Things that were

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Hardcover ISBN: 9788498973136
Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788496290556

SKU: 9788498971712 Category: Tags: ,

Throughout 1855 Pedro Antonio de Alarcón published in the Madrid press famous articles, such as “La Noche-Buena del poeta”, “El pañuelo”, “Lo que se ve con un anteojo”, “La fea”, “Cartas a mis muertos”…, gathered in 1871 with the generic name Cosas que fueon. Things that were is a picture of customs of nineteenth-century Spain.

The poet’s Christmas Eve

In a beautiful corner
From Andalusia
There is a smiling valley…
God bless you!
That in that valley
I have friends, loves,
Siblings, parents.
(From The Whip.)

Many years ago (as if I was seven!) when, at dusk of a winter day, and after praying the three Hail Marys at the sound of prayers, my father said to me in a solemn voice:
—Peter: today you will not go to bed at the same time as the chickens: you are already grown up and you must have dinner with your parents and your older brothers. Tonight is Christmas Eve.
I will never forget the joy with which I heard such words.
I would go to bed late!
I looked at those of my brothers who were younger than me, and I began to discuss how to tell in school, after Three Kings Day, that first adventure, that first skull, that first dissipation of my life.

They were already the Souls, as they say in my town.
In my village: ninety leagues from Madrid: a thousand leagues from the world: in a fold of Sierra Nevada!
I still seem to see you, parents and siblings!
A huge trunk of holm oak sizzled in the middle of the hearth: the black and wide bell of the fireplace sheltered us: in the corners were my two grandmothers, who that night stayed in our house to preside over the family ceremony; Then there were my parents, then we, and among us, the servants…
Because at that party we all represented the House, and we all had to warm the same fire.
I remember, yes, that the servants were standing and the maids curled up or on their knees. Their respectful humility forbade them to take their seats.
The cats slept in the center of the circle, with the rump turned to the fire.
Some snowflakes fell down the canyon of the chimney, along that path of the elves!
And the wind whistled in the distance, telling us about the absent, the poor, the walkers!
My father and older sister played the harp, and I accompanied them, in spite of myself, with a big zambomba.
Do you know the song of the Aguinaldos, the one that is sung in the villages that fall to the East of the Mulhacem?
Well, our concert was reduced to that music.

Fragment of the work

Reference edition: Madrid, Ediciones Fax, 1943.

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