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About the time that Margaret and Betty were being rowed aboard the _San
Antonio_, Peter Brome and his servants, who had been delayed an hour or
more by the muddy state of the roads, pulled rein at the door of the
house in Holborn. For over a month he had been dreaming of this moment
of return, as a man does who expects such a welcome as he knew awaited
him, and who on the morrow was to be wed to a lovely and beloved bride.
He had thought how Margaret would be watching at the window, how, spying
him advancing down the street, she would speed to the door, how he would
leap from his horse and take her to his arms in front of every one if
need be--for why should they be ashamed who were to be wed upon
But there was no Margaret at the window, or at any rate he could not see
her, for it was dark. There was not even a light; indeed the whole face
of the old house seemed to frown at him through the gloom. Still, Peter
played his part according to the plan; that is, he leapt from his horse,
ran to the door and tried to enter, but could not for it was locked, so
he hammered on it with the handle of his sword, till at length some one
came and unbolted. It was the hired man with whom Margaret had left the
letter, and he held a lantern in his hand.
The sight of him frightened Peter, striking a chill to his heart.
"Who are you?" he asked; then, without waiting for an answer, went on,
"Where are Master Castell and Mistress Margaret?"
The man answered that the master was not yet back from his ship, and
that the Lady Margaret had gone out nearly three hours before with her
cousin Betty and a sailor--all of them on horseback.
"She must have ridden to meet me, and missed us in the dark," said Peter
aloud, whereon the man asked whether he spoke to Master Brome, since, if
so, he had a letter for him.
"Yes," answered Peter, and snatched it from his hand, bidding him close
the door and hold up the lantern while he read, for he could see that
the writing was that of Margaret.
"A strange story," he muttered, as he finished it. "Well, I must away,"
and he turned to the door again.
As he stretched out his hand to the key, it opened, and through it came
Castell, as sound as ever he had been.
"Welcome, Peter!" he cried in a jolly voice. "I knew you were here, for
I saw the horses; but why are you not with Margaret?"
"Because Margaret has gone to be with you, who should be hurt almost to
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