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"Your information is good--as good as mine, almost. Doubtless you do not
like that bar in the blood. Well, if it were not there, I should be
where Ferdinand is, should I not? So I do not like it either, though it
is good blood and ancient--that of those high-bred Moors. Now, may not
the nephew of a king and the son of a princess of Granada be fit to mate
with the daughter of--a Jew, yes, a Marano, and of a Christian English
lady, of good family, but no more?"
Castell lifted his hand as though to speak; but d'Aguilar went on:
"Deny it not, friend; it is not worth while here in private. Was there
not a certain Isaac of Toledo who, hard on fifty years ago, left Spain,
for his own reasons, with a little son, and in London became known as
Joseph Castell, having, with his son, been baptized into the Holy
Church? Ah! you see you are not the only one who studies genealogies."
"Well, Senor, if so, what of it?"
"What of it? Nothing at all, friend Castell. It is an old story, is it
not, and, as that Isaac is long dead and his son has been a good
Christian for nearly fifty years and had a Christian wife and child, who
will trouble himself about such a matter? If he were openly a Hebrew
now, or worse still, if pretending to be a Christian, he in secret
practised the rites of the accursed Jews, why then----"
"Then, of course, he would be expelled this land, where no Jew may
live, his wealth would be forfeit to its king, whose ward his daughter
would become, to be given in marriage where he willed, while he himself,
being Spanish born, might perhaps be handed over to the power of Spain,
there to make answer to these charges. But we wander to strange matters.
Is that alliance still impossible, Senor?"
Castell looked him straight in the eyes and answered:
There was something so bold and direct in his utterance of the word that
for a moment d'Aguilar seemed to be taken aback. He had not expected
this sharp denial.
"It would be courteous to give a reason," he said presently.
"The reason is simple, Marquis. My daughter is already betrothed, and
will ere long be wedded."
D'Aguilar did not seem surprised at this intelligence.
"To that brawler, your kinsman, Peter Brome, I suppose?" he said
interrogatively. "I guessed as much, and by the saints I am sorry for
her, for he must be a dull lover to one so fair and bright; while as a
husband--" And he shrugged his shoulders. "Friend Castell, for her sake
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