* In December in Madrid, a minister meets with a well-dressed man to hand him a report in a sealed envelope.
* The fencing teacher, Don Jaime meets with one of his students, the nobleman Don Luis. Luis is not at his best during their bout, probably due to his excesses the previous evening, and Jaime beats him easily.
* After their bout, Don Luis asks Jaime about the book he is writing that is supposed to be his master work and what Luis refers to as the Holy Grail. Because he has such a good reputation as a fencing master, Jaime tells his friend that he feels under pressure to write it and hence it is not going well.
* Don Jaime takes a carriage into the city. He is not a wealthy man by any means, but everyday he likes to meet his friends at Cafe...
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