Calvert of Strathore eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Calvert of Strathore.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini,” he sang over and over again.  Calvert could not see the singer, but the young voice floated downward, reminding him of his own boyish voice.  He closed his eyes and bowed his head against the cold stone.  When he could stand it no longer, he went softly down the echoing aisle of the church, out through the great doors, into the yellow sunshine of the deserted little street.  There were some linden-trees planted in a hollow square before the parvis of the Cathedral, and stone benches set beneath them.  Upon one of these he sank down, as if physically weary.  Perhaps he was—­at any rate, a sudden, sick disgust for everything, for the melancholy afternoon sunshine and the yellowing grass and blighted flowers, took possession of him.  The wind, rising, made a dreary sound among the stiffening leaves.  One fluttered downward and lay upon the bench beside him.  He noted with surprise the sudden chill, the first touch of coming winter.  But that morning it had seemed like spring to him.

He looked up at the great front of the Cathedral, unchanging through so many changing years, and, as he looked, he thought how small and ephemeral a thing he was and his love and grief.  The two great spires towering upward seemed to his sick fancy like two uplifted hands drawing benediction down on the weary, grief-stricken world, and before their awful patience and supplication something of his own impatience and bitterness passed from him and, comforted, he left the spot and made his way along the deserted quay and so back to the little inn where Mr. Jefferson awaited him.

CHAPTER XV

CHRISTMAS EVE

Had it not been for Mr. Morris’s sudden return from London, Calvert would have felt alone, indeed, in Paris.  Having received certain intelligence concerning the plan for the purchase of the American debt to France, Mr. Morris set off hastily for France and arrived there several days before Mr. Jefferson’s departure for Havre.  This absence, as all thought, was to be but temporary, but, when Mr. Jefferson left Paris on that morning of the 26th of September, it was never to return.  He left his affairs in the hands of Calvert and Mr. Short, and, as for the former, he was only too happy to plunge into work and so forget, if possible, his own unhappiness.  Mr. Morris easily divined it, however, and its cause, and tried, in his cynical, kindly fashion, to divert the young man.  He made it a point to see Calvert frequently, and, indeed, it was not only out of kindness of heart that he did so, but because he had the greatest liking for the young gentleman and enjoyed his society above that of most of his acquaintances.  It was easy enough for the two to see much of each other, for although the approach of winter brought a slight return of gayety, Paris was dreary and deserted enough.  That first wave of fear which had seized upon the

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Calvert of Strathore from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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