The Portrait of Don Gonzalo Gonzalez of Gonzalez-Town
|The Portrait of Don Gonzalo Gonzalez of Gonzalez-Town (1871)
by , translated by William Henry Bishop
|Don Gonzalo González de la Gonzalera. Translated in 1897.Excerpt from|
Look at him; here he is:—A man of middling size, carefully clad in a suit of fine black, his knobby flat feet shod in refulgent patent leather; clean-shaven; his shirt-collar terminating, above his low-cut vest and glossy embroidered shirt-front, in a butterfly-shaped bow, made with the open-worked ends of his cravat. Over all this wandered in serpentine convolutions a heavy gold chain. His hair was very much frizzed, and upon two lateral rows of ringlets, rather than upon his head, lightly rested a silk hat. One of his thick, hairy hands grasped a gold-headed cane, while in the other, lying along his thigh, he held ceremoniously a pair of kid gloves.... The speech of such a man may be divined: it was over-soft, mawkish, sickening. He doted on alliterations, like huevo hilado, and he used to say frido, cercanidas, and cacado....
What name should he adopt on going back to his native village? His father, who used to be dubbed "Tony Breechclout" for short, was called "Antonio Gonzalez"; he himself "Nicholas." But if he were going to style himself simply "Nicholas Gonzalez," he might as well make it "Johnny Drumsticks" and have done with it.... What if, for example, without ceasing to sign "Gonzalez," he should add to it something like "de la Gonzalera"? Some people shorten their names, do they not? what harm, then, if some others should lengthen theirs out a little? A trifle more or less of a thing—what difference does it make?
No sooner planned than decided. He ordered a thousand lithographed visiting-cards of various tinted pasteboards; and upon these was placed, in fantastic characters and in vivid colors, the name "Gonzalo Gonzalez de la Gonzalera."
1^ It is a vulgar affectation of elegance, in the Spanish Americas, to insert a "d" in such words, which should be simply frio, cercanias, cacao.
|This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.|