Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/108

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88
DRAMATIC MOMENTS

a drink and a kiss at the Sign of the Dead Rat. An unwonted calm pervaded the ancient palace of the wicked Catherine de Médicis. For the Great Napoleon was taking his bath.

If I am obliged to introduce this incomparable soldier, this astute diplomat, this "Prince of Adventurers," clad in no greater majesty than water pearly and aromatic with salts and perfumes, it is not my fault. It is there that history discovers him, disclosing for the first time high reasons of state why the Conqueror of the World will not face T. Jefferson and his four frigates drawn up in dry-dock in the interests of Universal Peace.

There was a scratch on the door. It was his valet Rustan's signal. The door opened, and in went two brothers of the bathing Consul. They were Lucien and Joseph. They had heard some rumour that Louisiana was to be deserted. They rushed up in the name of the Chamber of Deputies to forbid the alienation of the people's territory. Ensued a scene not only illuminating the diplomatic contest under