Or the other way around, fan-album as you like . Mrs. Frondoso had one, famous throughout Madrid. By the time this faithful story of true events begins, the album of verses and drawings was already a rather discredited thing, and the fan turned into an album, the height of the corny. But Mrs. Frondoso had read in Pepita Jiménez that the essence of the corny was in the excessive fear of appearing it; and she would have thought herself more corny than all the corny women put together if she had renounced having verses put on the fans, considering that this kind of gallantry had been abused, which already stank the world, but which she did not stink. And in the circle of her relationships, or rather, in the court of Cupid that surrounded her, the ridiculous and impertinent thing was to complain about the old-fashioned mania.

“So and so, you have to make me something for the fan,” said Frondoso’s to any new friend introduced to her chosen circle. and Fulanito was careful to repeat the common places that ran against the literary fans, and promised to write, and wrote and tried to do his best. Wow, and that it was easy to distinguish between those fly legs that filled the country of the wind album! Ayala to the right; Campoamor from above; Núñez de Arce, with his Excelsior, under; Manuel del Palacio to port …; Echegaray there in the distance … There were no unknown forms, nor completely memos fans; all the signatories were real poets, or, at least, young men of spark, or good young men, or illustrious politicians, or famous journalists, or distinguished comedians. Tell yourself soon, because it has to be known. The Lady of Frondoso loved very much; and her husband, secretary of the Circle, railroad adviser, and lucky stockbroker, had been but one of the first links in a golden chain with which she voluntarily held her heart. She was rich, still beautiful, very frank, very well educated, let’s put it that way; very affable, very natural, not prudish. Her husband was a very nice and influential man, a friend and a debt to great people, some of them from a chosen aristocracy …Prodigal ; And yet, not only the fourteen bad ladies in the court, according to the statistics of Father Coloma, but the many dozen flawless ladies of the most cultured and distinguished society, compromised with Julita, and carried her in palms, always that she wanted, that it wasn’t the whole year. Because there were times when she was seen very little among the people of her world , and then she either disappeared or went to places of little distinction with other ladies, also rich and of a high tone … but a little separated from the treatment of the most scrupulous families.

That of Frondoso returned to her family whenever she wanted, and no one feared that she would bring with her the plague that those others might have struck her .

Julita owed this privilege to many things. In part, to his balanced, cheerful humor, without being dazed; to his friendly, cordial treatment; to her singular attractiveness, which was such that many times she found herself in love with her, in pure friendship, to the same women who must have been jealous, because of the respective husband. That of Frondoso had a particular pleasure in conquering at the same time a friend … and his wife; and he did it not a few times. No one spoke ill of her … in detail. It was generally recognized that there was no where to catch it, because that was notorious; but … nothing more . No one commented on their adventures one by one, nor did they talk about their current beloved ; the footsteps were not followed. He had the great … worldly virtue of not giving a scandal. A certain beneficiary of a cathedral, a friend of hers, had once said in front of her: “If you cannot be chaste, be cautious”; and she had turned the phrase into a moral dogma, worthy of Cicero. Secret, always secret. Nobody had proof, that could be counted, of what was a common conviction. “Concretely, nothing is known”, it was repeated everywhere. Anyway, that was really cheesy and past nail: talking about Julita’s adulteries. Adulteries! Jesus, what an inappropriate and scandalous expletive … in the case of Julita Frondoso! Friends, protected, that’s what the lovers of that lady. They were not his admirers , but rather his admired ; it was she who admired. His specialty was … the dish of the day ; the man of whom the newspapers of that week spoke … that was the seducer … whom Julita was trying to seduce. At times that of Frondoso seemed the natural flower of a contest. Was awardedto the most excellent versifier, or to the deputy with the most talk, or the swordsman with the most guts and the most art. It never reached the bullfighters. But yes to the ministers. A young minister seemed charming to him, if he was not a fool. In general, he preferred the fine arts, including letters. The poet was the best, and what was closest to him, straight away. In painting he entered through naturalism first than in literature. At the time of the last gleams of this lady’s beauty, realism was beginning to be fashionable in Spain; and she accepted him, in the plastic arts, granting her favors to Pablito Fonseca, who was a landscaper of the natural school. His specialty was the cows sitting on the grass. Pablito did not have two fingers of forehead; but his cows were pieces of realityput on the canvas. They made you want to milk them. For a few weeks, some chuscos called the one from Frondoso the one from Finojosa . You already understand why.

But, friend, in the matter of novels, “my Feuillet of my soul!” Julita said; And, to be honest, what she really liked was the criminal serial, with a mystery in each issue of the respective newspaper. A daughter who was one forHe had weeks without a father, and that perhaps he would find three or four …; that, that was what enchanted Julita.

If at the end he entered the more or less naturalistic novel, it was thanks to the firm character and harsh genius of Ángel Trabanco, a predominantly descriptive lyrical poet , who despised the plot, the fable in an Olympic way , and in poetry and in the novel he wanted to see the world. real painted by himself, by the world, not by the adventures of human dolls that stepped on and desecrated it. With all his bad temper, Trabanco, if he wanted to conquer Julita’s heart, or at least rent it for a season, he had no choice but to go through the caudine gallows of the fan-album . There was a blank corner, and there, with very fine handwriting, the short-tempered descriptive poet had to paint in about twenty verses, a model of conciseness and plastic strength, The old mill . It was a weary mill, in ruins outside and inside; the old mill, the worn citole … Magnificent indeed and sad! “That mill is me,” said the one from Frondoso. There were no protests; he insisted that it was her, and it amused him to have a new customer for the old mill of his heart … Angel made himself loved more than others, because he was dominant, distrustful, wild, Julita said. He convinced her that she had poor literary bad taste, and made her read the Goncourt novels, which bored her, and those of Balzac and other well-known masters, which she could not finish without falling asleep.

But the fan-album could not make her quitciar. That register of more or less fleeting notabilities continued to be Julita’s mania; lovers varied; the mania was always the same. As it was said that those poetic and artistic fans were the acts of the martyrs , that is, lists of Julita’s lovers, she thought it appropriate to warn Trabanco that in such a case there was a notorious exaggeration.

“Hey, you,” he said one day: “the tyranny you have for the illustrated fan, as you say, it won’t be because you think they have been my friends, just like you, all these gentlemen … I swear I never had anything with Zorrilla, nor with Campoamor, nor with Pepe Luis …

-Do not; if the one I fear is the new Parnassus .

—I’m frank, you know; A French comedian, who was close to home, back in Paris, told me that already Molière, in a comedy called L’Etourdi , justified the brevity of love: the shorter the strays, the less bad they will be.

And the one from Frondoso, with medium pronunciation, always repeated when she spoke about this:

If notre esprit n’est pas sage à toutes les heures,
Les plus courts erreurs sont toujours les meilleurs.

“And you can’t complain, Nero,” added the friendly matron; I’ve loved you for a century.

And it was true; the one from Frondoso had become accustomed to her poet from the old mill, and had no trace of the thunder of coming because of her.

But the vate was called to his town, where a good girl was waiting for him, who loved him many years ago, and he had just inherited something stronger than descriptive poems. Trabanco spoke clearly. Little Julia tried to dissuade him; he advised him to stay in Madrid to truly become famous ; This in Julita’s language meant: to become a politician with a covered kidney. She promised to help her with the influence of her husband and others that she had … They agreed to discuss it on the train, leaving Madrid together, she for France and he for his people … If she convinced him in a few hours … . they would go on to France together …

The Frondoso woman did not see Trabanco either at the station or on the train. She did not see him again for many years. He forgave him, he wrote to him; he answered two, three times; later, no letters.

Julita forgave this too … and within a few months Trabanco was a young man of the future, who had cut off his career by marrying a naive village woman. And so friends.

More than twelve years passed, thirteen or fourteen; that of Frondoso continued living in Madrid, and Trabanco in Barcelona, ​​in Seville, abroad for some seasons; He never went to Madrid except in passing. Very from time to time, Angel read in the newspapers something about the gatherings of Senora de Frondoso; According to the magazine racks, the charm of that dwelling was Luz, that Baby that illo tempore Julita talked so much about ; the girl isbeautiful and precocious that he had seen very few times, always from afar.

One afternoon, on one of his rare trips to court, Trabanco was speaking with various friends, politicians and writers, in a group on the Carrera de San Jerónimo.

At such dates, Trabanco was many things before he was lyrical. With his wife’s money he had done very healthy business in the cork industry; cork and its market were one of the most important concerns of the poet with the gray head and large crow’s feet around his eyes, always energetic and dreamy. Cork had led him to the study of certain very practical economic questions; from these questions he had gone by association of facts to politics, and at present he was a candidate for deputation to the Cortes, as pigeonholed as any other. But he was still a poet and seeing the world for its appearance of plastic beauty; from time to time he published a volume of verses, very elegant, with very beautiful engravings. He was not tormented by the large or small sales, as in the past; the cork allowed him to be calm about this matter. He gave away many copies, toured many newsrooms and there was a lot of talk about Trabanco’s verses, without anyone taking any interest in denying him his poetic talent, which neither rose nor fell. When there was an academic vacancy in Hispaniola, they were not lackingcritics who pointed to Trabanco, without any scandal from anyone. And nothing more. This was all his glory. As can be seen, Trabanco had never become famous inflush , as Frondoso’s would have wanted, and perhaps would have been if he had not separated himself from her and the court.

In short, that afternoon, when the conversation in the group was most animated, two very well dressed ladies, both tall, one old and the other very young, dazzling with freshness and beauty, passed by that group, which opened to free Sidewalk.

“Ibáñez!” Exclaimed the elderly lady, stopping and extending a hand to a handsome but well-worn young man who was part of the group.

“Madam … Light …

“You have forgotten me. And you, Luz, laugh at him …”

“Don’t believe it.” Tomorrow…

“Yes, always tomorrow …

—Tomorrow without fail you have that in the box; Isn’t it your turn tomorrow in Spanish?

-Yes Yes; But are they already done?

“Yes, ma’am, yes.” They are worth nothing … but …

“Oh!” that’s modesty … Oh, Trabanco! You around here … how long …

-Yes ma’am; fourteen years at least …

“Yes, fourteen …

-And this is?



“Yeah, Baby … Has it grown, huh?”

And Luz, smiling, simple, natural , much more natural than Trabanco’s verses, looked and greeted with a handshake the former lover of that mother of whom she knew nothing bad or suspected.

The conversation between the ladies, Ibáñez and Trabanco continued. Ibáñez was also a poet, but of another generation … literary, although slightly less old than Trabanco. But Ibáñez was in fashion, he was somewhere between mystical and diabolical and with the ladies he had much more party than Trabanco had had in his best days. Besides, he almost always lived in Paris or London, and this refreshed his fame as if it were salt.

What Julita Frondoso, a respectable old woman, very well preserved, asked of Ibáñez was, in fact, some verses for a fan of Luz. Luz also had a fan album, or rather, her mother had it in Luz’s name. The arrogant girl, the figure of Diana, was pure, noble, energetic; if she flirted, it was by procedures that had nothing to do with letters or fans.

But Trabanco, upon hearing about the album, looked at the arrogant and calm virgin, and for a moment he feared that the daughter’s album, the mother’s suggestion, was a symbolic record, like that other fan on which he had written: old mill ”…

For the rest, Trabanco and Frondoso looked at each other and smiled at each other, like two old acquaintances who remembered nothing of intimacy and tenderness … Even Trabanco, as a poet, gave a certain tinge of philosophical longing to common reminiscences … but the of Leafy, absolutely nothing, nothing seemed to remember; that is, he remembered everything, but as if not. In a house that they saw opposite they had had their love nest, because Angel lived there, and there Julita visited him. Trabanco remembered, looked at the house, to the balcony of his cabinet … Also, by chance, Frondoso’s woman looked there … but without thinking of anything remote, thinking of Ibáñez, Luz … in the album, in the verses that Ibáñez promised to take to the theater the next day …

The one from Leafy! Oh! a very respectable lady. These new people knew nothing bad about such a lady; he had forgotten his joyous life; She was no longer anyone but the most kind mother of one of the most beautiful and elegant girls in Madrid … As for the fan-album … it was an innocent, harmless mania that everyone continued to respect.

Trabanco, seeing the showy lady continue up the street, always cheerful … always frivolous; Without the vices that age had made him abandon, but with the mania that was like the shell, now empty, of vice, he thought to himself a portion of things, philosophical like themselves, of a philosophy neither pessimistic nor optimistic … almost comical.

And he said to himself, full of ironic benevolence …

“What a difference between Julita Frondoso … and La Magdalena .”