The young man sat for a long while where St. Aulaire had left him, pondering upon this strange meeting and the mysterious hints and threats thrown out. He could make nothing of them, but it was clear that some danger menaced those he loved in France, and he felt only too well assured that St. Aulaire would stop at nothing. Indeed, it did not need a personal and malignant enemy to bring terror and death to any in Paris, as he knew. Terror and death were in the air. The last despatches from the capital had told of almost inconceivable horrors being there perpetrated. “Aristocrats in Paris must keep quiet or the aristocrats will hang,” Mr. Morris had said to him tersely one evening just before leaving.
Suddenly an overwhelming desire to go to France, to be near Adrienne, to avert, if humanly possible, this unknown, but, as he felt, no less real danger, took possession of him. All the tenderness for her, which he had hoped and believed was dying within him, revived at the thought of the peril she was in. For himself he felt there could be no danger, and it was possible that his standing as an American and his close connection with the American Minister might be of service to her. But whatever the consequences to himself—and he thought with far more dread of the revival of his love, which the sight and near presence of her would surely bring, than of any physical danger to himself—he felt it to be unendurable to be so near her and yet not to be near enough to render her aid if danger threatened. He thought of d’Azay and Beaufort and Lafayette, of Mr. Morris, re-established there, and of all those great and terrible events taking place, and he suddenly found himself a thousand times more anxious to get back to Paris than he had ever been to leave it, and wondered how he could have stayed away so long. He sat alone in the little anteroom thinking of these things until almost the last of the guests had gone, and then, bidding the Ambassador and Ambassadress good-night, he, too, left, walking to his lodgings, thinking the while of his return to Paris and the Legation, where he felt assured he would receive a warm welcome from Mr. Morris.
MR. CALVERT FIGHTS A DUEL
The welcome which Mr. Calvert received at the Legation was even more cordial than he had dared to hope for, Mr. Morris being surprised and delighted beyond measure by the young man’s sudden arrival. As for Calvert, the sight of his old friend and the cheerful, sumptuous air of the new Legation, where Mr. Morris was but just established, were inexpressibly pleasant.
“I think you have a talent for making yourself comfortable even in the midst of horrors,” he said, looking about the brilliantly lit drawing-room, for Mr. Morris was expecting a large company to supper. “In these rooms I can scarcely believe I have been for days travelling through a country strangely and terribly changed since I last saw it—so desolate and soldier-ridden and suspicious that I am truly glad to get within these walls. And to-night, when my passport had been examined for the hundredth time since leaving Havre and we had passed the city barrier, I thought the very look and sound of these streets of Paris had changed utterly in the last two years.”