Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/44

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38 THE DOWNFALL OF ROYALTY.

some remorse, the assassins once more abandoned their meditated crime.

VVeary of the attempts they had been planning for six months, and which never came to anything, the conspirators might possibly have given them up altogether if a circumstance which they considered providential had not come to rekindle their regicidal zeal. The last masked ball of the season was to be given in the Opera-house on the night of March 16-17, a11d it was known that Gustavus would be present. To strike the monarch in the midst of the festival, in order to chastise him. for his love of pleasure, was an idea which charmed the assassins. Moreover, the mask alone could embolden them; they thought that if the august victim were envel- oped in a domino they need no longer dread that royal prestige which had more than once caused them to recoil.

Gustavus was counselled to be on his guard. The young Count Louis de Bouillé, who was then at Stockholm, and who had been informed by a letter from Germany that the King was about to be assas- sinated, begged him to profit by the Warnings reach- ing him from every quarter. Gustavus replied that he would rather go blindly to meet his fate than torment himself with the numberless precautions which such suspicions would demand. “If I lis- tened,” added he, “to all the advice I receive, I could not even drink a glass of water; besides, I am far from believing in the execution of such a plot.