Ballester is the kind of man most women are forever having to deal with. These men flirt and are bold and, though they do it playfully, are still being jerks. No wonder Fortunata is sick of everyone. Yet she loves the biggest jerk of all.
We’re circling around to the beginning again. We have a new fabric shop opening and Fortunata is eating a (candied) yolk. And the poor girl forced to play the piano, Olimpia, is in love with someone her family won’t even let in the house.
I love these details: stifling hot at midnight and the street lights filtering in through the window and reflecting off of the candelabra against the white ceiling. Quivering. Fantastic. Sad. Why is this novel not more well known? What an injustice!
Not surprising Maximiliano is reading Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle The plurality of inhabited worlds. This one isn’t turning out so great for him.
And I already like Ballester: “I’d take a chance on betting… that they’re people up there on the stars; I’d even go so far as to say so. And what if there are? They’re probably as fed up as we are.”
What I enjoyed the most in this chapter was her observations of everyone as they waited and heard the will(s) to be read. Now the mystery is who is this Mr. Rigg (rigged!) , but also what will happen to Mary since she played a role in all this. And Fred, well, how often have we been close to a prize only to lose it because we were careless? Actions have consequences.
We have a funeral, but we we really get is a lot of gossip (and Dorothea rightly says it’s sad to die and leave no one behind who loved them).
There’s an odd juxtaposition at the end here between death and the painting of Casaubon as Aquinas and how old and stodgy all that is, or at least, how out of touch it that theology is with regular people. Brooke doesn’t like art that’s too straining to keep up with.
Mr. Featherstone meets his match at the end when Mary refuses (wisely) to not play into his game of the wills. I like the image of the fire as life and how it tricks her at first in the morning when she looks at Mr. Featherstone and isn’t sure if he’s alive or not.
A lot of death imagery now. And Galdos repeats the image of a rosary holding together trains of mules (stubborn) and carriages (freedom, wealth). Her dream is all confusion because she can’t express herself with language, only through feeling. This is why Guillermina failed because she wasn’t in command of her words or herself.
And what to make of Fortunata confusing Mauricia and Guillermina? The sinner becommig the saint? Is she seeing how everyone has both good and evil in them? The novel is about appearances (we get this new nickname ‘the ecclesiastical rat’), so there is confusion here and jealousy and pride but also forgiveness.
Visiting the blacksmith and asking for the nails and cramp irons has a crucifixion relation. The nails, obvious, but the cramp irons are used to hold masonry together, to hold a house together and that’s what Guillermina is trying to do for Fortunata and everyone else too.
What an incredible scene between Fortunata and Guillermina. Guillermina envies Fortunata because she has a sin to confess, a need to sacrifice, yet Guillermina doesn’t. Being a saint is a burden in a way. And you really feel the discomfort Fortunata has in taking about her sin.
I like the image of Maximiliano’s shadow stretching around the room and gliding along the corners, like a rusty ghost. And her fevered mind full of hate again. It’s like Mauricia but Fortunata controls it better. And Dona Lupa and Fortunata are like bad imitations of Guillermina and Jacinta.
Fortunata is not bring allowed to do any dirty work because Guillermina and Severiana see her more as a lady than a common worker. But she doesn’t believe she’s anything more than a common person. Perception.