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James Humble: Toe Civil War

The war broke out on 18th July 1936 but the students, who were a t Boecillo, know nothing of it until the following morning, a Sunday, when on their way to the river, they were greeted with upraised arms and shouts of "Arriba Espafia." The previous evening, however, an attempt had been made to set fire to the church of San Esteban, next door to the college. Luciano Bastardo, who had been a servant in the college for nearly twenty years, ran and put out the blaze such as it was. When Humble went to remonstrate with the men, Luciano was there too, menacing them with a pistol and revolver. When the two were returning inside, shots were fired at them, but missed. Luciano spent the night on guard at the little circular window in the facade of the college church, which is just beside S. Esteban.'

The students remained at Boecillo, undisturbed and unmolested, but unable to bathe since, on one or two occasions, some bodies were seen floating in the river. The bishops in Scotland, however, were naturally worried about their safety. In August, Archbishop McDonald was suggesting that they ought to take joint action to have the students evacuated as soon as possible, but a letter from Humble to the secretary of the hierarchy allayed their fears for the time being. .

"Dear Bishop Bennett,

Some days ago I sent you a telegram through the British Consul a t Vigo to relieve anxiety and let you know that we are all well and

quite safe at Valladolid. The students are

and quite out of all

communication

of

danger. I

any

kind

hope is,

the for

in the country a t Boecillo telegram reached you, as

the

present,

extremely

1. Luciano Bastardo left the college in May 1938 and became a Benedictine lay brother. Until he died in Avila in 1968, he maintained an occasional correspondence with the rectors, recalling old days in the college and such contemporaries of his among the servants as Venancia ("con bigoies") and Isabel ('whom the students called 'Bella"').

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