It is well known that Galdós patterned many of his fictional characters after real persons known to him in different periods of his life.177 One of these persons, Doctor Manuel Tolosa Latour (1857-1919), famous pediatrician, author of scientific and literary works, and long-time friend of the novelist, was clearly the prototype of Augusto Miquis. In correspondence between 1882 and 1916, Tolosa called himself Augusto Miquis or doctor Miquis in over 25 letters and cards sent to Galdós and was addressed or referred to as Miquis by Galdós in his replies.178
Although the first known letter from Tolosa Latour to Galdós is dated January 28, 1882, certainly the two men knew each other before this date, for the letter's text indicates some degree of familiarity. Galdós also testified to their early friendship in his Memorias de un desmemoriado: «con Manolo Tolosa Latour... me unía desde tiempo inmemorial una amistad cordialísima... Como deseo consignar en estas memorias las amistades que me han favorecido con su cariño en el dilatado curso de mi existencia laboriosa, inauguro esta galería de amigos con Tolosa Latour, que fue de los primeros en mi conocimiento».179
Augusto Miquis, whom Tolosa himself called «un retrato en cuerpo y alma»,180 made his initial appearance, as an aprendiz de médico, in the first chapter of La desheredada (1881). The first chapter was published serially that year in Diario Médico whose «Redactor en jefe» was Doctor Tolosa Latour. In addition to being the first appearance of Augusto Miquis, it is also the most complete picture given of him in any Galdós novel.
The most obvious similarity between Tolosa and Miquis is the fact that both are medical doctors. The only book in which it is not mentioned that Augusto is a doctor or is studying to become one is El Dr. Centeno in which he is included only in a family connection -as one of the Miquis clan (IV, 1352b). Doctor Miquis is a respected and popular doctor in Galdós' fictional world, as was Doctor Tolosa in Madrid and even on the international scene. An additional similarity is that both Miquis and Tolosa enjoyed practices in which the majority of patients belonged to the upper levels of society.
Two outstanding characteristics of Tolosa Latour are pointed out by the title of Ortega Munilla's eulogy of him, «Tolosa Latour, el sabio y el bueno» (Nuevo Mundo, June 27, 1919). These traits are also emphasized in the fictional portrait of Miquis. In the first place, Galdós refers to Augusto Miquis as «el sagaz alumno de Hipócrates» (Tristana, V, 1595b), «médico de fama», «sabio médico» (Lo prohibido, IV, 1684a, 1887a), «famoso médico» and «célebre doctor» (Torquemada y San Pedro, V, 1141a, 1174a). Secondly, Augusto Miquis also exhibits many qualities in his profession which earn him the title of «bueno» attributed to Tolosa Latour. In La desheredada Miquis —92→ visits Isidora in prison, sympathizes with her because of the cruel way she has been deceived (IV, 1130a), gives money for food to don José Relimpio (1158a), and compassionately sends people out of the room where Isidora is dying (1161b). José María Bueno de Guzmán describes Miquis as «llevado de esos impulsos caritativos que tan bien se hermanan con la ciencia» (Lo prohibido, IV, 1887a) and as greatly affected by his patient's inability to speak (1876a). In Tristana, «aunque el bueno de Augusto sabía disfrazar ante los enfermos su impresión diagnóstica, aquel día pudo más la pena que el disimulo» (V, 1594a). «Alegróse Tristana de la vuelta de Miquis, porque le inspiraba simpatía y confianza, levantándole el espíritu con el poder terapéutico de su afabilidad» (Tristana, V, 1593a).
Showing the same kind of sympathy in his letters to Galdós, Tolosa Latour always responds understandingly to the chronic complaints of doña Magdalena, Galdós' sister-in-law who lived with him many years. His compassion is also shown in his works of charity which included the founding and bearing much of the cost of the Sanatorio de Santa Clara in Chipiona for indigent children.181
An outstanding trait in both Tolosa Latour and Augusto Miquis is their sense of humor, revealed principally in their hyperbolic and parodying manner of speaking or writing. As part of the dossier of Miquis, the narrator states:
Tenía gran facilidad de dicción. Se asimilaba prodigiosamente las ideas de los libros y las ideas de los maestros orales, sus frases, su estilo y hasta su metal de voz. Burla burlando, imitaba a todos los profesores de la Facultad y como poseía extraordinaria retentiva, lo mismo era para él repetir un allegro lleno de dificultades, que pronunciar dos o tres discursos sobre Medicina o Filosofía naturalista.
Su carácter siempre alegre, erizado de malicias, se manifestaba en punzadas mil, en bromas a veces nada ligeras, en apropósitos y en charlar voluble, compuesto ya de hipérboles, ya de pedanterías burlescas, que ciertamente no indicaban que él fuese pedante, sino que, por bromear, bromeaba hasta con la ciencia. Tomando un tono hueco, hacía pasar por sus labios todas las palabras retumbantes, todas las frases oscuras de la fraseología científica, y las intercalaba de paradojas de su propia cosecha, graciosas y originales.
|(La desheredada, IV, 988b-989a)|
The examples of Miquis' rich and comic use of language are plentiful, and in addition he is often quoted, either by the author or by other fictional characters, as if his particular way of describing had forcibly impressed them. Phrases such as «como decía Miquis» (La desheredada, IV, 987b), «dice Miquis, y quizá dice bien» (998a), and «bien lo decía Miquis» (Ángel Guerra, V, 1255b) are extremely comnion.
Miquis' oral style, described and presented by Galdós, is very similar to the epistolary style of Tolosa. In one letter (No. 103, undated), he too used the framework of medicine even as Miquis «bromeaba... con la ciencia. Señor: Enterado de la dispepsia flatulenta que Os aqueja, la cual contribuye de modo poderoso á que Vuestro aparato gastro-intestinal adquiera proporciones Aguilareñas ó aguilarescas, me atrevo á prescribiros los adjuntos sellos, hostias o cachets que Os facilitarán grandemente las funciones digestivas...».
The tendency of Miquis to imitation and parody can also be observed in several of Tolosa's letters. In one, dated January 24, 1898, Tolosa addresses Galdós on stationery which bears a mock seal containing the words «junta Superior de Sanidad de BPG-Presidencia», and in another (September 7, 1899), sent from Puente Viesgo, —93→ aspa near Santander, he entitles the letter «La Estafeta Reumática XII del Doctor Fausto al Lic. Mefistófeles». Another letter of January 24 (or 25), 1898, purports to be written by Arimón and Amaniel (critics of Galdós' drama) on stationery which changes the famous ex libris of Galdós, «ARS NATURA VERITAS OBRAS DE PÉREZ GALDÓS / HORTALEZA, 132 / EPISODIOS NACIONALES / NOVELAS / ESPAÑOLAS CONTEMPORÁNEAS / Obras dramáticas», for: «Obras completas de ARIMÓN. INSTANTÁNEAS IMPRESIONISTAS / de AMANIEL. / ARS / INVIDIA / VANITAS / APULEYO / BOMBOS MUTUOS UNIVERSALES / PALOS Y RECORRIDOS / A TODAS LAS / CELEBRIDADES CONTEMPORÁNEAS / CRÍTICAS DRAMÁTICAS». The letter comes from «Babia», and the text is filled with spelling errors, sorely with the intent of making Galdós' critics appear hopelessly ignorant. Certainly, Miquis' «follaje de palabrería metafórica» (La desheredada, IV, 1110b) is an echo of such overblown pieces as these and the letters of Tolosa Latour to the novelist dated October 20, 1885, and December 22, 1889.
Prototype and character also share interests in music and in the theater. Augusto as a student was «igualmente fanático por la Cirugía y por la música» and at a concert he might be reminded of the dissecting room or remember certain melodies while inspecting a cadaver (La desheredada, IV, 988b). He played the piano badly, but with «furor músico» (1029b), and at times he sang snatches of opera (988a). His ambition was to be a regular subscriber to the opera (992b). Tolosa's musical interest is attested to by his use of operatic terms to describe his experience at the baths (in La Estafeta Reumática mentioned above) and by his description of a meeting with Ceferino Palencia and other theatrical personages as if it were a five-scene opera (August 4, 1894). His interest in drama was constant. Theater-goer and friend of the leading theater people of his day, Tolosa's whole correspondence is filled with references to his role as adviser and conciliator for Galdós in Thespian affairs. Miquis, in his advice to Ángel Guerra on how he must handle the initial visit to his failing mother, relies on theatrical terminology to reinforce his counsel. «Nada de escenas de teatro. Yo me encargo de prepararos la anagnórisis, de modo que entres y la saludes como si la hubieras visto ayer» (Ángel Guerra, V, 1245a). The use of the technical term anagnórisis indicates a certain knowledge of the theater on the part of Miquis, reflecting his prototype's interests.
Not only do their interests coincide, but also their roles. The role of informant concerning the Madrid scene which Tolosa often took while Galdós was at his home in Santander has its parallel in the very important function of Augusto Miquis in La desheredada. In Part I, the novelist says that it is «Augusto Miquis, por quien sabemos los pormenores de aquellas escenas» (988b), and Part II is possible only because Miquis supplies the necessary information (1063a and b).
The external evidence from letters and the internal one from novels confirm that Manuel Tolosa Latour was the chief inspiration for Augusto Miquis. In addition to their common profession of medicine which they both exercise wisely and with kindness, Tolosa and Miquis share an interest in the arts of music and the theater, and perhaps most importantly, a flair for extravagant and overly-rhetorical language which is the vehicle for their sense of humor. And even the attitude of the novelist toward Miquis seems to reflect the confidence Galdós placed in Tolosa Latour, his «doctorcillo», prototype of Augusto Miquis.
State University of New York at Albany