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to the conqueror and the conquered, sure also that both would bear
themselves as became brave knights of Spain and England.
Then the trumpets blew again, and the squires and gentlemen who were
chosen to attend him came bowing to Peter, and saying that it was time
for him to arm. Bride and bridegroom rose and, while all the spectators
fell back out of hearing, but watching them with curious eyes, spoke
some few words together.
"We part," said Peter, "and I know not what to say."
"Say nothing, husband," she answered him, "lest your words should weaken
me. Go now, and bear you bravely, as you will for your own honour and
that of England, and for mine. Dead or living you are my darling, and
dead or living we shall meet once more and be at rest for aye. My
prayers be with you, Sir Peter, my prayers and my eternal love, and may
they bring strength to your arm and comfort to your heart."
Then she, who would not embrace him before all those folk, curtseyed
till her knee almost touched the ground, while low he bent before her, a
strange and stately parting, or so thought that company; and taking the
hand of Betty, Margaret left him.
* * * * *
Two hours had gone by. The Plaza de Toros, for the great square where
tournaments were wont to be held was in the hands of those who prepared
it for the _auto-da-fe_ of the morrow, was crowded as it had seldom been
before. This place was a huge amphitheatre--perchance the Romans built
it--where all sorts of games were celebrated, among them the baiting of
bulls as it was practised in those days, and other semi-savage sports.
Twelve thousand people could sit upon the benches that rose tier upon
tier around the vast theatre, and scarce a seat was empty. The arena
itself, that was long enough for horses starting at either end of it to
come to their full speed, was strewn with white sand, as it may have
been in the days when gladiators fought there. Over the main entrance
and opposite to the centre of the ring were placed the king and queen
with their lords and ladies, and between them, but a little behind, her
face hid by her bridal veil, sat Margaret, upright and silent as a
statue. Exactly in front of them, on the further side of the ring in a
pavilion, and attended by her household, appeared Betty, glittering with
gold and jewels, since she was the lady in whose cause, at least in
name, this combat was to be fought _a l'outrance._ Quite unmoved she
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