Very bad sign for him

From the glances through which Angelón had directed Tejero as well as Guzmán himself, and his way of wandering restlessly with his neck somewhatp. 148 bent over, a very bad sign for him, Alberto had deduced that his great and great friend had something difficult to digest in his crop. As soon as Tejero left, Guzmán went to where Ríos was, to find out the reasons for his irritation, although it was not difficult to presume that the lack of money was to blame for everything.

In the cabinet there was, in addition to Angelón and Verónica, a young man between the ages of twenty and twenty-five, with a very open and malicious face, sly eyes and a cautious smile as if from derision. He dressed in the craftsmanship, pulling the gentleman.

“Good evening,” the waiter spoke.

“Hello, Apolinar.”

What was his name, Apolinar Murillo, by trade bookbinder, born in Ambassadors Street, a native of Madrid and a graduate doctor, if any, in how many rentoys, blemishes, socaliñas and artifices the picaresque of homelessness has. Angelón Ríos professed the enthusiastic assiduity of the wild boar to the tusked boar. He often came to Angelón’s house: he would say to him: “Give me the panoply here,” and Apolinar would present him with a writing message. Angelón wrote some letters that were as many sabersor requests for money, and Apollinaris later transferred them from the fencer’s right hand to the heart of his victims. But Apolinar already had personal aspirations, and since Spain seemed to him a country that had been greatly depleted and little on purpose to achieve anything of substance in it, he had begged his protector to find a passage for him to America, which Angelón obtained for free, and not only this, but also a rail pass from Madrid to Barcelona, ​​where he had to board. He was only a few days away from leaving Spain.

That morning Apolinar had dealt fourteen letters from Angelon; but the victims were armored victims and they did not drop a penny. He returned with such heartbreaking reports to a cafe where Ríosp. 149 he waited, and from the way he had received him, the waiter understood that his protector was with the water around his neck.

“Can you come in the afternoon at about five o’clock to this same cafe?”

-Natural.

“You’ll have to carry another two or four letters.” These are safe.

Against Angelón’s calculations and wishes, the result of the afternoon letters was like that of the others in the morning, null. He would return to the Apolinar café feeling very dazed and saying to himself: «Concho with Don Ángel! It must be happening but you will miss them. And he will be whatever you want, but for affections he goes by the name he bears like the roses themselves. And na, that maybe, today, the piri has not started. ” He was running in this vein, as he was heading to the cafe and sharpening his wits to find a means with which to come to Angelon’s aid, and in this way show gratitude for the favors received, when he happened to pass in front of a fishmonger. On some trestles, at the entrance to the tenducho, lay different fish and crustaceans, and in the most conspicuous of the shed up to half a dozen gigantic hakes.

The street was dark and unpopulated at that time. Between the fishmonger and the door was a group of cooks, their backs to the entrance. Apolinar grabbed a hake by the tail, pulled gently and seized it; He continued on the street without hurrying, then he got lost in the shadows of an alley, later he looked for a newsstand and there he wrapped the hake, and when he reached the cafe he stopped at the door and motioned for Angelón to come out.

—Well, Don Angel, the letter letters in the afternoon have had the same vagaries as in the morning. Not this. But how did I fallp. 150I pass, I go and I stop at my house. Well, my mother who is very grateful to you for the passage and others, because she had bought her a hake for you. I say: «mother, what a gift. You may have already thought of buying a box of cigars. ” It is true that as you do not smoke. It is a trifle.

“Thank you, Apolinar.” Thank your mother, ”Angelón grumbled and started walking followed by the young man with the hake, and that’s how they got home.

When Alberto entered the cabinet, the hake wrapper was on a red stuffed table.

-What’s that? Alberto asked.

“What do you care?” Said Angelon.

“But let’s see, what happens to you today?”

“What have you told Veronica?” Me working for you, and you meanwhile …

“But what did I say?”

“Let’s see if you’re going to fight over something silly,” Veronica interrupted. It refers to not having money, that you have discovered me. Don’t be silly, Angel; if it makes me atrocious grace …

-Bah! That was all? Don’t be a child. ”And turning to look at the hake:“ But what is that so oozing and so stinky?

“A hake given to me by Apolinar’s mother.” A hake … What do we do with a hake? Angelon spoke with visible ill humor.

“Eat it,” Veronica said.

“Or pawn it,” Apolinar said with a buzz.

-Hey? Angelon’s eyebrows tightened, he was brooding for a moment, and finally he let go of the cloth to laugh, with enormous jocundity. You said it. To pawn it. A hake is not a pledgeable asset; But why did God give me lip service and back room? Pawn it! How much will it weigh? He weighed her. At least eight kilos. How is the kilo of hake, Verónica?

p. 151

“Boy, I don’t know now.” It used to cost from five to six pesetas …

“Five times eight forty.” What do they give us half the price? Twenty pesetas. Be that as it may, in less than twenty we will not leave it.

“Why don’t you sell it at a fishmonger?” It’s for the best, ”Veronica advised.

“You take off there,” Apolinar said. The first thing that now will be closed.

“Pawn it!” Angelon yelled, and laughed out loud again. Apolinar and Verónica accompanied him.

Within half an hour Angelón and Apolinar were back. They brought different edible cold cuts, bread and wine, and they showed signs of much joy.

All four of them sat at the table, and between meals Ríos talked about, with a glimpse of laughter, the famous act of the pledge and how he had had a controversy with the lender about the expendable and non-expendable property and the legal nature of the pledge loan. In short, the hake had yielded sixteen pesetas. Veronica was very overjoyed.

“Well, if you go to America, Apolinar, hoping to find extraordinary things, good disappointment awaits you, son,” Angelón observed. Surely in America hakes are not pawned.

“When are you leaving?” Alberto asked.

“The ship’s departure is at eighteen.” But is that the case… ”Apolinar smiled apprehensively. It is the case that it has been going on for two years that a cunt, which is perhaps a collotype without ezsageración, has me raptured and if it falls or not it falls; but, meow, she says there is no reason why not lead her to the thalamus. And I, the truth, leave without getting the fruit of my two years’ work, it seems ugly to me. So we are in these, and time is running and we have to dispatch. It is called La Concha and it is serving with one that is called the Rop. 152sina. And as I say, the girl deserves anything. If you saw it …

“I know her, and I say like you do that she deserves anything.” Don’t be lazy and take advantage of it before leaving, ”Ríos admonished.

“Are you not ashamed to say such things?” Veronica spoke.

-Bah! Angelon exclaimed, raising his eyebrows extremely. And does she know you’re leaving?

“Come on, was I going to tell you?” Not even a pee. Now the subterfuge is to convince her that there is going to be a link.

“And you will be able.” How disgusting you are! Veronica commented angrily. What do you say, Alberto?

Alberto shrugged.

After lunch, another visitor appeared, Arsenio Bériz, a Levantine boy, the son of a family, who had come to Madrid to finish his studies in Philosophy and Letters; but having fallen into the Athenaeum and made some friendships with writers there, he had caught the literary virus and conceived great ambitions, so that, leaving textbooks forever, he spent his life leafing through novels and volumes of verses and rehearsing himself in the cultivation of all literary genres: criticism, novel, poetry, with great clarity and ease. He was dressed in mourning, and was always meticulously groomed. The health, youth and happiness that continually bathed his face made him attractive. His eyes, small and very penetrating, they were always flying over external things and they induced the memory of those light insects that stop nowhere and whose way of knowing is to stick the stinger for a second everywhere. He had no ideas in his head, but a swarm of small polychrome and buzzing sensations, which showed through the expression of his face, infusing it with extrap. 153ordinary and nice mobility. He made no secret that the essential motive for his conduct was the spirit of profit in the long run, and in any case the satisfaction of his own interest. He was a typical specimen of the man of the Mediterranean coast, and in dealing with people he adopted the Semitic norm of egalitarianism. He tutored anyone shortly after speaking to him, and he conducted himself with graceful self-confidence, even in front of people who were very respectable by age, dignity, government, or merit, who generally celebrated the youth’s carefreeness. Within a few months of being in Madrid, he entered and left the stages, ministries and newsrooms as in his own home, and a few minutes after he arrived at Angelón’s dining room, he spoke with him, Verónica and Apolinar as if they were his usual comrades of revelry. , and he had seen them that night for the first time. He did the same with Pilarcita, Verónica’s sister, and his mother, who arrived a quarter of an hour behind him.

The old woman came with a firm resolution to ask Angelón for money, and thus the old woman and the girl brought their guts on an empty stomach. Pilarcita rushed to snatch up the remains of food that were left on the table, and drank two glasses of wine, which immediately went up to light up her face and alindá her, and it was already very pretty; but she was somewhat anemic because of the lack of food and the critical age through which she was passing, and her color was usually sad and yellowish.

Bériz immediately applied to challenge the girl and get as close to her as she could, to which Pilarcita responded with many dengues and feigned disdain and fugitive glances, from which she clearly implied that she liked the young man.

Although harassed by hunger, the old woman did not know how to manage to ask for money, and so she took Veronica as an intermediary, and in an oversight,p. 154Sending her aside, he urged her to ask for it; Verónica, in turn, endorsed the assignment to Alberto, who willingly agreed to carry it out.

“After spending the meal I have only seven pesetas left,” Angelón replied.

“Then give it to him.”

“Right, what about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow, God will say; is your phrase from you.

“Take five and give them to him.”

Alberto transferred the five pesetas to Verónica’s hand and this to her mother’s. The old woman wanted to protest that pettiness, or at least take Veronica:

“Daughter, you are coming with me tonight, with any pretext, and thus, let me get jealous and let go of the fly.” Maybe you haven’t told him that we are in a hurry, because, watch out, you have an asaura that hangs on you, Veri. Nothing, you are coming with us today.

“Whoa!” It seems to me that you are here, mother.

“Why did he give you money and you spent it on rags or perfumes?”

“It’s not that way, mother.”

“Well, I can’t imagine a man like him.”

Verónica moved away from the old woman and went to place herself between Bériz and Pilarcita, interrupting their chatter, because she supposed that Alberto, even if he hid it, suffered at that juncture a resentment of jealousy.

There was a knock on the door, Angelón came out to open the door, and soon he appeared again accompanied by Juan Halconete, taking him by the arm. Halconete’s figure, the air, the plump and ruddy face had abbatial poise. She saluted, bowing in the doorways, blushing and smiling shyly, and then she advanced to Alberto and sat down next to him.

—I found Tejero in the street of Alcalá andp. 155He told me that you were somewhat ill. What is it?

-Nothing really.

-I’m glad. So a rally, huh? This Tejero is a man of great starts. Nothing less than going to save Spain. In truth, this young man puzzles me … For now, he is content with nothing less than exterminating all of us who are conservatives.

“You are not a conservative.”

“I am, and convinced.”

On Halconete’s face there was always a singular struggle between his mouth, which was too small, and a subtle smile that struggled, without giving up, to open and relax it; And this was so suggestive and paradoxical that it made one think of those little kids who lead a large dog tied with a string down the street, and the dog pulls on one side, the boy on the other and they walk in a swing that threatens to break the rope. When the rope broke, very from time to time, Halconete released, divided into several times or jumps, a dull laugh.

“You are not a conservative or you will soon tire of being one.” I will explain myself. I believe that all things, both of matter and of spirit, in the last analysis, are reduced to three terms or three dimensions. From here comes, without a doubt, the existence of a trinity in most religions and the assumption of the number three endowed with mystical virtues. Politics is the art of leading men. However; It can be believed, first, that man is fundamentally bad and has no remedy; second, that it is fundamentally good, and the bad are the times or the laws; third, that he is neither one nor the other, but a puppet, or rather, that he is stupid. As one of these three postulates is adopted, one is in politics, first, conservative; second, lip. 156beral, and third, upstart, as they now say. Of course, in Spain the political flock is made up almost exclusively of careerists, that is, men who judge others as fools and think only of prospering, whatever that may be. I also think that there are conservatives in good faith, and to these, logic imposes the stick and stick as the only instrument of government. I do not deny that there is one or another liberal; but they don’t mix in active politics, and that’s how the party goes. If we go from man in particular to the universe, the expression of which is art, one can believe that the world is bad, that the world is good, or that the world is foolish; that is, we have melodramatic art, tragic art, and humorous art. Well, I say, and forgive me for the frankness, that you cannot be a sincere conservative, as you cannot be a warper of melodramatic art, but,

Halconete and Alberto were in a corner of the dining room, elongated a distance from the rest of the people, so that they could not hear what they were talking about. When Alberto finished his discussion, Ríos, Bériz and Apolinar moved the table to one side, leaving the center of the room free. Halconete seemed to be watching the maneuver with great interest.

“Now let’s dance, girl!” Yelled Angelon, hitting a bottle with a knife.

Apolinar had sat in an unlikely attitude, with his rump tangent to the edge of the seat, and his buttocks advancing in the air, which did not seem to have a secure base of support, and he did even more, which was to lift one leg and support it by the ankle. on the other’s knee, straighten her torso as much as she could, bring her head back, clap her hands and clatter with her fingers, and begin to sing along loudly.

p. 157Pilarcita came out to the center of the room and began to perform a tango that the mother commented on with sighs, raised eyebrows and ecstatic elevation of the pupils.

“What a girl!” How it stitches! The old woman insinuated, turning to look at the participants, as if requesting some proof of approval, which all gave lavishly, except for Veronica and Halconete, who was a very quiet and timid man. But, despite his silence and circumspection, Halconete was, of all those gathered there, the one who received the most refined emotion watching Pilarcita dance.

Bériz was evidently reeling from the young woman’s work and grace, and she, dizzy with cheers and cheers, jumped, laughed, and frolicked here and there, and at last, returning to the center of the piece, she turned and turned on the tips of the legs. feet, until the skirts were unfolded in the air like a mushroom or parachute, so that they revealed the white shorts, and the legs, shod in black, very subtle, wonderful.

Alberto watched Halconete more than Pilarcita. There was Halconete with both hands resting on the hilt of the cane; the air of his person was more abatical than ever. He remembered those polished abbots of another time, learned in the Humanities and meticulous tasters of life and its most hidden pleasures. His eyes, between blue and violet, were, like Pliny’s acanthus, sweet and almost fluid, and now they were narrowing to look at Pilarcita with a gesture of extreme voluptuousness. Observing Halconete, Alberto came to realize that there was a fourth position in front of life, in addition to those that he had enumerated: one can believe that the world is bad, or that it is good, or that it is neither one nor the other. , but foolish, and you can also not worry about how it is, but simply about what it is, and because it is, enjoying its existencep. 158Tencia, feeling alive, decorating the present with the softest relishments, that is, becoming obsessed with time. This fourth position engenders a peculiar aesthetics and ethics and carries with it the feeling of a great tenderness for the elusive, fugitive, fragile and momentary, as of a great fondness for what time does not diminish, but rather exalts and improves it. ; In short, the taste of old friends, old books, old wines, three things that gain over the years, and beautiful teenagers, the most ephemeral on earth: the four tastes that have always been characteristic of the world. good epicurean.

“These chives!” Halconete exclaimed in a somewhat agitated accent. (Cendolilla, wench of poor judgment.)

New knocks on the door and the second appearance of Teófilo. He was livid.

“What a surprise … I could never imagine you coming back,” Alberto said.

Theophilus livid even more; he thought, It has already been discovered. And he stammered:

-Why?

“Because you’ve been here this afternoon …

After greeting those present, he called Alberto aside. I ask:

“What did Antón Tejero say?”

-About what?

“Don’t pretend, because I need to know as soon as possible.”

“Ah, now!” From the rally? Well, very good. We read your note and Tejero said that you came not even painted to occupy the speaker-poet’s box. Has the political tarantula bitten you too?

Teofilo thought: “This guy doesn’t know anything, because he can’t possibly be so slutty and sly.” He spoke aloud:

“Tell me, did Angelon arrive before Tejero had left?”

p. 159

-Yes; some time before. Why you ask? In case you found out about the rally?

“Right,” and he thought, Maybe he carried the owl.

“It’s late and I’m going with Pilarcita,” the old woman said, standing up.

“And I will accompany you to your house,” added Bériz.

They said goodbye. Bériz, just as he shook hands with Halconete, insinuated this forecast in a whispered voice:

“I benefit from the girl, God willing.”

Shortly after the old woman, the girl and the Levantine boy, Halconete also left, and Apolinar. Later Angelón and Verónica came out to take the air and Teófilo and Alberto were left alone. He spoke this:

“I’m tired, Teofilo.” I’m going to my bedroom and I’ll be in bed in a few minutes. Don’t think I’m saying it because you go away; is that I do not feel good at all.

“I have to go too, in a few minutes, so I asked you a question.” Teofilo’s question concerned the tailor.

Alberto started walking towards his bedroom; Teofilo followed him.

On the bedside table was a portrait of a woman, leaning against the wall, and higher up a handwritten paper, pinned down.

-Is your girlfriend?

-Yes.

-She is pretty. What does this paper say?

—They are Goethe’s words, translated as follows: ‘Every day you should at least hear a little song, read a good piece of poetry, see a good painting and, if possible, say a few reasonable words.’

“So as not to lose the day, of course.”

p. 160″According to Goethe.”

Teófilo gathered himself to remember:

“Well, I haven’t wasted the day.” All that I did and something else.

“I didn’t do any of that.”

Teófilo approached the piece of paper:

“Well, there is still more here: ‘Day without having laughed, day wasted'” Theophilus did to remember again. If that were true, which it is not, I have lost the day, and even weeks and months …

“What was the question you wanted to ask me?”

Teófilo referred to the adventure with the tailor, modifying of course the number of pesetas, which he said he received from a rich countryman of his and admirer whom he had happened to run into in the street, and, finally, his fears that the ladino alfayate he will keep the saint and the alms.

“Don’t worry about it, Teofilo.” If I go out tomorrow I’ll go see him and talk to him. If not tomorrow, the first day I leave. Do not hurry.

Teófilo retired and Alberto finally found himself alone, crossed his arms, in front of an inanimate and gray portrait, a sad transcript of a youth that there in the North, between mist and silence, was consumed without fruit, as was his own. it was gradually wasting away.