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Transito's influence on Florentino's wedding plans to Euclides' exposure as a thief
Transito demands two conditions for Florentino and Fermina's marriage, both of which they accept: that the engagement be long and secretive, and that they discover more about the elusive Lorenzo Daza. Lotario Thugut leaves the telegr aph office to manage the transient hotel, of which is the new owner. Lotario gives Florentino a hotel room free of charge, though Florentino prefers writing to Fermina over rendezvous with the prostitutes who live there. One afternoon, the haggard cleanin g woman pathetically attempts a sexual encounter with Florentino by boldly grabbing him while he reads, but he resists, adamant that he will preserve his virginity for Fermina.
The Mother Superior at the Academy catches Fermina writing a love letter during class, and, because Fermina refuses to reveal her lover's identity, she is expelled. Lorenzo searches Fermina's room and discovers Florentino's letters. He promptly ships Au nt Escolástica back to her birthplace. In reaction to her father's cruel treatment of Escolástica, Fermina locks herself in her room and refuses to eat or drink. Lorenzo explodes in anger and Fermina holds a meat knife to her throat with so steady a han d that he dares not challenge her. This incident provokes his visit to Florentino at the telegraph office.
Lorenzo Daza buys Florentino a glass of anisette at the Parish Cafe and requests that he stay out of his and his daughter's lives. Florentino counters that Fermina should be the one to make the decision. Lorenzo threatens to shoot him, but Florentino chal lenges him, declaring that it is noble to die for love. Lorenzo does not shoot Florentino, but instead takes Fermina on a long journey so that she will forget him. She resists, but to no avail. Certain she will never return, Fermina writes a farewell note to Florentino on a scrap of toilet paper, and sends it to him with her long braid, which she cuts from the nape of her neck.
One day, a mule falls into the ravine, dragging with it an entire line of people and animals, and Fermina is saddened that she had not also fallen. During the trip, she refuses to speak to her father, and she does not eat or sleep. When they reach Valledu par, Fermina and her father stay with her maternal uncle. Fermina is miserable, and only wants solitude in which to cry. Her cousin Hildebranda Sánchez, who is two years older than she, is also consumed by tragic love. Hildebranda gives Fermina eleven telegraph messages sent by Florentino; Lorenzo had telegraphed the trip itinerary to his brother, which Florentino sees and uses to track Fermina through a network of telegraph operators. Fermina and Florentino corresponded via secret telegraphs u ntil Lorenzo decides that Fermina has forgotten about her lover, and they return home.
Fermina Sánchez, Fermina's deceased mother, had married Lorenzo Daza in spite of her family's disapproval. Lorenzo, however, fails to realize that he is encouraging his daughter to repeat her mother's mistake. Hildebranda accompanies Fermina on the remainder of the trip, during which Fermina is content. She visits a fortune-teller who tells her that she will enjoy a happy marriage, which she cannot imagine with anyone but Florentino. More than ever, Fermina pledges herself to him, this time so seri ously that she will not attend a dance without his permission. She sends Florentino an urgent telegram in which she asks for his consent, which he gives.
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