That you may not imagine my suspicions of the danger of passing thro’ Spain are ill founded, I will relate what happened to two English Gentlemen of fashion at Marcia as I had it from the mouth of one of them lately:—they had procured letters of recommendation from some friends to the Alguazile, or chief magistrate of that town; and as there were some unfavourable appearances at their first entering Marcia, and more so at their posada, they thought it right to send their letters directly to the Alguazile; who, instead of asking them to his house, or visiting them, sent a servant to say he was ill, and who was directed to invite them to go that night to the comedy: they thought it right, however, to accept the invitation, extraordinary as it was: the Alguazile’s servant conducted them to the theatre, and paid (for he was directed so to do, he said) for their admittance; and having conducted his strangers into the pit, he retired. The comedy was then begun; but, nevertheless, the eyes of the whole house were turned upon them, and their’s, to their great astonishment, upon the sick Alguazile with his whole family. Those near whom they at first stood, retired to some distance: they could not, he said, consider the manner in which they were looked at, and retired from, but to arise from disgust or dislike, more than from curiosity. This reception, and the manner in which they had been sent there, deprived them of all the amusement the house afforded; for though the performers had no great excellence, there was, among the female part of the audience, more beauty than they expected. Mr. B——, one of the Gentlemen, at length discovered near him in the pit a man whom he knew to be an Irishman, and in whole countenance he plainly perceived a desire to speak, but he seemed with-held by prudence. At length, however, he was got near enough to his countryman to hear him say, without appearing to address himself to any body, “Go hence! go hence!” They did so; and the next morning, tho’ it was a fine town, which they wished to examine, and to spend some time in, set off early for Carthagena, where they had some particular friends, to whom they related the Alguazile’s very extraordinary behaviour, as well as that of the company at the theatre. It was near the time of the Carnival at Carthagena: the conduct of Don Marco to the two gentlemen strangers, became the subject of conversation, and indeed of indignation, among the Spaniards of that civilized city; and the Alguazile, who came to the Carnival there soon after, died by the hands of an assassin; he was stabbed by a mask in the night. Now suppose this man lost his life at Carthagena, for his ill behaviour to the two strangers at Marcia, or for any other cause, it is very certain, if natives are so liable to assassination, strangers are not more secure.
P.S. To give you some idea of the address of the pulpit oratory in Spain, about sixty or seventy years ago, (and it is not in general much better at present) take the following specimen, which I assure you, is strictly true:—