Part 5 out of 5
was to find a way out of this horrible trap for her, or, failing that,
to make it as easy as possible for her. He stilled the wild exultation
he felt that was making his feverish pulse leap and sink by turns. He
tried to put away temptation from him--to think only for her. This
incredible, unlooked-for happiness was not for him. He searched about in
his mind for words that would make her understand that he knew what
anguish had driven her to this extremity; that would convince her that
she had nothing to fear from him and that he would meet her as he felt
sure she wished him to meet her.
"What he asks is madness," he said, at length. "I know only too well the
insurmountable objections you have to doing what he demands; if I can
convince him of these--if I can convince him that it is also not my
wish--that he can best serve me by not insisting on this thing----"
"Then, indeed, I think all is lost," said Adrienne, quietly. "He
professes that he can do nothing for the French emigrant d'Azay, only
for the brother of the American, Calvert. There is no hope left for us
except through himself and Danton, since it is already known that d'Azay
is to be accused to-morrow, and, indeed, there is scarce time to seek
other aid," she added, despairingly.
"Is Mr. Morris of the opinion that this is the best thing to be done?"
asked Calvert, in a low voice.
"He thinks it is the only way to save d'Azay." Suddenly she came forward
from the embrasure of the window and stood once more beside the table,
her face lighted up by the glow of the fire. "Believe me, I know how
great a thing I ask," she says, quite wildly, and covering her eyes with
her hand. "I ask you now what you once asked me and what I flung away."
Calvert looked up startled, but not being able to read her face, which
was concealed, he dropped his head again, and she went on: "If it is
possible for you to make this sacrifice, everything I can do to make it
bearable shall be done--we need never see each other again--I can follow
d'Azay to whatever retreat he may find----"
"Don't distress yourself so," said Calvert, gently, interrupting her. He
looked at the appealing, despairing woman before him, she who had been
so brilliant, so untouched by sorrow, and a great desire to serve her
and a great compassion for her came over him. There was pity for
himself, too, in his thoughts, for he had schooled himself for so long
to believe that the woman he loved did not love him, and could never
love him, that no slightest idea that he was mistaken came to him now to
help lighten his sacrifice. As he realized all this he thought, not
without a pang, of the future and of the unknown possible happiness it
might hold for him and which he was renouncing forever. In the long days
to come, he had thought, he might be able to forget that greater
happiness denied him and be as contented as many another man, but even
that consolation he could now no longer look forward to.
"Do not distress yourself," he said again, quietly. "Be assured that I
shall make no effort to see you--indeed, I think I shall leave Paris
myself as soon as this wound permits," and he touched his bandaged arm.
"In the last few days I have thought seriously of entering military
service again under Lafayette. He is a good soldier, if a bad
statesman, and has need of officers and men in this crisis, if ever
As he turned away and touched a small bell on the table, Adrienne's hand
dropped at her side and she gave him so strange, so sad a glance that
had he looked at her he would have seen that in her pale face and
miserable eyes which he had longed to see two years before. She took a
step forward--for an instant the wild thought crossed her mind of
flinging herself down before him, of confessing her love for him, but
sorrow and trouble had not yet wholly humbled that proud nature. With a
great effort she drew back. "Will you, then, serve us again?" she said,
and her voice sounded far off and strange in her own ears.
"Can you doubt it? I will send for Mr. Morris and we will leave
everything to him."
In a few moments he came in, looking anxiously from Calvert to Madame de
St. Andre and back again.
"We are agreed upon this matter," said Calvert, quietly, interpreting
Mr. Morris's look, "providing, in your opinion, it is a necessity. Is
the case as desperate as Madame de St. Andre deems it, and is this the
best remedy for it?"
"'Tis the only remedy, I think," replied Mr. Morris. "I fear there is no
doubt as to d'Azay's fate when arraigned, as he will be to-morrow. Too
many of his friends have already suffered that same fate to leave any
reasonable hope that his will be other or happier." He drew Calvert to
one side and spoke in a low tone. "Indeed, I think 'tis more than
probable that he is guilty of the charges preferred against him and
would go over to Monsieur de Conde had he the chance. I have known for a
long while that he has become thoroughly disgusted with the trend of
affairs here, and has no thought now but to serve the King. I think he
has broken with Lafayette entirely since the affair of St. Cloud, and
his change of political faith is only too well known here. If he does
not leave Paris to-night, he will never leave it."
"Then," said Mr. Calvert, "I am ready to do my part."
"No, no, 'tis impossible that this thing should be," broke out Mr.
Morris, looking at the young man's pale, gloomy face. "I had hoped that
it would be the greatest happiness; was I, then, mistaken?"
Calvert laid his hand on the elder man's shoulder.
"Hush, she must not hear. 'Tis an agreement we have entered into," he
says, hurriedly. "Will you call a priest and send for the Duchess and
"The Bishop of Autun has just come in," said Mr. Morris, after a
moment's silence, and pressing the young man's hand, "and there is no
time to send for anyone. I will go myself and ask him to come up."
They came in together in a very few moments, His Grace of Autun grave
and asking no questions (from which Calvert rightly argued that Mr.
Morris had confided in him), but with a concerned and kindly air toward
the young man, for whom he had always entertained an especial liking. In
a simple and impressive manner he repeated the marriage service in the
presence of Mr. Morris and some of the servants of the household, called
in to be witnesses, Adrienne kneeling beside the couch on which Calvert
lay, for he was too weak and ill to stand longer.
The strange scene was quickly over, the two parted almost without a
word, Adrienne being led away by Mr. Morris to the Hotel de Ville, and
Mr. Calvert remanded to bed by the surgeon, who was just arrived to
dress his wound.
MR. CALVERT SEES A SHORT CAMPAIGN UNDER LAFAYETTE
The project which Calvert had formed for joining the army he was able to
put into execution within a couple of weeks. The fever which had
attacked him having entirely subsided and his wound healing rapidly, he
was soon well enough to feel a consuming restlessness and craving for
action. The painful experience through which he had just passed, the
still more painful future to which he had to look forward, aroused an
irresistible longing for some immediate and violent change of scene and
thought. His vague plan for joining the army was suddenly crystallized
by the situation in which he found himself, and though this resolution
was strongly opposed by Mr. Morris, who, with keen foresight, prophesied
the speedy overthrow of the constitution and the downfall of Lafayette
with the King, he adhered to it. D'Azay being safely out of the
country--he had retreated to Brussels and joined a small detachment of
the emigrant army still there--and Adrienne protected by his name, his
one desire was to forget in action his misfortunes and to remove himself
from the scene of them. It was this desire, rather than any enthusiasm
for the cause in which he was engaged, which impelled him to offer his
services to Lafayette. Indeed, it was with no very sanguine belief in
that cause or hope of its success that he prepared to go to Metz.
Although he believed, with Mr. Morris, that the only hope of France lay
in the suppression of internal disorder and the union of interests which
a foreign war would bring about, yet he could not regard with much
horror the threatenings of the proscribed emigres and the military
preparations making by the allies to prevent the spread of the
revolution into their own territories. Indeed, so great was his contempt
for the ministers of Louis and for their mad and selfish policy that he
confessed to himself, but for his desire to serve under his old
commander, he would almost as soon have joined d'Azay at Brussels, or
taken a commission with the Austrians under Marshal Bender, who
commanded in the Low Countries. This division of sympathies felt by
Calvert animated thousands of other breasts, so that whole regiments of
cavalry went over to the enemy, and officers and men deserted daily.
Berwick, Mirabeau, Bussy, de la Chatre, with their commands, crossed
over the Rhine and joined the Prince de Conde at Worms. The highest in
command were suspected of intriguing with the enemy; men distrusted
their superiors, and officers could place no reliance on their men. Of
the widespread and profound character of this feeling of distrust Mr.
Calvert had no adequate idea until he joined the army of the centre at
Metz in the middle of April. Although Lafayette had, since January, been
endeavoring to discipline his troops, to animate them with confidence,
courage, and endurance, they had defied his every effort. Indeed, what
wonder that an army composed of the scum of a revolutionary populace,
without knowledge of arms, suspicious, violent, unused to every form of
military restraint, should defy organization in three months? Perhaps no
sovereign ever entered upon a great conflict less prepared than did
Louis when he declared war against the King of Hungary and Bohemia--for
Francis was not yet crowned Emperor of Austria. But that unhappy monarch
found himself in a situation from which the only issue was a recourse to
arms. Confronted on the one hand by a republican party of daily
increasing power and on the other by an aristocratical one openly allied
with sovereigns who were suspected of a desire to partition his dominion
among themselves as Poland had been, his one hope lay in warring his way
out between the two.
That Louis should be the advocate and leader of this war was the one
inspiration of Narbonne, and, had the King persevered in this, he might
have saved himself and his throne. But, with his fatal vacillation,
after having entered upon military preparations and committed himself to
Narbonne's policy, he suddenly abandoned him as he had abandoned so many
of his advisers. Grave replaced the dismissed and chagrined young
minister, and Dumouriez, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, took into his
hands all the power and glory of the war movement. He developed and
supplemented the plans which Narbonne had already formed, and, by the
New Year, a vast army was assembled and the frontier divided into three
great military districts. On the left, the territory from Dunkirk to
Philippeville was defended by the army under Rochambeau, forty thousand
foot and eight thousand cavalry strong; Lafayette, with his army of the
centre, of more than a hundred thousand men and some seven thousand
horse, commanded between Philippeville and Weissenberg, while Luckner,
with his army of the Rhine, stretched from Weissenberg to Bale.
Dumouriez's diplomatic negotiations were apparently nearly as successful
as his military operations. Though he could not dissolve that "unnatural
alliance" formed the year before at Pilnitz and enthusiastically adhered
to by Prince Henri and the Duke of Brunswick with the young King of
Hungary and Bohemia, yet, by the assassination of the King of Sweden,
that country was no longer to be feared, England remained neutral by
virtue of Pitt's commercial policy, and many of the petty German
principalities openly approved of and aided the French revolutionists.
With military and diplomatic affairs in this state and with Austria
still holding out for her impossible conditions, 'twas easy for
Dumouriez and the war party to browbeat the wellnigh desperate King into
a declaration of hostilities that was to convulse the whole of Europe
for nearly a quarter of a century. This was done on the 20th of April,
three days after Mr. Calvert had joined Lafayette at Metz, and was
almost instantly followed by orders from Dumouriez to that general to
advance with ten thousand men upon Namur and thence upon Brussels and
'Twas Dumouriez's policy (and surely a wise one) to strike the first
blow against Austria through her dependency, Flanders, which country,
but two years before, had shown the strongest disposition to throw off
Austrian rule. How strong that disposition was, Dumouriez himself knew
fully, for he had been sent by Montmorin on a secret mission into
Belgium, and he felt assured that the Brabant patriots would rally to
the standards of the French army. Had that army been what he supposed,
his plans might have succeeded and the humiliations and defeats of the
spring campaign averted.
As has been said, Calvert joined the army at Metz a few days before the
formal declaration of war was made, and so was there when General de
Lafayette received orders to advance upon Namur. He was much touched by
the reception which Lafayette accorded him.
"I will give you a regiment, Calvert, but I need you near my person.
There is no one upon whom I can rely--I wish you could be my
aide-de-camp again. It would be like old times once more," he said,
looking at the young man with so harassed and despondent a glance that
Calvert was both surprised and alarmed.
"I could wish for nothing better," he replied, "but surely you do not
mean what you say--you have many others upon whom you can count."
"Almost no one," replied Lafayette, briefly. "I distrust my officers and
am myself suspected of intriguing with the enemy. I know not what day I
may be forced to fly across the frontier. No one is safe, and I dare
not count upon my troops to obey commands. Although there are only
thirty thousand Austrians in Flanders, I am not sure that we can beat
them," he said, bitterly.
On the 27th of April, Lafayette, who had moved his camp to Givet,
received despatches from Dumouriez detailing the plan of campaign
against Belgium. According to this plan, Lafayette, with ten thousand
picked men, was to advance by forced marches upon Namur. He was to be
supported by two divisions of the army of the North, one of four
thousand men under General Dillon, which was to move from its encampment
at Lille upon Tournay, and the other of ten thousand troops under
General Biron, which was to advance from Valenciennes upon Mons. Before
daybreak on the morning of the 28th Lafayette had his army in motion
and, as they rode out of the city gates together, Calvert noted that the
depression and anxiety which had weighed upon the General so heavily had
disappeared and that he had regained something of his old fire and
This renewal of confidence was cruelly dissipated three days later when,
on reaching Bouvines, half-way to Namur, after a fifty-league march over
bad roads, Lafayette was met by frightened, breathless couriers with
despatches detailing the humiliating disasters which had befallen both
Biron's and Dillon's divisions. The former, who had advanced upon
Quievrain and succeeded in occupying that town, was utterly routed on
arriving before Mons, and fled with the loss of all his baggage. Dillon
met with even a more tragic and shameful fate. Moving upon Tournay,
where a strong body of Austrians was ready to receive him, his men were
seized with a sudden panic and fled back to the gates of Lille, where,
mad with fear and crying that Dillon had betrayed them, they brutally
murdered him. This disastrous news being confirmed the following day by
further despatches, Lafayette was forced to fall back to Maubeuge
without striking a blow, and thus ended Calvert's hopes of seeing a
campaign which had promised most brilliantly. The news of these defeats
creating the greatest sensation both at the front and in Paris,
Rochambeau resigned his command, Grave was replaced by Servan in the
ministry, and the army was reorganized.
During the entire month of May Lafayette and his army remained inactive
at Maubeuge awaiting orders which the distracted ministers at Paris were
incapable of giving. 'Twas a pretty little place near the Belgian
frontier, lying on both sides of the Sambre, and which had been ceded to
France by the treaty of Nymwegen. Mr. Calvert spent much of his leisure
time--of which he had more than enough--admiring and studying the
fortifications of this town, which had been engineered by the great
Vauban. Much of it he also spent with Lafayette, who, in the intervals
of disciplining his troops and attending to his increased military
duties--Rochambeau's command had been divided between himself and
Luckner--conversed freely with his young aide-de-camp. Sometimes, too,
at Lafayette's urgent request, Calvert would sing as he had used to do
around the camp-fires in the Virginia campaign. During those days and
evenings of inactive and anxious waiting, the old friendship between the
two was renewed. Lafayette had heard of Calvert's marriage through Mr.
Morris and, with the utmost delicacy, touched upon the subject. Calvert
told him frankly as much of the story as he intended to reveal to
anyone, and this confidence became another bond of friendship between
them. The years of separation and disagreement somehow melted away. The
Lafayette of Maubeuge was like the Lafayette whom Calvert had first
known and admired; he noticed how much of his rabid republicanism had
vanished--indeed, Lafayette himself owned as much, for if he was
impetuous and extreme, he was also courageous and was not afraid or
ashamed to confess his faults.
"I have learned much," he said to Calvert one evening when they were
alone in the General's quarters, "and am beginning to have radically
different opinions upon some subjects from those I entertained but a
short while ago. Sometimes I ask myself if my call for the
States-General did not open for France a Pandora's box of evils. What
has become of all my efforts?" he said, pushing away a map of the
Austrian Netherlands which they had been studying together and beginning
to pace the room agitatedly. "Instead of the wise ministers prevailing
at Paris, a horde of mad, insensate creatures are ruling the Assembly,
the city, the whole country! If only there were some man courageous
enough to defy the Jacobins and their power--to meet them on their own
ground and conquer them! What can I do at this distance, overwhelmed
with military duties, restricted by my official position? I have been
thinking of addressing a letter to the Assembly," he went on, suddenly
turning to Calvert, "a letter of warning against the Jacobin power, of
reproach that they should be ruled by that ignoble faction, or
remonstrance against their unwarrantable proceedings, and as soon as I
can find the time to write such a letter, I shall do so, and despatch it
to Paris by my secretary, let the consequences be what they may."
This design was not accomplished until the middle of June, for, at the
beginning of the month, a number of skirmishes and night attacks took
place between the Austrians, who had encamped near Maubeuge, and
Lafayette's troops, and the General was too much occupied with the
military situation to busy himself with affairs at Paris. These attacks
culminated in a bloody and almost disastrous engagement for the patriot
army on the 11th of June.
The Austrians, reinforced by the emigrant army which had been left at
Brussels and in which Calvert knew d'Azay held a captain's commission,
advanced during the early afternoon of June 11th and attacked the
vanguard of Lafayette's army, encamped two miles from Maubeuge, farther
up the Sambre, and commanded by Gouvion. Although the French occupied a
formidable position, being securely intrenched on rising ground
fortified by a dozen redoubts and batteries arranged in tiers, the enemy
advanced with such fierceness and intrepidity that Gouvion had all he
could do to keep his gunners from deserting their posts. The infantry,
too, behaved ill, and when ordered to advance, wavered and were driven
back at the very first charge from the Austrians. Their cavalry pursued
the advantage thus gained and pressed forward, advancing in three lines
and driving the disordered French troops before them up the hill. At
this juncture, Lafayette, with six thousand men and two thousand horse,
arrived, having been sent for in hot haste by Gouvion when the action
first began, and, attacking the Austrian and emigres from the flank,
after a sharp and bloody struggle, succeeded by nightfall in putting
them to flight. Although the forces engaged in this action were small,
the slaughter was terrible and the little battle-field by the Sambre
presented a ghastly sight in the moonlight of that June night. Gouvion
himself was killed leading the last attack, and the Austrian and
emigrant forces suffered severely. The regiment which Calvert commanded
was in the thick of the engagement the whole time, once it arrived on
the scene of action, and no officer of either side more exposed or
distinguished himself than did the young American. Indeed, it was not
from reckless bravery that he offered himself a target for the bullets
of the enemy, but from a feeling that he would not be sorry to end
there, to close forever the book of his life. And, as usual with those
who seek, rather than avoid, death in battle, from this action, which
was the only one he was destined to engage in, he came out unscathed,
while many another poor fellow who longed to live, lay quiet and cold
on the bloody ground.
So close was the fighting during the late afternoon that Calvert once
thought he caught a glimpse of d'Azay and, with a strange presentiment
of evil, he determined to look for him among the slain. Accompanied by
an orderly bearing a lantern--though the moonlight was so bright that
one could easily recognize the pallid, upturned faces--he began his
search an hour after the firing had ceased, with many others engaged in
the same ghastly work of finding dead comrades. He had looked but a
short while, or so it seemed to him, when he came upon d'Azay lying
prone upon a little hillock of Austrian slain. As Calvert looked down
upon him, grief for this dead friend and an awful sense of the futility
of the sacrifice which had been made for him, came upon him. He knelt
beside him for a few minutes and looked into the quiet, dead face. He
had never before thought that d'Azay resembled Adrienne, but now the
resemblance of brother and sister was quite marked, and 'twas with the
sharpest pang Calvert had ever known that he looked upon those pallid
features. It might have been that other and dearer face, he thought to
himself. At length he arose and, helping the orderly place the body upon
a stretcher, they bore it back to the camp, where, next day, it was
buried with what military honors Calvert could get accorded it. He sent
a lock of d'Azay's hair, his seals and rings, back to Paris to Adrienne
(he kept for his own her miniature, which he found in d'Azay's pocket
and which he had first seen that night at Monticello), and the letter
she wrote him thanking him for all he had done were the first written
words of hers he had ever had. Though there was not a word of love in
the note--not even of friendship--Calvert re-read it a score of times
and treasured it, and at last put it with the miniature in the little
chamois case that rested near his heart.
The check which Lafayette had put upon the Austrians on the 11th of June
having produced a cessation of hostilities, he wrote and despatched to
the Assembly the letter which he had had in contemplation for some time
and of which he had spoken to Calvert. This courageous letter--the
authenticity of which was fiercely denied in the Assembly--not only did
not produce the effect Lafayette so hoped for, but was followed by the
outrage of the 20th of June. Who does not know the shameful events of
that day?--the invasion of the Tuileries by hordes of ruffians and the
insults to helpless royalty?
When Lafayette heard of the uprising of the 20th he determined to go in
person to Paris, affirm the authorship of his letter, and urge upon the
Assembly the destruction of the Jacobin party. He sent Calvert to
Luckner's head-quarters to ask of the Marechal permission to go to Paris
and, placing his troops in safety under the guns of Maubeuge, he
departed for the capital, whither he arrived on the 28th. After two days
spent in incessant and fruitless efforts with the Assembly and National
Guard, in audiences with the King and consultations with friends, he
sped back to the army, more thoroughly and bitterly convinced than ever
that the revolution which he had led and believed in was now fast
approaching anarchy; that the throne was lost and his own brilliant
popularity vanished. He took with him to Calvert the news of the sudden
death of the old Duchesse d'Azay--she had failed rapidly since hearing
of the death of d'Azay, and had passed away painlessly on the morning of
Lafayette's arrival in Paris--the escape of St. Aulaire to Canada, and a
letter from Mr. Morris.
"He desired me to give you this," said Lafayette, gravely, handing the
letter to Calvert. "The message is of the greatest importance. We had a
long interview. I am at last come to the same opinion on certain
subjects as himself," he said, with a gloomy smile, "and we want your
co-operation. He will explain all when he sees you. As for myself, I
must say no more," and he went away, leaving the young man to read his
MR. CALVERT QUITS THE ARMY AND ENGAGES IN A HAZARDOUS ENTERPRISE
The letter which Calvert had received from Mr. Morris was short but very
urgent. It begged him to resign his commission at once, which affair,
the letter hinted, would be immediately arranged by Lafayette, and come
to Paris, as Mr. Morris had business of the first importance on hand in
which he wished Calvert's assistance. It went on to add that the exact
nature of that business had best not be divulged until the young man
should find himself at the American Legation, and ended by urging Mr.
Calvert not to delay his departure from Maubeuge by a day, if possible.
Conformably with these requests Calvert set out for Paris on the very
next day, after the briefest of preparations, and, arriving in the city
on the evening of the 7th, made his way straight to the rue de la
Planche, where he found Mr. Morris anxiously awaiting him. With a brief
greeting, and scarcely allowing the young man time to divest himself of
his travelling things, he drew him into his private study, and there,
with locked doors, began eagerly to speak about the business upon which
he had called Calvert so hastily to Paris.
"I knew I could trust you," said Mr. Morris to Calvert. "Lafayette has
given you my letter and you have lost no time in coming to me, as I felt
assured you would do, my boy. 'Tis the most satisfactory sensation in
the world to feel an absolute trust in one as I do in you," he went on,
with a kindly look at the young man. "Living in the midst of this people
who think less than nothing of breaking every agreement, violating every
oath, that feeling of confidence becomes doubly precious. But to the
business in hand." He hesitated slightly and then went on, "You must
know that in the month of November last (and before my appointment by
Congress to this post of American Minister to France), inspired by the
unhappy consequences to the Royal Family of the flight to Varennes, I,
together with several of the stanchest friends of the harassed monarch,
engaged in an enterprise to assist the King and Queen to escape, from
France. This plan, in which Favernay, Monciel, Beaufort, Bremond, and
some others whom you know, were leagued together, never ripened,
because, by the appointment of Narbonne and the preparations for war
which immediately commenced, we hoped that Louis might regain his lost
power. It was at this juncture and while I thought that this enterprise
was at an end and that there would be no further occasion for me to
intermeddle in the politics of this unhappy country, that I received and
accepted my appointment as Minister to this court. Most unfortunately,
the great opportunity which the King had to retrieve his fortunes he
flung away by his subsequent vacillation and his secret negotiations
with the allies; and this, together with the reverses of the French
array, the growing violence of the opposing political factions here, and
the terrible events of the 20th of June, have again made it necessary
for the friends of the King, if they wish to save him, to exert
themselves in his behalf. When this was made plain, those gentlemen with
whom I had formerly been associated in the effort to serve His Majesty
again applied to me for assistance, so that I found myself in the cruel
position of either betraying my official trust or of abandoning the
monarch whom I sincerely pitied and whom I had pledged myself to aid.
The last and most moving appeal made to me was that of Monsieur
Lafayette. I met him at the Tuileries when he went to pay his respects
to their Majesties before rejoining his army. I know not what had passed
between the King and himself at the levee, for I arrived just as he was
going, but I saw by his countenance that he had the gloomiest
forebodings. He drew me into a small anteroom and spoke to me with his
old familiarity and affection. Indeed, he is greatly changed, and I
could not help but be touched by the consternation and grief that
weighed upon him. He opened himself to me very freely and confessed that
'twas his opinion that the King was lost if brave and wise friends did
not immediately offer their services in his behalf. He knew of the
scheme in which I had been before engaged to assist the King, and he
besought me to renew those engagements and to prosecute them with the
utmost diligence. The King, he said, had let fall some expressions
indicating his confidence in myself, 'a confidence,' said Lafayette,
'which he did not hesitate to show he did not feel in me. The Queen is
even more distrustful of me than the King, so that I think their safety
lies in your hands. But, believe me, though they do not trust me, they
have no more devoted servant. I am come, at length, to your belief that
in the King alone is to be found the cure for the ills of the present
time, and not the most ardent royalist is now more anxious to preserve
His Majesty than myself.' While Lafayette was speaking, a way out of my
difficulties suddenly occurred to me. I thought of you, my boy, and,
knowing that I could rely on you as on myself, I determined to appeal to
you to act in my stead, to take upon yourself those dangers and risks
which, in my position of minister from a neutral power to this country,
I have now no right to assume. I know how great a thing I am asking, but
I also know your generous nature, your steadfastness, your capability to
carry through discreetly and swiftly any undertaking you engage in. As
an American, you will have the confidence of the King and Queen, and
will act as a surety for Lafayette, whom 'tis only too true their
Majesties distrust profoundly. I reminded Lafayette of the unalterable
obligation which prevented me from interesting myself personally in the
political situation here and of the plan I had just formed of appealing
to you. He approved of it entirely, saying that there was no one in
whose hands he would more willingly leave matters. We made an
appointment for that evening at Monsieur de la Rochefoucauld's, where he
was staying, to discuss some plan of assistance to his Majesty. I
consented to this interview, for it was impossible at that late hour to
call together all those interested in the affair and, as Lafayette was
leaving the next morning, something had to be done immediately. Our
interview was a long one, but the plan we hit upon was, in the end, very
simple and, indeed, the circumstances of the case, the short time, and
the necessity for the greatest secrecy demand that the simplest methods
should be employed. Shall I tell you that plan?" asked Mr. Morris,
suddenly breaking off in the midst of his long talk and regarding
Calvert with a keen, questioning glance.
"There is no lead I would follow sooner than yours, Mr. Morris," replied
the young man, quietly and firmly. "As you know, all my sympathies are
with the King and Queen, and in whatsoever way I can serve their
Majesties I am ready here and now to pledge myself to that service."
Indeed, the enterprise suited Calvert's temper well. Any excitement or
danger was welcome to him just then. His hopes of seeing military
service having been frustrated, he was glad to find some other scheme at
hand which promised to divert his melancholy thoughts from himself.
"'Tis like you to speak so, boy," said Mr. Morris, grasping Calvert
warmly by the hand. "I knew you would not fail me. And, before God, how
could I fail them?" he burst out, rising in agitation and stumping
about the room. "I have done wrong in engaging in the remotest way in
this affair, in urging you to become a party to it, but my humanity
forbids me to withhold whatever of aid I can render. Was ever a monarch
so cruelly beset, so bereft of wise counsellors, of trusty friends? He
knows not where to look for help, nor which way to turn. He suspects
every adviser of treachery, of self-interest, of veniality, and he has
reason to do so. The wisest, in his desperate position, would scarce
know how to bear himself, and what can we expect of so narrow an
intellect, so vacillating and timid a nature? I pity him profoundly, but
I also despise him, for there is a want of metal in him which will ever
prevent him from being truly royal."
"'Tis doubly difficult to help those who will not help themselves. Do
you think it is really possible to save his Majesty?" asked Calvert,
"We can but make one more desperate effort, and I confess that I rely
more on the firmness of the Queen for its success than I do on the
King," said Mr. Morris. "But I will tell you of the plan and you can
judge for yourself of its feasibility."
The scheme agreed upon between Mr. Morris and Lafayette in that
interview at Monsieur de la Rochefoucauld's, and which Mr. Morris
proceeded to detail to Calvert, was briefly this: It being evident that
as long as the King remained in Paris he was a virtual prisoner and
subject to the capricious commands of the Assembly, his ministers, and
the mobs, daily increasing in numbers and lawlessness, it seemed to
both Mr. Morris and Lafayette that the thing of first importance was to
effect the King's escape from the capital. To accomplish this it was
Lafayette's suggestion that the King should go to the Assembly when
affairs should be ripe for that act and announce his intention of
passing a few days at one of his country residences within the limits
prescribed for his free movements. "I thought he blushed as he made this
suggestion, and 'twas all I could do to keep from asking him if he
intended to serve his Majesty on this occasion as he had in the St.
Cloud affair," said Mr. Morris, dryly. "But his distress and his
sincerity were so evident that I contained myself." The King established
as far from Paris as possible, Lafayette was to arrange a manoeuvre of
his troops at a point near the royal residence, and once arrived there,
he was to rapidly and secretly march the trustiest of his regiments to
the King's rescue, surround the palace, and call upon the army for a new
oath of fidelity to the monarch and constitution. Rendered independent
by this stroke, Louis was to issue a proclamation forbidding the allies
and emigres to enter his kingdom. Should the army flash in the pan and
refuse to swear allegiance, Lafayette was, at all hazards, and with the
aid of the regiments whose loyalty was beyond question, to escort the
King to a place of safety beyond the border.
For the accomplishment of this plan, simple though it was, an enormous
sum of money and the greatest diplomacy were necessary. As for the
money, that was easily come by; indeed, Monsieur de Monciel had already
brought to Mr. Morris two hundred thousand livres contributed by the
loyal adherents of His Majesty; more was promised within the next few
days. Mr. Morris consented to receive these sums, though he felt obliged
to refuse the protection of the Legation to any papers relative to the
matter in hand. With such sums at their disposal it was hoped and
believed by Mr. Morris and the other ardent friends of the unfortunate
sovereign that enough influential members of the Assembly could be
bribed to insure the King's departure from Paris and the allegiance of
those doubtful regiments upon the frontier.
"It was my suggestion, Calvert," said Mr. Morris, "that you should be
sent to test and influence those disaffected regiments, and to find a
safe retreat for his Majesty in case of failure of our scheme, while we
remain here to work with the members of the Assembly and watch the
situation for a favorable moment to strike the blow. It was my further
suggestion that your wife should be one of the ladies-in-waiting to the
Queen, that we might have sure and swift intelligence of what passes
within the palace. By the greatest good fortune I heard the following
day, through Madame de Flahaut, of the illness and withdrawal of one of
the Queen's attendants, and the next evening at court, having the
opportunity of saying a few words in private to her Majesty, I besought
her to give the vacant post to your wife. I intimated to her that the
appointment was of the greatest importance to herself and the King, and
being, doubtless, impressed by the earnestness of my manner, she
promised to grant my request, though she had intended to leave the place
vacant, saying bitterly that 'twere best she should draw no other into
the circle of danger which surrounded her. I had the satisfaction of
learning yesterday that the appointment had been made, and already your
wife is installed as a lady-in-waiting at the Tuileries.
"Under cover of letters to her--which, I think, will be more likely to
escape patriotic curiosity than any others--you will keep the King and
his friends here in Paris informed of your movements and the progress of
affairs, and through her we can have intimate knowledge of what passes
in the palace, so that they can hardly fail to know when to take the
decisive step. Are you willing to undertake this difficult and dangerous
enterprise?" asked Mr. Morris, looking at the young man.
"With all my heart," replied Calvert. "Were I not interested in the
cause itself, I would still remember the graciousness of their Majesties
when I was presented to them, and hold it a privilege to serve them."
"You will see them again to-morrow evening and can assure them yourself
of your fidelity. I think they have no doubt of it now, nor ever will.
Through Monsieur de Favernay I arranged for a private audience with the
King and Queen for to-morrow--you see, I counted on you as on myself,
and felt assured that you would come at the earliest moment, Ned. At
that interview I will again present you to their Majesties, and then I
will withdraw definitely from all connection with this affair, leaving
you to lay the plan before the King and Queen, and to carry it through
should it be agreed to by their Majesties."
The two gentlemen sat up until far into the night discussing the
enterprise, Calvert making many valuable suggestions, and entering so
heartily into the arrangement that Mr. Morris began to take a more
hopeful view of the situation than he had hitherto allowed himself to
On the following evening, about ten o'clock, Beaufort arrived hastily at
the Legation with the information that all was in readiness for the
private audience which Mr. Morris had requested, and the three
gentlemen, entering a coach, were driven rapidly to the Tuileries. They
were introduced at a wicket on the little rue du Manege, and, passing up
a stairway seldom used and through the Queen's apartments, at length
found themselves at the door of a small and private chamber of his
Majesty's suite. At this door Beaufort tapped gently, and hearing an
"Entrez!" from within, he pushed it open, and then, with a low bow,
retired, leaving Mr. Morris and Calvert to enter by themselves.
His Majesty was alone and seated beside a small table, on which were a
lamp and some writing materials. As Mr. Morris and Calvert advanced into
the room he rose and graciously extended a hand to each of the
"Vous etes le bien venu," he says to Mr. Morris, and then, looking at
Calvert with a half-smile. "I remember you very well, now," he adds,
rapidly, in French to the younger man. While the King was speaking,
Calvert noticed with a glance the heavy, harassed expression of Louis's
face. The eyes, which had once been benign and rather stupid, had now a
haunted, suspicious look in them. While he was yet bowing, and before he
could form a reply to the King's remarks, the Queen entered rapidly from
an adjoining apartment. Calvert felt a shock, a thrill of pity, as he
looked at her Majesty. A dozen fateful years seemed to have rolled over
that countenance, so lovely when last he had seen it. Though she still
held herself proudly, the animation and beauty of face and figure had
vanished. The large blue eyes were tired and red with weeping, the
complexion had lost its brilliancy, and the fair hair was tinged with
gray. History hath made it out that the Queen's hair whitened in a
single night of her captivity, but it had already begun to lose its
golden color before the days of the Temple, and the lock which she
shortly after this sent to Calvert, in token of her appreciation of his
services, was thickly streaked with white.
She came forward and stood beside the King, inclining her head
graciously to Mr. Morris, who made their Majesties a profound obeisance.
"I am come to again present my friend, Mr. Calvert of Virginia, to your
Majesties," he says, indicating Calvert, who bowed again, and at whom
the Queen looked with a keen, suspicious glance that almost instantly
kindled into one of kindness and trust. "He is to be my representative
in that affair in which it will be my undying regret not to have been
able to participate," continued Mr. Morris, "and I beg of your Majesties
to give him your utmost confidence and trust, for I assure your
Majesties that he is entirely worthy of both. He will acquaint you with
the details of that plan, the existence of which Monsieur de Monciel
intimated to your Majesties yesterday, and, should that plan meet with
your royal approval, Mr. Calvert is ready to stake his life and his
honor in the execution of it. Your Majesties understand how impossible
it is for me to say more, and I can only ask permission to withdraw."
'Twas the Queen who answered--the King seemed unable to find a word.
"We thank you with all our hearts," she says, in a low, mournful tone,
looking at Mr. Morris, "and we understand." At her gesture of
recognition and dismissal Mr. Morris executed another low obeisance and
Left alone with the King and Queen, and being seated, at their
Majesties' invitation, Calvert unfolded to them in detail the plan
agreed upon by the King's friends, leaving out as much as possible
Lafayette's part in it ('twas his own wish, conveyed through Mr. Morris)
lest the Queen should take fright and refuse her sanction to the
enterprise. Indeed, so deep was her distrust of him, that to Mr. Calvert
it seemed that she only gave her consent because of the share Mr. Morris
and himself had in it.
"So that is the plan," she said, musing. "We betrayed ourselves when we
succored America. Perhaps we are to be repaid now and Americans are to
help us in this desperate strait. 'Tis a bitter humiliation to have to
turn to strangers for aid, but our only true friends are all scattered
now; there is no one about us but would betray and sacrifice us," she
says, bitterly, and looking at the King, whose heavy countenance
reflected in a dull way her poignant distress.
"Pardon me, Your Majesty," says Calvert, ardently, "there are still some
stanch friends left to you. I have seen these gentlemen but this
morning, when we discussed anew this plan, and they but wait your
approval to pledge their lives and fortunes to extricate Your Majesties
from the distressing situation you now find yourselves in. It but
depends upon you to say whether this scheme shall be carried through.
With firmness and confidence on your part it cannot fail."
"I fear to hope again--do not arouse my expectations only to have them
disappointed," and rising in the greatest agitation, the Queen began to
pace up and down the little room. "Who would have thought that Fersen
could fail?--and yet he did." She covered her face with her hands to
hide the tears which filled her eyes. Suddenly she stopped before
Calvert, who had risen, and gave him so penetrating and anguished a look
that the young man could scarce bear to meet her glance.
"There is that in your face which inspires confidence," says the Queen.
"I think you would not know either defeat or deceit. Pray God you may
not. We will trust him, shall we not?" she says, turning to the King
and putting out her hand so graciously that Calvert fell upon one knee
before her and kissed it. He knelt to the suffering woman who had
instinctively appealed to him and her faith in him even more than to the
It was by such moments of genuineness and winning sweetness that Marie
Antoinette captivated those with whom she came in contact. Could such
bursts of true feeling have endured, could she always have been as
sincere and single-hearted as she was at such times, she would have been
a great and good woman. Genius, ambition, firmness, courage, all these
she had, but insincerity and suspicion warped a noble nature. To
Calvert, just then, she seemed the incarnation of great womanhood, and
'twas with the utmost fervor that he pressed her to allow himself and
her other faithful friends to serve her.
"In a few weeks all will be ready," he says. "I go from here to the
frontier to visit and, if possible, win over those troops whose loyalty
to your Majesties has been in question; then on to secure a safe retreat
in case our plan fails, which, pray God, it may not! Either Worms, where
Monsieur de Conde is powerful, or Spire, whose Prince-Bishop is most
devoted to your Majesties, will surely offer its hospitality and
protection. It depends only on your Majesties' firmness to escape from
this capital and captivity. Through letters to my wife" (Calvert
hesitated slightly--'twas the first time he had so used the word) "your
Majesties will know exactly the situation of affairs outside of Paris,
and through her replies we must know what takes place in the palace.
Kept informed of each other's movements, 'twill be easy to fix upon the
best day for striking the blow we have in contemplation, and, if you
will but do your part, it must needs be successful." As he concluded his
urgent appeal he rose from his knees and stood before the King and
Queen, glancing anxiously from one to the other. His face expressed so
much earnestness and enthusiasm that their Majesties could not help but
"And our engagements with our cousin of Austria?" said the Queen, after
an instant's silence, "for I will not conceal from you, Monsieur, that
since Varennes I have no hope save in our allies."
"Were it not better that you should depend for your safety on your own
subjects, Madame?" asked Calvert.
The King agreed with him and said so at once, but it was with reluctance
that the Queen gave her consent to the enterprise.
"It is a noble plan and a hazardous one, and we thank you, Monsieur, and
those other gentlemen who are imperilling their lives to insure our
safety, but I confess to you," said her Majesty, sadly, "that I sanction
the undertaking and enter into it, not in the hope that the first part
of it will succeed--alas! I distrust our generals and troops too deeply
for that--but in the belief that once out of Paris we may ultimately be
able to take refuge with our friends beyond the frontier."
As she spoke, there came a hurried tapping at the door, and, almost
before permission to enter had been given, Beaufort appeared. He signed
hastily to Calvert to depart, and on a silent gesture of dismissal from
the King and Queen, he followed the young nobleman from the room through
a door opposite to the one by which he had been admitted. Hurrying past
endless antechambers, down marble stairways, and through long corridors,
Calvert at length found himself at a little gate which gave upon the
Carrousel. This Beaufort unlocked and, giving the password to the Swiss
sentry who stood without, the two young men at length found themselves
on the Quai des Tuileries. There, after a moment's hurried conversation,
during which Calvert told Beaufort of the result of the momentous
interview with the King and Queen, the two parted, the young Frenchman
returning to the palace and Calvert making his way as quickly as
possible back to the Legation, where Mr. Morris anxiously awaited him.
MR. CALVERT STARTS ON A JOURNEY
The Queen's consent having been obtained, Calvert set out upon his
journey to the frontier the next day. He would have carried a lighter
heart had he felt better assured of the good faith of the King and
Queen. Louis had given his consent readily enough and had approved
heartily of the plan, for it had ever been against his real wishes to
call in the aid of the allies, but Calvert knew too well how little he
dared rely on the King's firmness or courage. As for the Queen, he could
only hope that the continued representations of Beaufort, Favernay, and
others about her Majesty cognizant of the enterprise and the confidence
she had expressed in himself, would confirm her in her resolution to
help carry the undertaking through to a successful termination.
Mr. Calvert first made his way with all possible expedition back to
Maubeuge, where he reported to Lafayette the result of his interview
with their Majesties and received from him letters to certain officers
who were to be taken into the enterprise and whose commands were to be
won over if possible.
"Her Majesty can surely no longer doubt my good faith," said Lafayette,
bitterly, to Calvert. "Success, death, or flight is all that is left to
With these letters Calvert proceeded on his way to Namur, Givet, and
Treves, where different detachments of Lafayette's troops were
garrisoned. He was made welcome at every mess-table, and his scheme was
received with such enthusiasm that it seemed almost an unnecessary
precaution to cross the frontier and seek a possible asylum for the
Royal Family in case the great plan failed. But the very enthusiasm of
some of these young officers caused Calvert to fear for the success of
the enterprise. So loud-tongued were they in their loyalty, with such
imprudence did they drink toasts to their Majesties and the success of
the undertaking, that Calvert, himself so calm and silent, was both
disgusted and alarmed.
With the enthusiastic promise of allegiance to the plan on their own
part and that of their regiments, Calvert quitted the society of these
officers, and, certain of the hearty co-operation of enough troops to
make the safety of the King and Queen amply assured, he proceeded, by
way of the Mozelle, to Coblentz. He arrived at that city on the 26th of
July, and was immediately granted an interview with the great
Prince-Elector of Treves, but recently established in his splendid new
palace on the Rhine, and the commander-in-chief of the allied army, his
Grace the Duke of Brunswick.
Though Calvert had journeyed with all possible speed, he was come a day
too late, and he heard with inexpressible alarm and chagrin of the
imprudent manifesto issued by the Duke but the day before. Surely no
other great general of the world ever made so colossal, so fatal a
blunder. In that arrogant and sanguinary manifesto could be heard the
death-knell of the unhappy King of France, or so it seemed to Calvert,
who was so deeply impressed with the rashness and danger of his Grace's
diplomacy that he made no attempt to conceal the alarm he felt. This
open disapproval so offended the Duke and his friend, the
Prince-Elector, that the latter received Calvert's proposals with the
utmost coldness, and would make no promise to receive the royal
fugitives in case it became necessary. Perhaps, too, he was weary of
royal guests. Seeing that nothing was to be got from the Elector,
Calvert hurried on to Worms through that beautiful Rhine country which
he had once traversed so leisurely and delightfully with Mr. Morris.
There he found Monsieur le Prince de Conde, with whom he had a long
audience. This great leader of the emigrant forces, being apprised of
Calvert's embassy, approved heartily of that scheme which would make the
King openly join issue with his nobles, and sent the young man on with
all speed to Kehl with secret letters for Monsieur de Viomenil. This
General, under Monsieur de Conde's orders, was stationed with trusty
troops from Luckner's command at the little town of Kehl, opposite
Strasburg, and was deep in secret negotiations with officers of the
garrison for the capitulation of that city and the entry of the emigrant
army. These intrigues had been going on for some time, and so crafty
were Viomenil's plans (he was the greatest diplomat the emigres could
boast), and so successful was Monsieur de Thessonnet, aide-de-camp to
the Prince de Conde, in carrying them out, that when Calvert arrived at
head-quarters the possession of Strasburg by the emigrant forces seemed
to be a question of only a few days. 'Twas in this belief that Monsieur
de Conde had despatched Calvert to Monsieur de Viomenil, who joined in
the enterprise with the utmost enthusiasm and confidence. So assured was
he of the success of his own undertaking that he spoke of it almost as
if 'twere already an accomplished triumph, even going to the length of
showing the young man the method of attack and occupation traced upon
the plan of the city; at this street a regiment was to be stationed; at
that gate a body of cavalry was to enter--as though he were master of
fate and naught could interfere with his plans. So confident was
Viomenil, and so impregnable a defence did Strasburg seem to offer for
the King should misfortune overtake him, that Calvert set out on his
journey back to Maubeuge the following day buoyed up with the belief
that should the army refuse its allegiance and support the King would
find, at any rate, a safe asylum at Strasburg. But already Brunswick's
ill-advised manifesto was at work overthrowing these well-laid plans,
which were to come to nothing, as were his own, unhappily, though for a
At Maubeuge, where he arrived on the 1st of August, gloomy forebodings
in regard to the disastrous effects of his Grace of Brunswick's
manifesto were fully shared by Lafayette and those officers committed
to the conspiracy. Indeed, Lafayette was in the greatest anxiety and
"We must force our hand," he said to Calvert. "There is not a moment to
lose. This cursed, imprudent, vainglorious mandate of Brunswick's has
set the whole country by the ears, for all Paris and the army believes,
aye, knows, that the King had cognizance of it before it was issued. The
Queen has usually been the double dealer, but this time I think they
have both had a hand in it, although these letters from your wife,
which, according to our agreement, I have opened, assure us that their
Majesties are still of a mind to trust to the issue of our plan and are
ready to make the trial at any moment."
"What success have you had with the army?" asked Calvert.
"Much. I can count on a dozen regiments--Saurel, Marbois, Pelletet, and
their commands will go with me. I have favorable news, too, from Namur
and Treves; but there is no more time, I think, to gain over others. We
must work with what we have. The advices from Paris make it plain that
the King is all but lost," and he laid before Calvert a budget of
despatches lately arrived by couriers from the capital. "You will see
for yourself in what a ferment the city is, and how bitterly hostile is
the attitude of Assembly and people to the King."
"And what do you hear from Beaufort, Monciel, and the rest who are
working with the members of the Assembly?" asked Calvert, who had heard
nothing on his long journey, though he had kept their Majesties
informed of his own movements.
"Here is Beaufort's letter--it reached me yesterday," replied Lafayette.
"He reports a sufficient number engaged on our side by bribery or
interest to insure the King's departure--only it must be instantly,
instantly, or all is lost."
"Then I will go at once to Paris," said Calvert, "and report all ready
here, and the great step must be taken if it is ever to be."
"It cannot be too soon."
"And have you made all arrangements?"
"This is my plan," says the General, laying a military map of France
upon the table before Calvert.
"The King must ask permission to retire to Compiegne for a few
days--'tis, as you know, one of his Majesty's favorite residences, hence
the request will seem natural. Three days preceding that request (and
which, I think, cannot be later than the 9th) I will order several of
the most loyal regiments under Saurel and Marbois to proceed to Laon to
invest that fortress. I will march with these troops myself, and at La
Capelle, which, as you see, is about six leagues from Compiegne, will
order them to proceed to the latter point instead of to Laon. The King
will find a loyal army surrounding his chateau of Compiegne when he
"And if the Assembly refuses to let him leave Paris?"
"Then he and the Queen on that same evening must escape disguised--she
is a good actress, Ned, and did not play Beaumarchais's comedies at the
little Trianon for nothing; the King will have more trouble--to
Courbevoie, where a detachment of the Swiss Guard will be found to
escort their Majesties to Compiegne. We must make sure of Bachman, who
is, I think, of the King's cause, and must have his promise to detail
his Guard at Courbevoie and hold them in readiness. His troops will be
strengthened by a regiment under Marbois, which will push on from
Compiegne to meet them. Should all go well and his Majesty's request be
granted, you must instantly send an aide-de-camp to intercept Marbois
and turn him back to Compiegne. Though I do not doubt Bachman's loyalty,
'tis well to be on the safe side, so that thou, Ned, and Favernay, and
other of the King's friends must be at Courbevoie to aid his Majesty's
flight and see that no treachery is done. We must trust Beaufort to
accompany the King to the Assembly and stay beside their Majesties to
see that our plans do not miscarry within the palace. And now what dost
thou think of the great enterprise?"
"I think it cannot fail of success, if their Majesties will but do their
part, and that they will at last appreciate the Marquis de Lafayette at
his true value," says Calvert, warmly.
"I think I shall get small credit in that quarter," replies Lafayette,
smiling a little sarcastically. "Nor do I feel that I deserve much. 'Tis
to thee and to Mr. Morris that the King's gratitude is due, and if Louis
XVI is saved from his enemies it will be by the courage and generosity
of two American gentlemen," he says, very nobly. "'Twas Mr. Morris's
shrewd wit which first set the enterprise afoot, and 'tis thy coolness
and bravery which has carried it so far on its way to success. I could
not have moved hand or foot in the matter without you two."
After fixing upon the 9th of August as the day on which his Majesty
should repair to the Assembly to make his request, and arranging some
further details of communication between the army at Compiegne and the
troops at Courbevoie, Calvert, in spite of his fatigue (he had ridden
for two days and the better part of two nights), set out at once for
Paris, where he arrived on the morning of the 5th.
As he feared, he found the city in a state of the greatest agitation.
The different sections of Paris had demanded the dethronement of the
King, and the temper of the people was so hostile toward their ruler
that his Majesty's friends were of the opinion that their plan to save
him must be put to the test instantly or all would be lost. Mr. Calvert
met those gentlemen (there were five in all besides Calvert--Monciel,
Bremond, Beaufort, Favernay, and d'Angremont) at Monsieur de Monciel's,
together with Mr. Morris, who, although he obeyed the letter of the law
he had laid down for himself, could not, to save his life, refrain from
being a spectator, if a silent one, at those deliberations in which he
was so profoundly interested. 'Twas agreed by these gentlemen, who were
all impatient of any delay, that the date, the 9th, set by Lafayette,
should be adopted for the trial of the great enterprise, and Monsieur
de Favernay was instantly despatched to the frontier to acquaint him of
this decision. Beaufort and d'Angremont, who had knowledge of all that
passed within the palace, were to prepare the King's address to the
Assembly and to urge upon their Majesties the necessity of the speedy
trial of that plan to which they had committed themselves. This was no
easy business, for, since the unfortunate flight to Varennes, both the
King and the Queen hesitated to trust themselves to their friends or to
take any step, the failure of which would but add to the misfortunes
they already had to bear.
Bremond and Monciel were to renew their efforts to insure the King's
departure by the Assembly and to make assurance doubly sure in that
quarter; while as for Calvert, he was to sound Bachman, gain his
allegiance to the King's cause, and engage him to detain his Swiss Guard
at Courbevoie to aid the King's flight should it be necessary.
With these arrangements fully agreed upon, the gentlemen separated,
Calvert going to the Legation for a talk with Mr. Morris (though he
would not stop there for fear of compromising him should the enterprise
bring him into peril) and then to the guard-room of the palace, where he
found the captain of the Swiss troop. 'Twas easy enough to engage
Bachman in Calvert's plan, for he was already devoted to the royal
cause, and his troops would follow him wherever he led. He entered
enthusiastically into the hazardous scheme, agreeing to detail certain
regiments at Courbevoie under his own command on the evening of the 9th
of August to act as an escort for their Majesties as far as Compiegne if
When this affair was satisfactorily settled and reported to the other
conspirators for the King's safety, Calvert made his way to the hotel in
the rue Richelieu, at which he had stayed with Mr. Morris, and sought
the first repose he had known for nearly fifty-six hours.
During the days of the 6th, 7th, and 8th of August, Mr. Calvert and
those other devoted friends of the King who were plotting for his safety
were kept in the greatest state of alarm by the wildest and most
sanguinary rumors of conspiracies to storm the palace and murder the
Royal Family. 'Twas only too evident that the temper of the mob could
not be counted on from one hour to the next, and that the King must be
got out of Paris at all hazards. No step could be taken until the 9th,
however, when Lafayette would be at Compiegne, and, in the meantime,
those gentlemen engaged in the service of his Majesty were busy trying
to prepare the way for the King's removal from the capital. The sums of
money which were continually brought to Mr. Morris by Monciel, Bremond,
and others were expended in bribing those who might stand in the way of
the King's departure or else invested by him for the future use of their
Majesties, a rigid account of all of which was given by Mr. Morris to
the young Duchesse d'Angouleme when he had audience with her Royal
Highness at Vienna, years after, and when the tragedy which he had so
ardently tried to avert had been consummated. Memoires and addresses for
the King were hastily drawn up by Calvert, Monciel, and Beaufort,
assisted by Mr. Morris, who, in the terrible excitement and danger of
those last two days preceding the final step, threw prudence to the
winds and lent his aid morning and night to the enterprise.
Early on the morning of the 9th, Favernay returned, worn by the fatigue
of his long and rapid journey, with the news that Lafayette was on the
march; that the troops would reach Compiegne by afternoon, and that he
had left them at La Capelle. All being thus in readiness outside of the
city, word was borne to his Majesty by Calvert in a secret interview,
and after some persuasion, and the address to the legislators, prepared
by Mr. Morris, being presented to his Majesty, he agreed to repair to
the Assembly at six in the evening to make his request to be allowed to
retire to Compiegne for a few days. In the early afternoon, and after
every precaution possible had been taken to insure the success of the
undertaking, Calvert, Bremond, and Favernay left the city, by different
routes, for Courbevoie, agreeing to meet there at the caserne of the
Swiss Guard to await the issue of the King's appeal to the Assembly and
be ready to escort his Majesty by force, if necessary, to Compiegne,
while Mr. Morris, deeming it best not to appear at the Assembly,
remained at the Legation, anxiously waiting for news of the success or
failure of the plan.
WITHIN THE PALACE
The arrival of Calvert at the chateau with his message that all was in
readiness for the taking of the final step, the decision for instant
action thus forced upon his Majesty, and the excitement pervading the
whole city, threw the King and Queen and those few about them who were
in the secret into the greatest agitation. Her Majesty, especially, was
in the cruellest apprehension, and, dismissing her other attendants,
kept only Adrienne with her during that weary day, which, it seemed,
would never end. She was the only soul the Queen could confide in, and
the two frightened women clung to each other, waiting in terror for the
issue of that day's great business. A hundred times did her Majesty
change her mind about the expediency of risking further the displeasure
of the Assembly and the people by this request to leave the capital; a
hundred times did she revert to her former purpose of waiting for and
trusting in the allies whose approach was now so near. It took all of
Adrienne's courage and persuasiveness to bring the Queen back to her
purpose of adhering to the enterprise afoot; she found herself arguing
passionately in behalf of Calvert, and at length succeeded in again
imbuing the Queen's mind with that faith in him which she herself had.
'Twas curious how that old trust she had felt and acknowledged long
before she had loved him animated her now, mingled with a pride in him,
a passionate devotion, which she had thought never to experience. As for
the King, she saw but little of him, for he was either closeted with his
ministers or else sat alone, silent and apathetic, as if in resignation
of that fate thrust upon him.
Toward seven o'clock Beaufort and d'Angremont were admitted, and,
shortly after, his Majesty prepared to go with them to the Assembly.
During the two hours which followed, a thousand hopes and fears agitated
the two women left alone in a private chamber of the Queen's apartments.
Her Majesty, unable to remain quiet, paced the room in the cruellest
apprehension. At exactly nine the King entered, pale and
alarmed-looking, and attended only by Beaufort. At sight of him the
Queen arose and went to him with a little cry.
"They have refused--all is lost," says His Majesty, in a hollow voice.
"Impossible!" she exclaims, looking from the King to Beaufort, who stood
by, deathly pale, also.
"It is only too true, your Majesty," says Beaufort, for the King seemed
incapable of speech. "In spite of the enormous bribes offered and
received, in spite of promises, in spite of his Majesty's address, which
should have mollified all parties and inspired confidence, the temper of
the Assembly, which had appeared favorable to his Majesty, suddenly
changed and an outrageous scene took place; humiliations and insults
and threats were heaped upon his Majesty, who retired as speedily as
possible. D'Angremont was arrested as we left the Assembly, which has
refused to allow the departure of your Majesties, and there remains
nothing but to try the last expedient."
The Queen stood gazing at the King and Beaufort, anger and despair
written on every feature. Her eyes blazed, and into the lately colorless
cheeks a deep crimson sprang.
"Impossible," she says again. "The traitors! To betray us at every turn!
Surely there is no one so friendless as the King and Queen of France!
And shall we trust ourselves again to flight? Oh, the horrors of that
last ride!" She shuddered and sank into a chair. Adrienne knelt beside
the despairing woman.
"All is ready--your Majesties have but to follow the instructions--to
don the disguises prepared--once at Courbevoie all is secure," she says,
speaking with the greatest energy and confidence and clasping the
Queen's hand in her own.
Suddenly her Majesty started up. "Never--never!" she bursts out,
beginning to pace up and down the small chamber. "Never will I again go
through with the humiliation of flight and capture. Better death or
imprisonment at the hands of this ungrateful, mad people!"
"But, your Majesty--" says Beaufort, beginning to speak, but the Queen
"I know what you would tell me, Beaufort," she stopped and spoke
imperiously--"that this scheme is the best possible one, the only one,
perhaps; that in this enterprise lies our only safety, but I cannot
believe it! A thousand times would I rather trust myself to the allies!"
she said, beginning to pace the floor again.
"I think 'tis not that alone which Monsieur de Beaufort would tell your
Majesty," said Adrienne, rising from beside the chair where the Queen
had been sitting. She stood straight and tall before the desperate Queen
and spoke rapidly. "He would say, also, that there is a handful of brave
gentlemen who have risked their lives to serve your Majesties, who are
waiting now but a few miles away and the further opportunity of serving
you. Every moment adds to their peril. Should your Majesties fail them,
what will become of them?" She threw out her hands with an appealing
"'Tis true," murmured the King. "It must not be said that we sacrificed
the last of our friends," he said, smiling a little bitterly and looking
at the Queen, who continued to pace the little room in the cruellest
"I pray your Majesties not to think of us," said Beaufort. "Your devoted
friends and servants think only of what is best for your Majesties. 'Tis
their opinion, as well as my own, that there is nothing left but
"Never, never!" exclaimed the Queen, with increasing firmness.
"But think of the danger of remaining in Paris!" urged Beaufort. "We
know not at what moment this insurrection prepared by the Jacobins may
burst out, we know not at what moment this palace and the sacred persons
of your Majesties may be at the mercy of an infuriated, insensate mob."
"Let them come--these dangers--these horrors," says the Queen,
intrepidly; "they will bring Brunswick and the allies that much sooner
to this Paris which I will not leave until they enter it." She stamped
her foot upon the velvet carpet and clinched her white hands at her
"Then your Majesty is resolved to give up the enterprise she has
promised to support, to abandon those loyal servants who have depended
upon her and his Majesty the King?" asks Adrienne, looking at the Queen,
her face pale as marble and her eyes burning with indignation.
"Does Madame Calvert permit herself to question our actions?" says the
Queen, turning imperiously upon her. Suddenly her beautiful eyes filled
with tears. "Forgive me--you are right," she says. "'Tis our fate--our
wretched fate--to seem to abandon and injure all who are brought near
us, all who attempt to serve us. We cannot help ourselves--even now we
must break our faith with these loyal friends, for now I see that after
the refusal of the Assembly to allow us to leave Paris, 'twere madness
to attempt to go. We would but increase the danger, the humiliation we
already have to endure. The only wise course is to await Brunswick and
the allies. I see now the folly of this plan of escape--indeed, I was
never fully persuaded of its wisdom. The confidence I felt in this
young American--his devotion to us and that of those other
friends--blinded me to the dangers and difficulties of the undertaking."
"And the King?" asks Adrienne, turning from the Queen to his Majesty,
who sat by, indecision and weariness and timidity written on all his
"We dare not," he says, at length, apathetically. "The Queen is
right--after the refusal by the Assembly to allow us to depart, after
this new humiliation, it were worse than folly to think of escaping. We
are surrounded by spies--treachery is within these very walls--how can
we hope to get away? It is best to await our doom quietly here. What
think you, Beaufort?" he asks.
"I implore your Majesty to make the effort," says Beaufort. "Once
outside Paris, the Swiss Guards await you, Lafayette with his loyal
regiments is even now at Compiegne----"
"Lafayette at Compiegne?--who knows?" says the Queen, gloomily,
interrupting Beaufort again. "Monsieur de Lafayette hath betrayed us
before and may do so again. I trust him not! To know that he has a share
in this enterprise is to make me fear to pursue it! No, no," she goes
on, shuddering and turning away. "St. Cloud and the 5th of October are
too well remembered. I should have thought of all this before," she
says, striking her hands together in an agony of doubt and despair. "It
is too late now."
"And who will tell these gentlemen waiting at Courbevoie, and the
regiments advancing from Compiegne at the risk of their lives, of this
sudden change in your Majesties' plans? Should Monsieur d'Angremont be
induced to divulge their names they will inevitably be lost--their only
hope is in immediate flight," says Adrienne, looking from the King, sunk
in resigned silence, to the frantic, hapless Queen, and back again.
"Who but myself, Madame?" said Beaufort, advancing. "And if your
Majesties are fully determined to go no further in this business, I will
ask leave to withdraw and set out for Courbevoie at once. Every moment
is precious, and an hour's delay may mean the loss of many lives."
"No, no, Beaufort, I cannot let you go," cried the King, starting up.
"Nom de Dieu, I forbid you!--d'Angremont is taken from me--there is no
one in whom I can confide or trust--we must send another," he went on,
incoherently, and raising his hand as if to check Beaufort's departure.
For an instant the Queen swept him a glance of disdain. 'Twas not
timidity that made her falter. She could not understand the physical
weakness of the King; with her the abandonment of the great undertaking
was a matter of expediency, not of fear, and she deserted her friends as
relentlessly from interest as he did from cowardice.
"There is no one, your Majesty--no one whom we can send. 'Tis too late
to trust others with this great secret--"
"Then I will go," said Adrienne, suddenly stepping forward. "Send me--I
am in the secret, I can be trusted! I can put on the disguise intended
for your Majesty and go." She turned to the Queen and spoke eagerly and
rapidly. "I fear nothing. Let me go, let me go!" She dropped on her
knees before the Queen. "I must go--I must," she said, wildly.
"Is there no other?" asked the Queen, turning to Beaufort. "Surely we
are not so destitute of friends that we must send this girl upon such a
dangerous mission!" she said, sorrowfully.
"I implore your Majesty to let me go," said Adrienne, once more. "'Tis a
service I would do myself as well as your Majesty," she went on, her
white face suddenly covered with a burning blush.
The Queen looked at her keenly for a moment, and then she put out her
hand with a sad, comprehending smile. "You may go," she said.
THE TENTH OF AUGUST
According to agreement, Bremond sped instantly from the Assembly to
Courbevoie with news of the fresh humiliation put upon the King and the
outrageous scene which had taken place. He found Calvert, Monciel,
Favernay, Bachman, and several officers of the Swiss Guard, upon whose
loyalty they could depend, assembled in a room of the officers' quarters
of the barracks, anxiously awaiting the issue of the day's events. He
told his news amid a dead silence, broken only now and then by an
exclamation of indignation or disappointment from one of the listeners.
When he had finished speaking, Calvert turned to the little group,
"Then, gentlemen," he says, "pursuant to the plan, the King's request
having been denied, we may expect their Majesties here before ten, and
shall have the honor of guarding them to Compiegne."
As he looked around upon the little company, there was not a face but
expressed some secret doubt and misgiving. The King's timidity and
vacillation were so well known that 'twas impossible not to question his
good faith even in this last extremity. As ten o'clock passed and eleven
and no message or sign of the royal fugitives came to the anxious,
impatient watchers, those secret doubts and misgivings began to be
"'Tis the Austrian who has kept him, I will bet a hundred louis," said
one of the Guard's officers, gloomily. "I never believed she would keep
faith with us--she is too deeply committed to Brunswick--nor will she
let the King do so." Even while he spoke there was a sound of someone's
running hurriedly up the stairs--they were assembled in an upper
room--and in an instant an orderly was hammering at the door, which was
flung open by Monciel.
"A messenger for Monsieur Calvert," he says, saluting.
Calvert followed the man hastily down the steps to where a figure waited
for him which made him start back with an exclamation of surprise and
Adrienne--for it was she--came forward, taking off the cap pulled over
her eyes and letting fall the great cloak with which she had enveloped
herself in spite of the intense heat, and appearing in the outrider's
livery which was to have been the Queen's disguise.
"C'est moi," she says, hurriedly, and putting a finger to her lips, "and
I am come to tell you that their Majesties have failed you--have
abandoned the plan--and to implore you to escape while there is time."
She stood straight and tall in her boy's clothes, but the dim light,
falling upon her upturned face, showed it pale as death, and her voice
trembled as she spoke.
"You are come to tell me this?" says Calvert, slowly, still staring at
her as though scarce able to believe his senses. "And where is
"The King refused to let him go; he is with his Majesty," she says,
breathlessly--"d'Angremont is taken--'tis reported that the palace is to
be attacked to-night. The King and Queen will not come--the King is
afraid to attempt the escape, and the Queen will rely on no one save the
allies--we implored them in vain to come but they refused--they have
failed you--save yourselves!" She leaned heavily against the door.
"It is quite certain?--they will not come?" asked Calvert. Adrienne
shook her head.
"Then wait--come in here," he said, drawing her into a little anteroom.
He ran back up the stairs and burst into the room he had just left, with
"Their Majesties have flashed in the pan," he said to the gentlemen who
crowded about him. "'Tis no use to wait longer. D'Angremont is taken.
You, Monciel and Favernay, set out instantly to intercept Marbois's
regiment and turn it back to Compiegne. You will go back with the troops
and report to General de Lafayette what has happened. As for you,
gentlemen," he says to the officers of the Guard, "not being needed here
longer, you had best lead your men back with all speed to Paris to guard
the palace. The attack is for to-night."
Almost before he had finished speaking the little company had vanished
which it had taken such secrecy and courage and fidelity to call
together; the great plan was overthrown which had taken such daring and
patience and wealth to set afoot. Timidity and bad faith had, in a
moment, destroyed what had taken so many weeks to build up, and for the
future calamities the King and Queen of France were to bear, they had
only themselves to thank.
Calvert ran down the stairs again quickly to the anteroom, where the
boyish figure in the long cloak awaited him.
"Come," he said, briefly, and, ordering a fresh horse for the rider,
whose mount was weary, almost without a word the two galloped back
together under the fading stars to the city of tumult and horror and
crime. And as they raced forward in silence, a thousand hopes and fears
crowded in upon Calvert's mind, but he put them steadily from him,
trying to think but of the King and Queen and if there might yet be help
for them or service to render. Only as he looked at the pale face beside
him, at the blue eyes, tired and strained now, a mad wonder would steal
over him that she had done this thing. And with this wonder tugging at
his heart and brain they pressed onward with all speed. They entered
Paris as the first streaks of dawn were beginning to redden the sky, and
in this rosy morning glow the haggard faces of the multitudes of men and
women pacing the streets--for who could sleep during that awful
night?--looked more haggard and wretched than ever before. Bands of
armed ruffians marched through the streets from all sections of the
city. 'Twas plain that some movement of importance was going forward.
The two riders made their way as quickly as possible past the Place du
Carrousel, where Calvert could see the faithful Swiss regiment at their
post, over the Pont Royal and so to the Faubourg St. Germain and the
"Mr. Morris's house is the only safe place in all this mad city, I
think," he said to Adrienne. "I will leave you in his care while I go
and see what has befallen the King and Queen."
Early as was the hour, the Legation was all astir, and Mr. Morris
himself came out to meet Calvert and Adrienne as they dismounted. He had
not been to bed during the night and looked harassed and weary. He drew
them into the house, where they found a large company assembled. Madame
de Montmorin was there, agony and terror written on her pallid face; the
old Count d'Estaing, who had fought so gallantly in America; Dillon,
Madame de Flahaut, and a dozen others, who had taken refuge with the
American Minister during that terrible night.
"You see!" said Mr. Morris, in a low tone, to Calvert, and indicating
the little group. "They have fled for protection here, but God knows
whether even this spot will afford them safety! I call you to witness,
Calvert, that if my protection of these persons should become a matter
of reproach to me here, or at home (and I have reason to expect it will,
from what I have already experienced), I call you to witness that I have
not violated the neutrality of this place by inviting them here, but I
will never put them out now that they are here, let the consequences be
what they may!"
"Who could believe that you could act in any other way!" said Calvert,
warmly, touched by the nobility and earnestness of Mr. Morris's manner,
very different from his usual cynical one. "And I am come to put another
in your charge until the Queen sends for her," he went on. "She has
ridden through this terrible night--God knows how--to give us warning
that the King and Queen have abandoned us and the great plan and have
chosen to remain at the palace. I must go to the Tuileries and find out
what has befallen their Majesties and then I will return."
"I know all," said Mr. Morris, bitterly. "I scarcely dared to hope that
their Majesties would stand by us or their promises. 'Tis as I thought,
my boy. Sacrifices and devotion, time and money have all been wasted in
their behalf. So be it! I think no power can save them now. You have
bravely done your share. Let this end it. And it were best that you
should leave Paris at once. D'Angremont has died nobly without revealing
our secrets--he was murdered within two hours of his capture--but this
is no safe place for you. Go to the Tuileries, if you will, but return
to me as soon as possible. You have lost at the palace, but I think
there is a reward waiting for you here at the Legation," he says,
smiling a little and turning away.
Scarcely had Calvert left the Legation when he heard the alarm from the
great bell of St. Germain l'Auxerrois--that fatal bell which had rung
in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew two hundred and twenty years
before--and almost immediately after there came the sounds of musketry
and cannonading from the direction of the palace of the Tuileries. The
attack had already begun, and Calvert thought with a thrill of horror of
the fate that awaited Beaufort and those other loyal servants of their
Majesties within the palace.
The fearful drama of that day is too well known to need repeating. On
that day Louis XVI of France passed from history and the revolution was
consummated. By the time Calvert had reached the Quai opposite the
Louvre the battle was begun, the mob was forcing its way past the
scattered National Guard, whose commander lay murdered on the steps of
the Hotel de Ville, past the stanch, true Swiss Guard, who, left without
orders, stood, martyrs at their posts, _ne sacramenti fidem fallerent_,
through the Carrousel up to the very palace itself. There, surrounded by
seven hundred loyal gentlemen, whom he was to abandon as he had
abandoned all his friends and servants, the King awaited his doom in
apathetic resignation. It was impossible to reach his Majesty or to do
aught for him, and Calvert could only look on from afar. There was no
place in that fearful scene for an American. The French at last knew
their power, had at last got the bit between their teeth, and no outside
interference could stay that fearful pace. The mob surged about Calvert,
increased every instant by fresh additions from the lowest quarters of
the city, reinforced by deputations from the provinces. The firing from
without grew quicker and quicker; from within fainter and less frequent,
as those devoted servants of the King were shot down, until finally
there was silence within the palace and the scarlet of the Swiss could
be seen scattered and fleeing in every direction as the armed and
triumphant mob pushed its way forward. Looking into the mad whirlwind of
faces, Calvert saw the great, disfigured head, the massive shoulders of
Danton, (but just come, on that fearful morning, to the fulness of his
infamy and power), followed by Bertrand, battling his way beside his
"And 'twas for this I saved him!" said Calvert to himself. "Truly the
ways and ends of Providence are inscrutable!"
He watched the terrible scene a long while, and then, seeing that he was
powerless to aid those in the palace, he made his way back to the
Legation with a beating heart. The great disappointment the night had
brought, the failure of all those plans in which he had been so
profoundly interested and for which he had hazarded so much, even the
peril of the King and Queen, faded from before his mind as he thought of
Adrienne and asked himself why she had risked her life to come to him.
He saw her still galloping by his side, her face pale in the light of
the full August moon, her dusky hair blown backward, the strange,
inscrutable expression in her eyes.
She was not with the rest of the little company when Calvert once more
entered the Legation. He found her in an upper chamber, where she stood
alone beside an open window, looking out on the agitation and tumult of
the city below. She had doffed her travel-stained boy's clothes and now
wore a dress, which Madame de Montmorin had offered her, of some soft
black stuff that fell in heavy folds about her slender young figure. As
he entered she turned, hearing the sound, and their eyes met. He stood
silent, trying to fathom the strange look on that pale face. It was the
same beautiful face that he had seen in pictured loveliness that last
night at Monticello, the same that he had seen in reality for the first
time at Mr. Jefferson's levee at the Legation, and yet how changed! All
the haughty pride, the caprice, the vanity, the artificiality were gone,
and instead, upon the finely chiselled features and in the blue eyes,
rested a serene, if melancholy beauty, a quiet nobility born of
suffering. There rushed through Calvert's mind the thought that, after
all, that loveliness had at last developed into all that was best and
He stood thus looking at her in silence and thinking of these things,
and then he went slowly forward, scarce knowing how to address her or
explain his presence, who had so long avoided her.
"I am come," he says, at length, "to thank you for the great service
that you have this night rendered me and those other gentlemen engaged
with myself in the King's business. I dare not think what might have
been the fate of us all had you not come to our assistance. Were they
here they would, like myself, thank you with all their hearts."
"'Twas no great service," she says, "and I could scarce have done less
for one who has done so much--who has sacrificed so much for me."
"I have sacrificed nothing," says Calvert, in a low, compassionate
voice. "'Twas you who sacrificed yourself, and all in vain! Believe me,
I suffered for you in that knowledge. I should not have let you--should
have found a way, but I was weak and ill and scarcely struggled against
the fate that gave you to me. I wish that 'twere as easy to undo the
evil as for you to forget me."
"Forget you! I wish I could forget you. I have thought of you so much
that sometimes I wish I could forget you entirely. But I think 'tis out
of my power to do so now. I think I should have to be quite dead--and
even then I do not know--I am not sure--if you should speak to me I
think I would hear," she says, wildly, and covering her eyes with her
He looked at the dark-robed figure, the dark head bowed on the heaving
breast, and suddenly a joy such as he had never thought to feel ran
through his veins. He went over to her, and, lifting the hand from the
closed eyes, he put it to his lips.
"Adrienne," he says, tenderly and wonderingly, "you are crying! Why?"
"I am crying for so many things! For joy and despair and hope and dead
love, because this means nothing to you and everything to me, because I
love you and you love me not, because you once loved me--!" She stopped
in an access of anguish and, sobbing, knelt before him. The humility of
true love had at last mastered her.
"Not to me--not to me," he said, unsteadily, lifting her.
"And why not to you? There is no one so true, no one I honor so much! In
my pride and ignorance I thought you were not the equal of these fine
gentlemen who have abandoned their King and their country. But I have
learned to know you, and my own heart, and what I have thrown away! I am
not ashamed to say this--to own to you that I love you." She threw back
her head and looked at Calvert with eyes that shone with a sorrowful
light. "For you once told me that you loved me, and though I know I have
lost that love, the memory that I once had it will stay with me and be
my pride forever."
"'Tis yours still, believe me," said Calvert. "'Tis yours now and
forever--forever." He put his arm around her and drew her to him. "Far
or near I have loved you since the first day I saw you, but I never
dreamed that you would come to care, and in my pride I swore I would
never tell you of my love after that day in the garden at Azay."
"I must have been mad, I think," she said, wonderingly. "Mad to have
laughed at you--mad to have thrown away your love. Ah, I have learned
"'Tis like a miracle that you should have come to care for me," said
Calvert, his lips upon her dark hair.
"The hour you left me I knew that I loved you. Oh, the agony of that
knowledge and the thought that I would never see you again! Even then
my pride would not let me tell you--I thought you would come again--and
then--then when later you turned from me--my heart broke, I think--'twas
quite numb--I was neither sorry nor glad--" She stopped again.
"Are you glad now, Adrienne?" asked Calvert, looking at her tenderly.
"Yes," she said, quietly.
"And will you be content to leave this France of yours and come with me
to America? There is a home waiting for you there--'tis not a splendid
place like those you know, but only a country house that stands near the
noblest and loveliest river of the land, upon whose banks peace and
happiness dwell." As he spoke, grim sounds of tumult, cannonading,
fierce cries, and hoarse commands came to them from the hot, crowded
street below, but they did not heed them--they were far away from that
terrible, doomed city. Words were scarcely needed--they stood there soul
to soul, alone in all the world, and happy.
"I am going back to that land of mine, where there is work for me to do.
Will you not go with me? There is nothing more we can do here. The last
chance to save their Majesties is gone. Will you leave this troubled,
fated land and come with me to that other one, where I will make you
forget the horrors, the sufferings you have endured in this--where I
swear I will make you happy? Will you go to this America of mine?" he
She gazed into the eyes she so loved and trusted with a glance as serene
and true as their own.
"I will go," she said.