’By now the other two boats had come up and fastened on to us with their hooks. One man climbed into the chains and thence to the deck, and I knew him for a priest of the Holy Office, one of those who had stood by while I was tormented. Then I grew mad at the thought of all that I had suffered, while that devil watched, bidding them lay on for the love of God. Snatching the bow from the hand of the Southwold seaman, I drew the arrow to its head and loosed. It did not miss its mark, for like you, Thomas, I was skilled with the bow, and he dived back into the sea with an English yard shaft in his heart.
’After that they tried to board us no more, though they shot at us with arrows, wounding one man. The captain called to us to lay down our bows and take cover behind the bulwarks, for by now the sails began to draw. Then de Garcia stood up in the boat and cursed me and my wife.
’"I will find you yet,” he screamed, with many Spanish oaths and foul words. “If I must wait for twenty years I will be avenged upon you and all you love. Be assured of this, Luisa de Garcia, hide where you will, I shall find you, and when we meet, you shall come with me for so long as I will keep you or that shall be the hour of your death.”
’Then we sailed away for England, and the boats fell astern.
’My sons, this is the story of my youth, and of how I came to wed your mother whom I have buried to-day. Juan de Garcia has kept his word.’
‘Yet it seems strange,’ said my brother, ’that after all these years he should have murdered her thus, whom you say he loved. Surely even the evilest of men had shrunk from such a deed!’
‘There is little that is strange about it,’ answered my father. ’How can we know what words were spoken between them before he stabbed her? Doubtless he told of some of them when he cried to Thomas that now they would see what truth there was in prophecies. What did de Garcia swear years since?—that she should come with him or he would kill her. Your mother was still beautiful, Geoffrey, and he may have given her choice between flight and death. Seek to know no more, son’—and suddenly my father hid his face in his hands and broke into sobs that were dreadful to hear.
‘Would that you had told us this tale before, father,’ I said so soon as I could speak. ’Then there would have lived a devil the less in the world to-day, and I should have been spared a long journey.’
Little did I know how long that journey would be!