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than I would do murder on her lover."
"What did you, then, when you snatched her from her home by some foul
trick?" asked Peter fiercely.
"Senor, I did wrong to her and all of you, for which I would make
"What amends? Will you give her back to me?"
"No, that I cannot do, even if she should wish it, of which I am not
sure; no--never while I live."
"Bring her forth, and let us hear whether she wishes it or no," shouted
Peter, hoping that his words would reach Margaret.
But d'Aguilar only smiled and shook his head, then went on:
"That I cannot either, for it would give her pain. Still, Senor, I will
repay the heavy debt that I owe to you, and to you also, Senor." And he
bowed towards Castell who, unseen by Peter, had crept down the ladder,
and now stood behind him staring at d'Aguilar with cold rage and
indignation. "You have wrought us much damage, have you not? hunting us
across the seas, and killing sundry of us with your arrows, and now you
have striven to board our ship and put us to the sword, a design in
which God has frustrated you. Therefore your lives are justly forfeit,
and none would blame us if we slew you. Yet I spare you both. If it is
possible I will put you back aboard the _Margaret_, and if it is not
possible you shall be set free ashore to go unmolested whither you will.
Thus I will wipe out my debt and be free of all reproach."
"Do you take me for such a man as yourself?" asked Peter, with a bitter
laugh. "I do not leave this ship alive unless my affianced wife,
Mistress Margaret, goes with me."
"Then, Senor Brome, I fear that you will leave it dead, as indeed we may
all of us, unless we make land soon, for the vessel is filling fast with
water. Still, knowing your metal, I looked for some such words from you,
and am prepared with another offer which I am sure you will not refuse.
Senor, our swords are much of the same length, shall we measure them
against each other? I am a grandee of Spain, the Marquis of Morella, and
it will, therefore, be no dishonour for you to fight with me."
"I am not so sure," said Peter, "for I am more than that--an honest man
of England, who never practised woman-stealing. Still, I will fight you
gladly, at sea or on shore, wherever and whenever we meet, till one or
both are dead. But what is the stake, and how do I know that some of
these," and he pointed to the crew, who were listening intently, "will
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