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their territories; to make the Church of Christ triumphant upon earth;
to stamp out heresy; to convert or destroy the Jews," he added slowly,
and as he spoke the words, Peter, watching, saw his eyes open and
glitter like a snake's--"to bring their bodies to the purifying flames,
and their vast wealth into her treasury, and thus earn the praise of the
faithful upon earth, and for herself a throne in heaven."
For a while there was silence after this speech, then Margaret said
"If heavenly thrones are built of human blood and tears, what stone and
mortar do they use in hell, I wonder?" Then, without pausing for an
answer, she rose, saying that she was weary, curtseyed to d'Aguilar, her
father and Peter, each in turn, and left the hall.
When she had gone the talk flagged, and presently d'Aguilar asked for
his men and horses and departed also, saying as he went:
"Friend Castell, you will repeat my news to your good kinsman here. I
pray for all your sakes that he may bow his head to what cannot be
helped, and thus keep it safe upon his shoulders."
"What meant the man?" asked Peter, when the sound of the horses' hoofs
had died away.
Castell told him of what had passed between him and d'Aguilar before
supper, and showed him de Ayala's receipt, adding in a vexed voice:
"I have forgotten to repay him the gold; it shall be sent to-morrow."
"Have no fear; he will come for it," answered Peter coldly. "Now, if I
have my way, I will take the risk of these Spaniards' swords and King
Henry's rope, and bide here."
"That you must not do," said Castell earnestly, "for my sake and
Margaret's, if not for yours. Would you make her a widow before she is a
wife? Listen: it is my wish that you travel down to Essex to take
delivery of your father's land in the Vale of Dedham and see to the
repairing of the mansion house, which, I am told, needs it much. Then,
when these Spaniards are gone, you can return and at once be married,
say one short month hence."
"Will not you and Margaret come with me to Dedham?"
Castell shook his head.
"It is not possible. I must wind up my affairs, and Margaret cannot go
with you alone. Moreover, there is no place for her to lodge. I will
keep her here till you return."
"Yes, Sir; but will you keep her safe? The cozening words of Spaniards
are sometimes more deadly than their swords."
"I think that Margaret has a medicine against all such arts," answered
her father with a little smile, and left him.
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