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On the morrow when Castell told Margaret that her lover must leave her
for a while that night--for this Peter would not do himself--she prayed
him even with tears that he would not send him so far from her, or that
they might all go together. But he reasoned with her kindly, showing her
that the latter was impossible, and that if Peter did not go at once it
was probable that Peter would soon be dead, whereas, if he went, there
would be but one short month of waiting till the Spaniards had sailed,
after which they might be married and live in peace and safety.
So she came to see that this was best and wisest, and gave way; but oh!
heavy were those hours, and sore was their parting. Essex was no far
journey, and to enter into lands which only two days before Peter
believed he had lost for ever, no sad errand, while the promise that at
the end of a single month he should return to claim his bride hung
before them like a star. Yet they were sad-hearted, both of them, and
that star seemed very far away.
Margaret was afraid lest Peter might be waylaid upon the road, but he
laughed at her, saying that her father was sending six stout men with
him as an escort, and thus companioned he feared no Spaniards. Peter,
for his part, was afraid lest d'Aguilar might make love to her while he
was away. But now she laughed at him, saying that all her heart was his,
and that she had none to give to d'Aguilar or any other man. Moreover,
that England was a free land in which women, who were no king's wards,
could not be led whither they did not wish to go. So it seemed that they
had naught to fear, save the daily chance of life and death. And yet
they were afraid.
"Dear love," said Margaret to him after she had thought a while, "our
road looks straight and easy, and yet there may be pitfalls in it that
we cannot guess. Therefore you must swear one thing to me: That whatever
you shall hear or whatever may happen, you will never doubt me as I
shall never doubt you. If, for instance, you should be told that I have
discarded you, and given myself to some other husband; if even you
should believe that you see it signed by my hand, or if you think that
you hear it told to you by my voice--still, I say, believe it not."
"How could such a thing be?" asked Peter anxiously.
"I do not suppose that it could be; I only paint the worst that might
happen as a lesson for us both. Heretofore my life has been calm as a
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