Bellamore’s Triple Theft
(El triple robo de Bellamore)
by Horacio Quiroga
Some days ago the courts sentenced Juan Carlos Bellamore to five years in prison, for robbing several banks. I have some relationship with Bellamore: he is a thin and serious young man, carefully dressed in black. I believe him quite incapable of these deeds, of any deed whatsoever that requires keen nerves. He knew that he was an eternal bank employee; I heard him say so many times, and he even added sadly that his future was a dead end; there would never be anything else. I also know that if there is an employee who is punctual and discreet, it would certainly be Bellamore. Without being his friend, I held him in esteem, regretting his misfortune. Yesterday afternoon I discussed the case with a group of acquaintances.
“Yes,” one of them told me, “they have given him five years. I knew him a little; he was quite reserved. How did it not occur to me that it should be him? The accusation was prompt.”
“What?” I asked, surprised.
“The accusation; he was denounced.”
“Lately,” someone else added, “he had lost a great deal of weight.” And he concluded gravely: “Me, I no longer trust anyone.”
I quickly changed the subject. I asked if the accuser was known.
“It was made known yesterday. It’s Zaninski”
I very much wanted to hear the story from Zaninski’s lips. First, the peculiarity of the denunciation, with absolutely no personal interest; second, the means that he used for the discovery. How had he known it was Bellamore?
The Other’s Crime
(El crimen del otro)
by Horacio Quiroga
The adventures that I am going to relate date from five years ago. Back then, I was just leaving my adolescence. Though not what they call high-strung, I had the highest degree of talent for gesticulation, at times carrying myself to extremes so absurd that I came to inspire real shock while I spoke. This imbalance between my ideas—the most natural possible—and my gestures—the wildest possible—amused my friends, but only those who were in on the secret of this unequalled eccentricity. My tics only went so far, and even then, not always. My friend Fortunato came later onto the scene: he who is the subject of all I am about to tell.
Poe was at that time the only author that I read. That damned madman had come to dominate me completely; there was not a single book on my table that wasn’t one of his. My head was full of Poe, as if it had been emptied into the mold of “Ligeia”. “Ligeia!” How I adored that tale! Adored all of them, and intensely: Valdemar, who died seven months afterwards; Dupin, in search of the purloined letter; the L’Espanaye women, desperate on the fourth floor; Berenice, dead and betrayed; all, all were familiar to me. But above all, “The Cask of Amontillado” had seduced me like my own intimate affair: Montresor, “The Carnival”, “Fortunato”, were for me so familiar that I read this tale without naming the characters; and at the same time I envied Poe so much that I would have cut off his right hand with pleasure for writing that marvellous intrigue. Sitting at home, in the corner, I spent over four hours reading this story with a delight of which certainly a large part was an aversion to Fortunato. He dominated the entire tale, all of it, everything. Not a smile, not any impatience of Fortunato escaped my scrutiny. What did I not know about Fortunato and his deplorable disposition?