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and likelihood. Still is she seen to stand out, prominent from the virgins that be her fellows, as one who-again to draw a comparison from another tale of Chaucer's
Whan sche had leyser and might therto entent,
How sche in vertu might hir lyf despent.* It is not unpleasing to see that weatherbeaten warrior and stouthearted old cavalier, Agrippa d'Aubigné,—the energetic, restless, indomitable grandsire of Madame de Maintenon,-subdued to the melting mood, s'attendrissant, when recording in one of his many writings, la mort tragique de Jeanne Gray, who, in the words of a modern biographer of Agrippa's, united " à un savoir qui eût honoré un homme toutes les vertus de son sexe."| It moved the stalwart Gaul to think and write of her last sayings, so much “plus graves qu'on ne pouvait l'espérer de sa jeunesse," I especially if that jeunesse had been French born and bred. But, in life and death, and the manner of them both, Jane was true English.
Wyatt's rebellion was, as we have seen, the ostensible cause of her doom, although that enterprise was one in which no selfish or personal interest, politically speaking, could have been taken by her. Here was a good opportunity, which must not be missed, the Spanish party insisted, to make a good riddance of the house of Suffolk, and sweep away that nest of pestilent traitors from the face of the earth. No time was lost in conveying to Lady Jane the message of her now inexorable fate. She was appointed to have been put to death on Friday, the 10th of February (1554), “but was stayed”—-until Monday, the 13th,—" for what cause is not known," writes the Chronicler of Queen Mary. Baoardo supplies our living historian of the Tudors with the explanation. Which is, in effect, that, in killing her body, Mary yet desired to have mercy on heretic Jane's poor soul, and sent the message of death by the excellent Feckenham, afterwards Abbot of Westminster, who was to bring her, if possible, to obedience to the Catholic faith. Feckenham, whom Mr. Froude describes as a man full of gentle and tender humanity, felt to the bottom of his soul the errand on which he was despatched : he felt as a Catholic priest—but he felt also as a man. “On admission to Lady Jane's room, he told her that she was to die the next morning (Friday), and he told her, also, for what reason the queen had selected him to communicate the sentence.-She listened calmiy. The time was short, she said; too short to be spent in theological discussion; which, if Feckenham would permit, she would decline.
“Believing, or imagining that he ought to believe, that, if she died unreconciled, she was lost, Feckenham hurried back to the queen to beg for delay; and the queen, moved with his entreaties, respited the execution till Monday, giving him three more days to pursue his labours. But Lady Jane, when he returned to her, scarcely appreciated the favour; she had not expected her words to be repeated, she said; she had given up all thoughts of the world, and she would take her death patiently whenever her Majesty desired.-Feckenham, however, still pressed his services,
* Canterbury Tales : The Monkes Tale.
† Léon Feugère. Histoire Universelle, par Agrippa d'Aubigné. June-VOL. CXXVIII. NO. DX.
and courtesy to a kind and anxious old man forbade her to refuse them. He remained with her to the end; and certain arguments followed on faith and justification, and the nature of sacraments. . . . . Lady Jane was wearied without being convinced."*
Not until they parted on the scaffold steps on Monday morning, had she the heart to tell the good old man how much he had bored her, for all that was over now. It was with “ warm thanks” for his attentions that she took leave of him—" although, indeed," she fairly confessed, “ those attentions have tried me more than death can now terrify me.”+ He would not be dismissed, however, but to the last acted on the adage that while there's life there's hope. Her last words to him, notwithstanding that solemn leave-taking, were not yet said. Lady Jane too, like so many less innocent sufferers, had her more last words. Should she
say the Miserere? she asked him, as he clung to her side ; and the heavy-hearted old churchman approved, and listened to her soft breathing of the fifty-first psalm, verse by verse, all of them so deeply fraught with devoutest supplication and penitential passion, ere she let down her long hair, and uncovered her white neck.
Hume's less appreciative version of the Feckenham episode is, that the queen's zeal, under colour of tender mercy to the prisoner's soul, induced her to send divines, who " harassed her with perpetual disputation ; and even a reprieve for three days was granted her, in hopes that she would be persuaded, during that time, to pay, by a timely conversion, some regard to her eternal welfare.” He admires the Lady Jane's "presence of mind,” which enabled her, " in these melancholy circumstances," not only to defend her religion by all the topics then in use, but also to write a letter to her sister in the Greek language; in which, besides sending her a copy of the Scriptures in that tongue, she exhorted her to maintain, in every fortune, a like steady perseverance. It was only by message, too, that she would (or perhaps could) take leave of her husband. The Council had decreed, we are told, that Lady Jane and Lord Guilford should be executed together on the same scaffold, on Tower-hill; but afterwards, “ dreading the compassion of the people for their youth, beauty, innocence, and noble birth,” rescinded that order, and directed Jane's execution to take place within the verge of the Tower.
The morning on which they were to suffer, Guilford begged for “a last interview and a last embrace”-it being left to herself to consent or refuse. Her reply was, that, if the meeting would benefit either of their souls, she would see him with pleasure; but, in her own opinion, it would only increase their trial. They would meet soon enough in the other world. He died, therefore, without seeing her again. She saw him once * Froude, VI. 183-5.
+ Baoardo. Ibid., 187. “Je ferai remarquer,” says M. Dargaud, in his recent monograph, as the phrase goes, “que si Feckenham, en offrant à Jane Grey la vie pour la conversion, pouvait être de bonne foi, Marie certes tendait un piège.”-Histoire de Jane Grey, par J. M. Dargaud. Paris : 1863.
But, objects one of M. Dargaud's English reviewers, neither Feckenham nor Mary made any offer of life as the reward of conversion,-at least as the story is told alike by Hume, Turner, Lingard, and Froude: Jane did not die on any point of religion at all; and Feckenham was simply sent to try to save her soul in the next world, when it was determined to destroy her in this.-See Saturday Review, No. 390. $ Foxe, III. 35; Heylin, 166.
Hume, History of England, ch. xxxvi.
alive, however, writes Mr. Froude, as he was led to the scaffold, and again as he returned a mutilated corpse in the death-cart.
Not that this was wilful cruelty. Only the officer in command awkwardly happened to forget that the ordinary road led past Jane's window. “But the delicate girl of seventeen was as masculine in her heart as in her intellect. When her own turn arrived, Sir John Brydges led her down to the green; her attendants were in an agony of tears, but her own eyes were dry. She prayed quietly till she reached the foot of the scaffold, when she turned to Feckenham, who still clung to her side." To that wistful, disappointed confessor she then made the frank but not ungracious confession to which reference has been made. This done, she sprang up the steps, and in a few words declared her innocence. Then ensued that repetition of the Miserere psalm already mentioned--and then was her hair let down, and her neck uncovered for the executioner's axe.
The end is soon told, and simply,--the more simply the better. An old chronicler will do this best. “The hangman kneeled down and asked her forgiveness, whom she forgave most willingly. Then he willed her to stand upon the straw, which doing, she saw the block. Then she said, I pray you despatch me quickly. Then she kneeled down, saying, Will you take it off before I lay me down; and the hangman answered No, Madam. She tied a kercher about her eyes ; then, feeling for the block, she said, What shall I do? where is it?' One of the bystanders guiding her thereunto, she laid her head down upon the block, and stretched forth her body, and said, Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And so she ended."'*
The artless directness of this simple record is more effective, and affecting, by far, than the elaborate elegiacs of old Agrippa d'Aubigné, though he, too, is genuine in his way, and commemorates the mort tragique of his favourite Jeanne with still more emphasis in his most ambitious poem, than he had done in his History. The fourth book of his “ Tragiques," which he entitles les Feux, is a sort of Protestant martyrology, and proposes to rescue from oblivion the names and fair fames of not only a John Huss, a Jerome of Prague, a Cranmer, a Norris, &c., but also a galaxy of suffering women, perfected through suffering, and triumphant through and for the truth. ‘Among these he assigns a foremost place to English Jane—and thus he describes the closing scene which vindicates her right to that place :
Les mains qui la paraient la parerent encore ;
Dans le sein d'Abraham la ravirent aux cieux.t Nevertheless, with all possible respect for the respectable but rather trite machinery (that now creaks a little in the working) of gracious angels and Abraham's bosom, we prefer the unvarnished finis of the old chronicler, And so she ended. + Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary (Camden Society, 1850).
| Les Tragiques, l. iv.
BY CYRUS REDDING.
The generations of man, with all his advances in civilisation, pass away as in the beginning of things. Even those who are marked by qualifications or virtues of a superior class still fall into the same obliviousness. Thus the social state is continually assuming a new aspect. Fresh actors come upon the stage, and the more remarkable are passed by for ever in the course of a few years, whether benefactors to their species or the reverse. The multitude has no time to spare for the nurture of its gratitude or the outpourings of its censures, before it participates in the same sentence. Indeed, if the many had the power and use of reflection, which they never yet exhibited, the quality would be idle. Memory is short-lived, and monuments soon fall to pieces,* and only one thing is immortal, co-existent, in fact, with humanity, the imperishable record upon the most perishable of materials——the fragility of the paper on which the type of the printer is impressed—there alone can names run a race with time. Those who were the contemporaries of the departed walk by their last sojourn unregarded. Friends and enemies pass away together without the slightest emotion on the part of the living, who are not reminded of their own fate by that of others, however honoured, still acting upon the sentiment of the poet: “All men think all men mortal but themselves."
Perhaps it is the frequency of death that renders us so regardless of its effects. We must be struck with that which is sudden and rare. Familiarity subjugates fear, and the dreaded evil no more occupies the thoughts. Some, indeed, upon whose minds it presses, get rid of it by the notable resolve that as it is inevitable, it is time enough to trouble themselves about it when the evil comes.
So much for the masses that exist and pass away unheeded, like summer flies; but Death equally makes his prey of those who have stood out conspicuously from among them. Their benefactors die as well as their enemies; those who have enlightened them by their talents, toiled, perhaps thanklessly, for their welfare, ruled them judiciously and justly, or by latent and indirect means unostentatiously contributed to their good, as well as to that of the whole social body—men who may not have dazzled their fellows by any astonishing qualities, so as to conceal failings of equal magnitude, but who have supported throughout life a high character, perhaps on the whole preferable, and fully as beneficial to the community, as those who Aashed like meteors upon the vision, but left on the horizon no beneficial traces of their light after they had passed.
These reflections are suggested by the death of a nobleman whose course through life was marked by that unostentatious utility which in a country like England is one of the most valuable any individual subject can possess.
We allude to the late Lord Hatherton, who expired, after a long declining state of health, at his seat of Teddesley, in Staffordshire, of which fine county he was lord-lieutenant. His lordship had, indeed, exceeded the prophetic age of man a year or two, but his customary habits and appearance led to the promise of a longer term of existence. It was early last year that he began to exhibit symptoms of a change in his usual health, which, if not immediately of much moment, was the commencement of a long and serious indisposition, to which he finally succumbed. His usual kindness of temper towards others did not forsake him during his long illness. In truth, urbanity of disposition, and exceeding good will towards others, were prominent traits in his character. Perhaps few public men had a larger circle of friends, a fact which speaks for itself the reputation of the individual. No one in public life ever passed through it with a more amiable temperament, a clearer mind, or more active and unflagging habits in public business. Without being a man of genius, he possessed qualities fully, perhaps more valuable to the community in the sphere within which he was called upon to act by his distinguished place in society. The duties he exercised were most assiduously and correctly fulfilled up to the last moment he was able to perform them, indeed, too long exercised for the increasing advance of that insidious attack, which took from the community one of its most valued members. Lord Hatherton was one whom society could least spare, on many accounts, for not only were his public legislative and magisterial labours valuable, as already stated, but in his capacity as a scholar, an agriculturist, and a hospitable country gentleman, no one will be more missed in the county in which he resided—a county the residence of some of the oldest English families, of which his own was not one of the least noted.
* Nec solidis prodest sua machinâ terris.
The family of Luttleton, in the reign of Henry III., were settled in Worcestershire. The fifth in descent from that reign was Thomas Luttleton, of Frankley, who was bred to the law, and was the first who wrote his name Lyttleton, about 1464. He had three sons, William, whence the Lords Lyttleton, Richard, and Thomas. His eldest son, William, succeeded him. The second, Richard, spelled the name Littleton, and his descendants resided at Pillaton Hall, Staffordshire. The last of this branch, Sir Edward Littleton, dying in 1812, the baronetcy became extinct, and the estates passed to Edward John Littleton, of Teddesley, then M.P. for Staffordshire.
Lord Hatherton, from his first taking his seat in parliament, had always been an independent country gentleman in the fullest sense of the term. He was one of the small old stock of liberal landholders who voted as they saw fit, according to what they deemed the true bearing of a question, unawed by the ministry of the day—the fag-end of the Pitt and Addington administration, united under Lord Liverpool. There were few better men of business in parliament at that time than Mr. Littleton, and it is extremely probable that the independent party, to which he belonged, saved the country from those permanent encroachments upon popular freedom, which the unscrupulous disregard of every form of the constitution which stood in his way made Lord Castlereagh be regarded with such just suspicion during his whole career. When efforts of this nature were made, Mr. Littleton, and those who took the same views of the different questions brought forward by that minister, at once threw themselves into the breach, and, if not successful in resisting the efforts made, and supported by flagrant corruption, they acted as a restraining power. He originated many important and useful measures