Part 1 out of 5
Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Joris Van Dael and PG Distributed
CALVERT OF STRATHORE
BY CARTER GOODLOE
I. The Legation at Paris
II. The France Of 1789
III. "The Lass with the Delicate Air"
IV. At the Palais Royal
V. The Private Secretary
VI. Mr. Calvert Meets Old and New Friends
VII. An Afternoon on the Ice
VIII. The Americans are Made Welcome in Paris
IX. In which Mr. Calvert's Good Intentions Miscarry
X. At Versailles
XI. Mr. Calvert Attends the King's Levee
XII. The Fourth and the Fourteenth of July
XIII. Monsieur de Lafayette Brings Friends to a Dinner at the Legation
XIV. Mr. Calvert Rides Down into Touraine
XV. Christmas Eve
XVI. Mr. Calvert Tries to Forget
XVII. Mr. Calvert Meets an Old Enemy
XVIII. Mr. Calvert Fights a Duel
XIX. In which an Unlooked-for Event Takes Place
XX. Mr. Calvert Sees a Short Campaign under Lafayette
XXI. Mr. Calvert Quits the Army and Engages in a Hazardous Enterprise
XXII. Mr. Calvert Starts on a Journey
XXIII. Within the Palace
XXIV. The Tenth of August
CALVERT OF STRATHMORE
THE LEGATION AT PARIS
There seemed to be some unusual commotion, a suppressed excitement,
about the new and stately American Legation at Paris on the morning of
the 3d of February in the year of grace (but not for France--her days
and years of grace were over!) 1789. The handsome mansion at the corner
of the Grande Route des Champs Elysees and the rue Neuve de Berry, which
had lately belonged to Monsieur le Comte de l'Avongeac and in which Mr.
Jefferson had installed himself as accredited minister to France after
the return of Dr. Franklin to America, presented an appearance different
from its usual quiet.
Across the courtyard, covered with snow fallen during the might, which
glittered and sparkled in the brilliant wintry sunshine, grooms and
stable-boys hurried between ecuries and remises, currying Mr.
Jefferson's horses and sponging off Mr. Jefferson's handsome carriage,
with which he had provided himself on setting up his establishment as
minister of the infant federation of States to the court of the
sixteenth Louis. At the porter's lodge that functionary frequently left
his little room, with its brazier of glowing coals, and walked up and
down beneath the porte-cochere, flapping his arms vigorously in the
biting wintry air, and glancing between the bars of the great outer gate
up and down the road as if on the lookout for some person or persons. In
the hotel itself, servants moved quickly and quietly about, setting
everything in the most perfect order.
At one of the windows which gave upon the extensive gardens, covered,
like all else, with the freshly fallen snow, Mr. Jefferson himself could
now and then be seen as he moved restlessly about the small, octagonal
room, lined with books and littered with papers, in which he conducted
most of his official business. A letter, just finished, lay upon his
desk. 'Twas to his daughter in her convent of Panthemont, and full of
that good advice which no one ever knew how to give better than he. The
letter being folded and despatched by a servant, Mr. Jefferson was at
liberty to indulge his restless mood. This he did, walking up and down
with his hands clasped behind his back, as was his fashion; but, in
spite of the impatience of his manner, a smile, as of some secret
contentment or happy anticipation, played about his lips. At frequent
intervals he would station himself at one of the windows which commanded
the entrance of the hotel, and, looking anxiously out at the wintry
scene, would consult the splendid new watch just made for him, at great
cost, by Monsieur l'Epine.
It was on the stroke of twelve by Monsieur l'Epine's watch when Mr.
Jefferson, gazing out of the window for the twentieth time that morning
of February 3d, saw a large travelling berline turn in at the big grille
and draw up under the porte-cochere in front of the porter's lodge. In
an instant he was out of the room, down the great stairway, and at the
entrance of the rez-de-chaussee, just as the postilion, dismounting,
opened the door of the carriage from which emerged a large, handsome man
of about thirty-five or six, who moved with surprising agility
considering the fact that he boasted but one good leg, the other member
being merely a wooden stump. He was followed by a younger man, who
sprang out and waited respectfully, but eagerly, until Mr. Jefferson had
welcomed his companion.
"Mr. Morris!--my dear sir! welcome to Paris! welcome to this little spot
of America!" said Mr. Jefferson, shaking the older man cordially by the
hand again and again and drawing him toward the open door. And then
passing quickly out upon the step to where the young man still stood
looking on at this greeting, Mr. Jefferson laid a hand affectionately on
his shoulder and looked into the young eyes.
"My dear boy, my dear Calvert!" he exclaimed with emotion, "I cannot
tell you how welcome you are, nor how I thank you for obeying my request
to come to me!"
"The kindest command I could have received, sir," replied the young man,
much moved by Mr. Jefferson's affectionate words and manner.
Turning, and linking an arm in that of each of his guests, Mr.
Jefferson led them into the house, followed by the servants carrying
their travelling things.
"Ah! we will bring back Virginia days in the midst of this turbulent,
mad Paris. 'Tis a wild, bad place I have brought you to, Ned," he said,
turning to the young gentleman, "but it must all end in good--surely,
surely." Mr. Jefferson's happy mood seemed suddenly to cloud over, and
he spoke absently and almost as if reassuring himself. "But come," he
added, brightening up, "I will not talk of such things before we are
fairly in the house! Welcome again, Mr. Morris! Welcome, Mr.
Secretary!"--he turned to Calvert--"It seems strange, but most
delightful, to have you here." Talking in such fashion, he hurried them
up the great stairway as fast as Mr. Morris's wooden leg would permit,
and into his private study.
"Ha! a fire!" said Mr. Morris, sinking down luxuriously in a chair
before the blazing logs. "I had almost forgot what the sight of one was
like, and I was beginning to wish that this"--he looked down and tapped
his sound leg, laughing a little whimsically, "were wood, too. I would
have suffered less with the cold!"
"I am sure you must have had a bitter journey from Havre," rejoined Mr.
Jefferson. "'Tis the coldest winter France has known for eighty
years--the hardest, cruellest winter the poor of this great city, of
this great country, can remember. Would to God it were over and the
"I should imagine that it had not been any too pleasant even for the
rich," said Mr. Morris, shivering slightly. But Mr. Jefferson paid no
attention to the sufferings of the rich suggested by Mr. Morris, and
only stirred the blazing logs uneasily.
"At any rate it serves to make our welcome here seem the warmer, sir,"
said Calvert, from where he stood divesting himself of his many-caped
"Ah! that is spoken like you, Ned! But stand forth, sir! Let me see if
you are changed, if four years at the College of Princeton have made
another fellow of my old Calvert of Strathore." He went over to the
young man and drew him into the middle of the room, where the cold,
brilliant sunshine struck full on the fine young face. There was no
shadow or line upon it.
"You are much grown," said Mr. Jefferson, thoughtfully, "much taller,
but 'tis the same slender, athletic figure, and the eyes and brow and
mouth are not changed, thank God!"
"Is there no improvement, sir? Can you note no change for the better?"
said Calvert, laughing, and attempting to cover his embarrassment, at
the close scrutiny he was undergoing. "But I fear not. I fear my college
life has left as little impress on my mind as on my body. I shall never
be a scholar like you, sir," he added, with a sigh.
"And yet, in spite of your disinclination to study, you have gone
through college, and most creditably. Dr. Witherspoon himself has
written me of your career. Does that say nothing in your favor?"
"To be sure it does," broke in Mr. Morris, laughing. "There is no merit
in being a scholar like Mr. Jefferson here, who was born a student. He
couldn't have helped being a scholar if he had tried. But for you, Mr.
Calvert, who dislike study, to have made yourself stick to the college
curriculum for four years, I consider a great and meritorious
"I agree with you entirely, Mr. Morris," said Mr. Jefferson, joining in
the laugh, "and as for that, Ned has done more than merely stick to the
curriculum of the college. Dr. Witherspoon, in writing me of his
progress, was pleased to say many complimentary things of several
excursions into verse which he has made. He especially commended his
lines on 'A View of Princeton College,' written something after the
manner of Mr. Gray's 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.'"
"What!" said Mr. Morris, "an ode on 'A View of Princeton College'! My
dear Mr. Calvert, couldn't a young man of your years find a more
inspiring theme than a college building to write upon? Instead of an
_alma mater_, you should have chosen some _filia pulchra_ to make verses
to," and he gave Mr. Jefferson a quizzical look.
"I agree with you again, Mr. Morris," said that gentleman, laughing
heartily, "and I think that you and I would have made no such mistake at
Ned's age," and he sighed a little as he thought of the gay pleasures of
his own youth, the dances and walks and talks with "Belinda," and his
poetic effusions to her and many another.
"Nor even at our own," objected Mr. Morris. "I assure you I feel myself
quite capable of composing verses to fair ones yet, Mr. Jefferson." And
indeed he was, and rhymed his way gayly to the heart of many a lady in
the days to come.
As for Calvert, he only smiled at the light banter at his expense,
scarcely understanding it, indeed, for as yet he carried a singularly
untouched heart about in his healthy young body.
Mr. Morris arose: "I must be going," he said. "I have sent my things on
to the Hotel de Richelieu--" but Mr. Jefferson pressed him back into his
"You are my guest for the day," he declared, interrupting him, "and must
take your first breakfast with Ned and myself here at the Legation. I
will send you around to the rue de Richelieu in my carriage later on. I
have a thousand questions to ask you. I must have all the news from
America--how fares General Washington, and my friend, James Madison, and
pretty Miss Molly Crenshawe?--there's a lovely woman for you, Ned, in
the bud, 'tis true, but likely to blossom into a perfect rose. There is
but one beauty in all Paris to compare with her, I think. And that is
the sister of your old friend d'Azay. And what does Patrick Henry and
Pendleton these days? I hear that Hamilton holds strange views about the
finances and has spoken of them freely in Congress. What are they? My
letters give me no details as yet." And more and more questions during
the abundant breakfast which had been spread for them in the
morning-room adjoining Mr. Jefferson's library. Now it was a broadside
of inquiries aimed at Mr. Gouverneur Morris concerning the newly
adopted Constitution which he had helped fashion for the infant union of
States and the chances of electing General Washington as first president
of that union; now it was question after question regarding Dr.
Franklin's reception in America on his return from France and release
from his arduous duties and the vexatious persecutions to which he had
been subjected by his former colleagues--the most outrageous and
unprovoked that ever man suffered--and there were endless inquiries
about personal, friends, about the currency in America, and about the
feeling of security and tranquillity of the States.
The breakfast, generous as it was, was over long before Mr. Jefferson
had tired of his questioning, and they were still sitting around the
table talking when a visitor was announced. It was Monsieur le Vicomte
de Beaufort, Lafayette's young kinsman and officer in the American war,
who came in directly, bowing to Mr. Morris, whom he had known well in
America, and embracing Calvert with a friendly fervor that almost five
years of separation had not diminished. He had known of his coming
through Mr. Jefferson, and, happening to pass the hotel, had stopped to
inquire at the porter's lodge whether the travellers had arrived.
"'Tis a thousand pities d'Azay is not here to welcome you, too, my dear
Calvert," he said, regretfully, "but he will be back to-morrow with his
aunt, the old Duchess, and his sister. He is gone down to Azay-le-Roi,
his chateau near Tours, to fetch them. But come! I am all impatience to
show you a little of my Paris. We won't wait for d'Azay's return to
begin, and I am sure Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Morris will excuse you for a
few hours. Is it not so, gentlemen?" He looked around at the two older
men. "Calvert has shown me Virginia. I long to return the compliment and
show him this little piece of France!"
"But first," objected Mr. Jefferson, "I should like to show him the
Embassy. Come, gentlemen, we will make a rapid tour of the apartments
before you set out on your larger explorations." And, leading the way,
he began to point out the public and private apartments, the state
dining-room, with its handsome service of silver plate, the view of the
large gardens from the windows, the reception-hall, the doorways, the
great staircase ornamented with sculptured salamanders, for Monsieur de
l'Avongeac's ancestors had built the house during the reign of Francois
I. and had adorned it everywhere with the King's insignia. 'Twas a very
magnificent hotel, for Mr. Jefferson had been unwilling to jeopardize
the fortunes of the new republic by installing its legation in mean
quarters, and it was eminently well arranged for the entertainment of
the brilliant society that gathered so frequently by his invitation.
When they had made the tour of the establishment and had reached the
head of the great stairway again, Mr. Jefferson dismissed the two young
men with a final injunction to return soon, as he had much to talk over
with Calvert. As the clanging door shut upon them, the two older men
turned and went into Mr. Jefferson's study.
"I have to thank you, Mr. Jefferson," said Mr. Morris, seating himself
once more before the crackling fire, "for a most pleasant acquaintance.
I will confess now that when you wrote me suggesting that your new
secretary should make the journey to France with me, I was scarcely
pleased. 'Tis a long trip to make in the company of one who may not be
wholly congenial. But from the moment Mr. Calvert presented himself to
me in Philadelphia, on the eve of our sailing, until now, I can truly
say I have enjoyed every instant of his companionship. I had heard
something of him--much, indeed--from General Washington and Mr.
Hamilton, but I was wholly unprepared to find so sincere, so intelligent
a young gentleman. There is a strength, a fine reserve about him which
appeals greatly to me."
"I thank you," said Mr. Jefferson, gratefully. "I love him as though he
were my son, and any praise of him is dear to me. Do you wonder that I
want him near me? Besides, 'tis imperative that I have a private
secretary. Mr. Short, our secretary of Legation, who is now in Italy
travelling for his health, like myself, is overworked; there are a
thousand affairs to be attended to each day, and so little method in our
arrangements as yet; our instructions and remittances from Congress are
so irregular, our duties so confounded with mere courtesies, that we
make but little progress. Besides which the state of affairs in this
country renders all diplomatic and business relations very slow and
uncertain--I might say hazardous--" He stopped and looked thoughtfully
into the fire.
"I am sorry to hear that," said Mr. Morris, quickly. "I came over on
business myself. And on business not only for myself, but on behalf of
Mr. Robert Morris and of Constable & Co., of New York City. As you
probably know, we have made large shipments of tobacco, contracted for
by several farmers-general, but such has been the delay in delivery and
payment after reaching this country that we deemed it absolutely
necessary to have someone over here to attend to the matter. At Havre I
found affairs irregular and prices low and fluctuating. I was hoping the
markets would be steadier and quieter in Paris."
"I am afraid you will not find it so," replied Mr. Jefferson, shaking
his head. "I am persuaded that this country is on the eve of some great
change--some great upheaval. I see it in the faces of those I meet in
the salons of the rich and noble; I see it in the faces of the common
people in the streets--above all, I see it in the faces of the people in
Again he stopped and looked thoughtfully into the blazing fire. Mr.
Morris's keen eyes fastened themselves on the finely chiselled face
opposite him, aglow with a prophetic light. "I would be obliged," he
said at length, "if you would give me some detailed account of the state
of this government and country. I should like to know just where I
stand. At the distance of three thousand miles, and with slow and
irregular packets as the only means of communication, we in America
have but an imperfect and tardy conception of what is going on in this
country." He poured out a small glass of cognac from a decanter which
stood on a table at his elbow, and, settling himself comfortably in his
chair, prepared to listen.
It was a long story that Mr. Jefferson had to tell him--a story with
many minute details touching the delicate relations between France and
America, with many explanations of the events which had just taken place
in Paris and the provinces, with many forecastings of events shortly to
take place in the kingdom of Louis XVI. Perhaps it was in the
forecasting of those events so soon to take place, of those acts of the
multitude, as yet undreamed of by the very doers of them, that Mr.
Jefferson most deeply impressed his listener. For there was no attribute
of Mr. Jefferson's mind so keen, so unerring, so forceful as that
peculiar power of divining the drift of the masses. It was this power
which later made him so greatly feared and greatly respected in his own
land. Forewarned and forearmed, he had but to range himself at the head
of multitudes, whose will he knew almost before they were aware of it
themselves, or else to stand aside, and, unscathed, let it pass him by
in all its turbulence and strength. But though he could foresee the
trend of events, his judgment was not infallible as to their values and
consequences. Even as he spoke of the disquieting progress of affairs,
even as he predicted the yet more serious turn they were to take, his
countenance expressed a boundless, if somewhat vaguely defined, belief
and happiness in the future.
The glow of enthusiasm was not at all reflected in the keen, attentive
face of the younger man opposite him, whose look of growing disquietude
betrayed the fact that he did not share Mr. Jefferson's hopes or
sympathies. Indeed, it was inevitable that these two men of genius
should hold dissimilar views about the struggle which the one had so
clearly divined was to come and of which the other so clearly
comprehended the consequences. It was inevitable that the man who had
the sublime audacity to proclaim unfettered liberty and equality to a
new world should differ radically from the man whose supreme achievement
had been the fashioning and welding of its laws. They talked together
until the wintry sun suddenly suffered an eclipse behind the mountains
of gray clouds which had been threatening to fall upon it all the
afternoon, and only the light from the crackling logs remained to show
the bright enthusiasm of Mr. Jefferson's noble face and the sombre
shadow upon Mr. Morris's disturbed one.
THE FRANCE OF 1789
France was sick. A great change and fever had fallen upon her, and there
was no physician near skilled enough to cure her. Now and then one of
her sons would look upon the pale, wasted features and note the rapidly
throbbing pulse, the wild ravings of the disordered brain, and,
frightened and despondent, would hurry away to consult with his brothers
what should be done. But never to any good. Medicines were tried which
had been potent with others in like sickness, but they seemed only to
increase her delirium or lessen her vitality--never to bring her
strength and reason. Day by day she grew worse. 'Twas as if some quick
poison were working in her veins, until at last the poor body was one
mass of swollen disfigurements, of putrid sores, that only a miracle
from Heaven could heal. As miracles could not be looked for, everyone
who had any skill in such desperate cases was called, and a thousand
different opinions were given, a thousand different cures tried. And
when all was seen to have been in vain, her tortured children, in their
despair, left her and turned upon the false physicians, putting them to
death and with ferocious joy avenging her agonies. And in the quiet
which thus fell upon her, when all had left her to die, the fever and
pain vanished; from her opened veins the poisoned blood dropped away; to
the blinded eyes sight returned; in the distracted brain reason once
more held sway. Slowly and faintly she arose and went about her
It was of that fast-sickening France, of that blighted land of France,
that Mr. Jefferson spoke so earnestly in the gathering darkness of that
winter's day in the year 1789. The storm which had just swept over the
American colonies had passed, leaving wrecks strewn from shore to shore,
'tis true, but a land fairer and greater than ever, a people tried by
adversity and made strong. The tempest, which had been so gallantly
withstood by our ably manned ship of state, had blown across the
Atlantic and was beating upon the unprotected shores of France. The
storm was gathering fast in that most famous year of 1789--the _alpha_
and _omega_ of French history, the ending of all things old, the
beginning of all things new, for France. Two years before the bewildered
Assemblee des Notables had met and had been dismissed to spread their
agitation and disaffection throughout all France by the still more
bewildered Lomenie de Brienne, who was trying his hand at the impossible
finances of France after the fall of that magnificent spendthrift,
Monsieur Colonne. He, in turn, had been swept from his office and
replaced by the pompous and incompetent Necker. Lafayette, the _deus ex
machina_ of the times, had asked for his States-General, and now in this
never-sufficiently-to-be-remembered year of 1789 they were to be
All France was disquieted by the elections--nay, more, agitated and
agitating. Men who had never thought before were thinking now, and, as
was inevitable to such unused intellects, were thinking badly. For the
first time the common people were permitted to think. For the first time
they were allowed, even urged, to look into their wretched hearts and
tell their lord and king what grievances they found there. What wonder
that when the ashes were raked from the long-smouldering fires of envy,
of injustice, of oppression, of extortion, of misrule of every
conceivable sort, they sprang into fierce flame? What wonder that when
the bonds of silence were loosed from their miserable mouths, such a
wild clamor went up to Heaven as made the king tremble upon his throne
and his ministers shake with fear? Who could tell at what moment this
unlooked-for, unprecedented clemency might be withdrawn and silence once
more be sealed upon them? What wonder, then, that they made the most of
their opportunity? What wonder that, suddenly finding themselves strong,
who had been weak, they _did_ make the most of it?
The world seemed topsy-turvy. Strange ideas and theories were being
written and talked about. Physical science had been revolutionized.
People suddenly discovered that what they had held all their lives to be
facts were entire misconceptions of the truth. And, if they had been so
mistaken about the facts of physical science, might they not be equally
mistaken about theology, about law, about politics? Everywhere was
doubt and questioning. Revolution was in the air. It was the fashion,
and the young French officers returned from the War of Independence in
the American colonies found themselves alike the heroes of the common
people and of the fashionable world.
True to its nature, the nobility played with revolution as it had played
with everything from the beginning of time. It played with reform, with
suggestions to abandon its privileges, its titles, with the freedom of
the newly born press, with the prerogatives of the crown, with the tiers
etat, with life, liberty, and happiness. It was a dangerous game, and in
the danger lay its fascination. Society felt its foundations shake, and
the more insecure it felt itself to be the more feverish seemed its
desire to enjoy life to the dregs, to seize upon that fleet-footed
Pleasure who ever kept ahead of her pursuers. There was a constant
succession of balls, dramatic fetes, dinner-parties, of official
entertainments by the members of the diplomatic corps in this volcanic
year of 1789. The ministers of Louis's court, being at their wits' end
to know what was to be done to allay the disturbances, were of the mind
that they could and would, at least, enjoy themselves. The King having
always been at his wits' end was not conscious of being in any unusual
or dangerous position. As short-sighted mentally as he was physically,
he saw in the popular excitement of the times nothing to dread.
Conscious of his own good intentions toward his people, he saw nothing
in their ever-increasing demands but evidences of a spirit of progress
which he was the first to applaud. Unmindful of the fact that "the most
dangerous moment for a bad government is the moment when it meddles with
reform," he yielded everything. The nobles, noting with bitterness his
concessions to the tiers etat, told themselves that the King had
abandoned them; the common people, suspicious and bewildered, told
themselves that their King was but deceiving them. The King, informed of
the hostile attitude of the nobility and the ingratitude of the masses,
vacillated between his own generous impulses and the despotic demands of
the court party. By the King's weakness, more than by all else, were
loosened the foundations of that throne of France, already tottering
under its long-accumulated weight of injustice, of mad extravagance, of
dissoluteness, of bloody crime.
Nature herself seemed to be in league with the discontent of the times.
A long drouth in the summer, which had made the poor harvests poorer
still, was followed by that famous winter of 1789--that winter of
merciless, of unexampled, cold for France. And in the heat of that long
summer and in the cold of that still longer winter, the storm gathered
fast which was to rise higher and higher until it should beat upon the
very throne itself, and all that was left of honor and justice in France
should perish therein.
"THE LASS WITH THE DELICATE AIR"
It was to that unhappy land of France that Mr. Jefferson had come almost
five years before on a mission for Congress. For some time it had been
the most cherished design of that body of patriots to establish
advantageous commercial treaties with the European powers, thereby
securing to America not only material prosperity, but, more important
still, forcing our recognition as a separate and independent power, and
creating for the new confederation of states a place among the
brotherhood of nations. Confident that Mr. Jefferson's astuteness,
erudition, and probity would make a powerful impression upon those whom
it was so much to our interest to attach to us, Congress had, on the 7th
day of May, 1784, appointed him Minister Plenipotentiary for the
negotiation of foreign commercial treaties. Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams,
his co-workers, were already eagerly awaiting him in Paris.
But, great as was Mr. Jefferson's patriotic interest in the cause he was
to represent at the court of Louis XVI., his exile from Monticello was
very painful to him. The recent death of his wife there, and the youth
of the two children he was to leave, bound him to the place. Having also
very clearly in mind Mr. Jay's and Dr. Franklin's disappointments and
bickerings in London in the same cause of commercial treaties, he looked
forward with growing distaste to the difficulties and diplomatic
struggles before him; for Mr. Jefferson was always more ready to lead
than to combat. Perhaps, too, he did not relish the idea that although
in his own country no one was more generally famed for talents and
learning than himself, in Paris, amid that brilliant throng of _savants_
and courtiers, he would be but a simple Virginia gentleman without
prestige or reputation. And, moreover, he feared that his plain,
democratic manners and principles--which he scorned to alter for
anyone--would be but ill-suited to the courtly life of Versailles. For
it must be owned that Mr. Jefferson's democracy, like his learning, was
a trifle ostentatious, and became more so as he grew older. Surely,
though, such blemishes are not incompatible with greatness of character,
but only serve to make a great man more lovable and human. And as for
Mr. Jefferson, if he had not been blessed with some such harmless
frailties, he had seemed almost more than mortal with his great
learning, his profound, if often impracticable, philosophy, and his
deathless patriotism. Such as he was, Mr. Jefferson was greatly beloved,
and many of his warmest friends and admirers foregathered at Monticello
on the evening of the 23d of May, 1784, to bid him farewell ere he
should set out the next day on his long journey to Boston, from which
port he was to sail for France. As he stood on the north portico of
Monticello, awaiting his guests and looking long and lovingly at the
beautiful view of mountain and valley spread before him, he made a
striking, not easily forgotten, picture. The head, lightly thrown back,
with its wavy, sandy hair worn short, and the finely chiselled profile
were cameo-like in their classical regularity. The lithe, meagre form,
well dressed in blackcloth coat and knee breeches, white waistcoat and
ruffles of finest linen, black silk stockings and silver-buckled shoes,
was energetic, graceful, and well proportioned. With such a physique it
was not wonderful that Mr. Jefferson was famous as shot, horseman, and
athlete, even among such noted sportsmen as Virginia could boast of by
the score in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Suddenly he
lowered his head and, withdrawing his gaze from the mountains, looked
about him with an impatient little sigh.
"I am a savage! Savage enough to prefer the woods and streams and
independence of my Monticello to all the brilliant pleasures which Paris
will offer me. I could find it in my heart to wish that Congress had
never urged upon me this mission abroad. But I have always tried to
serve my country at my country's call, and I shall continue to serve
her, though it take me from home and family and friends. Instead of
repining at this exile to France--for how long I do not know--I should
be thankful for this last beautiful evening at Monticello and for the
friends who are come to bid me farewell. I wonder that the Marquis does
not arrive. I have much of importance to discuss with him."
Mr. Jefferson had no greater admirer than the Marquis de Lafayette,
whose arrival he so impatiently awaited. He had affairs of weight to
talk over with the young Frenchman--letters of introduction to statesmen
with whom Lafayette was most intimate, notes on commercial affairs of
France, messages to friends, drafts on bankers in Paris, and a host of
details on the present state of politics in France with which he wished
to become acquainted before presenting himself at the French court, and
which Lafayette, but lately returned from France, could amply furnish
him. And after business should have been finished, Mr. Jefferson was
looking forward with keen delight to all that the observant, cultured
young nobleman might have to tell him of the progress in the Parisian
world of sciences, art, and music (for Mr. Jefferson was an amateur of
music), and of those adventures which had attended his triumphal return
to America. 'Twas at General Washington's invitation that Monsieur de
Lafayette was re-visiting, after only three years' absence, the greatful
states where he had first, and so gloriously, embarked in the cause of
liberty, and the warmth of his welcome at Mount Vernon--where indeed Mr.
Jefferson's note, inviting him to Monticello, reached him--would alone
have repaid him for the long journey had all other honors been denied
him. But his progress through the states had been one triumph, marked by
lavish fetes and civic parades, not so magnificent, it is true, as those
tendered him on his last visit to our country, but still forming an
almost unparalleled tribute of affection and respect from a nation to
an individual. Young men of the highest position and family attached
themselves to his retinue and rode with him from city to city, leaving
him only to be replaced by other friends and enthusiastic admirers. Even
as Mr. Jefferson stood upon the portico of Monticello, Monsieur de
Lafayette was approaching, with his escort, riding hard and joyfully in
the gathering twilight to reach there in time to see his illustrious
friend before he should set out for Boston.
In the meantime guests were arriving rapidly, horseback or in handsome,
high-panelled coaches drawn by four horses (such as Colonel Cary of
Ampthill boasted), and the negro grooms were busy stabling them. In the
house servants were moving about, lighting the fragrant wax candles of
myrtle-berry and seeing to the comfort of the guests. The narrow
stairway could hardly accommodate the rustling, voluminous brocades that
swept up and down them above the clicking, high-heeled shoes and dainty,
silver-clocked stockings. But there was room for all in the beautiful
octagonal hall, thirty feet square, and in the long saloon parlor, the
cost of whose inlaid satin and rosewood floor had somewhat scandalized
Mr. Jefferson's less wealthy and less artistic neighbors.
It were hard indeed to get together a gathering of more beautiful women
or more courtly, distinguished gentlemen than was assembled that evening
at Monticello. Among the latter were many of those men who had helped to
make America what she was; lawgivers, soldiers, tried statesmen who had
been of that famous Congress of '75, of which my Lord Chatham, in a
burst of uncontrollable enthusiasm, had declared that "its members had
never been excelled in solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and
wisdom of conclusion."
The Virginia beauties, if less modish and extravagant, as a rule, than
the belles of Philadelphia and New York, yielded to none in aristocratic
loveliness and grace and dignity of bearing. In the eyes of Mr.
Jefferson their very naturalness made them more attractive, and perhaps
it was for her sweet freshness and shy beauty that he gave the palm of
loveliness to Miss Molly Crenshawe, who had ridden over on a pillion
behind her brother from her father's neighboring estate of Edgemoor,
attended by young Carter of Redlands, who was never far away from her if
he could help it. A less partial judge than Mr. Jefferson, however,
would have found it hard to decide that she was more lovely than her
dearest friend, the bewitching Miss Peggy Gary, who had driven over
early in the day from Ampthill with her father, Colonel Archibald Gary.
Talking and laughing, the two young girls rustled down the stairs and
across the broad hall to the entrance of the saloon parlor, where Mr.
Jefferson and his sister, the lovely widow Carr, were standing, greeting
their guests. The courtesies which the young ladies swept their host and
hostess were marvels of grace and dexterity, and were noted with
approval by the young gentlemen who lined the walls or talked to the
ladies already foregathered. Some of those same young gentlemen fairly
rivalled the ladies in richness of attire, following the elaborate
fashions of dress which General Washington had encouraged by his own
example. For the most part they were the sons of wealthy farmers and
planters, shorn perhaps of some of their pre-Revolutionary splendor, but
still aristocrats in bearing and feeling; young sporting squires who
indulged in cock-fighting and horse-racing; rising lawyers, orators, all
bearing the marks of good birth and good breeding.
Among the crowd of gayly dressed young gentlemen was one who was
especially noticeable. His handsome face wore a rather reckless,
petulant expression, which, however, could not conceal a certain
brightness and fire of genius that at moments eclipsed the irritable
look and rendered his countenance unusually attractive. It was Gilbert
Stuart, the young portrait painter, but recently returned from England,
where he was famed both as artist and wit. It was even said by his
admirers (and indeed Mr. Adams had but lately written it home from
London) that there his fame and following were the equal of his
master's, Benjamin West's, or even Sir Joshua Reynolds's.
The scene in Mr. Jefferson's drawing-room was becoming more and more
animated. The guests had nearly all assembled and were thronging the
parlor and great hall beneath the brilliant light of many candles. From
the music-gallery overhead the sounds of flute and violin in tentative
accord were beginning to be heard. The musicians were some of Mr.
Jefferson's slaves who had shown marked ability and whom he himself had
instructed in the art. They had proved themselves apt pupils and could
play excellently airs for the minuet and Virginia reel. Mr. Jefferson
was never happier than when Monticello was thronged with gay dancers,
nor was he an indifferent votary of Terpsichore himself. Indeed, many
were the balls and assemblies he attended during his student days in
Williamsburg, many the nights he danced away with "Belinda" and other
fair ones. And so when the music for the irresistible Virginia reel
struck up, Mr. Jefferson was first on the floor with Miss Molly
Crenshawe. They were quickly followed by other couples, until the
opposite lines of dancers extended half-way down the sides of the long
drawing-room. Up and down they went to the gay music, under the bright
light, misty with powder shaken from flying curls.
Suddenly, as Mr. Stuart was advancing with out-stretched hands to swing
Miss Gary, there was a blare of horns and a chorus of "hellos" from
without, mingled with the sound of horses galloping up the avenue. The
dancers ceased their courtesying and stately step, the music stopped,
and Mr. Jefferson hurried to the portico in time to greet the young
Marquis de Lafayette and his escort as they flung themselves off their
hot mounts. Every head was uncovered as the young Frenchman
affectionately embraced Mr. Jefferson, and greetings and acclamations
went up from the throng of guests as they appeared at the entrance.
'Twas not wonderful that Mr. Jefferson, like General Washington,
Colonel Hamilton, General Greene, and so many others of our
distinguished patriots, was captivated by this young nobleman, and could
the jealous ones who asserted that they were dazzled by his rank and
awed and flattered into giving him more than he merited but have seen
him in the first flush of his glory and young manhood they, too, would
have found his charm irresistible. Indeed, to Mr. Jefferson he was
always the hero, the man of genius and spotless patriotism, though many,
in after years, grew to distrust his powers and motives.
As Monsieur de Lafayette stood there at the door of the drawing-room,
smiling and bowing after his own graceful fashion, there was a bright
daring, a gay gallantry in the expression of his youthful face--he was
but six and twenty and major-general, diplomat, and friend of
philosophers--that won all hearts; and though the countenance was not
handsome, the broad, slightly receding forehead, straight nose, and
delicate mouth and chin gave to it a very distinguished appearance. The
three-cornered continental hat which he swept to the ground before the
ladies disclosed a flaming red head, the hair slightly powdered and tied
back with a black ribbon. His tall figure--he was of equal height with
Mr. Jefferson, who was over six feet--was enveloped in a light
riding-coat with short capes over the shoulders, which, when he threw it
off, disclosed to view the uniform of a major-general of continental
dragoons. Just behind him stood two of his suite, his young kinsman, the
devil-may-care Vicomte de Beaufort, and the Vicomte d'Azay, a brave
young French officer who had served with Beaufort under Rochambeau and
had been present before Yorktown.
Mr. Jefferson advanced to the centre of the room with his guests.
"My friends," he said, "this is one of the proudest and happiest moments
of my life. Monticello shelters for the first time-America's illustrious
ally and devoted soldier, the Marquis de Lafayette, and his
fellow-countrymen and officers, Messieurs les Vicomtes de Beaufort and
d'Azay. I salute them for you!" Turning, he embraced the three young
men, and then, placing his hand on the Marquis's arm, he led him to Mrs.
"Madame," he said, "I leave the Marquis in your hands for the present."
He went back to the two young officers, and taking them each by an arm
he led them about the room, introducing them to many, of the company.
Finally, leaving them to the tender mercies of Miss Crenshawe and Miss
Peggy Gary, he returned once more to look after the rest of Monsieur de
As he did so he noticed at the door two young men who were quietly
making their way into the room. The elder--who might have been
twenty-six or seven--was dark, with brilliant eyes and an alert, almost
restless manner, while the younger, who was scarcely more than a boy,
not over nineteen, was fair, with deep blue eyes, reflective and calm,
and a quiet dignity and strength of manner that in some fashion was not
unsuited to his youth. Both were slender, wellbuilt, and rather under
than over middle height. Mr. Jefferson hastened to them and shook hands
warmly with the elder gentleman.
"My dear Colonel Hamilton, this is an unexpected pleasure and honor.
Welcome to Monticello!" and then turning to the youth and laying a hand
affectionately on his shoulder, he cried, gayly:
"My dear Ned, when did you come and why have I not seen you before?"
"Sir," replied the young man, respectfully, "we have but just arrived in
Monsieur de Lafayette's company, and, feeling myself at home, I stayed
without a few moments to give some orders about the stabling of the
horses. Colonel Hamilton was kind enough to remain with me. Will you
pardon our delay and assurance?"
"My dear boy, as you well know, I am only too happy to have you look
upon Monticello as your other home, and every servant and horse upon the
place is at your disposal. But how did you two happen to fall in with
"Both Colonel Hamilton and myself were passing a few days at Mount
Vernon by invitation of General Washington, when news that the Marquis
was coming reached him. The General insisted that we should remain to
see Monsieur de Lafayette, so we were still at Mount Vernon when your
note asking his attendance here was received by him. Sure of my old
welcome at Monticello, I determined to accompany him on his journey. As
for Colonel Hamilton, he is charged with important affairs for you,
"'Tis an ill wind that blows nobody good, Colonel," said Mr. Jefferson,
smiling, "and I shall certainly not call even business an ill wind since
it has blown you hither."
"There is a better reason still, Mr. Jefferson," replied Mr. Hamilton,
"for I came on business of General Washington's, and never yet blew ill
wind from that quarter."
"Then you are doubly welcome, my dear Colonel," rejoined Mr. Jefferson,
"Thank you, Mr. Jefferson," said Mr. Hamilton. "Besides the business I
am charged with, which relates to the commercial treaties with Flanders,
and which I hope to have the honor of discussing with you fully before
your departure, I bear General Washington's greetings and best wishes
for your welfare and the success of your difficult mission. It would
have given him the greatest pleasure to convey these in person, and,
indeed, I think he would have been tempted to make the journey to
Monticello himself to see you had he not expected a visit from Mr.
Gouverneur Morris, who, I doubt not, is at Mount Vernon by this time."
"Mr. Morris!" exclaimed Mr. Jefferson. "And what has brought Mr. Morris
"General Washington's invitation to discuss with him a plan to urge the
necessity of a new convention upon Congress. They have been warm
personal friends, as you doubtless know, ever since Mr. Morris visited
the camp at Valley Forge, and later drafted such admirable plans for
raising money to relieve the troops. General Washington feels affection
for him as a friend and the greatest respect for him as a financier."
"He is indeed the possessor of many and varied talents," assented Mr.
Jefferson, though without any, great show of enthusiasm. "Mr. Madison
admires him, and was remarking but yesterday that 'to the brilliancy of
his genius is added what is too rare--a candid surrender of his opinions
when the lights of discussion satisfied him.' I own that the eulogy
seems a trifle overdrawn to me. He is a thought too much the aristocrat
and society man," he added, coldly. "Have you ever seen him, Ned? No? He
is a striking figure, especially since he had the vast misfortune some
years ago to lose a leg in a runaway accident."
"He consoles himself by saying he will be a steadier man with one than
with two legs," laughed Mr. Hamilton. "But, seriously, Ned," he
continued, turning to the younger man, "he has a magnificent mind and is
a great financier."
While he spoke, Mr. Jefferson smiled dubiously, for he considered Mr.
Hamilton and Mr. Morris to be dangerously alike as financiers. As for
the youth addressed, he listened with his customary quiet attention to
the conversation, though he little dreamed how great his own interest in
Mr. Morris was to be in after years and how closely they were to be
"But come, sirs," suddenly exclaimed Mr. Jefferson, "our discussion of
Mr. Morris's good points must wait, for I see Mrs. Carr looking at you,
Colonel. If you will pay your respects to her, I will be with you in a
few moments. As for you, sir," he went on, speaking to the youth he
called Ned and regarded so affectionately, "you are but wasting your
time. You should be talking with some of these pretty young women. Shall
we say Miss Molly Crenshawe, who is certainly looking most beautiful
this evening? or perhaps the dashing Miss Peggy?" He glanced keenly at
the youth, who retained all his serene indifference of manner, only
blushing slightly and shaking his head.
Mr. Jefferson laughed indulgently. "Ned, Ned, you were ever a shy youth,
and I think time does nothing to help you. Tis a crime to be as
indifferent to women as you are, and, I warn you, there will come a day
when some woman will revenge herself upon you for the whole sex, and,
when that happens, do not come to me for consolation!" He moved away,
still laughing, and left the boy to pay his respects to Mrs. Carr, with
whom he was a great favorite, as he was with all who knew him well. But
he never had a large circle of friends. There were but few who ever
really understood and thoroughly appreciated that noble character. It is
the compensation of such natures that they are self-sufficing and are as
indifferent of such recognition as they are superior to it.
As Mr. Jefferson passed down the room he was stopped by Mr. Gilbert
Stuart, who touched him on the arm.
"Mr. Jefferson," he exclaimed, in eager tones, "take pity on an exile
just returned and tell me who your young friend is. I had thought Mr.
Hamilton's one of the finest faces I had ever seen until I set eyes on
this young gentleman with him. And, indeed, I think they resemble one
another vastly. Has our young West Indian at last found a relative? I
hear he is but indifferently provided with that commodity. No? Well, I
protest his young friend has the most charming countenance I have ever
seen since I painted Mr. Grant in London."
"Which portrait, Mr. Stuart, I hear is a masterpiece and has added
enormously to your reputation." Mr. Stuart bowed low at the compliment,
well pleased that Mr. Jefferson should have heard so favorably of that
wonderful picture of his which had set all London gossiping and had
caused Mr. Benjamin West and Sir Joshua Reynolds (so 'twas said) some
pangs of envy. "As for myself, however," went on Mr. Jefferson, "I can
scarcely credit that it is a greater piece of work than the portrait of
General Washington which you have executed for the Marquis of Lansdowne
at Mr. William Bingham's request. I cannot express to you how greatly
the replica of that picture pleases me. Its arrival here has been kept a
profound secret from all save my sister, but I am getting as impatient
as a child to show it to my guests, and can scarcely wait for the
supper-hour to arrive."
"I sincerely hope, sir, both as an artist and a friend, that the
surprise you have planned will not turn into a disappointment. But you
have not yet told me, Mr. Jefferson, who the interesting young gentleman
is with Mrs. Carr."
"That," said Mr. Jefferson, looking kindly toward the youth beside his
sister, "is young Calvert of Strathore, and a finer young gentleman does
not live in Virginia--no, nor in any other state of this country," he
added, warmly. "He is of the famous Baltimore family, a direct
descendant of Leonard Calvert, cadet brother of the second Lord
Baltimore, and is the bearer of my Lord Baltimore's name, Cecil Calvert,
to which has been prefixed Edward, for his father. The family came to
this country in 1644, I believe, and for several generations lived in
the colony of Maryland, and have always been people of position and
wealth. Ned's father, however, had a serious disagreement with his
family, because of his marriage with a lovely young Quakeress of
Philadelphia, and finally broke off entirely from his people, renouncing
even the long-cherished Catholic faith, and came to Virginia when their
only child was about two years old. Mr. Calvert built a spacious,
comfortable residence on the banks of the Potomac not far from Mr.
Washington's residence, calling it 'Strathore,' after the older Maryland
"What a head!" murmured Mr. Stuart, looking at the young man. "What
sincerity and quiet strength! But continue, I beg of you."
"There is little to tell--some six years after removing to Virginia,
Calvert's father and mother both suddenly died, leaving the poor boy
estranged from the only relatives he had in Maryland, but, fortunately,
under the guardianship of General Washington, who has been all kindness
toward him. Madame Washington would have taken him to Mount Vernon had
it not been for the father's wish that he should grow up on his own
estate, alone save for the excellent tutors with whom he has always been
provided. But he has ever been warmly welcomed at Mount Vernon on long
visits there, and both General and Madame Washington have become greatly
attached to him. It was through them I first knew and liked him, and he
has passed many, I hope not unhappy, weeks at Monticello with me since.
'Tis that curious and melancholy resemblance in their fate--both
orphaned and solitary--which, I fancy, had much to do with the firm
friendship that has sprung up between Colonel Hamilton and Calvert. But
though in appearance and circumstance they resemble each other, in
mental characteristics they are opposites. Calvert has none of
Hamilton's brilliancy of intellect and vividness of imagination" (for
whatever their bitter disagreements were later, Mr. Jefferson, then and
for many years afterward, was always ready to acknowledge and admire
Hamilton's superb genius), "but he is of a profound logical order of
intelligence; he has good judgment and discretion, indomitable will
power, and a nobility of aim and faithfulness of purpose that are as
rare as they are admirable. I can conceive of no circumstances in which
he might be placed where his reliability and firmness would prove
inadequate to the occasion."
"His face bears out what you tell me of him, Mr. Jefferson," assented
the young artist, who was regarding Calvert with increasing interest.
"Tis a fine countenance, and I shall not be happy until I have
transferred it to canvas. I shall have to beg a few sittings of Calvert
Mr. Jefferson smiled. "I am afraid, Mr. Stuart, that you will find it
difficult to persuade Ned that he has a 'fine countenance'! He is the
soul of modesty as he is the soul of truth and honor." He stopped and
looked affectionately at young Calvert, who was still beside Madame
Carr, unconscious of the close scrutiny he was undergoing. "I hardly
know how to describe him to you," continued Mr. Jefferson, meditatively.
"His is a noble and lovable character. I never look at him but these
lines from Horace come to my mind--'_Quam desederio sit pudor aut modus
tam cari capitis'_! I can only say that had I been blessed with a son,"
and he sighed as he spoke, "I would have wished him to be like Edward
Calvert, and, believe me, 'tis not partiality that makes me speak of him
in such fashion. General Washington and Colonel Hamilton and Monsieur de
Lafayette, under whom he served at Yorktown, hold him as I do. Gentle
and tractable as he is, the lad has plenty of spirit, and ran away from
the College of New Jersey in 1780, where he had been matriculated but
two months, and, presenting himself to his guardian and friend, General
Washington, begged to be permitted to fight for his country. He was
scarce fifteen, and Dr. Witherspoon, whom, as you doubtless know, our
good friend Henry Laurens persuaded to leave Edinburgh to take charge of
the College at Princeton, violently opposed his abandoning his studies,
but the young man was determined, and was finally commissioned as an
aide to General Lafayette. He was of particular service to both
Lafayette and Rochambeau, as he understands and speaks the French
language excellently, having studied it since childhood and speaking
much with a French tutor whom he had for some years. He is to return to
the College of Princeton in the fall of this year, and finish his
studies. For though he will be nineteen years of age when he enters, yet
such is his determination to get the college education which his service
to his country interrupted, that he is resolved to recommence now at the
age when most youths have finished their studies. And if at the end of
his college course my duties still detain me abroad, 'tis my intention
and dearest wish to have him come out to me, and I promise you he will
make me as efficient a secretary as ever Hamilton made General
"All that you tell me only increases my interest in the young gentleman,
Mr. Jefferson," said Stuart, "and I am more determined than ever to have
him sit for me. I can see the picture," he went on, eagerly--"the fine,
youthful brow and wavy hair drawn loosely back and slightly powdered,
the blue eyes, aquiline nose, and firm mouth--the chin is a trifle
delicate but the jaw is square--" he was speaking half to himself,
noting in artist fashion the salient points of a countenance at once
attractive and handsome, not so much by reason of beautiful features as
because of the expression which was at once youthful, serene, and noble.
All these points were afterward portrayed by Mr. Stuart, though it was
not until many years later that the picture was executed, Mr. Stuart
being recalled almost immediately to London, where, indeed, Calvert
finally sat to him. That likeness, done in the most admirable fashion,
came later into the possession of one of Calvert's dearest friends and
greatest admirers, and was prized above most things by one who loved the
original so deeply and so long.
"And he has other attractions," said Mr. Jefferson, after a long pause,
during which the two gentlemen regarded young Calvert, the artist
absorbed in plans for his picture, Mr. Jefferson in affectionate
thoughts of the young man so dear to his heart. "He has one of the
clearest, freshest voices that you ever heard, Mr. Stuart; a voice that
matches his face and makes one believe in youth and happiness and truth.
Why should he not sing for us?" he exclaimed. "The dancing has ceased, I
see. Come, I will ask him."
Followed by Mr. Stuart, he went over to young Calvert, who was still
standing sentinel beside Madame Carr, and clapped him affectionately on
"Ned, we demand a song! Come, no refusal, sir!" he exclaimed. "I shall
send Caesar for my Amati and you must sing us something. Shall it be
'The Lass with the Delicate Air'? That is my favorite, I think. 'Tis, as
you know, Mr. Stuart, by the late Dr. Arne, the prince of song-writers.
Here, boy!" he said, turning to one of the small darkies standing about
to snuff the candles, "tell Caesar to bring me 'Pet.'"--for it was thus
he called his violin, which had been saved by Caesar's devotion and
bravery when all else at Elk Hill was destroyed by order of my Lord
Cornwallis. While this was going forward Calvert stood by silent,
outwardly calm and unruffled, inwardly much perturbed. It was his
pleasure and habit to sing for Mr. Jefferson or for General and Madame
Washington, but it was something of an ordeal to sing before an
audience. That quiet heroism, though, which was part of his character,
and which made him accept tranquilly everything, from the most trifling
inconvenience to the greatest trials, kept him from raising any
As Mr. Jefferson drew his bow across his violin the company fell away
from the centre of the room, leaving a clear space. Stepping forward he
leaned over his beloved Amati and played the opening bars of Dr. Arne's
famous ballad, with its liquid phrases and quaint intervals of melody.
At the first notes of the air Calvert stood beside him and lifted up his
fresh young voice of thrilling sweetness. It was one of those naturally
beautiful voices, which at this time and for many years longer had a
charm that none could resist, and which helped, among other things, to
earn for him the everlasting jealousy of that remarkable and versatile
scoundrel, Monsieur le Baron de St. Aulaire.
"I protest, sir," cried Mr. Gilbert from his place beside Miss
Crenshawe, when the bow at last dropped from the quivering strings, "I
protest I have not heard such music since St. George and Garat played
and sang together in Paris!"
Monsieur de Lafayette laid his hand affectionately on Calvert's
shoulder. "Ah, Ned," he said in his English with the strong accent,
"that was sweet, but if I mistake me not, thy voice sounded even sweeter
to my ears as thou sangst thy songs around the campfires at night after
our long marches and counter-marches when we hung upon Cornwallis's
flank or raced toward Petersburg to beat Phillips! 'Twas a very girl's
voice then, but it could make us forget fatigue and danger and
"I am glad to believe that I was of some service," said Calvert. "I have
often thought," he went on, smiling a little, "that had I not been under
the protection of General Washington I should never have been permitted
to make the campaign."
But the Marquis would have none of his modesty.
"No, no," he cried, "thou knowest thou wert my favorite aide and served
me faithfully and well. Dost thou not remember the many messages thou
didst carry to General Rochambeau for me when we lay before Yorktown?
And the friends thou hadst in his army? De Beaufort and d'Azay were
among the best, is it not so? But what is this?" he inquired, suddenly,
as he saw the middle of the long room cleared and a very army of slaves
approaching bearing an immense table already laid with fine damask and
"Madame Carr evidently thinks her guests are in need of refreshment
after these wearying musical performances," replied Calvert, laughing,
"and as we are too numerous to be entertained in the dining-room, supper
is to be served here. 'Tis frequently Mr. Jefferson's fashion when his
company is large."
With little formality the guests took their places at table, the ladies
all being seated and many of the older gentlemen. The younger ones stood
about and waited upon the ladies, contenting themselves by eating after
they were served, as they hung over their chairs and conversed with
Calvert with Beaufort and d'Azay were busily occupied, the French
officers devoting themselves to the wants of the beautiful Miss Peggy
Gary and Miss Molly Crenshawe, Calvert gravely seeing that the elderly
Mrs. Mason, mother of Mr. Jefferson's great friend, Mr. George Mason,
Mrs. Wythe, and other dowagers were bountifully supplied. It was like him
to pass by the young beauties to attend upon those who had greater needs
and less attractions. From his position behind the dowagers' chairs he
could catch bits of conversation from both ends of the table. Now it was
Mr. Jefferson's voice, rising above the noise, talk, and laughter,
offering some excellent Madeira to his abstemious friend, Mr. Arkwright.
"I insist," urged Mr. Jefferson, "for upon my word 'tis true, as someone
has said, that water has tasted of sinners ever since the Flood!"
Now it was Mr. Madison who arose, glass in hand, to propose a toast to
It was not a very eloquent farewell, but, as he said, "the message comes
from all hearts present, and the burden of it is a safe journey, great
achievement, and a speedy return."
When Mr. Jefferson rose to respond, then, indeed, was heard eloquence.
Toward the close of his brief reply there was a note of sadness in it.
"I have ever held it the first duty of a patriot to submit himself to
the commands of his country. My command has been to leave my country. I
would that it had been otherwise--but my country before all! And should
I be able to serve her in ever so little by going, no separation from
all I love best, no loss of ease and quiet pleasures, will be too costly
for me not to bear with resignation, nay, even with cheerfulness! I
shall take with me one hostage to happiness--my daughter--and should my
splendid exile to the greatest court of Europe be prolonged and my
duties become too arduous, I shall send to these shores for one to aid
me--one on whose fidelity and zeal I can rely--for my dear young
friend--Calvert of Strathore."
At this unexpected announcement Calvert started with surprise and
pleasure, having heard nothing of Mr. Jefferson's intention. "But why
should I speak of my exile?" continued Mr. Jefferson. "Shall I not be
among friends?" and he looked with affectionate regard toward the three
young Frenchmen. "Shall I not be among friends, the truest and noblest
that any country or any individual can boast? Your looks bespeak your
answer! Friends, I ask you to drink to Monsieur le Marquis de Lafayette
and to Messieurs de Beaufort and d'Azay!"
Amid the enthusiastic applause which followed, Lafayette was seen to
rise and lift his hand for silence.
"Since the first day we set foot upon this great country," he said, "we
have received naught but kindness, aid, honors. How shall we thank you
for that in a few words? We cannot, but we can make you a promise for
our King, our country, and ourselves. 'Tis this. Mr. Jefferson shall
find a welcome and a home in France such as we have found here, an
admiration, a respect, a love such as we cannot command. And should Mr.
Calvert come also, he shall be as a brother to us! I drink to our happy
reunion in France!"
"So you will come to France, too, Ned," cried d'Azay to Calvert. "I
shall claim you as my guest and take you down to our chateau of
Azay-le-Roi and show you to my sister Adrienne as a great American
"You will be blessed if she looks at you out of mere curiosity if for
naught else," murmured Beaufort at Calvert's ear, "for she is the
prettiest little nun in all France. Show Calvert thy locket, Henri."
Somewhat reluctantly d'Azay pulled forth a small ivory miniature in a
gold case, and holding it well within the hollow of his hand, so that
others might not see, he laid it before Calvert.
"Is she not a beauty?" demanded Beaufort, eagerly. "More beautiful, I
think, than the lovely Miss Shippen of Philadelphia, or Miss Bingham, or
any of your famous beauties, Calvert."
It was indeed a beautiful face that Calvert gazed upon, a slender, oval
face with violet eyes, shadowed by long, thick lashes; a straight nose
with slightly distended nostrils, which, with the curling lips, gave a
look of haughtiness to the countenance in spite of its youthfulness. A
cloud of dusky hair framed the face, which, altogether, was still
extremely immature and (as Calvert thought) capable of developing into
noble loveliness or hardening into unpleasing though striking beauty.
Beaufort still hung over Calvert's shoulder. "She is 'The Lass with the
Delicate Air' whom you but just now sang of, Calvert," he said, laughing
softly. "I wonder who will ever be lucky enough to find a way to win
As Calvert stood gazing in silent admiration at the miniature and but
half-listening to Beaufort's wild talk, Mr. Jefferson suddenly rose in
"One more toast," he said, in a loud voice--"a toast without which we
cannot disperse. Ned, I call on you, who are his young favorite, for a
toast to General Washington!"
There was a burst of applause at the name, and then Calvert rose. He was
a gallant young figure as he stood there, his wine-glass uplifted and a
serious expression on his boyish face.
"To the one," he cried, after an instant's hesitation, "whom we hold in
our hearts to be the bravest of soldiers, the purest of patriots, and
the wisest of men--General Washington!"
As he spoke the last words, Mr. Jefferson drew aside a heavy curtain
which had hung across the wall behind his chair, and as the velvet fell
apart a replica of the famous portrait of General Washington, which Mr.
Stuart had but lately painted for the Marquis of Lansdowne, was revealed
to the surprised and delighted guests. Amid a burst of patriotic
enthusiasm everyone arose and, with glass upheld, saluted the great
Hero, and then--and for the last time for many years--the Sage of
AT THE PALAIS ROYAL
It was in pursuance of his favorite plan to make Calvert his secretary,
should he be appointed Minister to the court of Louis XVI., that Mr.
Jefferson wrote to the young man four years later, inviting him to come
to France. This invitation was eagerly accepted, and it was thus that
Mr. Calvert found himself in company with Beaufort at the American
Legation in Paris on that February evening in the year 1789.
When the great doors of the Legation had shut upon the two young men,
they found themselves under the marquise where Beaufort's sleigh--a very
elaborate and fantastic affair--awaited them. Covering themselves with
the warm furs, they set off at a furious pace down the Champs Elysees to
the Place Louis XV. It was both surprising and alarming to Calvert to
note with what reckless rapidity Beaufort drove through the crowded
boulevard, where pedestrians mingled perforce with carriages, sleighs,
and chairs, there being no foot pavements, and with what smiling
indifference he watched their efforts to get out of his horses' way.
"'Tis insufferable, my dear Calvert," he said, when his progress was
stopped entirely by a crowd of people, who poured out of a small street
abutting upon the boulevard, "'tis insufferable that this rabble cannot
make way for a gentleman's carriage."
"I should think the rabble would find it insufferable that a gentleman's
carriage should be driven so recklessly in this crowded thoroughfare, my
dear Beaufort," returned Calvert, quietly, looking intently at that same
rabble as it edged and shuffled and slipped its way along into the great
street. At Calvert's remark, the young Frenchman shrugged his shoulders
and shook his reins over his impatient horses until the chime of silver
bells around their necks rang again. "As usual--in revolt against the
powers that be," he laughed.
Calvert leaned forward. "What is it?" he said. "There seems to be some
commotion. They are carrying something."
'Twas as he had said. In the crowd of poor-looking people was a still
closer knot of men, evidently carrying some heavy object.
"Qu'est ce qu'il y a, mon ami?" said Calvert, touching a man on the
shoulder who had been pushed close to the sleigh. The man addressed
looked around. He was poorly and thinly clothed, with only a ragged
muffler knotted about his throat to keep off the stinging cold. From
under his great shaggy eyebrows a pair of wild, sunken eyes gleamed
ferociously, but there was a smile upon his lips.
"'Tis nothing, M'sieur," he said, nonchalantly. "'Tis only a poor wretch
who has died from the cold and they are taking him away. You see he
could not get any charcoal this morning when he went to Monsieur
Juigne. 'Tis best so." He turned away carelessly, and, forcing himself
through the crowd, was soon lost to sight.
"There are many such," said Beaufort, gloomily, in answer to Calvert's
look of inquiry. "What will you have? The winter has been one of
unexampled, of never-ending cold. The government, the cures, the nobles
have done much for the poor wretches, but it has been impossible to
relieve the suffering. They have, at least, to be thankful that freezing
is such an easy death, and when all is said, they are far better off
dead than alive. But it is extremely disagreeable to see the shivering
scarecrows on the streets, and they ought to be kept to the poorer
quarters of the city." He had thrown off his look of gloom and spoke
carelessly, though with an effort, as he struck the horses, which
started again down the great avenue.
Calvert looked for an instant at Beaufort. "'Tis unlike you to speak
so," he said, at length. Indeed, ever since the young man had come into
the breakfast-room at the Legation, Calvert had been puzzled by some
strange difference in his former friend. It was not that the young
Frenchman was so much more elaborately and exquisitely dressed than in
the days when Calvert had known him in America, or that he was older or
of more assurance of manner. There was some subtle change in his very
nature, in the whole impression he gave out, or so it seemed to Calvert.
There was an air of flippancy, of careless gayety, about Beaufort now
very unlike the ingenuous candor, the boyish simplicity, of the
Beaufort who had served as a volunteer under Rochambeau in the war of
"What will you have?" he asked again, nonchalantly. "Wait until you have
been in Paris awhile and you will better understand our manner of
speech. 'Tis a strange enough jargon, God knows," he said, laughing in a
disquieted fashion. "And France is not America."
"And though the cold is doubtless unfortunate for the poor, the rich
have enjoyed the winter greatly. Why, I have not had such sport since
d'Azay and I used to go skating on your Schuylkill!" He flicked the
horses again. "And as for the ladies!--they crowd to the pieces d'eau in
the royal gardens. Those that can't skate are pushed about in chairs
upon runners or drive all day in their sleighs. 'Tis something new, and,
you know, Folly must be ever amused."
Even while he spoke numbers of elegantly mounted sleighs swept by, and
to the fair occupants of many of them Beaufort bowed with easy grace.
Here and there along the wide street great fires were burning, tended by
cures in their long cassocks and crowded around by shivering men and
women. The doors of the churches and hospitals stood open, and a
continual stream of freezing wretches passed in to get warmed before
proceeding on their way. Upon many houses were large signs bearing a
notice to the effect that hot soup would be served free during certain
hours, and a jostling, half-starved throng was standing at each door.
There was a sort of terror of misery and despair over the whole scene,
brilliant though it was, which affected Calvert painfully.
"Where are you going to take me?" he asked Beaufort, as the horses
turned into the Place Louis XV.
"Where should I be taking you but to the incomparable Palais Royal, the
capital of Paris as Paris is of France?" returned Beaufort, gayly. "'Tis
a Parisian's first duty to a stranger. There you will see the world in
little, hear all the latest news and the most scandalous gossip, find
the best wines and coffee, read the latest pamphlets--and let me tell
you, my dear Calvert, they come out daily by the dozens in these
times--see the best-known men about town, and--but I forget. I am
telling you of what the Palais Royal used to be. In these latter times
it has changed greatly," he spoke gloomily now. "'Tis the
gathering-place of Orleans men in these days, and they are fast turning
into a Hell what was once very nearly an earthly Paradise!"
"You seem to know the place well," said Mr. Calvert.
"No man of fashion but knows it," returned Beaufort, "though I think
'twill soon be deserted by all of us who love the King."
"You were not so fond of kings in America," said Calvert, smiling a
"I was young and hot-headed then. No, no, Calvert, I have learned many
things since Yorktown. Nor do I regret what I then did, but"--he paused
an instant--"I see trouble ahead for my country and my class. Shall I
not stick to my King and my order? There will be plenty who will desert
both. 'Tis not the fashion to be loyal now," he went on, bitterly. "Even
d'Azay hath changed. He, like Lafayette and your great friend Mr.
Jefferson and so many others, is all for the common people. Perhaps I am
but a feather-headed fool, but it seems to me a dangerous policy, and I
think, with your Shakespeare, that perhaps 'twere better 'to bear the
ills we have'--how goes it? I can never remember verse."
As he finished speaking, he reined in his horses sharply, and looking
about him, Calvert perceived that they had stopped before a building
whose massive exterior was most imposing. Alighting and throwing the
reins to the groom, Beaufort led Calvert under the arcades of the Palais
Royal and into the grand courtyard, where were such crowds and such
babel of noises as greatly astonished the young American. Shops lined
the sides of the vast building--shops of every variety, filled with
every kind of luxury known to that luxurious age; cafes whose reputation
had spread throughout Europe, swarming with people, all seemingly under
the influence of some strange agitation; book-stalls teeming with
brand-new publications and crowded with eager buyers; marionette shows;
theatres; dancing-halls--all were there. Boys, bearing trays slung about
their shoulders by leathern straps and heaped with little trick toys,
moved continually among the throngs, hawking their wares and explaining
the operation of them. Streams of people passed continually through the
velvet curtains hung before Herr Curtius's shop to see his marvellous
waxworks within. Opposite this popular resort was the Theatre de
Seraphim, famed for its "ombres chinoises," and liberally patronized by
the frequenters of the Palais Royal. A little farther along under the
arcades was the stall where Mademoiselle la Pierre, the Prussian
giantess, could be seen for a silver piece. Next to this place of
amusement was a small salon containing a mechanical billiard-table, over
which a billiard-ball, when adroitly struck, would roll, touching the
door of a little gilded chateau and causing the images of celebrated
personages to appear at each of the windows, to the huge delight of the
easily amused crowds.
Cold as the afternoon was, the press of people was tremendous, and
besides the numbers bent on amusement, throngs of men stood about under
the wind-swept arcades, talking excitedly, some with frightened, furtive
face and air, others boldly and recklessly.
As they passed along, Calvert noted with surprise that Beaufort seemed
to have but few acquaintances among the crowds of gesticulating, excited
men, and that the look of disquiet upon his face was intensifying each
moment. When they reached the Cafe de l'Ecole, the storm burst.
"'Tis an infernal shame," he said, angrily, sinking into a chair at a
small table, and pointing Calvert to the one opposite him, "'tis an
infernal shame that this pleasure palace should be made the hotbed of
political intrigue; that these brawling, demented demagogues should be
allowed to rant and rave here to an excited mob; that these disloyal,
seditious pamphlets should be distributed and read and discussed beneath
the windows of the King's own cousin! The King must be mad to permit
this folly, which increases daily. Where will it end?" He looked at
Calvert and clapped his hands together. A waiter came running up.
"What will you have, Calvert?--some of the best cognac and coffee?" he
asked. "There is no better to be found in all France than here."
"'Twill suit me excellently," said Calvert, absently, thinking more of
what Beaufort had told him of the tendencies of the times than of the
coffee and cognac of the Cafe de l'Ecole. As he spoke, the man, who had
stood by passively awaiting his orders, suddenly started and looked at
the young American attentively.
"But--pardon, Messieurs," he stammered, "is it possible that I see
Monsieur Calvert at Paris?" Beaufort looked up in astonishment at the
servant who had so far forgotten himself as to address two gentlemen
without permission, and Calvert, turning to the man and studying his
face for an instant, suddenly seized him by the hand cordially, and
exclaimed, "My good Bertrand, is it indeed you?"
"Ah! Monsieur--what happiness! I had never thought to see Monsieur
"Then you were destined to be greatly mistaken, Bertrand," returned
Calvert, laughing, "for you are likely to see me often. I am to be here
in Paris for an indefinite length of time, and as Monsieur de Beaufort
tells me that the Cafe de l'Ecole surpasses all others, I shall be here
"And now," broke in Beaufort, addressing the man, who still stood
beaming with delight and surprise upon Calvert, "go and get us our
coffee and cognac." The man departed hastily and Beaufort turned to
"Allow me to congratulate you upon finding an acquaintance in Paris so
soon! May I ask who the gentleman is?"
"The gentleman was once a private in a company under Monsieur de
Lafayette's orders before Yorktown, and is my very good friend," says
Calvert, quietly, ignoring Beaufort's somewhat disdainful raillery. What
he did not tell Beaufort was that Private Bertrand owed his life and
much material aid to himself, and that the man was profoundly devoted
and grateful. In Calvert's estimation it was but a simple service he had
rendered the poor soldier--rescuing him from many dying and wounded
comrades who had fallen in that first fierce onslaught upon the Yorktown
redoubt. He had directed the surgeon to dress the man's wounds--he had
been knocked on the head with a musket--and had eased the poor wretch's
mind greatly by speaking to him in his own tongue, for most of the
French soldiery under Rochambeau and Lafayette knew not a word of
English. When Bertrand recovered, Calvert had sent him a small sum of
money and a kind message, neither of which was the man likely to forget.
Never, in the whole course of his pinched, oppressed young life in
France, had kindness and consideration been shown him from those above
him. Tyranny and abuse had been his lot and the lot of those all about
him, and such a passionate devotion for the young American officer was
kindled in his breast as would have greatly astonished its object had he
known it. It was with an almost ludicrous air of solicitude that
Bertrand placed the coffee before Calvert and poured out his cognac and
then hung about, waiting anxiously for any sign or word from him.
"Is it not the best coffee in the world?" said Beaufort, sipping his
complacently and looking about the crowded room for a familiar face.
Apparently he found none, for, leaning across the table and speaking to
Calvert quite loudly and in an insolent tone, he said, "'Tis a good
thing the coffee is of the best, or, my word of honor, I would not come
to a place which gentlemen seem to have abandoned and to which canaille
flock." And with that he leaned back and looked about him with a fine
nonchalance. There was a little murmur of suppressed ejaculations and
menaces from those nearest who had heard his words, but it soon subsided
at the sight of Monsieur de Beaufort's handsome face and reckless air.
"There is also another charm about the Cafe de l'Ecole, my dear
Calvert," he said, speaking in a slightly lower tone and with an
appreciative smile. "Monsieur Charpentier, our host, has a most
undeniably pretty daughter. She is the caissiere, fortunately, and may
be seen--and admired--at any time. We will see her as we go out. And
speaking of beauties," he continued, turning the stem of his wine-glass
slowly around, "you have asked no word of Mademoiselle d'Azay--or, I
should say, Madame la Marquise de St. Andre!"
"Ah!" said Calvert, politely, "is she married?"
"What a cold-blooded creature!" said Beaufort, laughing. "Let me tell
you, Calvert, the marriage which you take so nonchalantly was the
sensation of Paris. It was the talk of the town for weeks, and the
strangest marriage--if marriage it can be called--ever heard of. 'Tis
now three years since Mademoiselle Adrienne d'Azay finished her studies
at the Couvent de Marmoutier ('tis an old abbaye on the banks of the
Loire, Calvert, near Azay-le-Roi, the chateau of the d'Azay family) and
came to dazzle all Paris under the chaperonage of her great aunt, the
old Duchesse d'Azay. As you have seen her portrait--and, I dare say,
remember its smallest detail--I will spare you the recital of those
charms which captivated half the young gentlemen of our world on her
first appearance at court. She became the rage, and, before six months
had passed, Madame d'Azay had arranged a marriage with the rich old St.
Andre. She would sell her own soul for riches, Calvert; judge,
therefore, how willingly she would sell her niece's soul." He paused an
instant and tapped impatiently on the table for another glass of cognac.
"It was a great match, I suppose," hazarded Calvert.
"Oh, yes; Monsieur de St. Andre was a man high in the confidence of both
the King and Queen--and let me tell thee, 'tis no easy matter to please
_both_ the King and Queen--and a man of rank and fortune. 'Tis safe to
say the Duchess was most concerned as to his fortune, which was
enormous. He was a trifle old, however, for Mademoiselle d'Azay, he
being near sixty-five, and she but eighteen."
"Gracious Heaven!" ejaculated Calvert. "What a cruel wrong to so young a
creature! What a marriage!"
"Upon my word, I believe only the recital of wrong has power to stir
that cold American blood of thine," said Beaufort, laughing again. "But
do not excite yourself too much. After all 'twas scarcely a marriage,
for, within an hour after the ceremony, the elderly bridegroom was alone
in his travelling coach on his way to Madrid, sent thither at the
instant and urgent command of the King on important private business
connected with the Family Compact. From that journey he never returned
alive, being attacked with a fatal fluxion of the lungs at a great
public banquet given in his honor by Count Florida Blanca. His body was
brought back to France, and his soi-disant widow mourned him decorously
for a year. Since then she has been the gayest, as she is the fairest,
creature in the great world of Paris."
"Is she, indeed, so beautiful?" asked Calvert, indifferently.
"She is truly incomparable," returned Beaufort, warmly. "And I promise
thee, Ned," he went on, in his reckless fashion, "that that cool head of
thine and that stony heart--if thou hast a heart, which I scarce
believe--will be stirred at sight of Madame de St. Andre, or I know not
the power of a lovely face--and no man knows better the power of a
lovely face than I, who am moved by every one I see!" he added, laughing
ruefully. "Besides her beauty and her fortune, there is a wayward
brilliancy about her, a piquant charm in her state of widowed maid, that
makes her fairly irresistible. The Queen finds her charming and that
Madame de Polignac is pleased to be jealous. 'Tis even said that
d'Artois and d'Orleans, those archenemies, agree only in finding her
enchanting, and the rumor goes that 'twas d'Artois's influence that sent
the elderly husband off post-haste to Madrid. A score of gentlemen
dangle after her constantly, though apparently there is no one she
prefers--unless," he hesitated, and Calvert noticed that he paled a
little and spoke with an effort, "unless it be Monsieur le Baron de St.
"And who is Monsieur de St. Aulaire?" inquired Calvert.
"A most charming man and consummate villain," says Beaufort, with a
gloomy smile. "The _fine fleur_ of our aristocracy, a maker of tender
rhymes, a singer of tender songs, a good swordsman, a brilliant wit, a
perfect courtier, a lucky gambler--in a word, just that fortunate
combination of noble and ignoble qualities most likely to fascinate
Madame de St. Andre," and a shadow settled for a moment on the debonair
face of Monsieur de Beaufort.
It did not need that shadow or that effort at light raillery to inform
Calvert that Beaufort himself was an unsuccessful unit in the "score of
gentlemen who dangled after" Madame de St. Andre, and he would have
essayed to offer his friend some comfort had he known how. But the truth
was that Calvert, never having experienced the anguish and delights of
love, felt a natural hesitation in proffering either sympathy or advice
to one so much wiser than himself.
While he was revolving some expression of interest (it was always his
way to think well before speaking and to keep silent if his thoughts
were not to his entire satisfaction), a sudden murmur, which rapidly
developed into a deep roar as it drew nearer, was heard outside, and at
the Cafe de l'Ecole the shouting ceased and one man's voice, harsh,
incisive, agitated, could be heard above all the others. Looking through
the wide glass doors Calvert and Beaufort saw in the gathering dusk the
possessor of that voice being raised hurriedly upon the shoulders of
those who stood nearest him in the throng, and in that precarious
position he remained for a few minutes haranguing the turbulent mass of
people. Suddenly he sprang down, and, elbowing his way through the
crowd, he entered the Cafe de l'Ecole, followed by as many as could
squeeze themselves into the already crowded room.
"What is it?" Beaufort demanded, languidly, of Bertrand. The man, by
tiptoeing, was trying to see over the heads of the smokers and drinkers,
who had risen to their feet and were applauding the orator who had just
"It is Monsieur Danton who is come in. He is making his way to the
caisse, doubtless to speak with Madame, his wife. Evidently Monsieur
has just addressed a throng in the Gardens."
"Ah! then 'tis certainly time that we go, since Monsieur Danton invades
the place. 'Tis a poverty-stricken young lawyer from Arcis-sur-Aube, my
dear Calvert," said Beaufort, disdainfully, "who has but lately come to
Paris and who, having no briefs to occupy his time, fills it to good
advantage by wooing and marrying the pretty Charpentier. The pretty
Charpentier has a pretty dot. I can't show you the dot, but come with me
and I will show you the beauty."
He got up from the table followed by Calvert and, with his hand laid
lightly on his silver dress sword, made his way easily through the surly
crowd, who, seemingly impelled by some irresistible power and against
their wish, opened a passage for him and the young stranger. As they
drew near the comptoir, Calvert perceived for the first time, leaning
against it, the man who had created such an excitement by his words and
sudden entrance. He was a big, burly figure, with a head and face that
had something of the bull in them. Indeed, they had come by that
resemblance honestly, for a bull had tossed him, goring the lips and
flattening the nose, and the marks were never to be effaced. Smallpox,
too, had left its sign in the deeply scarred skin. Only the eyes
remained to show one what might have been the original beauty of the
face. They shone, brilliant and keen, from beneath great tufted
eyebrows, above which waved a very lion's mane of rough, dark hair.
"A face to be remembered, this Monsieur Danton's," said Calvert to
himself. And, indeed, it was. Years afterward, when he saw it again and
for the last time, every detail of that rugged countenance was as fresh
in his memory as it was at that moment in the Cafe de l'Ecole. As for
Danton, all unconscious of the young American's scrutiny, his gaze was
bent upon the pretty, vivacious little beauty who sat behind the caisse,
and had so lately become Madame Danton. As he looked, the harsh features
softened and a sentimental expression came into the keen eyes. "'Tis the
same conquered, slavish look the painter hath put into the lion's face
when Ariadne is by," mused Calvert to himself.
Beaufort was counting out silver pieces slowly, and slowly dropping them
on the caissiere's desk. He looked at Calvert and nodded appreciatively,
coolly toward Madame Danton.
"Quelle charmante tete," he said, lightly, nonchalantly.
The burly figure leaning on the comptoir straightened up as if stung
into action; the softened eyes kindled with speechless wrath and flamed
into the imperturbable, debonair face of Monsieur de Beaufort. One of
the silver pieces rolled upon the floor. Calvert stooped quickly for it.
"Madame will permit me," he said, courteously, and, lifting his hat,
placed the coin upon the desk. Without another look or word he turned
and, followed leisurely by Beaufort, made his way to the door.
"An insolent," said Danton, savagely, to Madame, and gazing after
Beaufort's retreating back.
"Yes," returned Madame, grinding her pretty teeth with rage--"Monsieur
le Vicomte de Beaufort is an insolent--and not for the first time."
"I shall remember Monsieur le Vicomte de Beaufort's insolence as well as
I shall remember the Englishman's politeness."
Bertrand edged nearer the herculean Monsieur Danton. "Pardon, M'sieur,"
he commenced, nervously, "it is not an Englishman--it is an American--a
young American officer--Monsieur Calvert--aide-decamp to Monsieur le
Marquis de Lafayette, before Yorktown. A patriot of patriots,
Messieurs," he went on, turning to the listening throng about him; "a
lover of freedom, a compassionate heart. He saved me from death,
Messieurs, he gave me money, he sent me clothing, he saw that I was fed
and cared for, Messieurs." He told his story with many gesticulations
and much emphasis, interrupted now and then by huzzas for the young
Calvert would have been vastly astonished to know that the lifting of
his hat and his courteous tone had contrived to make a popular hero of
him; as much astonished, perhaps, as Beaufort to know that his careless,
impertinent compliment to Madame Danton's charming head had sealed the
fate of his own. But 'tis in this hap-hazard fashion that the destiny of
mortals is decided. We are but the victims of chance or mischance. Of
all vainglorious philosophies, that of predestination is the vainest.
Outside, the night had fallen, and the shops, arcades, and gardens of
the Palais Royal were ablaze with innumerable candles and illuminated
Chinese lanterns. Before the entrance Monsieur de Beaufort's groom was
walking his half-frozen and restless horses up and down the icy street.
Beaufort laid his hand on Calvert's arm. "Come," he said, gloomily, "the
place is become insufferable. Let me take you back to the Legation."
Springing in he turned his horses' heads once more toward the Place
Louis XV. and the Champs Elysees, and, while he guided them through the
crowded and badly lighted thoroughfare, Calvert had leisure to think
upon the events of the last hour. It was with resentment and shame he
reflected upon his friend's airy insolence to the pretty caissiere of
the Cafe de l'Ecole. That it should have been offered in her husband's
presence was a gratuitous aggravation of the offence. That it should
have been offered her with such disdainful contempt for any objection on
her part or her husband's, with such easy assurance that there could be
no objections on their part, was another gratuitous aggravation of the
offence. In that noble insolence Calvert read a sign of the times more
legible than the clearest writing in the pamphlets flooding the
book-stalls of the Palais Royal.
THE PRIVATE SECRETARY
They drove in silence almost to the rue Neuve de Berry, Calvert musing
on the strange glimpse he had had of life in Paris, Beaufort busy with
his restless horses. At the grille of the Legation Calvert alighted and
Beaufort bade him good-by, still with the gloomy, foreboding look on his
When Calvert had mounted the great stairway, with the carved salamanders
on the balustrade ever crawling their way up and down, he found Mr.
Jefferson sitting alone before the bright fire in his library. As soon
as he heard the young man's step he looked up eagerly.
"At last!" he cried. "I was wishing that you would come in. Mr. Morris
has just been despatched in my carriage to the rue Richelieu, and I was
beginning to wonder what that wild Beaufort had done with you to keep
you so late."
"We are but just returned from a sight of the Palais Royal," said
Calvert, throwing off his great-coat and sitting down beside Mr.
Jefferson, who rang for candles and a box of his Virginia tobacco. "And
a strange enough sight it was--a turbulent crowd, and much political
speaking from hoarse-throated giants held aloft on their friends'
shoulders." "A strange enough place, indeed," said Mr. Jefferson,
shaking his head and smiling a little at Calvert's wholesale description
of it. "'Tis the political centre of Paris, in fact, and though the
crowds may be turbulent and the orators windy, yet 'tis there that the
fruitful seed of the political harvest, which this great country will
reap with such profit, is being sown. 'Despise not the day of small
things,'" he went on, cheerfully. "These rude, vehement orators, with
their narrow, often erroneous, ideas, are nevertheless doing a good
work. They are opening the minds of the ignorant, clearing a way for
broader, higher ideals to lodge therein; they are the pioneers, in this
hitherto undiscovered country for France, of civil liberty, and of
freedom of thought and action."
"And these vehement orators, with their often erroneous ideas--will they
do no harm? Will these pioneers not lead their fellows astray in that
undiscovered country?" suggested Calvert, not without a blush to think
that he had the temerity to question the soundness of Mr. Jefferson's
"Were we not inexperienced, hot-headed men who gathered in the Apollo
room at the Raleigh to protest against the proceedings in Massachusetts?
Were we not rash, windy orators in the House of Burgesses--nay, in
Congress itself? Yet did we not accomplish great things--great good?" He
laid his hand affectionately on the shoulder of the young man who
remained silent, revolving many things, Aeneas-like, but too modest to
oppose himself further to Mr. Jefferson.
"No, no, my boy," continued Mr. Jefferson, after an instant's silence,
"do not believe that the awakening which made of us a great nation will
not be equally glorious for France! And with such leaders as are hers,
will she not march proudly and triumphantly forward to her day of glory?
Will not a Lafayette do even more for his own country than ever he did
for America? Even I have been able to help somewhat. 'Tis true, as
Minister from the United States of America, I cannot use my official
influence, but surely as a patriot, as an American citizen who is
profoundly, overwhelmingly grateful for the aid, the generosity, the
friendship of this great country, I can give counsel, the results of our
experience, a word of encouragement, of good cheer."
He paused, his noble face alight with enthusiasm and emotion. Of all the
fine traits of that fine character none was more strongly marked than
that of gratitude. Never ashamed to show it, his only fear was that he
might not prove grateful enough. Other Americans, of as great talents
and colder hearts, could find it easy to believe that France had
extended her aid to us for diplomatic purposes--to guard her own
interests and humble her adversary, England--could look on with neutral
eyes at her awful struggles, could keep America calmly aloof from all
her entanglements. Not so Mr. Jefferson. Such a return for her services
seemed to him but the acme of selfishness and ingratitude. It was not
bad statesmanship that made him bear so long with the blunders, the
impertinences, the fatuity of Monsieur Genet; it was the remembrance of
all the benefits showered upon us by the country which that charlatan
represented. Perhaps 'tis well that those who hold the welfare of a
nation in their hands should, like the gods, feel neither fear, nor
anger, nor love, nor hatred, nor gratitude--in a word, should be unmoved
by forces that sway the common mortal, so that, free from all earthly
claims, that nation soars away to dizzying heights of prosperity and
power. _Pro bono publico_ is a wellnigh irresistible plea. But there are
statesmen in whose code of morals national virtues are identical with
personal virtues, national crimes with personal crimes. Such a one was
"No, no," he went on, musingly, filling his long pipe with the mild,
fragrant Virginia tobacco which had been shipped to him in the packet of
two months back, "we must not forget our obligations. Would that we
could pay some of the moneyed ones! The finances of this country are in
a deplorable state and there are millions of indebtedness on account of
our war. But if we cannot do that, we can, at least, give our moral aid
to those who are trying to bring about great reforms in this
kingdom--reforms which, I hope, will be carried through at the
forthcoming States-General to be held in May. Already the elections are
preparing, and some of our friends will undoubtedly represent their
orders. D'Azay and Lafayette will assuredly be nominated from the
"General de Lafayette and d'Azay!" said Calvert. "I should like to see
them again. The last time was at Monticello."
"Yes, yes," returned Mr. Jefferson, smiling at the pleasant
recollection of that last evening in Virginia. "Lafayette is still in
Auvergne, I believe, busy with his elections, so that I fear he will not
be here tomorrow, the evening of the weekly Legation reception. But
d'Azay will doubtless present himself, since Monsieur de Beaufort tells
us he returns tomorrow. Indeed, he and his aunt, Madame la Duchesse
d'Azay, and his sister, the lovely Madame de St. Andre, are among my
stanchest friends in this great city and nearly always do me the honor
to be my guests at the receptions and dinners I find it both so
agreeable and necessary to give. I have already engaged Mr. Morris's
company for the evening. It will give me great pleasure to introduce two
such Americans to the world of Paris," and he laid his hand
affectionately, in his customary fashion, on the young man's shoulder.
As Mr. Jefferson had said, he entertained frequently, and 'twas a very
brilliant society that gathered at least once a week in the salon of the
minister from the young Republic, drawn thither by policy, curiosity,
respect and admiration for Mr. Jefferson, a desire to consult him on the
important topics of the hour, and a certain freedom from constraint--a
feeling as of being on neutral ground. For already the salons of Paris
were divided against themselves. No longer simply the gatherings of
fashionable, of charming, of frivolous men and women, they had grown
somewhat serious with the seriousness of the time. In the salon of
Madame Necker gathered the solid supporters of the King, and, above
all, the solid supporters of Monsieur Necker, who was at the height of
his power and complacently ready to play the role of saviour to his
country. At the Palais Royal crowded the queer followers of Monsieur le
Duc d'Orleans, the enemies of the King. At the house of the beautiful
Theroigne de Mericourt were to be found the men of the most advanced,
the most revolutionary, ideas, the future murderers and despoilers of
France. In the salon of the exquisite Madame de Sabran flocked all those
young aristocrats, wits, sprigs of nobility, who believed in nothing in
Heaven or earth save in the Old Order. There was the serious circle
around Madame de Tesse, where new ideas were advanced and discussed, and
there was the gay circle of Madame de Beauharnais, whose chief
attractions were her delightful dinners, and who, the wits declared, had
"intended to found a salon, but had only succeeded in starting a
restaurant." Besides these, there were a dozen other important centres
representing as many different shades of political faith. But in the
salon of the American Legation gathered the best of every following,
for, although Mr. Jefferson's democratic principles were, of course,
well and widely known, yet was he so respected, his moderation and
fairness so recognized, that all considered it an honor to be his friend
and his presence a guarantee of amicable discussion and good-fellowship.
"I shall be very glad to meet your new friends, sir," said Calvert,
smiling back at Mr. Jefferson as that gentleman arose and stood with his
back to the fire, his tall, thin figure silhouetted by the firelight on
the wall (the candles were still unlit), his hands clasped lightly
behind his back, as was his wont. "I had the pleasure of meeting an old
one this afternoon."
"Indeed," said Mr. Jefferson, "and who was that?"
"A poor French private named Bertrand, who served in a company under
General de Lafayette's orders in the attack on Yorktown, and whom I had
the occasion to know rather well. I fancy," he went on, smiling a little
at the recollection of Beaufort's haughtiness, "that Beaufort was
somewhat amazed at the cordiality of our meeting."
"Beaufort!" ejaculated Mr. Jefferson, and a slight frown gathered on his
forehead. "I fancy that Beaufort and his ilk will be amazed at many
things shortly. Ned, I warn you to beware of him. He has changed greatly
since the days when he fought so gallantly under Rochambeau in our great
War of Independence. He has become an aristocrat of aristocrats, a
popinjay, a silken dandy, like most of the young nobles at this court.
He is high in the King's favor and devoted to his cause. Though your
friendships and opinions can have no official weight, as you are my
private secretary, still 'twere well to be careful, to be as neutral as
possible, to occasion no offence. And, indeed, Mr. Secretary," he went
on, shaking off his serious air and speaking in a lighter tone, "I
should be instructing you in your duties, explaining the diplomatic
situation to you, instead of discussing foolish young noblemen like
Monsieur de Beaufort."
"I shall remember your advice, Mr. Jefferson," said Calvert, quietly,
"and I am ready for any instructions and duties."
"After all, 'twill be unwise to begin them this evening," returned Mr.
Jefferson, shaking his head. "You are doubtless wearied with your
journey, and we had better postpone your induction into office until
to-morrow, when we can take the whole day for business. You can have no
idea, my dear Ned, of the numberless affairs put into our hands," he
went on, with a note of anxiety in his voice, "or with what difficulty
many of them are arranged. The constant change of ministers is most
disconcerting among the many disconcerting factors of official existence
here, and just now I am harassed by my non-success in getting from
Congress an appropriation to pay bills for medals and for the redemption
of our captives. It seems that the interest on the Dutch loans until
1790 must be paid before other claims, which leaves but a small chance
for those bills to be liquidated. By the way, to-morrow you must write
me a letter to Monsieur de Villedeuil a propos of a Mr. Nesbit and his
debts--an affair lately put into our care. But there! no business this
evening. 'Tis but a short while before dinner, which you and I will take
quite alone this evening, Ned, and you must tell me of yourself and what
you have been doing all these years at the College of Princeton."
Mr. Jefferson looked at the young man before him with such affectionate
interest that Calvert, though he was the least talkative or egotistic of
mortals, found himself telling of his college life, the vacations at
Strathore, and his visits to Philadelphia and New York.
Now and then one sees a person in the _mezzo cammin_ of his years so
happily constituted by nature as to attract and be attracted by youth.
He seems to hold some fortunate, ever-youthful principle of life denied
to the rest of us. It was so with Mr. Jefferson. Statesman, philosopher,
scientist himself, he yet numbered the young and inexperienced among his
many friends, and not one of them held so warm a place in his affections
as young Calvert of Strathore. He had received from Dr. Witherspoon the
accounts of his career at college, where, although never greatly
popular, he had won his way by his quiet self-reliance, entire
sincerity, and the accuracy and solidity of his mind rather than by any
brilliancy of intellect. These sterling gifts had first attracted Mr.
Jefferson's notice and excited his admiration and affection. The lonely
condition of the young man, too, though borne by him in that
uncomplaining fashion characteristic of him, touched Mr. Jefferson, the
more, perhaps, for the very silence and stoicism with which 'twas
supported. He was, therefore, greatly surprised when he heard Calvert
allude to it for the first time on that winter's afternoon. The young
man had taken Mr. Jefferson's place before the open fire and now stood
leaning against the chimney-piece as he talked, while Mr. Jefferson,
sitting beside the reading-table, drew deep whiffs of the fragrant
tobacco from his long pipe and listened interestedly to what Calvert had
to say, smiling now and then appreciatively. After a little the young
man ceased to speak and stood gazing meditatively into the glowing logs.
"A word more, Mr. Jefferson," he said, at length, still gazing into the
gleaming embers. As he stood so, looking down into the fire, the
flickering light leaped up and played upon his quiet face, upon the
clean-cut lips, the firm jaw, the aquiline nose, the broad, smooth brow,
from which the dark-brown hair, unpowdered, waved back, tied at the neck
with a black ribbon whose ends fell down upon the broad young shoulders.
Perhaps it was the changing light, or perhaps it was the shadow from his
uplifted hand on which he lightly leaned his head, that made his eyes
seem dark and troubled, and quite unlike their usual serene selves. As
Mr. Jefferson looked at the young man an uneasy thought took shape in
his mind that that face's cheerful expression had altered since it had
entered his doors, that the shadow of a change had somehow come upon it.
"A word more," said Calvert again, resting his foot upon one of the
burnished andirons, and removing his gaze from the flickering fire to
Mr. Jefferson's attentive face. "I believe that not in my letters, and
assuredly not since getting here, have I thanked you gratefully enough
for summoning me to you. 'Tis such an honor and a pleasure to be with
you, to work for you, that I cannot express myself as I would like, sir.
Indeed, I have long years of kindnesses, of interest, of affectionate
concern for my welfare, to thank you for. I do not think you can ever
know what all that means to one so entirely alone as I am and have been
almost since I could remember. 'Tis only in the last few years," he went
on, hurriedly, and lowering his hand still more over his serious eyes,
"that I have entirely realized what it is to be without kindred. I have
to thank you and a few other kind friends that the knowledge has been so
long withheld from me."
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.
Calvert threw himself with enthusiasm into his work, delighted to be
able to lighten the immense labors of Mr. Jefferson (who, to tell the
truth, was always overworked and underpaid), and happy to think he was
of service to one who had always shown such kindness to him. So
interested and energetic was the young man that Mr. Jefferson had much
difficulty in getting him to lay aside his papers and make himself ready
for the reception of the evening. Indeed, when, after dressing quickly,
he descended to the great drawing-room, which looked quite splendid,
with its multitude of wax lights and gilded mirrors, he found it already
filled with a company more splendid than any he had ever before seen. As
he approached, he noticed that Mr. Jefferson was conversing with a large
gentleman of pompous appearance, to whom he had just presented Mr.
Morris, and to whom he presented Calvert in turn as "Monsieur Necker."
'Twas with a good deal of curiosity and disappointment that Calvert saw
for the first time the Minister of Finance, the greatest power for the
moment in France. He was a large, heavy man, whose countenance, with its
high, retreating forehead, chin of unusual length, vivid brown eyes and
elevated eyebrows, was intelligent, but did not even hint at genius.
There was about him an air of fatigue and laboriousness which suggested
the hard-working and successful business man rather than a great
statesman and financier, and the courtly richness of his embroidered
velvet dress suited ill his commonplace figure. In his whole personality
Calvert decided there was no suggestion of that nobility of mind and
nature which so distinguished Mr. Jefferson, nor of that keen mentality
and easy elegance of manner so characteristic of Mr. Gouverneur Morris.
"His looks seem to say, 'I am the man,'" whispered that gentleman to
Calvert as Monsieur Necker turned aside for an instant to speak with Mr.
Jefferson, and Calvert could not help smiling at the humorous and swift
summing-up of the Minister's character and the merry twinkle in Mr.
Morris's eye. But whatever their opinion of his talents, Monsieur
Necker's cordiality was above reproach, and it was with elaborate
politeness that he presented the Americans to Madame Necker. She was a
very handsome woman still, retaining traces of that beauty which had
fired Gibbon in his youth, and was all amiability to the two strangers,
whom she introduced to her daughter, Madame la Baronne de
Stael-Holstein, wife of the ambassador from Gustavus III. to the court
of Louis XVI.
Madame de Stael stood with her back to the open fire, her hands clasped