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On the day of the

execution by vile stick

of Javiera Fernández and Mariana García, convicted of murdering

his wife,

Dona Narcisa

, the newspapers reported in great detail the gruesome story of the

crime on Calle de la Luna

. The chronicle was published along with the column of the outrage of the day (the trams were causing havoc), the political chronicle and the last party of the Duchess or Marchioness on duty. Between

miseries, deaths by starvation and murders,

the Madrid aristocrats threw the palace out the window and

competed to be the best hosts in the capital.

It was by chance, in the search for documentation on the execution of Doña Narcisa's maids, that

Marisol Donis

came

across

Madrid's social chronicle of the late 19th century, so opulent and fascinating that

it made her change the black chronicle for the rose

. Pharmacist, criminologist and writer, Donis is the author of several books of crimes, especially committed by women, (

Poisoners

, from La Esfera de los Libros, is her

best-seller

) but has ended up publishing

Amphitronas

(Ed. Turner), the

chronicle social of the salons of Madrid between the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX.

The book, full of

unpublished photographs

of the great Spanish families, opens the doors of Madrid's palaces to narrate

how they organized their great parties

, how they received their children's weddings at home,

how the pink press was born and

who were its protagonists .

It has not been easy, Donis confesses to LOC, who has been going through all the archives of the capital since 2016 and diving among files tied with ropes to unravel the secrets of the

Duchesses of Medinaceli, Fernán Núñez, Montellano or Dúrcal

, the Countess of Montijo , Emilia Pardo Bazán ... All of them stroll through

Hostesses,

where their

chroniclers

play a prominent role

. Writers such as

Juan Valera

(

Pepita Jiménez

) or

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

, Alfredo Escobar (father of Luis Escobar) or

Montecristo

, could

sink businesses and abort marriages with a stroke of the pen.

"They had enormous power,

without them the aristocrats were nothing

. If they were not cited in the chronicles, it is over," says the author. And, although from time to time an envelope was put into their jacket, the chroniclers did not allow themselves to be bought just like that. "They won well and hated the careerists. It is true that they adorned the texts with a lot of adjectives, especially for the more senior ladies, but they also threw darts. Valera, for example,

called Eugenia de Montijo an unbearable and rude girl

, and he spoke of the

'fine mustache' of the Duchess of Medinacelli "

. Donis also maintains that he was the forerunner of the style of Jaime Peñafiel, "the last true social chronicler," he highlights.

"Valera began to use initials to relate a case of adultery. He could not reveal the names, although he gave so much information that the alleged cuckold threatened to challenge him to a duel.

He invented the Chsss ... of Peñafiel."

One of the theaters of Merceditas Cejuela, 'La Cenicienta'.

She appears dressed as a prince in the center of the image.

Among the hosts Donis stands out as her favorites

Mercedes Cejuela, Gloria Laguna and Nini Castellanos

. The first is the

mother of Margarita Gómez-Acebo

, the wife of Simeón of Bulgaria, who organized a memorable children's parties. "Merceditas was a

girl hostess, she was the one who received, at the age of 11, not her parents

. She was an only child, a very spoiled but very clever and esthete girl, she did not perform eccentricities. She organized theater performances, costume exhibitions of her dolls ... The chroniclers adored her and chased her like the

paparazzi,

"she says. Mercedes cut her ringlets and married Manuel Gómez-Acebo in 1929. They both

died tragically.

a month after the outbreak of the Civil War on his family farm.

She was 32 years old.

Gloria Laguna, Carolina Carvajal, the Marquis of Bayamo and other guests at a theatrical evening.

Gloria Laguna, Countess of Requena

, is another of the author's favorites, "a real discovery", she assures. The chroniclers predicted a brilliant future as a

celebrity for

the daughter of the Marquises of La Laguna

. She was rather ugly - "in fact, very few were pretty, they

wore jewels but they didn't use much makeup,

" says Donis - but very intelligent and funny. Laguna was a lesbian and did not hide it, although she was married. "She was part of the group of

Carmen de Burgos

Colombine

, Alberto Insúa and Antonio Hoyos.

From the Royal box she went on a revelry to the underworld of Madrid with

Jacinto Benavente and Tórtola Valencia,

who was beautiful. She was also a

very good friend of Pardo Bazán ,

that put her in the Athenaeum. "The chronicles said that she smoked like a highway.

The third is

Mercedes

Nini

Castellanos

, friend of Queen Victoria Eugenia and the

secret

girlfriend

of Miguel Primo de Rivera

.

"He, who was a widower, did not want to make the relationship public, but it was the talk of Madrid. The journalist César González Ruano stood at Nini's house one day and asked her if they were going to get married. The exclusive was on the cover of the magazine

Estampa

but the wedding broke.

Primo de Rivera left her standing

as soon as he saw the publication, but she, despite the scandal, continued with her life. She was an independent woman, much richer than him. She ended up married to a military man.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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