The manuscript of El público (The Public) was given to Martínez Nadal aboard the train from Madrid that Federico Granada was to take for the last time. And it is mysteriously related to the appearance in one of the wagons of a character (“a deputy for Granada”) that Lorca vehemently shunned and who for years was identified as Ramón Ruiz Alonso, the CEDA militant who organized his arrest a month later in the Rosales’ Family house.

At the beginning of July 1936, Federico García Lorca was in Madrid. Despite the advice of his friends in view of the difficult political situation in Spain, Lorca decides to return to Granada. As every July 18, the García Lorca family celebrates in the Huerta de San Vicente (San Vicente Farmhouse) the feast of St. Federico. And Lorca hesitates, but decides to return to the family home.

On July 16, accompanied by Martínez Nadal, they arrived at the train station: “Settled in the sleeping car, Federico unpacked the books he had bought and autographed them right there; the last ones he was going to sign in Madrid and, possibly, the last ones he signed in his life. They were intended for the Norwegian Hispanist Magnus Grönwold, the stage director Jacob Nielsen and Alfonso Fiscowich. I did as he asked and put them in the mail, but Fiscowich’s was to be returned to me a few days later (…) Someone slipped down the aisle of the sleeping car. Federico, quickly turning his back, waved his two fists in the air giving them the finger: “Lagarto, lagarto (lizard, lizard)! [superstitious exclamation to ward off bad luck]”. I asked him who he was: “A deputy for Granada. A ‘jinx` and a bad person.” Clearly nervous and upset, Federico stood up. Look, Rafael, go and don’t stay on the platform. I’m going to pull the curtains and get into bed so that this creep won’t see me or talk to me”. We gave each other a quick hug and for the first time I left Federico on a train without waiting for it to depart, without laughing or joking until the last minute. When I got home I opened the package Federico had given me. Among personal papers, there was what seemed to be the first draft of five scenes of the drama, unpublished until 1976, El público (The Public). The tasks of destroying everything could not apply to this manuscript.”(R. Martínez Nadal and M. Laffranque, Federico García Lorca. El público y Comedia sin título. (Federico García Lorca. The Public and Untitled Comedy). Two posthumous works, Biblioeteca Breve, Seix Barral Publishing House, 1978).

Signed page of The Public. / Photo: National Library
Signed page of The Public. / Photo: Spanish National Library