54-40 or Fight eBook

Emerson Hough
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about 54-40 or Fight.

“Rather what I knew of the poor in Europe.  I told him some things I knew of that hopeless land, that priest-ridden, king-ridden country—­my own land.  Then he went on to tell me of America and its hope of a free democracy of the people.  Believe me, I listened to Mr. Calhoun.  Never mind what we said of Mr. Van Zandt and Sir Richard Pakenham.  At least, as you know, I paid off a little score with Sir Richard that next morning.  What was strangest to me was the fact that I forgot Mr. Calhoun’s attire, forgot the strangeness of my errand thither.  It was as though only our minds talked, one with the other.  I was sorry when at last came the Grand Vizier James to take Mr. Calhoun’s order for his own carriage, that brought me home—­my second and more peaceful arrival there that night.  The last I saw of Mr. Calhoun was with the Grand Vizier James putting a cloak about him and leading him by force from his study to his bed, as I presume.  As for me, I slept no more that night.  Monsieur, I admit that I saw the purpose of a great man.  Yes; and of a great country.”

“Then I did not fail as messenger, after all!  You told Mr. Calhoun what he desired to know?”

“In part at least.  But come now, was I not bound in some sort of honor to my great and good friend, Sir Richard?  Was it not treachery enough to rebuke him for his attentions to the Dona Lucrezia?”

“But you promised to tell Mr. Calhoun more at a later time?”

“On certain conditions I did,” she assented.

“I do not know that I may ask those?”

“You would be surprised if I told you the truth?  What I required of Mr. Calhoun was permission and aid still further to study his extraordinary country, its extraordinary ways, its extraordinary ignorance of itself.  I have told you that I needed to travel, to study, to observe mankind—­and those governments invented or tolerated by mankind.”

“Since then, Madam,” I concluded, stepping to assist her with her chair, as she signified her completion of our repast, “since you do not feel now inclined to be specific, I feel that I ought to make my adieux, for the time at least.  It grows late.  I shall remember this little evening all my life.  I own my defeat.  I do not know why you are here, or for whom.”

“At what hotel do you stop?”

“The little place of Jacques Bertillon, a square or so beyond the Place d’Armes.”

“In that case,” said she, “believe me, it would be more discreet for you to remain unseen in Montreal.  No matter which flag is mine, I may say that much for a friend and comrade in the service.”

“But what else?”

She looked about her.  “Be my guest to-night!” she said suddenly.  “There is danger—­”

“For me?” I laughed.  “At my hotel?  On the streets?”

“No, for me.”

“Where?”

“Here.”

“And of what, Madam?”

“Of a man; for the first time I am afraid, in spite of all.”

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Project Gutenberg
54-40 or Fight from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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