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you will break off this match."
"And if I will not, Marquis?"
"Then I must break it off for you in the interest of all of us,
including, of course, myself, who love her, and wish to lift her to a
great place, and of yourself, whom I desire should pass your old age in
peace and wealth, and not be hunted to your death like a mad dog."
"How will you break it, Marquis? by--"
"Oh no, Senor!" answered d'Aguilar, "not by other men's swords--if that
is what you mean. The worthy Peter is safe from them so far as I am
concerned, though if he should come face to face with mine, then let the
best man win. Have no fear, friend, I do not practise murder, who value
my own soul too much to soak it in blood, nor would I marry a woman
except of her own free will. Still, Peter may die, and the fair Margaret
may still place her hand in mine and say, 'I choose you as my husband.'"
"All these things, and many others, may happen, Marquis; but I do not
think it likely that they will happen, and for my part, whilst thanking
you for it, I decline your honourable offer, believing that my daughter
will be more happy in her present humble state with the man she has
chosen. Have I your leave to return to my accounts?" And he rose.
"Yes, Senor," answered d'Aguilar, rising also; "but add an item to those
losses of which you spoke, that of the friendship of Carlos, Marquis de
Morella, and on the other side enter again that of his hate. Man!" he
added, and his dark, handsome face turned very evil as he spoke, "are
you mad? Think of the little tabernacle behind the altar in your chapel,
and what it contains."
Castell stared at him, then said:
"Come, let us see. Nay, fear no trick; like you I remember my soul, and
do not stain my hands with blood. Follow me, so you will be safe."
Curiosity, or some other reason, prompted d'Aguilar to obey, and
presently they stood behind the altar.
"Now," said Castell, as he drew the tapestry and opened the secret door,
"look!" D'Aguilar peered into the place; but where should have been
the table, the ark, the candlesticks, and the roll of the law of which
Betty had told him, were only old dusty boxes filled with parchments and
some broken furniture.
"What do you see?" asked Castell.
"I see, friend, that you are even a cleverer Jew than I thought. But
this is a matter that you must explain to others in due season. Believe
me, I am no inquisitor." Then without more words he turned and left him.
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