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"There remain other matters on which we must give judgment. The senora
here," and she pointed to Betty, "asks that her marriage should be
declared valid, or so we understand, and the Marquis of Morella asks
that his marriage with the said senora should be declared void, or so
we understand. Now this is a question over which we claim no power, it
having to do with a sacrament of the Church. Therefore we leave it to
his Holiness the Pope in person, or by his legate, to decide according
to his wisdom in such manner as may seem best to him, if the parties
concerned should choose to lay their suit before him. Meanwhile, we
declare and decree that the senora, born Elizabeth Dene, shall
everywhere throughout our dominions, until or unless his Holiness the
Pope shall decide to the contrary, be received and acknowledged as the
Marchioness of Morella, and that during his lifetime her reputed husband
shall make due provision for her maintenance, and that after his death,
should no decision have been come to by the court of Rome upon her suit,
she shall inherit and enjoy that proportion of his lands and property
which belongs to a wife under the laws of this realm."
Now, while Betty bowed her thanks to their Majesties till the jewels on
her bodice rattled, and Morella scowled till his face looked as black as
a thunder-cloud above the mountains, the audience, whispering to each
other, once more rose to disperse. Again the queen held up her hand, for
the judgment was not yet finished.
"We have a question to ask of the gallant Sir Peter Brome and the Dona
Margaret, his affianced. Is it still their desire to take each other in
Now Peter looked at Margaret, and Margaret looked at Peter, and there
was that in their eyes which both of them understood, for he answered in
a clear voice:
"Your Majesty, that is the dearest wish of both of us."
The queen smiled a little, then asked: "And do you, Senor John
Castell, consent and allow your daughter's marriage to this knight?"
"I do, indeed," he answered gravely. "Had it not been for this man
here," and he glanced with bitter hatred at Morella, "they would have
been united long ago, and to that end," he added with meaning, "such
little property as I possessed has been made over to trustees in England
for their benefit and that of their children. Therefore I am
henceforward dependent upon their charity."
"Good," said the queen. "Then one question remains to be put, and only
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