“And indeed they have, Ned,” returned Mr. Morris, earnestly. “Each day sees that difference grow more and more marked, more and more terrible. Anarchy and bloodshed are becoming rampant, all semblance of order is gone. The rest of the diplomatic corps look upon me as a madman to come here at this time and set up a legation. They are asking for their passports—the Spanish Minister withdrew yesterday and Lord Gower is in the devil of a fright,” he says, laughing. “But as for myself, I have no fear and shall uphold the interests and independence of the American Legation to the last gasp. God only knows whether this house will prove a protection, but, in all events, I shall not abandon it, nor my friends here, voluntarily,” he adds, intrepidly. “I could have wished, however, boy, that events had kept you out of France just now. Though I urged you to accompany me, when I returned and realized the awful state of affairs here, I was heartily glad you had not yielded to my wishes.”
“As it happened, though,” said Calvert, “events have brought me,” and in a few words he told Mr. Morris of all that had occurred at the house of Monsieur de la Luzerne, and of the uneasiness he felt at the manner and threats of St. Aulaire.
“He is capable of any villany. We must thresh this matter out to-morrow, Ned. Had I known you were coming I would have had no guests here to-night. We could have had a quiet evening together, and I could have shown you over my new establishment. All this must wait, however, and now you had best go to your room and dress for supper.” But Mr. Calvert, begging to be excused from the company that evening, and saying that he would go out by himself and get a look at this changed Paris, left Mr. Morris to entertain his guests, who were beginning to arrive.
“I would offer you my carriage,” said Mr. Morris, as the young man turned away, “but ’twere best you walked abroad. Carriages are but little the fashion these days—they are being rapidly abolished along with everything else that makes life comfortable in this city.”
Mr. Calvert went out into the dimly lit street that, despite the hour, was full of a restless throng of people, who seemed to be wandering about as aimlessly as himself. Here and there he encountered squads of the National Guard being manoeuvred by their lieutenants, here and there mobs of ragged men, shouting and cursing and bearing torches which rained sparks of fire as they were swung aloft, and once, as he passed the Abbaie St. Germain des Pres, a horrible throng pressed by him, holding high in their midst a head on a dripping pike. He turned away, sick at the sight, and, making his way down by the quays, crossed by the Pont Royal to the other side of the city. He stopped for an instant on the bridge to look down the river, and, as he did so, he recalled that Christmas Eve two years before when he and Mr. Morris had stood on that same spot. Much, very much, had happened