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Yes, for hate of Morella," and she clenched her little hand, hissing the
words out between her teeth.
"I understand the feeling," said Peter. "But--but what has he done to
"Do not ask me, Senor. Enough that once I loved him--that accursed
priest Henriques sold me into his power--oh! a long while ago, and he
ruined me, making me what I am, and--I bore his child, and--and it is
dead. Oh! Mother of God, my boy is dead, and since then I have been an
outcast and his slave--they have slaves here in Granada, Senor--
dependent on him for my bread, forced to do his bidding, forced to wait
upon his other loves; I, who once was the sultana; I, of whom he has
wearied. Only to-day--but why should I tell you of it? Well, he has
driven me even to this, that I must kiss an unwilling stranger in a
garden," and she sobbed aloud.
"Poor girl!--poor girl!" said Peter, patting her hand kindly with his
thin fingers. "Henceforth I have another score against Morella, and I
will pay it too."
"Will you?" she asked quickly. "Ah! if so, I would die for you, who now
live only to be revenged upon him. And it shall be my first vengeance to
rob him of that noble-looking mistress of yours, whom he has stolen away
and has set his heart upon wholly, because she is the first woman who
ever resisted him--him, who thinks that he is invincible."
"Have you any plan?" asked Peter.
"As yet, none. The thing is very difficult. I go in danger of my life,
for if he thought that I betrayed him he would kill me like a rat, and
think no harm of it. Such things can be done in Granada without sin,
Senor, and no questions asked--at least if the victim be a woman of the
murderer's household. I have told you already that if I had refused to
do what I have done this evening I should certainly have been got rid of
in this way or that, and another set on at the work. No, I have no plan
yet, only it is I through whom the Senor Castell communicates with his
daughter, and I will see him again, and see her, and we will make some
plan. No, do not thank me. He pays me for my services, and I am glad to
take his money, who hope to escape from this hell and live on it
elsewhere. Yet, not for all the money in the world would I risk what I
am risking, though in truth it matters not to me whether I live or die.
Senor, I will not disguise it from you, all this scene will come to the
Dona Margaret's ears, but I will explain it to her."
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