“And your Grace thinks France made of money.”
“Nay; I only think my director-general is made of money, or can make it as he likes.”
And this was ever the end of Law’s reproaches and his expostulations. This, then, was to be the end of his glorious enterprises, thought he, as he sat one morning, staring out of the window when left alone. This sordid love for money for its own sake—this was to be the limit of an ambition which dealt in theories, in men, in nations, and not in livres and louis d’or! Law smiled bitterly. For an instant he was not the confident man of action and of affairs, not the man claiming with assurance the perpetual protection of good fortune. He sat there, alone, feeling nothing but the great human craving for sympathy and trust. A line of carriages swept back across the street at his window, and streams of nobles besought entrance at his door. And the man who had called out all these, the man for whose friendship all Europe clamored—that man sat with aching heart, longing, craving, begging now of fortune only the one thing—a friend!
At last he arose, his face showing lean and haggard. He passed into another room.
“Will,” said he, “I am at a place where I am dizzy and need a hand. You know what hand it means for me. Can you go—will you take her, as you did once before for me, a message? I can not go. I can not venture into her presence. Will you go? Tell her it is the last time! Tell her it is the last!”
THE MIRACLE UNWROUGHT
“You do not know my brother, Lady Catharine.”
Thus spoke Will Law, who had been admitted but a half hour since at the great door of the private hotel where dwelt the Lady Catharine Knollys.
“’Twould seem, then, ’tis by no fault of his,” replied Lady Catharine, hotly.
“And is that not well? There are many in Paris who would fain change places with you, Lady Catharine.”
“Would heaven they might!” exclaimed she. “Would that my various friends, or the prefect of police, or heaven knows who that may have spread the news of my acquaintance with your brother, would take me out of that acquaintance!”
“They might hold his friendship a high honor,” said Will.
“Oh, an honor! Excellent well comes this distinguished honor. Sirrah, carriages block my street, filled with those who beseech my introduction to John Law. I am waylaid if I step abroad, by women—persons of quality, ladies of the realm, God knoweth what—and they beg of me the favor of an introduction to John Law! There seems spread, I know not how, a silly rumor of the child Kate. And though I did scarce more than name a convent for her attendance, there are now out all manner of reports of Monsieur John Law’s child, and—what do I say—’tis monstrous! I protest that I have come closer than I care into the public thoughts with this prodigy, this John Law, whose favor is sought by every one. Honor!—’tis not less than outrage!”