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James Humble

Once again Mgr. Humble's hopes were far too optimistic and more than thirteen years were to pass before there were students in the college again. In that summer of 1937, the college in Valladolid entered another of those twilight periods of its existence, similar to that through which it had passed during the Peninsular War.

Mgr. Humble and Dr. Connolly settled down to the quiet life of the college without students and to the anxiety of being completely out of contact with Madrid. The money which the college had had in its Valladolid account was used up before the students left and, for the following two years, the two men were dependent on the charity of the Scottish bishops. Each of the six sent something and, during the two years of war that followed the departure of the students, a total of £1,180 (or about 62,000 ptas. a t the prevailing exchange rate of more than 50 to the pound sterling) was received. Expenditure in Valladolid during the same period amounted to about 36,000 ptas.' When remittances from Madrid were resumed in August 1939, the normal monthly sum sent was 5,000 ptas. but, in that first month, 20,000 was sent and several food and other bills, outstanding for anything up to sixteen months, were paid.5

During the civil war, the Madrid building had passed through its vicissitudes. Its situation is not only a very central one in tkie city, but also exactly opposite the headquarters of the telephone company, with the result that it was hit by a total of fifteen shells. Fortunately, several of these failed to explode, but considerable damage was done by the others. As early as September 1936, the upper floors had to be evacuated and the tenants from there were accommodated, rent-free, in the Hotel Metropolitan0 (on the lower floors of the college building) which, due to the owner's failure, was empty at the time.6The result was that the only appreciable income which the building produced for the three years was the rent from the shops, which remained open, though sandbagged, and which paid with regularity each month. Expenses, of course, were also reduced; for example, no coal for central heating was purchased. Don Rafael Mufioz y L6pez, the administrator, was arrested and held in custody for a short while in January 1938 but the building itself was not seized or otherwise interfered with, since a Union Jack and a certificate of H. M. Consul, declaring its British ownership, were displayed. The balance of income over expenditure was used by the administrator to make repayments on the debt with the Banco

  • 4.

    Humble apparently was not in the habit, even before the war, of taking a salary; on the other hand, there were Five servants in the college until mid-1938, thereafter reduced to three.

  • 5.

    College archives A/99.

  • 6.

    During the twenty-eight months from March 1934 to June 1936, he had paid only twelve months' rent.

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