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finish this fray."
As the words passed his lips a gust of wind, more furious than any that
had gone before, concentrated as it was through a gorge in the
mountains, struck the caravel at the very mouth of the harbour, and laid
her over on her beam ends. For a while it seemed as though she must
capsize and sink, till suddenly her mainmast snapped like a stick and
went overboard, when, relieved of its weight, by slow degrees she
righted herself. Down upon the deck came the cross yard, one end of it
crashing through the roof of the cabin in which Margaret and Betty were
confined, splitting it in two, while a block attached to the other fell
upon the side of Peter's head and, glancing from the steel cap, struck
him on the neck and shoulder, hurling him senseless to the deck, where,
still grasping his sword, he lay with arms outstretched.
Out of the ruin of the cabin appeared Margaret and Betty, the former
very pale and frightened, and the latter muttering prayers, but, as it
chanced, both uninjured. Clinging to the tangled ropes they crept
forward, seeking refuge in the waist of the ship, for the heavy spar
still worked and rolled above them, resting on the wreck of the cabin
and the bulwarks, whence presently it slid into the sea. By the stump of
the broken mainmast they halted, their long locks streaming in the gale,
and here it was that Margaret caught sight of Peter lying upon his back,
his face red with blood, and sliding to and fro as the vessel rolled.
She could not speak, but in mute appeal pointed first to him and then to
d'Aguilar, who stood near, remembering as she did so her vision in the
house at Holborn, which was thus terribly fulfilled. Holding to a rope,
d'Aguilar drew near to her and spoke into her ear. "Lady," he said,
"this is no deed of mine. We were fighting a fair fight, for he had
boarded the ship when the mast fell and killed him. Blame me not for his
death, but seek comfort from God."
She heard, and, looking round her wildly, perceived her father
struggling towards her; then, with a bitter cry, fell senseless on
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