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In John Castell's house it was the habit, as in most others in those
days, for his dependents, clerks, and shopmen to eat their morning and
mid-day meals with him in the hall, seated at two lower tables, all of
them save Betty, his daughter's cousin and companion, who sat with them
at the upper board. This morning Betty's place was empty, and presently
Castell, lifting his eyes, for he was lost in thought, noted it, and
asked where she might be--a question that neither Margaret nor Peter
One of the servants at the lower table, however--it was that man who had
been sent to follow d'Aguilar on the previous night--said that as he
came down Holborn a while before he had seen her walking with the
Spanish don, a saying at which his master looked grave.
Just as they were finishing their meal, a very silent one, for none of
them seemed to have anything to say, and after the servants had left the
hall, Betty arrived, flushed as though with running.
"Where have you been that you are so late?" asked Castell.
"To seek the linen for the new sheets, but it was not ready," she
answered glibly. "The mercer kept you waiting long," remarked Castell
quietly. "Did you meet any one?"
"Only the folk in the street."
"I will ask you no more questions, lest I should cause you to lie and
bring you into sin," said Castell sternly. "Girl, how far did you walk
with the Senor d'Aguilar, and what was your business with him?"
Now Betty knew that she had been seen, and that it was useless to deny
"Only a little way," she answered, "and that because he prayed me to
show him his path."
"Listen, Betty," went on Castell, taking no notice of her words. "You
are old enough to guard yourself, therefore as to your walking abroad
with gallants who can mean you no good I say nothing. But know this--no
one who has knowledge of the matters of my house," and he looked at her
keenly, "shall mix with any Spaniard. If you are found alone with this
senor any more, that hour I have done with you, and you never pass my
door again. Nay, no words. Take your food and eat it elsewhere."
So she departed half weeping, but very angry, for Betty was strong and
obstinate by nature. When she had gone, Margaret, who was fond of her
cousin, tried to say some words on her behalf; but her father
"Pshaw!" he said, "I know the girl; she is vain as a peacock, and,
remembering her gentle birth and good looks, seeks to marry above her
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