Get Your Free Goodie Box here

El Sombrero de Tres Picos-Historia Verdadera de un Sucedido que Anda en Romances Escrita Ahora Tal y Como Pasó by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.
index-1_1.png

E L

S O M B R E R O D E T R E S P I C O S

HISTORIA VERDADERA DE UN SUCEDIDO QUE ANDA

EN

ROMANCES ESCRITA AHORA TAL Y COMO PASÓ

POR

i

D. PEDRO A. DE ALARCÓN

Bachiller en Filosofía y Teología, etc, etc

EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, ANDVOCABULARY

BY

BENJAMIN P. BOURLAND

Professor in Adelbert College of Western Reserve University

NEW YORK

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

ii COPYRIGHT, 1907,

BY

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

May, 1934

N. R. A.

PRINTED IN THE U. S. A.

Preface

Introduction

Prefacio del autor

El Sombrero de tres picos:

o I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX,

X, XI, XII, XIII., XIV, XV, XVI,

XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII,

XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII,

XXVIII, XXIX, XXX, XXXI,

XXXII, XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV,

XXXVI,

Notes

Vocabulary

Footnotes

iii

PREFACE

The present edition of El Sombrero de tres picos is

designed to makethe book accessible as a text for use in

college classes as early as thesecond or third semester of

Spanish study. The plan of the edition needsno special

comment. The editor has made the effort to include in

thenotes and the vocabulary explanation sufficient to cover

alldifficulties reasonably to be attributed to students who

have donecareful work in the elements of Spanish

grammar, and the usualelementary reading. The numerous

references in the notes are addressedmore particularly to

the teachers.

In the use of the vocabulary, it should be borne in mind

that the latteris designed for this text alone, and is in no

sense a dictionary. It maybe said also that an effort has

been made to exclude from the notes allpuerilities, and the

explanation of commonplaces, whether of history,grammar,

or mythology.

Grateful acknowledgment is made here to the friends who

have helped theeditor in whatever way in the preparation of

this book, and in especialto Professor De Haan of Bryn

Mawr College; to Professor Caroline B.Bourland of Smith

College, the editor's sister; to iv ProfessorWilliam D.

Briggs, of the Leland Stanford, Jr. University; to

ProfessorChristian Gauss, of Princeton University; to the

Rev. Gilbert P.Jennings, Rector of St. Agnes' Church in

Cleveland, and to Don AdolfoBonilla y San Martín, of

Madrid; and lastly, and most of all, to theeditor's friend and

pupil,

Mr.

Gustav

G.

Laubscher,

of

Adelbert

College,whose work on the vocabulary was more nearly

collaboration thanassistance.

B. P. B.

CLEVELAND, December, 1906.

v

INTRODUCTION

I. Alarcón's Life

Pedro Antonio de Alarcón was born at Guadix in the

province of Granada,the 10th of March 1833, the fourth of

ten children of an old and noblefamily, whose wealth had

been lost in the wars of the Napoleonic periodand the

disorders that had followed. His father destined him for

thebar, and after reaching the baccalaureate at the age of

fourteen, at the seminario of Guadix, he went to Granada to

begin his professionalstudies, only to be recalled by the res

angusta domi to his home,where perforce he exchanged

jurisprudence for theology, and beganpreparation for the

priesthood.

The boy's heart was not in his professional studies, and

his bestefforts were given to other matters; he taught

himself French andItalian, began to write, and formed the

project of going to Madrid, toset up as a man of letters. His

parents declined to support him in thisambition, but

Alarcón

persisted.

Through

Torcuato

Tárrago,

a

youngwriter at that time living in Guadix, he was

introduced to a Cadizpublisher, who undertook the issuing

of a weekly journal, El Eco deOccidente, which was to

appear at Cadiz and Granada, and whose literaryredaction

was to be entrusted to the two young men. The venture

vi was successful. After three years' work the savings

seemed sufficient,and on the 18th of January, 1853,

Alarcón left home.

He went first to Cadiz, where he gave his attention to

mattersconcerning the journal, and a month later he

reached Madrid,—withoutintroduction or friends, but with

some little money and with a goodlysheaf of verses,

notably an ambitious continuation of Espronceda's Diablo

Mundo, all of which he burned, after much interviewing

ofpublishers. In short, he did not get along at all at the

capital, andwhen his money was gone and the husks were

sour, he made his own theimmemorial custom of the

prodigal, and went back to his father's house.A complete

reconciliation followed his return. He had been drawn

formilitary service: his father purchased his release, and

gave himpermission to live in Granada, where he renewed

his connection with the Eco de Occidente. In Granada also

he found agreeable literary society,and the year spent there

was one of profit to himself and of success forhis journal,

in whose management he had an increasing influence

andpart.

His first mingling in politics was in 1854, when he took

open and activepart in the rebellion that culminated in the

mutiny of Vicálvaro (the30th of June), distinguishing

himself by his noisy and militantradicalism, and gaining

the ill-will of many of the elements whosefavor, in his later

life, he found it wise to win—the clergy, the army,the

national militia. Before the end of the year he was in

Madrid, wherehe became the editor of El Látigo, the most

extreme of theanti-royalist periodicals. This connection vii

was ended by aduel, and Alarcón gave up politics for the

time, and retired to Segovia,to restore health broken by

irregular living, and to write. El Final deNorma was the

most ambitious work that dates from this time, with avery

great number of short stories and miscellaneous articles

publishedin various journals, all of which brought him a

considerable reputationthroughout Spain. In 1856 he

visited Paris and "wrote up" the expositionof that year for the Spanish press. Towards the end of 1857 he made

hisappearance at the theatre of the Circo at Madrid, with

his one play, ElHijo Pródigo. The première was riotously successful, but the criticswere against the author, whose

personality seems to have been a largefactor in the matter,

and

the

piece

was

soon

withdrawn.

In

1859

Alarcónvolunteered for the campaign in Morocco, and after

doing excellentservice, was honorably discharged in April,

1860, when he returned toSpain. The fruit of this military

experience was the Diario de untestigo de la Guerra de

África, which is of his best work. The book

wasexceedingly successful commercially, and the author's

profits permittedhim the journeying in France, Switzerland,

and Italy, whose story istold in De Madrid a Nápoles, two

volumes of fairly acute observationand superior literary

worth. (August, 1860—February, 1861).

From this time until 1873 Alarcón was devoted to an

active politicallife, into whose details we need not follow

him. He was deputy fromGuadix much of the time, and was

prominent as a writer for the Época,then as now the first

conservative newspaper of Spain, and later as oneof the

founders and editors of La Política. He had much

viii success, and we are told that only feelings of personal

delicacy stoodbetween him and the holding of at least one

ministerial portfolio. In1866 he was one of the signers of a

celebrated protest of the unionistdeputies, and was

dignified by being sent into exile for a time, andafterwards

being forbidden to live in Madrid. In 1863 his father

died,and in 1866 he was married in Granada to Doña

Paulina Contreras y Reyes.

From 1873 until his death, July 18, 1891, he lived

principally inMadrid, until 1888 taking a large part in

literary life, and not withoutsome mingling in matters

public. In 1875, as one of the early supportersof the

Alfonsine restoration, he was made Councillor of State;

and onDecember 15th of the same year he was elected to

the Spanish Academy, inwhich he took his seat about a

year later. His pen was very active. ElSombrero de tres

picos, El Escándalo, El Niño de la Bola, LaPródiga, El Capitán Veneno, are from this final period, which

wasopened with La Alpujarra. He gave much time also to

revising,selecting, and destroying, to which process we

owe the definitivecollection of works noticed below. In

1887 his powers began noticeablyto fail. In 1888 there was

a first hemiplegia—then other attacksfollowed in

December 1889, and February, 1890, and the final one

inJuly, 1891.

II. Alarcón's Works

Alarcón's writings have been brought together in nineteen

volumes,sixteen of which are of the well known Colección

de EscritoresCastellanos. There are three volumes of short

stories, the NovelasCortas; four longer novels, ix

El Escándalo, La Pródiga, El Final de Norma, El Niño de la Bola;two stories that are neither long nor short, El

Capitán Veneno and ElSombrero de tres picos; one volume

of popular sketches, Cosas quefueron; three volumes of

travels, Viajes por España, one volume, and De Madrid a

Nápoles, two; an historic-geographical study, LaAlpujarra;

one volume of essays, Juicios Literarios; and one volumeof

verse. The three volumes outside the collection contain

thecelebrated Diario de un testigo de la Guerra de África.

Of all this mass, only two works are really first-rate: El

Sombrero detres picos and El Capitán Veneno; of the

special merits of these weshall speak again presently. The

diary of the African war has wonpraise, and so have the

books of travel; an occasional short story isgood; the longer

novels have no permanent worth, the verse isinsignificant.

The most ambitious of the novels, El Escándalo, was

published in 1875.Its author, in his Historia de mis libros,

included in the collectedworks in the volume with El

Capitán Veneno, makes a defence of thisbook that is most

illuminating as to the principles of criticismpracticed by the

Spanish critics of the day, and that gives us a clearsight of

the literary conditions of the time. The artistic question

doesnot seem to have been raised: the one asked is simply

as to the author'sattitude toward certain other matters,

chiefly of religion; and it is onthe correctness of these

views that the book is to stand or fall.Alarcón in his

defence, accepts the situation, and joins issue: and hedoes

this with a willingness that lets us see x that his own

mindcould discover no impropriety in treating literature in

that way.[1]Herein lies the explanation of many weaknesses in Alarcón's work, which,given his many good qualities,

might else cause us to wonder.

Alarcón's best points are a very keen eye for a situation,

thoroughcontrol of a language adequate to his matter, an

excellent idea of theexigencies of style offered by his

situations, and a keen sense ofhumor, which, however,

occasionally goes to sleep or deserts. Hisweakness lies in

the faulty idea of his task already pointed out, in acertain

immaturity, a childish petulance that stays with him to

thelast, and in an utter inability to develop a character. He

can pictureone admirably, but he cannot make one grow;

and in general, he does nottry it. The one place in which he

has some measure of success in thisnot easy task is in Don

Jorge of the Capitán Veneno, whose struggle isvery prettily

exhibited; but the great, the serious effort, Fabián Condein

El Escándalo, falls flat. His is a metempsychosis, not

adevelopment.

The Spanish language does not lend itself with much

grace to the needsof the modern short story. Its leisurely

diffuseness is a fair reflex ofthe mode of thought it

represents; so Alarcón cannot, except within thefour seas of

Spain, be held a really good writer in this genre.[2] Itis in the happy borderland between the long and the very xi

short,that he has done his best. Finding himself for once—

or for twice—witha literary task (quite unconsciously to

himself, it is true) exactlyfitted to his abilities, he has

arrived, and succeeded. El CapitánVeneno and El

Sombrero de tres picos are real works of art, for theirauthor

in them has shaken himself free of self-consciousness,

forgottento preach or to moralize, let ethics and politics

alone and writtenwithout outward haste or inward restraint.

Alarcón's work in pure literature was beyond question

much hampered byhis political life, and by the false notions

of the aims and ends ofbelles-lettres into which, as he grew

older, the life of the times andhis own disposition caused

him to fall. The history of Spain of hislifetime is a

nightmare. Whether, if he had lived in happier days,

hewould have done better work, is one of those literary

questions that aregood and pleasant to think and talk over,

but unprofitable to writeabout. Still, the constructive

psychologist should have great joy inAlarcón, should he

have the patience to read all his works, for the manreveals

himself naked as do few; and it is most edifying to see

theconservative academician of El Escándalo and La

Época making hispeace with the world and with heaven for

the sins of the editor of ElLátigo. Truly he seems to wish that we should know that he felt indeedthat he had sinned

much, and need make great haste.

III. El Sombrero de Tres Picos

El Sombrero de tres picos was written and published in

1874. It madeits first appearance on August 2, 9, 16th xii of

that year, innumbers 23, 24, 25, of the Revista Europea,

was issued in book formimmediately, and has passed

through thirteen editions. Alarcón has giventwo accounts of

its genesis—one in the original form of the preface tothe

book, and the other in his Historia de mis libros. They are

notmutually exclusive, though the second mentioned,

which the author hasallowed to stand, forgets much that is

confided in the first.[3]

The success of the story was immediate and deserved.

The pseudo-modestpraise, "the least bad of my books,"

applied by Alarcón to ElEscándalo, might be transferred

and made positive here. The skill ofconstruction, the exact

sense of propriety that preserves every decencywhile

yielding no shred of the interest, the really admirable

dialogue,and the beautifully Spanish atmosphere of it all,

make us wish that theauthor's judgment had led him oftener

into these ways, where alone hisdesire fails to outrun xiii his

performance. Alarcón has writtensensational sermons—

witness El Escándalo; psychological romance, withthe

psychology left out, as in La Pródiga; infantile melodrama,

in ElNiño de la Bola; and utter balderdash, as El Final de Norma; but ElSombrero is not like any of these. It is worthy of the rank it holdsamong the longer short stories of

literature, a strong, objective pieceof work, without shade

of self-consciousness; a fine story, in short,admirably told.

Aside from its purely æsthetic value, the book is aprecious

document to the student of the history of manners and

customsin Spain, both in its lines and in the much that is to

be read betweenthem.

Adolfo Bonilla y San Martín has recently published a

short account ofthe sources of El Sombrero.[4] He takes it back to a well-known storyof the Decameron (day 8, novel

8), and reprints two popular ballads,to one of which,

already

published

by

Agustín

Durán

in

his

RomanceroGeneral (Vol. 2, p. 409), Alarcón in his preface

acknowledges hisindebtedness. The other ballad seems

from language and form to beyounger; the content of the

two is almost identical. It is not mypurpose in the present

place to enlarge on Bonilla's article, though Isuspect that

the theme in its cruder forms is considerably older

thanBoccaccio; he has given us all that served as the first-

hand sources ofour story, and more, and he seems to me

beyond any doubt to be in theright in holding that the

differences to be noted between these sourcesand the novel

are Alarcón's own, not the product of some other model,

tohim (Bonilla) unknown. To my mind this conclusion xiv

should bemore strongly put. In his preface Alarcón tells us

where he found thestory, and makes direct reference to the

Durán Romancero; had he hadanother, more strictly

decorous, version at hand, one in short bettersuited to his

need, he had surely mentioned it. Bonilla seems to me

totake far too seriously the closing lines of the preface,

which, to onewithout the pale, seem simply a graceful

confession of faith in thebasic decency of Spain. For the

sources of the book, then, Alarcón'spreface and Bonilla's

essay must seem a sufficient guide.

The text here printed is that of the thirteenth Spanish

edition. Twopassages have been omitted; one (after page 6,

line 28 of this text)touching taxes and imposts, as being

unduly difficult, and of no help tothe story: the curious may

find it in the notes. The other, a bare twolines, had too

much local color for dignified appearance in the

Americanclassroom. The only other changes the editor has

allowed himself areoccasional deviations from the

somewhat arbitrary system ofcapitalization followed in the

model.

My friend Professor De Haan, of Bryn Mawr College, did

me the favor ofmaking a collation of this text with that of

the first edition in bookform, which, as it appeared so

promptly after the other, is probably toall intents and

purposes identical with that of the serial. Thedifferences to

be noted between the first and thirteenth editions

arealtogether matters of style, except in the preface, where,

as noted, theend is very different in the two. As I have not

had access to all theeditions, I cannot say with certainty

when the revision was made: it islikely that it came when

Alarcón prepared the definitive edition of hisworks xv for

the Colección de Escritores Ca