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James Joyce


James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882–1941) was an Irish expatriate writer, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel Ulysses and its controversial successor Finnegans Wake, as well as the short story collection Dubliners, where this story comes from.


Two Gallants
PAGE 1/3

Dos Galanes

The grey warm evening of August had descended upon the city and a mild warm air, a memory of summer, circulated in the streets. The streets, shuttered for the repose of Sunday, swarmed with a gaily coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls the lamps shone from the summits of their tall poles upon the living texture below which, changing shape and hue unceasingly, sent up into the warm grey evening air an unchanging unceasing murmur.

La tarde de agosto había caído, gris y cálida, y un aire tibio, un recuerdo del verano, circulaba por las calles. La calle, los comercios cerrados por el descanso dominical, bullía con una multitud alegremente abigarrada. Como perlas luminosas, las lámparas alumbraban de encima de los postes estirados y por sobre la textura viviente de abajo, que variaba de forma y de color sin parar y lanzaba al aire gris y cálido de la tarde un rumor invariable que no cesa.

Two young men came down the hill of Rutland Square. On of them was just bringing a long monologue to a close. The other, who walked on the verge of the path and was at times obliged to step on to the road, owing to his companion's rudeness, wore an amused listening face. He was squat and ruddy. A yachting cap was shoved far back from his forehead and the narrative to which he listened made constant waves of expression break forth over his face from the corners of his nose and eyes and mouth. Little jets of wheezing laughter followed one another out of his convulsed body. His eyes, twinkling with cunning enjoyment, glanced at every moment towards his companion's face. Once or twice he rearranged the light waterproof which he had slung over one shoulder in toreador fashion. His breeches, his white rubber shoes and his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth. But his figure fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and grey and his face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a ravaged look.


Dos jóvenes bajaban la cuesta de Rutland Square. Uno de ellos acababa de dar fin a su largo monólogo. El otro, que caminaba por el borde del contén y que a veces se veía obligado a bajar un pie a la calzada, por culpa de la grosería de su acompañante, mantenía su cara divertida y atenta. Era rubicundo y rollizo. Usaba una gorra de yatista echada frente arriba y la narración que venía oyendo creaba olas expresivas que rompían constantemente sobre su cara desde las comisuras de los labios, de la nariz y de los ojos. Breves chorros de una risa sibilante salían en sucesión de su cuerpo convulso. Sus ojos titilando con un contento pícaro echaban a cada momento miradas de soslayo a la cara de su compañero. Una o dos veces se acomodó el ligero impermeable que llevaba colgado de un hombro a la torera. Sus bombachos, sus zapatos de goma blancos y su impermeable echado por encima expresaban juventud. Pero su figura se hacía rotunda en la cintura, su pelo era escaso y canoso, y su cara, cuando pasaron aquellas olas expresivas, tenía aspecto estragado.

When he was quite sure that the narrative had ended he laughed noiselessly for fully half a minute. Then he said:


Cuando se aseguró de que el cuento hubo acabado se rió ruidoso por más de medio minuto. Luego dijo:

"Well!... That takes the biscuit!"


-¡Vaya!... ¡Ese sí que es el copón divino!

His voice seemed winnowed of vigour; and to enforce his words he added with humour:


Su voz parecía batir el aire con vigor; y para dar mayor fuerza a sus palabras añadió con humor:

"That takes the solitary, unique, and, if I may so call it, recherche biscuit!"


-¡Ese sí que es el único, solitario y si se me permite llamarlo así, recherché copón divino! 

He became serious and silent when he had said this. His tongue was tired for he had been talking all the afternoon in a public-house in Dorset Street. Most people considered Lenehan a leech but, in spite of this reputation, his adroitness and eloquence had always prevented his friends from forming any general policy against him. He had a brave manner of coming up to a party of them in a bar and of holding himself nimbly at the borders of the company until he was included in a round. He was a sporting vagrant armed with a vast stock of stories, limericks and riddles. He was insensitive to all kinds of discourtesy. No one knew how he achieved the stern task of living, but his name was vaguely associated with racing tissues.


Al decir esto se quedó callado y serio. Tenía la lengua cansada, ya que había hablado toda la tarde en el pub de la Calle Dorset. La mayoría de la gente consideraba a Lenehan un sanguijuela, pero a pesar de esa reputación, su destreza y elocuencia evitaba siempre que sus amigos la cogieran con él. Tenía una manera atrevida de acercarse a un grupo en la barra y de mantenerse sutilmente al margen hasta que alguien lo incluía en la primera ronda. Vago por deporte, venía equipado con un vasto repertorio de adivinanzas, cuentos y cuartetas. Era, además, insensible a toda descortesía. Nadie sabía realmente cómo cumplía la penosa tarea de mantenerse, pero su nombre se asociaba vagamente a papeletas y a caballos.

"And where did you pick her up, Corley?" he asked.


-¿Y dónde fue que la levantaste, Corley? -le preguntó.

Corley ran his tongue swiftly along his upper lip.


Corley se pasó rápido la lengua sobre el labio de arriba.

"One night, man," he said, "I was going along Dame Street and I spotted a fine tart under Waterhouse's clock and said good- night, you know. So we went for a walk round by the canal and she told me she was a slavey in a house in Baggot Street. I put my arm round her and squeezed her a bit that night. Then next Sunday, man, I met her by appointment. We vent out to Donnybrook and I brought her into a field there. She told me she used to go with a dairyman.... It was fine, man. Cigarettes every night she'd bring me and paying the tram out and back. And one night she brought me two bloody fine cigars -- O, the real cheese, you know, that the old fellow used to smoke.... I was afraid, man, she'd get in the family way. But she's up to the dodge."


-Una noche, chico -le dijo-, que iba yo por Calle Dame y me veo a esta tipa tan buena parada debajo del reloj de Waterhouse y cojo y le doy, tú sabes, las buenas noches. Luego nos damos una vuelta por el canal y eso, y ella que me dice que es criadita en una casa de la Calle Baggot. Le eché el brazo por arriba y la apretujé un poco esa noche. Entonces, el domingo siguiente, chico, tengo cita con ella y nos vemos. Nos fuimos hasta Donnybrook y la metí en un sembrado. Me dijo que ella salía con un lechero... ¡La gran vida, chico! Cigarrillos todas las noches y ella pagando el tranvía a la ida y a la venida. Una noche hasta me trajo dos puros más buenos que el carajo. Panetelas, tú sabes, de las que fuma el caballero... Yo que, claro, chico, tenía miedo de que saliera preñada. Pero, ¡tiene una esquiva!

"Maybe she thinks you'll marry her," said Lenehan.


-A lo mejor se cree que te vas a casar con ella -dijo Lenehan.

"I told her I was out of a job," said Corley. "I told her I was in Pim's. She doesn't know my name. I was too hairy to tell her that. But she thinks I'm a bit of class, you know."


-Le dije que estaba sin pega -dijo Corley-. Le dije que trabajaba en Pim's. Ella ni mi nombre sabe. Estoy demasiado asustado para decirle eso. Pero se cree que soy de buena familia, sabes.

Lenehan laughed again, noiselessly.


Lenehan se rió de nuevo, sin hacer ruido.

"Of all the good ones ever I heard," he said, "that emphatically takes the biscuit."


-De todos los cuentos buenos que he oído en mi vida -dijo-, ese sí que de veras es el copón divino.

Corley's stride acknowledged the compliment. The swing of his burly body made his friend execute a few light skips from the path to the roadway and back again. Corley was the son of an inspector of police and he had inherited his father's frame and gut. He walked with his hands by his sides, holding himself erect and swaying his head from side to side. His head was large, globular and oily; it sweated in all weathers; and his large round hat, set upon it sideways, looked like a bulb which had grown out of another. He always stared straight before him as if he were on parade and, when he wished to gaze after someone in the street, it was necessary for him to move his body from the hips. At present he was about town. Whenever any job was vacant a friend was always ready to give him the hard word. He was often to be seen walking with policemen in plain clothes, talking earnestly. He knew the inner side of all affairs and was fond of delivering final judgments. He spoke without listening to the speech of his companions. His conversation was mainly about himself what he had said to such a person and what such a person had said to him and what he had said to settle the matter. When he reported these dialogues he aspirated the first letter of his name after the manner of Florentines.


Corley reconoció el cumplido en su andar. El vaivén de su cuerpo macizo obligaba a su amigo a bailar la suiza del contén a la calzada y viceversa. Corley era hijo de un inspector de policía y había heredado de su padre la caja del cuerpo y el paso. Caminaba con las manos al costado, muy derecho y moviendo la cabeza de un lado al otro. Tenía la cabeza grande, de globo, grasosa; sudaba siempre, en invierno y en verano; y su enorme bombín, ladeado, parecía un bombillo saliendo de un bombillo. La vista siempre al frente, como si estuviera en un desfile, cuando quería mirar a alguien en la calle, tenía que mover todo su cuerpo desde las caderas. Por el momento estaba sin trabajo. Cada vez que había un puesto vacante uno de sus amigos le pasaba la voz. A menudo se le veía conversando con policías de paisano, hablando con toda seriedad. Sabía dónde estaba el meollo de cualquier asunto y era dado a decretar sentencia. Hablaba sin oír lo que decía su compañía. Hablaba mayormente de sí mismo: de lo que había dicho a tal persona y lo que esa persona le había dicho y lo que él había dicho para dar por zanjado el asunto. Cuando relataba estos diálogos aspiraba la primera letra de su nombre, como hacían los florentinos.

Lenehan offered his friend a cigarette. As the two young men walked on through the crowd Corley occasionally turned to smile at some of the passing girls but Lenehan's gaze was fixed on the large faint moon circled with a double halo. He watched earnestly the passing of the grey web of twilight across its face. At length he said:


Lenehan ofreció un cigarrillo a su amigo. Mientras los dos jóvenes paseaban por entre la gente, Corley se volvía ocasionalmente para sonreír a una muchacha que pasaba, pero la vista de Lenehan estaba fija en la larga luna pálida con su hado doble. Vio con cara seria cómo la gris telaraña del ocaso atravesaba su faz. Al cabo dijo:

"Well... tell me, Corley, I suppose you'll be able to pull it off all right, eh?"


-Bueno... dime, Corley, supongo que sabrás cómo manejarla, ¿no?

Corley closed one eye expressively as an answer.


Corley, expresivo, cerró un ojo en respuesta.

"Is she game for that?" asked Lenehan dubiously. "You can never know women."


-¿Sirve ella? -preguntó Lenehan, dudoso-. Nunca se sabe con las mujeres.

"She's all right," said Corley. "I know the way to get around her, man. She's a bit gone on me."


-Ella sirve -dijo Corley-. Yo sé cómo darle la vuelta, chico. Está loquita por mí.

"You're what I call a gay Lothario," said Lenehan. "And the proper kind of a Lothario, too!"


-Tú eres lo que yo llamo un tenorio contento -dijo Lenehan-. ¡Y un don Juan muy serio también!

A shade of mockery relieved the servility of his manner. To save himself he had the habit of leaving his flattery open to the interpretation of raillery. But Corley had not a subtle mind.


Un dejo burlón quitó servilismo a la expresión. Como vía de escape tenía la costumbre de dejar su adulonería abierta a interpretaciones de burla. Pero Corley no era muy sutil que digamos.

"There's nothing to touch a good slavey," he affirmed. "Take my tip for it."


-No hay como una buena criadita -afirmó-. Te lo digo yo.

"By one who has tried them all," said Lenehan.


-Es decir, uno que las ha levantado a todas -dijo Lenehan.

"First I used to go with girls, you know," said Corley, unbosoming; "girls off the South Circular. I used to take them out, man, on the tram somewhere and pay the tram or take them to a band or a play at the theatre or buy them chocolate and sweets or something that way. I used to spend money on them right enough," he added, in a convincing tone, as if he was conscious of being disbelieved.


-Yo primero salía con muchachas de su casa, tú sabes -dijo Corley, destapándose-. Las sacaba a pasear, chico, en tranvía a todas partes y yo era el que pagaba, o las llevaba a oír la banda o a una obra de teatro o les compraba chocolates y dulces y eso. Me gastaba con ellas el dinero que daba gusto -añadió en tono convincente, como si estuviera consciente de no ser creído.

But Lenehan could well believe it; he nodded gravely.


Pero Lenehan podía creerlo muy bien; asintió, grave.

"I know that game," he said, "and it's a mug's game."


-Conozco el juego -dijo-, y es comida de bobo.

"And damn the thing I ever got out of it," said Corley.


-Y maldito sea lo que saqué de él -dijo Corley.

"Ditto here," said Lenehan.


-Ídem de ídem -dijo Lenehan.

"Only off of one of them," said Corley.


-Con una excepción -dijo Corley.

He moistened his upper lip by running his tongue along it. The recollection brightened his eyes. He too gazed at the pale disc of the moon, now nearly veiled, and seemed to meditate.


Se mojó el labio superior pasándole la lengua. El recuerdo lo encandiló. Él, también, miró al pálido disco de la luna, ya casi velado, y pareció meditar.


public-house: a pub; a bar or tavern.
racing tissues: publications covering horse racing.
Waterhouse’s clock: the clock outside a jeweller on Dame Street in Dublin.
the canal: Dublin’s Royal Canal.
slavey (British informal): a female domestic servant, especially one who does hard, menial work.
Donnybrook: the site, south of Dublin, of a yearly fair during which there was much brawling and rowdiness.
the real cheese (slang): the real thing.
up to the dodge (slang): capable of avoiding pregnancy.
Pim’s: a Dublin manufacturer and dealer of home furnishings, clothing, and leather goods.
hairy (slang): cunning.
about town: a euphemism for unemployed.
hard word: unpleasant information (that employment might be available for Corley, who doesn’t like to work).
he aspirated the first letter of his name in the manner of the Florentines: he pronounced Corley as “whorely.”


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