Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart

By Felicity Allen | Go to book overview
Save to active project


It was the quietest possible death. He had been preparing for it a long time. “The departure of the spirit was gentle and utterly painless.” It was the “happy death” expected by those who wore the cross of St. Benedict, and Jefferson Davis wore his “always.” 1

He would not let Varina telegraph the children: “Let our darlings be happy I may get well.” But Maggie had seen in the papers how ill he was. She got as far as Fort Worth but missed connections and arrived too late to see him alive. She fainted twice in the carriage on the way to the grave. 2

Winnie, bundling up illustrated French journals for his Christmas present, wrote to him from Paris December 5, “broken-hearted” that he was sick, though a telegram assured her he was “convalescent”: “My dearest I cannot get reconciled to the idea of my having, no matter how unwittingly, left you while you were ill.” “Dearest darling Father, when as now, I want to tell you how much I love you I grow bewildered [unable] to express to you the devoted love and tenderness of which my heart is and always will be full for you, my darling Father.” Still not well herself, and unhappy over her blighted romance, Winnie broke down completely at the news of his death. Kate Pulitzer took her to the Grand Hotel in Naples; Fred came over to see her; but nothing seemed to interest her anymore. 3

Varina, of course, was overwhelmed and had to be given sedatives. But she was a strong woman in every way, and by late morning, she was able to watch by the corpse, lying coffinless. The gentlemen friends helping to lay it out had noticed a scar on his hand, and Jacob Payne told how, in the early days at Brierfield, Davis had gone after whatever was robbing his cornfield and met a bear, and while it fastened on his left hand, he had killed it with his bowie knife. 4


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 809

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?