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land and titles, so that her father, whose only child she was--being now
the representative of the noble family, Dene de Dene--fell into poverty
and a humble place in life. However, he married a lady of even more
distinguished race than his own, a direct descendant of a noble Saxon
family, far more ancient in blood than the upstart Normans. At this
point, while Peter and Margaret listened amazed, at a hint from the
queen, the bewildered court interfered through the head alcalde, praying
her to cease from the history of her descent, which they took for
granted was as noble as any in England.
Next she was examined as to her relations with Morella in London, and
told the tale of his wooing with so much detail and imaginative power
that in the end that also was left unfinished. So it was with
everything. Clever as Morella's advocate might be, sometimes in English
and sometimes in the Spanish tongue, Betty overwhelmed him with words
and apt answers, until, able to make nothing of her, the poor man sat
down wiping his brow and cursing her beneath his breath.
Then the secretaries were sworn, and after them various members of
Morella's household, who, although somewhat unwillingly, confirmed all
that Betty had said as to his embracing her with lifted veil and the
rest. So at length Betty closed her case, reserving the right to address
the court after she had heard that of the marquis.
Now the king, queen, and their assessors consulted for a little while,
for evidently there was a division of opinion among them, some thinking
that the case should be stopped at once and referred to another
tribunal, and others that it should go on. At length the queen was heard
to say that at least the Marquis of Morella should be allowed to make
his statement, as he might be able to prove that all this story was a
fabrication, and that he was not even at Granada at the time when the
marriage was alleged to have taken place.
The king and the alcaldes assenting, the marquis was sworn and told his
story, admitting that it was not one which he was proud to repeat in
public. He narrated how he had first met Margaret, Betty, and Peter at a
public ceremony in London, and had then and there fallen in love with
Margaret, and accompanied her home to the house of her father, the
merchant John Castell.
Subsequently he discovered that this Castell, who had fled from Spain
with his father in childhood, was that lowest of mankind, an unconverted
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