As he spoke the last words, Mr. Jefferson drew aside a heavy curtain which had hung across the wall behind his chair, and as the velvet fell apart a replica of the famous portrait of General Washington, which Mr. Stuart had but lately painted for the Marquis of Lansdowne, was revealed to the surprised and delighted guests. Amid a burst of patriotic enthusiasm everyone arose and, with glass upheld, saluted the great Hero, and then—and for the last time for many years—the Sage of Monticello.
AT THE PALAIS ROYAL
It was in pursuance of his favorite plan to make Calvert his secretary, should he be appointed Minister to the court of Louis XVI., that Mr. Jefferson wrote to the young man four years later, inviting him to come to France. This invitation was eagerly accepted, and it was thus that Mr. Calvert found himself in company with Beaufort at the American Legation in Paris on that February evening in the year 1789.
When the great doors of the Legation had shut upon the two young men, they found themselves under the marquise where Beaufort’s sleigh—a very elaborate and fantastic affair—awaited them. Covering themselves with the warm furs, they set off at a furious pace down the Champs Elysees to the Place Louis XV. It was both surprising and alarming to Calvert to note with what reckless rapidity Beaufort drove through the crowded boulevard, where pedestrians mingled perforce with carriages, sleighs, and chairs, there being no foot pavements, and with what smiling indifference he watched their efforts to get out of his horses’ way.
“’Tis insufferable, my dear Calvert,” he said, when his progress was stopped entirely by a crowd of people, who poured out of a small street abutting upon the boulevard, “’tis insufferable that this rabble cannot make way for a gentleman’s carriage.”
“I should think the rabble would find it insufferable that a gentleman’s carriage should be driven so recklessly in this crowded thoroughfare, my dear Beaufort,” returned Calvert, quietly, looking intently at that same rabble as it edged and shuffled and slipped its way along into the great street. At Calvert’s remark, the young Frenchman shrugged his shoulders and shook his reins over his impatient horses until the chime of silver bells around their necks rang again. “As usual—in revolt against the powers that be,” he laughed.
Calvert leaned forward. “What is it?” he said. “There seems to be some commotion. They are carrying something.”
’Twas as he had said. In the crowd of poor-looking people was a still closer knot of men, evidently carrying some heavy object.
“Qu’est ce qu’il y a, mon ami?” said Calvert, touching a man on the shoulder who had been pushed close to the sleigh. The man addressed looked around. He was poorly and thinly clothed, with only a ragged muffler knotted about his throat to keep off the stinging cold. From under his great shaggy eyebrows a pair of wild, sunken eyes gleamed ferociously, but there was a smile upon his lips.