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chapter 14
 While Dame Torcuata was making these reflections to herself, as she went, with a pan in either hand, toward the fire, cries and hisses of women and children resounded in the street, mingled with other voices in a lower key, saying:
 
"Senor Alcalde! Open the door! The city authorities are entering the town with a troop of soldiers!"
 
Jaime Olot became yellower than wax when he heard these words, and clasping his hands together, he said:
 
"Hide me, Senor Alcalde! Otherwise we shall not find the treasure! The authorities have come in search of me!"
 
"In search of you? And why so? Are you a criminal?"
 
"I knew it!" cried Aunt Torcuata. "From that gloomy face no good could come. All this is the doing of Lucifer!"
 
"Quick! quick!" resumed the stranger. Take me out by the back door!"
 
"Very good, but first give me directions where to find the treasure," said
Uncle Hormiga.
 
"Senor Alcalde!" the cry was repeated outside the door, "open! The town is surrounded! It seems it is that man who has been shut up with you for the last hour they are in search of!"
 
"Open to the authorities!" an imperious voice now cried, accompanied by a loud knocking at the door.
 
"There is no help for it!" said the Alcalde, going to open the door, while the stranger tried to escape into the yard by the other door.
 
But the head shepherd and the goat-herd, who were on the alert, cut off his egress, and they and the soldiers, who had now also entered the room, seized and bound him securely, although the renegade displayed in the struggle the strength and agility of a tiger.
 
The constable of the court, who had under his command a clerk and twenty foot-soldiers, meantime told the Alcalde the causes of and reasons for this noisy arrest.
 
"This man," he said, "with whom you have been shut up I don't know why— talking of I don't know what—is the famous Galician, Juan Falgueira, who, fifteen years ago, robbed and murdered a party of gentlemen, whose muleteer he was, in a certain hamlet of Granada, and who escaped from the chapel on the eve of the day appointed for his execution, dressed in the habit of the friar who was administering to him the consolations of religion, and whom he left there half-strangled. The king himself—whom Heaven preserve—received, a fortnight ago, a letter from Ceuta, signed by a Moor named Manos-gordas, saying that Juan Falgueira, after long residence in Oran and other points in Africa, was about to embark for Spain, and that it would be an easy matter to seize him in Aldeire in El Cenet, where it was his intention to purchase a Moorish tower and to devote himself to mining. At the same time a communication was received by the government from the Spanish Consul in Tetuan, stating that a Moorish woman called Zama had presented herself before him to make complaint against the Spanish renegade, Ben-Manuza, formerly called Juan Falgueira, who had just sailed for Spain, after having assassinated the Moor, Manos-gordas, the complainant's husband, and robbed him of a certain precious document. For all which reasons, and chiefly on account of the attempt against the life of the friar in the chapel, His Majesty the King strongly urged upon the authorities of Granada the arrest of the criminal and his immediate execution in that city."
 
Let the reader picture to himself the terror and astonishment with which this narration was listened to by all present, as well as the despair of Uncle Hormiga, who could not now doubt that the document was in the possession of this man condemned to death.
 
The avaricious Alcalde, then, at the risk of compromising himself still further, called aside Juan Falgueira and held a whispered conversation with him, having previously informed the assemblage that he was going to try to prevail upon the renegade to confess his crime before God and men. What passed between the two PARTNERS, however, was really what follows:
 
"Gossip!" said Uncle Hormiga, "not Heaven itself could now save you! But you must feel that it would be a pity that that document should be lost. Tell me where you have hidden it."
 
"Gossip!" responded the Galician, "with that document, or, in other words, with the treasure it represents, I intend to purchase my pardon. Procure for me the royal favor, and I will deliver the document to you; but for the present I shall offer it to the judges to bribe them to declare my sentence null and void by prescription."
 
"Gossip!" replied Uncle Hormiga, "you are a wise man, and I shall be glad if you succeed in your purpose. But if you fail, for God's sake do not carry to the tomb a secret which will profit no one!"
 
"Be certain, I shall take it with me!" answered Juan Falgueira. "I must have my revenge upon the world in some way."
 
"Let us proceed!" here cried the constable, putting an end to this strange conference.
 
And the condemned man, being chained and handcuffed, the officers of justice and the soldiers proceeded with him in the direction of the city of Guadix, whence they were to conduct him to Granada.
 
"The devil! the devil!" the wife of Uncle Hormiga Juan Gomez kept repeating to herself for an hour afterward, as she returned the tenderloin and the sausage to their respective jars. "My curse upon all treasures—past, present, and to come!"


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