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before we reach that inn where Israel has arranged that we should sleep
to-night. We will talk as we go." And talk they did, as well as the
roughness of the road and the speed at which they must travel
Riding as hard as they were able, at length they came to the _venta_, or
rough hostelry, just as the darkness closed in. At the sight of it they
thanked God aloud, for this place was across the Moorish border, and now
they had little to fear from Granada. The host, a half-bred Spaniard and
a Christian, expected them, having received a message from Israel, with
whom he had had dealings, and gave them two rooms, rude enough, but
sufficient, and good food and wine, also stabling and barley for their
horses, bidding them sleep well and have no fear, as he and his people
would watch and warn them of any danger.
Yet it was late before they slept, who had so much to say to each
other--especially Peter and Margaret--and were so happy at their escape,
if only for a little while. Yet across their joy, like the sound of a
funeral bell at a merry feast, came the thought of Betty and that
fateful marriage in which ere now she must have played her part. Indeed,
at last Margaret knelt down and offered up prayers to Heaven that the
saints might protect her cousin in the great peril which she had
incurred for them, nor was Peter ashamed to join her in that prayer.
Then they embraced--especially Peter and Margaret--and laid them down,
Castell and his daughter in one room, and Peter in the other, and slept
as best they could.
Half an hour before dawn Peter was up seeing to the horses while the
others breakfasted and packed the food that the landlord had made ready
for their journey. Then he also swallowed some meat and wine, and at the
first break of day, having discharged their reckoning and taken a letter
from their host to those of other inns upon the road, they pressed on
towards Seville, very thankful to find that as yet there were no signs
of their being pursued.
All that day, with short pauses to rest themselves and their horses,
they rode on without accident, for the most part over a fertile plain
watered by several rivers which they crossed at fords or over bridges.
As night fell they reached the old town of Oxuna, which for many hours
they had seen set upon its hill before them, and, notwithstanding their
Moorish dress, made their way almost unobserved in the darkness to that
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