Before he went to Prebrunn, Dr. Mathys had counselled him not to forget during the disagreeable reception awaiting him that he was dealing with an irritable invalid, and the thoroughly noble man resolved to remember it as an excuse. The Emperor Charles should learn only that Barbara refused to submit to his arrangements, that his harshness deeply wounded her and excited her quick temper. He was unwilling to expose himself again to an outburst of her rage, and he would therefore intrust to another the task of rendering her more docile, and this other was Wolf Hartschwert.
A few days before he had visited the recovering knight, and obtained from him a decision whose favourable nature filled him with secret joy whenever he thought of it.
Wolf had already learned from the valet Adrian the identity of the person to whom he had been obliged to yield precedence in Barbara’s heart, and how generously Quijada had kept silence concerning the wound which he had dealt him. When Don Luis freely forgave him for the unfortunate misunderstanding for which he, too, was not wholly free from blame, Wolf had thrown himself on his knees and warmly entreated him to dispose of him, who owed him more than life, as he would of himself. Then, opening his whole heart, he revealed what Barbara had been to him, and how, unable to control his rage, he had rushed upon him when he thought he had discovered, in the man who had just asked him to go far away from the woman he loved, her betrayer.
After this explanation, Quijada had acquiesced in the knight’s wish that he should give him the office offered on that luckless evening, and he now felt disposed also to intrust to him further negotiations with the singer.
In the report made to the Emperor, Don Luis suppressed everything which could offend him; but Charles remained immovable in his determination to withdraw the expected gift of Fate, from its first entrance into the world, from every influence except his own. Moreover, he threatened that if the blinded girl continued to refuse to enter the convent and yield up the child, he would withdraw his aid from both. After a sleepless night, however, he remarked, on the following morning, that he perceived it to be his duty, whatever might happen, to assume the care of the child who was entitled to call him its father. What he would do for the mother must depend upon her future conduct. This was another instance how every trespass of the bounds of the moral order which the Church ordains and hallows entails the most sorrowful consequences even here below. Precisely because he was so strongly attached to this unfortunate woman, once so richly gifted, he desired to offer her the opportunity to obtain pardon from Heaven, and therefore insisted upon her retiring to the convent. His own guilt was causing him great mental trouble and, in fact, notwithstanding the arduous labour imposed upon him by the war, the most melancholy mood again took possession of him.