“Then give it to me, Sir Max,” she cried excitedly.
“I may not do that, Fraeulein,” answered Max. “It was given to me by one I respect.”
“I know who the lady is,” answered Yolanda, tossing her head saucily and speaking with a dash of irritation in her voice.
“Ah, you do?” asked Max. “Tell me now, my little witch, who is the lady? If you know so much tell me.”
Yolanda lifted her eyes solemnly toward heaven, invoking the help of her never failing familiar spirit.
“I see an unhappy lady,” she said, speaking in a low whisper, “whose father is one of the richest and greatest princes in all the world. A few evenings ago while we were standing on the moat bridge talking, I saw the lady’s father on the battlements of yonder terrible castle. His form seemed magnified against the sky till it was of unearthly size and terrible to look on—doubly terrible to those who know him. If she should disobey her father, he would kill her with his battle-axe, I verily believe, readily as he would crush a rebellious soldier. Yet she fears him not, because she is of his own dauntless blood and fears not death itself. She is to marry the Dauphin of France, and her wishes are of so small concern, I am told that she has not yet been notified. This terrible man will sell his daughter as he would barter a horse. She is powerless to move in her own behalf, being bound hand and foot by the remorseless shackles of her birth. She will become an unhappy queen, and, if she survives her cruel father, she will, in time, take to her husband this fat land of Burgundy, for the sake of which he wishes to marry her. She is Mary of Burgundy, and even I, poor and mean of station, pity her. She—gave—you—the—ring.”
“How did you learn all this, Fraeulein? You are not guessing, as you would have had me believe, and you would not lie to me. What you have just said is a part with what you said at Basel and at Strasburg. How did you learn it, Fraeulein?”
“Twonette,” answered Yolanda.
That simple explanation was sufficient for Max. Yolanda might very likely know the private affairs of the Princess Mary through Twonette, who was a friend of Her Highness.
“But you have not promised to visit Uncle Castleman’s house when he invites you,” said Yolanda, drawing Max again to the bench beside her.
“I gladly promise,” said Max.
“That brings me to the third promise I desire,” said Yolanda. “I want you to give me your word that you will not leave Burgundy within one month from this day, unless I give you permission.”
“I cannot grant you that promise, Fraeulein,” answered Max.
“Ah, but you must, you shall,” cried Yolanda, desperately clutching his huge arms with her small hands and clinging to him. “I will scream, I will waken the town. I will not leave you, and you shall not shake me off till I have your promise. I may not give you my reasons, but trust me, Max, trust me. Give me your unquestioning faith for once. I am not a fool, Max, nor would I lie to you for all the world, in telling you that it is best for you to give me the promise. Believe me, while there may be risk to me in what I ask, it is best that you grant it, and that you remain in Peronne for a month—perhaps for two months, unless I sooner tell you to go.”