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endured it with fortitude had I not known that Max was suffering a
like fate.

I believed I had been several days in my cell when I heard a key turn in
the lock. The door opened, and a man bearing a basket and a lantern
entered. He placed the basket on the ground and, with the lantern hung
over his arm, unfastened the manacles of my wrists. In the basket were a
_boule_ of black bread and a stone jar of water. I eagerly grasped the
jar, and never in my life has anything passed my lips that tasted so
sweet as that draught.

"Don't drink too much at one time," said the guard, not unkindly. "It
might drive you mad. A man went mad in this cell less than a month ago
from drinking too much water."

"How long had he been without it?" I asked of this cheering personage.

"Three days," he responded.

"I did not know that men of the north could be so cruel as to keep a
prisoner three days without water," I said.

"It happened because the guard was drunk," answered the fellow,
laughing.

"I hope you will remain sober," said I, not at all intending to be
humorous, though the guard laughed.

"I was the guard," he replied. "I did not intend to leave the prisoner
without water, but, you see, I was dead drunk and did not know it."

"Perhaps you have been drunk for the last three or four days since I
have been here?" I asked.

He laughed boisterously.

"You here three or four days! Why, you are mad already! You have been
here only over night."

Well! I thought surely I _was_ mad!

Suddenly the guard left me and closed the cell door. I called
frantically to him, but I might as well have cried from the bottom
of the sea.

After what seemed fully another week of waiting, the guard again came
with bread and water. By that time my mind had cleared. I asked the
guard to deliver a message to my Lord d'Hymbercourt and offered a large
reward for the service. I begged him to say to Hymbercourt that his
friends of The Mitre had been arrested and were now in prison. The
guard willingly promised to deliver my message, but he did not keep his
word, though I repeated my request many times and promised him any
reward he might name when I should regain my liberty. With each visit he
repeated his promise, but one day he laughed and said I was wasting
words; that he would never see the reward and that in all probability I
should never again see the light of day. His ominous words almost
prostrated me, though again I say I suffered chiefly for Max's sake.
Could I have gained his liberty at the cost of my life, nay, even my
soul, I should have been glad to do it.

But I will not further describe the tortures of my imprisonment. The
greatest of them all was my ignorance of Max's fate. It was a frightful
ordeal, and I wonder that my reason survived it.



CHAPTER X

THE HOUSE UNDER THE WALL

To leave Max and myself in our underground dungeon, imprisoned for an
unknown, uncommitted crime, while I narrate occurrences outside our
prison walls looks like a romancer's trick, but how else I am to go
about telling this history I do not know. Yolanda is quite as important
a personage in this narrative as Max and myself, and I must tell of her
troubles as I learned of them long afterwards.

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."

"I also want - " began Twonette.

"You shall wear the duke's own color, purple, if you will hold your
tongue about worthless matters and tell your father what I want," cried
Yolanda, impetuously thrusting Twonette toward Castleman.

"You tell him your own wants," answered Twonette, pouting. "Then perhaps
his own daughter may have his ear for a moment or two."

Yolanda laughed at Twonette's display of ill-temper.

"Well, uncle, since I must tell my own tale, I will begin," said
Yolanda, blushing. "I want you to go to The Mitre and ask a friend - two
friends - of yours here to supper this evening. I have waited a weary
time for you to give this invitation, and I will not wait another hour,
nay, not another minute. We have a fat peacock that longs to be killed;
it is so fat that it is tired of life. We have three pheasants that will
die of grief if they are not baked at once. I myself have been feeding
them this fortnight past in anticipation of this feast. We have a dozen
wrens for a live pie, so tame they will light on our heads when you cut
the crust. We shall have a famous feast, uncle. There will be present
only tante, you, Twonette, our two guests, and myself. Now, uncle, the
wine is consumed. Hurry to the inn."

"My dear child," said Castleman, seriously, "you know that I am almost
powerless to refuse any request you make, but in this case I must
do so."

"Ah, uncle, please tell me why," coaxed Yolanda, with trouble in her
eyes and grief at the corners of her mouth.

"Because you must see no more of this very pleasing young man," answered
Castleman. "I yielded to your wishes at Basel and brought him with us; I
was compelled to send him with you from Metz; but now that our journey
is over, I shall thank him and pay him an additional sum, since my goods
are safe home, and say farewell to him. I believe he is a worthy and
honorable young man, but we do not know who he is, and if we did - "

"Ah, but _I_ know who he is," interrupted Yolanda, tossing her head.
"_We_ may not know, but _I_ know, and that is sufficient."

"Do you know?" asked Castleman. "Pray tell me of him. The information
was refused me; at least, it was not given. He is probably of noble
birth, but we have nobles here in Peronne whom we would not ask to our
house. We know nothing of this wandering young Max, save that he is
honest and brave and good to look upon."

"In God's name, uncle, what more would you ask in a man?" cried Yolanda,
stamping her foot. "'Noble, honest, brave, and good to look upon!' Will
not those qualities fit a man for any one's regard and delight any
woman's heart? I tell you I will have my way in this. I tell you I know
his degree. I know who he is and what he is and all about him, though I
don't intend to tell you anything, and would inform you now that it's no
business of yours."

"Did you coax all this information out of him, you little witch?" asked
Castleman, smiling against his will.

"I did not," retorted Yolanda, leaning forward and lifting her chin
defiantly. "I learned it soon after we reached Basel. I discovered it
by - by magic - by sorcery. He will tell you as much."

"By the magic of your eyes and smiles. That's the way you wheedled it
out of him, and that's the way you coax every one to your will," said
Castleman, laughing while Yolanda pouted.

"I never saw a girl make such eyes at a man as you made at this Sir
Max," said Twonette, who was waiting for her blue velvet gown.

"Twonette, you are prettier with your mouth shut. Silence becomes you,"
retorted Yolanda, favoring Twonette with a view of her back. "Now,
uncle," continued Yolanda, "all is ready: peacock, pheasants, wrens; and
I command you to procure the guests."

Castleman laughed at her imperious ways and said: -

"I will obey your commands in all else, Yolanda, but not in this."

The girl, who was more excited than she appeared to be, stood for a
moment by her uncle's side, and, drawing her kerchief from its pouch,
placed it to her eyes.

"Every one tries to make me unhappy," she sobbed. "There is no one to
whom I may turn for kindness. If you will not do this for me, uncle, if
you will not bring him - them - to me, I give you my sacred word I will go
to them at the inn. If you force me to do an act so unmaidenly, I'll
leave you and will not return to your house. I shall know that you do
not love me!"

Castleman was not ready to yield, though he was sure that in the end he
would do so. He also knew that her threat to go to the inn was by no
means an idle word.

Yolanda was not given to tears, but she used them when she found she
could accomplish her ends by no other means. A long pause ensued, broken
by Yolanda's sobs.

"Good-by, uncle. Good-by, tante. Good-by, Twonette. I mean what I say,
uncle. I am going, and I shall not come back if you will not do this
thing for me. I am going to the inn."

She kissed them all and started toward the door. The loving old tante
could not hold out. She, too, was weeping, and she added her
supplications to Yolanda's.

"Do what she asks, father - only this once," said Frau Kate.

"Only this once," pleaded Yolanda, turning her tear-moistened eyes upon
the helpless burgher.

"I suppose I must surrender," exclaimed Castleman, rising from his
chair. "I have been surrendering to you, your aunt, and Twonette all my
life. First Kate, then Twonette, and of late years they have been
reënforced by you, Yolanda, and my day is lost. I do a little useless
fighting when I know I am in the right, but it is always followed by a
cowardly surrender."

"But think of your victories in surrender, uncle. Think of your
rewards," cried Yolanda, running to his side and kissing him. "Many a
man would fight a score of dragons for that kiss."

"Dragons!" cried Castleman, protestingly. "I would rather fight a
hundred dragons than do this thing for you, Yolanda. I know little
concerning the ways of a girl's heart, but, ignorant as I am, I could
see - Mother, I never saw a girl so infatuated with a man as our Yolanda
is with this Sir Max - this stranger."

"There, tante," cried Yolanda, turning triumphantly to Frau Kate, "you
hear what uncle says. Now you see the great reason for having him
here - this Sir Max and his friend. But, uncle, if you think I mean to
make a fool of myself about this man, put the notion out of your head. I
know only too well the barrier between us, but, uncle mine," she
continued pleadingly, all her wonted joyousness driven from her face, "I
am so wretched, so unhappy. If I may have a moment of joy now, for the
love of the Blessed Virgin don't deny me. I sometimes think you love me
chiefly because I so truly deserve your pity. As for this young man, he
is gentle, strong, and good, and, as you say, he certainly is good to
look upon. Twonette knows that, don't you, Twonette? He is wise, too,
and brave, even against the impulse of his own great heart. He thinks
only of my good and his own duties. I am in no danger from him, uncle.
He can do me only good. I shall be happier and better all my life long
for having known him. Now, uncle?"

"I will fetch him," exclaimed Castleman, seeking his hat. "You may be
right or you may be wrong, but for persuasiveness I never saw your like.
I declare, Yolanda, you have almost made me feel like a villain for
refusing you."

"I wish the world were filled with such villains, uncle. Don't you,
tante?" said Yolanda, beaming upon the burgher.

"No," answered the frau, "I should want them all for my husbands."

"God forbid!" cried Yolanda, lifting her hands as she turned toward the
door, laughing once more. "Tell them to be here by six o'clock, uncle.
No! we will say five. Tell them to come on the stroke of five. No! four
o'clock is better; then we will sup at six, and have an hour or two
before we eat. That's it, uncle; have them here by four. Tell them to
fail not by so much as a minute, upon their allegiance. Tell them to be
here promptly on the stroke of four."

She ran from the room singing, and Castleman started toward the front
door.

"The girl makes a fool of me whenever she wishes," he observed, pausing
and turning toward his wife. "She coaxed me to take her to Basel, and
life was a burden till I got her home again. Now she winds me around her
finger and says, 'Uncle Castleman, obey me,' and I obey. Truly, there
never was in all the world such another coaxing, persuasive little witch
as our Yolanda."

"Poor child," said Frau Kate, as her husband passed out of the door.

Castleman reached The Mitre near the hour of one, and of course did not
find us. At half-past four, Yolanda entered the great oak room where
Twonette and Frau Kate were stitching tapestry.

"Where suppose you Sir Max is - and Sir Karl?" asked Yolanda, with a
touch of anger in her voice. "Why has he not come? I have been watching
but have not seen him - them. He places little value on our invitation
to slight it by half an hour. I am of half a mind not to see him when
he comes."

"Your uncle is downstairs under the arbor, Yolanda," said Frau
Castleman, gently. "He will tell you, sweet one, why Sir Max is
not here."

Frau Katherine and Twonette put aside their tapestry, and went with
Yolanda to question Castleman in the arbor.

"Well, uncle, where are our guests?" asked Yolanda.

"They are not at the inn, and have not been there since nearly a
fortnight ago," answered Castleman.

"Gone!" cried Yolanda, aflame with sudden anger. "He gave me his word he
would not go. I'm glad he's gone, and I hope I may never see his face
again. I deemed his word inviolate, and now he has broken it."

"Do not judge Sir Max too harshly," said Castleman; "you may wrong him.
I do not at all understand the absence of our friends. Grote tells me
they went to the river one night to bathe and did not return. Their
horses and arms are at the inn. Their squires, who had left them two
hours before, have not been seen since. Grote has heard nothing of our
friends that will throw light on their whereabouts. Fearing to get
himself into trouble, he has stupidly held his tongue. He was not
inclined to speak plainly even to me."

"Blessed Mother, forgive me!" cried Yolanda, sinking back upon a
settle. After a long silence she continued: "Two weeks ago! That was a
few days after the trouble at the bridge."

"What trouble?" asked Castleman.

"I'll tell you, uncle, and you, tante. Twonette already knows of it,"
answered Yolanda. "Less than three weeks ago I was with Sir Max near the
moat bridge. It was dark - after night - "

"Yolanda!" exclaimed Castleman, reproachfully.

"Yes, uncle, I know I ought not to have been there, but I was," said
Yolanda.

"Alone with Sir Max after dark?" asked the astonished burgher.

"Yes, alone with him, after it was _very_ dark," answered Yolanda. "I
had met him several times before."

Castleman tried to speak, but Yolanda interrupted him: -

"Uncle, I know and admit the truth of all you would say, so don't say
it. While I was standing very near to Sir Max, uncle, very near, Count
Calli came upon us and offered me gross insult. Sir Max, being unarmed,
knocked the fellow down, and in the struggle that ensued Count Calli's
arm was broken. I heard the bone snap, then Calli, swearing vengeance,
left us. Why Sir Max went out unarmed that night I do not know. Had he
been armed he might have killed Calli; that would have prevented
this trouble."

"I, too, wonder that Sir Max went out unarmed," said Castleman musingly.
"Why do you suppose he was so incautious?"

"Perhaps that is the custom in Styria. There may be less danger, less
treachery, there than in Burgundy," suggested Yolanda.

"In Styria!" exclaimed Castleman. "Sir Karl said that he was from Italy.
He did not tell me of Sir Max's home, but I supposed he also was from
Italy, or perhaps from Würtemberg - there are many Guelphs in
that country."

"Yes, I will tell you of that later, uncle," said Yolanda. "When Calli
left us, Sir Max returned safely to the inn, having promised me not to
leave Peronne within a month. This trouble has come from Calli and
Campo-Basso."

"But you say this young man is from Styria?" asked Castleman, anxiously.

"Yes," replied Yolanda, drooping her head, "he is Maximilian, Count of
Hapsburg."

"Great God!" exclaimed Castleman, starting to his feet excitedly. "If I
have brought these men here to be murdered, I shall die of grief; all
Europe will turn upon Burgundy."

Yolanda buried her face in Mother Kate's breast; Castleman walked to and
fro, and sympathetic Twonette wept gently. It was not in Twonette's
nature to do anything violently. Yolanda, on the contrary, was intense
in all her joys and griefs.

"Did Sir Max tell you who he is?" asked Castleman, stopping in front of
Yolanda.

"No," she replied, "I will tell you some day how I guessed it. He does
not know that I know, and I would not have you tell him."

"Tell me, Yolanda," demanded Castleman, "what has passed between you and
this Sir Max?"

"Nothing, uncle, save that I know - ah, uncle, there is nothing. God pity
me, there can be nothing. Whatever his great, true heart feels may be
known to me as surely as if he had spoken a thousand vows, but he would
not of his own accord so much as touch my hand or speak his love. He
knows that one in his station may not mate with a burgher girl. He
treats me as a true knight should treat a woman, and if he feels pain
because of the gulf between us, he would not bring a like pain to me. He
is a strong, noble man, Uncle Castleman, and we must save him."

"If I knew where to begin, I would try at once," said Castleman, "but I
do not know, and I cannot think of - "

"I have a plan," interrupted Yolanda, "that will set the matter going.
Consult my Lord d'Hymbercourt; he is a friend of Sir Karl's; he may help
us. Tell him of the trouble at the bridge, but say that Twonette, not
I, was there. If Lord d'Hymbercourt cannot help us, I'll try another way
if I die for it."

Castleman found Hymbercourt and told him the whole story, substituting
Twonette for Yolanda.

"It is the work of that accursed Basso," said Hymbercourt, stroking his
beard. "No villany is too black for him and his minions to do."

"But what have they done?" asked Castleman. "They surely would not
murder these men because of the quarrel at the bridge."

"They would do murder for half that cause," replied Hymbercourt. "A
brave man hates an assassin, and I am always wondering why the duke, who
is so bold and courageous, keeps this band of Italian cut-throats at
his court."

"What can we do to rescue our friends if they still live, or to avenge
them if dead?" asked Castleman.

"I do not know," answered Hymbercourt. "Let me think it all over, and I
will see you at your house to-night. Of this I am certain: you must not
move in the matter. If you are known to be interested, certain facts may
leak out that would ruin you and perhaps bring trouble to one who
already bears a burden too heavy for young shoulders. We know but one
useful fact: Calli and Campo-Basso are at the bottom of this evil. The
duke suspects that the states adjacent to Switzerland, including Styria,
will give aid to the Swiss in this war with Burgundy, and it may be
that Duke Charles has reasons for the arrest of our friends. He may have
learned that Sir Max is the Count of Hapsburg. I hope his finger is not
in the affair. I will learn what I can, and will see you to-night. Till
then, adieu."

True to his promise, Hymbercourt went to Castleman's that evening, but
he had learned nothing and had thought out no plan of action. Two days
passed and there was another consultation. Still the mystery was as far
from solution as on the day of its birth. Yolanda was in tribulation,
and declared that she would take the matter into her own hands. Her
uncle dissuaded her, however, and she reluctantly agreed to remain
silent for a day or two longer, but she vowed that she would give tongue
to her thoughts and arouse all Burgundy in behalf of Max and myself if
we were not soon discovered.



CHAPTER XI

PERONNE LA PUCELLE

The next morning Duke Charles went down to the great hall of the castle
to hear reports from his officers relating to the war that he was about
to wage against the Swiss. When the duke ascended the three steps of the
dais to the ducal throne, he spoke to Campo-Basso who stood upon the
first step at the duke's right.

"What news, my Lord Count?" asked Charles. "I'm told there is a
messenger from Ghent."

"Ill news, my lord," answered Campo-Basso.

"Out with it!" cried the duke. "One should always swallow a bitter
draught quickly."

"We hear the Swiss are gathering their cantons in great numbers," said
Campo-Basso.

"Let the sheep gather," said Charles, waving his hands. "The more they
gather to the fold, the more we'll shear." He laughed as if pleased with
the prospect, and continued, "Proceed, my Lord Count."

"The Duke of Lorraine is again trying to muster his subjects against
Your Grace, and sends a polite message asking and offering terms of
agreement. Shall I read the missive, my lord?"

"No!" cried the duke, "Curse his soft words. There is no bad news yet.
Proceed."

"It is rumored, Your Grace," continued the count, "that Frederick, Duke
of Styria, is preparing to aid the Swiss against Your Grace."

"With his advice?" asked the duke. "The old pauper has nothing else to
give, unless it be the bones of his ancestors."

"It is said, Your Highness, that Würtemberg will also aid the Swiss, and
that Duke Albert will try to bring about a coalition of the German
states for the purpose of assisting the Swiss, aiding Lorraine, and
overthrowing Burgundy. This purpose, our informant tells us, has been
fostered by this same Duke Frederick of Styria."

"This news, I suppose, is intended for our ears by the Duke of Styria.
He probably wishes us to know that he is against us," said Charles. "He
wanted our daughter for his clown of a son, and our contempt for his
claims rankles in his heart. He cannot inflame Würtemberg, and
Würtemberg cannot influence the other German princes."

The duke paused, and Campo-Basso proceeded: -

"The citizens of Ghent, my lord, petition Your Grace for the restoration
of certain communal rights, and beg for the abolition of the hearth tax
and the salt levy. They also desire the right to elect their own
burgomaster and - "

"Give me the petition," demanded the duke. Campo-Basso handed the


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