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wrinkled; his life is tough enough, he will not die yet awhile; he will give her to no one else. God be merciful to me, I believe he would marry her himself, if it were not against nature. Oh! it makes my heart jump in my breast when I think how pleasant everything might have been; it would have been so different, and old Laura might then have had the pleasure of rocking a rosy young Manuelita or Alfonsito in her arms. But it is all talking to the winds now, and I keep you here for nothing. Don't take it amiss, your Honor; make haste to come back soon, then let Laura act, and you will see how well things will turn out."

I listened to the old woman, half unwillingly, as if compelled. Now I offered her some doubloons as a farewell; she said she would not take them; she did not know what they were for; she had not earned them. After some protest she took them, and with a roguish expression of gratitude said: "You should have seen sooner the truth of the proverb: 'Presents move rocks.' Have you no more commissions for Manuela?"

I knew of none; she kissed my hand, and went away grumbling and muttering at the heathenish bald-head. After an hour passed in visiting Geronimo I had left Seville. I saw clearly that here was a turning-point in my career that would influence my whole life.

But what are the intentions and decisions of men?