She had not met him since she had poured forth the indignation of her heart. Now he was standing close beside the carriage, but his grave face looked less stern than it did at that time.
After he had bent his head slightly to her and held out his hand to Gombert with friendly condescension, he thanked him for the kindness with which he had made room for his travelling companion, and then, with quiet courtesy, informed Barbara that he had come on behalf of his Majesty, who feared that she might not find suitable lodgings in overcrowded Landshut. The sedan chair stood ready over there by the hospital.
The longing to escape this fresh outrage from the mighty despot seized upon Barbara more fiercely than ever, but flight in this crowd was impossible, and as she met Quijada’s grave glance she forced herself to keep silence. She could not endure to make the Netherland maestro, who was kindly disposed toward her, and whom she honoured, a witness of her humiliation. So she was compelled to reserve what she wished to say to the Spaniard until later, and therefore only bade her friend farewell and, scarcely able to control her voice, expressed her regret that she could not take him to the Lorberers, since his Majesty was making other arrangements for her.
Another clasp of the Netherlander’s hand, a questioning glance into the Castilian’s calm face, and she was forced to consider herself the Emperor Charles’s prisoner.
True, her captor studiously showed her every attention; he helped her out of the carriage with the utmost care, and then led her through the moving throng of people to the sedan chair, behind which a mounted groom was holding Quijada’s noble steed by the bridle.
While Don Luis was helping Barbara into the chair, she asked in a low tone what she was to think of this act of violence, and where she was being taken.
“His Majesty’s command,” was the reply. “I think you will be satisfied with your lodgings here.” The girl shrugged her shoulders indignantly, and asked if she might only know how it had been discovered that she was on her way to Landshut; but Don Luis, in a gayer manner than his usual one, answered, “A little bird sang it to us, and I waited for you just here because, at the end of the bridge, we are most certain to meet whoever is obliged to cross either branch of the river.” Then, in a tone so grave as to exclude any idea of mockery, he added, “You see how kindly his Majesty has provided for your welfare.”
Closing the sedan chair as he spoke, he rode on before her.
Meanwhile contradictory emotions were seething and surging in Barbara’s breast.
Where were they taking her?
Did the Emperor intend to make her a prisoner? He certainly possessed the power. Who would dare to resist him?
She could attain no clearness of thought, for, while giving free course to the indignation of her soul, she was gazing out at the open sides of the sedan chair.