With the move to the new house, there is a new change.
Adela, who is a very clever young woman, has been studying their income and expenses, and she concludes that they can afford to have a maid. Pedro consents, and first they hire Margarita, a relative of Adela’s mother’s maid, but the young woman turns out to be a disaster, breaking and cracking pots and plates, burning the food, and when she almost drops Merceditas, Adela fires her. Then they hire someone else, Lucia, who is the baby abandoned at the hospital of the blood and now is twenty. Soon Lucia proves her value; she is a cheerful, kind, hard-working girl, who gains the approval of both Adela and Pedro.
We also learn more about Lucy, Sagrario, and Isabel Ruiz Vela in some of the chapters set in previous years. Sagrario, who is the nurse who found and named Lucía, has become some kind of surrogate mother to the girl, and Lucia loves her as if she were her real mum. Lucía even wanted to call her ‘Mother’ but Sagrario stopped her, agreeing to be called ‘tata’ just when they were alone.
Lucía is eight years old, and every Sunday alongside the other orphan girls, they march in procession, and Sagrario notices a woman who keeps looking at Lucia, and Sagrario realises that this woman is her mother. The following Sunday after much considering, she collars the woman. Isabel Ruiz Vela tells her everything, and what Sagrario fears is that Isabel takes the girl she loves like a daughter. Yet, Isabel mournfully has to admit that she doesn’t have anything to offer, and all she will do is make her daughter miserable. So she will simply keep watching her every Sunday during the procession of the orphans. Sagrario swears not to tell Lucía anything, but she can’t promise she will keep her silence forever as she believes that Lucía has a right to know who her parents are.
Apart from the story of Lucía, Sagrario, and Isabel, the infamous Marquis of Gibalbin appears again. We learn that he was one of the men expecting to make money from the smuggling business which Eustaquio Cifuentes was involved in. The Marquis of Gibalbin and the lord of Majarromaque were the names of the men who the lawyer Luis Salazar was so eager to conceal. The matter with the murder of the sexton Jacinto had taken place two years before, but he still kept a grudge on Pedro de Alemán, and he admits to the lord of Majarromaque that he was patient and will find the occasion for his retaliation. That same day he gets the news of the death of his wife. The woman was on her way to mass with one of her maids, and a cornice from a building fall on her, killing her instantly and the baby she was expecting. The Marquis doesn’t shed a tear for his wife, but he cried disconsolately for the son that would have been his only heir. This event makes his anger and hatred resurface more powerfully.
After the earthquake, Adela and Pedro attend a thanksgiving’s mass in S Dionisio. Pedro notices that there is some subdued atmosphere in the church, and he has a bad omen. He doesn’t have to wonder for long, and a priest, Martín de Cardona, announces an auto-da-fé, which means that people will be morally obliged to denounce those who go against the laws of the Catholic Church. Pedro feels that this will bring problems, and he isn’t wrong. A few days later Damián Gutiérrez, the son of Bartolomé, the friend who is like a father to him, comes to call him very upset. The Holy Office have arrested Bartolomé for necromancy and heresy. D Pedro quickly goes to find the priest Martín de Cardona, but it is clear that the man won’t even let him see Bartolomé. Pedro knows that he is running against time as Bartolomé is a sick man and he won’t be able to survive much time in a cold cell. Yet, he is against a very powerful entity like the inquisition is.
Pedro tries to talk to the lord of the fortress, who tells him that the reason Bartolomé is in jail is because of a small book he wrote about forecast mainly about the weather, and he also tells him that the person who denounced him is the Marquis of Gibalbin. Pedro instantly understands that he is the reason why Bartolomé in locked as this is the way the Marquis has used to get back at him. Then Pedro gets together with D Francisco Mesa, canon of the collegiate church, and D Gerónimo de Estrada, a Jesuit, and they analyse the text that has got Bartolomé arrested. The two clergymen discuss how this accusation is so unfair when even the king uses astrologers to know about the future. Then Pedro comes up with a plan, which is very dangerous, but it is the only way.
The next day he returns to St Domingo, where Bartolomé is, and asks to see D Martín de Cardona. When the priest appears, the first thing Pedro asks is whether he thinks all men are equal before God, and the priest is cautious as he knows there is something else behind this question, but he answers positively. Then he shows D Martín his batch of papers, which are denunciations against some very prestigious men: D Diego de Torres Villarroel, D Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, D Francisco de Rojas y Zorrilla, and even the king himself. Pedro claims that these men have committed the same crime as Bernardo Gutiérrez as they are written books about future-telling and magic. D Martin is outraged and states that he won’t admit those denunciations, but Pedro is adamant, saying he will also denounce D Martin himself as overseeing these complaints will mean that he is as guilty as the men denounced. D Martin become furious and orders him to leave.
Pedro fears that he has failed, and what he can expect now is being arrested and losing his life. He fears for his wife and daughter, who with his acts he will have condemned to an existence marked by ostracism. As he walks away from the convent, he hears a voice behind him. It is one of the guards from the Holy Office, and when Pedro fears to be attacked, he is surprised when the man tells him to return to the convent as D Martin wants to see him again. Then D Martin finally consents to Pedro’s request, and they question Bartolomé and D Martin acquits him, which is a rare event, surprising the other men present in the questioning. So after Bartolomé gets his freedom, Pedro promises to D Martin he will forget about those denunciations he wanted to issue. D Bartolomé returns to his family thankfully, and Pedro tells himself that he won’t forget what the Marquis of Gibalbín has done to poor Bartolomé, and there will be a time when he will get his comeuppance, and I hope Pedro is right. That man is really hateful, and I hope that he will get the punishment he deserves for his wickedness.