The very harsh execrations which the regent bestowed upon pleasant Ratisbon when she learned what had befallen Sir Wolf Hartschwert were better suited to the huntress than to the queen and sister of a mighty emperor.
Murderous knaves who, in the heart of the city, close to the imperial precincts, endangered the lives of peaceful people at night! It was unprecedented, and yet evidently only a result of the heretical abuses.
She had sprung into the saddle—she always travelled on horseback—in the worst possible mood, but had urged all who were near the Emperor Charles’s person, and also the almoner Pedro de Soto, to remember the wounded man and do everything possible to aid his recovery.
She did not mention Barbara, even by a single word, in her farewell to her royal brother.
The latter had intended to accompany her a portion of the way, but a great quantity of work—not least in consequence of the loss of time occasioned by the new love life—had accumulated, and he therefore preferred to take leave of his sister in the courtyard of the Golden Cross.
There, with his assistance, she mounted her horse.
Quijada, who usually rendered her this service, stood aloof, silent and pale. The regent had noticed it, and attributed his appearance to grief for her departure. No one at court held a higher place in her regard, and it pleased her that he, too, found it so hard to do without her.
As her horse started, her last salute was to the monarch and to him.
Malfalconnet, whose eyes were everywhere, noticed it, and whispered to the Marquise de Leria, who was standing beside him: “Either Don Luis would do well to intrust himself to our Mathys’s treatment, or this gentleman is an accomplished actor, or our most gracious lady has tampered with the fidelity of this most loyal husband, and the paternosters and pilgrimages of Dona Magdalena de Ulloa have been vain.”
A few minutes after, the Emperor Charles was sitting at the writing table examining, with the Bishop of Arras, a mountain of reports and documents. Two or three hours elapsed ere he received ambassadors and gave audiences, and during that time Quijada was not needed by his royal master.
He had previously had leisure only to provide for the wounded man, cleanse himself from blood, change his dress, bid Queen Mary farewell, and bandage the hurt afresh. He had done this with his own hands because he distrusted the reticence of his extremely skilful but heedless French valet.
When he returned to his lodgings, Master Adrian followed him, and modestly, yet with all the warmth of affection which he felt for this true friend of his master, entreated him to permit him to speak freely. He had perceived, not only by the pallor of Don Luis’s cheeks, but other signs, that he was suffering, and in the name of his wife, who, when her husband was summoned from her side, had urged him with the earnestness of anxious love to watch over him, begged him not to force himself beyond his strength to perform his service, if his sufferings corresponded with his appearance.