“His Grace of Burgundy would recommend himself to His Majesty of France, and would beg to inform the most puissant King Louis that the said Charles, Duke of Burgundy, will march at the head of a Burgundian army within three weeks from the date of these presents, against the Swiss cantons, with intent to punish the said Swiss for certain depredations. Therefore, the said Charles, Duke of Burgundy and Count of Charolois, begs that His Majesty of France will now move toward the immediate consummation of the treaty existing between Burgundy and France, looking to the marriage of the Princess Mary, Mademoiselle de Burgundy, with the princely Dauphin, son to King Louis; and to these presents said Charles, Duke of Burgundy, requests the honor of an early reply.
“We recommend Your Majesty to the protection of God, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints.”
“Words, words, my Lord Bishop,” said Charles. “Why waste them on a graceless hypocrite?”
“I thought only to be courteous,” returned the bishop.
“Why should we show King Louis courtesy?” asked the duke. “Is it because we give him our daughter to be the wife of his bandy-shanked, half-witted son? There is small need for courtesy, my Lord Bishop. We could not insult this King Louis, should we try, while he sees an advantage to be gained. Give me the letter, and I will sign it, though I despise your whimpering courtesy, as you call it.”
Charles took the letter, and, going to a table near a window, drew up a chair.
“Give me a quill,” he said, addressing the bishop. “Did you not bring one, my lord?”
“Your Grace—Your Grace,” began the bishop, apologetically.
“Do you think I am a snivelling scrivener, carrying quill and ink-well in my gown?” asked the duke. “Go to your parlor and fetch ink and quill,” said Charles, pointing with the folded missive toward Yolanda.
“A page will fetch the quill and ink, my lord,” suggested the duchess.
“Go!” cried the duke, turning angrily on the princess. Yolanda left the room, weeping, and hastened up the long flight of steps to her parlor. It was the refinement of cruelty in Charles to send Yolanda for the quill with which he was to sign the instrument of her doom.
Still weeping, Yolanda hurried back with the writing materials, but before entering the room she stopped at the door to dry her tears and stay her sobs. When she entered, she said:—
“There is the quill, father, and there is the ink.”
She placed them before the duke and stood trembling with one hand on the table. After a moment she spoke in a voice little above a whisper:—“You will accomplish nothing, my lord, my father, by sending the letter. I shall die before this marriage can take place. I am willing to obey you, but, father, I shall die. Ah, father, pity me.”
She fell upon her knees before the duke and tried to put her hands about his shoulders. He repulsed her, and, taking up the quill, signed the letter. After he had affixed his signature and had sealed the missive with his private seal, he folded the parchment and handed it to the bishop, saying:—