Turner was prepared for direct and haughty questions from the baron; but the covert and gentle manner of the lady rather disconcerted him: however, though he paused with a momentary embarrassment, yet, contrary to Isabella's expectation, he firmly, but with a kind of native propriety, replied—
The next morning the hall was again converted into a court of justice. De Boteler took his seat, and the eager vassals crowded in to hear the expected justification of Stephen Holgrave. Calverley, as being a party accused, was of course incapacitated from filling the accustomed situation in the court; and as old Luke was too infirm, Oakley was selected. Black Jack had begun to be very calculating—a portion of the money he had received in London had already disappeared in his secret debauchery. The bribe was not so large as he had been led to expect, and he had sense enough to know that his habits were not adapted for turning what remained to any account. The stewardship of Sudley was so easy and profitable! The very thought of it was delightful—and as nothing had as yet transpired to criminate him, he accepted of the temporary dignity with the most sanguine hopes that Calverley's delinquencies might fix him in it permanently.
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"It becomes the bondman to speak thus of his lord," said Calverley with a sneer.
The steward, although vexed at what he considered her obstinacy, yet delayed to enforce her removal until he had tried what his personal remonstrance might effect;—but no man approaches a woman, whom he has once, to the fullest extent of the word, loved, with that calm and business-like feeling with which he can discourse with another. The colour deepened, too, on Margaret's cheek, as she saw him advance, and when, in an authoritative, though somewhat embarrassed tone, he asked why she had not obeyed the order that had been given, she raised her eyes, flashing with a spirit that perhaps had never before animated them, and replied—
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"And have not I," said Turner, whom an extra cup had made more than usually a braggart; "Have not I forged as many spear-heads as ye can find handles for? and has not John Tickle, the London doublet-maker, made me sixty as stout leathern doublets as man could wish to wear? and can I not bring the tough sinews of the brave Kentish men to strike down the hirelings of that foul council which has brought all this misery on the people?—and will ye talk of your pitiful gifts? Am not I the right hand of the prophet?——".
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