La fuente de oro 8 (Page 447-535)



This part is so terribly sad!!!

When Beltran learns that it is safe to return to Jerez as the town has fallen to the insurgents, they all return. It is days later that someone visits Lele. It is a young woman, Isabel Tinoco, who tells her she is Antonio Barea’s girlfriend. Antonio has been arrested, and Isabel fears he is going to be executed. She begs Lele to help her, and Lele swears that she will do her best.

When Lele talks to Beltrán, he reacts coldly and with hostility. He speaks about Antonio so meanly. I can’t condone what Antonio did in the past, but he is a good man who just wanted to fight for a better life for those who hadn’t been born into a privileged life. His ways weren’t right, but I hate the insults Beltrán hurled at him as he talked to Lele. It is only when Lele threatens to leave him or even kill herself that Beltran reluctantly agrees to help her. He writes a note for Estrada, the police superintendent, and Lele goes to see him.

Estrada makes his arrangements for Antonio to be released. He tells Lele to wait in Taxdirt Street at midnight, and gives him a safe conduct. So Lele waits for Antonio, unsure how the release will be done. Then a car appears, and she sees four blue-shirts inside the car belonging to the Falange, the ultra-right party. The men alight and she approaches her. Then Antonio is pushed out of the car, and to Lele’s shock she sees Antonio covered in bruises and with a few missing teeth after the beatings he must have been given. Then something terrible happens. One of the Falange men start telling her that he is the nephew of the lady who she worked for when she was sixteen. Lele accused his sister of the robbery of the jewels, and his aunt ended up believing her, something which Lele didn’t know, and she disinherited both siblings. So now this man Roque Pavón has a huge grudge against Lele, who had no part in what happened to him, just told the truth at the time, and before anybody could do anything, he grabs his pistol and shoots Antonio in the head, killing him. Lele is left there, sobbing and wailing, and the men flee with poor Antonio’s body.

Back in her flat, Lele keeps sobbing and comes to realise how unfair life is. Antonio died for something through no fault of his own. Lele reflects that theft in Dª Patrocinio’s house is the turning point in her life. If she hadn’t been fired, he would have married Antonio and had a happy life. She wouldn’t have started working in the winery or met Beltrán, and she wouldn’t have felt the unhealthy love she feels for him. So angry, upset, and terribly miserable, she writes three letters: one for Antonio’s mother, telling her what happened, another for her mother including ten thousand pesetas, and another for Beltrán, in which she tells him that she is leaving because leaving with him is impossible and he will be the end of her one day.

Lele ends up in Seville. She starts working in a clothes shop, and she is quite happy. Yet, a few years later her past catches up with him. A man sees her in the shop, and she realises it is Juan Andenave, the CNT member who was friends with Antonio. He asks her to help him for a few days, and he stays in her flat for a few days until he can leave for Malaga. After Juan come others, who Juan told Lele could help, and she does. Yet, when she reads in the newspaper that a pair of siblings that stayed with her have been arrested, she knows that it is only a question of time that the authorities come to find her. One days she sees a car and a van of the police stop before the shop, so she turns around and decides to leave.

So Lele travels to Madrid next. She feels lonely and miserable, as she doesn’t know anybody there, and she knows she can’t return to Jerez and Beltrán, who for her was her heave and hell. Thankfully, Lele is lucky and when she enters a perfumery, she starts talking to the owner, who admits times are hard, but Lele persuades her to hire her and work on commission and the woman accepts.

In Jerez we learn that Beltran’s wife dies when she gives birth to her third child. There is nothing the doctor can do for her or the baby. So Beltrán is left a widower and seems to feel the death of his wife. Things have not been easy for him as he misses Lele more and more, and he still hopes she returns to him. There is a part in which he is in the apartment in Francos Street where Lele used to live, and he keeps the place like a shrine for him to remember him. I even felt sorry for him. We know that there have been other women, but none have been able to make him forget Lele. He regrets his actions and not telling Lele how much she meant for him. It is a beautiful part, but even so, I can’t feel sorry for him. He is like a spoiled child who after losing his favourite toy he realises he should have looked after it better. I don’t like Beltrán, and I can’t feel sorry for him or his misery. I still don’t understand how Lele could love someone like him, who took everything from  her and gave him nothing. I understand that he is rich, handsome, a force of nature, and I imagine that these are qualities that some women find completely intoxicating. Yet, Beltrán never showed Lele any love or tenderness for years, and the only thing he did was satisfy her sexually and with money.

I wonder how the story will end. If Lele and Beltran are the great characters of this love story, I imagine they will end up together, but in all honesty I won’t be clapping my hands when they do.


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