She has been commonly blamed for this decision, as that which was the chief cause of all the subsequent calamities which overwhelmed her and the whole family. Yet it is not difficult to understand the motives which influenced her, and it is impossible to refrain from regarding them with sympathy. She was now at the decisive moment of a crisis which might well perplex the clearest head. There could be no doubt that the coming insurrection would be the turning-point of the long conflict which had now lasted three years; and it was a conflict in which her husband’s throne was certainly at stake, perhaps even his and her own life. They had indeed been so for three years; and throughout the whole contest her view had constantly been that honor was still dearer than life; and honor she identified with the preservation of her husband’s crown, her children’s inheritance. Mirabeau had said that she would not care to save her life if she could not save the crown also; and, though she can not have decided without a terrible conflict of feeling, her decision was now in conformity with Mirabeau’s judgment of her. In the preceding year the journey to Varennes had been treated by the Republicans as a plea for pronouncing the deposition of the king; and, though they were defeated then, they were undoubtedly stronger in the new Assembly. On the other hand, she suspected that they themselves had some misgivings as to the chance of a second attack on the palace being more successful than the former one had proved; and that the openness with which the preparations for it were announced was intended to terrify Louis and herself into a second flight; and she might not unreasonably infer that what their enemies desired was not the wisest course for them to adopt. To fly would evidently be to leave the whole field in both the Assembly and the city open to their enemies. It might save their lives, but it would almost to a certainty forfeit the crown. To stay and face the coming danger might indeed lose both, but it might also save both; and she determined rather to risk all, both crown and life, in the endeavor to save all, rather than to save the one by the deliberate sacrifice of the other. It was a gallant and unselfish determination: if in one point of view it was unwise, it was at least becoming her lofty lineage, and consistent with her heroic character.
Preparation for a New Insurrection.—Barbaroux brings up a Gang from Marseilles.—The King’s last Levee.—The Assembly rejects a Motion for the Impeachment of La Fayette.—It removes some Regiments from Paris.— Preparations of the Court for Defense.—The 10th of August.—The City is in Insurrection.—Murder of Mandat.—Louis reviews the Guards.—He takes Refuge with the Assembly.—Massacre of the Swiss Guards.—Sack of the Tuileries.—Discussions in the Assembly.—The Royal Authority is suspended.