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At once they were brought forward, and stood in a line in front of the
dais, while the officer began to read the charge against them.
"Stay, friend," interposed the queen, "these accused are the subjects
of our good brother, Henry of England, and may not understand our
language, though one of them, I think"--and she glanced at Castell--"was
not born in England, or at any rate of English blood. Ask them if they
need an interpreter."
The question was put, and all of them answered that they could speak
Spanish, though Peter added that he did so but indifferently.
"You are the knight, I think, who is charged with the commission of this
crime," said Isabella, looking at him.
"Your Majesty, I am not a knight, only a plain esquire, Peter Brome of
Dedham in England. My father was a knight, Sir Peter Brome, but he fell
at my side, fighting for Richard, on Bosworth Field, where I had this
wound," and he pointed to the scar upon his face, "but was not knighted
for my pains."
Isabella smiled a little, then asked:
"And how came you to Spain, Senor Peter Brome?"
"Your Majesty," answered Peter, Margaret helping from time to time when
he did not know the Spanish words, "this lady at my side, the daughter
of the merchant John Castell who stands by her, is my affianced----"
"Then you have won the love of a very beautiful maiden, Senor,"
interrupted the queen; "but proceed."
"She and her cousin, the Senora Dene, were kidnapped in London by one
who I understand is the nephew of the King Ferdinand, and an envoy to
the English court, who passed there as the Senor d'Aguilar, but who in
Spain is the Marquis of Morella."
"Kidnapped! and by Morella!" exclaimed the queen.
"Yes, your Majesty, cozened on board his ship and kidnapped. The Senor
Castell and I followed them, and, boarding their vessel, tried to rescue
them, but were shipwrecked at Motril. The marquis carried them away to
Granada, whither we followed also, I being sorely hurt in the shipwreck.
There, in the palace of the marquis, we have lain prisoners many weeks,
but at length escaped, purposing to come to Seville and seek the
protection of your Majesties. On the road, while we were dressed as
Moors, in which garb we compassed our escape, we were attacked by men
that we thought were bandits, for we had been warned against such evil
people. One of them rudely molested the Dona Margaret, and I cut him
down, and by misfortune killed him, for which manslaughter I am here
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