Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/39

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THE DEATH OF GUSTAVUS III. 33

Chapelle amid the French émz'g7'e’s, and who, on his return to Stockholm, prepared there the great cru- sade for authority, announcing himself as the avenger of divine right, the saviour of all thrones ‘E The last days of his life, his presentiments, which recall those of Ceesar, his superstitions, his belief in prophecies, his magic incantations, that warning which he scorns, as the Duke de Guise did at the castle of Blois, that masked ball where the costumes, the music, the flowers, the lights, offer a painfully strange contrast to the horror of the attack; all is sinister, lugubrious, in. these fantastic and fatal scenes which have already tempted more than one dramatist, more than one musician, and whose phases a Shakespeare only could retrace. The crime of Stockholm is linked closely to the death- struggle of French royalty. The funeral knell which tolled at this extremity of the North had echoes in Paris. The Swedish regicides set the example to the regicides of France.

M. Geffroy has remarked very justly in his work, Gustave III. et la cour de France, that the bloody deed which put an end to the reign and the life of Gustavus is not an isolated fact: “The faults coin- mitted by this Prince would not have sufficed to arm his assassins. The true source whence Ankar- StI‘(BII1 and his accomplices drew their first inspira- tion was that vertigo caused during the last years of the century by the annihilation of all religious a11d even all philosophical faith. . . . No moment of