A CANON’S TORTURE
“Resignation, resignation!” repeated Don Inocencio.
“Resignation, resignation!” repeated his niece, drying her tears. “If my dear son is doomed to be always a beggar, well, then, be it so. Lawsuits are becoming scarce; the day will soon come when the practice of the law will be the same as nothing. What is the use of all his talent? What is the use of his tiring his brain with so much study? Ah! We are poor. A day will come, Senor Don Inocencio, when my poor boy will not have a pillow on which to lay his head.”
“Man! can you deny it? Tell me, then, what inheritance are you going to leave him when you close your eyes on this world? A couple of rooms, half a dozen big books, poverty, and nothing more. What times are before us, uncle; what times! My poor boy is growing very delicate in his health, and he won’t be able to work—it makes him dizzy now to read a book; he gets a headache and nausea whenever he works at night! He will have to beg a paltry situation; I shall have to take in sewing, and who knows, who knows but we may have to beg our bread!”
“Oh, I know very well what I am talking about! Fine times before us!” added the excellent woman, forcing still more the lachrymose note in her diatribe. “My God! What is going to become of us? Ah, it is only a mother’s heart that can feel these things! Only a mother is capable of suffering so much anxiety about a son’s welfare. How should you understand it? No; it is one thing to have children and to suffer anxiety on their account and another to sing the gori gori in the cathedral and to teach Latin in the institute. Of great use is it for my son to be your nephew and to have taken so many honors and to be the pride and ornament of Orbajosa. He will die of starvation, for we already know what law brings; or else he will have to ask the deputies for a situation in Havana, where the yellow fever will kill him.”
“No, I am not grieving, I am silent now; I won’t annoy you any more. I am very troublesome, always crying and sighing; and I am not to be endured because I am a fond mother and I will look out for the good of my beloved son. I will die, yes, I will die in silence, and stifle my grief. I will swallow my tears, in order not to annoy his reverence the canon. But my idolized son will comprehend me and he won’t put his hands to his ears as you are doing now. Woe is me! Poor Jacinto knows that I would die for him, and that I would purchase his happiness at the sacrifice of my life. Darling child of my soul! To be so deserving and to be forever doomed to mediocrity, to a humble station, for—don’t get indignant, uncle—no matter what airs we put on, you will always be the son of Uncle Tinieblas, the sacristan of San Bernardo, and I shall never be any thing more than the daughter