A Diplomat

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A Diplomat is a short story by Emilia Pardo Bazán, who in addition to being a writer had an important political activity as a counselor of Public Instruction and as a feminist activist.

The waitress came in, silver tray in hand, and presented the Duchess with the mail. There were in it French newspapers, Illustrations tucked into her fine silk nightgown, two or three letters of satin envelope and heraldic timbre, and, scruffy note at that concert, yet another letter, closed with itself, sealed with green wafers, watered with thick grit the overwritten.
Perhaps the very strangeness that caused him to see such a crude missive moved the Duchess to lay his hand, putting her before the others; But no sooner had he laid eyes on her, when he said festively:
“If it’s for the mistress… Let him come, he has a letter from his parents.
The waitress was already leaving, and the Duchess added with great interest:
“Bring the little girl… Let him bring her warm; Today is a cool day.
It took a few minutes to wiggle the cream brocade curtain on a blue background and to hear a tlin… Tlin… Before the burly mistress’s person appeared, the Duchess smiled at a pale little hand, Hoyosilla: a ten-month-old little hand wielding a silver rattle.
“Come, angel shark…, to mom…, a thousand kisses!
“Mmiií,” chirped the creature, feeling eagerly the turquoise and brilliant medallion that shone on the black velvet robe of the lady, while her caresses, like sweet flies, rested on her neck, forehead and eyes.
“She’s discolored, she loves…, she’s dark… How did she sleep?” What does miss say?
“Miss says…, that is, she doesn’t say anything…; Alas!, yes, he says that also there in his land the children, when they walk with teeth …, you see ucencia …, they rage at God and get smirriaditos.
The Duchess raised her shoulders slightly, as if to indicate: “Good couple of notes are you and miss.” And speaking to herself, she murmured:
—Sánchez del Abrojo should not delay… Ah! —he pronounced already in a louder voice—, love, here is a letter from your house…
Instead of rejoicing, the countenance of the mistress, dark, toasted and tough, like the bread muffins of his country, darkened.
“And what will he say there, ucencia! He sighed without reaching out to take the epistle. They never write for good.

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