La fuente de oro 3 (Page 68-136)

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Things aren’t going well for Lele.

First, she has a disappointment with Antonio, the man she believed could be more than a friend. After their first timid kiss, they agree to meet on Sunday. That Sunday after mass, Antonio is waiting for her. She takes her to a house where there are lots of people, and there she hears a speech of a man called Juan Bancalero in which he talks about justice for everybody, which Lele finds right, but what makes her afraid is when the man talks about the death of the king and God, and using bombs and violence. Lele doesn’t like the place and asks Antonio to leave. They talk about what they heard in that meeting, and Antonio shyly admits that he believes in what the man was talking about, and from that moment on things become colder between Lele and Antonio, so I bet that this won’t lead to a great love story.

Apart from her disappointment in love, something terrible happens in the house where she works. When she and the other maid Teresita are changing the sheets in Dª Patrocinio’s bedroom, Lele goes to find some new sheets and finds the lady’s niece, Socorro, taking a necklace and a pair of diamond earrings from the jewellery box. Socorro sees Lele, but she walks out of the bedroom proud and without saying a word. Lele doesn’t say anything, and this brings her dire consequences. A couple of weeks later Dª Patronicio notices her missing jewels, and she accuses the service of taking them. So she calls the cook and the two maids, and Socorro suggests they look into the women’s bags, and they find the jewels in Lele’s bag, which means that Socorro puts them there. Even though Lele swears she didn’t take the jewels and even dares to accuse Socorro, nobody believes her and she is fired.

The poor girl keeps crying and sobbing, and her mother, who knows what her daughter is like, goes to Dª Patrocinio’s house to talk to the woman and give her a piece of her mind. I love how Dª Juana defends her daughter and tells the woman a few home truths. Apart from this, Lele’s father talks to a lawyer he knows from the casino, and tells him about his fears about his daughter and the trouble she could see herself involved in if Dª Patrocinio talks to the police. D Eugenio assures him that he will make a few discreet enquiries, but in the meantime he gives Bernardo a letter of recommendation for Lele since he knows that she can find a job in the Beaumont wineries. I think this means that sooner or later Lele and Bertrán will meet.

Beltrán continues his life of debauchery in Madrid. In Jerez he meets the woman his father wants to marry, Sonsoles Domecq, and he likes her. He thinks he could marry her, but this fact doesn’t stop his usual customs, and he keeps bedding women in Madrid. Then one day he receives a phone call. His father has suffered a stroke, and the man eventually dies. The lawyer, D Eugenio, the same man who gave his recommendation to Lele, tells him about his father’s arrangements in his will. What worries Beltrán is the company’s management, which he hopes will be for him. Yet, the lawyer says that the winery was not only his father’s, but it belongs to the family, and the issue of management has been discussed, and his cousins think that the president of the company should be his cousin Juan Obertos, Mara’s brother. The lawyer tells him that it is Mara, who calls the shots, so he goes to see her. Mara laughs when he tells her about his intentions, and then he uses the letters he has been receiving to blackmail her. He swears he will make the contents of the letter public if she doesn’t support him as the new president of the winery. Mara calls him all kinds of names, but she is forced to acquiesce. Even after his callous behaviour, the woman can’t help but fall in his loving arms again. I wonder what these letters contain. It is clear that it mentions the affair the two cousins have been having for years, but I have the hunch that it also mentions someone else, and that person must be one of Mara’s children.

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