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fellow to see Peter that he cast his arms about him and hugged him, for
they had not met since that desperate adventure of the boarding of the
"Is your ship fit for sea, Captain?" asked Peter.
"She will never be fitter," he answered. "When shall I get sailing
"When the owner comes aboard," answered Peter.
"Then we shall stop here until we rot; they have trapped him in their
Inquisition. What is in your mind, Peter Brome?--what is in your mind?
Is there a chance?"
"Aye, Captain, I think so, if you have a dozen fellows of the right
English stuff between decks."
"We have got that number, and one or two more. But what's the plan?"
Peter told him.
"Not so bad," said Smith, slapping his heavy hand upon his knee; "but
risky--very risky. That Inez must be a good girl. I should like to marry
her, notwithstanding her bygones."
Peter laughed, thinking what an odd couple they would make. "Hear the
rest, then talk," he said. "See now! On Saturday next Mistress Margaret
and I are to be married in the cathedral; then, towards sunset, the
Marquis of Morella and I run our course in the great bull-ring yonder,
and you and half a dozen of your men will be present. Now, I may conquer
or I may fail----"
"Never!--never!" said the captain. "I wouldn't give a pair of old boots
for that fine Spaniard's chance when you get at him. Why, you will crimp
him like a cod-fish!"
"God knows!" answered Peter. "If I win, my wife and I make our adieux to
their Majesties, and ride away to the quay, where the boat will be
waiting, and you will row us on board the _Margaret_. If I fail, you
will take up my body, and, accompanied by my widow, bring it in the same
fashion on board the _Margaret_, for I shall give it out that in this
case I wish to be embalmed in wine and taken back to England for burial.
In either event, you will drop your ship a little way down the river
round the bend, so that folk may think that you have sailed. In the
darkness you must work her back with the tide and lay her behind those
old hulks, and if any ask you why, say that three of your men have not
yet come aboard, and that you have dropped back for them, and whatever
else you like. Then, in case I should not be alive to guide you, you and
ten or twelve of the best sailors will land at the spot that this
gentleman will show you to-morrow, wearing Spanish cloaks so as not to
attract attention, but being well armed underneath them, like idlers
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