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Fair margaret


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Title:FairMargaret
Author:H.RiderHaggard
Illustrator:J.R.Skelton
PostingDate:October24,2011[EBook#9780]
ReleaseDate:January,2006
FirstPosted:October15,2003
LastUpdated:October13,2004
Language:English

***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKFAIRMARGARET***

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FAIRMARGARET
By


H.RIDERHAGGARD
Authorof"KingSolomonsMines""She""Jess"etc.
WITH15ILLUSTRATIONSBYJ.R.SKELTON
1907

CHAPTERI
CHAPTERII
CHAPTERIII
CHAPTERIV
CHAPTERV
CHAPTERVI
CHAPTERVII
CHAPTERVIII
CHAPTERIX
CHAPTERX
CHAPTERXI
CHAPTERXII
CHAPTERXIII


CHAPTERXIV
CHAPTERXV
CHAPTERXVI
CHAPTERXVII
CHAPTERXVIII
CHAPTERXIX
CHAPTERXX
CHAPTERXXI
CHAPTERXXII
CHAPTERXXIII
CHAPTERXXIV
CHAPTERXXV
ENVOI



LISTOFILLUSTRATIONS;
"ADOVE,COMRADES!—ADOVE!"
CASTELLDECLARESHIMSELFAJEW
"YOUMEANTHATYOUWISHTOMURDERME"
MARGARETAPPEAREDDESCENDINGTHEBROADOAKSTAIRS
INANOTHERMOMENTTHATSTEELWOULDHAVEPIERCEDHIS
HEART
THEGALECAUGHTHIMANDBLEWHIMTOANDFRO
"LADY,"HESAID,"THISISNODEEDOFMINE"
ACRUEL-LOOKINGKNIFEANDANAKEDARMPROJECTED
THROUGHTHEPANELLING
"MYNAMEISINEZ.YOUWANDERSTILL,SEÑOR"
"THEREAREOTHERSWHERETHEYCAMEFROM"
"TO-DAYIDARETOHOPETHATITMAYBEOTHERWISE"
"WAY!MAKEWAYFORTHEMARCHIONESSOFMORELLA!"
"ICUTHIMDOWN,ANDBYMISFORTUNEKILLEDHIM"
"WEAREPLAYERSINASTRANGEGAME,MYLADYMARGARET"
"YOUWILLHAVETOFIGHTMEFIRST,PETER"


FAIRMARGARET


CHAPTERI
HOWPETERMETTHESPANIARD
ItwasaspringafternooninthesixthyearofthereignofKingHenryVII.of
England.TherehadbeenagreatshowinLondon,forthatdayhisGraceopened
thenewlyconvenedParliament,andannouncedtohisfaithfulpeople—who
receivedthenewswithmuchcheering,sincewariseverpopularatfirst—his
intentionofinvadingFrance,andofleadingtheEnglisharmiesinperson.In
Parliamentitself,itistrue,thegeneralenthusiasmwassomewhatdashedwhen
allusionwasmadetothefindingoftheneedfulfunds;butthecrowdswithout,
formedforthemostpartofpersonswhowouldnotbecalledupontopaythe
money,didnotsufferthatsideofthequestiontotroublethem.Sowhentheir
graciousliegeappeared,surroundedbyhisglitteringescortofnoblesandmenat-arms,theythrewtheircapsintotheair,andshoutedthemselveshoarse.
Thekinghimself,althoughhewasstillyounginyears,alreadyaweary-looking
manwithafine,pinchedface,smiledalittlesarcasticallyattheirclamour;but,
rememberinghowgladheshouldbetohearitwhostillsatuponasomewhat
doubtfulthrone,saidafewsoftwords,andsendingfortwoorthreeofthe
leadersofthepeople,gavethemhisroyalhand,andsufferedcertainchildrento
touchhisrobethattheymightbecuredoftheEvil.Then,havingpausedawhile
toreceivepetitionsfrompoorfolk,whichhehandedtooneofhisofficerstobe
read,amidstrenewedshoutinghepassedontothegreatfeastthatwasmade
readyinhispalaceofWestminster.
Amongthosewhorodeneartohimwastheambassador,deAyala,accreditedto
theEnglishCourtbytheSpanishsovereigns,FerdinandandIsabella,andhis
followingofsplendidlyattiredlordsandsecretaries.ThatSpainwasmuchin
favourtherewasevidentfromhisplaceintheprocession.Howcoulditbe
otherwise,indeed,seeingthatalready,fouryearsormorebefore,attheageof
twelvemonths,PrinceArthur,theeldestsonoftheking,hadbeenformally
affiancedtotheInfantaCatherine,daughterofFerdinandandIsabella,agedone
yearandninemonths?Forinthosedaysitwasthoughtwellthattheaffectionsof
princesandprincessesshouldbedirectedearlyintosuchpathsastheirroyal
parentsandgovernorsconsideredlikelytoprovemostprofitabletothemselves.


Attheambassador'slefthand,mountedonafineblackhorse,anddressedrichly,
butsimply,inblackvelvet,withacapofthesamematerialinwhichwas
fastenedasinglepearl,rodeatallcavalier.Hewasaboutfive-and-thirtyyearsof
age,andveryhandsome,havingpiercingblackeyesandastern,clean-cutface.
Ineveryman,itissaid,therecanbefoundaresemblance,oftenfaroffand
fancifulenough,tosomebeastorbirdorothercreature,andcertainlyinthiscase
itwasnothardtodiscover.Themanresembledaneagle,which,whetherby
chanceordesign,wasthecrestheboreuponhisservants'livery,andthe
trappingsofhishorse.Theunflinchingeyes,thehookednose,theairofpride
andmastery,thethin,longhand,thequickgraceofmovement,allsuggestedthat
kingofbirds,suggestedalso,ashismottosaid,thatwhathesoughthewould
find,andwhathefoundhewouldkeep.Justnowhewaswatchingtheinterview
betweentheEnglishkingandtheleadersofthecrowdwhomhisGracehadbeen
pleasedtosummon,withanairofmingledamusementandcontempt.
"Youfindthescenestrange,Marquis,"saidtheambassador,glancingathim
shrewdly.
"Señor,hereinEngland,ifitpleasesyourExcellency,"heansweredgravely,
"Señord'Aguilar.ThemarquisyoumentionedlivesinSpain—anaccredited
envoytotheMoorsofGranada;theSeñord'Aguilar,ahumbleservantofHoly
Church,"andhecrossedhimself,"travelsabroad—upontheChurch'sbusiness,
andthatoftheirMajesties'."
"Andhisowntoo,sometimes,Ibelieve,"answeredtheambassadordrily."Butto
befrank,whatIdonotunderstandaboutyou,Señord'Aguilar,asIknowthat
youhaveabandonedpoliticalambitions,iswhyyoudonotentermyprofession,
andputontheblackrobeonceandforall.WhatdidIsay—black?Withyour
opportunitiesandconnectionsitmightberedbynow,withahattomatch."
TheSeñord'Aguilarsmiledalittleashereplied.
"Yousaid,Ithink,thatsometimesItravelonmyownbusiness.Well,thereis
youranswer.Youareright,Ihaveabandonedworldlyambitions—mostofthem.
Theyaretroublesome,andforsomepeople,iftheybeborntoohighandyetnot
altogetherrightly,verydangerous.Theacornofambitionoftengrowsintoan
oakfromwhichmenhang."
"Orintoaloguponwhichmen'sheadscanbecutoff.Señor,Icongratulateyou.


Youhavethewisdomthatgraspsthesubstanceandletstheshadowsflit.Itis
reallyveryrare."
"YouaskedwhyIdonotchangethecutofmygarments,"wentond'Aguilar,
withoutnoticingtheinterruption."Excellency,tobefrank,becauseofmyown
business.Ihavefailingslikeothermen.Forinstance,wealthisthatsubstanceof
whichyouspoke,ruleistheshadow;hewhohasthewealthhastherealrule.
Again,brighteyesmaydrawme,orahatemayseekitsslaking,andthesethings
donotsuitrobes,blackorred."
"Yetmanysuchthingshavebeendonebythosewhoworethem,"repliedthe
ambassadorwithmeaning.
"Aye,Excellency,tothediscreditofHolyChurch,asyou,apriest,knowbetter
thanmostmen.Lettheearthbeevilasitmust;butlettheChurchbelikeheaven
aboveit,pure,unstained,thevaultofprayer,thehouseofmercyandofrighteous
judgment,whereinwalksnosinnersuchasI,"andagainhecrossedhimself.
Therewasaringofearnestnessinthespeaker'svoicethatcauseddeAyala,who
knewsomethingofhisprivatereputation,tolookathimcuriously.
"Atruefanatic,andthereforetousausefulman,"hethoughttohimself,"though
onewhoknowshowtomakethebestoftwoworldsaswellasmostofthem;"
butaloudhesaid,"NowonderthatourChurchrejoicesinsuchason,andthat
herenemiestremblewhenheliftshersword.But,Señor,youhavenottoldme
whatyouthinkofallthisceremonyandpeople."
"ThepeopleIknowwell,Excellency,forIdweltamongtheminpastyearsand
speaktheirlanguage;andthatiswhyIhaveleftGranadatolookafteritselffora
while,andamhereto-day,towatchandmakereport——"Hecheckedhimself,
thenadded,"Asfortheceremony,wereIakingIwouldhaveitotherwise.Why,
inthathousejustnowthosevulgarCommons—forsotheycallthem,dothey
not?—almostthreatenedtheirroyalmasterwhenhehumblycravedatitheofthe
country'swealthtofightthecountry'swar.Yes,andIsawhimturnpaleand
trembleattheroughvoices,asthoughtheirechoesshookhisthrone.Itellyou,
Excellency,thatthetimewillcomeinthislandwhenthoseCommonswillbe
king.LooknowatthatfellowwhomhisGraceholdsbythehand,callinghim
'sir'and'master,'andyetwhomheknowstobe,asIdo,aheretic,aJewin
disguise,whosesins,ifhehadhisrights,shouldbepurgedbyfire.Why,tomy


knowledgelastnight,thatIsraelitesaidthingsagainsttheChurch——"
"WhereoftheChurch,oritsservant,doubtlessmadenotestobeusedwhenthe
timecomes,"brokeindeAyala."Buttheaudienceisdone,andhisHighness
beckonsusforwardtothefeast,wheretherewillbenohereticstovexus,and,as
itisLent,notmuchtoeat.Come,Señor!forwestoptheway."
Threehourshadgoneby,andthesunsankredly,forevenatthatspringseasonit
wascolduponthemarshylandsofWestminster,andtherewasfrostintheair.
Ontheopenspaceoppositetothebanqueting-hall,infrontofwhichwere
gatheredsquiresandgroomswithhorses,stoodandwalkedmanycitizensof
London,who,theirday'sworkdone,cametoseethekingpassbyinstate.
Amongthesewereamanandalady,thelatterattendedbyahandsomeyoung
woman,whowereallthreesufficientlystrikinginappearancetoattractsome
noticeinthethrong.
Theman,apersonofaboutthirtyyearsofage,dressedinamerchant'srobeof
cloth,andwearingaknifeinhisgirdle,seemedoversixfeetinheight,whilehis
companion,inherflowing,fur-trimmedcloak,was,forawoman,alsoof
unusualstature.Hewasnot,strictlyspeaking,ahandsomeman,beingsomewhat
toohighofforeheadandprominentoffeature;moreover,oneofhiscleanshavencheeks,theright,wasmarredbythelong,redscarofasword-cutwhich
stretchedfromthetempletothestrongchin.Hisface,however,wasopenand
manly,ifratherstern,andthegreyeyesweresteadyandfrank.Itwasnotthe
faceofamerchant,butratherthatofoneofgooddegree,accustomedtocamps
andwar.Fortherest,hisfigurewaswell-builtandactive,andhisvoicewhenhe
spoke,whichwasseldom,clearanddistincttoloudness,butcultivatedand
pleasant—again,notthevoiceofamerchant.
Ofthelady'sfigurelittlecouldbeseenbecauseofthelongcloakthathidit,but
theface,whichappearedwithinitshoodwhensheturnedandthedyingsunlight
filledhereyes,waslovelyindeed,forfromherbirthtoherdeath-dayMargaret
Castell—fairMargaret,asshewascalled—hadthisgifttoadegreethatisrarely
grantedtowoman.Roundedandflower-likewasthatface,mostdelicatelytinted
also,withrichandcurvinglipsandabroad,snow-whitebrow.Butthewonderof
it,whatdistinguishedheraboveeverythingelsefromotherbeautifulwomenof
hertime,wastobefoundinhereyes,forthesewerenotblueorgrey,asmight
havebeenexpectedfromhergeneralcolouring,butlarge,black,andlustrous;
soft,too,astheeyesofadeer,andoverhungbycurlinglashesofanebonblack.


Theeffectoftheseeyesofhersshiningabovethosetintedcheeksandbeneath
thebrowofivorywhitenesswassostrangeastobealmoststartling.Theycaught
thebeholderandheldhim,asmightthesuddensightofaroseinsnow,orthe
morningstarhangingluminousamongthemistsofdawn.Also,althoughthey
weresogentleandmodest,ifthatbeholderchancedtobeamanonthegoodside
offiftyitwasoftenlongbeforehecouldforgetthem,especiallyifhewere
privilegedtoseehowwelltheymatchedthehairofchestnut,shadingintoblack,
thatwavedabovethemandfell,tressupontress,upontheshapelyshouldersand
downtotheslenderwaist.
PeterBrome,forhewassonamed,lookedalittleanxiouslyabouthimatthe
crowd,then,turning,addressedMargaretinhisstrong,clearvoice.
"Thereareroughfolkaround,"hesaid;"doyouthinkyoushouldstophere?
Yourfathermightbeangered,Cousin."
Hereitmaybeexplainedthatinrealitytheirkinshipwasoftheslightest,amere
dashofbloodthatcametoherthroughhermother.Stilltheycalledeachother
thus,sinceitisaconvenienttitlethatmaymeanmuchornothing.
"Oh!whynot?"sheansweredinherrich,slowtones,thathadinthemsome
foreignquality,somethingsoftandsweetasthecaressofasouthernwindat
night."Withyou,Cousin,"andsheglancedapprovinglyathisstalwart,soldierlikeform,"Ihavenothingtofearfrommen,howeverrough,andIdogreatly
wanttoseethekingcloseby,andsodoesBetty.Don'tyou,Betty?"andshe
turnedtohercompanion.
BettyDene,whomsheaddressed,wasalsoacousinofMargaret,thoughonlya
distantconnectionofPeterBrome.Shewasofverygoodblood,butherfather,a
wildanddissoluteman,hadbrokenhermother'sheart,and,likethatmother,
diedearly,leavingBettydependentuponMargaret'smother,inwhosehouseshe
hadbeenbroughtup.ThisBettywasinherwayremarkable,bothinbodyand
mind.Fair,splendidlyformed,strong,withwide,bold,blueeyesandripered
lips,suchwasthefashionofher.Inspeechshewascarelessandvigorous.Fond
ofthesocietyofmen,andfonderstilloftheiradmiration,forshewasromantic
andvain,Bettyattheageoffive-and-twentywasyetanhonestgirl,andwell
abletotakecareofherself,asmorethanoneofheradmirershaddiscovered.
Althoughherpositionwashumble,atheartshewasveryproudofherlineage,
ambitiousalso,hergreatdesirebeingtoraiseherselfbymarriagebacktothe


stationfromwhichherfather'sfollyhadcastherdown—noeasybusinessfor
onewhopassedasawaiting-womanandwaswithoutfortune.
Fortherest,shelovedandadmiredhercousinMargaretmorethananyoneon
earth,whilePetershelikedandrespected,nonethelessperhapsbecause,tryas
shewould—and,beingnettled,shedidtryhardenough—herbeautyandother
charmslefthimquiteunmoved.
InanswertoMargaret'squestionshelaughedandanswered:
"Ofcourse.WearealltoobusyupinHolborntogetthechanceofsomany
showsthatIshouldwishtomissone.Still,MasterPeterisverywise,andIam
alwayscounselledtoobeyhim.Also,itwillsoonbedark."
"Well,well,"saidMargaretwithasighandalittleshrugofhershoulders,"as
youarebothagainstme,perhapswehadbestbegoing.NexttimeIcomeout
walking,cousinPeter,itshallbewithsomeonewhoismorekind."
Thensheturnedandbegantomakeherwayasquicklyasshecouldthroughthe
thickeningcrowd.Findingthisdifficult,beforePetercouldstopher,forshewas
veryswiftinhermovements,Margaretboretotheright,enteringthespace
immediatelyinfrontofthebanqueting-hallwherethegroomswithhorsesand
soldierswereassembledawaitingtheirlords,forheretherewasmoreroomto
walk.ForafewmomentsPeterandBettywereunabletoescapefromthemob
whichclosedinbehindher,andthusitcameaboutthatMargaretfoundherself
aloneamongthesepeople,inthemidst,indeed,oftheguardoftheSpanish
ambassadordeAyala,menwhowerenotoriousfortheirlawlessness,forthey
reckonedupontheirmaster'sprivilegetoprotectthem.Also,forthemostpart,
theywerejustthenmoreorlessinliquor.
Oneofthesefellows,agreat,red-hairedScotchman,whomthepriestdiplomatisthadbroughtwithhimfromthatcountry,wherehehadalsobeen
ambassador,suddenlyperceivingbeforehimawomanwhoappearedtobe
youngandpretty,determinedtoexaminehermoreclosely,andtothisendmade
useofarudestratagem.Pretendingtostumble,hegraspedatMargaret'scloakas
thoughtosavehimself,andwithawrenchtoreitopen,revealingherbeautiful
faceandgracefulfigure.
"Adove,comrades!—adove!"heshoutedinavoicethickwithdrink,"whohas
flownheretogivemeakiss."And,castinghislongarmsabouther,hestroveto


drawhertohim.
'ADOVE,COMRADES!—ADOVE!'
"Peter!Helpme,Peter!"criedMargaretasshestruggledfiercelyinhisgrip.
"No,no,ifyouwantasaint,mybonnylass,"saidthedrunkenScotchman,
"AndrewisasgoodasPeter,"atwhichwitticismthoseoftheotherswho
understoodhimlaughed,fortheman'snamewasAndrew.
Nextinstanttheylaughedagain,andtotheruffianAndrewitseemedasthough
suddenlyhehadfallenintothepowerofawhirlwind.AtleastMargaretwas
wrenchedawayfromhim,whilehespunroundandroundtofallviolentlyupon
hisface.
"That'sPeter!"exclaimedoneofthesoldiersinSpanish.
"Yes,"answeredanother,"andapatronsaintworthhaving";whileathirdpulled
therecumbentAndrewtohisfeet.
Themanlookedlikeadevil.Hiscaphadgone,andhisfieryredhairwas
smearedwithmud.Moreover,hisnosehadbeenbrokenonacobblestone,and
bloodfromitpouredalloverhim,whilehislittleredeyesglaredlikeaferret's,
andhisfaceturnedadirtywhitewithpainandrage.Howlingoutsomethingin
Scotch,ofasuddenhedrewhisswordandrushedstraightathisadversary,
purposingtokillhim.
Now,Peterhadnosword,butonlyhisshortknife,whichhefoundnotimeto
draw.Inhishand,however,hecarriedastouthollystaffshodwithiron,and,
whileMargaretclaspedherhandsandBettyscreamed,onthishecaughtthe
descendingblow,and,furiousasitwas,parriedandturnedit.Then,beforethe
mancouldstrikeagain,thatstaffwasup,andPeterhadleaptuponhim.Itfell
withfearfulforce,breakingtheScotchman'sshoulderandsendinghimreeling
back.
"Shrewdlystruck,Peter!Welldone,Peter!"shoutedthespectators.
ButPeterneithersawnorheardthem,forhewasmadwithrageattheinsultthat
hadbeenofferedtoMargaret.Upflewtheiron-tippedstaffagain,anddownit
came,thistimefullonAndrew'shead,whichitshatteredlikeanegg-shell,so


thatthebrutefellbackwards,dead.
Foramomenttherewassilence,forthejokehadtakenatragicturn.Thenoneof
theSpaniardssaid,glancingattheprostrateform:
"NameofGod!ourmateisdonefor.Thatmerchanthitshard."
Instantlytherearoseamurmuramongthedeadman'scomrades,andoneofthem
cried:
"Cuthimdown!"
Understandingthathewastobeseton,Petersprangforwardandsnatchedthe
Scotchman'sswordfromthegroundwhereithadfallen,atthesametime
droppinghisstaffanddrawinghisdaggerwiththelefthand.Nowhewaswell
armed,andlookedsofierceandsoldier-likeashefacedhisfoes,that,although
fourorfivebladeswereout,theyheldback.ThenPeterspokeforthefirsttime,
forheknewthatagainstsomanyhehadnochance.
"Englishmen,"hecriedinringingtones,butwithoutshiftinghisheadorglance,
"willyouseememurderedbytheseSpanishdogs?"
Therewasamoment'spause,thenavoicebehindcried:
"ByGod!notI,"andabrawnyKentishman-at-armsrangedupbesidehim,his
cloakthrownoverhisleftarm,andhisswordinhisrighthand.
"NorI,"saidanother."PeterBromeandIhavefoughttogetherbefore."
"NorI,"shoutedathird,"forwewereborninthesameEssexhundred."
Andsoitwenton,untiltherewereasmanystoutEnglishmenathissideasthere
wereSpaniardsandScotchmenbeforehim.
"Thatwilldo,"saidPeter,"wewantnomorethanmantoman.Looktothe
women,comradesbehindthere.Now,youmurderers,ifyouwouldseeEnglish
sword-play,comeon,or,ifyouareafraid,letusgoinpeace."
"Yes,comeon,youforeigncowards,"shoutedthemob,whodidnotlovethese
turbulentandprivilegedguards.


BynowtheSpanishbloodwasup,andtheoldrace-hatredawake.Inbroken
EnglishthesergeantoftheguardshoutedoutsomefilthyinsultaboutMargaret,
andcalleduponhisfollowersto"cutthethroatsoftheLondonswine."Swords
shoneredintheredsunsetlight,menshiftedtheirfeetandbentforward,andin
anotherinstantagreatandbloodyfraywouldhavebegun.
Butitdidnotbegin,foratthatmomentatallseñor,whohadbeenstandinginthe
shadowandwatchingallthatpassed,walkedbetweentheopposinglines,ashe
wentstrikinguptheswordswithhisarm.
"Havedone,"saidd'Aguilarquietly,foritwashe,speakinginSpanish."You
fools!doyouwanttoseeeverySpaniardinLondontorntopieces?Asforthat
drunkenbrute,"andhetouchedthecorpseofAndrewwithhisfoot,"hebrought
hisdeathuponhimself.Moreover,hewasnotaSpaniard,thereisnoblood
quarrel.Come,obeyme!ormustItellyouwhoIam?"
"Weknowyou,Marquis,"saidtheleaderinacowedvoice."Sheathyourswords,
comrades;afterall,itisnoaffairofours."
Themenobeyedsomewhatunwillingly;butatthismomentarrivedthe
ambassadordeAyala,veryangry,forhehadheardofthedeathofhisservant,
demanding,inaloudvoice,thatthemanwhohadkilledhimshouldbegivenup.
"WewillnotgivehimuptoaSpanishpriest,"shoutedthemob."Comeandtake
himifyouwanthim,"andoncemorethetumultgrew,whilePeterandhis
companionsmadereadytofight.
Fightingtherewouldhavebeenalso,notwithstandingallthatd'Aguilarcoulddo
topreventit;butofasuddenthenoisebegantodieaway,andahushfellupon
theplace.Thenbetweentheupliftedweaponswalkedashort,richlycladman,
whoturnedsuddenlyandfacedthemob.ItwasKingHenryhimself.
"Whodaretodrawswordsinmystreets,beforemyverypalacedoors?"heasked
inacoldvoice.
AdozenhandspointedatPeter.
"Speak,"saidthekingtohim.
"Margaret,comehere,"criedPeter;andthegirlwasthrustforwardtohim.


"Sire,"hesaid,"thatman,"andhepointedtothecorpseofAndrew,"triedtodo
wrongtothismaiden,JohnCastell'schild.I,hercousin,threwhimdown.He
drewhisswordandcameatme,andIkilledhimwithmystaff.See,itliesthere.
ThentheSpaniards—hiscomrades—wouldhavecutmedown,andIcalledfor
Englishhelp.Sire,thatisall."
Thekinglookedhimupanddown.
"Amerchantbyyourdress,"hesaid;"butasoldierbyyourmien.Howareyou
named?"
"PeterBrome,Sire."
"Ah!TherewasacertainSirPeterBromewhofellatBosworthField—not
fightingforme,"andhesmiled."Didyouknowhimperchance?"
"Hewasmyfather,Sire,andIsawhimslain—aye,andslewtheslayer."
"WellcanIbelieveit,"answeredHenry,consideringhim."Buthowcomesitthat
PeterBrome'sson,whowearsthatbattlescaracrosshisface,iscladin
merchant'swoollen?"
"Sire,"saidPetercoolly,"myfathersoldhislands,lenthisalltotheCrown,and
Ihaveneverrenderedtheaccount.ThereforeImustliveasIcan."
Thekinglaughedoutrightashereplied:
"Ilikeyou,PeterBrome,thoughdoubtlessyouhateme."
"Notso,Sire.WhileRichardlivedIfoughtforRichard.Richardisgone;and,if
needbe,IwouldfightforHenry,whoamanEnglishman,andserveEngland's
king."
"Wellsaid,andImayhaveneedofyouyet,nordoIbearyouanygrudge.But,I
forgot,isitthusthatyouwouldfightforme,bycausingriotinmystreets,and
bringingmeintotroublewithmygoodfriendstheSpaniards?"
"Sire,youknowthestory."
"Iknowyourstory,butwhobearswitnesstoit?Doyou,maiden,Castellthe


merchant'sdaughter?"
"Aye,Sire.Themanwhommycousinkilledmaltreatedme,whoseonlywrong
wasthatIwaitedtoseeyourGracepassby.Lookonmytorncloak."
"Littlewonderthathekilledhimforthesakeofthoseeyesofyours,maiden.But
thiswitnessmaybetainted."Andagainhesmiled,adding,"Istherenoother?"
Bettyadvancedtospeak,butd'Aguilar,steppingforward,liftedhisbonnetfrom
hishead,bowedandsaidinEnglish:
"YourGrace,thereis;Isawitall.Thisgallantgentlemanhadnoblame.Itwas
theservantsofmycountrymandeAyalawhoweretoblame,atanyrateatfirst,
andafterwardscamethetrouble."
NowtheambassadordeAyalabrokein,claimingsatisfactionforthekillingof
hisman,forhewasstillveryangry,andsayingthatifitwerenotgiven,he
wouldreportthemattertotheirMajestiesofSpain,andletthemknowhowtheir
servantsweretreatedinLondon.
AtthesewordsHenrygrewgrave,who,aboveallthings,wishedtogiveno
offencetoFerdinandandIsabella.
"Youhavedoneanillday'swork,PeterBrome,"hesaid,"andoneofwhichmy
attorneymustconsider.Meanwhile,youwillbebestinsafekeeping,"andhe
turnedasthoughtoorderhisarrest.
"Sire,"exclaimedPeter,"IliveatMasterCastell'shouseinHolborn,norshallI
runaway."
"Whowillanswerforthat,"askedtheking,"orthatyouwillnotmakemoreriots
onyourroadthither?"
"Iwillanswer,yourGrace,"saidd'Aguilarquietly,"ifthisladywillpermitthatI
escortherandhercousinhome.Also,"headdedinalowvoice,"itseemstome
thattohalehimtoaprisonwouldbemoreliketobreedariotthantolethimgo."
Henryglancedroundhimatthegreatcrowdwhoweregatheredwatchingthis
scene,andsawsomethingintheirfaceswhichcausedhimtoagreewith
d'Aguilar.


"Sobeit,Marquis,"hesaid."Ihaveyourword,andthatofPeterBrome,thathe
willbeforthcomingifcalledupon.LetthatdeadmanbelaidintheAbbeytilltomorrow,whenthismattershallbeinquiredof.Excellency,givemeyourarm;I
havegreaterquestionsofwhichIwishtospeakwithyouerewesleep."


CHAPTERII
JOHNCASTELL
Whenthekingwasgone,Peterturnedtothosemenwhohadstoodbyhimand
thankedthemveryheartily.ThenhesaidtoMargaret:
"Come,Cousin,thatisoverforthistime,andyouhavehadyourwishandseen
hisGrace.Now,thesooneryouaresafeathome,thebetterIshallbepleased."
"Certainly,"shereplied."IhaveseenmorethanIdesiretoseeagain.Butbefore
wegoletusthankthisSpanishseñor——"andshepaused.
"D'Aguilar,Lady,oratleastthatnamewillserve,"saidtheSpaniardinhis
culturedvoice,bowinglowbeforeher,hiseyesfixedallthewhileuponher
beautifulface.
"Señord'Aguilar,Ithankyou,andsodoesmycousin,PeterBrome,whoselife
perhapsyousaved—don'tyou,Peter?Oh!andsowillmyfather."
"Yes,"answeredPetersomewhatsulkily,"Ithankhimverymuch;thoughasfor
mylife,Itrustedtomyownarmandtothoseofmyfriendsthere.Goodnight,
Sir."
"Ifear,Señor,"answeredd'Aguilarwithasmile,"thatwecannotpartjustyet.
Youforget,Ihavebecomebondforyou,andmustthereforeaccompanyyouto
whereyoulive,thatImaycertifytheplace.Also,perhaps,itissafest,forthese
countrymenofminearerevengeful,and,wereInotwithyou,mightwaylay
you."
Now,seeingfromhisfacethatPeterwasstillbentupondecliningthisescort,
Margaretinterposedquickly.
"Yes,thatiswisest,alsomyfatherwouldwishit.Señor,Iwillshowyouthe
way,"and,accompaniedbyd'Aguilar,whogallantlyofferedherhisarm,she
steppedforwardbriskly,leavingPetertofollowwithhercousinBetty.


Thustheywalkedinthetwilightacrossthefieldsandthroughthenarrowstreets
beyondthatlaybetweenWestminsterandHolborn.InfronttrippedMargaret
besideherstatelycavalier,withwhomshewassoontalkingfastenoughin
Spanish,atonguewhich,forreasonsthatshallbeexplained,sheknewwell,
whilebehind,theScotchman'sswordstillinhishand,andthehandsomeBetty
onhisarm,camePeterBromeintheworstofhumours.
JohnCastelllivedinalarge,rambling,many-gabled,house,justoffthemain
thoroughfareofHolborn,thathadatthebackofitagardensurroundedbyahigh
wall.Ofthisancientplacethefrontpartservedasashop,astorefor
merchandise,andanoffice,forCastellwasaverywealthytrader—howwealthy
nonequiteknew—whoexportedwoollenandothergoodstoSpainunderthe
royallicence,bringingthenceinhisownshipsfine,rawSpanishwooltobe
manufacturedinEngland,andwithitvelvet,silks,andwinefromGranada;also
beautifulinlaidarmourofToledosteel.Sometimes,too,hedealtinsilverand
copperfromthemountainmines,forCastellwasabankeraswellasamerchant,
orratherwhatansweredtothatdescriptioninthosedays.
Itwassaidthatbeneathhisshopweredungeon-likestore-vaults,builtofthick
cementedstone,withirondoorsthroughwhichnothiefcouldbreak,andfilled
withpreciousthings.Howeverthismightbe,certainlyinthatgreathouse,which
inthetimeofthePlantagenetshadbeenthefortifiedpalaceofanoble,existed
chamberswhereofhealoneknewthesecret,sincenooneelse,notevenhis
daughterorPeter,evercrossedtheirthreshold.Also,theresleptinitanumberof
men-servants,verystoutfellows,whoworeknivesorswordsbeneaththeir
cloaks,andwatchedatnighttoseethatallwaswell.Fortherest,thelivingroomsofthishousewhereCastell,Margarethisdaughter,andPeterdwelt,were
largeandcomfortable,beingnewpanelledwithoakaftertheTudorfashion,and
havingdeepwindowsthatlookedoutuponthegarden.
WhenPeterandBettyreachedthedoor,notthatwhichledintotheshop,but
another,itwastofindthatMargaretandd'Aguilar,whowerewalkingvery
quickly,musthavealreadypassedit,sinceitwasshut,andtheyhadvanished.At
hisknock—ahardone—aserving-manopened,andPeterstrodethroughthe
vestibule,orante-chamber,intothehall,whereforthemostparttheyateandsat,
forthenceheheardthesoundofvoices.Itwasafineroom,litbyhanginglamps
ofoliveoil,andhavingalarge,openhearthwhereafireburnedpleasantly,while
theoakentableinfrontofitwassetforsupper.Margaret,whohadthrownoff
hercloak,stoodwarmingherselfatthefire,andtheSeñord'Aguilar,


comfortablyseatedinabigchair,whichheseemedtohaveknownforyears,
leanedback,hisbonnetinhishand,andwatchedheridly.
FacingthemstoodJohnCastell,astout,dark-beardedmanofbetweenfiftyand
sixtyyearsofage,withaclever,clean-cutfaceandpiercingblackeyes.Now,in
theprivacyofhishome,hewasveryrichlyattiredinarobetrimmedwiththe
costliestfur,andfastenedwithagoldchainthathadajewelonitsclasp.When
Castellservedinhisshoporsatinhiscounting-housenomerchantinLondon
wasmoreplainlydressed;butatnight,lovingmagnificenceatheart,itwashis
customthustoindulgeinit,evenwhentherewerenonetoseehim.Fromthe
wayinwhichhestood,andthelookuponhisface,Peterknewatoncethathe
wasmuchdisturbed.Hearinghisstep,Castellwheeledroundandaddressedhim
atonceintheclear,decidedvoicewhichwashischaracteristic.
"WhatisthisIamtold,Peter?Amankilledbyyoubeforethepalacegates?A
broil!Apublicriotinwhichthingswentneartogreatbloodshedbetweenthe
English,withyouattheheadofthem,andthebodyguardofhisExcellency,de
Ayala.Youarrestedbytheking,andbailedoutbythisseñor.Isallthistrue?"
"Quite,"answeredPetercalmly.
"ThenIamruined;weareallruined.Oh!itwasanevilhourwhenItookoneof
yourbloodthirstytradeintomyhouse.Whathaveyoutosay?"
"OnlythatIwantmysupper,"saidPeter."Thosewhobeganthestorycanfinish
it,forIthinktheirtonguesarenimblerthanmyown,"andheglancedwrathfully
atMargaret,wholaughedoutright,whileeventhesolemnd'Aguilarsmiled.
"Father,"brokeinMargaret,"donotbeangrywithcousinPeter,whoseonlyfault
isthathehitstoohard.ItisIwhoamtoblame,forIwishedtostoptoseethe
kingagainsthiswillandBetty's,andthen—thenthatbrute,"andhereyesfilled
withtearsofshameandanger,"caughtholdofme,andPeterthrewhimdown,
andafterwards,whenheattackedhimwithasword,Peterkilledhimwithhis
staff,and—alltheresthappened."
"Itwasbeautifullydone,"saidd'Aguilarinhissoftvoiceandforeignaccent."I
sawitall,andmadesurethatyouweredead.TheparryIunderstood,butthe
wayyougotyoursmashingblowinbeforehecouldthrustagain—ah!that——"
"Well,well,"saidCastell,"letuseatfirstandtalkafterwards.Señord'Aguilar,


youwillhonourmypoorboard,willyounot,thoughitishardtocomefroma
king'sfeasttoamerchant'sfare?"
"ItisIwhoamhonoured,"answeredd'Aguilar;"andasforthefeast,hisGraceis
sparinginthisLentenseason.Atleast,Icouldgetlittletoeat,and,therefore,
liketheseñorPeter,Iamstarved."
Castellrangasilverbellwhichstoodnearby,whereonservantsbroughtinthe
meal,whichwasexcellentandplentiful.Whiletheyweresettingitonthetable,
themerchantwenttoacupboardinthewainscoting,andtookthencetwoflasks,
whichheuncorkedhimselfwithcare,sayingthathewouldgivetheseñorsome
wineofhisowncountry.Thisdone,hesaidaLatingraceandcrossedhimself,
anexamplewhichd'Aguilarfollowed,remarkingthathewasgladtofindthathe
wasinthehouseofagoodChristian.
"WhatelsedidyouthinkthatIshouldbe?"askedCastell,glancingathim
shrewdly.
"Ididnotthinkatall,Señor,"heanswered;"butalas!everyoneisnota
Christian.InSpain,forinstance,wehavemanyMoorsand—Jews."
"Iknow,"saidCastell,"forItradewiththemboth."
"ThenyouhavenevervisitedSpain?"
"No;IamanEnglishmerchant.Buttrythatwine,Señor;itcamefromGranada,
andtheysaythatitisgood."
D'Aguilartastedit,thendrankoffhisglass.
"Itisgood,indeed,"hesaid;"Ihavenotitsequalinmyowncellarsthere."
"Doyou,then,liveinGranada,Señord'Aguilar?"askedCastell.
"Sometimes,whenIamnottravelling.Ihaveahousetherewhichmymother
leftme.Shelovedthetown,andboughtanoldpalacefromtheMoors.Would
younotliketoseeGranada,Señora?"heasked,turningtoMargaretasthoughto
changethesubject."ThereisawonderfulbuildingtherecalledtheAlhambra;it
overlooksmyhouse."


"Mydaughterisneverlikelytoseeit,"brokeinCastell;"Idonotpurposethat
sheshouldvisitSpain."
"Ah!youdonotpurpose;butwhoknows?GodandHissaintsalone,"andagain
hecrossedhimself,thenfelltodescribingthebeautiesofGranada.
Hewasafineandreadytalker,andhisvoicewasverypleasant,soMargaret
listenedattentivelyenough,watchinghisface,andforgettingtoeat,whileher
fatherandPeterwatchedthemboth.Atlengththemealcametoanend,and
whentheserving-menhadclearedawaythedishes,andtheywerealone,Castell
said:
"Now,kinsmanPeter,tellmeyourstory."
SoPetertoldhim,infewwords,yetomittingnothing.
"Ifindnoblameinyou,"saidthemerchantwhenhehaddone,"nordoIseehow
youcouldhaveactedotherwisethanyoudid.ItisMargaretwhomIblame,forI
onlygaveherleavetowalkwithyouandBettybytheriver,andbadeherbeware
ofcrowds."
"Yes,father,thefaultismine,andforitIprayyourpardon,"saidMargaret,so
meeklythatherfathercouldnotfindthehearttoscoldherashehadmeanttodo.
"YoushouldaskPeter'spardon,"hemuttered,"seeingthatheisliketobelaidby
theheelsinadungeonoverthisbusiness,yes,andputuponhistrialforcausing
theman'sdeath.Remember,hewasintheserviceofdeAyala,withwhomour
liegewishestostandwell,anddeAyala,itseems,isveryangry."
NowMargaretgrewfrightened,forthethoughtthatharmmightcometoPeter
cutherheart.Thecolourlefthercheek,andonceagainhereyesswamwith
tears.
"Oh!saynotso,"sheexclaimed."Peter,willyounotflyatonce?"
"Bynomeans,"heanswereddecidedly."DidInotsayittotheking,andisnot
thisforeignlordbondforme?"
"Whatcanbedone?"shewenton;then,asathoughtstruckher,turnedto
d'Aguilar,and,claspingherslenderhands,lookedpleadinglyintohisfaceand


asked:"Señor,youwhoaresopowerful,andthefriendofgreatpeople,willyou
nothelpus?"
"AmInotheretodoso,Señora?AlthoughIthinkthatamanwhocancallhalf
Londontohisback,asIsawyourcousindo,needslittlehelpfromme.But
listen,mycountryhastwoambassadorsatthisCourt—deAyala,whomhehas
offended,andDoctordePuebla,thefriendoftheking;and,strangelyenough,de
PuebladoesnotlovedeAyala.Yethedoeslovemoney,whichperhapswillbe
forthcoming.Now,ifachargeistobelaidoverthisbrawl,itwillprobablybe
done,notbythechurchman,deAyala,butthroughdePuebla,whoknowsyour
lawsandCourt,and—doyouunderstandme,SeñorCastell?"
"Yes,"answeredthemerchant;"buthowamItogetatdePuebla?IfIwereto
offerhimmoney,hewouldonlyaskmore."
"IseethatyouknowhisExcellency,"remarkedd'Aguilardrily."Youareright,
nomoneyshouldbeoffered;apresentmustbemadeafterthepardonis
delivered—notbefore.Oh!dePueblaknowsthatJohnCastell'swordisasgood
inLondonasitisamongtheJewsandinfidelsofGranadaandthemerchantsof
Seville,atbothofwhichplacesIhavehearditspoken."
AtthisspeechCastell'seyesflickered,butheonlyanswered:
"Maybe;buthowshallIapproachhim,Señor?"
"Ifyouwillpermitme,thatismytask.Now,towhatamountwillyougotosave
ourfriendherefrominconvenience?Fiftygoldangels?"
"Itistoomuch,"saidCastell;"aknavelikethatisnotworthten.Indeed,hewas
theassailant,andnothingshouldbepaidatall."
"Ah!Señor,themerchantiscomingoutinyou;alsothedangerousmanwho
thinksthatrightshouldruletheworld,notkings—Imeanmight.Theknaveis
worthnothing,butdePuebla'swordinHenry'searisworthmuch."
"Fiftyangelsbeitthen,"saidCastell,"andIthankyou,Señor,foryourgood
offices.Willyoutakethemoneynow?"
"Bynomeans;nottillIbringthedebtdischarged.Señor,Iwillcomeagainand
letyouknowhowmattersstand.Farewell,fairmaiden;maythesaintsintercede


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