Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/24

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Dramatic Moments

government envoy had as many disguises as Stillman Hunt, the detective, and might be disclosed any time as his enemy's chief of staff, or his confidential secretary.

In 1775 a temporary peace prevailed in the world. The French Ambassador in London, entirely surrounded by spies, went his innocuous and pompous way. But meantime a singular individual was in London laying the train of the Bourbon revenge for the loss of Canada. In subtle and successful guise he was accomplishing precisely what the Prussian, Kühlmann, attempted in 1914. He spent his time singing duets with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and displaying an amazing talent in frivolity, in droll stories, in desperate and amusing nocturnal intrigues. He was a playwright of the first water by way of diversion; a plotter of inordinate devices and imagination, a master of dramatic language on all occasions, and absolutely without reputation.

His history as an agent of the French kings is more replete with masquerades, adventure,