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HOW THE _MARGARET_ WON OUT TO SEA
It was night. Peter, faint with loss of blood and stiff with bruises,
had bade his farewell to their Majesties of Spain, who spoke many soft
words to him, calling him the Flower of Knighthood, and offering him
high place and rank if he would abide in their service. But he thanked
them and said No, for in Spain he had suffered too much to dwell there.
So they kissed his bride, the fair Margaret, who clung to her wounded
husband like ivy to an oak, and would not be separated from him, even
for a moment, that husband whom living she had scarcely hoped to clasp
again. Yes, they kissed her, and the queen threw about her a chain from
her own neck as a parting gift, and wished her joy of so gallant a lord.
"Alas! your Majesty," said Margaret, her dark eyes filling with tears,
"how can I be joyous, who must think of to-morrow?"
Thereon Isabella set her face and answered:
"Dona Margaret Brome, be thankful for what to-day has brought you, and
forget to-morrow and that which it must justly take away. Go now, and
God be with you both!"
So they went, the little knot of English sailormen, who, wrapped in
Spanish cloaks, had sat together in the amphitheatre and groaned when
the Eagle struck, and cheered when the Falcon swooped, leading, or
rather carrying Peter under cover of the falling night to a boat not far
from this Place of Bulls. In this they embarked unobserved, for the
multitude, and even Peter's own squires believed that he had returned
with his wife to the palace, as he had given out that he would do. So
they were rowed to the _Margaret_, which straightway made as though she
were about to sail, and indeed dropped a little way down stream. Here
she anchored again, just round a bend of the river, and lay there for
It was a heavy night, and in it there was no place for love or lovers'
tenderness. How could there be between these two, who for so long had
been tormented by doubts and fears, and on this day had endured such
extremity of terror and such agony of joy? Peter's wound also was deep
and wide, though his shield had broken the weight of Morella's sword,
and its edge had caught upon his shoulder-piece, so that by good chance
it had not reached down to the arteries, or shorn into the bone; yet he
had lost much blood, and Smith, the captain, who was a better surgeon
than might have been guessed from his thick hands, found it needful to
wash out the cut with spirit that gave much pain, and to stitch it up
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