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dead woman’s grove 105

demonstrated had receded, and she seemed to have returned to her earlier acquiescence and good humour. It was she who reminded me of the Mayday holiday, suggesting that I should spend it at Pegos Verdes, to which I agreed most graciously.

The holiday fell on a Tuesday. On the preceding Sunday I was waiting for Julia in the office, looking out onto the square through the bedroom window, when I distinctly saw Ponciano going into the pharmacy, and then his figure posted at the glass door. I hurried to place a large red vase at the window, which was an agreed signal for Julia to come in through the patio door. She arrived soon after, but was so carefree that she only noticed the signal when she was almost at the house, and hesitated before taking the other route.

‘What happened?’ she asked, laughing as she entered. I explained. ‘Yes, but what was worse was that at the other end of the road I saw Isidro, the shepherd from Vila do Bispo who was filled with lead…’

‘Did he see you go down the road?’ ‘I’m sure he did.’ ‘Aren’t you scared?’ ‘I’m not scared of anything any more… And I do feel you ought to know that I’m beginning to think José Cravo really couldn’t care, and that he’s thinking of leaving me…’

‘Really? That would be wonderful…’ I told her that I was going to Pegos Verdes on the following Tuesday, and asked her to make a traditional doll for the feast. This effigy, which is covered in flowers, presides at the celebrations.

‘Of course; and as it’s the first time I’ll have been to the feast I must show everyone that no one can make a doll quite like mine.’ When Sagreira arrived I hurried to speak to him about the planned celebrations, which I wanted to be really spectacular. I gave him enough money for food, and told him to see that two fat sheep and half a dozen hens were killed. I also called

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