Calderon, the Courtier (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1850)

In 17th century Spain, Don Rodrigo Calderon is the favorite courtier of the Infant — a profligate of unparalleled proportions. Calderon is attached to the House of Lerma. A young soldier from the same house, Martin Fonseca, appears in the capitol after several years in Portugal. He’s in love with an orphaned singer, Beatriz Coello, who in his absence entered a convent. He asks Calderon’s help in freeing her so that they may marry. Calderon, though hardly known for compassion, agrees. The Infant, however, also has his eye on the girl. Beatriz is whisked away to the arranged hiding place, but Fonseca isn’t there to meet her — he’s been arrested on trumped up charges. Calderon is to hold her until the Infant arrives, but when he sees her, he realizes she’s his long-lost daughter.

Meanwhile, a conspiracy is at play in the court. With the Grand Inquisitor ‘s death, Calderon’s rivals plan to oust the courtier by installing an Inquisitor sympathetic to their cause. Fonseca is freed and rushes to the house, where Calderon has just fought off the Infant and is attempting to escape with Beatriz, but Fonseca — having been filled with the most damning reports of Calderon — thinks something quite different is happening and pulls his sword on the courtier. Beatriz jumps in front of her father and Fonseca accidentally kills her. Calderon is arrested by the Inquisitor and is tortured and put to death.

Inscriptions: a plate on the inside front cover says it was donated by John Manch to the Manch College of Music, November 23rd, 1926.


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