Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/46

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40 TIIE DOWNFALL OF ROYALTY.

reflections on reading this note, and went fearlessly to the ball.

The orchestra is playing Wildly. The dances are animated. The hall, adorned with flowers, sparkles under the glow of the chandeliers. Gustavus appears for a moment in his box. It is only t-hen that he shows to Baron d’Essen, his first equerry, the ano11y- mous note he had received while at supper. That faithful servant begs him not to go down into the hall. Gustavus disregards the prudent counsel. He says that hereafter he will wear a coat of mail, but that, for this time, he is perfectly determined to be reckless about danger. The King and his equerry go into the saloon in front of the royal box, where each puts on a domino. Then they enter the hall by way of the stage. There are men essentially courageous, who love danger for its own sake. Gus- tavus is one of them. Hence he takes pleasure in braving. all his assassins. As he is crossing the greenroom with Baron d’Essen on his arm, “Let us see,” says he, “whether they will really dare to kill me.” Yes, they will dare it. The moment that the King enters he is recognized in spite of his mask and his domino. He walks slowly around the hall, and then goes into the pit, where he strolls about during several minutes. He is about to retrace his steps, when he finds himself surrounded, as had been pre- dicted, by a group of maskers who get between him and the officers of his suite. Several black dominos &PPI‘03»Ch- They are the assassins.‘ One of them,