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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Private Worlds of Love and Death: Jorge Luis Borges: La intrusa (The Intruder) | J.D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye

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Untitled | by BigZepp


"⛽️-ūüöó" | by BigZepp


 

Perhaps the strangest tale of #Borges, La intrusa (The Intruder) #Argentina #BuenosAires #cuentos: image via Hadi Deeb @HadiDeeb, 14 April 2012

Jorge Luis Borges: La intrusa
 2 Reyes, i, 26.

Dicen (lo cual es improbable) que la historia fue referida por Eduardo, el menor de los Nelson, en el velorio de Cristian, el mayor, que falleci√≥ de muerte natural, hacia mil ochocientos noventa y tantos, en el partido de Moran. Lo cierto es que alguien la oy√≥ de alguien, en el decurso de esa larga noche perdida, entre mate y mate, y la repiti√≥ a Santiago Dabove, por quien la supe. A√Īos despu√©s, volvieron a cont√°rmela en Turdera, donde hab√≠a acontecido. La segunda versi√≥n, algo mas prolija, confirmaba en suma la de Santiago, con las peque√Īas variaciones y divergencias que son del caso. La escribo ahora porque en ella se cifra, si no me enga√Īo, un breve y tr√°gico cristal de la √≠ndole de los orilleros antiguos. Lo har√© con probidad, pero ya preveo que ceder√© a la tentaci√≥n literaria de acentuar o agregar alg√ļn pormenor.
         En Turdera los llamaban los Nilsen. El p√°rroco me dijo que su predecesor recordaba, no sin sorpresa, haber visto en la casa de esa gente una gastada Biblia de tapas negras, con caracteres g√≥ticos; en las √ļltimas p√°ginas entrevi√≥ nombres y fechas manuscritas. Era el √ļnico libro que hab√≠a en la casa. La azarosa cr√≥nica de los Nilsen, perdida como todo se perder√°. El caser√≥n, que ya no existe, era de ladrillo sin revocar; desde el zagu√°n se divisaban un patio de baldosa colorada y otro de tierra. Pocos, por lo dem√°s, entraron ah√≠; los Nilsen defend√≠an su soledad. En las habitaciones desmanteladas durmieron en catres; sus lujos eran el caballo, el apero, la daga de hoja corta, el atuendo rumboso de los s√°bados y el alcohol pendenciero. S√© que eran altos, de melena rojiza. Dinamarca o Irlanda, de las que nunca oir√≠an hablar, andaban por la sangre de esos dos criollos. El barrio los tem√≠a a los Colorados; no es imposible que debieran alguna muerte. Hombro a hombro pelearon una vez a la polic√≠a. Se dice que el menor tuvo un altercado con Juan Iberra, en el que no llev√≥ la peor parte, lo cual, seg√ļn los entendidos, es mucho. Fueron troperos, cuarteadores, cuatreros y alguna vez tah√ļres. Ten√≠an fama de avaros, salvo cuando la bebida y el juego los volv√≠an generosos. De sus deudos nada se sabe ni de d√≥nde vinieron. Eran due√Īos de una carreta y una yunta de bueyes.
         F√≠sicamente difer√≠an del compadraje que dio su apodo forajido a la Costa Brava. Esto, y lo que ignoramos, ayuda a comprender lo unidos que fueron. Mal quistarse con uno era contar con dos enemigos.
         Los Nilsen eran calaveras, pero sus episodios amorosos hab√≠an sido hasta entonces de zagu√°n o de casa mala. No faltaron, pues, comentarios cuando Cristian llev√≥ a vivir con Juliana Burgos. Es verdad que ganaba as√≠ una sirvienta, pero no es menos cierto que la colm√≥ de horrendas baratijas y que la lucia en las fiestas. En las pobres fiestas de conventillo, donde la quebrada y el corte estaban prohibidos y donde se bailaba, todav√≠a, con mucha luz. Juliana era de tez morena y de ojos rasgados, bastaba que alguien la mirara para que se sonriera. En un barrio modesto, donde el trabajo y el descuido gastan a las mujeres, no era mal parecida.
         Eduardo los acompa√Īaba al principio. Despu√©s emprendi√≥ un viaje a Arrecifes por no s√© que negocio; a su vuelta llev√≥ a la casa una muchacha, que hab√≠a levantado por el camino, y a los pocos d√≠as la ech√≥. Se hizo m√°s hosco; se emborrachaba solo en el almac√©n y no se daba con nadie. Estaba enamorado de la mujer de Cristian. El barrio, que tal vez lo supo antes que √©l, previ√≥ con alevosa alegr√≠a la rivalidad latente de los hermanos.
         Una noche, al volver tarde de la esquina, Eduardo vio el oscuro de Cristian atado al palenque. En el patio, el mayor estaba esper√°ndolo con sus mejores pilchas. La mujer iba y venia con el mate en la mano. Cristian le dijo a Eduardo:
         —Yo me voy a una farra en lo de Farias. Ah√≠ la tenes a la Juliana; si la queres, √ļsala.
         El tono era entre mand√≥n y cordial. Eduardo se qued√≥ un tiempo mir√°ndolo; no sab√≠a qu√© hacer, Cristian se levant√≥, se despidi√≥ de Eduardo, no de Juliana, que era una cosa, mont√≥ a caballo y se fue al trote, sin apuro.
         Desde aquella noche la compartieron. Nadie sabr√° los pormenores de esa s√≥rdida uni√≥n, que ultrajaba las decencias del arrabal. El arreglo anduvo bien por unas semanas, pero no pod√≠a durar. Entre ellos, los hermanos no pronunciaban el nombre de Juliana, ni siquiera para llamarla, pero buscaban, y encontraban, razones para no estar de acuerdo. Discut√≠an la venta de unos cueros, pero lo que discut√≠an era otra cosa. Cristian sol√≠a alzar la voz y Eduardo callaba. Sin saberlo, estaban cel√°ndose. En el duro suburbio, un hombre no dec√≠a, ni se dec√≠a, que una mujer pudiera importarle, mas all√° del deseo y la posesi√≥n, pero los dos estaban enamorados. Esto, de alg√ļn modo, los humillaba.
         Una tarde, en la plaza de Lomas , Eduardo se cruz√≥ con Juan Iberra, que lo felicit√≥ por ese primor que se hab√≠a agenciado. Fue entonces, creo, que Eduardo lo injiri√≥. Nadie, delante de √©l, iba a hacer burla de Cristian.
         La mujer atend√≠a a los dos con sumisi√≥n bestial; pero no pod√≠a ocultar alguna preferencia por el menor, que no hab√≠a rechazado la participaci√≥n, pero que no la hab√≠a dispuesto.
         Un d√≠a, le mandaron a la Juliana que sacara dos sillas al primer patio y que no apareciera por ah√≠, porque ten√≠an que hablar. Ella esperaba un dialogo largo y se acost√≥ a dormir la siesta, pero al rato la recordaron. Le hicieron llenar una bolsa con todo lo que tenia, sin olvidar el rosario de vidrio y la crucecita que le hab√≠a dejado su madre. Sin explicarle nada la subieron a la carreta y emprendieron un silencioso y tedioso viaje. Hab√≠a llovido; los caminos estaban muy pesados y serian las cinco de la ma√Īana cuando llegaron a Mor√≥n. Ah√≠ la vendieron a la patrona del prost√≠bulo. El trato ya estaba hecho; Cristian cobr√≥ la suma y la dividi√≥ despu√©s con el otro.
         En Turdera, los Nilsen, perdidos hasta entonces en la mara√Īa (que tambi√©n era una rutina) de aquel monstruoso amor, quisieron reanudar su antigua vida de hombres entre hombres. Volvieron a las trucadas, al re√Īidero, a las juergas casuales. Acaso, alguna vez, se creyeron salvados, pero sol√≠an incurrir, cada cual por su lado, en injustificadas o harto justificadas ausencias. Poco antes de fin de a√Īo el menor dijo que tenia que hacer en la Capital. Cristian se fue a Moron; en el palenque de la casa que sabemos reconoci√≥ al overo de Eduardo. Entr√≥; adentro estaba el otro, esperando turno. Parece que Cristian le dijo:
         —De seguir as√≠, los vamos a cansar a los pingos. M√°s vale que la tengamos a mano.
         Habl√≥ con la patrona, sac√≥ unas monedas del tirador y se la llevaron. La Juliana iba con Cristian; Eduardo espole√≥ al overo para no verlos.
         Volvieron a lo que ya se ha dicho. La infame soluci√≥n hab√≠a fracasado; los dos hab√≠an cedido a la tentaci√≥n de hacer trampa. Ca√≠n andaba por ah√≠, pero el cari√Īo entre los Nilsen era muy grande —¡qui√©n sabe que rigores y qu√© peligros hab√≠an compartido!— y prefirieron desahogar su exasperaci√≥n con ajenos. Con un desconocido, con los perros, con la Juliana, que hab√≠a tra√≠do la discordia.
         El mes de marzo estaba por concluir y el calor no cejaba. Un domingo (los domingos la gente suele recogerse temprano) Eduardo, que volv√≠a del almac√©n, vio que Cristian unc√≠a los bueyes. Cristian le dijo:
         —Veni; tenemos que dejar unos cueros en lo del Pardo; ya los cargue, aprovechemos la fresca.
         El comercio del Pardo quedaba, creo, m√°s al Sur; tomaron por el Camino de las Tropas; despu√©s, por un desv√≠o. El campo iba agrand√°ndose con la noche.
         Orillaron un pajonal; Cristian tir√≥ el cigarro que hab√≠a encendido y dijo sin apuro:
         —A trabajar, hermano. Despu√©s nos ayudaran los caranchos. Hoy la mat√©. Que se quede aqu√≠ con sus pilchas. Ya no har√° mas perjuicios.
         Se abrazaron, casi llorando. Ahora los ataba otro vinculo: la mujer tristemente sacrificada y la obligaci√≥n de olvidarla.


Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986): La intrusa (The Intruder), from El informe de Brodie, 1970

File:Estacion Arrecifes cartel.jpg  

Arrecifes: Carte nomenclador de la estacion: photo by Marcelofx3. 19 April 2011

File:Estaci√≥n Vi√Īa.jpg

Estaci√≥n Vi√Īa: photo by El 2035, 26 June 2011
Jorge Luis Borges: The Intruder

2 Kings, I, 26.

They say (which is improbable) that the story was told by Eduardo, the younger of the Nelsons, at the wake of Cristian, the elder, who died a natural death in the 1890s in the administrative area of Mor√≥n.  What we can say for certain is that someone heard it from someone else during that long, lost night between mat√©s, and repeated it to Santiago Dabove, from whom I heard it.  Years later I was told the story again in Turdera, where it had taken place.  In short, this second, somewhat tidier version, confirmed Santiago's account – albeit with some small variations and divergences, which is to be expected.  I am writing it now because, if I am not mistaken, it contains the brief and tragic essence of these remote bordermen of yore.  Although I shall write with integrity, I foresee succumbing to the literary temptation of accentuating or adding a detail here and there. 

In Turdera they were called the Nilsens.  The parish priest told me that his predecessor remembered, not without some surprise, having espied in their family home a well-worn Bible bound in black with Gothic lettering; handwritten numbers and dates peppered the last pages.  It was the only book in the house – the hazard-ridden saga of the Nilsens, lost as everything would eventually be lost.  The sprawling house, which no longer exists, was of unfinished brick; from the hallway two patios split off, one in red tiles, the other of dirt.  Few, as it were, would enter there; the Nilsens closely guarded their solitude.  In the dismantled rooms they slept on cots.  Their luxuries were their horses, their harnesses, their short-bladed daggers, their lavish Saturday attire, and their trouble-making alcohol.  I know that they were tall with long, reddish hair.  Denmark or Ireland, of which they had never heard, coursed through the veins of these creoles.  The neighborhood feared The Redheads; it was not impossible that they might have had someone's death on their conscience.  One time, standing back to back, they brawled with the police.  It is said that the younger Nilsen had an altercation with Juan Iberra and in the end was not the worse off of the two, which, in our understanding, is rather impressive.  They were herders, towers, rustlers, and sometimes cardsharps.  They were renowned as misers; only with drink and gambling did they become generous.  No one knew anything of their relatives or even where they came from.  They were the owners of a cart and a team of oxen.

Physically they differed from the usual breed that had lent its outlaw nickname to the Costa Brava.  This fact and what we don't know can help us understand how united they were.  To get along poorly with one of them was to anticipate having two enemies.

The Nilsens were rakes, but their amorous episodes had hitherto involved the hallway or their baleful house.  There was no lack of commentary, however, when Cristian went to live with Juliana Burgos.  It was true that in this way he was gaining a servant.  But it was no less certain that he plied her with awful knickknacks and showed her off on holidays, on those poor holidays in the slums where both the broken and the regal were banned and where, nevertheless, there was dancing and a lot of light.  Juliana had a dark complexion and almond-shaped eyes; someone only had to glance at her and she would smile.  She was not bad-looking amidst a modest neighborhood in which work and negligence conspired to wear women out. 

At the beginning Eduardo accompanied them.  Then he took a trip to Arrecifes for who knows what type of business; upon his return he brought home a girl he had picked up on the way back, and a few days later threw her out.  He became more surly; he got drunk only at the grocery store and didn't socialize with anyone.  He was in love with Cristian's woman.  The neighborhood, who perhaps knew this before he did, foresaw with treacherous happiness the latent rivalry of the brothers.

One night, coming back late from the corner, Eduardo espied Cristian's dark horse tethered to the fence.  His older brother was waiting for him on the patio in his best clothes; the woman was coming and going with mat√© in her hand.  Cristian said to Eduardo:

"I'm going out partying at the Far√≠as' place.  Here you have Juliana; if you wish, make use of her."

His tone wavered somewhere between commanding and cordial.  Eduardo remained looking at him for a while; not knowing what to do, Cristian got up, bid farewell to Eduardo but not to Juliana, which was something, mounted the horse and, without rushing, set off on a trot. 

From that night on they shared her.  It is possible that no one knew the details of this sordid union, which exceeded the decencies of the slums.

The arrangement went well for a few weeks, but it could not endure.  The brothers did not mention Juliana's name to one another, not even to call her, but instead looked for, and found, reasons so as to disagree.  They argued over the sale of some hides, but what they argued over was another matter.  Cristian tended to raise his voice as Eduardo remained silent.  Without knowing it, they were jealous of one another.  In a harsh suburb a man did not say – not even to himself – that a woman could matter to him beyond desire and possession, but both of them were in love.  For them, in a way, this was humiliating.

One evening, on Lomas square, Eduardo crossed paths with Juan Iberra, who congratulated him for having scored himself such an exquisite female.  It was then, I believe, that Eduardo laid into him.  No one could make fun of Cristian in front of his brother.  

The woman would wait for both of them with animal-like submissiveness; but she could not hide her preference for the younger brother, who had not refused to participate yet had also not made her available.        
 

One day they ordered Juliana to bring two chairs to the first patio and not linger there because they had to talk.  She anticipated a long conversation and went to take a siesta, but soon thereafter they remembered her.  They made her pack a bag with everything she had, not forgetting the glass rosary and the crucifix that her mother had left her.  Without explaining a thing to her, they placed her in the coach and undertook a silent and tedious journey.  It had rained; the roads were very oppressive and it may have been around five in the morning when they reached Mor√≥n.  Here they sold her to the madam of a brothel.  The deal was already done; Cristian collected the amount and later divided it with his brother. 

In Turdera, the Nilsens, hitherto lost in the tangle (which was also a routine) of this monstrous love, wished to renew their old life of men among men.  They returned to their riggings, to their cockpit, to their casual binges.  Perhaps at some point they believed themselves saved; but they would incur, each for his own part, unjustified or extremely justified absences.  Just before the end of the year, the younger brother said that he had to go to the capital.  Cristian went to Mor√≥n; on the fence of the house we all know he found Eduardo's peach-colored horse.  He entered; inside the other brother was waiting his turn.  I believe Cristian said to him:

"If we keep this up, we are going to tire out the horses.  Better that we keep her with us."

He spoke with the madam, produced some coins from his belt, and they took her away.  Juliana went with Cristian; Eduardo spurred on his peach-colored horse so as not to have to look at them.

They returned to what has already been mentioned.  The infamous solution had failed; both of them had given in to the temptation of cheating.  Cain certainly wandered through these parts, but the affection between the Nilsens was very strong – who knew what rigors and perils they had shared! – and they preferred to vent their exasperation on outsiders.  On a stranger, on the dogs, on Juliana, who had brought them discord.             
 

The month of March was about to end and the heat was not letting up.  One Sunday (on Sundays people are supposed to come home early) Eduardo, returning from the grocery store, saw that Cristian was yoking the oxen.  Cristian said to him:

"Come, we have to leave a few hides at the Pardo's place.  I've already loaded them; let's take advantage of the fresh air."

The Pardo's business was, I believe, more to the south; they took the Camino de las tropas, the cattle route, then a detour.  The field was growing bigger with the night.   

They came upon a scrub-land; Cristian took out the cigarette he had lit and said, without the slightest haste:

"To work, brother.  The caracaras will help us afterwards.  Today I killed her.  May she remain here with her clothes and do no more damage."        
 

They embraced, almost crying.  Now yet another shackle bound them together: the sad sacrifice of the woman and the obligation to forget her.

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986): La intrusa (The Intruder), from El informe de Brodie, 1970; English vrsion by Hadi Deeb

 File:Karantxoa.jpg

Southern Caracara Polyborus plancas | Huaco, San Juan, Argentina: photo by Joxerra Aihartza, 11 August 2009

Monumento a San Martín en Arrecifes, Provincia de Buenos Aires | by Sanmartiniano, Instituto Nacional

Monumento a San Martin en  Arrecifes, Provincia de Buenos Aires: photo by Instituto Sanmartiniano, 11 March 2015

File:Estacion Arrecifes.jpg

Estacion Arrecifes: Carte nomenclador de la estacio: photo by Marcelofx3. 19 April 2011

| "Quizas escuchar un adios no existe en la eternidad, si sera un hasta siempre, si hasta el viento mas caliente es hielo en tu mente..." | "Maybe hear a goodbye there in eternity, even if it will be a long, if even the hottest ice wind is in your mind .. | by BigZepp
| Las arterias de la ciudad | . . #DesdeElOjoDelPibe . . . | by BigZepp
 

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