For many years the Buenos Aires Herald ran an irregular column written by Basil Thomson (aka B.T.) called Ramon Writes. Ramon (always without accent) had a less than perfect control of English but was a master of Spanglish. Ramon’s last communication with BT was on July 13 1977. The last readers heard of him he was working aboard a liner, then …
Recently, in a periodic cleanup, the following letter turned at the Herald offices. It seems to have arrived in about 1995 and to have been swept up with some other papers. It does at least explain Ramon’s initial long silence, if not the second one ..
How much it makes that I don’t make reach you my notices. The truth it is that I have had the disgrace to be encarcelated during the latest eighteen years. The blame was not mine, but intend to explain was to the divine button. There is not the worse deaf that he who doesn’t want to hear.
You will remind yourself I was working of waiter aboard of a transatlantic and it touched me a companion of the bed of alternating current, Rosanna, also a waiter of table but of the side opposite, and there armed itself a bundle of the great seven.
Of not to be able to go down of the bark in Genoa I had to support that one and what bronc it gave me until that we found ourselves in London and he asked me the chief of machines to go of shopping with him like interpreter. It results that the chief of machines knew not a potato of the English and as I dominate it (after all the years I have of perfecting it) desired that I accompanied him in order that he buys gifts for his woman and creatures.
So that we find ourselves with the chief of machines making buys in the England’s capital. I am diverting myself in great, saluting all the people and practising the English, and everything it is going us well but is always raining and with the cold it makes I become aphonic and can’t more with the interpretation, but the chief of machines he says not to preoccupy myself as in every case I can anote on a sheet or if not point it with the finger.
I am of agree, and there is where begins all the problem. On small sheets I anote the words ‘How much costs this one?’, ‘I carry myself three’, ‘Put me it all in this bag’, etc., thinking so I can demonstrate them to the employed of the stores. And very well walks the system – I deliver the bag and the message and the employed she very well understands me.
But the latest day pass me the following. The chief of machines he charges me of finding a pistol for his older son that lets free sparks and makes the great noise, during he occupies him by passing for the consulate and other diligences of the latest moment. And when I arrive to buy the pistol I think why not buy me one also. I think on menacing Rosanna, the pistol it is very realistic, so that Rosanna leaves to molest me more. So that I buy me another pistol more and I guard me it in the pocket of the jacket where I guard the money and the documents.
But before to return to the bark I have to pass for the house of change for to change me the pounds that stay me. You will remind you that I am aphonic so the bag of shopping I put it on the shelf and I take out the sheet where are anoted the words ‘Please change me these pounds to dollars’ but disgracefully I mistake myself and I deliver to the employes of the house of change the note where says ‘Put me it all in this bag’.
During so much I am trying to take out the wallet where I guard the document of the pocket, but it doesn’t want to go out because of the pistol I bought to shock Rosanna so I am obliged to myself to take out the pistol and then there arms itself a bundle bigger that a house and I find myself on the back and then come the agents of the police and they carry me to the station of the police.
Well, I intend to explain that happened, that I am waiter of table on transatlantic, of Rosanna, of the chief of machine’s creatures, etc., but there isn’t case, and they carry me to the tribunal which calls itself Old Bailey, and the judge he dictates me the sentence that I must pass eighteen years at her majesty’s delight. Of those years better I don’t speak. Like those years my friend I don’t want to pass another.
So it resulted, and recently now I make the preparations to voyage of return to Buenos Aires. You can calculate me to be of return soon, and if for there there is an entry in your diary for a colaborator or traducer you can count with me to be disposable. (It goes without to say that now my domination of the English is complete). And if there doesn’t present itself an entry for me of immediate in your diary, for there you are vinculated with persons or amisties of confidence of whom you can ask an attention.
In all case, I compromise myself to put me in contact or there or from the exterior for a letter as this one. There faults little for that we take a cup with you, and until then receive salutes from your friend,