service of masters who are talked about in the newspapers. Every week Monsieur gave a grand dinner, followed by a grand reception, which were attended by celebrities of all sorts, academicians, reactionary senators, Catholic deputies, recalcitrant priests, intriguing monks, and archbishops. There was one especially to whom they paid especial attention, a very old Assumptionist, Father something or other, a sanctimonious and venomous man, who was always saying spiteful things with a contrite and pious air. And everywhere, in every room, there were portraits of the pope. Ah! he must have seen some tall things in that house, the Holy Father.
For my part, Monsieur was not to my liking. He did too many things, he loved too many people. And yet nobody knew half the things that he did and half the people that he loved. Surely he was a sly old dog.
On the day after my arrival, as I was helping him to put on his overcoat in the ante-chamber, he asked me:
"Do you belong to my society, — the Society of the Servants of Jesus?"
"You must join it. It is indispensable. I am going to enter your name."
"Thank you. Monsieur. May I ask Monsieur what this society is?"