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life, with its mingled joys and sorrows, had come home suddenly. When
she had finished, this silent man, to whom even his great happiness
brought few words, said only:
"God has been very good to us. Let us thank God."
So they did, then, even there, seated side by side upon the bench,
because the grass was too wet for them to kneel on, praying in their
simple, childlike faith that the Power which had brought them together,
and taught them to love each other, would bless them in that love and
protect them from all harms, enemies, and evils through many a long
year of life.
Their prayer finished, they sat together on the seat, now talking, and
now silent in their joy, while all too fast the time wore on. At
length--it was after one of these spells of blissful silence--a change
came over them, such a change as falls upon some peaceful scene when,
unexpected and complete, a black stormcloud sweeps across the sun, and,
in place of its warm light, pours down gloom full of the promise of
tempest and of rain. Apprehension got a hold of them. They were both
afraid of what they could not guess.
"Come," she said, "it is time to go in. My father will miss us."
So without more words or endearments they rose and walked side by side
out of the shelter of the elms into the open garden. Their heads were
bent, for they were lost in thought, and thus it came about that
Margaret saw her feet pass suddenly into the shadow of a man, and,
looking up, perceived standing in front of her, grave, alert, amused,
none other than the Senor d'Aguilar. She uttered a little stifled
scream, while Peter, with the impulse that causes a brave and startled
hound to rush at that which frightens it, gave a leap forward towards
"Mother of God! do you take me for a thief?" he asked in a laughing
voice, as he stepped to one side to avoid him.
"Your pardon," said Peter, shaking himself together; "but you surprised
us appearing so suddenly where we never thought to see you."
"Any more than I thought to see you here, for this seems a strange place
to linger on so cold a morning," and he looked at them again with his
curious, mocking eyes that appeared to read the secret of their souls,
while they grew red as roses beneath his scrutiny. "Permit me to
explain," he went on. "I came here thus early on your service, to warn
you, Master Peter, not to go abroad to-day, since a writ is out for your
arrest, and as yet I have had no time to quash it by friendly
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