Things were not as before, if the liberal revolution had respected the nobility properties in all their splendor, from the big palaces to the small mansions, the old poverty causes acted now without obstacles and the rents shrank for days even if it was a necessity to maintain the high number of servants, that admired Townsend in his visit to the Duke of Alba's mansion, near the 19th century.
To that prodigious quantity of servants, of the ones Madam D'Aulnoy spoke as if she would have seen them with her own eyes and that perplex her will remain unmoved for the rest of the century: anything less than 45.000 servants appeared on the census of 1860, twenty-five per cent of the whole active population for Madrid on that year.
The nobility has less money everyday, but that won't make them give up the old way of life, a mix of generous opulence, vast quantities of gifts, maintenance of a fleet of servants and large use of the rents and their time: a landlord of the Old Regimen is someone that uses his revenue to maintain servants and poors, but also does not making anything.
In respect to the class that enjoy their fortunes, Madrid was still on the thirties, years of revolution and people on the streets, a delight; for the reformers, a desperation. But the old dominant class, that opened their palaces to entertain as if nothing ever happened, it is incapable of looking at the city and direct the transformation into the capital of a new state.
Although some individuals excelled due to their intelligence and the written word, as the Dukes of Rivas and Frias, the Marquis of Miraflores or the dukes of Abrantes, Gor, and Veragua, as such as class, and if certain frivolous distinctions are excepted, it lacked of a common resort that could move it. It does not have the recourse to build a new capital of the state and would not know how to, even if it had the revenue.
The titled aristocracy, still owner of an immense territorial patrimony entirely respected by the revolution, could afford to buy a few more acres or leave their old huddled palaces to fall under the action of the pickaxe.
Their vast possessions of land in Madrid, administered as capital at the service of the idea of transforming the city, could have been enough to initiate a profound reform of the old city.
It was not like that and it could have not been, because after the Independence War and with the beginning of the Civil War the difficulties to receive the rents from their possessions grew, although the spending remained steady.
The aristocracy was heading for bankruptcy. The situation drove in three or four decades to big houses as the Duke of Osuna's to complete failure and others of no less ancestry, as the Marquis of Alcañices', to lose in fifty years half of their patrimony.
From a falling social class, incapable of modifying its behavior to the new situation, it could not be expected to show the desire to promote a new city.
The lack of dynamic directing class was worsen because, between the class that Larra called "of idlers and gossipers" and the number of poor people left after the end of the absolutism, Madrid barely had "a middle class, numbered and resigned with their true position". Larra knows what he is talking about.
If there is a middle class in Spain, industrial, manufacturer and commercial, it was not in Madrid, it was in Barcelona and Cádiz. Here in Madrid there are only high and low societies. There is the feeling, of course, of a middle class formed by the employees or decent proletarians, that " taken from their environment and thrown in the middle of the aristocracy, believe they are high class".
A middle class, without any sureness on themselves, their possibilities or their power. From that decided Larra, among other things, that there were enough people for the opera and the bullfights, but not for the gardens, that at that time were open to every individual: " the fact that there is no people in the public gardens is the equivalent of saying there is no middle class ready to show their presence on the street".
The words of Larra don't paint the whole picture, because while he wrote, the events of the double revolution that impulse a radical transformation of the political game and the start of a differentiation of the classes had already began.
Above all, the political revolution that liquidates the absolutism meant the return to Madrid of a large mass of exiled individuals that left the country, at different times. They were formed of as Carlos Marichal called them "the intelligence in exile": Canga, Argüelles, Alcalá Galliano, Martínez de la Rosa, Istúriz, Toreno, etc.
Their return to the capital was felt in another revolution, more than literary, cultural, called "Romanticism", that change Madrid into a dynamic center of the literary life, where everyone that believed inspire or felt the temptation of new glory, gathered.
Since the death of Fernando VII, added to the fall of a regime, Madrid observed, between the fever of romantic and revolutionary ecstasy, incessant theatricals premieres. Lacking the economic and political potency, Madrid is reafirmed, at least, the center of literary production.
The possibilities of writing, publishing and acting give way to new expressions of liberty. All these together with the literary production, open the doors to cafes, athenaeums and casinos, as the nobility open their palaces.
Before Fernando VII died, since 1830, a group of friends and disciples of Lista abandoned the "Café de Venice" to go to the "Café del Príncipe", that Larra though of "stuffy, dirty and opaque", and that produced the best social class meeting of the decade, "Parnasillo", where met Mesonero, Roca de Togores, Gil de Zárate, the Duke of Rivas and later on, reunited with his friends, around 1833, Espronceda.
In December of 1835 opens, thanks to an initiative presented by the Economic Society of Madrid, and with an inaugural speech from the Duke of Rivas, the Scientific Literary and Artistic Athenaeum, that offered courses and conferences on political rights, economy, philosophy, history, language, literature and all the possible branches of knowledge.
"The Liceo" is founded in 1837, and moves soon after its reunions to the palace of Villahermosa. From that same year is also the Prince's Casino, where all the well-known people met, in elegant and hand picked association, and that besides facilitating to the associates living rooms with magnificent carpets and luxurious armchairs to maintaing their evening parties, while establishing a rigid criteria for admission.
Who shined - wrote Azaña - wanted to be introduced to society, and nobody shined enough until it was introduced. In the Salons of Frias, Rivas and Monjita, the most brilliant geniuses of this middle class began, in the forty's, the rise to high society and politics.
Madrid was transformed into the center of attraction of the intellectual class, that the romantic period and the revolution, the clubs, the cafes and the salons, were introduced in society and politics.
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