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death of Henry Effingstone, the man about town, as described in the Diary of a Late Physician: "Oh, my God!" exclaims this author, "if men about town could but see this hideous spectacle, surely it would palsy them in the pursuit of ruin, and scare them into the paths of virtue. It is not so much the physical as the mental horrors that are appalling. Doctor,' he said, 'what a remarkable, nay, hideous dream I had last night. I thought a fiend came and took me to a gloomy belfry, and muttered these words, "many stripes," in my ear, and the huge bell tolled me into madness, for all the damned danced around me to the sound of it; ha! ha! There's something cursed odd in the coincidence, isn't there? How it would have frightened some!' Then on another day," says this author, "as I was going to sit in the arm-chair by the bedside, 'Don't sit there,' he groaned, 'for a hideous being sat in that chair all night long; take it away-burn it.' A few days later I thought his mind had changed into something perfectly diabolical. Ha!' he exclaimed, 'seven's the main! won't bate a pound of the price of the horse; look at his forelegs! The girl, what's become of her? drowned? Fire, fire! see the devils talking about my damnation! Come, take me off! And you, George, why are you ladling fire upon me? I'm flooded with fire! Now for the dance! Ha! and you there! what, all three of you damned before me? Let in the snakes; let the large serpents in; I love them! Ha! ha! ha! I won't die! No, damn you all! no, damn me!' He gasped, and made a noise as if he was choked. We looked: yes, he was gone. The nurse had fainted." The monastic authors, we may infer, had no need to exaggerate. We may believe their accounts. We may depend upon it there is nothing less likely to make us despise Catholicism than the witnessing of the end of one so exactly bad, that if the book of all men's lives lay open to his view, he would meet no sin unpractised by himself. There is no variety even in the phenomenon. Age after age it is always the same spectacle; it is the dreadful sight of one who, as the poet says,
"Fainting, despairs; despairing, yields his breath."
These things are full of horror, full of pity. It is a good moral, though made plain by history.
Turning, then, from these fearful observations, let us notice those who under the central influence contemplate their deparWith each of these
Here all is different.
"Mild was the slow necessity of death;
It must be an ineffable consolation to men when they find in death a confirmation of the principles which had been their guide, or at least the object of their veneration in life, and which all through it had made them less than their thoughts, more than themselves. At the moment when the flames reached the Maid of Orleans, she cried, "Oui, mes voix étaient de Dieu, mes voix ne m'ont pas trompée!" "All doubts," says the historian, "ceased then; for she accepted death as the promised deliverance." Twenty years after, the two venerable monks who assisted her made this deposition : "We heard her," said they, "from the midst of the fire, invoking the saints, her archangel; she repeated the Saviour's name. At last, letting fall her head, she uttered with a great cry, 'Jesus!' and expired." Few, without being greatly moved, can ever observe or hear described the death of persons who had in life been centrally or Catholically trained and influenced. "Charles X. showed," says Chateaubriand, "in his last hours, calmness and equanimity. When he heard of the danger that menaced him, he only said, 'Je ne croyois pas que cette maladie tournât si court.' When Louis XVI. departed for the scaffold, the officer on duty refused to receive his testament, alleging that he had not time, and that he was only bound to conduct him to the spot. The king replied, “C'est juste." "We can understand," adds the historian, "why the Bourbons hold to a religion which renders them so noble in their last moments. This race knows admirably well how to die; to be sure, it has been learning the art for more than 800 years." What a death again was that of the Emperor Charles V. in the convent of St.. Yuste! The clock had just struck two in the morning. The emperor interrupted the Chaplain Villalva, who was holding forth in a pious strain. "The time is come," he said; "bring me the candle and the crucifix." The one was a taper from Montserrat, the other a beautiful crucifix which had been taken from the dead hand of his wife at Toledo. Taking one in each hand he silently contemplated the figure of the Saviour, and then pressed it to his bosom. Those who stood nearest heard him say quickly, as if replying to a call, “Ya voy, Señor-Now, Lord, I go." Then, with a voice loud enough to be heard outside the room, he cried, Ay, Jesus!" and expired. Quixada said that he had died in a manner worthy of the greatest man that ever had lived or ever would live in the world*. Take the example of one whom some would have us suppose to have only believed always in the truth of the Catholic religion, while his conduct was often in contradiction to its spirit. Yet, even on such a supposition, this conformity of will and intention receiving confirmation in the last hours of life, is seen to confer so great a dignity, that the most * Stirling's Charles V.
envenomed observer is constrained to pause, and silently to admire. Pierre Mathieu describes the death of Philip II., and it furnishes an instance in point. "A short while before his death," says this accurate historian," he sent for the prince his son, and said that he did not feel either force or capacity to advise him respecting the qualities to render him worthy of ruling, but that he left with his confessor a paper in which he had written down the results of his experience, and the convictions of his conscience; but that he wished him to hear what the holiest and most just king had said with his last breath, viz., the last words of St. Louis to Philippe Augustus" (which, by the way, might have been proposed to Lord Jeffrey, when speaking of Penn he said, "We should like to see any private letter of instructions from a sovereign to his heir-apparent that will bear a comparison with the injunctions of this honest sectary"). Then, sending for a little ivory coffer he took from it a crucifix, which he gave to the prince, saying that the emperor his father had died holding it in his hand, that he wished also to die so, and that God might give the grace to his son of dying so, and of having in his heart the cross of man's redemption. In the most violent pains he repeated the forty-second psalm, in which David compares the soul desiring the true life to a thirsty stag pursued by hounds and hunters. During the last fifty days of his life he received the communion fourteen times, having made his general confession and in fact his resolution at his death was so fervent, that his confessor wished him to die of this sickness, in order that such dispositions might incur no risk. During three years of suffering he was prepared to die; and all discourses addressed to him that had not relation to his departure were far from his thoughts. A gentleman observing that he had always some hours of truce from suffering, said to him that if he would change his room to some other of the Escurial, less gloomy and with better air, the physicians thought he might live two years longer. His reply was, 'Give this picture of our Lady to the infanta; it belonged to the empress my mother, and I have worn it fifty years.' He spoke of his departure as of a royal entry into one of his cities, and of his burial as of his coronation. I wish,' said he, 'to have this crucifix on my breast attached to my neck, and to hold in my hand the other, holding which my mother died. Have a candle of Montserrat reserved, and give it to me when I am in my agony. Go,' said he to two monks, and take the measure of my father's coffin, and observe how he is wrapped up, that I may be buried in the same way, and with no more ceremony than the poorest monk of this monastery.' Those who stood near could have used the words of St. Augustin respecting a saint of Spain. His pain was great, but his courage greater; his flesh suffered, but his spirit spoke.
Nothing survived in him but the memory of his sins, which so pressed him that after his knee had been opened, when the prince his son asked him if the wound caused him great pain, 'I feel much more,' replied the king, 'the wounds of my sins.' Being wholly resigned, he repeated a million times, 'Not my will, but thine be done.' He received extreme unction on the 1st of September, about nine in the evening, after inquiring from Garsia de Loaysa, archbishop of Toledo, respecting the order and form of the ceremony; for, said he, I have never seen it given.' Changing his first intention, he wished the prince to be present, and after it was over he commanded all to retire but him, as he wished to speak with him alone. It is said that he recommended him above all two things-to remain faithful to the Church, and to render justice to his subjects. He expired gently about five o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, the 13th of September *." The death of James II., at St. Germain, supplied another example of this patience, tranquillity, and even joy, indicating so clearly a celestial source, whatever men may love to relate respecting the previous character of this unfortunate king. Returning to earlier times, we find Mathieu Paris mentioning a remarkable instance of the same holy manner of departing, after an ordinary life in the world. "William of Salisbury dying in his castle of Salisbury, prayed," he says, "the bishop to come to him to hear his confession. On the bishop entering his room, the count left his bed to meet him, put round his neck a rude cord, prostrated himself on the pavement, and wept, declaring himself a traitor to the King of kings, and in that posture made his confession and received the body of our Lord, persevering many days in his repentance till he expired. Here was his epitaph:-The flower of earls, the noble William of royal race, is dead. His long sword is henceforth closed in a short scabbard t." To these examples may be added an instance not less illustrative of truth for being drawn from a work of fiction. We have only to read the death of Alonzo Quixano, to observe how closely Cervantes adheres to reality, when describing the effects of Catholicism in rendering the last hours of men calm and dignified. "Gentlemen," said the disenchanted hero to those who were for consoling him by proposing a new and more innocent form of delusion, "let us proceed fair and softly. Look not for this year's birds in last year's nest. I was mad; I am now sober. I was Don Quixote de la Mancha; I am now the good Alonzo Quixano; and may my unfeigned repentance and my sincerity restore me to the esteem you once had for me! and let the notary proceed." I love not any whom I laugh not at," says one of the characters in Ford's Moral Masque. Judging from
Hist. de Hen. IV. lib. i.
+Ad ann. 1226.
history alone, the weaknesses that spring from what is amiable in our nature do not seem to annul the advantages conferred by lofty principles, or to prevent Heaven itself from smiling on those at their death who through life may have evinced both. If the material works of such men are found to be nothing in their cold dying grasp, it is not so with the actions of their mind. Their moral and religious thoughts, at least, do not perish, and that appears sufficient to constitute between this manner of departing and every other a notable difference; but when lives have nobly corresponded with these imperishable thoughts, no one can observe the last scene without attaining to a very distinct view of the central character of the religion from which they must have emanated. Claude de Lorraine, duc de Guise, appeared at his death like a holy monk. Resignation, devout prayer, psalmody, forgiveness of his enemies, even if there were any such who had caused his death, solemn reception of the holy viaticum, saying, after returning to his bed, "S'il plaist à Dieu je pars pour aller le rejoindre ainsi que ses saints," nothing seemed wanting to form the grandest picture of a hero deriving from heaven assistance at his death*. It seems to have been under the impression of such examples that the old poet produced his exquisite description of the death of Henry II.
"Quand Henri roy de France
"O Seigneur amiable,
O Seigneur vénérable,
"Je m'en vay à la fosse
Sentant mon ame grosse
"Moy qui mort y repose
* René de Bouillé, Hist. des Ducs de Guise, tom. i. 214.