That is an infamy, a slander, an intrigue

Dona Juana Trallero, widow of Pajares, or Dona Juanita, as her pupils used to call her, received the news suddenly that Teófilo had been imprisoned. This lady was serving breakfast to a clerk of the Treasury, a new guest and early riser due to his bureaucratic needs, who, while having breakfast, had the habit of momentarily getting in touch with the world universe through telegrams from the morning press. , when Mondragón, that this was the name of the host, exclaimed:

“What nonsense!”

“What’s the stupid thing to do?” Asked Dona Juanita.

—A bomb in Madrid and your son imprisoned.

“You haven’t woken up yet, Mr. Mondragon.” Aristotles said that an ox flew, some say yes, I say no. And if you have said it out of grace, know that such grace is not to my taste. My son is my son and he is very high so that nobody touches him.

“There is no grace, Dona Juanita, but the plain truth.”

And Mondragon read the telegram. Dona Juanita was unmoved.

“That is an infamy, a slander, an intrigue,” he said, gradually belittling the scope of the event, “a mess hatched by the many envious Teofilo has.”

That same day, Dona Juanita fixed a bundle of clothes, and leaving the guest house under the tutelage of a trusted friend, she went out in third gear top. 285 Madrid very resolute in its start, determined to present itself, if necessary, to the Minister of Grace and Justice and call him an imbecile, and sure of releasing Teófilo after a few hours. He arrived at Antonia’s house at eight in the morning. He had to shake the bell several times, because the inhabitants were not very diligent people, except for the Teuton, who was taking his usual morning shower in the kitchen at that very moment. This German, industrious and subtle, as they are all famous, had made up for the lack of a bathroom with the sewage of washing dishes. The companions had offered him the tubthey used, but the Teuton had rejected it. He preferred to climb on top of the sewer basin and there he crouched down and released the stream on the plump backs. On the day that the voluminous Blanca by chance discovered such neat ingenuity and brought it to the attention of the rest of the guests, an afflictive punishment of flogging was about to be decreed in the house for the neat Teuton. The conflict with the offender’s promise not to repeat the offense has been resolved. But the truth is that when everyone slept soundly, the Teuton went, day by day, to turn the abañal into a cradle of hydraulic delights. That day, as the bell rang loudly, the German, fearful that someone would wake up and surprise him, went to open the door just as it was, and he was as his mother had given birth to him; but a little more tall and shaped.

Doña Juanita, seeing that huge man before her, in living flesh, crossed herself and gave a cry of distress.

—Joasús! This was a very frequent exclamation on the Teuton’s lips. Ustet was wrong.

-Yes sir; I must have been wrong. Excuse me, ”Dona Juanita stammered, averting her eyes from that smooth, milky nakedness with horror.

Footsteps were heard. The Teuton fled to take refugep. 286She was in her bedroom and Dona Juanita’s jaw dropped, thinking: “My son will be capable of anything if he has lived in this damned house.” Travesedo was coming down the hall, grumbling bad words and highway vows.

“What comes to you, ma’am?” Travesedo asked, softening at the sight of an old woman in mourning in a cloak.

“Is this the house of a Mrs. Antonia? …

-Yes ma’am.

“I am Teofilo’s mother.”

Travesedo gave up his compliments, made the old woman go to a little cabinet, asked her a thousand pardons for the strange reception they had given her – Travesedo did not yet know the Teuton’s set -, woke up the women, urged them to prepare as soon as possible A breakfast, and he tried with all the subtlety he knew how to downplay Teofilo’s prison, although he did not have them all with him.

“Oh, what a fright I was, sir …!”


“Mr. Travesedo.” I thought I was wrong.

“Yes, the thing is absurd.” And how did you know?

-How? Seeing him.

“In some newspaper.”

“At the same door.” I mean now, when that naked man came out to open the door for me.

-The Virgin Mary! Travesedo exclaimed. The Teuton for sure.

“I can’t say that.”

“He is a guest of the house.” We call him Teutonic because he is German.

“And are they Protestants in those lands?”

-Yes ma’am.

“Then it is explained.”

“You have to excuse him.” He’s stunned, and he couldn’t figure …

p. 287″Look, you need a rejo … In pure hides, sir …”


Doña Juanita stayed to live in the house and Travesedo’s efforts began to make life pleasant for the old woman. The first thing that occurred to him was to prevent Teófilo’s mother from becoming suspicious about Lolita’s social condition. They made her pass as a well-off and orphan young lady, to which the prostitute was very good-natured. Travesedo gave him lengthy instructions, inculcating them with threats; that he should not say ugly ends to the table, that he combed his hair and washed before eating, that when he came in the morning he did it quietly, and that if he came back when the lady was up, say that he was coming from mass. The far-sighted Travesedo went to everything, ordering her to be expelled at the slightest slip.

Dona Juanita was a septuagenarian woman (Teófilo had had him, as the only begotten and serondo fruit, at the age of thirty-five), of excellent stature, no less skinny than her son and more aquiline than him, extremely wrinkled, her eyes alive , graying hair, bald behind the ears. She was preserved with the vigor of her first youth, agile and active, that she could not see anyone working without her lending a hand. Chatty to a fair degree, but very quaint and clean of diction. Open and not at all scary, the first day she arrived, during the meal, she had already won everyone’s hearts. As she presumed, the Teofilo thing ended well in a few hours, thanks, above all, to the influence of Don Sabas Sicilia. And as the presumed anarchist had predicted when they took him prisoner, the brief seclusion was the best thing that could have happened to him. It served him, notably, to make his name roll in the newspapers with a new emotion; to give him prep. 288text for him to write a statement in the press, which came out very noble and noble in tone; to attract the sympathy of the radicals, due to the nature of the crime he was accused of, and of the conservatives for having proven his innocence, and, finally, so that Roldán and Pérez de Toledo would hasten to rehearse their drama Open Sky and to release it as soon as possible, taking advantage of the fortuitous popularity of the author.

So he was released, as if the company of his mother angered or inhibited him, induced her to return to Valladolid; but Dona Juanita refused, because she wanted to witness the premiere of the drama. He treated his mother with detachment, behind which, at times, a certain latent hostility loomed. The old woman had to sympathize with Travesedo, who tried to console her as best he could.

“Ma’am, those are the cons of having a son who is a great man.” The artists are concentrated, capricious, incomprehensible. They don’t seem to care about anyone; but it is not necessary to trust in the appearances. Artist and man with fiery feelings are all one. An artist always has the modesty of his affections. They worship, and they would die before declaring it, except through artistic work.

-Yes; It must be what you say, but it makes me suffer.

Travesedo took Teófilo on his own and said:

“You are an acorn animal.” You have your mother, who is a saint, hurt and sad by the way you treat her. You must be ashamed of yourself. You are a savage, and your pride is ridiculous.

Teofilo answered grim:

“Pride! … Sometimes you pay yourself to be insightful;” but you go overboard. Do you think we owe recognition to our mothers for having given birth to us? I don’t know about you. What am I …

p. 289-You’re an Idiot. I laugh at your verses …

Verónica was very nice to Doña Juanita from the point where they met. But when the old woman knew that she was a dancer, and much to the liking of the public, she twisted her nose and frowned. He wanted to see him dance one night, and after having seen her, on the first occasion he formulated his judgment thus:

—My daughter, I always say what I think, frankly. I’ve seen you dance the night before last, and the truth is, those belly movements don’t seem like a decent thing to me. As you inspire me dear, I feel sorry for you, because I guess it will end badly.

Veronica replied that it was the only decent way she had to earn a living.

“If you call that decorous …”

In vain those present came to defend the legality and honesty of Verónica’s dances; Dona Juanita insisted that any exercise in which the belly takes too much part, and this is the most important, cannot be lawful or honest. Teofilo intervened with aggressive intonation:

“What if I told you, mother, that dances like those and worse in the Middle Ages were danced in our cathedrals?”

-It just can not be. Pinions!…

“What do you know about that?”

—I know what natural reason says, and in matters of conscience that do not come to me with Aristotiles or the wise men of Greece.

Doña Juanita wanted to take advantage of her stay at court to see everything. Lolita had offered to accompany her, but Travesedo objected. This mission was entrusted to Amparito, who was very fond of wandering around. In Valladolid, doña Juanita was always a recluse at home, chained by the hospitality business and never went out, except for the two.p. 290matinada mingos, to mass. He had never been to a movie theater. When she saw him for the first time in Madrid, she was bewitched and confused.

-Oh my God! To a tape that played the maneuvers of a squad of spearmen. Pinions! But how can so many people fit into that tiny little scene?

Neither she understood herself nor Amparito could understand what the old woman meant.

“This must be a thing of spell and witchcraft.” I am not very calm, Amparito, and I believe that the confessor should be consulted.

—Quite you there, if it’s very simple. Like the boys’ magic lanterns.

—You are very young and innocent and you do not realize the snares that the devil tends everywhere. This Madrid is a corrupted Babylon. Where will you go to live as soon as you get married?

“I think Cuenca.”

-I’m glad. Anywhere better than in Madrid, innocent tortolica. Because, what is there in Madrid that is worthwhile? They will say that the one of the lordship and rancid nobility. You should not mix with nobles, and if it is because of the manor, I tell you, as an old and experienced person, that the town is a truer manor than this one in Madrid, where if you stop to talk you will see that everything it goes in bambolla. If not, pay attention to what is closest to you: I mean, that poor Dona Lolita. It is for the first time, hijica, that I meet a young lady who cannot read. When has that been seen in Valladolid? And let’s not talk about toilet. You will have observed, as I have, that she is quite lazy. I have mercy for me who walks as is. It is true that you have a Saint Anthony and other religious images in your room, and that one day very early in the morning he was already coming from church; but it has not been hidden from me that the lastp. 291Sunday he did not go to mass. What a derangement of customs! I see you are laughing at me, rascal. Old man’s words do not move too young ears.

Before the premiere of Teófilo, doña Juanita had the opportunity to witness another, at the Spanish theater. Alberto bought three amphitheater forwards for the old woman, Amparito and Verónica, who, thanks to some improvements that were being made at the time in the little theater where she was hired, was enjoying a few days off. A tragedy was staged , entitled Hermiona, written by Don Sixto Díaz Torcaz, the old patriarch of Castilian literature, more accomplished than in years, with being a lot, in works, and no less fresh of heart than eminent in age and virtues. His name inspired a veneration without schism; but his genius still surpassed his fame, and behind it was hidden, as happens when one is at the root of a mountain range, that a nearby hillock hides, like a green gate, the enormous and meditative council of the ancient mountains, with gray temples. It had been about three years since Don Sixto, as he was usually called with an accent between religious and family, had been attached to militant politics and the cause of the Republic. Make sure before the premiere that Hermiona, under his musical and winged name, like a dress of wind and harmony, he concealed another more sour and provocative music: a chinchín of street brass band, purposely to disturb the brains of the populace and drive them into frenzy. Said clearer: murmurábase that Hermiona was a badge of mutiny or incitement rather than revolutionary work of art. Public order disturbances had been announced. The theater was full of republican coribantes and secret police. Although the spirits were vibrating to the flaming red and the hearts were wearing the Phrygian cap, the appearance of the theater was above all caliginous and funeral, as it happens in any great city hall.p. 292of single men, dressed in the modern style, since there were no other female beings in the seats than Mrs. Rinconete, Mrs. Coterilla and a few more, females belonging to the demos.whose conscientious citizen husbands had led them to the premiere for making a resounding statement of civic worth. After the first act, that great contest of uprising and devastating souls could not hide the disenchantment suffered, as if the only victims of the tragedy were themselves. They had come to the theater basking in anticipation, hoping to build a brown butt and indulge themselves with the succulent slop of a few boiling and steaming perorations, of the kind used at popular rallies. But the tragedy was not a rotten pot, where each person could put the wooden spoon at their will, but a true tragedy, of great austerity of form, and the bottom saturated with a grief as a gravitation of the eternally human and painful,can .

At the end of the performance, there were great cheers, applause, cheers and congratulations for the old master, whose name, after all, was far above the circumstantial judgment formulated on the occasion of a simple play. But the audience was disappointed, complaining compassionately and with sad eyebrows raised that Don Sixto lost the baton with age.

They were at the foot of the stairs, waiting for the three women, Travesedo, Teófilo, and Alberto.

“Good disappointment!” Travesedo sighed in dismay. I thought we were going to have a new Sicilian vespers, and deaths, devastation and fierce evils, and everything has been resolved in a neat tincture of opium. Because you will agree with me that thep. 293 testament of an old blessed is little pretext for four interminable acts.

“Your objection, dear Eduardo,” Alberto intervened, “is similar to that of that German who, after reading Othello, could not think of another observation but to say:” This Othello is stupid. Well, to move so much trouble over a thing as simple as losing a handkerchief … »Such are the nonsense that I have heard said in the intermissions, even from subjects that I consider sensitive and intelligent, that I almost venture to assure that today there have been more than two people in the theater who have understood the tragedy.

“Who is the other one?” Travesedo asked, with fond irony.

“First, who’s one?” Teofilo cut in.

“Who is it, fool?” Himself, ”Travesedo said. Who is the other, then?


In this, Dona Juanita, Verónica and Amparito appeared at the top of the lower flight of the stairs. Verónica, addressing Alberto exclusively, began to speak:

“I’m coming like crazy, boy.” Do you remember that afternoon when you read me a drama that was written in French or Latin? Well, I felt the same today. Nothing, there were moments when I thought I was going crazy, because it is what if you put yourself in their case, each of the characters is right that it comes out of the tip of the crown. And that one cannot fix it to everyone’s liking … Of course, it is one thing for everyone to be right in their internal vein, and another thing than being as they are, because it cannot be otherwise, it turns out that Mrs. Paca It does a lot of harm to others, and for this reason I am glad that Hermiona, with many … pine nuts, as Dona Juanita says, has given the damn old woman the lace.

p. 294They all went out into the street. Veronica continued speaking.

“I have thought so many times about that drama! … It has occurred to me that if Yago (so you can see if even the names stayed with me), happened to attend the theater one day and saw the drama performed, and from the outside he saw himself, he wasn’t doing what he did again, what do you think? Well, tired? Well, stay with God.

The three women walked in front, the three men behind. They headed for a chocolate shop.

“Dona Verónica has already given us a lesson in aesthetics,” Teofilo murmured sarcastically.

“I think so, Teófilo,” Guzmán replied. That catharsis or purification and cleaning of all spiritual superfluity that the spectator of a tragedy suffers, according to Aristotle …

“Don’t let my mother hear you, because she has a monopoly on Aristotiles.”

—I say that that catharsis is no more, if you look at it, that preparatory act of the heart to receive with dignity the advent of two great virtues, of the two greatest virtues, and I am about to say that the only ones.

“They are to know.”

“Tolerance and justice.”

“Let’s see how.”

—These two virtues are not felt, therefore, they are not transmitted, unless the creator of the artistic work possesses together a lyrical spirit and a dramatic spirit, which, fused, form the tragic spirit. The lyrical spirit is equivalent to the capacity for subjectivation; that is, to live on their own and entirely, with blind abandonment of oneself and generous fullness, each and every one of the lives of others. To the greater or lesser extent that you have this gift, you are more or less tolerant. The highest possession would be the highest tolerance. God only possesses it to such a degree that inp. 295he live all creatures. The dramatic spirit, on the other hand, is the capacity for impersonality, that is, the mutilation of any inclination, sympathy or preference for a being or an idea in front of others, but they must be left yoked to the very law of their development. That they, with strong independence, collide, fight, conflagrate, so that as soon as the conflict has been resolved it is clearly seen which beings and ideas were useful to the most and which were harmful. The field of action of the lyrical spirit is man; that of the dramatic spirit is humanity. And from the resolution of these two spirits, which seem antithetical, tragedy arises. When the playwright invents lovable characters and hateful characters, and conforms to this initial artifice concocts an action, the result is a melodrama. Of course, melodrama also exists in the novel, in philosophy, in politics, even in painting and music, in everything that is life arbitrarily simulated by man, but never in real life. In Spain we are absolutists; the word tolerance is an empty word and only very recently has the lyrical spirit begun to flourish.

“You are the most terrible weaver of sophistry.” I don’t know anyone who has an advantage over you, other than Don Sabas, ”declared Teófilo, whose drama was built on sympathetic characters and unpleasant characters, because he thought, and not without reason, that this was the only path to economic and literary success. .

-Do not compare.

“But I don’t like to argue using voices and concepts of smoke,” Teofilo added, taking his hands out of his trouser pockets and working with vehemence. I always put the concrete case, the pulsating example, of flesh and blood, of pain and tears. Here it is. A poet falls in love with all his powers and senses with a woman who pretends to bep. 296respond to him with no less ardor. All the past, present and future life of this man is resumed and incarnated in that woman. Well, overnight, the woman leaves him. The poet, as is supposed, is not a strong, strong, muscular, brutal man, since it would be absurd to conceive that a person endowed with extreme sensitivity and whom the slightest palpitation of the external world disturbs, exalts or depresses, is a brave and perfect exemplary of the human race in regard to the material part. No, quite the opposite; I take it for granted, for the purposes of my thesis, that this man is all spirit, nothing but spirit. And the woman, unexpectedly, flees from him in the company of a puppeteer, a man all matter, clumsiness and instinct. This is a drama, if there are dramas in the world. However; this poet, not out of pride or love of art, because after having seen his life ruined, he is given a damn for boasting and art, but out of overwhelming need of the soul, because art becomes a liberation, he begins to write his drama. According to you, he has to present the types of the perfidious woman and the brutal puppeteer in such a way that all women and all men think: “I would have done the same in their case.”


—And the poet, who was to symbolize the noblest and highest in life, be struck by lightning. It would be good! … “Teofilo exclaimed, smiling sourly. Well, I believe, on the contrary, that art is characterization, synthesis, and that the good, through the work of art, appear better, and the bad appear worse.

—Suppose for a moment that this perfidious woman has as much literary talent as the poet and that it occurs to her to write the same drama. It would be a different drama, right?

p. 297-Of course.

“And yet it is the same drama.”

“Another sophistry.” It is as if you put twenty painters around a model. They all paint the same and each painting is different, because the points of view have been different.

—No, because the painter limits himself to painting what he sees and how he sees it. Another thing would be if the one who paints the figure from the back, to complete it, adds the same figure from the front, imagined or in caricature. It is clear to me that every dramatic author who deserves such a name, before starting to write a play, must make this consideration: «Suppose that my characters attend as spectators the representation of the play in which they intervene, would they make their signature conscientious? at the bottom of the respective papers, as the witnesses of a good faith process at the bottom of their reports? ” All the rest is not dramatic art, but hoax, hooliganism, fecal bombs, immorality and stupidity.

“The poetic drama would always remain,” Teofilo pointed out, without hiding a certain expression of anger and disdain.

“When I said fecal bombs, dear Teofilo, I was referring to the poetic drama to which you refer.” And now we are going to have chocolate.