His washing over, the dog showed himself much exhausted, and it was with hanging head he followed his mistress up the grand staircase and the second spiral one that led yet higher to her chamber. Thither presently came lady Elizabeth, carrying a cushion and a deerskin for him to lie upon, and it was with much apparent satisfaction that the wounded and wearied animal, having followed his tail but one turn, dropped like a log on his well-earned couch.
The night was hot, and Dorothy fell asleep with her door wide open.
In the morning Marquis was nowhere to be found. Dorothy searched for him everywhere, but in vain.
‘It is because you mocked him, my lord,’ said the governor to his father at breakfast. ’I doubt not he said to himself, “If I am a dog, my lord need not have mocked me, for I could not help it, and I did my duty."’
‘I would make him an apology,’ returned the marquis, ‘an’ I had but the opportunity. Truly it were evil minded knowingly to offer insult to any being capable of so regarding it. But, Charles, I bethink me: didst ever learn how our friend got into the castle? It was assuredly thy part to discover that secret.’
‘No, my lord. It hath never been found out in so far as I know.’
’That is an unworthy answer, lord Charles. As governor of the castle, you ought to have had the matter thoroughly searched into.’
‘I will see to it now, my lord,’ said the governor, rising.
‘Do, my lad,’ returned his father.
And lord Charles did inquire; but not a ray of light did he succeed in letting in upon the mystery. The inquiry might, however, have lasted longer and been more successful, had not lord Herbert just then come home, with the welcome news of the death of Hampden, from a wound received in attacking prince Rupert at Chalgrove. He brought news also of prince Maurice’s brave fight at Bath, and lord Wilmot’s victory over sir William Waller at Devizes—which latter, lord Herbert confessed, yielded him some personal satisfaction, seeing he owed Waller more grudges than as a Christian he had well known how to manage: now he was able to bear him a less bitter animosity. The queen, too, had reached Oxford, bringing large reinforcement to her husband, and prince Rupert had taken Bristol, castle and all. Things were looking mighty hopeful, lord Herbert was radiant, and lady Margaret, for the first time since Molly’s death, was merry. The castle was illuminated, and Marquis forgotten by all but Dorothy.