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It was a splendid afternoon for early September; spring was finally taking hold of the mountains, and flowers were everywhere, turning the slopes from green to a brightly mottled pattern of red and orange and sunset pink. From the market square to the mud-and-stone houses of the poor, to the new buildings of the Spanish, all of Cuzco was filled with color and perfume, and the promise of the ripening year.
Don Ezequias Pannefrio y Modestez tore his eyes away from the fragrant display on his balcony and gave his attention to his visitor. His servant, pausing to listen in the doorway,