Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/378

This page needs to be proofread.
Mary of Modena
Mary of Modena
372


made any practical change in her position. On the evening of the day of James's death (6 Sept. 1701) she withdrew to ChailLot; four days afterwards she and her son received ths i visit of their protector (Dangeau, ii. 284-287). Her affliction was profound (Clarke, ii. 590-1, 601-2); her regard for her husband had become such that she is said to have ex- pected his canonisation (Plumptre, Life of Ken, ii. 118). She obeyed his injunction by conveying his dying admonitions to the Princess Anne (Clarke, ii. 602). The attempt made in parliament to attaint her, as having assumed the 'regency' for her son, was allowed to drop (Burnet, iv. 548-9).

The remainder of her days she spent in retirement at St. Germains, and when possible at Chaillot, only appearing at the French court when the interests of her son seemed to demand it (Dangeau, iv. 370-1, 388-90, 393-4, iii. 2 et al.) Her health was shaken in 1693 (Miss Strickland, ix. 343), and again in 1703 (Dangeau, ii, 370), and in 1705 (Miss Strickland, x. 38-9, on this occasion speaks of cancer). On 18 Aug. 1712 she lost her daughter, Louisa Mary, who had become her chosen friend and consoler (see her letter to the Abbess of Chaillot ap. Miss Strickland, x. 105; cf. Burnet, vi. 120 and note). Her condition after this caused anxiety, and in February 1714 she sent farewell messages through Berwick to Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, who had shown the utmost solicitude concerning her (Dangeau, iii. 285-286). But she was fated to survive Louis himself for nearly three years. The breakdown of the enterprise of 1715 was communicated to her by Lauzun (Miss Strickland, x. 201 seqq.) After the Chevalier had taken up his residence at Avignon she remained unmolested at St. Germains, where, after a brief illness,' she died on 7 May 1718,

  • as the saint,' says St.-Simon, ' which she

had always been in life,' Her written fare- well to the Chaillot sisters is extant (ib. x, 227) ; the report that she died in discord with her son was baseless, as was another that she left all her property — she had little or nothing to leave — to the regent Orleans (ib. p. 231). Out of the annuity of one hundred , thousand francs paid to her— not always ; punctually — by the French crown, she had in a large measure supported the English colony around her, to which her loss was irreparable (ib. p. 338; Dangeau, iv. 56-7). j By the regent's orders her funeral was solemnised at Chaillot on 27 June at the public cost. With the suppression of the convent vanished all traces of ixer remains (St.-Simon, ed. 1803, x. 41 ; Campana di Cavelli, Introduction, i. 83-8).

St.-Simon, in his noble tribute to the memory of Mary Beatrice, speaks of her as both quick-witted and proud ; and Madame de S6vign6, who likewise credits her with intelligence, quotes the saying of Louis XIV that she presided over her court like a queen in both mind and body (viii. 401, 413). In England she had always been personally un- popular, especially among the great ladies, who disliked her as an Italian and a devote (Melani ap. Cam pana di Cavelli, iii. 470-1 The charge of Italian vindictiveness brought against her in later life was under the circumstances absurd (Stepney ap.KLOPP, viii. 5G4). She was entirely possessed by religious en- thusiasm; her interest in certain religious orders, above all that of the Visitation, of which she had hoped to become a member, and also those of the Ursulines and Carmelites, was unflagging (Campana di Cavelli, i. 174, 405, ii. 90-7, 104, 158, 195). The 'miraculous' conversion of Middieton filled her with ecstasy (Miss Strickland, ix. 427-8); but there seems no satisfactory proof that she was so bigoted as to subject protestant adherents of the Stuart cause to vexatious treatment (see Burnet, iv. 125 note). Out of her religious enthusiasm gradually grew the feeling of devoted attachment to her husband, which is said to have led her to declare that she would rather see her son in his grave than seated on the throne by a bargain to his father's disadvantage (the story cited from Berwick's Memoirs by KLOpp,vi, 245-6, is possibly only incorrect in date; see Macaulay, iv. 797).' She had a warm affection for the members of her own family. Her accomplishments were considerable ; she wrote in Italian, French, and English (her spelling in the last not being worse than that of her English-born contemporaries), and was familiar with Latin. Doubtless her favourite reading was in devotional books (Campana di Cavelli, ii. 96-7), and she had a familiar knowledge of the Bible (ib. i. 03). But though strictly brought up she was in her younger days fond of the chase (ib. ii. 75) and a bold rider (Miss Strickland, ix. 128). Madame de S6vign6 describes her, on the occasion of her arrival at St. Germains in 1689, as thin, with fine dark eyes, a pale complexion, a large mouth with fine teeth, a good figure, very self-possessed and pleasing.

Portraits of her painted by Lely belong to Lord Spencer and Lord Aberdeen. Two anonymous portraits are respectively in the possession of the Earl of Denbigh and P. J. C Howard, esq., of Corby (Stuart Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 46-7, 48, 50, 57). Kneller, Anne Killigrew, Rigaud (?), Goer-