—Los hombres sólo vienen de noche; a estas horas no viene nadie —dijo la niña defraudada.

Los cuarterones estaban entornados y, a la luz del rayo polvoriento que se adentraba en el salón, los muebles macizos, de madera noble, y las cornucopias y cuadros de marcos dorados parecían adormecidos en una prolongada siesta. En chaflán, frente al mirador (en la encrucijada de dos calles angostas) se alzaba el Friné, un café cantante que, en invierno, salvo sábados y domingos, únicamente abría de noche, y a los dos pequeños les fascinaban aquellas puertas abigarradas como de barraca de ferias, flanqueadas por dos faroles rojos que, al oscurecer, derramaban sobre la lóbrega tenebrosidad de la calleja un rojizo resplandor fantasmal. Mamá Zita les tenía prohibido asomarse al mirador, pero ellos lo hacían, a escondidas, zafándose de su vigilancia y del ojo alerta de la señora Zoa, porque aquellos hombres que llegaban al Friné les cautivaban.

Madera de héroe, 1987

Ilustración de Emilio Urberuaga sobre Madera de héroe de Miguel Delibes
Técnica mixta sobre papel

 

 

LIKE CHILDREN

“The men only came at night; nobody comes at this time of day,” said the little girl in a disappointed tone.

The panes were open a crack, and in the light of the dusty ray that found its way into the drawing room, the heavy mahogany furniture, the sconces, and the pictures in their gilded frames seemed to be taking a long nap. Opposite the balcony, in a house with a cut-off corner at the angle formed by two narrow streets, was Friné’s, a cabaret that in winter opened only at night, except on Saturdays and Sundays, and the two children were fascinated by its multicolored doors, like those of a carnival wagon, flanked by two red lanterns which, as darkness fell, shed a ghostly reddish glow on the dreary shadows of the street. Mama Zita had forbidden them to look out of the balcony, but they did it secretly, escaping her vigilance and Señora Zoa’s watchful eye, because they were entranced by the men who came to Friné’s.

 

The Stuff of Heroes, 1987

Illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga
Mixed technique on paper