The Cloister and the Hearth, by Charles Reade

Chapter 18

Ghysbrecht Van Swieten could not sleep all night for anxiety. He was afraid of thunder and lightning, or he would have made one of the party that searched Peter’s house. As soon as the storm ceased altogether, he crept downstairs, saddled his mule, and rode to the “Three Kings” at Sevenbergen. There he found his men sleeping, some on the chairs, some on the tables, some on the floor. He roused them furiously, and heard the story of their unsuccessful search, interlarded with praises of their zeal.

“Fool! to let you go without me,” cried the burgomaster. “My life on’t he was there all the time. Looked ye under the girl’s bed?”

“No; there was no room for a man there.”

“How know ye that, if ye looked not?” snarled Ghysbrecht. “Ye should have looked under her bed, and in it too, and sounded all the panels with your knives. Come, now, get up, and I shall show ye how to search.”

Dierich Brower got up and shook himself. “If you find him, call me a horse and no man.”

In a few minutes Peter’s house was again surrounded.

The fiery old man left his mule in the hands of Jorian Ketel, and, with Dierich Brower and the others, entered the house.

The house was empty.

Not a creature to be seen, not even Peter. They went upstairs, and then suddenly one of the men gave a shout, and pointed through Peter’s window, which was open. The others looked, and there, at some little distance, walking quietly across the fields with Margaret and Martin, was the man they sought. Ghysbrecht, with an exulting yell, descended the stairs and flung himself on his mule; and he and his men set off in hot pursuit.

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Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 15:33