Others watched her progress with less satisfaction. Mr. Nathan Gore was one of these, for he came in one evening, looking much out of temper, and, sitting down by her side he said he had come to bid good-bye and to thank her for the kindness she had shown him; he was to leave Washington the next morning. She too expressed her warm regret, but added that she hoped he was only going in order to take his passage to Madrid.
He shook his head. "I am going to take my passage," said he, "but not to Madrid. The fates have cut that thread. The President does not want my services, and I can't blame him, for if our situations were reversed, I should certainly not want his. He has an Indiana friend, who, I am told, wanted to be postmaster at Indianapolis, but as this did not suit the politicians, he was bought off at the exorbitant price of the Spanish mission. But I should have no chance even if he were out of the way. The President does not approve of me. He objects to the cut of my overcoat which is unfortunately an English one. He also objects to the cut of my hair. I am afraid that his wife objects to me because I am so happy as to be thought a friend of yours."
Madeleine could only acknowledge that Mr. Gore's case was a bad one. "But after all," said she, "why should politicians be expected to love you literary gentlemen who write history. Other criminal classes are not expected to love their judges."
"No, but they have sense enough to fear them," replied Gore vindictively; "not one politician living has the brains or the art to defend his own cause. The ocean of history is foul with the carcases of such statesmen, dead and forgotten except when some historian fishes one of them up to gibbet it."
Mr. Gore was so much out of temper that after this piece of extravagance he was forced to pause a moment to recover himself. Then he went on:-- "You are perfectly right, and so is the President. I have no business to be meddling in politics. It is not my place. The next time you hear of me, I promise it shall not be as an office-seeker."
Then he rapidly changed the subject, saying that he hoped Mrs. Lee was soon going northward again, and that they might meet at Newport.
"I don't know," replied Madeleine; "the spring is pleasant here, and we shall stay till the warm weather, I think."
Mr. Gore looked grave. "And your politics!" said he; "are you satisfied with what you have seen?"