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in the garden that morning?--Peter must be got rid of, that was all. It
was easy enough if he chose to adopt certain means; there were many of
those Spanish fellows who would not mind sticking a knife into his back
in the dark.
But sinful as he was, at such steps his conscience halted. Whatever
d'Aguilar had done, he had never caused a man to be actually murdered,
he who was a bigot, who atoned for his misdoings by periods of remorse
and prayer, in which he placed his purse and talents at the service of
the Church, as he was doing at this moment. No, murder must not be
thought of; for how could any absolution wash him clean of that stain?
But there were other ways. For instance, had not this Peter, in
self-defence it is true, killed one of the servants of an ambassador of
Spain? Perhaps, however, it would not be necessary to make use of them.
It had seemed to him that the lady was not ill pleased with him, and,
after all, he had much to offer. He would court her fairly, and if he
were rejected by her, or by her father, then it would be time enough to
act. Meanwhile, he would keep the sword hanging over the head of Peter,
pretending that it was he alone who had prevented it from falling, and
learn all that he could as to Castell and his history.
Here, indeed, Fortune, in the shape of the foolish Betty, had favoured
him. Without a doubt, as he had heard in Spain, and been sure from the
moment that he first saw him, Castell was still secretly a Jew. Mistress
Betty's story of the room behind the altar, with the ark and the candles
and the rolls of the Law, proved as much. At least here was evidence
enough to send him to the fires of the Inquisition in Spain, and,
perhaps, to drive him out of England. Now, if John Castell, the Spanish
Jew, should not wish, for any reason, to give him his daughter in
marriage, would not a hint and an extract from the Commissions of their
Majesties of Spain and the Holy Father suffice to make him change
Thus pondering, d'Aguilar regained his lodgings, where his first task
was to enter in a book all that Betty had told him, and all that he had
observed in the house of John Castell.
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