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Oddsfish! by Robert Hugh Benson

Who was the Lord's Anointed and anointed too


For

example, he said that he was suffering very much, but he thanked God for it and that he was able to bear it with patience, as indeed he did.

Two or three times however he seemed to sigh for death to come quickly; and once he looked round with his old laughter at the solemn faces round his bed, and begged their pardon that he was "such an unconscionable time in dying." "My work in this world seems over," he said--"such as it has been. I pray God I may be at a better occupation presently."

He thanked His Royal Highness the Duke of York (who was by his bed all that night, weeping and kissing his hand repeatedly) for all his attention and love for him, and asked his pardon for any hardship that had been done to his brother, through his fault. He gave him his clothes and his keys; telling him that all was now his; and that he prayed God to give him a prosperous reign.

To Her Majesty who came to see him again about midnight, he shewed the tenderest consideration and love: but the Queen, who swooned again and again at the sight of him, and had to be carried back to her apartments, sent him a message later begging his pardon for any offence that she had ever done to him.

"What!" whispered the King. "What! She beg my pardon, poor woman! Rather I beg hers with all my heart. Carry that message back to Her Majesty."

No

less than twice did the King commend the Duchess of Portsmouth to the Duke's care--poor "Fubbs" as he had called her to me. Some blamed him for thinking of her at all at such a time; as also for bidding his brother "not to let poor Nell starve"; but for myself I cannot understand such blame at all. If ever there were two poor souls who needed care and forgiveness it was those two women, Mrs. Nell and Her Grace.

All his natural sons were there--all except the Duke of Monmouth whose name never passed his lips from the beginning of his sickness to the end--and these too he recommended to his brother--the three sons of the Duchess of Cleveland, and the rest. I do not wonder that he left out His Grace of Monmouth: it seems to me very near prophetical of what was to fall presently, when the Duke was to revolt against his new Sovereign and suffer the last penalty for it, at his hands. But His Majesty blessed all the rest of his children one by one, drawing them down to him upon the bed--they weeping aloud, as I heard.

A very strange scene followed this. One of the Bishops fell down upon his knees, and begged him, who was the "Lord's Anointed"--(and anointed too, lately, in a fashion the Bishop never dreamed of!)--to bless all that were there, since they were all his children, and all his subjects too. The Bedchamber was now full from end to end; and all the company fell together upon their knees. His Majesty, raising himself in bed, first begged the pardon of all in a loud voice for anything in which he had acted contrary to the interests of his country or the principles of good government; and then, still in a loud voice, pronounced a blessing on them all. Then he fell back again upon his pillows.


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