It all consists of getting behind the scenes of oneself

“Do you want us to go for a walk around the Prado, in the sun, before getting into that catacomb of the Athenaeum?” Theophilus begged.

“Yes, man.” Today you want to melt in the sun, not think, volatilize, be a gaseous and warm thing …

“Don’t think … melt … Today and always.”

“Are you going to be tragic?”

“Me, what for?” Theophilus made a grotesque-tragic face that made his companion laugh. Yeah man, laugh. I don’t know whether to pity you or envy you; you understand nothing of the feeling.

-Who told you that? It could be that he understood, and a few other things. For example: behind the scenes the theatrical effects are destroyed.

“Bah! I happen to be playing the man weary of life.”

-Is not that; apart from the fact that there are actors who enter the situation with all their soul and really cry, but the audience laughs at them, because they lack emotional expression.

“And I am missing, eh?” What am I going to do?

-It is not that either. What I wanted to tell you when I told you that behind the scenes theatrical effects are killed is that all feelings, no matter how sad, carry their medicine in them.

“Wow, how expeditious you are.” Let’s see.

—It all consists of getting behind the scenes of oneself, introspection, becoming from actor to spectator and looking upside down at how light and crude it is.p. 245tofa of all those backstage, backstage and stage of human feeling.

“That’s right, and even supposing that one can be split into two parts as easily as you say, seeing with the one the lightness and crudeness of the other is a comforting sight, right?”

“In the long run, yes.”

“What do you call in the long run?” Because I have already been going for six months that I try something similar, and as if not. What happens is that when the gangrene is inside there is no worthwhile morphine. If it were so easy to inject philosophy like cacodylate of soda … You will think that I am interesting, but you don’t know … —Teófilo believed he was keeping the secret of his anguish; but there were several who knew its origin, among them Alberto.

They continued pacing in silence. Alberto put his hands in the pockets of his jacket and found a piece of paper that turned out to be a closed letter. He had received so many sad letters in his life that each new envelope that came to his hands terrified him. He used to keep the letters unopened, and after some time he would read or burn them, depending on the mood. He looked at this letter, already rough and dirty; it was a familiar handwriting, but he couldn’t tell from whom. He turned it over in his hands, wondering whether to read it or toss it down a manhole. Finally he opened it.

“Man, from Bériz.”

-The fact that?

-This letter.

“What about him?”

-I do not know yet. Now we shall see, “he read,” “Dear Guzmán: You and the friends of Madrid will say (not that I call you a friend. You know that I have always had great affection and consideration for you), what will become of that scoundrel from Bériz? And the truth is that Ip. 246I was a scoundrel on the eve of becoming older, as I now understand that it would have happened if I stayed in Madrid. But do you remember a famous night at the circus, what a night that, ché !, and what you told me: “go to your town, Arsenio, go to your town”, neither more nor less than as Hamlet advised Ophelia to go to a convent? And now I realize that we were dealing with you. In Madrid distances are lost: we are all … some gulls, and I’m not saying it for you, or for you, I no longer remembered. Then, when you move away from that gibberish, hierarchies re-establish themselves. To mine. That advice was always ringing in my head, and one fine day (this is Gallicism, ché; but what does it matter?) I said to myself: if it’s not today, it’s never. And without saying you or showing you packed the suitcases, and Arsenio returned to his town to marry his girlfriend; but above all … to make great art. A nonsense of chimeras and ambitions! But as the echo of Madrid faded within me, and those famous hierarchies re-established, common sense began to emerge. Great art me? Wow, that’s not that way. I understood that there are few who can afford that luxury, and that God was not calling me by that path, but by that of honest bourgeois marriage, and come make children and more children, healthy, robust and rowdy like me, and like me a little , nothing but a little bit, scoundrels. Well, nothing, that next week I am getting married, like this, at twenty-two years old, and next month you will have me dispatching fans to send with fresh wind to the whole world. I am not giving you part of my wedding with the prospect of a gift. I wouldn’t admit it apart from the fact that I already know that literature is similar to the fans in that it gives air, but it differs in that it does not also give money. I’m going on a honeymoon trip to France, but embarked. I don’t go through Madrid like thatp. 247aspen. I am happy and I hope you will be glad to know. If you have a spare minute and want to send me an epithalamium, and better still, if you want to write me a letter, I will appreciate it. How are your things going? And that Pilarcita? I don’t know if I told you that he fell before I ran away, and the truth is that he was fine, heck. A hug, Arsenio. »

“What a lucky boy!” If I had done the same, not more than six months ago, one day I received a letter from my mother … ”Theophilus murmured, and his voice was a mass of shadows.

“Your case is not the same.” You already have a name and, therefore, a duty attached to that name.

“However, I remember that you also advised me once …

—True, because I thought that what was pressing you was the financial situation. But now … you have that little destiny that Don Sabas gave you in his ministerial will; La Roldán is going to premiere a drama for you and it will be a success.

“But you say it’s very bad.”

“That’s why it will be a great success.”

“So what is my duty?”

“Make them good.”

“What if they don’t like them then and I’m starving?”

-It does not matter.

-You’re right. There is nothing that matters, there is nothing that matters.

They strolled along the Botanical Garden, approaching one of its sources. Teofilo felt, capturing the powers, the revival of the past, as if Rosina’s sweet grief still gravitated on his side on that autumn morning, when they had stopped before the joyous bonfire whose song was embraced by the hum of the water, and he had said: «The most beautiful thing in the world is the woman, because she participates inp. 248the nature of water and that of fire. ” The abundance of emotion forced him to speak now.

“Do you want to believe that since the blind man left for Asturias I am missing something?” These last twenty days have seemed twenty centuries to me. The moments I spent with him every afternoon were divine for me. I, who have never seen the sea, have felt it through the words of that man. I owe my drama to him. I had always imagined the sea as something monstrous and roaring. But the blind man made me feel the charm of the sea, which is feminine in nature, captivating, fascinating, soft, gentle … Sea lovers seem to be in love with a woman, and it seems that everyone who has lived near the sea falls in love . She is a woman and a bad woman. The blind man said: «I was always afraid of the sea, very afraid; But I can’t live without it I live here because I’m blind, and now, for that matter, it doesn’t matter to be in one part as in another, because I carry it within me. ” Sometimes, when they had watered the asphalt streets, the blind man would say: “It smells like alittleto love”. He said a little bit. And when we passed by one of those elegant ladies who wear perfume without perfume, something that smells of tomorrow, do you understand me? Then the blind man would say: “It smells of the sea.” Stranger thing! I believed, or I imagined, that the noise of the sea was an enormous noise, and thus, one day, standing on the platforms of the car park, I said to him: “Is this the noise of the sea?” He got angry and replied: «The sea does not make noise, the sea has a voice. This is a noise that is caught with the hands. ” And on a certain occasion, while we were sitting in Recoletos, a child passed us by dragging a small wooden box on the sand. Said the blind man: «That is the voice of the sea. They are the last little waves on the beach. ” I did not realize at first, because you could hardly hear the noise of the drawer. And as I was amazed, thep. 249 blind added: “It is always this, but big.”

There was a pause.

“What do you know about Rosina?” Alberto asked without underlining the words.

—Pss. What everyone knows. What the newspapers say. That he is a star of the music halls and that he is all the rage in Paris, ”Teofilo replied, showing excessive indifference.

“I already knew that.” Didn’t the father tell you more?

“What I’ve told you.” At first Don Sabas, despite his reputation for miserliness, kept the blind man and kept him well. Then the daughter started sending him money. At last he ordered him to go to Asturias, where they would also take little Rosa Fernanda.

“And Rosina, has she never written to you?”

“Write to me! …” Teofilo exclaimed bitterly. He recovered quickly and added. What saint was I going to write to? I have spoken to her half a dozen words in my entire life.

“And that other friend of yours?” Wasn’t her name Santonja?

“I haven’t seen him in days.” It made me too sad. Poor Santonja! I also owe that one for having deeply understood some things; for example, that in life the most important thing is to be healthy, strong, robust. I seem to have told you that Santonja is deviated from the spine; he is a monstrous and unhappy being. If you add to this that he feels a true frenzy for life and for the love of women, as for things that are forbidden to him, you will realize his sufferings. Still, he is an extraordinarily sweet and kind man. I explain to myself many times that most Spaniards curse their parents. As children they teach us the doctrine and to fear God, and this poor mortal body, this mortal wreck, that breaks itp. 250a ray. At twenty-five we are old, and the slightest disappointment annihilates us. We are men without childhood and without youth, specters of men. Have you not observed when there is a large audience of Spaniards the extreme thinness of the majority? It will be said that it is because we eat little and badly. Partly it is true, but mainly it is because they did not take care of making us men when we were children.

“It’s an old thing.” Thinness is the aesthetic ideal of male beauty in Spain. I remember that the Andalusian Lozana does not find a better thing to say in praise of a young man than “what a dry and lean leg!”

“Our parents have condemned us from childhood to being miserable.” And let’s not talk about those who are born deformed, like that Santonja. Is there the right to let a being born deformed live? No no and no. Wasn’t there a Greek philosopher who advised killing sickly or monstrous creatures?

“Yes, Plato.”

“They will say he was a barbarian.” The barbarians are the ones who allow them to live.

They walked in silence. They were approaching the Athenaeum.

“It’s funny,” Teofilo observed, as if talking to himself. I have spent a few years pretending to be a great poet and devoted exclusively to poetry, and in all that time I produced about two dozen verses a year. One day I discover that art is a ridiculous deception, that it is a useless and hollow thing, as are all things in life, and in six badly counted months I produce more than in the previous several years and better, even if you say so. contrary.

“I’m not saying such.”

“Because, indeed, Alberto, why bother about anything?” Everything is useless, everything is useless.

They went up the stairs of the Athenaeum. Certain expressionp. 251Teofilo’s face, which was once circumstantial, had become a regular for six months. It was a childish and sympathetic gesture, and could be translated like this: «I forgive you for being the way you are. Forgive me that I am who I am, because the truth is that I am not to blame. “