Torquemada on the Cross

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Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788490079041

SKU: 9788490076026 Category: Tags: ,

The Tetralogy of the Torquemada Novels is a set of novels by Benito Pérez Galdós published between 1889 and 1895. The one that opens the group, entitled Torquemada at the stake (1889), is still framed within the “cycle of matter”, the first of all contemporary Spanish novels.
Already within the “spiritualist cycle”, Galdós wrote from 1893, in three successive years, Torquemada en la cru z (1893), Torquemada en el purgatorio (1894) and Torquemada y San Pedro (1895). Its protagonist, Francisco Torquemada, is a moneylender who exercises usury prospers in the Madrid of the first years of the Restoration.
The trilogy opens with Torquemada on the cross and moves in a triple scenario:

  • the nineteenth century debased by all that is material;
  • the Galdosian Madrid of billionaire Torquemada;
  • and the grotesque family of the Águilas, ruined aristocrats (the Cruz brothers, Fidela and Rafael).

Galdós, narrating the plot hatched by Cruz, will marry Fidela to the ambitious Torquemada, before the scandalized gaze of the blind Rafael. A plot that will serve the novelist to show the social phenomenon common to Spain and Europe in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the attitude of a ruling class “that does not compromise with political democracy, but with the democracy of money”.

Well, sir… It was May 15, the big day of Madrid (on this point there is no disagreement in the stories), of the year… (this I do not know; find out who wants to find out), when that irreparable misfortune occurred, which, for more signs, announced comets, cyclones and earthquakes, the death of Doña Lupe that of the turkeys, of sweet memory.
And the date of the very sad event is recorded, because Don Francisco Torquemada, who spent almost all that day in the house of his friend and buddy, Calle de Toledo, number… (I do not know the number either, nor do I think it matters) tells that, having caught the sick one, when the afternoon declined, a restorative dream that seemed a happy symptom of the end of the nervous breakdown, he went out to the balcony to take a little air and rest from the tiring guard that he mounted since ten in the morning; and there he was about half an hour contemplating the endless number of cars returning from the Prairie, with the roar of a thousand demons; the traffic jams, whirlpools and clashes of the crowd, which did not fit on the two sidewalks above; The incidents typical of the bad mood of a return from the fair, with all the wine and fatigue of the day turned into fluid of scandal. He entertained himself listening to the Germanesque sayings that, like the effervescence of a well-beaten liquid, bubbled up over the tumult, stirring with two hundred thousand whistles of the Saint, when…
“Sir,” said Doña Lupe’s fable, giving him such a tremendous slap on the shoulder blade, that the man thought the balcony on the second floor was falling on him, “sir, come, come here… Again the accident. It seems to me that we are leaving.”
Don Francisco ran to the bedroom, and indeed, Doña Lupe had been thrown the tantrum. Between friend and maid they could not hold her; the good lady cut her teeth; A foamy salivilla boiled on his lips, and his eyes had turned inward, as if they wanted to make sure for themselves that ideas were already flying scattered throughout those worlds. It is not known how long those fierce convulsions lasted. They seemed to Don Francisco endless, and that the day of San Isidro was over and a very long night followed, without Doña Lupe entering the box. But nine o’clock had not sounded, when the good lady calmed down, remaining as a lela. They told her of a concoction, the pharmacological composition of which does not appear in the file, nor the name of the disease, she sent a message to the doctor, and finding the sick woman in complete stillness of limbs, precursor of that of the tomb, with all the life that remained peeking into her eyes, again alive and talkative, Torquemada understood that her friend wanted to speak to her, And he couldn’t. Slight contraction of the muscles of the face indicated the effort to break the gloomy silence. The tongue at last, pinched by the will, took off, and there were some phrases that only Don Francisco with his subtle ear and his knowledge of everything he could think and say that of the turkeys could understand.

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