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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Yolanda.

“I may not give you the promise you ask, Fraeulein,” answered Max, desperately.  “You must know how gladly I would remain here forever.”

“I believe truly you want to stay,” she answered demurely, “else I surely would not ask this promise of you.  Your unspoken words have been more eloquent than any vows your lips could coin, and I know what is in your heart, else my boldness would have been beyond excusing.  What I wish is that your desire should be great enough to keep you when I ask you to remain.”

“I may not think of myself or my own desires, Fraeulein,” he answered.  “Like the lady of Burgundy, I was shackled at my birth.”

“The lady of Burgundy is ever in your mind,” Yolanda retorted sullenly.  “You would give this promise quickly enough were she asking it—­she with her vast estate.”

There was an angry gleam in the girl’s eyes, and a dark cloud of unmistakable jealousy on her face.  She stepped back from Max and hung her head.  After a moment of silence she said:—­

“You may answer me to-morrow night at this bridge, Sir Max.  If you do not see fit to give me the promise, then I shall weary you no further with importunity, and you may go your way.”

There was a touch of coldness in her voice as she turned and walked slowly toward the bridge.  Max called softly:—­

“Yolanda!”

She did not answer, but continued with slow steps and drooping head.  As her form was fading into the black shadow of the castle wall he ran across the bridge to her, and took her hand:—­

“Fraeulein, I will be at the bridge to-morrow night, and I will try to give the promise you ask of me.”

CHAPTER IX

THE GREAT RIDDLE

Max was cautious in the matter of making promises, as every honest man should be, since he had no thought of breaking them once they were given.  Therefore, he wished to know that he could keep his word before pledging it.  His lifelong habit of asking my advice may also have influenced him in refusing the promise that he so much wished to give; or perhaps he may have wanted time to consider.  He did not want to give the promise on the spur of an impulse.

When he had finished telling me his troubles, I asked:—­

“What will you do to-morrow night?”

My riddle was again solved; Yolanda was the princess.  Her words were convincing.  All doubt had been swept from my mind.  There would be no more battledore and shuttlecock with my poor brain on that subject.  So when Max said, “I do not know what I shall do,” I offered my opinion; “You surprise me, Max.  You lack enterprise; there is no warmth in your blood.  The girl cannot harm you.  Give her the promise.  Are your veins filled with water and caution?”

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