Mr. Jefferson looked at the young figure, with its unusual air of sadness, bending over the firelight. Rising, he went over to him and laid his hand on the young man’s shoulder.
“There can be no question of thanks between us, Ned,” he said at length, simply. “I love you as though you were my son, and it is the greatest pleasure to have you with me.” And, indeed, it seemed so and as if he could not do enough for his young secretary. And that night, when the quiet dinner was over and they were ready to retire, he himself lighted Calvert to his bed-chamber and left him with such an affectionate good-night that the young man felt happier and more at home in that strange house in Paris than though he had been at Strathore itself, with no three thousand miles of vexed ocean between himself and Virginia.
MR. CALVERT MEETS OLD AND NEW FRIENDS
The day after Calvert’s arrival was a long and busy one for him. He was closeted from morning until night with Mr. Jefferson, who explained to him the many private affairs awaiting transaction, as well as much of the important official business of the Legation. It was also necessary that he should be thoroughly au courant with the political outlook of the times and the entire state of European affairs, and in those shifting, troublesome days it was no easy matter to thoroughly understand the drift of events. Russia was the cynosure of all eyes at that moment, and on her throne sat the most ambitious, the most daring, the most brilliant, and the most successful queen the world has ever seen. Catharine’s designs upon Turkey, in which she was abetted by Austria’s Emperor, Joseph, threatened to disrupt Europe and caused Chatham’s son to look with anxious eyes toward the East, while strengthening his hold in Holland. Poland, desperate, and struggling vainly to keep her place among European nations, was but a plaything in the hands of the Empress, aided by Prussia, who realized only too well that her own prosperity demanded the destruction of the weaker state. In the North, Gustavus ruled in isolated splendor, now lending his aid to some one of the warring continental powers, now arraying himself against the combatants to preserve some semblance of a balance of power.