written by Mariano José de Larra
[II] 421 – 437
In short, this story is a critique on the Spanish society of the time. It is losing its superpower status and is in a conflict between progressivism and traditionalism. Anyways, the story begins with a statement of theme: [la pereza] cerrerá las puertas del cielo a más de un critiano (422).
A stranger visits the narrator, a Spanish writer. The critique begins when the visitor says he believed all Spanish were gentlemen – something disproven by the horde of robbers he met. The visitor, Monsieur San-delai, then states his purpose: he is traveling to Madrid to prove his family identification, to claim his inheritance, to invest in Spain, and to visit Madrid. He proposes a reasonable schedule that is 15 days long. The narrator just laughs at the visitor’s naivety of Spanish life.
They go to the genealogist, and are met by their first (of many) “Vuelva Ud. mañana”s. The genealogist always has something to do: he has to take a break, he is about to leave, he as to go to the bullfight. Sin embargo, nunca encontraba momento oportuno para trabajar (427). This slowness is the way of life; everybody takes their time. The shoe maker, the ironer, the sombrero maker all need more time off.
When they bring the Monsieur’s documents to an office worker (which took a couple of days to even see him), the worker is too lazy to look for the documents. Instead, he says they were sent to another office. They travel around, only to discover that the documents were with the first office worker. The Monsieur becomes angry; the narrator just says la pereza es la verdadera intriga […] es más fácil negar las cosas que enterase de ellas (431). When the Monsiuer tries to invest money, he is declined because of Spanish arrogance: foreigners cannot invest. Out of frustration and advice from the narrator, the Monsieur departs.
The narrator then says that he is no exception! It took him many days and way too much effort, but he finally finished it, because he decided not to be so lazy. Da gracias a que llegó por fin este mañana, que no es del todo malo; pero ¡Ay de aquel mañana que no ha de llegar jamás! (436)
-la crítica social y política
-la prosa peninsular desde el Medioevo hasta el siglo XX