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that I come to speak with you, at great risk. Indeed, had not my master
been summoned to the court of the Moorish king I could not have come,
and he may return at any time."
"Have you some plan?" asked Margaret, leaning towards her eagerly.
"No plan as yet, only an idea." She turned and looked at Betty, adding,
"This lady is your cousin, is she not, though of a different station,
and somewhat far away?"
"You are not unlike," went on Inez, "of much the same height and shape,
although the Senora Betty is stronger built, and her eyes are blue and
her hair golden, whereas your eyes are black and your hair chestnut.
Beneath a veil, or at night, it would not be easy to tell you apart if
your hands were gloved and neither of you spoke above a whisper."
"Yes," said Margaret, "what then?"
"Now the Senora Betty comes into the play," replied Inez. "Senora Betty,
have you understood our talk?"
"Something, not quite all," answered Betty.
"Then what you do not understand your lady must interpret, and be not
angry with me, I pray you, if I seem to know more of you and your
affairs than you have ever told me. Render my words now, Dona Margaret."
Then, after this was done, and she had thought awhile, Inez continued
slowly, Margaret translating from Spanish into English whenever Betty
could not understand:
"Morella made love to you in England, Senora Betty--did he not?--and won
your heart as he has won that of many another woman, so that you came to
believe that he was carrying you off to marry you, and not your cousin?"
"What affair is that of yours, woman?" asked Betty, flushing angrily.
"None at all, save that I could tell much such another story, if you
cared to listen. But hear me out, and then answer me a question, or
rather, answer the question first. Would you like to be avenged upon
this high-born knave?"
"Avenged?" answered Betty, clenching her hands and hissing the words
through her firm, white teeth. "I would risk my life for it."
"As I do. It seems that we are of one mind there. Then I think that
perhaps I can show you a way. Look now, your cousin has seen certain
things which women placed as she is do not like to see. She is jealous,
she is angry--or was until I told her the truth. Well, to-night or
to-morrow, Morella will come to her and say, 'Are you satisfied? Do you
still refuse me in favour of a man who yields his heart to the first
light-of-love who tempts him? Will you not be my wife?' What if she
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