Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/26

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Dramatic Moments

of the court for a box of letters of Louis XV, said to incriminate the French nation beyond recall. Recollect that this other agent was the Chevalier d'Eau, who had originally gone to the Russian Court disguised as a woman, and who at this time, to the scandal and astonishment of Christendom, was declaring that in fact he was a woman, and you will perceive what a funny, dreadful, and entertaining character this fellow was.

His name was Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. So much for one side of this actor—the ridiculous and entertaining side presented to Lord Rochfort and the American Committee on Secret Correspondence. The other side is painted thus by a great French historian:

"A man of ardent and daring mind, of restless and stormy renown, of questionable character and of prodigious activity. * * * The heir presumptive of Voltaire and the successful conqueror of the Maupeou Parliament."

Unknown to his own ambassador, totally