The company listened in silence with the intensest interest to this animated conversation, the women following with as close attention as the men (the Duchess nodding her approval of Mr. Morris’s opinions from time to time), and ’twas but a sample of the almost incredibly frank political discussion taking place daily in all the notable salons of Paris. As for Calvert, although he loved and honored Mr. Jefferson before all men and held him as all but infallible, he could not but agree with Mr. Morris’s views as being the soundest and most practical. Indeed, from that day Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Morris differed more and more widely in their political faiths, but the nobility of Mr. Jefferson’s nature, the admirable tact of Mr. Morris, and, as much as anything, the common affection they felt for Calvert, who would have been inexpressibly pained by any breach between them, kept them upon friendly terms.
Mr. Morris, conscious that he had spoken impetuously and perhaps with too much warmth, made no reply to Monsieur de Lafayette’s last words, spoken with some animus, and in a few minutes made his way to Calvert.
“Come away, my boy,” he said, in a low tone. “Come away! Lafayette, who can still believe that mighty changes will take place in this kingdom without a revolution, does not even know of this day’s fearful business in the rue St. Antoine. I had it from Boursac, who arrived at the Club two hours ago with both windows of his carriage broken, the panels splintered, and his coachman with a bloody cheek. He had tried to pass through the faubourg, where two hundred of the rabble have been killed by Besenval’s Swiss Guards at the house of a paper merchant, Reveillon. The villains have broke into his factory, demolished everything, drunk his wines, and, accidentally, some poisonous acid used in his laboratory, of which they have died a horrible death, and all because the unfortunate merchant dared in the electoral assembly of Ste. Marguerite to advocate reducing the wages of his men. I ordered my coachman to drive by the faubourg, hoping to see for myself if the affair had not been greatly exaggerated, but I was turned back by some troops proceeding thither with two small cannon. ’Twas this which detained me. Boursac says ’tis known for certain that the whole affair has been instigated by the Duc d’Orleans. He passed in his coach among the rioters, urging them on in their villany, and ’tis even said by some that he was seen giving money to the mob. And this is the man whom the King hesitates to banish! Perhaps, after all, boy, I did wrong to counsel Lafayette and d’Azay to stand by a King who is weakness itself and who knows not how to defend himself or his throne!”
It was just a week after Mr. Calvert’s visit to the hotel d’Azay and the affair of the rue St. Antoine, that the day arrived for the consummation of that great event toward which all France, nay, all Europe, had been looking for months past.