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me, but that I will never do until you give me leave, so in place of
them I kiss the cross, which till then we both must carry. Lady, my lady
Margaret, within a day or two I sail for Spain, but your image shall
sail with me, and I believe that ere long our paths must cross again.
How can it be otherwise since the threads of your life and mine were
intertwined on that night outside the Palace of Westminster
--intertwined never to be separated till one of us has ceased
to be, and then only for a little while. Lady, for the present,
Then swiftly and silently as he had come, d'Aguilar went.
It was Betty who let him out at the side door, as she had let him in.
More, glancing round to see that she was not observed--for it chanced
now that Peter was away with some of the best men, and the master was
out with others, no one was on watch this night--leaving the door ajar
that she might re-enter, she followed him a little way, till they came
to an old arch, which in some bygone time had led to a house now pulled
down. Into this dark place Betty slipped, touching d'Aguilar on the arm
as she did so. For a moment he hesitated, then, muttering some Spanish
oath between his teeth, followed her.
"Well, most fair Betty," he said, "what word have you for me now?"
"The question is, Senor Carlos," answered Betty with scarcely suppressed
indignation, "what word you have for me, who dared so much for you
to-night? That you have plenty for my cousin, I know, since standing in
the cold garden I could hear you talk, talk, talk, through the shutters,
as though for your very life."
"I pray that those shutters had no hole in them," reflected d'Aguilar to
himself. "No, there was a curtain also; she can have seen nothing." But
aloud he answered: "Mistress Betty, you should not stand about in this
bitter wind; you might fall ill, and then what should I suffer?"
"I don't know, nothing perhaps; that would be left to me. What I want to
understand is, why you plan to come to see me, and then spend an hour
"To avert suspicion, most dear Betty. Also I had to talk to her of this
Peter, in whom she seems so greatly interested. You are very shrewd,
Betty--tell me, is that to be a match?"
"I think so; I have been told nothing, but I have noticed many things,
and almost every day she is writing to him, though why she should care
for that owl of a man I cannot guess."
"Doubtless because she appreciates solid worth, Betty, as I do in you.
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