Page:Yule Logs.djvu/283

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267
THE KING OF SPAIN'S WILL

believe our eyes. There was no coach, nor heavily-laden mules to bear him and his followers and belongings. He was on foot; so, too, were his attendants. He, a cardinal; the arbiter of Spain, while ostensibly only the political agent of the Duke of Parma; a prince of the Church; a man who had intrigued for, and almost secured, one of the greatest prizes of that Church, the primacy of the land from which he had now been expelled—on foot! so that, if he had not had on his head his cardinal's hat—which he doubtless wore in his arrogance none—would have deemed him the great man he was, even in his downfall. All doffed their own hats as he came near us, Marcieu doing so as respectfully as any, while, as we removed ours, I saw him steal a glance at her whom we had known as Damaris. Such a glance, such a sly, cunning one! Then, as she sprang forward to take his hand, meaning, I think, to kiss it, he prevented her from doing so by, instead, raising that hand above her head and muttering, as I supposed, a blessing. But now, even as he looked somewhat wonderingly at the still burning house, he turned to Marcieu and said—

"You are the man, I imagine, and those your troopers, whom Philippe the Regent has sent to intercept me. Ha! you are surprised that I know this," he went on, seeing the start that Marcieu gave when he heard those words. "Are you not? If you should ever know Alberoni better, you will learn that he is a match for most court spies in Europe."

Now the chevalier did seem so utterly taken aback at this (which caused Pontgibaud to give me a quaint look of satisfaction out of the tail of his eye—for every one of us hated that man mortally) that he could do nothing but bow, uttering no sound. Whereon the Cardinal proceeded:

"Well! What do you expect to do with me? Your comrades of Spain—the knaves and brigands whom the