The last words of Lady Mary
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is not a figure that most of us would choose to envy. Her experience led her to the grim conclusions that marriage was “a lottery where there are (at the lowest computation) ten thousand blanks to one prize”; that “the pursuit of pleasure will ever be attended with pain”; that “we are no more free agents than the queen of clubs when she victoriously takes prisoner the knave of hearts.” Her own marriage failed; her son became an affliction and an ignominy; in her old age she records that for eleven years she had not dared look in her mirror. She had once called life “a dull road.” And yet, dying, she is said to have murmured: “It has all been very interesting; it has all been very interesting.” Even in death she kept her vital interest in the eternal strangeness of life. There are worse last words.