“Extraordinary indeed,” said Mr. Jefferson, with a troubled air, as he seated himself. “I shall wait upon Montmorin in the morning and explain how it has happened that the American Legation has been the rendezvous for the political leaders of France. But though this affair has deeply embarrassed me, I would not, for a great deal, have missed hearing the coolness and candor of argument, the logical reasoning and chaste eloquence of the discussion this evening. Would that it had all been employed in a better cause! It seems almost pitiful that these men should be battling for a King who, though meaning well toward the nation, is swayed absolutely by a Queen, proud, disdainful of all restraint, concerned only in the present pleasure, a gambler and intrigante. Dr. Franklin and I have seen her in company with d’Artois and Coigny and the Duchesse de Polignac, than whom there is no more infamous woman in France, gambling and looking on at the wild dances and buffoonery of a guinguette, and, though her incognita was respected, think you the people did not know the Queen? ’Tis to preserve the throne of a woman such as that that Lafayette and d’Azay and Barnave bend all their powerful young energies and talents and may, perhaps, give their young lives!”
“There are those who think differently about Louis and Marie Antoinette, and who consider the Queen the better man of the two,” replied Mr. Morris, dryly. “But ’tis past my patience, the whole thing, and I can scarce trust myself to think of it. By the way, Ned,” he said, suddenly turning to Calvert, “’twas that villain Bertrand, that protege of yours, who was carrying the head of that poor devil, Foulon, on his pike this afternoon. I recognized the fellow instantly, and I think he knew me, too, though he was near crazed with blood and excitement. He handed the bike to a companion and slunk into the crowd when he saw me. Have a care of him, boy. ’Twas the most awful sight my eyes ever rested on! And now, good-night.” At the door he looked back and saw Mr. Jefferson filling his long pipe with fragrant Virginia tobacco and Calvert still sitting beside the table with the troubled look on his thoughtful young face.
A week later, after having bidden good-by to his friends in Versailles and Paris and having obtained a passport from Lafayette at the Hotel de Ville, he set out for London, from which capital he did not return until the middle of September.
MR. CALVERT RIDES DOWN INTO TOURAINE
August was a dreary month in Paris. With the last days of July the heat became intense, and that, with the constant alarms and ever recurring outbreaks, caused such an exodus from the city as soon made Paris a deserted place. Mr. Morris’s departure was followed shortly by that of the old Duchesse d’Azay and Madame de St. Andre, who went down to Azay-le-Roi, so that in Calvert’s estimation the gayest capital