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Christian by faith, has many heathen tastes, and, like the Moors,
surrounds himself with a seraglio of beautiful women, as I know, for
often I act as his chaplain, as in Granada there are no priests.
Moreover, there is a purpose in all this, for, being partly of their
blood, he is accredited to the court of their sultan, Boabdil, by
Ferdinand and Isabella in whose interests he works in secret. For,
strangers, you should know, if you do not know it already, that their
Majesties have for long been at war against the Moor, and purpose to
take what remains of his kingdom from him, and make it Christian, as
they have already taken Malaga, and purified it by blood and fire from
the accursed stain of infidelity."
"Yes," said Castell, "we heard that in England, for I am a merchant who
have dealings with Granada, whither I am going on my affairs."
"On what affairs then goes the senora, who you say is your daughter, and
what is that story that the sailors told of, about a fight between the
_San Antonio_ and an English ship, which indeed we saw in the offing
yesterday? And why did the wind blow an arrow through your arm, friend
Merchant? And how came it that you two were left aboard the caravel when
the marquis and his people escaped?"
"You ask many questions, holy Father. Peter, fill the glass of his
reverence; he drinks nothing who thinks that it is always Lent. Your
health, Father. Ah! well emptied. Fill it again, Peter, and pass me the
flask. Now I will begin to answer you with the story of the shipwreck."
And he commenced an endless tale of the winds and sails and rocks and
masts carried away, and of the English ship that tried to help the
Spanish ship, and so forth, till at length the priest, whose glass Peter
filled whenever his head was turned, fell back in his chair asleep.
"Now," whispered Peter in English across the table to Castell--"now I
think that we had best go to bed, for we have learned much from this
holy spy--as I take him to be--and told little."
So they crept away quietly to their chamber, and, having swallowed the
draught that the doctor had given them, said their prayers each in his
own fashion, locked the door, and lay down to rest as well as their
wounds and sore anxieties would allow them.
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