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On the morning following these conversations, just after Margaret and
Betty had breakfasted, Inez appeared, and, as before, locked the door
"Senoras," she said calmly, "I have arranged that little business of
which I spoke to you yesterday, or at least the first act of the play,
since it remains for you to write the rest. Now I am sent to say that
the noble Marquis of Morella craves leave to see you, Dona Margaret, and
within an hour. So there is no time to lose."
"Tell us what you have done, Inez?" said Margaret.
"I have seen your worshipful father, Dona Margaret; here is the token of
it, which you will do well to destroy when you have read." And she
handed her a slip of paper, whereon was written in her father's writing,
and in English:
"This messenger, who I think may be trusted by you, has made
arrangements with me which she will explain. I approve, though the risk
is great. Your cousin is a brave girl, but, understand, I do not force
her to this dangerous enterprise. She must choose her own road, only I
promise that if she escapes and we live I will not forget her deed. The
messenger will bring me your answer. God be with us all, and farewell.
Margaret read this letter first to herself and then aloud to Betty, and,
having read, tore it into tiny fragments and threw them from the
"Speak now," she said; and Inez told her everything.
"Can you trust the priest?" asked Margaret, when she had finished.
"He is a great villain, as I have reason to know; still, I think I can,"
she answered, "while the cabbage is in front of the donkey's nose--I
mean until he has got all the money. Also, he has committed himself by
taking some on account. But before we go further, the question is--does
this lady play?" and she pointed to Betty.
"Yes, I play," said Betty, when she understood everything. "I won't go
back upon my word; there is too much at stake. It is an ugly business
for me, I know well enough, but," she added slowly, setting her firm
mouth, "I have debts to pay all round, and I am no Spanish putty to be
squeezed flat--like some people," and she glanced at the humble-looking
Inez. "So, before all is done, it may be uglier for him."
When she had mastered the meaning of this speech the soft-voiced Inez
lifted her gentle eyes in admiration, and murmured a Spanish proverb as
to what is supposed to occur when Satan encounters Beelzebub in a
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