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The Quest   By: (1872-1956)

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I Preamble Somewhat Immoral Notions of a Boarding House Keeper A Balcony is Heard Closing A Cricket Chirps

II Doña Casiana's House A Morning Ceremony Conspiracy Wherein is Discussed The Nutritive Value of Bones Petra and Her Family Manuel; his Arrival in Madrid

III First Impressions of Madrid The Boarders Idyll Sweet and Delightful Lessons

IV Oh, Love, Love! What's Don Telmo Doing? Who is Don Telmo? Wherein the Student and Don Telmo Assume Certain Novelesque Proportions


I "The Regeneration of Footgear" and "The Lion of the Bootmaker's Art" The First Sunday An Escapade El Bizco and his Gang

II The "Big Yard" or Uncle Rilo's House Local Enmities

III Roberto Hastings at the Shoemaker's The Procession of Beggars Court of Miracles

IV Life in the Cobbler's Shop Manuel's Friends

V La Blasa's Tavern

VI Roberto in Quest of a Woman El Tabuenca and his Inventions Don Alonso or the Snake Man

VII The Kermesse on Pasión Street "The Dude" A Café Chantant

VIII Leandro's Irresolution In La Blasa's Tavern The Man with the Three Cards The Duel with Valencia

IX An Unlikely Tale Manuel's Sisters Life's Baffling Problems


I Uncle Patas' Domestic Drama The Bakery Karl the Baker The Society of the Three

II One of the Many Disagreeable Ways of Dying in Madrid The Orphan El Cojo and his Cave Night in the Observatory

III Meeting with Roberto Roberto Narrates the Origin of a Fantastic Fortune

IV Dolores the Scandalous Pastiri's Tricks Tender Savagery A Modest Out of the way Robbery

V Gutter Vestals The Troglodites

VI Señor Custodio and his Establishment The Free Life

VII Señor Custodio's Ideas La Justa, el Carnicerín and El Conejo

VIII The Square A Wedding in La Bombilla The Asphalt Caldrons



Preamble Somewhat Immoral Notions of a Boarding House Keeper A Balcony Is Heard Closing A Cricket Chirps.

The clock in the corridor had just struck twelve, in a leisurely, rhythmic, decorous manner. It was the habit of that tall old narrow cased clock to accelerate or retard, after its own sweet taste and whim, the uniform and monotonous series of hours that encircle our life until it wraps it and leaves it, like an infant in its crib, in the obscure bosom of time.

Soon after this friendly indication of the old clock, uttered in a solemn, peaceful voice becoming an aged person, the hour of eleven rang out in a shrill, grotesque fashion, with juvenile impertinence, from a petulant little clock of the vicinity, and a few minutes later, to add to the confusion and the chronometric disorder, the bell of a neighbouring church gave a single long, sonorous stroke that quivered for several seconds in the silent atmosphere.

Which of the three clocks was correct? Which of those three devices for the mensuration of time was the most exact in its indications?

The author cannot say, and he regrets it. He, regrets it, because Time, according to certain solemn philosophers, is the canvas background against which we embroider the follies of our existence, and truly it is little scientific not to be able to indicate at precisely which moment the canvas of this book begins. But the author does not know; all he can say is, that at that moment the steeds of night had for an appreciable time been coursing across the heavens. It was, then, the hour of mystery; the hour when wicked folk stalk abroad; the hour in which the poet dreams of immortality, rhyming hijos with prolijos and amor with dolor ; the hour in which the night walker slinks forth from her lair and the gambler enters his; the hour of adventures that are sought and never found; the hour, finally, of the chaste virgin's dreams and of the venerable old man's rheumatism... Continue reading book >>

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