“Bring the basket along, sirrah! Follow me, and wait for me till I call. I shall not be above a few moments. It grows late.”
Freda had trembled as she passed the portal, but she did not tremble now. She stood where she was bidden, and Arthur, for a very short time, disappeared in the darkness, and she heard the shooting of a bolt. Then the turnkey came back and said, with a short laugh:
“Thy master hath a long purse and a civil tongue. I go to do his bidding, and refresh myself with a sup of good canary. Go on thither with that basket. I shall be back in a few short minutes. He will call thee when he wants thee.”
The man and his lantern disappeared, and the door of the corridor was slammed to and locked. There was no hope of escape for any behind it, but at least there was entrance free to Anthony’s cell.
The next moment she was within the miserable place, faintly lighted by the small lantern Arthur had brought, and with a cry she flung herself upon her knees beside the pallet bed on which Dalaber lay, and called him by his name. Arthur meanwhile stood sentry without the door.
“Freda, my love!” he cried, bewildered at sight of her, and with the fever mists clouding his brain.
“Anthony, Anthony, thou must not die! Thou must live, and do some great good for the world in days to come. Do not die, my beloved. It would break mine heart. Live for my sake, and for God’s truth. Ah, I cannot let thee go!”
He partly understood and kissed her hand, gazing at her with hungry eyes.
“I would fain live, if they will let me,” he answered. “I will live for thy sweet sake.”
She bent and kissed him on the brow. But she might not tarry longer. The sound of the bolt was already heard, and she stood suddenly up, and went forward.
“I will live for thy sake, sweetheart!” he whispered; and she waved her hand and hurried out, with tears gushing from her eyes.
Chapter XIV: The Power Of Persuasion
“I have sent for you, Master Cole,” spoke the Dean of Cardinal College, “because it is told to me that you, whilst yourself a blameless son of Holy Church, have strong friendship for some of those unhappy youths who are lying now in ward, accused of the deadly sin of heresy; and in particular, that you are well known to Anthony Dalaber, one of the most notable and most obstinate offenders.”
“That is true,” answered Arthur readily. “I have had friendship this many years with Dalaber, long ere he took with these perilous courses against which I have warned him many a time and oft. Apart from his errors, which I trust are not many or great, he has ever appeared a youth of great promise, and I have believed him one to make his way to fame and honour in days to come, when once these youthful follies are overpast.”