangements with booksellers, both in Spain and in the provincial towns of Portugal, but let him not be a hesitater and starter of needless doubts and difficulties; anything may be accomplished with a little shrewdness, a little boldness, and a great trust in God. I hope that my exertions have afforded satisfaction at home, but if not, let me be allowed to state that it was not in my power to accomplish more than I have. I have borne hunger and thirst, cold and fatigue, I have exposed myself to danger from robbers, and was near losing my life from the ruffian soldiery at Arrayolos, whose bullets so narrowly missed me. I have been as economical as possible, though the charges in Portugal for everything are enormous, and a stranger there is like a ship on shore, a mark for plunder. In Spain the people are far more honest, and the charges, though high, reasonable in comparison. Before leaving Lisbon I drew on excellent Mr. Wilby for 75 pounds; of this sum 12 pounds was remitted to Malaja, through which place I shall probably pass on my return to Lisbon. I have still remaining by me money sufficient for two months, I therefore need not enter into a detail of my expenses. I now wait for a letter from you; and when you write, please to remit to me a small letter of credit on some one at Madrid, or request Mr. Wilby to do so, as he has correspondents here, and in that case communicate my address to him. I give you below an abridgment of my interview with Mr. Mendizabal. I think it will make you laugh. I have the honour to remain, Revd. and dear Sir, etc.,

G. BORROW.

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