Sunday, September 06, 2009

Here's the missing text from yesterday's post . . . .

A ritual one regularly sees in bars in Spain is that of the loud but polite argument between two men, each of whom is insisting on paying for the drinks. This can take several minutes but is usually peaceably resolved, in accordance with principles with which I’m not familiar. As George Borrow put it in his 1840 book on Spanish gypsies:- On such occasions in Spain it is considered as a species of privilege to be allowed to pay, which is an honour generally claimed by the principal man of the party.

Sometimes, though, things can go awry. And here is Borrow again on one of these:- Whilst speaking of the Gitanos of Granada, we cannot pass by in silence a tragedy which occurred in this town some fifteen years ago. We allude to the murder of Pindamonas by Pepe Conde. Both these individuals were Gitanos; the latter was a celebrated contrabandista, of whom many remarkable tales are told. On one occasion, having committed some enormous crime, he fled over to Barbary and turned Moor, and was employed by the Moorish emperor in his wars, in company with the other renegade Spaniards. After the lapse of some years, when his crime was nearly forgotten, he returned to Granada, where he followed his old occupations of contrabandista and chalan. Pindamonas was a Gitano of considerable wealth, and was considered as the most respectable of the race at Granada, amongst whom he possessed considerable influence. Between this man and Pepe Conde there existed a jealousy, especially on the part of the latter, who, being a man of proud untameable spirit, could not well brook a superior amongst his own people. It chanced one day that Pindamonas and other Gitanos, amongst whom was Pepe Conde, were in a coffee-house. After they had all partaken of some refreshment, they called for the reckoning, the amount of which Pindamonas insisted on discharging. Pepe Conde did not fail to take umbrage at the attempt of Pindamonas, which he considered as an undue assumption of superiority, and put in his own claim; but Pindamonas insisted, and at last flung down the money on the table, whereupon Pepe Conde instantly unclasped one of those terrible Manchegan knives which are generally carried by the contrabandistas, and with a frightful gash opened the abdomen of Pindamonas, who presently expired.

Incidentally, there never seems to be much argument when I offer to pay for drinks. I’m trying hard to convince myself this is out of respect for my age and sagacity.

No comments: