Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/21

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1213 FERSEN’S LAST JOURNEY TO PARIS. 15

friendships which lie midway between love and religion. Almost as much a Frenchman as he was a Swede, he did 11ot forget that he l1ad fought in America under the standard of the Most Christian King, and l1ad been colonel of a regiment in the service of France. Having been the courtier of the happy and brilliant Queen, he remained the court- ier of the Queen overcome by anguish. He had enkindled in the soul of his sovereign, Gustavus III., the same chivalrous sentiment which animated his own, and was impatiently awaiting the time when he could hasten to the aid of Louis XVI. a11d Marie Antoinette under the Swedish flag. His dearest ambition was to draw his sword i11 the Queen’s defence. From the Varennes journey up to the day of Marie Antoinette’s execution, he had but one thought: to rescue the woman for whom he would willingly have shed the last drop of his blood. This fixed idea has left its trace on every line of his journal. The sad and melancholy coun- tenance of F ersen, the courtier of misfortune, the friend of unhappy days, is assuredly one of the cele- brated types in the drama of Versailles and the Tuileries. This man, who would have made no mark in history but for the martyr Queen, is cer- tain, thanks to her, not to be forgotten by posterity. Marie Antoinette was to return him in glory what he gave her in devotion.

On her return to the Tuileries after the disas- trous journey to Varennes, the Queen wrote to