Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A beautiful day to die

Poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (shown here) died on this day in 1861. Her last word, in reply to her husband, Robert Browning, who had asked her how she felt.


Also on this date, in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot to death in Sarajevo, while traveling in an open topped car, an event which precipited World War I.

Mortally wounded, the archduke and duchess were driven to the Governor's residence for medical treatment. While Ferdinand's last words are famously reported as "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!," his true final words were:

"It is nothing."

The duchess died fifteen minutes after the shooting, followed shortly by the archduke.