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I find this discussion extremely informative and am going to read it through again more carefully later. This reinforces the view of Fersen as first and foremost a representative of the Swedish king to the French court. Louis and Antoinette were friends in the first place with Gustav as a fellow monarch; he was their peer. Fersen was a courtier and a good friend but his friendship should be seen in light of his role as Gustav's emmissary. I have often read that Gustav's death was a major tragedy for the royal couple and contributed to their own fate.

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Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:15 pm
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Certainly, the death of the king of Sweden was seen throughout Europe as a warning example. It was no secret then that behind the murder were these new revolutionnary ideas from France.
(Btw some people write Gustav, some Gustaf, I think in the old writing the form was even Gustafv.)

Yes, I have wondered also that in many M-A and Louis biographies so much is about the Count and his steps and the King is mentioned only shortly with this tour in Paris and Versailles. After all Gustav III was the ruler of Count von Fersen too.


Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:38 pm
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And he also personally corresponded with Marie-Antoinette. And also with Louis, I think.

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Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:43 pm
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Yes, and the queen corresponded with Gustav through Fersen as the king's special envoy. Many of the crossed-out passages in her letters to Fersen may have been of a sensitive diplomatic nature. Fersen, like Comte Mercy, was a professional diplomat and his relationships should be seen from that angle first rather than one of sentiment. Fersen was fond of Louis and may have loved Antoinette but he was with them because it was his job - although he certainly may have gone above and beyond the call of duty, what with the escape attempt, etc....

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Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:51 pm
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Speaking of these letters, Therese, there was one of them exposed at this exhibition and colloque I attented in Paris. The scraped passages were in the middle of the text, somewhere they could not be love words ! In the context, it was obvious they were political concerns.

As the Giraut de Coursac couple wrote, people did not dream about existing messages from Marie-Antoinette to Fersen... for there clearly was nothing to dream about ! They had rather imagining what could be under the scrapings... far more exciting !

They are just like the people of Paris peeping at sordid engravings. They need a good schrink !

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Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:06 pm
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Very interesting, Pimprenelle! As you say, certainly the scratched out passages were matters of a diplomatic nature, in which innocent people might be compromised if they became public knowlege, even agents of espionage, who knows - it was a diplomatically precarious time, which is why ciphers were used, and even lemon juice as ink!!

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Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:14 pm
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Therese wrote:
This is the Gustavus who was killed at the masked ball?


I thought it was the Swedish Crown Prince who was stabbed.


Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:20 pm
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No, it was the king....

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Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:32 pm
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Isn't it in the libretto of Verdi's Masked Ball that says
the one who is murdered is the crown-prince. But that opera is certainly not to be seen as a document, only beautiful music.


Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:34 pm
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I don't know what the libretto says, Aurora. All I know that Verdi's opera is based on that tragic event, as you say.

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Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:11 pm
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