DYING FRENCH NOVELIST WRITES HIS OWN EPITAPH
Shroud is Robe of Benedictine Monk
PARIS, June 1. — Never has a dying man made calmer preparations for death than did Joris Karl Huysmans, whose loss was the greatest French literature has sustained since the death of Emile Zola.
Huysmans, who began by writing decadent realism for mysticism, had been for months in agony from cancer of the jaw. Although he was warned against tobacco, he would lie smoking many cigarettes, saying that he was quite ready for death. He referred to the angel of death with grim gallantry as “Madame La Mort.” A few days before the end he dictated to his secretary letters of invitation to his own funeral.
An announcement of the death of Professor Polier reached him in the usual black-bordered envelope, and when Huymans saw it he told his secretary to sit down beside the bed.
“We will draw up my epitaph,” he said.
He dictated the form in which he wished to be described, ending it with “who died on -— -— fortified by the sacraments of the church.”
Huysmans directed that his body should be clothed after death in the dress of a Benedictine monk. He had latterly turned his thoughts to religion and had intended to enter the order of St. Benedict.