Espais literaris de Jesús Moncada

Els molls de l’Ebre

Els molls de l’Ebre

  1. Català
  2. Alemany
  3. Anglès
  4. Aragonès
  5. Castellà
  6. Eslovè
  7. Francès
  8. Hongarès
  9. Neerlandès
  10. Polonès
  11. Serbi
  12. Txec

Llegit per Judith Willis

Inside the gloomy hall, in the viscous blackness that rose from the quayside full of rotting ships, Senyora Carlota de Torres seemed to see once more the sun that had dazzled her at the railway station at Faió, when she and Hipòlit de Móra had alighted from the Barcelona train on return from their honeymoon. One of her sailing barges was supposed to meet them in this village, which lay downstream from the town; they brought coal here from the Torres mines, the most important of the few that had survived the 1919 slump and that were still working at virtually full capacity. But there were no sailors there to welcome them, to collect their luggage or take them to the boat.

“I suppose you sent the telegram,” she said in annoyance on seeing the empty platform.

“Yes, of course I did. Maybe the station master knows something or has a message for us.”

He was nowhere to be seen. After waving the train off with his red flag he had vanished into thin air.

“It’s all very odd. Look…”

Past the heaps of lignite en route for the factories of Barcelona and through the shimmering heat, pierced by the repetitive sound of the cicadas, they could see two barges tied up at the wharves; but no crew on board or shovelling the shiny black mineral, now grey beneath the whitish film of the heat haze.

Bewildered and confused, Hipòlit began hypothesizing. The telegram had been held up, there had been a last-minute hitch in the barges’ journey, or maybe a boat had run aground, quite probable with the low level of the Ebro in summer, which led to danger in backwaters and shallow stretches where it was not unusual for boats skippered by second-rate captains to get stuck. This string of conjectures on top of solving nothing, intensified his wife’s exasperation to the point where she nearly exploded. She felt offended and humiliated. Who would ever have thought that Carlota de Torres i Camps – she never used her husband’s surname – would have to wait amid a pile of suitcases, abandoned at the very railway station where they loaded her lignite, alongside a river plied by her vessels and her sailors and which she felt belonged to her as of right? Where were the Torres i Camps workers from Faió?

The Towpath [Camí de sirga] Trad. a l’anglès de Judith Willis. Londres, Harvill Press (HarperCollins), 1994.

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