Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/44
and factions, but above all party lines at home and national boundaries abroad.
Being in the midst of war to-day, we can appreciate the more the amazing power wielded by this eccentric gentleman of seventy summers, who appeared in Paris in 1776, clad in a plain brown suit which the courtiers thought was the dress of an "American cultivator." He not only appeared at court—he took the court and the whole nation by storm. Listen to some contemporary accounts.
"His straight, unpowdered hair, his round hat, his brown coat, formed a contrast with the laced and embroidered coats and the powdered and perfumed heads of the courtiers of Versailles. This novelty turned the enthusiastic heads of the French women. Elegant entertainments were given him. * * * I was present at one of these entertainments, when the most beautiful woman of three hundred was selected to place a crown of laurels upon the head of the American philosopher and two kisses upon his cheeks."