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me that you and your father were wont to go out together in the
morning. Have I your leave, Sir," and he turned to Castell, "to ride
with you before breakfast, say, at seven of the clock, for I would show
the lady, your daughter, how she should manage a horse of this blood,
which is something of a trick?"
"If you will," answered Castell--"that is, if the weather is fine," for
the offer was made so courteously that it could scarcely be refused.
D'Aguilar bowed, and they re-entered the house, talking of other
matters. When they were in the hall again, he asked whether their
kinsman Peter had reached his destination safely, adding:
"I pray you, do not tell me where it is, for I wish to be able to put my
hand upon my heart and swear to all concerned, and especially to certain
fellows who are still seeking for him, that I know nothing of his
Castell answered that he had, since but a few minutes before a letter
had come from him announcing his safe arrival, tidings at which Margaret
looked up, then, remembering her promise, said that she was glad to hear
of it, as the roads were none too safe, and spoke indifferently of
something else. D'Aguilar added that he also was glad, then, rising,
took his leave "till seven on the morrow."
When he had gone, Castell gave Margaret a letter, addressed to her in
Peter's stiff, upright hand, which she read eagerly. It began and ended
with sweet words, but, like his speech, was brief and to the point,
saying only that he had accomplished his journey without adventure, and
was very glad to find himself again in the old house where he was born,
and amongst familiar fields and faces. On the morrow he was to see the
tradesmen as to alterations and repairs which were much needed, even the
moat being choked with mud and weeds. His last sentence was: "I much
mistrust me of that fine Spaniard, and I am jealous to think that he
should be near to you while I am far away. Beware of him, I say--beware
of him. May the Mother of God and all the saints have you in their
keeping! Your most true affianced lover."
This letter Margaret answered before she slept, for the messenger was to
return at dawn, telling Peter, amongst other things, of the gift which
d'Aguilar had brought her, and how she and her father were forced to
accept it, but bidding him not be jealous, since, although the gift was
welcome, she liked the giver little, who did but count the hours till
her true lover should come back again and take her to himself.
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