Page:The Martyrdom of Ferrer.djvu/73

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attributed to him. The moral education of children always preoccupied him. In this country an important League has been formed (the Moral Education League) for furthering this education, and has had its ideas embodied in the curricula of a large number of our educational authorities. It was a study of the results and methods of this League that occupied Ferrer during the time when he is alleged to have been plotting revolution at Barcelona. He was struggling with the asperities of the English tongue, and examining a series of works for the moral training of children which Mr. Heaford had suggested to him. Barcelona politics he did not discuss. I have shown that he held aloof from the subject; and we shall see presently that the violent outbreak at Barcelona was purely spontaneous and unforeseen. He even threw out the idea that his school system was now so firmly rooted in Spain—there were then ninety schools of his and of the Republican model—that he might soon be able to entertain the idea of living elsewhere. But when his friend, who had known the horrors of Montjuich, begged him never to return to that land of corruption and official crime, he shook the suggestion lightly aside. Had he but remained in London two months longer, as he intended, he would be living to-day.

His plans were interrupted by the news that his sister-in-law and his niece were seriously ill. I have before me the last letter that he wrote in England, to his friend Del Marmol. It is a letter-card, stamped officially with the date June 11. Even a military council could not have questioned its genuineness. It runs:—


Friday, 11/6/09.

Dear Fernando,—We hear from Mongat [his brother's farm] that my brother's wife and my niece are seriously ill. We leave by the first train to-morrow, and shall not be able to bid you all goodbye. The supper must be postponed until the next time. I will send news from Mongat. Cordial greetings to all from Soledad and yours,

F. Ferrer.


He reached Barcelona on June 19. No one at that time had the faintest presentiment of serious trouble, and Ferrer's attention was divided between his sick relatives, the translation and publication of a work of Prince Kropotkin's for his new library and his English books on moral