To witness such devotion on the part of personages to whom she looked up with such respect and confidence, would have been in itself more than sufficient to secure for its object the unquestioning partisanship of Dorothy; partisan already, it raised her prejudice to a degree of worship which greatly narrowed what she took for one of the widest gulfs separating her from the creed of her friends. The favourite dogma of the school-master-king, the offspring of his pride and weakness, had found fitting soil in Dorothy. When, in the natural growth of the confidence reposed in her by her protectors, she came to have some idea of the immensity of the sums spent by them on behalf of his son, had, indeed, ere the close of another year read the king’s own handwriting and signature in acknowledgment of a debt of a quarter of a million, she took it only as an additional sign—for additional proof there was no room—of their ever admirable devotion to his divine right. That the marquis and his son were catholics served but to glorify the right to which a hostile faith yielded such practical homage.
Immediately after nightfall she repaired to Caspar, and between them everything was speedily arranged for the carrying out of lord Herbert’s counter-plot.
But night after night passed, and the bell in the marquis’s room remained voiceless.
Molly and the white horse.
Meantime lord Herbert came and went. There was fighting here and fighting there, castles taken, defended, re-taken, here a little success and there a worse loss, now on this side and now on that; but still, to say the best, the king’s affairs made little progress; and for Mary Somerset, her body and soul made progress in opposite directions.
There was a strange pleasant mixture of sweet fretfulness and trusting appeal in her. Children suffer less because they feel that all is right when father or mother is with them; grown people from whom this faith has vanished ere it has led them to its original fact, may well be miserable in their sicknesses.
She lay moaning one night in her crib, when suddenly she opened her eyes and saw her mother’s hand pressed to her forehead. She was imitative, like most children, and had some very old-fashioned ways of speech.
‘Have you got a headache, madam?’ she asked.
‘Yes, my Molly,’ answered her mother.
’Then you will go to mother Mary. She will take you on her knee, madam. Mothers is for headaches. Oh me! my headache, madam!’
The poor mother turned away. It was more than she could bear alone. Dorothy entered the room, and she rose and left it, that she might go to mother Mary as the child had said.