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Camino de per- feccidn; Inventos, aventuras y mixtificaciones de Silves- tre Paradox; Paradox, rey. La dama errante; La ciudad de la niehla; El drbol de la ciencia.
La husca; Mala hierba; Aurora roja. La feria de los discretos; Los ultimos romanticos; Las tragedias grotescas. Cesar o nada, El mundo es asi incomplete.
Las inquietudes de Shanti Andia incomplete. In addition to his novels, he has published several vol- umes of essays, and not a little verse.
Few of his works have been translated into other languages; none except the present novel into English. Personally, Senor Baroja is somewhat of an enigma, a mystery.
He is extremely modest and retiring, and seldom appears prominently before the public. He is an ardent, pious Catholic, with very ad- vanced ideas.
One is led to believe from some of his works that he is an ardent Republican. Some even go so far as to assert that he entertains strong anarchistic views.
But, just as we have about made up our minds as to his political creed, along comes a novel like La feria de los discreios, in which he ridicules Republicans and Anarchists, and we are forced to reject our conceptior.
While his name is often coupled with that of V. The Vakncian spreads his canvas with the broad, brilliant, impressionistic strokes of a SoroUa, while Baroja employs the more sub- tle and delicate methods of a Zuloaga.
He is a stylist. His power of description is marvellous. In a sentence, some- times in a single phrase, he brings a character or scene vividly before our mental vision.
La feria de los discretos has been chosen for this series mainly on account of its Spanish atmosphere. Though not his best novel, it is perhaps the best one with which to introduce him to the English reading public.
His purpose here is essentially to enter- tain, to amuse. One suspects that he derived no little pleasure himself from its creation.
It is said that its appearance aroused a storm of protests from Republi- cans on account of the sorry light into which he put them.
Be Jihat as it may, the details of his description of Cor- do'ha and its environs are accurate in the extreme. The City of the Discreet might almost serve as a guide book to that ancient city.
One can follow Quentin's adven- tures on any accurate map of Cordova. Of his knowl- edge of Masonry, one cannot speak quite so highly!
Opposite Quentin, a distinguished-looking Frenchman, corpulent, deannshaven, and with a red ribbon in his buttonhole, was showing a magazine to a countryman in the garb of a wealthy cattle owner, and was gra- ciously explaining the meanings of the illustrations to him.
The countryman listened to his explanations smiling mischievously, mumbling an occasional aside to himself in an undertone: The other persons were a bronze-coloured priest wrapped in a cloak, and two recently-married Andalusians who were whisper- ing the sweetest of sweet nothings to each other.
The rain beat incessantly against the coach windows which were blurred by the moisture. The train was passing through a ruddy country spotted here and there with pools of rainwater.
In the distance, small, low hills, shadowed by shrubs and thickets raised themselves into the cold, damp air.
Surely his looks were not Spanish. Tall, stout, and clean-shaven, with a good complexion and brown hair, enveloped in a grey overcoat, and with a cap on his head; he looked like a young Englishman sent by his parents to tour the continent.
Don't Spanish women smoke? I've seen them in Paris! You French people don't know us. You believe that all we Spaniards are toreadors, but it is not so.
There are two Spains: But perhaps you don't know that Hemani is a Spanish cityt" "Yes, I know the place," said Quentin with aplomb, though never in his life had he heard any one mention the name of the tiny Basque village.
The humid, rainy weather had saddened the deserted fields. As far as one could see there were no hamlets, no villages — only here and there a dark farmhouse in the distance.
They passed abandoned stations, crossed huge olive groves with trees planted in rows in great squares on the ruddy hillsides.
The train approached a broad and muddy river. I don't know," replied Quentin absently. Then, doubtless, this confession of ignorance seemed ill-advised, for he looked at the river as if he expected it to tell him its name, and added: And what is its name?
I don't believe it has Any. The country was slowly being converted into a mudhole. The older leaves of the wet olive trees shone a dark brown ; the new ones glistened like metal.
As the train slackened its speed, the rain seemed to grow more intense. One could hear the patter of the drops on the roof of the coach, and the water slid along the windows in broad gleaming bands.
At one of the stations, three husky young men climbed into the coach. Each wore a shawl, a broad-brimmed hat, a black sash, and a huge silver chain across his vest.
They never ceased for an instant talking about mills, horses, women, gambling, and bulls. One gam- bles a great deal in Andalusia, doesn't one?
The horseman tossed him a silver coin, but the beggar, not wishing to accept it drew a pack of cards from among his rags and proposed a game to the hidalgo.
He won the horse. The three husky youths in the shawls got off at the next station to Cordova. The sky cleared for an instant: The knives they carry are very large?
But the reftUy difficult thing is to hit a mark with a knife at a distance of twenty or thirty metres. The knife flies like an arrow, and sticks wherever you wish.
You came from England just for that? If the bull attacks you on the right, just step to the left, or vice versa. And he who fights best," continued the Frenchman, will have the doors of society opened to him?
One can see it in your face. Then he feigned a melancholy air to conceal the joy this farce afforded him. After that, he diverted himself by looking through the window.
He had always pictured his arrival at Cordova as tak- ing place on a glorious day of golden sunshine, and in- stead, he was encountering despicable weather, damp, ugly, and sad.
Nothing turns out as you think it will. That, according to my schoolmate Harris, is an advan- tage. I'm not so sure. It is a matter for discussion.
As the train advanced, the country be- came more cultivated. Well-shaped horses with long tails were grazing in the pastures. The travellers commenced to prepare their luggage for a quick descent from the train: Quentin put on his hat, stuffed his cap into his pocket, and placed his bag on the seat.
I am Jules Matignon, professor of Spanish in Paris. I believe we shall see each other again in Cor- dova. They arrived; Quentin got oflf quickly, and crossed the platform, pursued by four or five porters.
Con- fronting one of these who had a red handkerchief on his head, and handing him his bag and check, he ordered him to take them to his house.
The same grey sky, the same mud, the same rain. He scarcely recognized it at first glance: The doors were covered with zinc plates: Quentin mounted to the main floor and knocked sev- eral times: A door was heard to open, and the boy felt himself hugged and kissed again and again.
But I can't see you in all this darkness. Bringing him to the light of a balcony window, she exclaimed: How tall, and how strong!
Do you want something to drink? Something a bit more solid: Ill tell them to get your breakfast ready. Come and see them.
How pretty she is! They left the bedroom, and at the end of the corridor, found themselves in a room in whose doorway swung a black screen with a glass panel.
He must have gone into the store," said his mother, as she seated herself upon the sofa. Upon the wall opposite the screen hung two large, mud-coloured lithographs of Vesuvius in eruption.
Mother and son waited a moment, while the clock meas- ured the time with a harsh tick-tock. Suddenly the screen opened, and a man entered the office.
How goes it in England? He was tall and thin, with a drooping grey moustache. He bowed low by way of a greeting, but Quentin 's mother, nodding toward her son, said: My boy, how you have grown!
You're a regular giant! How do you like the English! They're a bad race, aren't they? They've done me many a bad turn!
When did the boy come. Dona Puensantat" "This very minute. Mother and son left the office and made their way to the dining-room.
Quentin sat at the table and raven- ously devoured eggs, ham, rolls, a bit of cheese, and a plate of sweets. I could go right on eating," replied Quentin.
Then, smacking his lips over the wine as he stuck his nose into the glass, he added: We didn't drink any- think like this at school.
I've thought about you so much — " and the mother, again embracing her son, wept for a time upon his shoulder — overcome with emo- tion.
How strong you are! Then they went over the house together. Some of the details demonstrated very clearly the economic stride the family had made: It took us months.
Here, the commercial ballast of the house was in evidence: The employes of the store came forward to greet Quentin; then he and his mother reclimbed the stairs and entered the house.
His father, elegant in the whitest of collars, presided at the table: A girl in a white apron served the meal.
Throughout the entire meal there existed a certain coldness, punctuated by long and vexatious moments of silence.
Quentin was furious, and when the meal was finished, he arose immediately and went to his room. It was still raining, and he had no desire to go out.
It soon grew dark ; for these were the shortest days of the year. He went down to the store, where he came upon Palomares, the old dependent of the house.
It is a great country. Have you seen the store? When she's around, I can laugh at any other woman, no matter how clever she may be.
She is responsible for everything. When I used to go into the office upstairs, and turn the screws on the calendar, I thought 'Today we'll have the catastrophe' — but no, everything turned out well.
I'm going upstairs for a while. It was pouring rain ; so, very much bored, he soon returned to the house. His mother, Palomares, and all the children were play- ing Keno in the dining-room.
They invited him to take part in the game, and although it did not impress him as particularly amusing, he had no choice but to accept. It was a source of much laughter and shouting when Quentin failed to understand the nicknames which Palomares gave to the numbers as he called them; for beside those that were conmion and already familiar to him, such as "the pretty little girl" for the 15, he had others that were more picturesque which he had to explain to Quentin.
Quentin's father came in, and they had supper. The evening meal had the same character as the dinner. As soon as they had finished dessert, Quentin arose and went to his room.
He climbed into bed, and amid the great confusion of images and recollections that crowded his brain, one idea always predominated: N the following day, Quentin awoke very early.
An unusual sensation of heat and dryness pene- trated his senses. He looked through the balcony window. The delicate, keen, somewhat lustre- less light of morning glowed in the street.
In the clear, pale sky, a few white clouds were drifting slowly. Quentin dressed himself rapidly, left the house in which all were still sleeping, turned down the street, went through a narrow alley, crossed a plaza, followed a street, and then another and another, and soon found himself without knowledge as to his whereabouts.
He was completely at sea. He did not even know on which side of the city he was. This made him feel very gay ; happily, and with a light heart, thinking of nothing in particular, but enjoy- ing the soft, fresh air of the winter morning, he con- tinued with real pleasure to lose himself in that laby- rinth of aUeys and passages— veritable crevices, shadow- filled.
The streets narrowed before him, and then widened until they formed little plazas: That drowsy spot was surrounded by rows of arches, and jardinidres were hung from the roofs of the corridors; while from a marble basin in the centre, a fountain of crystalline water plashed in the air.
In the houses of the rich, great plantain trees spread their enormous leaves, and cactus plants in green wooden pots, decorated the entrance.
In some of the poorer houses, the patios could be seen overflowing with light at the end of very long and shadowy corridors. The day was advancing: An old woman was setting up a small table, on top of which, and upon some bits of paper, she was arranging coloured taflfy.
Without realizing where he was going, Quentin came to the Mosque, and found himself before the wall facing an altar with a wooden shed, and a grating decorated with pots of flowers.
On the altar was this sign: Near the altar was an open gate, and through it, Quentin passed into the Patio de los Naranjos. Now and then a woman crossed the patio.
A preb- endary, with cap and crimson mozetta, was walking slowly up and down in the sun, smoking, with his hands clasped behind his back.
In the shelter of the Puerta del Perdon, two men were piling oranges. As Quentin neared the fountain, a little old man asked him solicit- ously: Matignon hastened to greet him.
I went into the hotel and locked myself in my room; but the man came into the hotel; I'm sure of it, I'm sure of it. S9 Quentin laughed, realizing that the man with the lantern and the short pike was a night watchman.
As soon as he hears it, he will go away. That is a secret. One says to him, 'I have the key,' and he goes?
Something else happened to me. When I went back after it, it was no longer there. Some one carried it oflf. We Spaniards have no morals," replied Quentin somewhat dejectedly.
With us, stealing a stick, or stabbing a friend are things of small impor- tance. Matignon shook his head sadly.
The barrio, or district into which they penetrated the vicinity of El Potro , was beginning to cOme to life. A few old women with sour-looking faces, some with mantles of Antequera baize, others with black mantillas, were on their way to mass, carrying folding chairs under their arms.
When the gossips in the streets caught sight of the trio, they exchanged a jest or two from door to door.
Servant girls were scrubbing the floors of the patios with mops, and singing gipsy songs; balcony windows flew open with a bang, as women came out to shake their rugs and carpets.
Qrimy-looking men passed them, pushing carts and shouting: The maiden, offended by his curiosity, pulled down the curtain, and went on embroidering or sewing, wait- ing for the handsome gallant, who perhaps never came.
In the doorways on some of the streets, they saw men working at turning lathes in the Moorish fashion, using a sort of bow, and helping themselves in their tasks with their feet.
Quentin, who was already tired of the walk and of the observations and comments of the Frenchman, an- nounced his intention of leaving them.
It's a Cordovese custom," M. Matignon 's mouth fell open in surprise. It is very ancient. The casket-makers here declared that they were loath to confine their efforts to sad things, so from the same wood out of which they make a coflSn, they take a piece for a guitar.
And they do not know that in France! What a philosophy is that of the casket-maker! How little thou art known in the world! Upon his white, matted hair he wore a greasy and dirty hat as large as a portico.
His loose-fitting, long-sleeved cloak was worn wrong side to: Under his right arm he carried the saint, and in his belt was a cash-box with a slot for pennies.
If you follow him cautiously, you will be able to see something very strange. They are parchments from which the first inscriptions were erased years and years ago, to be substituted by others.
More recently, assiduous investigators have learned how to bring the erased characters to light, to decipher them, and to read them.
The idea of those strange documents came to Quentin's mind as he thought about his life. Eight years of English school had apparently com- pletely erased the memories of his early childhood.
The uniformity of his school life, the continual sports, had dulled his memory. The erased inscription of the palimpsest was again becoming comprehensible: He remembered having passed it in a house on the Calle de Librerias, near the Calle de la Feria and the Cuesta de Lujan, and he went to see the place.
It was on a comer of the street: On top of the roof, was a diminutive azotea surrounded by a rubble-stone wall. He remembered vaguely that hedge-mustard used to grow between the slabs of the azotea, and that he had a white cat with which he used to play.
He peeped into the shop, and there came to his mind the picture of a man with white hair whom his mother tried to get him to kiss — something she never succeeded in doing.
He strolled along the Calle de la Feria and recalled his escapades with the little boys of the vicinity of La Ribera and El Murallon where they used to play.
His memory did not flow smoothly. There were large gaps in it: His vivid recollections began in the Calle de la Zapateria, where his parents established their first shop.
From there on, the incidents were linked to- gether ; they had an explanation, a conclusion. As a very small child he was distinguished as a dare-devil, a rowdy, and a swaggering boaster ; and INFANCY 86 many times he returned from school with his trousers torn, or a black eye.
Once he had a fight with one of his schoolmates who came from a town called Cabra Qoat. Quentin was one of the most insulting, and one day the tormented lad answered him: This affair gave origin to a continual series of fights, and nearly every day Quentin was crippled by the beatings he received.
The dominie was a secularized monk by the name of Pinuela — an old fossil full of musty prejudices. He was a strong partisan of the ancient pedagogic principle, so much beloved by our ancestors, of "La letra con la sangre entra" Learn by the sweat of thy brow.
His nose was large, coarse, and flaming red: Pinuela's only store of knowledge consisted of Latin, rhetoric, and writing. His system of instruction was based on the division of the class into two groups, Rome and Carthage, a book of translations, and a Latin Gram- mar.
Besides these educational mediums, the secular- ized monk counted upon the aid of a ferrule, a whip, a long bamboo stick, and a small leather sack filled with bird-shot.
Pinuela taught writing by the Spanish method, with the letters ending in points. To do this one had to know how to cut and trim quill pens; and few there were who had the advantage of the Dominie in this art.
Besides this, Pinuela corrected the vicious pronuncia- tion of his pupils ; and in order to do so, he exaggerated his own by doubling his z's and s's.
One of the selec- tions of his readings began as follows: Amanezzia; era la mass hella mamma de primafera Dawn was break- ing; it was the most beautiful day of Spring: The Dominie walked constantly to and fro with his pen behind his ear.
If he saw that a child was not studying, or had not pointed his letters suflSciently in his copy-book, according to the principles of Iturzaeta, INFANCY 87 he beat liim with the stick, or threw the bag of shot at his head.
At first Quentin felt the profoundest hate for the Dominie: Between master and pupil there began to arise a certain ironical and joyous esteem by force of beatings from the one, and pranks from the other.
They looked upon each other as faithful enemies; Quentin 's mischief provoked laughter from Pinuela, and the Dominie's beatings wrested an ironical smile from Quentin.
Once the pupils saw Pinuela advancing with his pointer raised on high, and Quentin running, hiding be- hind tables, and throwing inkwells at the Dominie's head.
One day two old women were gossiping in the shop at home. They were two street vendors, one of whom was called Siete Tonos, on account of the seven different tones she used in crying her wares.
He's a wicked little devil," said one of them. The boy thought abont the conver- sation of the two old gossips for a long time, and came to the conclusion that there had been something obscure about his birth.
He was proud and haughty, and con- sidered himself worthy of royal descent, so the idea of dishonour irritated him, and made him desperate.
One day his mother went to ask the Dominie how her son was behaving himself. A veritable dishonour to my school. He knows nothing about Latin, nor grammar, nor logic, nor anything.
Accordingly they took him to the academy of a French emigre, a violent republican, who, at the same time that he taught his pupils to conjugate the verb avoir, spoke to them enthusiastically about Danton, Eobespierre, and Hoche.
Perhaps this excited Quentin's imagination; perhaps it did not need to be excited ; at any rate, one Sunday morning he decided to put into execution his great projet de voyage.
His mother was accustomed to hide the key to the cabinet where she kept her money under her pillow. While she was at mass, Quentin seized the key, opened the cabinet, stuffed the seventy dollars that he found there into his pocket, and a few minutes later was calmly increasing the distance between himself and his home.
Fifteen days after his escape he was apprehended in Cadiz just as he was about to set sail for America, and was brought back to Cordova in the custody of the guardia civil.
Then his mother took him to a monastery, but Quentin had made up his mind to run away from everything, so he attempted to escape several times.
At the end of a month, the friars intimated that they did not wish to keep him any longer. To the boys of his age, Quentin was now the proto- type of wildness, impudence, and disobedience.
People predicted an evil future for him. At this point his mother said to him one day: Kindly answer politely anything they may ask you there.
They climbed some marble stairs, and entered a hall where a white-haired old man was sitting in a large, deep armchair, with a blond little girl who looked like an angel to Quentin, by his side.
His mother and the old man chatted a while, and at last the latter exclaimed: You shall go to England, Get his baggage ready," he added, turning to the mother, "and let him go as soon as possible.
In a short time he had for- gotten his entire former life. In the English school the professor was not the enemy of the scholar, but rather one of his schoolmates.
Quen- tin met boys as daring as he, and stronger than he, and he had to look alive. That school was something like a primitive forest where the strong devoured the weak, and conquered and abused them.
The thing of paramount importance that he learned there, was that one must be strong and alert and calm in life, and ready to conquer always.
In the same way that he accepted this concept on ac- count of the way it flattered him, he rejected the moral and sentimental concepts of his fellow-pupils and masters.
Those young men of bulldog determination, valiant, strengthened by football and rowing, and nourished by underdone meat, were full of ridiculous conventions and respect for social class, for the hier- archy, and for authority.
In spite of the fact that he passed for an aristocrat and a son of a marquis in order to enjoy a certain pres- tige in the school, Quentin manifested a profound con- tempt for the principles his schoolmates held in such respect.
He considered that authority, wigs, and cere- monies were grotesque, and consequently was looked upon as the worst kind of a poser.
He used to maintain, much to the stupefaction of his comrades, that he felt no enthusiasm for religion, nor for his native land ; that not only would he not sacrifice himself for them, but he would not even give a farthing to save them.
Moreover, he asserted that if he should ever become rich, he would prefer to owe his money to chance, rather than to constant effort on his part; and that to work, as the English did, that their wives might amuse themselves and live well, was absurd — for all their blond hair, their great beauty, and their flute-like voices.
He was respected for his good fists, but en- joyed absolutely no esteem. During his last years at school, his only real friend was an Italian teacher of music named Caravaglia.
Caravaglia used to sit at the piano and sing. Quentin listened to him and was much softened by the music. The Alma innamo- ratta from Lucia, and La cavattina from Hernani, made him weep; but his greatest favourites, the songs that went straight to his heart, were the manly arias from the Italian operas like that in Bigoletto, that goes: La conatanza tercmna del core.
This song, overflowing with arrogance, merry f anfar- onade, indifference, and egoism, enchanted him. On the other hand, to his psalm-singing comrades, this merry and swaggering music seemed worthy of the greatest contempt.
In the farewell banquet which Quentin gave to his four or five companions, and to the Italian professor, there were several toasts.
I am a Horatian. I believe in the wine of Faler- nus, and in Cecube and his wines of Calais. I also believe that we mortals must leave the task of calming the winds to the gods.
It was a moderately warm day in January, with an overcast sky. A few drops of rain were falling. Quentin was very much preoccupied by the visit he was about to make.
So far, he had not asked what relation he was to that man. Surely s6me relationship did exist; a bastard kinship ; something defamatory to Quentin.
Sunk deep in these thoughts, Quentin wandered from his way, and was obliged to ask where the street was. The Marquis' palace was extremely large. Five bay- windows, framed in thick moulding, with ornate iron- work and brass flower-pots, opened from a facade of a yellow, porous stone.
On either side of the larger centre balcony, there rose two pilasters surmounted by a tim- r panum, in the middle of which was the half -obliterated carving of a shield.
The decayed iron-work of the bal- ustrade was twisted into complicated designs. On the ground floor, four large gratings clawed the walls of the palace, and in the centre was a large opening closed by a massive door studded with nails, and topped by a fan-shaped window.
Before the palace, the street widened into a small- sized plaza. Quentin entered the wide entrance, and his footsteps resounded with a hollow sound.
Some distance ahead of him, through the iron bars of the grating at the end of a dark gallery, he could see a sunny garden ; and that shady zone, terminating in such a brilliant spot of light, recalled the play of light and shade in the canvases of the old masters.
Quentin pulled a chain, and a bell rang in the distance with a solemn sound. Several minutes elapsed without any one coming to the entry, and Quentin rang again.
A moment later the vivid sunlight of the distant gar- den, which shone like a square patch of light at the end of the shadowy corridor, was dimmed by the silhouette of a man who came forward until he reached and opened the grating.
He was small in stature, and old, and wore overalls, an undershirt, and a broad-brimmed hat. Through a door on the right he could see a deserted patio.
In the centre of it was a fountain formed by a bowl which spilled the water into a basin in six sparkling jets. On the left of the wide vestibule rose a monumen- tal stairway made of black and white marble.
The very high ceiling was covered with huge panels which were broken and decayed. In the centre of each half, he discerned two large and handsomely carved escutcheons.
To the left of this door there was a window through which Quentin peeped. He saw a splendid garden, full of orange trees laden with fruit.
In the open, the trees were tall and erect; against the walls they took the form of vines, climbing the high walls, and covering them with their dark green foliage.
A light rain was falling, and it was a wonderful sight to see the oranges glistening like balls of red and yellow gold among the dark, rain-soaked leaves.
The glistening brilliancy of the foliage, and of the golden fruit, the grey sky, and the damp air created an extraordinary eflPect of exuberance and life.
Silence reigned in the shady garden. A pale yellow sunbeam struggled to illuminate the spot, and as it was reflected upon the wet leaves, it made them flash with a metallic bril- liancy.
Above the opposite wall, rose the silhouette of a black- ened and moss-covered belfry, surmounted by the figure of an angel. In the distance, over the house-tops, rose the dark sierra, partially hidden by bluish mists.
These mists were moved about by the wind, and as they drifted along, or dissipated into the air, they disclosed several white orchards which heretofore had been concealed by the haze.
On the mountain-top, as the white penants of mist floated among the trees, they left tenuous filaments like those silver threads woven among the thorn bushes by lemures.
Quentin was gazing tirelessly upon the scene, when he heard footsteps behind him. He turned and saw a little girl of ten or twelve years, with her hair down her back.
Quentin removed his hat respectfully, and the child smiled. They traversed a gallery whose windows looked out upon the patio of the fountain ; then, after crossing two large, dark rooms, they came to a high-ceilinged hall panelled in leather, and with a red rug, tarnished by the years, upon the floor.
Quentin seated himself and began to examine the hall. It was large and rectangular, with three broad, and widely-separated balcony windows looking out upon the garden.
The room possessed an air of complete desola- tion. The painted walls from which the plaster had peeled off in places, were hung with life-size portraits of men in the uniforms and habiliments of nobility: When he had waited a moment, a curtain was pulled aside, and an old man, bent with age, entered the salon.
Right in front of yon," replied the hunchback. Have you enjoyed good health at school! The old man, paying no attention to him, said to Quentin: She told me that you were well, and that you were working hard.
I am very glad to see you" — and again he pressed Quentin 's hand between his own weak and trembling ones. Quentin regarded the old man tenderly, without know- ing what to say.
At this moment, the hunchback re- turned, followed by a young lady and a little girl. Quentin rose to greet them.
I am not going to recall incidents that sadden me: Quentin will come here often, will you notf " "Yes, sir," answered he, more and more astounded at the direction the interview was taking.
Then he began to pluck the strings with fingers as long and delicate as spiders' legs. He played a guitar march, and then, much to Quentin's astonishment, the old Mar- quis began to sing.
He sang a patriotic song in a cracked voice. It was a very old one, and ended with the following stanza: When the old man had finished the song, his grand- daughters embraced him, and he smiled most content- edly.
Quentin felt as though he had been transported to another century. The shabby house, the old Marquis, the buffoon, the beautiful girls — everything seemed un- usual.
The two sisters were pretty ; Baf aela, the older sister, was extremely attractive. The face of Bemedios, the child, was less symmetrical, but more positive: Now and then she smiled silently and mischiev- ously.
When Quentin felt that he had stayed long enough, he rose, gave his hand to the two girls, and hesitantly approached the old man, who threw his arms about his neck and tearfully embraced him.
He saluted the hunchback with a nod of his head which was scarcely answered; descended the stairs, and upon reaching the vestibule, the man who had let him in, asked: Are you going to stay in Cordova r' "I believe so.
Her clear, soft eyes ; her pleasant smile ; and above all, her opaque voice had gone straight to Quen- tin's heart: Quentin devoted the days following this visit to cogi-.
He must attempt the conquest. True, he was an illegitimate child. He had a desire to laugh at that thought, it seemed so operatic to him: Bastard or no bastard, he considered that the thing was possible.
He was tall, handsome, and above all, strong. In Eton, he had noticed that after all, the greatest attraction in a man for women is strength.
They said that the Marquis' house was going to ruin: It was a great plan. Truly, Bafaela was an admirable prize.
To marry her, and live in that sumptuous house with the two sisters until the place was completely repaired, would be a life indeed!
He would write his school friends and tell them about his marriage to an Andalusian descendant of the Cid, and describe the patios filled with orange trees.
Then he could say with his poet: He would represent himself from the very first as a romanticist, an idealist, a scomer of the impurities of reality.
He would manifest a respectful enthusiasm for her, like that of a man who dares not even dream of so much felicity. Is that a crime, forsooth Y And if it were a crime, then whatY They do not carry one off to jail for that.
You are a good Boeotian, a good swine In the herd of Epicurus. You were not bom for the base bodily wants of a mer- chant. Dissemble a little, my son, dissemble a little.
In spite of his Epicureanism and his Boeotianism, he dared not enter; he passed by with- out stopping until he reached the Campo de la Madre de Dios.
He leaned over the railing on the river bank. The Guadalquivir was muddy, clay-coloured: Quentin returned to the Calle del Sol disgusted with his weakness, but as soon as he reached the house, his energy again disappeared.
Fortunately for him, the man who had opened the gate for him a few days be- fore was seated on a stone bench in the vestibule.
Did you come to see the Marquis? At the end of it, after climbing two steps, they came into the garden. It was large and beautiful: Close- trimmed myrtles lined the walks, and underfoot, yellow and green moss carpeted the stones.
It is rather neglected now, for I can't do much any more. On one of its long sides rose a granite pedestal adorned with large, unpolished urns which were reflected in the green- ish and motionless water.
Quentin was contemplating the tranquil water of the pool, when he heard the halting notes of a Czerny 6tude on the piano. Why don't you go up? An old woman servant was sewing by the balcony window.
Quentin greeted the two sisters, and Bafaela said to him: Do play, ' ' urged Quentin. Quentin could read the word Mozart upon the cover.
He listened to the sonata in silence: Just enough to accompany myself when I sing. Quentin sat down at the piano and played the intro- ductory chords of Count di Luna's aria in II Trovatore: Then he began to sing in a rich, baritone voice, and as he reached the end of the romama, he imparted an expression of profound melancholy to it: Ah Vamor, Vamore ond?
And he repeated the phrase with an accent that was more and more expressive. Any one listening to him would have said that truly, la tempesta was playing havoc with his heart.
Beme- dios applauded gleefully. They went to the window. The sky was darkening; it was beginning to rain. The rain soon ceased, the sun came out, and the whole garden glowed like a red-hot coal; the oranges shone among the damp foliage; the green hedge-mustard spotted the glittering grey roof tiles with its gay note; water poured from the dark, ancient belfry of a near-by tower; and several white gardens smiled upon the moun- tain side.
Quentin laughed; the little girl's manner of speech amused him inmiensely. He's heard it, now," Rafaela ex- claimed humorously; and seizing the child about the waist, she kissed the back of her neck.
It was beginning to clear up; the dark clouds were moving off, leaving the sky clear; a ray of sunshine struck a tower formed by three arches set one above the other.
In the three spaces, they could see the motion- less bells ; a figure of San Rafael spread its wings from the peak of the roof.
They left the music-room, and in the next room, they showed Quentin various mirrors with bevelled edges, a glass cabinet full of miniatures with carved frames and antique necklaces, two escritoires inlaid with mother-of- pearl, bright-coloured majolica ware, and pier-glasses with thick plates.
The three descended the stairs and traversed the gallery that connected the vestibule with the garden. On either side of them were an infinite number of rooms ; some large and dark, with wardrobes and furni- ture pushed against the walls; others were small, with steps leading up to them.
At the end of the gallery were the stables, extremely large, with barred windows. In the same stable was an enormous coach, painted yellow, very ornate, with several very small windows, and the family coat-of-arms on the doors.
After the stables, they saw the corrals, and the cellar, which was huge, with enormous rain-water jars that looked like giants buried in the ground. In the middle of the garden, sur- rounded by a circle of myrtles, was a summer-house with a decayed door ; inside of it they could see remnants of paint and gilt.
On the old wall, was a tangled growth of ivy. Enveloped in its foliage, and close to the wall, they could make out a fountain with a Medusa head, through a dirty pipe in whose mouth flowed a crystalline thread which fell sonorously into a square basin brimful of water.
There were two broad, moss- covered steps leading up to the fountain, and the weeds and wild figs, growing in the cracks, were lifting up the stones.
From among the weeds there rose a marble pedestal ; and a wild-orange tree near by, with its little red fruit, seemed spotted with blood. Some of them are very beautiful with their iridescent heads.
We haven't showed him the roof," said the little girl. Quentin suppressed a smile. The wind was blowing strongly. From that height, they could see Cordova, a great pile of grey roofs and white walls, between which they could make out the alleys, which looked like crooked lines inundated with light.
Sierra Morena appeared in the background like a dark wave, and its round peaks were outlined in a gentle undulation against the sky, which was cloudless.
Toward Cordova la Vieja, pastures glistened, a lumi- nous green; in the country, the sown ground stretched out until it was lost in the distance, interrupted here and there by some brown little hill covered with olive trees.
How charming your sister is," said he. Yes; she's as clever as a squirrel, but more sensitive than any one I know. The slightest thing offends her.
I am years older than she. She is like a daughter to me. Some- times she has fits of temper over nothing at all!
But she has a heart of gold. They rested the instrument on the wall of the azotea and took turns looking through it. Toward the west, the sky was touched with rose; flaming clouds sailed over the mountain.
The sun had set ; the fire of the clouds changed to scarlet, to mother- of-pearl, to cold ashes. Black night already lurked in the city and in the fields.
The wind commenced to mur- mur in the trees, shaking the window blinds and cur- tains, and rapidly drying the roofs. A bell clanged, and its solemn sound filled the silent atmosphere.
Slowly the sky was invaded by a deep blue, dark pur- ple in some places ; Jupiter shone from his great height with a silver light, and night took possession of the land ; a clear, starry night, that seemed the pale continuation of the twilight.
From the house garden arose a fresh perfume of myrtles and oranges; of the exhalations of plants and damp earth. Quentin took leave of the two girls and stepped into the street.
One warm night in January, Quentin left his house with the intention of walking by the palace in the Galle del Sol. It was a beautiful, serene night, without a breath of air stirring.
The great, round face of the moon was shining high overhead, its light dividing the streets into two zones — one white, and the other bluish black.
Some of the plazas seemed covered with snow, so white were the walls of the houses and the stones of the pavements.
Absently strolling along, Quentin approached the Mosque ; its walls rose as solemn and black as those of a fortress; above their serrated battlements, the moon floated giddily in the deep, veiled blue of the sky.
Nobody has any accounts to settle with me. When he had gone about twenty paces, he stopped. There was a dull thud as a body struck the ground.
He was not sufficiently acquainted with the streets near El Potro to get his bearings as he went along. After a quarter of an hour had elapsed, the gipsies stopped and made Quentin enter the door of a house.
Take off the handkerchief so we can see each other face to face. We must have made a mis- take. It wouldn't be that bad," said Quentin as he gazed in disgust at the boastful little man.
Still, if you want us two to fight it out alone, come with me, and we'll see if it is your turn to win or to lose.
Seated upon benches about a long, greasy table, were gathered a dozen or so persons, of whom the majority were playing cards, and the rest drinking and chatting.
Upon entering the cellar, Quentin and the little man in the calanes made their way to a small table, and sat down facing each other.
The blackened lamp, hanging by a wire from a beam in the ceiling, distilled a greenish oil drop by drop, which fell upon the greasy table.
The little man ordered the innkeeper to bring two glasses of white wine, and while they waited, Quentin observed him closely. He was a blond individual, pale, with blue eyes, and slender, well-kept hands.
To Quen- tin 's scrutinizing glance, he responded with another, cool and clear, without flinching. At this point, a queer, ugly-looking man who was talking impetuously, and showing huge, yellow, horse- like teeth, came toward the table and said to Quentin 's companion: Who is this bird, Senor Jose?
He was an individual of indefinite age, clean-shaven, a mixture of a barber and a sacristan, with a forehead so low that his hair served him as eye- brows, and with a jaw like a monkey's.
He is one of the most shameless fellows in the world. He wanders about these parts to see if they won't give him a few pennies.
The sly rascal was at home among jests, and he answered the repartee that they directed at him with great impudence. If you do, I'll skin you aUve.
I am Pacheco, the horseman, or rather Pacheco, the bandit. Now, if you care to be Pacheco 's friend, here's my hand. Now let's see what these lads are talking about.
I didn't see you. Why, I'm beginning to lose faith even in San Rafael himself. Look here, I'm not going to play any more.
He was a scoundrel and a card sharp, and he always took delight in pretending to be unlucky while he was cleaning his friends of their money. He dealt the cards.
More cards were tossed upon the table, and, as be- fore, Pajarote won. He and Quentin again came out into the patio, and entered a room illuminated by a brass lamp set upon a round table.
Good evening, Seiiora Bosario; what's the news? What little wit you have! Currito peevishly fell silent, and Pacheco presented Quentin to the bushy-haired man.
The innkeeper appeared; a man of some fifty years, stoop-shouldered, ill-shaven, with hatchet-shaped side whiskers, and a red sash about his waist.
What a bad-tempered old uncle he is! There's no need of getting scared," said the old woman in a gruff voice.
The innkeeper arrived with the bottle and the glasses, and Currito seized the former and served every one. Let 's hear it f inquired Don Gil with an ironic smile.
El Moji never lied, and El Moji. Why, it was the time you went to Seville! Bias told me, and there 's an end to it. This is most important," re- marked Pacheco.
El Qolotino, as you know, had a herd of a couple of dozen goats, and El Manano, who was a charcoal-burner, had rented a hill; and to find out whether the goats had wandered on the hill or not, they had a lawsuit, which El Golotino lost.
Don Nicanor, the clerk, was making an inventory of the property of the owner of the goats, and was adding: They took leave of Pacheco, and the innkeeper ac- companied the three women and the two men to the door with the lamp.
They went through several alleys and came out in the lower part of the Calle de la Feria. They stopped before a miserable white hut, the old woman knocked on the door with her knuckles, it was opened from within, and Senora Bosario and the three girls entered.
What a tiny house! Was there a wall here? The wall that separated the upper city from the lower. The upper city was called Almadina, and the lower, Ajerquia.
The sloping street, with its tall, white houses bathed in the moon- light, presented a fantastic appearance; the two lines of roofs were outlined against the blue of the sky, broken here and there by the azoteas on some of the houses.
There were gates to go through. That is why there are so many windows and galleries in these houses, and why the street is called the Calle de la Feria.
The two men traversed narrow alleys, and plazoletas lined with white houses with blue doors. I know a Cordova boy who was educated with me in England.
Do you know him? It seems to me that there is something unusual connected with his life. I'm going; I'm sorry to leave your agreeable company, but I must show you a most interesting spot, with a history.
It's not more than one o'clock. Es handelt sich um einen wundervollen Ort, der hier gezeichnet wird.
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