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Letters Of George Borrow by George Borrow

To the Rev. A. Brandram

(Endorsed: recd. Jany.6, 1837)
MADRID, December 26th, 1836.

REVD. AND DEAR SIR, -- I am just arrived at Madrid in safety. It has pleased the Lord to protect me through the perils of a most dismal journey. I reached Cordova in three days, attended by the old Italian whom I mentioned in my last letter, for I could procure no other guide. From Cordova I have ridden to Madrid in the company of a contrabandista, or smuggler, whose horses I insured, and to whom I am to give a gratuity of 42 dollars. We passed through the horrible pass of Despena Perros in the Sierra Morena. Providence here manifested itself; the day before, the banditti of the pass committed a dreadful robbery and murder by which they sacked 40,000 reals; they were probably content with their booty and did not interrupt me and my guide. We entered La Mancha, where I expected to fall into the hands of Palillos and Orejita. Providence again showed itself. It had been delicious weather; suddenly the Lord breathed forth a frozen blast, the severity of which was almost intolerable; no human being but ourselves ventured forth; we traversed snow-covered plains and passed through villages and towns without seeing an individual; the robbers kept close in their caves and hovels, but the cold nearly killed me. We reached Aranjuez late on Christmas day, and I got into the house of an Englishman, where I swallowed nearly two bottles of brandy; it affected me no more than warm water. I am now at my journey's end, and shall presently fall to work, for I must lose no time, but profit by the present opportunity. All is quiet in Madrid and in the neighbourhood; Gomez has returned to Biscay. If my letter be somewhat incoherent, mind it not. I have just alighted, and the cold has still the mastery of me; I shall send a journal in a few days which will be more circumstantial. Write to my mother and say I am in safety. I shall write myself to-morrow, I can no more now.


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