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Peter, entering the room by another door, clad only in his grey clothes,
for he would not put on gay garments for the Spaniard, noted it also,
and with the quick instinct of love knew this magnificent foreigner for
a rival and an enemy. But he was not afraid, only jealous and angry.
Indeed, nothing would have pleased him better then than that the
Spaniard should have struck him in the face, so that within five minutes
it might be shown which of them was the better man. It must come to
this, he felt, and very glad would he have been if it could come at the
beginning and not at the end, so that one or the other of them might be
saved much trouble. Then he remembered that he had promised to say or
show nothing of how things stood between him and Margaret, and, coming
forward, he greeted d'Aguilar quietly but coldly, telling him that his
horses had been stabled, and his retinue accommodated.
The Spaniard thanked him very heartily, and they passed in to supper. It
was a strange meal for all four of them, yet outwardly pleasant enough.
Forgetting his cares, Castell drank gaily, and began to talk of the many
changes which he had seen in his life, and of the rise and fall of
kings. D'Aguilar talked also, of the Spanish wars and policy, for in the
first he had seen much service, and of the other he knew every turn. It
was easy to see that he was one of those who mixed with courts, and had
the ear of ministers and majesty. Margaret also, being keen-witted and
anxious to learn of the great world that lay beyond Holborn and London
town, asked questions, seeking to know, amongst other things, what were
the true characters of Ferdinand, King of Aragon, and Isabella his wife,
the famous queen.
"I will tell you in few words, Senora. Ferdinand is the most ambitious
man in Europe, false also if it serves his purpose. He lives for self
and gain--that money and power. These are his gods, for he has no true
religion. He is not clever but, being very cunning, he will succeed and
leave a famous name behind him."
"An ugly picture," said Margaret. "And what of his queen?"
"She," answered d'Aguilar, "is a great woman, who knows how to use the
temper of her time and so attain her ends. To the world she shows a
tender heart, but beneath it lies hid an iron resolution."
"What are those ends?" asked Margaret again.
"To bring all Spain under her rule; utterly to crush the Moors and take
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