Amid the enthusiastic applause which followed, Lafayette was seen to rise and lift his hand for silence.
“Since the first day we set foot upon this great country,” he said, “we have received naught but kindness, aid, honors. How shall we thank you for that in a few words? We cannot, but we can make you a promise for our King, our country, and ourselves. ’Tis this. Mr. Jefferson shall find a welcome and a home in France such as we have found here, an admiration, a respect, a love such as we cannot command. And should Mr. Calvert come also, he shall be as a brother to us! I drink to our happy reunion in France!”
“So you will come to France, too, Ned,” cried d’Azay to Calvert. “I shall claim you as my guest and take you down to our chateau of Azay-le-Roi and show you to my sister Adrienne as a great American savage!”
“You will be blessed if she looks at you out of mere curiosity if for naught else,” murmured Beaufort at Calvert’s ear, “for she is the prettiest little nun in all France. Show Calvert thy locket, Henri.”
Somewhat reluctantly d’Azay pulled forth a small ivory miniature in a gold case, and holding it well within the hollow of his hand, so that others might not see, he laid it before Calvert.
“Is she not a beauty?” demanded Beaufort, eagerly. “More beautiful, I think, than the lovely Miss Shippen of Philadelphia, or Miss Bingham, or any of your famous beauties, Calvert.”
It was indeed a beautiful face that Calvert gazed upon, a slender, oval face with violet eyes, shadowed by long, thick lashes; a straight nose with slightly distended nostrils, which, with the curling lips, gave a look of haughtiness to the countenance in spite of its youthfulness. A cloud of dusky hair framed the face, which, altogether, was still extremely immature and (as Calvert thought) capable of developing into noble loveliness or hardening into unpleasing though striking beauty.
Beaufort still hung over Calvert’s shoulder. “She is ’The Lass with the Delicate Air’ whom you but just now sang of, Calvert,” he said, laughing softly. “I wonder who will ever be lucky enough to find a way to win this maid!”
As Calvert stood gazing in silent admiration at the miniature and but half-listening to Beaufort’s wild talk, Mr. Jefferson suddenly rose in his place.
“One more toast,” he said, in a loud voice—“a toast without which we cannot disperse. Ned, I call on you, who are his young favorite, for a toast to General Washington!”
There was a burst of applause at the name, and then Calvert rose. He was a gallant young figure as he stood there, his wine-glass uplifted and a serious expression on his boyish face.
“To the one,” he cried, after an instant’s hesitation, “whom we hold in our hearts to be the bravest of soldiers, the purest of patriots, and the wisest of men—General Washington!”