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Peter's trial was fixed for the morrow, and that they must accompany him
to the court to be examined also upon all these matters. A little later
came Bernaldez, who said that the king had returned and would sit with
the queen, and that already this affair had made much stir in Seville,
where there was much curiosity as to the story of Morella's marriage, of
which many different tales were told. That Margaret and her father would
be discharged he had little doubt, in which case their ship was ready
for them; but of Peter's chances he could say nothing, for they depended
upon what view the king took of his offence, and, though unacknowledged,
Morella was the king's nephew and had his ear.
Afterwards they went down into the garden, and there found Peter, who
had just returned from his jousting, flushed with exercise, and looking
very manly and handsome. Margaret took his hand and, walking aside, told
him the news.
"I am glad," he answered, "for the sooner this business is begun the
sooner it will be done. But, Sweet," and here his face grew very
earnest, "Morella has much power in this land, and I have broken its
law, so none know what the end will be. I may be condemned to death or
imprisoned, or perhaps, if I am given the chance, with better luck I may
fall fighting, in any of which cases we shall be separated for a while,
or altogether. Should this be so, I pray that you will not stay here,
either in the hope of rescuing me, or for other reasons; since, while
you are in Spain, Morella will not cease from his attempts to get hold
of you, whereas in England you will be safe from him."
When Margaret heard these words she sobbed aloud, for the thought that
harm might come to Peter seemed to choke her.
"In all things I will do your bidding," she said, "yet how can I leave
you, dear, while you are alive, and if, perchance, you should die, which
may God prevent, how can I live on without you? Rather shall I seek to
follow you very swiftly."
"I do not desire that," said Peter. "I desire that you should endure
your days till the end, and come to meet me where I am in due season,
and not before. I will add this, that if in after-years you should meet
any worthy man, and have a mind to marry him, you should do so, for I
know well that you will never forget me, your first love, and that
beyond this world lie others where there are no marryings or giving in
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