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108 erotic stories said, all knew who she was and who joked about her deception. If I stayed at the Convent for a few days, she was the one who looked after me and slept with me. And, Isidro went on, José Cravo knew about it and consented to it all. It was this bit which hurt him most, and every time he repeated it he became so angry that he lost his breath and almost passed out. So he had forbidden her to return to the Convent, and even that morning had repeated that, if she were to dare to come while I was there, he would kill her. During the day, more than once he had taken down and cleaned the gun which Ponciano, the low-down bastard, had never demanded back… Although she looked everywhere for the cartridges, which he always kept in the wardrobe in his best jacket pocket, she couldn’t find them. All the same she had come to the Convent, just to ask me on bended knees to leave.

I told her that it would be the greatest indignity if I were to run away, and that I would never do such a thing. Her face bathed in tears, she covered me with kisses and said goodbye, sobbing and saying as she went:

‘If I see him loading his gun I’ll come and tell you, even if I have to crawl here.’

I cannot remember ever having spent such hours of excruciating anguish as those which followed this scene. The nervous tension was so great that my whole body ached. What worried me most was the impossibility of making any firm decision. Should I run off with her? My brain completely ceased to function: my head was empty, and the same obsessive phrase kept going through my mind in letters of fire: anything, but I could not lose her. All this time the loud jollity of the festivities went on and on: the discordant music of the harmonicas; the squeals from the exhausted girls as they were dragged onto the dance-floor by the farmhands; the drunken chatter of the old wine-soaked men…

Anything, but not to lose her!

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