Page:Essays Vol 1 (Ives, 1925).pdf/86

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Picard, to whom, when he was on the very steps of the scaffold, a wench was offered, whom if he chose to marry, they would spare his life (as our laws permit on occasion). Having looked at her for a moment, and perceived that she was lame, “Tie me up! tie me up!” he cried; “she limps!” And they say, likewise, that in Denmark a man who was sentenced to have his head cut off, being actually on the scaffold, when a similar alternative was given him, declined it because the girl they offered him had hanging cheeks and too sharp a nose.[1] A man-servant who was charged with heresy at Toulouse referred, for the ground of his belief, to that of his master, a young student who was a prisoner with him; and preferred to die rather than (c) allow himself to be convinced that his master was in error.[2] (a) We read of the citizens of Arras, when King Louis XI took the city, that there were a goodly number of them who submitted to be hanged rather than say, ”Vive le roi!”[3] And of such narrow-minded clowns there have been some who would not abandon their pleasantries even in death. One whom the hangman was just turning off cried: “Let go, in God’s name!”[4] which was his customary refrain. And that other who, at the point of death, had been laid on a mattress by the hearth, and being asked by the doctor where he felt pain, replied: “Between the bench and the fire”; and when the priest, in order to give him extreme unction, was feeling for his feet, which were drawn up and stiffened by pain, “You’ll find them,” he said, “at the end of my legs.” He asked the man who exhorted him to commend himself to God, “Who is going thither?” and on the other’s replying, “It will be you yourself very soon, if it is his pleasure,” he rejoined: “Shall I surely be there to-morrow evening?” — “Just commend yourself to him,” continued the other; “you ’ll be there

  1. All these instances are taken from the Apologie d’Hérodote of H. Estienne (XV, 20).
  2. In 1588: que se departir de ses opinions, quelles qu’elles fussent.
  3. See Jean Bouchet, Annales d’ Aquitaine (1477). In the Édition Municipale the passage relating to the practice of suttee in the kingdom of Narsinga is inserted at this point; but in the edition of 1595 it is more appropriately placed a little further on. See page 67.
  4. Vogue la gailée!