Castleman reached home ten days or a fortnight after our arrest, bringing with him his precious silks, velvets, and laces to the last ell. As he had predicted, they were quadrupled in value, and their increase made the good burgher a very rich man.
Soon after Castleman reached the House under the Wall, Yolanda came dancing into the room where he was sitting with good Frau Katherine, drinking a bottle of rich Burgundy wine well mixed with pepper and honey.
“Ah, uncle,” she cried joyously, “at last you are at home, and I have a fine kiss for you.”
“Thank you, my dear,” said Castleman, “you have spoiled my wine. The honey will now taste vinegarish.”
“You are a flatterer, uncle—isn’t he, tante?” laughed Yolanda, turning to Aunt Castleman.
“I am afraid he is,” said the good frau, in mock distress. “Every one tries to spoil him.”
“You more than any one, tante,” cried Yolanda.
“Tut, tut, child,” cried Frau Katherine, “I abate his vanity with frowns.”
Yolanda laughed, and the burgher, pinching his wife’s red cheek, protested:—
“You frown? You couldn’t frown if you tried. A clear sky may rain as easily. Get the peering glass, Yolanda, and find, if you can, a wrinkle on her face.”
Yolanda, who was always laughing, threw herself upon the frau’s lap and pretended to hunt for wrinkles. Soon she reported:—
“No wrinkles, uncle—there, you dear old tante, I’ll kiss you to keep you from growing jealous of uncle on my account.”
“If any one about this house has been spoiled, it’s you, Yolanda,” said Frau Kate, affectionately.
“When you speak after that fashion, tante, you almost make me weep,” said Yolanda. “Surely you and uncle and Twonette are the only friends I have, and give me all the joy I know. But, uncle, now that you are at home, I want you to drink your wine quickly and give me a great deal of joy—oh, a great deal.”
“Indeed I will, my dear. Tell me where to begin,” answered Castleman, draining his goblet.
Yolanda flushed rosily and hesitated. At that moment Twonette, who had already greeted her father, entered the room.
“Twonette will tell you,” said Yolanda, laughing nervously.
“What shall I tell him?” asked Twonette.
“You will tell him what I want him to do quickly, at once, immediately,” pleaded Yolanda. “You know what I have waited for this long, weary time.”
“Tell him yourself what you want quickly, at once, immediately,” answered Twonette. “I, too, have wants.”
“What do you want, daughter?” asked Castleman, beaming upon Twonette.
“I want thirty ells of blue velvet for a gown, and I want you to ask permission of the duke for me to wear it.”
“Many noble ladies would not dare to ask so much of the duke,” suggested Castleman.
“It is true, George,” said Frau Kate, “that only noble ladies of high degree are permitted to wear velvet of blue; but it is also true that only your stubbornness has deprived our daughter of that privilege. She might now be noble had you not been stubborn.”