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not explain, though Peter guessed that it might be lest the marquis
should learn from them that this priest, his chaplain, had been
plundering the ship which he thought sunk, and possessing himself of his
jewels. At length, seeing that the man meant mischief and would stop
them in some fashion if they delayed, they bade him farewell hastily,
and, pushing past him, mounted the mules that stood outside and rode
away with their guide.
As they went they heard the priest, who now was in a rage, abusing the
barber who had sold them the beasts, and caught the words "Spies,"
"English senoras," and "Commands of the Marquis," so that they were glad
when at length they found themselves outside the town, where as yet few
were stirring, and riding unmolested on the road to Granada.
This road proved to be no good one, and very hilly; moreover, the mules
were even worse than they had thought, that which Peter rode stumbling
continually. Now they asked the youth, their guide, how long it would
take them to reach Granada; but all he answered them was:
"_Quien sabe_?" (Who knows?) "It depends upon the will of God."
An hour later they asked him again, whereon he replied:
Perhaps to-night, perhaps to-morrow, perhaps never, as there were many
thieves about, and if they escaped the thieves they would probably be
captured by the Moors.
"I think there is one thief very near to us," said Peter in English,
looking at this ill-favoured young man, then added in his broken
Spanish, "Friend, if we fall in with robbers or Moors, the first one who
dies will be yourself," and he tapped the hilt of his sword.
The lad uttered a Spanish curse, and turned the head of his pony round
as though he would ride back to Motril, then changed his mind and pushed
on a long way in front of them, nor could they come near him again for
hours. So hard was the road and so feeble were the mules that,
notwithstanding a midday halt to rest them, it was nightfall before they
reached the top of the Sierra, and in the last sunset glow, separated
from them by the rich _vega_ or plain, saw the minarets and palaces of
Granada. Now they wished to push on, but their guide swore that it was
impossible, as in the dark they would fall over precipices while
descending to the plain. There was a _venta_ or inn near by, he said,
where they could sleep, starting again at dawn.
When Castell said that they did not wish to go to an inn, he answered
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