Veronica was startled when she saw that stream of unknown men enter through the door of her room

But Alberto’s presence encouraged her. She responded to praise and praise by laughing without fee, with her transparent boyish laugh, and she walked from one place to another without stopping a point, uneasy with nerves.

p. 201″Well, gentlemen; That I have passed a funk that already, already … It was a silly thing of this crazy man – pointing to Alberto -, who insisted that he had to dance. Then I was so sorry that I said yes. But if the funny thing is that I don’t know how to dance: I dance what I can do well.

Alcázar and Alba, both famous painters, asked to make oil portraits of him.

“Portraits of me … and in color?” Remove there … If I look like an olive. But if you insist … This is the one who paints like roses, he is very skilled —by Guzmán.

Travesedo leaned out the door and called Alberto.

-What’s happening to you? Guzman asked, already in the hall.

—That I’m afraid the party will spoil us. And be careful that everything is going well. Have you seen that girl’s success? Now, with him riding in the clouds and wanting to upload the contract …

-I don `t believe.

—This time, and it’s the first time, a business is going to be good for me. Do not imagine that I will win a big thing. Jovino pays me fifty dollars a month; then twenty-five percent of the profits. I willingly renounce this, and I am satisfied that what is eaten goes by what is served. The point is that the fifty dollars roll until next spring. But, that Jovino … In my life I have seen a man like him. Do you think he doesn’t give a damn about the circus business? Not this. Just think about gambling your money in casinos and chirlatas. But I wanted to tell you about the conflict. You already know that Íñigo and Monte-Valdés cannot be seen. She is a really scandalous woman and not lip service, like the poor Italian, and she has a desire for the lame … Well, nothing, she has found out that she is here in the rooms, and Angelón, who has been talking top. 202she has come to tell me that she is going to wait for him and pull his beard, and what do I know. Go figure.

“Don’t pay any attention.” He will not do anything because he is very afraid of him.

“That, fear?”

“Yes, man.”

“You don’t reassure me.”

“And what do you want me to do?”

“May you take it downstairs under any pretext.”

“Not even a child.”

“By God I ask you.” Look if the show is twisted now, in the third part, which is the sensation … There is a huge anxiety to see Rosina; Marble told me; by the way, it came from Pilares, did you know?

“Yes, I’ve already seen it.”

“The minister has bought half a general ticket and they are going to give Rosina a standing ovation … Then Princess Tamará.” I think he appears almost on the ball … If we go out well today, the season is assured. For what you love more, take Monte-Valdés downstairs.

-I will do what i can.

When Alberto entered Verónica’s room again, Monte-Valdés was speaking eloquently about the dance, and the dancer listened to him enraptured. The eloquence of the man of letters was so tight and fluent that Alberto could not find a situation where he could cut it off and then precipitate the farewell.

The bells rang for the third part. Monte-Valdés continued speaking, and the rest of the meeting followed his pleasant talk with interest. After a while, and when the echoes of the orchestra could be heard, Alberto considered that there was no danger and got up.

“Gentlemen, the third part has just begun.” Do you think we should go?

p. 203-It’s possible? I have not heard the bells. Well yes, the orchestra is playing. Let’s go. They say that Antigone is a very beautiful woman.

They all got up.

“Are you leaving already?” Said Verónica to Monte-Valdes. I like to hear you so much … Let these gentlemen go and stay with me.

“Woman, don’t be selfish,” Alberto admonished.

“Or else,” Veronica began to skip, “if these gentlemen don’t agree, you can come with me to the stage and keep talking, and at the same time backstage you see everything.”

“That’s impossible, Veronica,” Alberto cut back.

-Why? You also come with us. If it is a lot of fun to be behind the scenes. I do not say anything to these gentlemen because I do not know if so many people will consent.

Verónica led Monte-Valdés and Alberto to the second box on the stage, precisely where Íñigo was waiting for the exit from one moment to the next. Monte-Valdés, with pompous disdain, pretended to ignore the presence of his enemy, who began to agitate nervously, to throw evil glances at the writer and to smile maliciously. Alberto was calm, because in such a place and occasion a conflagration was unlikely. It was Íñigo’s turn to go on stage. The music attacked a jacarandoso parade. The cupletista, who wore a bullfighter’s cape and hat, lit a cigarette, tied the cape to her hips and belly, which was excessively bulging, and did a brief, obscene and swift cadereo, as if testing her faculties; propaedeutic or introduction of choreographic art, similar to that of the singer who clears his throat and scrapes his gañote before leaving for peteneras. Íñigo took two steps towards the scene, and already on the edge of the backstage, she foreshortened her torso in a torn and hostile attitude, looked throughp. 204and from top to bottom the writer vomited an indecorous offense in his face and fled to appear before the public, moving his rear in disorder as he went. Monte-Valdés, with perfect naturalness, also came on stage in pursuit of Íñigo, and when he was close to her, supporting himself on the wooden leg by a miracle of balance, he applied such an outrageous kick to her buttocks with his entire leg that her woman fell face down on the boards. There were a few minutes of general stupor and deep silence. Then the scandal broke out with terrifying characters, and the confusion of whining, bellowing, kicking, cursing, laughing, coming and going and running of people threatened to ruin the circus. Above the general din swam the exasperated voice of Monte-Valdes.

“As I have so much modesty for fights! …

The storm surge calmed down sooner than was to be expected, and the audience, very overjoyed after that off-program number, was now demanding the continuation of the show. Fortunately, Princess Tamará was ready and at her point, and went out to dance some oriental dances, after a servant announced to the respectable that Miss Íñigo was unable to continue her work because she had been unexpectedly attacked by a slight indisposition.

The indisposition consisted of a turbulent patatus. Six men had carried her kicking and foaming at the mouth into the management room.

Some friends of Monte-Valdés and some who were not, including the police commissioner, had come to the scene. Among the first to go up was Don Bernabé Barajas, accompanied by his graceful friend, whom he did not lose sight of for a moment, for fear that he might get lost. Don Bernabé went from here to there, scrutinizing the origins of the conflictp. 205 With feminine curiosity, to see what the fuss was about, when in one of these he missed the young friend, and then, losing all interest in the rest of human things, he devoted himself to recovering his companion.

“Have you seen Fernandito?” He inquired everywhere with desolate lament.

But nobody listened to him. Fernando had climbed the stairs that lead to the artists’ rooms and was snooping around in search of some pretty woman to ask for. At the address door there was a whirlwind of onlookers; the rest of the corridor was lonely. One could see an open door and on the square of light stood out, at the angle, the graceful figure of a woman.

It was Rosina, who was waiting for Conchita with news of what had happened.

Fernando approached the woman with dissimulation and as if walking, to see her more closely. She must be a hell of a cunt, he thought, and he was getting closer to laziness. He could not make out his face well, because he was between two conflicting lights, but he observed with surprise that he was holding both hands to his heart, that he was leaning on one of the jambs, that he straightened up again, and he heard him say in a faint voice:


Fernando saved with a jump the three meters that separated him from the woman, who, having him close to her, took him by the hand and led him into the room, then closing the door.

“Fernando!” The woman sighed again. She was deathly pale. Don’t you know me already?

The waiter had caught the pallor and emotion of his unknown companion. He felt the painful anguish of a memory, of which he was completely saturated and with whose expression he was not right. It wasp. 206as if they were stirring his insides and pulling out what was deeper and farther to put it on the surface and in the light. Suddenly he embraced the woman with manly strength and roared more than he said:


Rosina, squeezed against Fernando’s powerful chest and unable to breathe, partly because of the pressure of the man and partly because of the confused outburst that tormented her chest, raising her eyes, as if with them she was drinking his, encouraged with thin breath and accent between tender and proud:

—We have a daughter: Rosa Fernanda.

Suddenly he shook himself from getting rid of Fernando and said hastily:

-When we will meet? Everything has to be fixed right away. You are no longer separated from me. Go immediately to the corner of Calle del Barquillo and Alcalá. I’ll come by in two minutes and you’ll get in my car. Right away, right away. Go now, someone is coming.

They kissed and Fernando left. Rosina did not have the strength to stand up and fell limp on the small couch. Conchita was alarmed upon entering.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing, Conchita.” Give me the coat. I feel very bad and go home.

“And the debut?”

“Am I not telling you that I am very bad?” Come with me to the car, nothing more than to the car; later I don’t need you anymore. You can spend the night with Apolinar, if you want. Tell Travesedo that I have become very bad, very bad and that I can’t sing.

In favor of the disorder and daze that still lasted, as a result of the incident caused by Monte-Valdés, Rosina and her maid were able to leave the theater without anyone stopping to lie about it. Conchita was thinking: «New trouble. And now he’s fat. Whatp. 207disgusted with life! God help us, God help us! Virgin of the Dove! ” Tenderness crept into her, and before Rosina got into the car, she rushed to kiss her, crying.

“If you only knew, Conchita … Hey, bye.”

“Bye, miss, bye, bye, bye.”

Conchita returned to the address, where Íñigo, surrounded by caring people who were giving her precordial massages on her naked breast, was beginning to regain consciousness. Travesedo and Alberto watched the operation. Conchita told Travesedo what was happening. Alberto saw that Travesedo’s face, usually eburoy and lymphatic, was flushed and his eyes were injected with blood.

-What’s happening to you? He asked solicitously.

—Nothing, Bertuco; a whopping. That Rosina has gone home, very ill from a sudden illness. And now, who tells the public, after the Monte-Valdés scandal? Didn’t I tell you? My fate is blacker than my beard — and he stroked them savagely.

The omission of the Antígona number led to such an angry protest that the police had to intervene and force the Company to return the amount of the tickets, with which Travesedo’s desperation reached terms that he was about to peel his beard, and if not He succeeded because he had them as ingrained as his bad luck.

And the tail was still to be flayed. And it was, that when Travesedo ascended to the leadership, bent under the grief of his misfortune, the Countess Beniamina descended, shallow but beautifully dressed in a tunic, no lower than half the thigh and no higher than half the breast; those funeral flowers that had caused him so much anger, caught in an armfull; the monkey on one shoulder and a seraphic smile on his lips. His number must be the last;p. 208great show number. It consisted of a luminous globe in whose basket the Countess was singing and throwing flowers and that through the theater, with the lights out, advanced and made strange evolutions by means of ingenious artifice.

-Where are you going? Travesedo asked harshly.

-Where to? To the stage box.

“Well, you better go somewhere else,” Travesedo added an unkind phrase.


“What you heard.” That the show is over.

“And the pallone?”

“The pallone?” This time his phrase was even less gentle.

When, after half an hour, Travesedo left the ill-fated circus, his gloomy fate had been complicated by another bloody one, because from the root of his beard to very close to his eyes a network of purplish scratches was carving his cheeks, the work of the harmless countess ; The one that, according to Travesedo himself, was scandalous only lip service.