Last words are tricky. Sometimes they can be sublime, like those of a religious martyr sentenced to burn at the stake. Amidst the flames, he still sought to comfort others. Sometimes they can be heroic, like the World War II antifascist resistance fighter who, with a noose around his neck at his public hanging, urged others to carry on the fight against the Nazis. Sometimes they’re unfortunately hilarious, like those of a nun who broke wind just before she died, and thought that a fart indicated that she was still good to go. She was not. Below are twenty five things about those and other last words from history.
A French Queen’s Black Daughter?
There were relatively few black people in seventeenth and eighteenth century France. It is thus unsurprising that black French nun Louise Marie-Therese (circa 1658 – 1730) stood out. A Benedictine nun at the abbey of Moret-sur-Loing, she was also known as the Moores of Moret and the Black Nun of Moret. She attracted plenty of attention not only because of her skin color, but also because of some fascinating tales about her ancestry – some of which she herself helped spread. Among other things, Sister Marie-Therese was rumored to be the love child of Queen Maria Theresa of Spain, wife of King Louis XIV.
Her Majesty supposedly gave birth to a black daughter in 1664 – a birth that was hushed up, and the baby swiftly whisked away from the royal palace. It is a fascinating story, but it is highly unlikely to have been true. However, people like juicy and salacious stories, and as such, many believed that Sister Marie-Therese was illegitimate royalty. Whatever the truth of her birth, death finally claimed Sister Marie-Therese in 1730. She was bedridden on her last couple of days. In her final moments upon Earth, with death clearly upon her, she cut a loud fart. “Good“, she said, as she turned over. “A woman who can fart is not dead“. Unfortunately, those proved to be her last words. However, they were not the last sounds to issue from her. She immediately afterwards cut another huge fart, and promptly died.