—105→ —106→ —107→
Almost a century ago, what took place on May 2, 1874 in Spain became in its way nearly as significant an event to the nation and to journalist Benito Pérez Galdós as the original and more famous Dos de mayo de 1808. For the nation, this date represented the successful repulse of Carlist troops from their siege of the city of Bilbao and the relief of its inhabitants by national forces during the second and last of the Carlist Wars. To Galdós it meant the appearance of yet another magic cifra in a curious pattern of heroic national destiny, part of which he had already treated in recent major works, and for which he had just completed an important newspaper article -which is the object of our present study and which accompanies it.
Entitled simply «El Dos de Mayo», this piece is by no means among the 'lost' or the 'inédita', or even unknown. However, it has never been properly noticed or analyzed, a deprivation which has heretofore obscured its value as a special phase in Galdós' creative process with his episodios nacionales. Conveniently and coincidentally -as we shall see below-, «El Dos de Mayo» celebrates the national victories in the north during the spring of 1874 by means of a more direct and explicit commemoration of the original Dos de mayo de 1808 as the inspirational departure point for the spirit of national independence dating from that year to the present. To the best of our knowledge, even in this diminutive form «El Dos de Mayo» is Galdós' only treatment, however implicit, of the national victory over the Carlists in the Second Carlist War, apart from its more exhaustive handling in his much later episodio nacional, De Cartago a Sagunto (1911), and two earlier ones which dealt with the other (and also unsuccessful) sieges of Bilbao during the First Carlist War of 1835-36: Zumalacárregui (1898) and Luchana (1899).328
For these reasons and others to be presently discussed, «El Dos de Mayo» is a significant addition to galdosiana, not only 'archeologically' speaking, but also because it represents a rather peculiar piece of evidence of the existence of a special preparatory ur-quell in his creative process on this theme, extending toward its later and fuller development in his major works.
This article is not untypical of the kind of piece which Galdós would have produced as a political commentary or editorial for the other newspapers with strong political inclinations for which he had worked previously, such as Las Cortes, El Debate or the Revista de España. It is also another example of one of Galdós' occasional professional foibles in the form of «double-dealing» or multiple submission; he sold «El Dos de Mayo» to two different publications. The re-publication of the article however was not a question of a safe span of weeks, months or even years after the appearance of the original, as was the case with other segments of Galdós' journalism. On the contrary, «El Dos de Mayo» appeared almost simultaneously (and very probably unbeknownst to the editors of each) in two different periodicals. Its apparent initial printing was in the revista, La Guirnalda on May 1, 1874 (Año VIII, —108→ núm. 9, pp. 1-2) and again unaltered on the following day, in the Madrid, newspaper, El Gobierno («Diario político de la mañana»; Año III, núm. 433, p. 1). But what is even more interesting is the possibility that Galdós deceived the editors of both publications by passing off to them as a new or original article what in fact partially consisted of three paragraphs from the final chapter of his most recent episodio nacional, Zaragoza, -while simultaneously hoping perhaps that neither the inclusion or the dual publication would be perceived by the respective editors or readers of the two periodicals. It should be pointed out here however, that such an insertion is not another example of a common practice in Spanish newspapers of that period and afterwards: the publication of fragments of the works of well-known authors in the form of entire chapters or the most attractive abridgements for the interest of readers and critics alike. This honor was bestowed upon Galdós almost immediately after the appearance of La Fontana de oro and continued throughout and even beyond his career. The present instance on the other hand, must be regarded as an even newer aspect of his creative process, a curious reversal of the heretofore accepted theory regarding the relationship between Galdós' newspaper articles and his major works, i.e., topics, themes or characters first treated on a small scale in the former, ultimately attain greater proportion and force in the latter.
In the face of and in spite of such unusual circumstances, «El Dos de Mayo» has gone almost completely unobserved for some very understandable and yet equally strange reasons. In the case of La Guirnalda the relative invisibility of the article is more ironic. Because of its innocuous nature (it was designated in its cabecera as a «Periódico quincenal, Dedicado al bello sexo»), Galdós had no reason to require anonymity or the concealment of his association with it as he was compelled to do with his employment by some publications and his contributions to others. Nor would he have been able to do so at that stage in his career; by 1874, Galdós was already famous as a journalist and novelist and a prominent contributor to La Guirnalda, and would continue to be -which may help to explain why «El Dos de Mayo» seems to have been overshadowed by all the rest of his more interesting pieces in it, such as his cuentos and fragments of the episodios, although this article and the others were all signed.329 By contrast, and as far as we have been able to determine through a survey of the contents of El Gobierno, the reprint of «El Dos de Mayo» was Galdós' only contribution to it, and thus in its own way literally was buried in the diario. The unique appearance of it here, the very day after its original publication likewise hints of special motives or alliances which Galdós may well have preferred to keep confidential, quite possibly to avoid compromising his professional ethics, his standing with La Guirnalda and his secret creative idiosyncrasy in the use of the three paragraphs from Zaragoza.
Although Galdós signed «El Dos de Mayo» in El Gobierno, oddly enough it is the only signed article in the entire two-year history of the newspaper, a fact which further confounds any proper investigation of its background. It is unfortunate therefore that this article and the many unknown details surrounding its publication are but another example of the typically elusive nature of Galdós' journalistic career, much of which is temporarily or even permanently still denied to galdosistas in the form of anonymous articles, those signed with cabalistic initials, or his own intentional inscrutability concerning them. Or else too, they were the victims of human errores de cajista, of Galdós' absent-mindedness, or of combinations of all of the above. —109→ Similarly, and as far as we have been able to determine from an extensive analysis of Galdós' journalism and of his associations and friendships with editors and other redactores, in conjunction with a detailed study of the press of that period, there is no existing record of his ever having been employed by El Gobierno, or of having contributed articles to it.330 Nor have any references to his connection with it ever appeared among his works, in remarks by his friends or contemporaries, or in the many documented interviews with Galdós -which were often the source of interesting biographical data as well as revelations about other phases of his newspaper work.
The history of El Gobierno itself is also mysterious, a condition which to a small degree served Galdós in yet another way. It commenced publication during the era of Federal Republicanism, with whose politics it was more or less aligned, and lasted for slightly more than two years (December 3, 1872 to December 30, 1874). Little else is known about it however, owing to its studied anonymity. There are no listings of or references to El Gobierno in any of the major catalogues, bibliographies or studies of the Spanish press, nor does any information appear among the issues of El Gobierno itself which discloses the identities of its director and staff, or other statistics about it.331 This intentional facelessness was a necessary safeguard for the protection of the newspaper and its personnel from suspension or more visceral reprisals for printed views which were potentially or actually offensive to others, especially the government. In the case of El Gobierno such a confusing but practical measure apparently extended its relative longevity even for such troubled times; it survived without hiatus until suspended following its final issue of December 30, 1874 and never reappeared there-after.332 Although the political affiliations of El Gobierno were never clearly established, toward the end of 1874, its pro-Republican stance with some hints of Carlist sympathies, may have been factors which brought about its demise, duly recorded by Galdós in Cánovas (1912) in yet another instance of the multi-directional effect of both lived and vicarious experiences upon his creative process. El Gobierno, in the company of several other important newspapers of the day, such as El Pueblo, La Igualdad, La Iberia and El Correo de Madrid, was terminated as part of a general anticipatory crack-down by the government on suspected or actual anti-monarchist newspapers, following the golpe de estado of December 29, 1874 in favor of young Alfonso XII.333
The circumstances surrounding the publication of «El Dos de Mayo» in El Gobierno are similarly vague, although we may safely assume that it was achieved through a contact among Galdós' wide circle of journalistic friendships. On the other hand, the special nature of the article and the significance of its lonesome appearance in 1874 are, we believe, more closely related to Galdós' particular burst of creative energy at this juncture, of which «El Dos de Mayo» is clearly a direct by-product. By this date Galdós was a recognized author of three novels and six volumes in the primera serie of the new episodios nacionales and had become an attractive literary commodity -which may explain why his article was the only signed one in El Gobierno.
More importantly, Galdós' original commemoration of the Dos de mayo de 1808 theme in the episodio is given greater meaning and stature as the staunchness of the national character portrayed in it is further corroborated by the governmental victory in the rescue of Bilbao on that very same day in 1874. When he composed «El Dos de Mayo» for publication in La Guirnalda on May 1, Galdós could not have had exact knowledge of the approaching victory itself, but could have foreseen it on the —110→ basis of reports of military progress in the north and from both the historical and actual evidence of the typical resistance of the bilbaínos to Carlist sieges. This is as implicit in the larger original segment of «El Dos de Mayo» as in the transferred inclusion from Zaragoza, additionally reinforcing the validity of the attribution of the Dos de mayo de 1808 ideology to Spain as a national trait in itself.
Moreover, the singularity and immediacy of the article (with its Zaragoza paragraphs) preclude its being merely a reprint of an earlier contribution by Galdós to celebrate the same occasion, as was his custom with other articles.334 The originality of «El Dos de Mayo» in 1874 is also assured by its unheralded and uncommented appearance; if it had been a reprint from La Nación, El Debate, Las Cortes, or the Revista de España, and whether signed or anonymous, it would have been easily noticed and assigned to Galdós for reasons of content and style and because of his known relationship with these publications. «El Dos de Mayo» or anything resembling it does not appear in any of them or in other periodicals with which Galdós has been tentatively identified either as a redactor or occasional contributor.335 The rarity of this particular article is also enhanced for other reasons. Except for the publication of a number of his cuentos in revistas from 1872 through 1876, other contributions of any nature to any periodical should be considered unusual, since Galdós was supposed to have completely ceased active journalism the year before.336 In reality, Galdós' departure from newspaper work was caused by the more immediate distraction of producing fiction on a full-time basis, yet the special originality and timeliness of «El Dos de Mayo» at this moment is also fixed by its relationship to that phase of his career, notably its resemblance to the national pulse-taking developed in his political articles written just prior to the present piece. Such probing insights are present to a lesser degree in many of the articles of Galdós' «Crónica parlamentaria» series published from 1869 to 1870 in Las Cortes, but are more evident in the mature political analyses of the fourteen «Revista política interior» of more recent vintage (1871-1872) which he wrote for the Revista de España. In «El Dos de Mayo», Galdós' pointed observations on the national character and spirit combined with specific accounts of individual and collective heroism -already found in greater scope in the episodios nacionales, the significance of whose chronological proximity to the present article is of inescapable value to us- further confirm it as a product of their creative process, notwithstanding the substantiation supplied by the added section from Zaragoza. According, «El Dos de Mayo» cannot be regarded as another of the ubiquitous essays on the theme which annually reflected upon the meaning of the Dos de mayo de 1808, but in this instance more evidence of the forceful impression such events made upon Galdós and of the creative compulsion it aroused in him.
In its expression in this article however, the Dos de mayo de 1808 theme also has the distinction of being Galdós' final statement on it in this particular form until his much later celebrations of its centenary in 1908 after he had again resumed active politics as a diputado.337 But in its present form in «El Dos de Mayo» the spirit of the Dos de mayo de 1808 achieves what could be described as an amalgamation of all of Galdós' portrayals of it to date,338 in a final post-episodio stage in the development of a newer vision of it, which then becomes more firmly fixed by means of the coincidence of fortuitious victories in the north on the same date sixty-two years later. In fact as dealt with here, the theme of the Dos de mayo de 1808 is also a lightly novelized schematization of the effect and consequences of that event upon the Spanish nation leading up to the present heroic predicament of Bilbao, a —111→ valid projection furnished in the three added paragraphs from Zaragoza. The result is not merely more history as such, but a costumbrismo de la historia in which Galdós is still able to detail all the essential facts, intrigues and small deeds as in his major works. For example, the Numancian ideal of resistance and defense of the pueblo is just as clearly conveyed in miniature in «El Dos de Mayo» as in its wider exploration in the episodios. Such vivid patriotism is obvious in its fifth through ninth paragraphs inclusive, wherein Galdós pinpoints the Puerta del Sol as epicenter of the shockwave of uprising and then traces some of the after-effects of its exemplary reverberations elsewhere.
But for the purposes of his article, what was more essential to Galdós in the representation of the theme of the Dos de mayo de 1808, in contrast with the character of its portrayal in his episodios, is greater concentration on the basic inspirational ideology of the event as embodied in subsequent incitations to direct physical implementation of the ideal of independence itself. Hence, the nearly perfect anonymity of «El Dos de Mayo» to better communicate the sacredness of this ideal. The majority of the real protagonists mentioned in it are unnamed and their specific acts unrecorded, while they are scrutinized in the episodios. For instance, the heroic artillery officers, Daoiz and Velarde are only alluded to in «El Dos de Mayo» but are just as easily recognizable outside of the episodios. By comparison, what does not appear anywhere in these larger works -the description of how the alarm for the national uprising in 1808 was sent out to the rest of the nation from the nearby town of Móstoles by its alcaldes (see text)- attains approximately the same proportions in «El Dos de Mayo» as its treatment by historians.339 Although the dimensions of the article are clearly prohibitive to such detailing, even in such reduction, Galdós demonstrates the same talent for universalizing Spanish patriotism through the mutual identifiability of the national character and the type of deed it would instigate.
In this same regard, the economy of «El Dos de Mayo» does not diminish its value as an 'unknown' article by Galdós, but instead enhances its newer importance as unusual example of his craft for what it really is: an amorphous product of his creative process caught at an intermediary or transitional phase in it, from one generic form to another. And, owing to this condition, we are given yet one more variant on the theme described by galdosistas as the direct creative interrelationship between Galdós' newspaper articles and his major works,340 as well as a glimpse at the pre(and post-) history of the episodios nacionales -and even novelas contemporáneas.341 Heretofore, but with the exception of «El Dos de Mayo» and the discovery of additional evidence which demonstrates otherwise, this process, already mentioned earlier in this study, is generally and correctly determined as a linear progression from newspaper articles to major works. But where the present article and the theme of the Dos de mayo de 1808 are concerned, this 'normal' process is disrupted and substantially altered. Instead of his early newspaper articles serving as the foundation for the later episodios, in our opinion because of the gigantic proportions of the theme and its implications, such a preliminary role was actually assumed by another genre: a cuento. The one in question is Galdós' Dos de mayo de 1808, dos de septiembre de 1870 (1870), which although one might regard it as the first stage of influence by earlier newspaper articles in the creative process toward the episodios, such is not the case; the former are mainly commemorative essays and quite different even from «El Dos de Mayo», while the cuento is a special prototype for Galdós' vision and treatment of the Dos de mayo de 1808 theme found in El 19 de marzo y el 2 de mayo —112→ and its sequels dealing with further developments of the same theme (Bailén, Zaragoza, et al).342 These episodios are the inspirational design for the present article, whose particular generic likeness to them is an obvious result, and demonstrate how the old linear direction (a newspaper article as the source of fuller treatment in a major work) in this sector of Galdós' creative influences is somewhat reversed, as follows: cuento → episodio(s) → article.
But in the same way that «El Dos de Mayo» is evidence of a new small variant in Galdós' creative process, its final ('article') stage in this cycle also functions as a corrective to renew and re-inaugurate, the old linear one. Thus, to the pattern «cuento → episodio → article» («El Dos de Mayo»), is appended yet another link in the chain: → episodio(s). This restoration is mainly effected by means of the added paragraphs from Zaragoza, which circumstance does not devalue «El Dos de Mayo» in this regard, but enhances it through the catalystic role performed by them. That brief segment is discovered to be as equally applicable to the Spain of the War of Independence within the context of Chapter XXX of Zaragoza, as to the Spain and Europe of the present (1874), in further demonstration of the visionary universality in Galdós' grasp of history and its politics.
With Zaragoza completed less than a month before the publication of «El Dos de Mayo», the dire predictions of ruin for France pronounced in the last three paragraphs of Chapter XXX of the episodio and added to the article are as conveniently attributable to the future of the neighbor nation from an imagined point of view in 1809, as to the smugly hindsighted righteousness of their editorializing on the present in the special context of the article. In fact this latter characteristic, quite acceptable for the genre and dimensions of an article such as «El Dos de Mayo», is a rather strange though not uncommon inclusion for an episodio and strongly suggests to us -especially in view of their proximity- that Galdós may have composed the article before he completed the episodio (or that part of it), thereby possibly controverting our theory on the reversed creative process mentioned above. However at the present time, we have no proof to support this alternative.
In the same vein, Galdós' series of ironic parallels drawn between Spain's achievements («grandes subidas y bajadas») from 1808 onwards, and the concurrent misadventures of France, culminating in the disaster of the Franco-Prussian War (over which he gloats retributively although it is not explicitly mentioned) merely confirm both his predictions about the French and his observations on the strength of the Spanish national character. Such francophobia, a necessarily inherent sentiment of the earlier episodios embracing the War of Independence and afterwards,343 was subsequently transformed into public admiration for the other nation,344 and then even compassion; in a later episodio nacional, España trágica (1909), Vicente Halconero describes the terrible effects of the Franco-Prussian War upon the Parisian populace during that brief and demoralizing conflict.345
With these examples, the accuracy and applicability of Casalduero's theorem on Galdós' uses of history for different purposes and at divergent points («El Galdós joven iba a la historia en busca de experiencia; el Galdós viejo, con su experiencia, encuentra el significado de la Historia. Antes, hacía depender el presente del pasado; de manera positivista, se consideraba el presente como efecto del pasado, la causa; ahora, ve como todo el pasado se organiza e interpreta desde el presente»)346 is also evident. The «Galdós viejo» is a relative concept, since the creative circumstances of «El Dos de Mayo» (including both the 'original' part of it and that taken from —113→ Zaragoza) accommodate the remaining half of Casalduero's analysis concerning a characteristic of a supposed later phase in his literary production. Galdós' general observations on the reactive spontaneity of the national character in times of emergency, for example, render it a virtue as typical of the heroic citizens of Bilbao in their historically successful defenses of their city as it was of the madrileños and their unsuccessful uprising in 1808. And elsewhere throughout «El Dos de Mayo», other remarks concerning the national attitude toward monarchies, accounts of individual heroism, and statements such as «No, los verdaderos sediciosos no conseguirán poner jamás á su bajo nivel á los dos heroicos insurrectos del Dos de Mayo», or «Lo que no ha pasado ni pasará es la idea de nacionalidad que España defendía contra el derecho de conquista y la usurpación», and «[...] aun hoy mismo, cuando parece hemos llegado al último grado del envilecimiento, con más motivos que Polonia para ser repartida, nadie se atreve á intentar la conquista de esta casa de locos», etc., (italics mine) are demonstrable attributes of the fragmented and problematical Spain of the early 1870's.
Galdós' attraction for and exploration of the theme of the Dos de Mayo de 1808 in the present article possesses still another advantage with regard to its relevance to the events of 1808 and 1874. «El Dos de Mayo» resembles but also antedates by twenty-three years, a similar fascination for it expressed by Miguel de Unamuno in his first novel, Paz en la guerra (1897), itself inspired by the author's memories of the siege of Bilbao in 1874. Unamuno however, creates a more mystic triad of dates with the inclusion between the two already mentioned, of a third, the Dos de mayo de 1866 (the Battle of Callao),347 and concludes that these heroic dates are a divinely bestowed typical national formula. Galdós obviously prefers the original and most salient of them, with the implied insistence that an element of the national character and not the date alone is the root of the spirit of 1808 and hence the quality of all subsequent heroism, whether coincidental or not with fixed points in time. In his characterizations of the rasgos which have inspired the glories and victories of Spain and which have evidenced as well its weaknesses and defeats, in «El Dos de Mayo» Galdós anticipates much of the socio-anthropological perspective of Ángel Ganivet's Idearium español and provides, if not in the form of open proof, then at least a glimmer of the atmosphere and direction of his influence upon the latter heretofore studied only moderately.348 In this article Galdós' views that the national values are found within the pueblo as raza are just as noventayochista as Unamuno or Ganivet, and, at such an early juncture in is career proves that he is no less passionate a champion for his nation or diagnostician of its ailments than they were a quarter of a century or so afterwards. Such ardent 'hispanization' in Galdós' outlook also has international implications; in «El Dos de Mayo» he further insists that only Spain can determine her own destiny or indict herself for her faults, and not leave such tasks to improper outsiders -as his references to the Congress of Vienna clearly indicate.
One other feature of «El Dos de Mayo» even transcends the particular significance of its applicability to the ideologies of the Generation of 98. Galdós' ideal of the rights of sovereign states and his criticism of its trespassers contained in his denunciations of France are an early variant of his later pro-Allies and anti-German posture during World War I directed at the latter nation for its violations of the sovereignty —114→ of other European nations, and also pointed at its supporters and followers in officially neutral but openly pro-German Spain.349
* * *
The original text of «El Dos de Mayo» is reproduced below exactly as it appeared in La Guirnalda and El Gobierno. For comparative purposes, and at the point where Galdós added the three paragraphs from Chapter XXX of Zaragoza, we have divided the text into two columns. The continuation of «El Dos de Mayo» appears in the left column over Galdós' printed signature; the one on the right contains the portion from the episodio nacional. Brackets have been used to set off textual differences between that part of the article and its own supposedly 'original' version as well as point out the few added touches of intensified emotion thereby supplied by Galdós in this very small example of his continually evolving creative process.
EL DOS DE MAYO
Todo envejece y se marchita menos los laureles ganados de tarde en tarde por hombres de extraordinario valer intelectual ó moral, que laboriosamente ó en un solo dia de acción rápida e inspirada deciden la suerte de las naciones.
Los movimientos lentos y progresivos que desarrollan una idea, la aplican á la vida práctica, son peculiares de otras naciones, no de España, que vive siempre al dia, y en un dia se hunde ó se salva. No espereis nada de ella en lo que es obra de paciencia. Falta de perseverancia, necesita siglos para hacer lo que otras naciones realizan en algunos años. Pero en las obras de la rápida iniciativa y de la creación instantánea, en esas obras del momento que ¡oh contradicción! son siempre realizadas por los perezosos, España no tiene igual, y su historia es la historia de los golpes de mano, gloriosos y grandes los unos, pequeños y miserables los otros. Todos sus problemas los resuelve así, y cortando sin cesar los nudos de su historia, va viviendo al través del siglo. En ella reina lo imprevisto y lo brusco, y su vitalidad no se manifiesta jamás en una labor cachazuda y de desarrollo, sino en arranques violentos y de sorpresa.
Es probable que sin los sucesos del Dos de Mayo de 1808 en Madrid, la guerra de la Independencia hubiera tomado otro giro; tal vez, si no la iniciara aquel sangriento duelo a muerte, habría sido más humana y su resultado quizás distinto. No es fácil adivinar cuál hubiera sido la actitud del ejército español, ó de una parte de él, sin aquel lago de sangre, que el furor bélico de un dia puso entre nuestro soldado y el francés.
El invasor había comenzado su trabajo dominando la cabeza, es decir, la familia real, creyendo sin duda fácil apoderarse del hato de carneros, una vez eliminado el pastor; pero no fue así. España, esencialmente monárquica, no comprendió ó no quiso comprender la bajeza de sus monarcas, sostuvo el principio sin personas que directamente lo representaran, y lo proclamó emblema de la defensa nacional. Tenía tropa, aunque muy inferior á la de nuestros enemigos; pero la nación entera se trocó en ejército, y los soldados de línea, por un compromiso tácito, se fundieron en él, rompiendo el juramento que les ligaba formulariamente á los generales de la usurpación.
Todo fué obra de unos cuantos dias, y jamás se ha visto un suceso como aquel, que tan bien se expresa con la palabra levantamiento. Esta voz no tiene igual en ninguna lengua, porque el soulevement francés, y el revolt de los ingleses, no expresan —115→ la misma idea, y nos pertenece como la tristemente célebre pronunciamiento, que indica las conmociones del pueblo y del ejército, hijas de la conspiración.
En 1808 no hubo conspiración, y bastó que un supuesto alcalde de cierto pueblo inmediato escribiera un papelucho con mal estilo y peor ortografía, entregándolo á los arrieros, para que circulara por todo el país la noticia de los acontecimientos de la córte, y se exaltaran los ánimos hasta el frenesí. Hoy la proclama incendiaria y que promete á los pobres el bienestar de los ricos, apenas logra arrastrar á unos cuantos infelices que no tienen otro medio de ganar un jornal. Entonces D. Juan Pérez de Villaamil no necesitó más que cuatro palabras. Todo lo escrito por el alcalde de Móstoles cabe en un papel de cigarro.350
Antes de esto, dos oficiales de artilleria distinguidos, aunque oscuros, habían dado la primera voz y descargado los primeros golpes en aquella disputa y aquel duelo que, costando á España rios de sangre, hirió de muerte al imperio francés. La breve historia de aquellos dos héroes sabida es de todo el mundo. Comienza al amanecer del dia Dos de Mayo y termina al medio dia. Su vida anterior poco nos importa, y ni uno ni otro hicieron cosa alguna digna de la inmortalidad, hasta que rompieron la órden que les sometía villanamente al lugarteniente del imperio. Su indisciplina, idea formulada en la mente de la nación, no les da responsabilidad alguna, y aunque este hecho es considerado por algunos como precursor de otros ménos gloriosos y de parecida naturaleza, ello es cierto que hay ocasiones en que la lógica, la razón, la conveniencia y hasta la justicia están de parte de la violación de la ley escrita. Verdad es también que el nombre de la patria, evocado siempre para cumplir la ley y para quebrantarla, se presta á pérfidas reservas, y en la elasticidad de concepto que ofrece el lema de interés nacional, caben toda la gloria y toda la vergüenza de una generación. No, los verdaderos sediciosos no conseguirán poner jamás á su bajo nivel á los dos heroicos insurrectos del Dos de Mayo.
El pueblo de la corte responde á su heroismo con extraordinaria unanimidad, y para contenerlo, Murat cree necesario exterminarlo. La vejez, la debilidad, la infamia, nada es respetado, é innumerables víctimas de ambos sexos son sacrificadas á una brutal venganza. Los usurpadores consumaron con este acto, que además de bárbaro fué impolítico, su perdición; y no se comprende que el envainar las espadas en la mañana del 3 de Mayo, conservaron ilusiones sobre el éxito de la empresa que tan pérfidamente habían acometido.
Dada la señal, la guerra comienza con proporciones horrorosas. En toda la vasta estensión de la Península ocurren sin cesar un dia y otro dia sangrientos encuentros, y la nación se resignó á perder vidas, haciendas, bienestar, por sacar triunfante no simplemente el país, sino el pensamiento que defendia.
|B. PÉREZ GALDÓS|
|(O.C., I, ed. 1964, pp. 758-759)|