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his motives, they are buried with him. Moreover, he converted me, his
only child, who was but ten years old, and cared little whether I swore
by 'Father Abraham' or by the 'Blessed Mary.' The paper of my baptism
lies in my strong box still. Well, he was clever, and built up this
business, and died unharmed five-and-twenty years ago, leaving me
already rich. That same year I married an Englishwoman, your mother's
second cousin, and loved her and lived happily with her, and gave her
all her heart could wish. But after Margaret's birth, three-and-twenty
years gone by, she never had her health, and eight years ago she died.
You remember her, since she brought you here when you were a stout lad,
and made me promise afterwards that I would always be your friend, for
except your father, Sir Peter, none other of your well-born and ancient
family were left. So when Sir Peter--against my counsel, staking his all
upon that usurping rogue Richard, who had promised to advance him, and
meanwhile took his money--was killed at Bosworth, leaving you landless,
penniless, and out of favour, I offered you a home, and you, being a
wise man, put off your mail and put on woollen and became a merchant's
partner, though your share of profit was but small. Now, again you have
changed staff for steel," and he glanced at the Scotchman's sword that
still lay upon a side table, "and Margaret has loosed that rock of which
I spoke to her."
"What is the rock, Sir?"
"That Spaniard whom she brought home and found so fine."
"What of the Spaniard?"
"Wait a while and I will tell you." And, taking a lamp, he left the
room, returning presently with a letter which was written in cipher, and
translated upon another sheet in John Castell's own hand.
"This," he said, "is from my partner and connection, Juan Bernaldez, a
Marano, who lives at Seville, where Ferdinand and Isabella have their
court. Among other matters he writes this: 'I warn all brethren in
England to be careful. I have it that a certain one whose name I will
not mention even in cipher, a very powerful and high-born man, and,
although he appears to be a pleasure-seeker only, and is certainly of a
dissolute life, among the greatest bigots in all Spain, has been sent,
or is shortly to be sent, from Granada, where he is stationed to watch
the Moors, as an envoy to the Court of England to conclude a secret
treaty with its king. Under this treaty the names of rich Maranos that
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