Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/219

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The disappointment and surprise of these ingenuous envoys was worth seeing, when they returned and narrated the details of their mission, and described the kind of diplomats with whom they had come in contact, and the impudence—as they artlessly called it—of the proposals which had been made to them.

The first ambassador was of the feminine sex. A Madame de presented herself to the envoys from Congress, described herself as a friend to the cause of the Independence of the United States, which had always been dear to her heart, etc.—and so, having paved the way, announced the visit of the most famous M. R—— de St. F——, who would be able to discuss the affair thoroughly. This second envoy dropped a hint that it was indispensable for the success of the demand that a little money should be spent. The ambassadress then reappeared, and finished by declaring that the affair might be arranged for the sum of fifty thousand livres sterling, of which so much was to go to His Excellency as a douceur or "sweet-