The imperious will of the princess had come to the rescue of Yolanda, the burgher girl.
Max paused before speaking, then grasped her hands fiercely and answered:—
“Before God, Fraeulein, I will come back to you, if I live.”
Yolanda sank upon the cushioned bench, covered her face with her hands, and the pent-up storm of sobs and tears broke forth as Max and I passed out the door.
Yolanda had won.
MAX GOES TO WAR
The next morning at dawn our army marched. Although Duke Charles would not encumber himself with provisions for his men, he carried a vast train of carts filled with plate, silk tents, rich rugs, and precious jewels; for, with all his bravery, this duke’s ruling passion was the love of display in the presence of foreigners.
I shall not give the story of this disastrous war in detail; that lies in the province of history, and my story relates only to Max and Yolanda, and to the manner in which they were affected by the results of the war.
We marched with forty thousand men, and laid siege to the city of Granson, in the district of Vaud. The Swiss sent ambassadors under a flag of truce, begging Charles to spare them, and saying, according to my friend Comines, that “there were among them no good prisoners to make, and that the spurs and horses’ bits of the duke’s army were worth more money than all the people of Switzerland could pay in ransoms, even if they were taken.” Charles rejected all overtures, and on the third of March the brave little Swiss army sallied against us, “heralding their advances by the lowings of the Bull of Uri and the Cow of Unterwalden, two enormous instruments which had been given to their ancestors by Charlemagne.”
God was against Charles of Burgundy, and his army was utterly routed by one of less than a fourth its size. I was with Charles after the battle, and his humiliation was more pitiful than his bursts of ungovernable wrath were disgusting. The king of France, hoping for this disaster, was near by at Lyons.
A cruel man is always despicable in misfortune. Charles at once sent to King Louis a conciliatory, fawning letter, recanting all that he had said in his last missive from Peronne, and expressing the hope that His Majesty would adhere to the treaty and would consent to the marriage of Princess Mary and the Dauphin at once. In this letter Yolanda had no opportunity to insert a disturbing “t.” Louis answered graciously, saying that the treaty should be observed, and that the marriage should take place immediately upon the duke’s return to Burgundy.
“We have already forwarded instructions to Paris,” wrote King Louis, “directing that preparations be made at once for the celebration of this most desired union at the holy church of St. Denis. We wondered much at Your Grace’s first missive, in which you so peremptorily desired us not to move in this matter till your return; and we wondered more at Your Lordship’s ungracious reply to our answer in which we consented to the delay Your Grace had asked.”