“Tis a doomed city, I think, and we are better away,” said Mr. Morris, leaning on the stone parapet of the bridge and looking far out over the river and at the silent ranks of houses lining its shore. A great bell from some tower on the left boomed out two strokes. “Two o’clock! ’Tis Christmas morning, and we had best be getting back, Ned.” Together they walked under the keen, frosty stars as far as the rue St. Honore, and then, with best Christmas wishes, they parted, Mr. Morris going to the rue Richelieu, and Calvert back to the Legation.
MR. CALVERT TRIES TO FORGET
It was with the gloomiest forebodings and the doubt whether he should ever see them under happier circumstances, or, indeed, at all, that Mr. Calvert bade farewell to a few friends on the eve of his departure for England. Although he had the greatest power of making devoted friends, yet he was intimate with but very few persons, and so, while Mr. Morris was making a score of farewell visits and engaging to fill a dozen commissions for the Parisian ladies in London, Calvert was saying good-by very quietly to but three or four friends. D’Azay he saw at the Club, and it was not without great anxiety that he parted from him. Calvert had noticed his friend’s extreme republicanism and his alliance with Lafayette with grave apprehension, and it was with the keenest uncertainty as to the future that he said good-by to the young nobleman. He was spared the embarrassment of bidding Madame de St. Andre farewell, for, when he called at the hotel in the rue St. Honore to pay his respects to Madame d’Azay, as he felt in duty bound to do, he was told by the lackey that both ladies were out.
Mr. Morris, having obtained information that the banking house in Amsterdam, upon which he was relying for backing in the purchase of the American debt, had opened a loan on account of Congress and had withdrawn from their engagements with him, determined to proceed to England by way of Holland, that he might have personal interviews with the directors relative to the affair. Accordingly, he and Mr. Calvert set out for Amsterdam on the morning of the 17th of February, travelling in a large berline and taking but one servant—Mr. Morris’s—with them. ’Twas with much reluctance that Calvert had left Bertrand behind, for the fellow was as devotedly attached to him as a slave, and was never so happy as when doing some service for the young man.
“I am afraid he will go back to his wild companions and become the enrage that he was,” said Calvert to Mr. Morris, “and I have given him much good advice, which I dare say he will not follow, however. But my plans are so uncertain that there is no knowing when he would see France again.”
They travelled by way of Flanders, stopping a day and night in Brussels, and thence to Malines and Antwerp, where they saw the famous “Descent from the Cross,” which Mr. Calvert thought the greatest and most terrible painting he had ever seen. At Amsterdam they were received into the highest society of the place, and were most hospitably entertained; but the state of the whole country was so unsettled that Mr. Morris deemed it most prudent not to press the financial engagements which he had expected to make, and, accordingly, they set out for England.