Don Lorenzo Tostado
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ISBN illustrated paperback: 9788498163162
Don Lorenzo Tostado is part of the second part of Juan Valera’s literary career, along with Elisa, la Malagueña and Mariquita y Antonio. This short story consists of six chapters, which basically describe the daily reality of the protagonist, his many personal aspects and his relationship with his environment, where reading counts the most and less the direct contact with the people.
The following excerpt from Don Lorenzo Tostado helps to confirm the nature of the main character in the story:
“Days and nights I pass without seeing anyone, and for consolation and distraction I enter through books, like Santiago through the Moors, and from the description of a rare amphibian, I pass to the strategies of Polybius; for which I fear I am going to become wise, against my will.”
Don Lorenzo Tostado
Twice a week, Thursdays and Sundays, Mr. Lorenzo Tostado opened his salons and had a get-together in his magnificent house in a certain place in the province of Cordoba, whose real name I should conceal, calling it Villaverde. The wealthiest and most privileged people used to go there to enjoy themselves. There were two and even three tresillo tables, billiards and newspapers for the more political, serious and mature men. The old ladies used to entertain themselves by playing the lottery. And the young people, young men and women, were already playing games, dancing, and always chatting, laughing and having fun. There was no lack, on occasions, of those who sang on the piano something serious and difficult from Italian operas, nor those who, strumming and plucking the guitar masterfully, sang the caña, the malagueñas, the jota or sang new songs taken from the most applauded zarzuelas.Fragment of the work
That pleasant gathering acquired a reputation as a great provider of engagements and even fertile in marriages, which germinated there and eventually came to be arranged.
The other five days of the week Don Lorenzo did not want to see anyone. He devoted them to solitude, meditation and study. Don Lorenzo’s solitude was, however, very pleasant, because he kept in it, to brighten, enlighten and beatify her, his goddaughter Lolita, who, for her clearness, discretion and beauty, was the jewel of the place and the object of envy of all the unmarried girls who lived in it and in other towns ten or twelve leagues around. Lolita, although modest and demure, at all the fairs and pilgrimages she had shown herself, accompanying her godfather, had taken the cake and had eclipsed all the women.
That’s not why she was conceited. The one who was truly conceited, fluffy and enthusiastic about such triumphs was Don Lorenzo, his godfather.
We should not listen to gossip and local gossip. We must only say and affirm what is proven. The pretty Lola, who was eighteen years old at the time, was an orphan and had been raised in the house of Don Lorenzo, an old bachelor, about seventy years old, who had taken her out of her pile. Lola had become the mistress of everything in that house.
Don Lorenzo was a potentate. His compatriots spoke with astonishment of the great wealth he possessed, pondering how very rich he was, as a very rare case in those places. Without exaggeration, Don Lorenzo’s wealth was estimated at more than three million pesetas.
Would Lola inherit or not inherit such substantial assets? This was a question that everyone asked, but no one was able to answer.
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