“’The lure of adventure led to the discovery of law and truth. The best child of adventure is revelation. Man is so fashioned that if he can see a glimmer of the truth he seeks, he will make for it no matter what may be in his way. The promise of an exciting time solves the problem of help. America was born of sublime faith and a great adventure—the greatest in history—that of the three caravels. High faith is the great need of the world. Columbus had it, and I think, sir, that the Pilgrims had it and that the same quality of faith is in you. In these dark years you are like the lanterns of Pharus to your people.
“’When prodigious things are to be done, how carefully men are prepared and chosen for their doing!’
“He said many things, but these words addressed to my venerable friend impressed me deeply. It occurs to me that Burke has been chosen to speak for the soul of Britain.
“When we think of the choosing of God, who but the sturdy yeomen of our mother land could have withstood the inhospitalities of the New World and established its spirit!
“Now their Son, Benjamin Franklin, full grown in the new school of liberty, has been chosen of God to define the inalienable rights of freemen. I think the stage is being set for the second great adventure in our history. Let us have no fear of it. Our land is sown with the new faith. It can not fail.”
This conviction was the result of some rather full days in the British capital.
AN APPOINTMENT AND A CHALLENGE
Solomon Binkus had left the city with Preston to visit Sir Jeffrey Amherst in his country seat, near London. Sir Benjamin had taken Jack to dine with him at two of his clubs and after dining they had gone to see the great actor Robert Bensley as Malvolio and the Comedian Dodd as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. The Britisher had been most polite, but had seemed studiously to avoid mention of the subject nearest the heart of the young man. After that the latter was invited to a revel and a cock fight, but declined the honor and went to spend an evening with his friend, the philosopher. For days Franklin had been shut in with gout. Jack had found him in his room with one of his feet wrapped in bandages and resting on a chair.
“I am glad you came, my son,” said the good Doctor. “I am in need of better company than this foot. Solitude is like water—good for a dip, but you can not live in it. Margaret has been here trying to give me comfort, although she needs it more for herself.”
“Margaret!” the boy exclaimed. “Why does she need comfort?”
“Oh, largely on your account, my son! Her father is obdurate and the cause is dear to me. This courtship of yours is taking an international aspect.”
He gave his young friend a full account of the night at Lord Howe’s and the interviews which had followed it.