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death, or so says this letter."
"To be with me--hurt to the death! Give it me--nay, read it, I cannot
So Peter read.
"I scent a plot," said Castell in a strained voice as he finished, "and
I think that hound of a Spaniard is at the bottom of it, or Betty, or
both. Here, you fellow, tell us what you know, and be swift if you would
keep a sound skin."
"That would I, why not?" answered the man, and told all the tale of the
coming of the sailor.
"Go, bid the men bring back the horses, all of them," said Castell
almost before he had done; "and, Peter, look not so dazed, but come,
drink a cup of wine. We shall need it, both of us, before this night is
over. What! is there never a fellow of all my servants in the house?" So
he shouted till his folk, who had returned with him from the ship, came
running from the kitchen.
He bade them bring food and liquor, and while they gulped down the wine,
for they could not eat, Castell told how their Mistress Margaret had
been tricked away, and must be followed. Then, hearing the horses being
led back from the stables, they ran to the door and mounted, and,
followed by their men, a dozen or more of them, in all, galloped off
into the darkness, taking another road for Tilbury, that by which
Margaret went, not because they were sure of this, but because it was
But the horses were tired, and the night was dark and rainy, so it came
about that the clock of some church struck three of the morning before
ever they drew near to Tilbury. Now they were passing the little quay
where Margaret and Betty had entered the boat, Castell and Peter riding
side by side ahead of the others in stern silence, for they had nothing
to say, when a familiar voice hailed them--that of Thomas the groom.
"I saw your horses' heads against the sky," he explained, "and knew
"Where is your mistress?" they asked both in a breath.
"Gone, gone with Betty Dene in a boat, from this quay, to be rowed to
the _Margaret_, or so I thought. Having stabled the horses as I was
bidden, I came back here to await them. But that was hours ago, and I
have seen no soul, and heard nothing except the wind and the water, till
I heard the galloping of your horses."
"On to Tilbury, and get boats," said Castell. "We must catch the
_Margaret_ ere she sails at dawn. Perhaps the women are aboard of her."
"If so, I think Spaniards took them there, for I am sure they were not
English in that craft," said Thomas, as he ran by the side of Castell's
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