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HIS LAST WILL.
THOUGH I have been in correspondence with Garibaldi on still other subjects than those mentioned, I did not think it right, when he was for years suffering excruciating pains, to do more, of late, than to communicate with him on some very special occasion. A word remains, therefore, only to be said yet on his last will.
Like an ancient Roman or Teuton, he ordered his body to be burnt on the pyre. No Lombard or Bavarian forefather of his could have given injunctions different from those he sent to Dr. Prandina in 1877. There is no ambitious show in their funerals,' says Tacitus of the Germans. The only distinction to be observed is, that the bodies of their leading men are burnt with a certain kind of wood.' Some aromatic wood is supposed to be meant thereby, or at least included, in the cremation rite.
Now, according to Garibaldi's directions, on the road leading from his house to the sea-shore, where there is a deepening in the ground, a pile of timber was to be raised-of acacia, linden, myrtle, and other aromatic woods. An uncovered bier, with his remains dressed in his historical garb, was to be placed on this pile, on an iron couch. A handful of ashes was to be preserved in an urn of any kind, and this to be put in the little grave containing the ashes of his daughters, Rosa and Annita.
Fire-burial has been the custom of Indians, Phoenikians, Greeks, Italians, Germans, and Scandinavians, among which latter it was regulated by a special law of the semi-historical, semi-mythic Odin. It was in use among the Anglo-Saxons, whose Beowulf epic describes it in language similar to that of the Iliad. The Longobards had fire-burial down to the sixth, the Thuringians down to the seventh, century; the Saxons as late as the time of Karl the Great. Garibaldi, I may mention, fully approved of the views expressed in the pamphlet quoted below.12
By giving strict injunctions for his own cremation, he who wore no other armour, it is true, than the red shirt, not only flung the torch, so to say, upon the pile in Brynhild manner-wishing to be burnt in his beloved island home before even his death should become generally known-but at the same time he threw a flaming brand into prejudices which at present mistakenly hide behind religious sentiments. In ancient times, fire-burial was a religious ordinance, and by no means considered hurtful to the idea of the immortality of the soul. In reality, a sanitary view was involved in these religious statutes; and to this view Garibaldi clung, who had throughout his life been a sanitary and industrial reformer, in the interest of the
12 Fire-Burial among our Germanic Forefathers: a Record of the Poetry and History of Teutonic Cremation. By Karl Blind. London: Longmans, Green, & Co.
This adventurous warrior, who sought with the sword a placid peace in a reign of freedom,' concerned himself very much with questions of public health. He proved it by his efforts for the reclamation of the malarious Campagna and the regulation of the Tiber; by his protests against the grist-tax; by his warnings against the degeneration of the toiling masses from the almost exclusive use of maize, to which they were driven through overburdening taxation; by the interest he took in the revival of the cotton culture and of the planting of eucalyptus trees; and by many similar movements in the public interest. He would not sacrifice the living for the dead. Hence he wished to give an example, to the unthinking and the prejudiced, by having his own body burnt.
Not to fulfil the last desire of a man who had virtually created his country, seems like an outrage and a crime. Though those who protested against the fulfilment of his injunctions may have been actuated by a feeling of high veneration, demanding, as they did, to see his remains buried, amongst great pomp and ceremony, in the Italian capital, yet no obsequies could be more worthy of him than those which he himself desired. His deeds were to live; his frame was to be reduced to ashes-only a little heap of dust to be kept in an urn. Those who do not honour his last wish do not understand his whole greatness.
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THE LADY MAUD.'
WAS awakened by Hunter. It was quite dark, for the moon had gone. I rose and went into the open air, and found the sky cloudless as I had left it, and the stars shining brightly. Some of the stars upon the horizon were so large and clear that they looked like the riding-lamps of ships lying close off shore, or lighthouse lamps. There was breeze enough to keep the water shivering, and the temperature was as chilly as an October night in England.
After a while I felt the darkness and the silence very oppressive. The sea made a peculiar moaning noise at the other side of the island, and the wind murmured with a complaining note among the trees where the hut stood. I felt then, as I had often felt before when on board ship, that at sea loneliness is never a keener sense than on a quiet, fine night. Wrapped in shadow, the deep is a mystery, and the glorious stars, instead of cheering, chill the mind by their measureless distance, and by the soul-subduing wonder of the black and spacious heights they illustrate.
Along the beach where the breakers ran were thin lines of blue fire, and beyond, again, the phosphorus flashed and faded in the invisible swell as it coiled noiselessly along the ebony surface of the water. However, I fixed my thoughts upon the work that the sun would rise upon, and whilst I moved to and fro, plotting and planning and thinking over our wants when in the boat, and on what course I should steer her, the east grew pale, and very quickly the dawn came. In that ashen light the sea and the island and the grey heaven of fainting stars made an indescribably melancholy spectacle. But soon the east became of a delicate rose-colour, that swiftly brightened into a radiant pink; and then, as with a bound, the sun soared out of the sea, the heavens grew blue, the water sparkled like silver, and another brilliant, beautiful tropical day was born.
My spirits revived with the sun, and after glancing at the boat No. 634 (NO. CLIV. N. s.)
to see that she was all right, and running my eye over the beach to observe if any more wreckage had washed up, I set to work to collect a quantity of brush wood, and piling a portion of it in the fireplace that had been built, I unscrewed one of the magnifying lenses in the telescope, and very soon had a blaze. Then, to economise time, I went down to the boat, taking with me the shells we had used as drinking vessels, and baled her out. When she was dry I thoroughly overhauled her, and found her perfectly sound, with those exceptions I have elsewhere mentioned. I returned to the beach, and having selected a piece of planking fit to serve for a rudder, I fetched the chopper and a knife, and fell blithely to work to fashion a rudder. This, to be sure, was a very trifling job, and I had finished it, and was turning over the spikes in the carpenter's chest, to select a couple of them to bend into pintles, when Tripshore and Hunter came out of the hut, and before they reached me all the others appeared.
Hunter had forgotten what his work was, and when I reminded him, he at once returned to the hut and set to work to empty the beef-cask.
Tripshore and I then started upon rigging the boat. First we carried the topsail-yard down to her, fitted it with stays, and shaped one end of it with the chopper, so as to step it. The yard-arm sheave-hole was the very thing for halliards, and happily plenty of gear had washed ashore with the sails and yards to serve us with material for stays and rigging. When we stepped the yard we found it suited the boat to a hair. We securely set it up, meaning to rig the boat with a single lug, which, having regard to the hoist of her mast, would be sail enough, and returned to the wreckage on the beach, to choose a piece of timber that we could split, and then fish the pieces, to form a gaff or yard.
However, feeling very hungry, we knocked off before tackling this job, and went up to the hut for breakfast. I shook hands with Sir Mordaunt and the ladies, and looking about me, asked where Hunter was.
"Why,' said the baronet, he has rolled the beef-cask to the well, to test it by filling it.'
"Couldn't he have done that with salt water?' I asked. 'He asked me to explain,' continued the baronet. He said that after washing the salt out of the cask he would fill it. If it didn't leak, then, by lashing a couple of planks or spars, one on each side, to it, you and Norie and he and Tripshore could carry the cask full of water across the island, which would save the delay and labour of going to and fro to fill it with the kettle. If, on the other hand, it leaked, then he said he could repair it as well there as here.'
'The man's no fool,' said I. That notion of carrying the cask full, direct from the well, shows forethought, for it certainly would take us all day, journeying to and fro, to fill it with the kettle. But how is he going to fill it? He's left the kettle behind.' And I pointed to the kettle, that stood near the hut.
'He emptied Carey's work-box, saying that would do to bale out the water from the well.'
I burst into a laugh.
After that,' said I, 'who will doubt that
necessity is the mother of invention ?'
As I said this I caught sight of Hunter coming round by the bushes. He was purple in the face with heat, and flourished the work-box as he came.
"Well, Hunter,' I cried, 'how have you got on, my man?' 'The cask's sound,' he replied. drain a drop.'
'Capital!' I exclaimed.
It's full o' water, and don't
'There'll be northen to do,' said he, but to lash a piece o' timber on either side, and bring the cask along, full, as it is. And the supporters 'll do to fix it in the boat with; ye'll have to keep it end up, and a few planks and a piece o' sailcloth 'll save it from slopping.'
We all heartily praised his foresight. I asked Mrs. Stretton if we could have breakfast.
"Yes,' she answered, in her simple way, and her fine, rich voice. 'That kettle is full of turtle, Mr. Walton, ready to eat.'
But before breaking our fast we knelt down, to offer up thanks to God for his merciful protection. I make no excuse for recording these prayers. They cheered us greatly. They reminded us of the Friend to whom we had been taught all our lives that no appeal is ever made in vain. They made us look up and feel that, desolate, shipwrecked, destitute as we were, yet with God to help us we should be as strong, our prospects as bright and sure, as though we were in a situation to supply all the means necessary to liberate us from this imprisonment. I particularly noticed that none of us were more earnest at these times than Tripshore. He had been an ocean sailor, and in spite of landsmen's theories about Jack, I never knew a real sailor—I mean a genuine seaman, who has knocked about in big ships and looked danger in the eye, and knows the sea as a child knows its mother's face-who had not a veneration for God in his soul, who had not in his heart all the makings of an honest religious man, no matter how he covered up his instincts and assumed the indifference which he dropped when alone, or when a call was made upon his inner nature.
We made a good breakfast, for the turtle was excellent eating, though for salt we had nothing better than the brine in which the beef was pickled. We wanted water, however, and drew lots who should fill the kettle. It fell to Norie, who trudged off cheerfully, and was back before we had finished our meal.
If I was sure of finding no other audience than sailors, I would go closely into the preparations we made for leaving the island; but landsmen cannot follow sea terms, and there is no other language in which a man can write about the sea than the language sailors themselves use.
As regards the rigging of the boat, we had pretty well all we