John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete.
at the end of July, in London, he was struck down by the first attack of the head, which robbed him of all after power of work, although the intellect remained untouched.  Sir William Gull sent him to Cannes for the winter, where he was seized with a violent internal inflammation, in which I suppose there was again the indication of the lesion of blood-vessels.  I am nearing the shadow now,—­the time of which I can hardly bear to write.  You know the terrible sorrow which crushed him on the last day of 1874,—­the grief which broke his heart and from which he never rallied.  From that day it seems to me that his life may be summed up in the two words,—­patient waiting.  Never for one hour did her spirit leave him, and he strove to follow its leading for the short and evil days left and the hope of the life beyond.  I think I have never watched quietly and reverently the traces of one personal character remaining so strongly impressed on another nature.  With herself—­depreciation and unselfishness she would have been the last to believe how much of him was in her very existence; nor could we have realized it until the parting came.  Henceforward, with the mind still there, but with the machinery necessary to set it in motion disturbed and shattered, he could but try to create small occupations with which to fill the hours of a life which was only valued for his children’s sake.  Kind and loving friends in England and America soothed the passage, and our gratitude for so many gracious acts is deep and true.  His love for children, always a strong feeling, was gratified by the constant presence of my sister’s babies, the eldest, a little girl who bore my mother’s name, and had been her idol, being the companion of many hours and his best comforter.  At the end the blow came swiftly and suddenly, as he would have wished it.  It was a terrible shock to us who had vainly hoped to keep him a few years longer, but at least he was spared what he had dreaded with a great dread, a gradual failure of mental or bodily power.  The mind was never clouded, the affections never weakened, and after a few hours of unconscious physical struggle he lay at rest, his face beautiful and calm, without a trace of suffering or illness.  Once or twice he said, ’It has come, it has come,’ and there were a few broken words before consciousness fled, but there was little time for messages or leave- taking.  By a strange coincidence his life ended near the town of Dorchester, in the mother country, as if the last hour brought with it a reminiscence of his birthplace, and of his own dearly loved mother.  By his own wish only the dates of his birth and death appear upon his gravestone, with the text chosen by himself, ’In God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.’”



In closing this restricted and imperfect record of a life which merits, and in due time will, I trust, receive an ampler tribute, I cannot refrain from adding a few thoughts which naturally suggest themselves, and some of which may seem quite unnecessary to the reader who has followed the story of the historian and diplomatist’s brilliant and eventful career.

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John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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