In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 418 pages of information about In Freedom's Cause .

The blood had rushed into the girl’s face as she saw the ring.  Then she turned very pale.  “Sir Archibald Forbes,” she said in a low tone, after walking for a minute or two in silence, “I feel disgraced in your eyes.  How forward and unmaidenly must you have thought me thus to take advantage of a vow made from the impulse of sudden gratitude.”

“No, indeed, lady,” Archie said hotly.  “No such thought ever entered my mind.  I should as soon doubt the holy Virgin herself as to deem you capable of aught but what was sweet and womanly.  The matter seemed to me simple enough.  You had saved my life at great peril to yourself, and it seemed but natural to me that in your trouble, having none others to befriend you, your thoughts should turn to one who had sworn to be to the end of his life your faithful knight and servant.  But,” he went on more lightly, “since you yourself did not send me the ring and message, what good fairy can have brought them to me?”

“The good fairy was a very bad one,” the girl said shortly, “and I will rate him soundly when I see him for thus adventuring without my consent.  It is none other than Father Anselm; and yet,” she added, “he has suffered so much on my behalf that I shall have to forgive him.  After your escape my uncle in his passion was well nigh hanging the good priest in spite of his holy office, and drove him from the castle.  He kept me shut up in my room for many weeks, and then urged upon me the marriage with his son.  When he found that I would not listen to it he sent me to St. Kenneth, and there I have remained ever since.  Three weeks ago Father Anselm came to see me.  He had been sent for by Alexander of Lorne, who, knowing the influence he had with me, begged him to undertake the mission of inducing me to bend to his will.  As he knew how much I hated John of Lorne, the good priest wasted not much time in entreaties; but he warned me that it had been resolved that unless I gave way my captivity, which had hitherto been easy and pleasant, would be made hard and rigorous, and that I would be forced into accepting John of Lorne as a husband.  When he saw that I was determined not to give in, the good priest certainly hinted” (and here she coloured again hotly) “that you would, if sent for, do your best to carry me off.  Of course I refused to listen to the idea, and chided him for suggesting so unmaidenly a course.  He urged it no further, and I thought no more of the matter.  The next day I missed my ring, which, to avoid notice, I had worn on a little ribbon round my neck.  I thought at the time the ribbon must have broken and the ring been lost, and for a time I made diligent search in the garden for it; but I doubt not now that the traitor priest, as I knelt before him to receive his blessing on parting, must have severed the ribbon and stolen it.”

“God bless him!” Archie said fervently.  “Should he ever come to Aberfilly the warmest corner by the fire, the fattest capon, and the best stoop of wine from the cellar shall be his so long as he lives.  Why, but for him, Lady Marjory, you might have worn out months of your life in prison, and have been compelled at last to wed your cousin.  I should have been a miserable man for life.”

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In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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