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was as pretty as all the rest of her. "But," he added, "it might be
"Quite so, I wish it to be misunderstood: not by me, who know that you
care nothing for me and would as soon place your arm round that
Peter opened his lips to speak, but she stopped him at once.
"Oh! do not waste falsehoods on me, in which of a truth you have no
art," she said with evident irritation. "Why, if you had the money, you
would offer to pay me for my nursing, and who knows, I might take it!
Understand, you must either do this, seeming to play the lover to me, or
we cannot walk together in that garden."
Peter hesitated a little, guessing a plot, while she bent forward till
her lips almost touched his ear and said in a still lower voice:
"And I cannot tell you how, perhaps--I say perhaps--you may come to see
the remains of the Dona Margaret, and certain other matters. Ah!" she
added after a pause, with a little bitter laugh, "now you will kiss me
from one end of the garden to the other, will you not? Foolish man!
Doubt no more; take your chance, it may be the last."
"Of what? Kissing you? Or the other things?"
"That you will find out," she said, with a shrug of her shoulders.
Then, while he followed dubiously, she led him down the length of the
great room to a door with a spy-hole in the top of it, that was set in a
Moorish archway at the corner.
This door she opened, and there beyond it, a drawn scimitar in his hand,
stood a tall Moor on guard. Inez spoke a word to him, whereon he saluted
with his scimitar and let them pass across the landing to a turret stair
that lay beyond, which they descended. At its foot was another door,
whereon she knocked four times. Bolts shot back, keys turned, and it was
opened by a black porter, beyond whom stood a second Moor, also with
drawn sword. They passed him as they had passed the first, turned down a
little passage to the right, ending in some steps, and came to a third
door, in front of which she halted.
"Now," she said, "nerve yourself for the trial."
"What trial?" he asked, supporting himself against the wall, for he
found his legs still weak.
"This," she answered, pointing to her waist, "and these," and she
touched her rich, red lips with her taper finger-points. "Would you
like to practise a little, my innocent English knight, before we go out?
You look as though you might seem awkward and unconvincing."
"I think," answered Peter drily, for the humour of the situation moved
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