Yolanda moved about the room aimlessly for several minutes and by chance stopped at the table. She started to take up the quill and ink-well to carry them back to her parlor, which was in Darius (Darius was the name of the tower that rose from the castle battlements immediately above Castleman’s House under the Wall), and her eyes rested on the small iron box in which the letter to King Louis had been deposited. An unconscious motive, perhaps it was childish curiosity, prompted her to examine the missive. She took the pouch from the box and found it unsealed. She listlessly drew out the missive and began to read, when suddenly her face grew radiant with joy. She ran excitedly to her mother, who was sitting on the divan, and exclaimed:—
“Oh! mother, the sweet Blessed Virgin has sent help!”
“In what manner, child?” asked the duchess, fondling Yolanda’s hair while the girl knelt beside her.
“Here, mother, here! Here is help; here in this very letter that was intended to be my undoing. I cannot wait to thank the Holy Mother.” She crossed herself and buried her face in her mother’s lap while she thanked the Virgin.
“What is it, Mary, and where is the help?” asked Margaret, fearing the girl’s mind had been touched by her troubles.
“Listen!” cried Yolanda.
Her excitement was so great that she could hardly see the words the bishop’s scrivener had written.
“Listen, listen! Father in this letter first tells the king that he—that is, father, you understand—is going to war with Lorraine—no, with Bourbon. I am wrong again. Father is so constantly warring with some one that I cannot keep track of his enemies—against the Swiss. See, mother, it is the Swiss. He says he will go—will start—will begin the war—no, I am wrong again. I can hardly see the words. He says he will march at the head of a Burgundian army—poor soldiers, I pity them—within three weeks. Ah, how short that time seemed when I heard the letter read an hour ago. How long it is now! I wish he would march to-morrow. Three long weeks!”
“But, my dear, how will that help you?” asked the duchess. “In what manner will—”
“Do not interrupt me, mother, but hear what follows. Father says he will march in three weeks and ’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, Mademoiselle de Burgundy, with the princely Dauphin, son to King Louis.’ In that word ‘now,’ mother, lies my help.”
“In what manner does help lie in the word ‘now,’ child?” asked the duchess.