Page:Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy (1918).djvu/51

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31
IN AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

the star of the original cast, Caron de Beaumarchais. About dinner time there clattered into the courtyard John Loring Austin, of Boston. Before he even had time to alight, Franklin addressed him.

"Sir, is Philadelphia taken?"

"Yes, sir."

The old gentleman, so says an old diary, clasped his hands and returned to the hotel.

"But, sir," cried the messenger, "I have greater news than that. General Burgoyne and his whole army are prisoners of war!"

The effect was dynamic. Everyone fell to making use of this epochal and tremendous news after his own fashion. The star actor bounced into a chaise with William Lee and tore off to Versailles, the hero of his own melodrama, to tell the King, and tore in such excellent histrionic style that he turned over the chaise and broke his ribs. The rest of the staff began copying the dispatches for diplomatic action, while Franklin's valet and Major Thornton, Arthur Lee's private secretary, be-