Lysbeth, a Tale of the Dutch eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 465 pages of information about Lysbeth, a Tale of the Dutch.

Weak and wounded as he was, Foy’s heart sank in him at the words of this man, this devil who had betrayed his mother with a mock marriage, and who was the father of Adrian.  The idea of making the heiress his wife was one worthy of his evil ingenuity, and why should he not put it into practice?  Elsa, of course, would rebel, but Alva’s officials in such days had means of overcoming any maidenly reluctance, or at least of forcing women to choose between death and degradation.  Was it not common for them even to dissolve marriages in order to give heretics to new husbands who desired their wealth?  There was no justice left in the land; human beings were the chattels and slaves of their oppressors.  Oh God! what was there to do, except to trust in God?  Why should they be tortured, murdered, married against their wills, for the sake of a miserable pile of pelf?  Why not tell the truth and let the fellow take the money?  He had measured up his man, and believed that he could drive a bargain with him.  Ramiro wanted money, not lives.  He was no fanatic; horrors gave him no pleasure; he cared nothing about his victims’ souls.  As he had betrayed his mother, Lysbeth, for cash, so he would be willing to let them all go for cash.  Why not make the exchange?

Then distinct, formidable, overwhelming, the answer rose up in Foy’s mind.  Because he had sworn to his father that nothing which could be imagined should induce him to reveal this secret and betray this trust.  And not only to his father, to Hendrik Brant also, who already had given his own life to keep his treasure out of the hands of the Spaniards, believing that in some unforeseen way it would advantage his own land and countrymen.  No, great as was the temptation, he must keep the letter of his bond and pay its dreadful price.  So again Foy answered,

“It is useless to try to bribe me, for I do not know where the money is.”

“Very well, Heer Foy van Goorl, now we have a plain issue before us, but I will still try to protect you against yourself—­the warrant shall remain blank for a little while.”

Then he called aloud, “Sergeant, ask the Professor Baptiste to be so good as to step this way.”

CHAPTER XXI

HOW MARTIN TURNED COWARD

The sergeant left the room and presently returned, followed by the Professor, a tall hang-dog looking rogue, clad in rusty black, with broad, horny hands, and nails bitten down to the quick.

“Good morning to you, Professor,” said Ramiro.  “Here are two subjects for your gentle art.  You will begin upon the big one, and from time to time report progress, and be sure, if he becomes willing to reveal what I want to know—­never mind what it is, that is my affair—­come to summon me at once.”

“What methods does your Excellency wish employed?”

“Man, I leave that to you.  Am I a master of your filthy trade?  Any method, provided it is effective.”

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Lysbeth, a Tale of the Dutch from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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