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By this time all feeling below the breast was gone, and Nelson, having made the surgeon ascertain this, said to him: 'You know I am gone. I know it. I feel something rising in my breast' putting his hand on his left side — 'which tells me so.' And upon Beatty's inquiring whether his pain was very great? he replied, 'So great, that he wished he was dead. Yet,' said he, in a lower voice, 'one would like to live a little longer too!' And after a few minutes, in the same under-tone, he added: 'What would become of poor Lady Hamilton if she knew my situation!' Next to his country she occupied his thoughts. Captain Hardy, some fifty minutes after he had left the cockpit, returned; and, again taking the hand of his dying friend and commander, congratulated him on having gained a complete victory. How many of the enemy were taken he did not know, as it was impossible to perceive them distinctly but fourteen or fifteen at least. 'That's well,' cried Nelson; 'but I bargained for twenty.' And then, in a stronger voice, he said, 'Anchor, Hardy; anchor.' Hardy, upon this, hinted that Admiral Collingwood would take upon himself the direction of affairs. 'Not while I live, Hardy!' said the dying Nelson, ineffectually endeavouring to raise himself from the bed: 'do you anchor.' His previous order for preparing to anchor had shown how clearly he foresaw the necessity of this. Presently, calling Hardy back, he said to him, in a low voice, 'Don't throw me overboard'; and he desired that he might be buried by his parents, unless it should please the king to order otherwise. Then, reverting to private feelings: 'Take care of my dear Lady Hamilton, Hardy; take care of poor Lady Hamilton. Kiss me, Hardy,' said he. Hardy knelt down, and kissed his cheek: and Nelson said, Now I am satisfied. Thank God, I have done my duty.' Hardy stood over him in silence for a moment or two, then knelt again, and kissed his forehead. 'Who is that?' said Nelson; and being informed, he replied, 'God bless you, Hardy.' And Hardy then left him for ever.
Nelson now desired to be turned upon his right side, and said: 'I wish I had not left the deck; for I shall soon be gone.' Death was, indeed, rapidly approaching. He said to the chaplain: 'Doctor, I have not been a great sinner'; and, after a short pause, 'Remember that I leave Lady Hamilton, and my daughter Horatia,
as a legacy to my country.' His articulation now became difficult; but he was distinctly heard to say, 'Thank God, I have done my duty!' These words he had repeatedly pronounced; and they were the last words he uttered. He expired at thirty minutes after four, three hours and a quarter after he had received his wound.
JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART
THE DEATH OF SCOTT
[From Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., Vol. VII, Chap. xi. 1837-1838. Robert Cadell, Edinburgh.
"Of the literary merits of the 'Life of Scott' it is not possible for one whose breviary, as it were, the book has been from boyhood, to speak with impartiality. To a Scot, and a Scot of the Border, the book has the charm of home, and is dear to us as his own grey hills were dear to Sir Walter. Necessarily, inevitably, the stranger cannot, or seldom can, share this sentiment. Mr. Saintsbury, now in some degree a Scot by adoption, has, indeed, placed the book beside or above Boswell's. That is a length to which I cannot go; for Boswell's hero appears to myself to be of a character more universally human, a wiser man, a greater humourist, his biography a more valuable possession, than Sir Walter and Sir Walter's 'Life.' But it were childish to dispute about the relative merits of two chefs-d'œuvre. Each work is perfect in its kind, and in relation to its subject. The self-repression of Lockhart, accompanied by his total lack of self-consciousness (so astonishing in so shy a man), when his own person has to figure on the scene, is as valuable as the very opposite quality in Boswell.
"Later writers, Thackeray, Macaulay, Mr. Ruskin, Mr. Carlyle, Mr. Louis Stevenson, Mr. Pater, have given examples of styles more personal, infinitely more conspicuous, than Lockhart's; to many, doubtless to most readers, more taking. Lockhart has no mannerisms, no affectations, no privy jargon, no confidences with the reader; but it may almost be said that he has no faults. His English is like the English of Swift, all the light is concentrated on the object. Without disparagement of the great or pleasing authors already named; with every acknowledgment of the charming or the astonishing qualities of their various manners, we must also claim a place, and a high place, for the style of Lockhart. He wrote English." ANDREW LANG, The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart, Vol. II, pp. 122-124. John C. Nimmo, London, 1897.]
He reached London about six o'clock on the evening of Wednesday the 13th of June. Owing to the unexpected rapidity of the journey, his eldest daughter had had no notice when to expect him; and fearful of finding her either out of town, or unprepared
to receive him and his attendants under her roof, Charles Scott drove to the St. James's Hotel in Jermyn Street, and established his quarters there before he set out in quest of his sister and myself. When we reached the hotel, he recognised us with many marks of tenderness, but signified that he was totally exhausted; so no attempt was made to remove him further, and he was put to bed immediately. Dr. Fergusson saw him the same night, and next day Sir Henry Halford and Dr. Holland saw him also; and during the next three weeks the two latter visited him daily, while Fergusson was scarcely absent from his pillow. The Major was soon on the spot. To his children, all assembled once more about him, he repeatedly gave his blessing in a very solemn manner, as if expecting immediate death; but he was never in a condition for conversation, and sunk either into sleep or delirious stupor upon the slightest effort.
Mrs. Thomas Scott came to town as soon as she heard of his arrival, and remained to help us. She was more than once recognised and thanked. Mr. Cadell, too, arrived from Edinburgh, to render any assistance in his power. I think Sir Walter saw no other of his friends except Mr. John Richardson, and him only once. As usual, he woke up at the sound of a familiar voice, and made an attempt to put forth his hand, but it dropped powerless, and he said, with a smile — “Excuse my hand." Richardson made a struggle to suppress his emotion, and, after a moment, got out something about Abbotsford and the woods, which he had happened to see shortly before. The eye brightened, and he said -"How does Kirklands get on?" Mr. Richardson had lately purchased the estate so called in Teviotdale, and Sir Walter had left him busied with plans of building. His friend told him that his new house was begun, and that the Marquis of Lothian had very kindly lent him one of his own, meantime, in its vicinity. “Ay, Lord Lothian is a good man," said Sir Walter; “he is a man from whom one may receive a favour, and that's saying a good deal for any man in these days." The stupor then sank back upon him, and Richardson never heard his voice again. This state of things continued till the beginning of July.
During these melancholy weeks, great interest and sympathy were manifested. Allan Cunningham mentions that, walking
home late one night, he found several workingmen standing together at the corner of Jermyn Street, and one of them asked him as if there was but one deathbed in London "Do you know, sir, if this is the street where he is lying?" The inquiries both at the hotel and at my house were incessant; and I think there was hardly a member of the royal family who did not send every day. The newspapers teemed with paragraphs about Sir Walter; and one of these, it appears, threw out a suggestion that his travels had exhausted his pecuniary resources, and that if he were capable of reflection at all, cares of that sort might probably harass his pillow. This paragraph came from a very ill-informed, but, I dare say, a well-meaning quarter. It caught the attention of some members of the Government; and, in consequence, I received a private communication, to the effect that, if the case were as stated, Sir Walter's family had only to say what sum would relieve him from embarrassment, and it would be immediately advanced by the Treasury. The then Paymaster of the Forces, Lord John Russell, had the delicacy to convey this message through a lady with whose friendship he knew us to be honoured the Honourable Catherine Arden. We expressed our grateful sense of his politeness, and of the liberality of the Government, and I now beg leave to do so once more; but his lordship was of course informed that Sir Walter Scott was not situated as the journalist had represented.
Dr. Fergusson's Memorandum on Jermyn Street will be acceptable to the reader. He says "When I saw Sir Walter, he was lying in the second floor back-room of the St. James's Hotel, in a state of stupor, from which, however, he could be roused for a moment by being addressed, and then he recognised those about him, but immediately relapsed. I think I never saw anything more magnificent than the symmetry of his colossal bust, as he lay on the pillow with his chest and neck exposed. During the time he was in Jermyn Street he was calm but never collected, and in general either in absolute stupor or in a waking dream. He never seemed to know where he was, but imagined himself to be still in the steam-boat. The rattling of carriages, and the noises of the street, sometimes disturbed this illusion—and then he fancied himself at the polling-booth of Jedburgh, where he had been insulted and stoned. During the whole of this period of apparent helpless
ness, the great features of his character could not be mistaken. He always exhibited great self-possession, and acted his part with wonderful power whenever visited, though he relapsed the next moment into the stupor from which strange voices had roused him. A gentleman [Mr. Richardson] stumbled over a chair in his dark room; — he immediately started up, and though unconscious that it was a friend, expressed as much concern and feeling as if he had never been labouring under the irritability of disease. It was impossible even for those who most constantly saw and waited on him in his then deplorable condition to relax from the habitual deference which he had always inspired. He expressed his will as determinedly as ever, and enforced it with the same apt and good-natured irony as he was wont to use.
"At length his constant yearning to return to Abbotsford induced his physicians to consent to his removal; and the moment this was notified to him, it seemed to infuse new vigour into his frame. It was on a calm, clear afternoon of the 7th July, that every preparation was made for his embarkation on board the steam-boat. He was placed on a chair by his faithful servant Nicolson, half-dressed, and loosely wrapped in a quilted dressinggown. He requested Lockhart and myself to wheel him towards the light of the open window, and we both remarked the vigorous lustre of his eye. He sat there silently gazing on space for more than half an hour, apparently wholly occupied with his own thoughts, and having no distinct perception of where he was, or how he came there. He suffered himself to be lifted into his carriage, which was surrounded by a crowd, among whom were many gentlemen on horseback, who had loitered about to gaze on the scene. His children were deeply affected, and Mrs. Lockhart trembled from head to foot, and wept bitterly. Thus surrounded by those nearest to him, he alone was unconscious of the cause or the depth of their grief, and while yet alive seemed to be carried to his grave."
On this his last journey, Sir Walter was attended by his two daughters, Mr. Cadell, and myself and also by Dr. Thomas Watson, who (it being impossible for Dr. Fergusson to leave town at that moment) kindly undertook to see him safe at Abbotsford. We embarked in the James Watt steam-boat, the master of which