BOOK I, CHAPTER XIV
in our religion. It is said that this action led to a horrible spectacle — the natural affection between the parents and their children and, moreover, their zeal for their ancient beliefs, contending against this violent decree. It was a common sight to see mothers and fathers taking their own lives, and — an even stronger testimony — for very love and pity throwing their young children into wells to evade the law. Finally, the time that had been fixed having expired, they returned, for lack of means, into slavery. Some became Christians — on whose faith or that of their race, even to-day, a hundred years after, few Portuguese rely, although habit and lapse of time are much stronger counsellors than all other pressure.
In the city of Castelnau-Darry, fifty Albigensian heretics suffered all at one time, courageously resolute to be burned alive in one fire rather than renounce their beliefs. Quoties non modo ductores nostri, says Cicero, sed universi etiam exercitus, ad non dubiam mortem concurrerunt! (b) I have seen one of my intimate friends give hot chase to death, with a true longing rooted in his heart from various points of view, which I could not diminish in him; and at the first shape of it that presented itself crowned with a halo of honour, he hastened to meet it, beyond all likelihood, with a sharp and eager hunger.
(a) We have many examples in our own days of persons, even children, who, from dread of some slight disaster, have killed themselves. And in this connection, an ancient writer says: “What shall we not fear, if we fear what cowardice itself has chosen as a refuge?” Were I to enter here on a long list of those of all sexes and conditions and of all sects who, in happier ages, have either awaited death with steadiness or sought it voluntarily, and sought it, not only in order to fly from the ills of this life, but in some cases simply to fly from satiety of living, and in others in the hope of a better state elsewhere — I should never have done; and the num-
- See Du Haillant, Histoire de France (1576). This sentence, which first appeared in 1595, is not found in the Édition Municipale.
- How often have not only our generals but whole armies dashed forward to meet certain death! — Cicero, Tusc. Disp., I, 37.
- Enracinee en son cueur par divers visages de discours.