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marriage. Let not my dead hand lie heavy upon you, Margaret."
"Yet," she replied in gentle indignation, "heavy must it always lie,
since it is about my heart. Be sure of this, Peter, that if such
dreadful ill should fall upon us, as you left me so shall you find me,
here or hereafter."
"So be it," he said with a sigh of relief, for he could not bear to
think of Margaret as the wife of some other man, even after he was gone,
although his honest, simple nature, and fear lest her life might be made
empty of all joy, caused him to say what he had said.
Then behind the shelter of a flowering bush they embraced each other as
do those who know not whether they will ever kiss again, and, the hour
of sunset having come, parted as they must.
On the following morning once more Castell and Margaret were led to the
Hall of Justice in the Alcazar; but this time Peter did not go with
them. The great court was already full of counsellors, officers,
gentlemen, and ladies who had come from curiosity, and other folk
connected with or interested in the case. As yet, however, Margaret
could not see Morella or Betty, nor had the king and queen taken their
seats upon the throne. Peter was already there, standing before the bar
with guards on either side of him, and greeted them with a smile and a
nod as they were ushered to their chairs near by. Just as they reached
them also trumpets were blown, and from the back of the hall, walking
hand in hand, appeared their Majesties of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella,
whereat all the audience rose and bowed, remaining standing till they
were seated on the thrones.
The king, whom they now saw for the first time, was a thickset, active
man with pleasant eyes, a fair skin, and a broad forehead, but, as
Margaret thought, somewhat sly-faced--the face of a man who never forgot
his own interests in those of another. Like the queen, he was
magnificently attired in garments broidered with gold and the arms of
Aragon, while in his hand he held a golden sceptre surmounted by a
jewel, and about his waist, to show that he was a warlike king, he wore
his long, cross-handled sword. Smilingly he acknowledged the homage of
his subjects by lifting his hand to his cap and bowing. Then his eye
fell upon the beautiful Margaret, and, turning, he put a question to the
queen in a light, sharp voice, asking if that were the lady whom Morella
had married, and, if so, why in the name of heaven he wished to be
rid of her.
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