The Song of the Siren

The Song of the Siren by Philippa Carr

Book: The Song of the Siren by Philippa Carr Read Free Book Online
Authors: Philippa Carr
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Historical
band of bold conspirators, headed by Hessenfield, had rescued him from the Tower and they were trying to get him out of the country. That was why they were in this house waiting for the ship which would take them across to France where they would join King James at St. Germain-en-Laye.
    For me to have discovered so much without being told explained how very vulnerable they all were. If I escaped and gave the alarm before they were able to get out of the country it would be the hangman’s noose or the executioner’s block for the lot of them.
    So it was not surprising that it should be deemed wise to despatch me on the spot, bury my body somewhere and let my disappearance remain the mystery which Beau’s death was. That set me wondering if something like this had happened to Beau.
    Darkness fell.
    We went down to eat in the great kitchen. The doors were bolted and barred and no one could have got in easily.
    I sat at the table with them and there was little conversation. I
    77
    made that impossible. Durrell was afraid to say too much in front of me. My impression grew that he would kill me if he had a chance.
    They ate heartily, which was more than I did. They drank openly to the true King.
    No secret drinking to the King Across the Water here.
    Hessenfield said: “We shall retire early. It may be that our deliverers will be here by morning.”
    “I pray God we will be gone by this time tomorrow,” said Durrell.
    “Aye, I hope He will hear your prayers,” said Hessenfield.
    Durrell was looking at me.
    “You may leave her to me,” said Hessenfield; and I saw the rather sour smile on Durrell’s lips.
    Hessenfield had me by the arm.
    I said: “I will stay here. I will give you my word ...”
    “That you will not try to get away?” said Hessenfield. “I’d feel safer with you in my care.”
    Again that smirk.
    He nodded to everyone, and still holding my arm he took me from the room.
    We went to that one which he had chosen for himself. It was a very fine bedchamber with a four-poster bed draped with green velvet curtains.
    He locked the door and turned to face me.
    “Here we are at last,” he said. “I am sorry, Mistress Main, that you must remain our prisoner but we must make the best of it, do you agree?”
    “It is always wise to make the best of everything,” I muttered.
    “And you are wise. I see that ... almost always wise. But perhaps not so wise as usual when you pried into matters which did not concern you this morning.”
    “I did not intend to pry. Let me tell you that I am not in’ Bested in your plots and counterplots.”
    “Well, interested or not, you have become part of this one.”
    He removed his coat and started to unbutton his waistcoat.
    “I think,” he said, “you will find this bed more comfortable than the one you had last night. A wretched affair, was it not? I was so sorry that you were forced to use that. I’ll warrant you slept little.”
    I went to him and laid a hand on his arm. “Let me go,” I said.
    78”What do you think will happen? Do you think my family will stand aside and allow me to be kidnapped in this way?”
    “My dear Carlotta. May I call you that? Mistress Main does not suit you in the least.
    Carlotta, my dear. They are not going to find you. You left the inn with your horse early in the morning as was arranged; you went to join your grooms a mile up the road. It was early morning. There was no one about. Lying in wait for you was some footpad. He stole your possessions. Being you, you put up a fight, in which you were killed. He buried your body in a wood or threw it in a stream or something such.
    A far more plausible explanation than that you fell in with a band of desperate men, one of whom is so gallant that he is going to let you live awhile ... if you deserve to.”
    “It pleases you to joke about this matter.”
    “It pleases me because I am so happy to be here with you.”
    He took hold of me then and held me powerless in his

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