Primer Amor – Part 3

“Primer Amor” (“First Love”) is taken from Emilia Pardo-Bazan’s “Cuentos de Amor” (1898).
The translation is from “First Love & Other Fascinating Stories of Spanish Live”, brought out by Haldeman-Julius Company some time aft.
This is part 3 of 3
Return to Story’s Main Page

Our Pure Love Offerings:

Pure Love Clothing Line!

Stories & Essays about the Pure Love Business!

Holiday, Birthday, Etc. Cards.

Siéndome cortas para admirar el mágico retrato las dos ó tres horas que entre mañana y tarde se pasaba mi tía en la iglesia,
The two or three hours which my aunt spent morning and evening together at church being too short for my admiration of the entrancing portrait,
me resolví por fin á guardarme la miniatura en el bolsillo, y anduve todo el día escondiéndome de la gente lo mismo que si hubiese cometido un crimen.
I resolved at last to keep the miniature in my pocket, and went about all day hiding myself from people just as if I had committed some crime.
Se me antojaba que el retrato, desde el fondo de su cárcel de tela, veía todas mis acciones, y llegué al ridículo extremo
I fancied that the portrait from the depth of its prison of cloth could see all my actions, and I arrived at such a ridiculous extremity,
de que si quería rascarme una pulga, atarme un calcetín ó cualquiera otra cosa menos conforme con el idealismo de mi amor purísimo,
that if I wanted to scratch myself, pull up my sock, or do anything else not in keeping with the idealism of my chaste love,
sacaba primero la miniatura, la depositaba en sitio seguro y después me juzgaba libre de hacer lo que más me conviniese.
I first drew out the miniature, put it in a safe place, and then considered myself free to do whatever I wanted.
En fin, desde que hube consumado el robo, no cabía en mí;
In fact, since I had accomplished the theft, there was no limit to my vagaries.
de noche lo escondía bajo la almohada y me dormía en actitud de defenderlo;
At night I hid it under the pillow, and slept in an attitude of defense;
el retrato quedaba vuelto hacia la pared, yo hacia la parte de afuera, y despertaba mil veces con temor de que viniesen á arrebatarme mi tesoro.
the portrait remained near the wall, I outside, and I awoke a thousand times, fearing somebody would come to bereave me of my treasure.
Por fin lo saqué de debajo de la almohada y lo deslicé entre la camisa y la carne, sobre la tetilla izquierda,
At last I drew it from beneath the pillow and slipped it between my nightshirt and left breast,
donde al día siguiente se podían ver impresos los cincelados adornos del marco.
on which the following day could be seen the imprint of the chasing of the frame.

El contacto de la cara miniatura me produjo sueños deliciosos.
The contact of the dear miniature gave me delicious dreams.
La dama del retrato, no en efigie, sino en su natural tamaño y proporciones,
The lady of the portrait, not in effigy, but in her natural size and proportions,
viva, airosa, afable, gallarda, venía hacia mí para conducirme á su palacio, en un carruaje de blandos almohadones.
alive, graceful, affable, beautiful, would come towards me to conduct me to her palace by a rapid and flying train.
Con dulce autoridad me hacía sentar á sus pies en un cojín, y me pasaba la torneada mano por la cabeza, acariciándome la frente, los ojos y el revuelto pelo. Yo le leía en un gran misal, ó tocaba el laúd, y ella se{126} dignaba sonreirse, agradeciéndome el placer que la causaban mis canciones y lecturas. En fin, las reminiscencias románticas me bullían en el cerebro, y ya era paje, ya trovador.
With sweet authority she would make me sit on a stool at her feet, and would pass her beautifully molded hand over my head, caressing my brow, my eyes, and loose curls. I read to her out of a big missal, or played the lute, and she deigned to smile, thanking me for the pleasure which my reading and songs gave her. At last romantic reminiscences overflowed in my brain, and sometimes I was a page, and sometimes a troubadour.

Con todas estas imaginaciones, el caso es que fuí adelgazando de un modo notable, y lo observaron con gran inquietud mis padres y mi tía.
With all these fanciful ideas, the fact is that I began to grow thin quite perceptibly, which was observed with great disquietude in my parents and my aunt.

—En esa difícil y crítica edad del desarrollo, todo es alarmante—
“In this dangerous and critical age of development, everything is alarming,”
dijo mi padre, que solía leer libros de medicina y estudiaba con recelo las ojeras obscuras,
said my father, who used to read books of medicine, and anxiously studied my dark eyelids,
los ojos apagados, la boca contraída y pálida, y sobre todo, la completa falta de apetito que se apoderaba de mí.
my dull eyes, my contracted and pale lips, and above all, the complete lack of appetite which had taken possession of me.

—Juega, chiquillo; come, chiquillo—solían decirme.
“Play, boy; eat, boy,” he would say to me,

Y yo les contestaba con abatimiento:
and I replied to him, dejectedly:

—No tengo ganas.
“I don’t feel inclined.”

Empezaron á discurrirme distracciones; me ofrecieron llevarme al teatro;
They began to talk of distractions, offered to take me to the theater;
me suspendieron los estudios, y diéronme á beber leche recién ordeñada y espumosa.
stopped my studies, and gave me foaming new milk to drink.
Después me echaron por el cogote y la espalda duchas de agua fría, para fortificar mis nervios;
Afterwards they poured cold water over my head and back to fortify my nerves;
y noté que mi padre, en la mesa ó por las mañanas cuando iba á su alcoba á darle los buenos días,
and I noticed that my father at table or in the morning when I went to his bedroom to bid him good morning,
me miraba fijamente un rato y á veces sus manos se escurrían por mi espinazo abajo, palpando y tentando mis vértebras.
would gaze at me fixedly for some little time, and would sometimes pass his hand down my spine, feeling the vertebrae.
Yo bajaba hipócritamente los ojos, resuelto á dejarme morir antes que confesar el delito.
I hypocritically lowered my eyes, resolved to die rather than confess my crime.
En librándome de la cariñosa fiscalización de la familia, ya estaba con mi dama del retrato.
As soon as I was free from the affectionate solicitude of my family, I found myself alone with my lady of the portrait.
Por fin, para mejor acercarme á ella, acordé suprimir el frío cristal:
At last, to get nearer to her, I thought I would do away with the cold crystal.
vacilé al ir á ponerlo en obra;
I trembled upon putting this into execution;
al cabo pudo más el amor que el vago miedo que semejante profanación me inspiraba,
but at last my love prevailed over the vague fear with which such a profanation filled me,
y con gran destreza logré arrancar el vidrio y dejar patente la plancha de marfil.
and with skillful cunning I succeeded in pulling away the glass and exposing the ivory plate.

Al apoyar en la pintura mis labios y percibir la tenue fragancia de la orla de cabellos,
As I pressed my lips to the painting I could scent the slight fragrance of the border of hair,
se me figuró con más evidencia que era persona viviente la que estrechaban mis manos trémulas.
I imagined to myself even more realistically that it was a living person whom I was grasping with my trembling hands.
Un desvanecimiento se apoderó de mí, y quedé en el sofá como privado de sentido, apretando la miniatura.
A feeling of faintness overpowered me, and I fell unconscious on the sofa, tightly holding the miniature.

Cuando recobré el conocimiento ví á mi padre, á mi madre, á mi tía, todos inclinados hacia mí con sumo interés;
When I came to my senses I saw my father, my mother, and my aunt, all bending anxiously over me;
leí en sus caras el asombro y el susto; mi padre me pulsaba, meneaba la cabeza y murmuraba:
I read their terror and alarm in their faces; my father was feeling my pulse, shaking his head, and murmuring:

—Este pulso parece un hilito, una cosa que se va.
“His pulse is nothing but a flutter, you can scarcely feel it.”

Mi tía, con sus dedos ganchudos, se esforzaba en quitarme el retrato, y yo, maquinalmente, lo escondía y aseguraba mejor.
My aunt, with her claw-like fingers, was trying to take the portrait from me, and I was mechanically hiding it and grasping it more firmly.

—Pero chiquillo… ¡suelta, que lo echas á perder!—
“But, my dear boy—let go, you are spoiling it!”
exclamaba ella. ¿No ves que lo estás borrando?
she exclaimed. “Don’t you see you are smudging it?
Si no te riño, hombre…
I am not scolding you, my dear.—
yo te lo enseñaré cuantas veces quieras; pero no lo estropees; suelta, que le haces daño.
I will show it to you as often as you like, but don’t destroy it; let go, you are injuring it.”

—Déjaselo—suplicaba mi madre—el niño está malito.
“Let him have it,” begged my mother, “the boy is not well.”

—¡Pues no faltaba más!—contestó la solterona.
“Of all things to ask!” replied the old maid.
—¡Dejarlo! ¿Y quién hace otro como ese… ni quién me vuelve á mí á los tiempos aquéllos?
“Let him have it! And who will paint another like this—or make me as I was then?
¡Hoy en día nadie pinta miniaturas… eso se acabó… y yo también me acabé y no soy lo que ahí aparece!
Today nobody paints miniatures—it is a thing of the past, and I also am a thing of the past, and I am not what is represented there!”

Mis ojos se dilataban de horror;
My eyes dilated with horror;
mis manos aflojaban la pintura. No sé cómo pude articular:
my fingers released their hold on the picture. I don’t know how I was able to articulate:

—Usted… el retrato… es usted…
“You—the portrait—is you?”

—¿No te parezco tan guapa, chiquillo? ¡Bah!
“Don’t you think I am as pretty now, boy? Bah!
veintitrés años son más bonitos que… que… que no sé cuántos, porque no llevo la cuenta; nadie ha de robármelos!
one is better looking at twenty-three than at—than at—I don’t know what, for I have forgotten how old I am!”

Doblé la cabeza, y acaso me desmayaría otra vez;
My head drooped and I almost fainted again;
lo cierto es que mi padre me llevó en brazos á la cama, y me hizo tragar unas cucharadas de Oporto.
anyway, my father lifted me in his arms on to the bed, and made me swallow some tablespoonfuls of port.

Convalecí presto y no quise entrar más en el cuarto de mi tía.
I recovered very quickly, and never wished to enter my aunt’s room again.

Our Pure Love Offerings:

Pure Love Clothing Line!

Stories & Essays about the Pure Love Business!

Holiday, Birthday, Etc. Cards.

Autor: Emilia Pardo-Bazan
Translator: ?Haldeman-Julius Company?
Smusher-Togethers: AW/BW
We claim copyright on the smushing!

One thought on “Primer Amor – Part 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *