The Refugees
have been struck down in the fight with Satan!"
    It was strange to De Catinat, who knew well the sordid and dreadful existence led by these same sisters, threatened ever with misery, hunger, and the scalping-knife, to hear this lady at whose feet lay all the good things of this earth speaking enviously of their lot.
    "They are very good women," said he shortly, remembering Mademoiselle
    Nanon's warning, and fearing to trench upon the dangerous subject.
    "And doubtless you have had the privilege also of seeing the holy Bishop
    Laval?"
    "Yes, madame, I have seen Bishop Laval."
    Â "And I trust that the Sulpitians still hold their own against the
    Jesuits?"
    "I have heard, madame, that the Jesuits are the stronger at Quebec, and the others at Montreal."
    "And who is your own director, monsieur?"
    De Catinat felt that the worst had come upon him. "I have none, madame."
    "Ah, it is too common to dispense with a director, and yet I know not how I could guide my steps in the difficult path which I tread if it were not for mine. Who is your confessor, then?"
    "I have none. I am of the Reformed Church, madame."
    The lady gave a gesture of horror, and a sudden hardening showed itself in mouth and eye. "What, in the court itself," she cried, "and in the neighbourhood of the king's own person!"
    De Catinat was lax enough in matters of faith, and held his creed rather as a family tradition than from any strong conviction, but it hurt his self-esteem to see himself regarded as though he had confessed to something that was loathsome and unclean. "You will find, madame," said he sternly, "that members of my faith have not only stood around the throne of France, but have even seated themselves upon it."
    "God has for His own all-wise purposes permitted it, and none should know it better than I, whose grandsire, Theodore d'Aubigny, did so much to place a crown upon the head of the great Henry. But Henry's eyes were opened ere his end came, and I pray - oh, from my heart I pray - that yours may be also."
    She rose, and throwing herself down upon the prie-dieu sunk her face in her hands for some few minutes, during which the object of her devotions stood in some perplexity in the middle of the room, hardly knowing whether such an attention should be regarded as an insult or as a favour. A tap at the door brought the lady back to this world again, and her devoted attendant answered her summons to enter.
    "The king is in the Hall of Victories, madame," said she. "He will be here in five minutes."
    "Very well. Stand outside, and let me know when he comes. Now, sir," she continued, when they were alone once more, "you gave a note of mine to the king this morning?"
    "I did, madame."
    "And, as I understand, Madame de Montespan was refused admittance to the grand lever?"
    "She was, madame."
    "But she waited for the king in the passage?"
    "She did."
    "And wrung from him a promise that he would see her to-day?"
    "Yes, madame."
    "I would not have you tell me that which it may seem to you a breach of your duty to tell. But I am fighting now against a terrible foe, and for a great stake. Do you understand me?"
    De Catinat bowed.
    "Then what do I mean?"
    "I presume that what madame means is that she is fighting for the king's favour with the lady you mentioned."
    "As heaven is my judge, I have no thought of myself. I am fighting with the devil for the king's soul."
    "'Tis the same thing, madame."
    The lady smiled. "If the king's body were in peril, I could call on the aid of his faithful guards, and not less so now, surely, when so much more is at stake. Tell me, then, at what hour was the king to meet the marquise in her room?"
    "At four, madame."
    "I thank you. You have done me a service, and I shall not forget it."
    "The king comes, madame," said Mademoiselle Nanon, again protruding her head.
    "Then you must go, captain. Pass through the other room, and so into
    the outer passage. And take this. It is Bossuet's statement of the
    Catholic faith. It has

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