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Florence Marion (search for this): chapter 32
ears ago. He was quoted as a monster of tyranny and injustice. His name was George Washington. April 8.... My prayer for this Easter is that I may not waste the inspiration of spring.... In these days came another real sorrow to her. April 10. To-day brings the sad news of Marion Crawford's death at Sorrento. His departure seems to have been a peaceful one. He comforted his family and had his daughter Eleanor read Plato's Dialogues to him. Was unconscious at the last. Poor dear Marion! The end, in his case, comes early. His father was, I think, in the early forties when he died of a cancer behind the eye which caused blindness. He, Thomas Crawford, had a long and very distressing illness. Crawford had been very dear to her, ever since the days when, a radiant schoolboy, he came and went in his vacations. There was a complete sympathy and understanding between them, and there were few people whom she enjoyed more. I wrote a letter to be read, if approved, to-mor
d her social salad. At Oak Glen, too, she had her novel and her whist, bezique or dominoes, as the family was larger or smaller. She never stooped to solitaire; a game must be an affair of companionship, of the social tie in defence of which Broa Sam, in his youth, had professed himself ready to die. Instead of the Victor concert, she now made music herself, playing fourhand pieces with Florence, the music daughter, trained in childhood by Otto Dresel. This was another great pleasure. (Dides and Chopin waltzes, and to the Battle Hymn on the 'cello, she was moved to give a performance of Flibbertigibbet. This occasion reminded her happily of her father's house, of Henry playing tolerably on the 'cello, Marion studying the violin, Broa Sam's lovely tenor voice. Now came the early October days when she was to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws from Smith College. She hesitated about making the tiresome journey, but finally, Grudging the trouble and expense, I decide to go to
e one. The stage of the Metropolitan Opera House was filled with dignitaries, delegates from other States, foreign diplomats in brilliant uniforms. The only woman among them was the little figure in white, to greet whom, as she came forward on her son's arm, the whole great assembly rose and stood. They remained standing while she read her poem in clear unfaltering tones; the applause that rang out showed that she had once more touched the heart of the public. This poem was printed in Collier's Weekly, unfortunately from a copy made before the last verse was finished to her mind. This distressed her. Let this be. A lesson! she said. Never print a poem or speech till it has been delivered; always give the eleventh hour its chance! This eleventh hour brought a very special chance; a few days before, the world had been electrified by the news of Peary's discovery of the North Pole: it was the general voice that cried through her lips,-- The Flag of Freedom crowns the Pole!
Otto Dresel (search for this): chapter 32
t they must wait till she had mixed and enjoyed her social salad. At Oak Glen, too, she had her novel and her whist, bezique or dominoes, as the family was larger or smaller. She never stooped to solitaire; a game must be an affair of companionship, of the social tie in defence of which Broa Sam, in his youth, had professed himself ready to die. Instead of the Victor concert, she now made music herself, playing fourhand pieces with Florence, the music daughter, trained in childhood by Otto Dresel. This was another great pleasure. (Did any one, we wonder, ever enjoy pleasures as she did?) These duets were for the afternoon; she almost never used her eyes in the evening. They were perfectly good, strong eyes; in the latter years she rarely used glasses; but the habit dated back to the early fifties, and might not be shaken. We see her, therefore, in the summer afternoons, sitting at the piano with Florence, playing, Galatea, dry thy tears! Handel's old tie-wig music, as she c
W. H. Taft (search for this): chapter 32
d at a price impossible here. I said that the real bottomless pit is the depth of infamous slander with which people will assail our public servants, especially when they are faithful and incorruptible, apropos of aspersions cast on Roosevelt and Taft. Mrs. Ward read a very violent attack upon some public man of a hundred or more years ago. He was quoted as a monster of tyranny and injustice. His name was George Washington. April 8.... My prayer for this Easter is that I may not waste thestion came up again. Once more Turkey attempted to regain active possession of Crete; once more the voice of Christendom was raised in protest. She had no thought this time of being too old. Being called upon for help, she wrote at once to President Taft, praying him to find some way to help the Cretans in the terrible prospect of their being delivered over, bound hand and foot, to Turkish misrule. She was soon gladdened by a reply from the President, saying that he had not considered the Cr
Magnum Opus (search for this): chapter 32
or the expected guest, of dress for the afternoon reception, then drop back into Aristotle or Aeschylus with a happy sigh. It was less easy to break off when she was writing; we might be begged for half a moment, as if our time were fully as precious as her own; but there was none of the distress that interruption brought in earlier years. Perhaps she took her writing less seriously. She often said, Oh, my dear, I am beginning to realize at last that I shall never write my book now, my Magnum Opus, that was to be so great She practised her scales faithfully every day, through the later years. Then she would play snatches of forgotten operas, and the granddaughter would hear her — if she thought no one was near — singing the brilliant arias in a sweet thread of a voice. After her practising, if she were alone, she would sit at the window and play her Twilight Game: counting the passing, one for a biped, two for a quadruped, ten for a white horse, and so on. In the evening
John Elliott (search for this): chapter 32
ily, and, as always, our mother read and corrected the galley-proofs. She did this with exquisite care and thoughtfulness, never making her suggestions on the proof itself, but on a separate sheet of paper, with the number of the galley, the phrase, and her suggested emendations. This was her invariable custom: the writer must be perfectly free to retain her own phrase, if she preferred it. Walking tired her that summer, but she was very faithful about it. Zacko, she would command John Elliott, take me for a walk. The day before she took to her bed, he remembers that she clung to him more than usual and said,-- It tires me very much. (This after walking twice round the piazza.) Once more he encouraged. No-I have walked all I can to-day. Let me take you back to your room this way, he said, leading her back by the piazza. That makes five times each way! She laughed and was pleased to have done this, but he thinks she had a great sense of weakness too. Her f
orgot this pleasure, nor the warm kindness of the giver. One day Mr. Abel Lefranc, the French lecturer of the year at Harvard, came to lunch with her. He apologized for only being able to stay for the luncheon hour, owing to a press of engagements and work that had grown overpowering. He stayed for two hours and a half after luncheon was over, and during all that time the flow of poignant, brilliant talk, a deux, held the third in the little company absorbed. She was entirely at home in French, and the Frenchman talked over the problems of his country as if to a compatriot. A few days afterwards a Baptist minister from Texas, a powerfully built and handsome man, came to wait on her. He also stayed two hours: and we heard his Amen! and Bless the Lord for that! and her gentler Bless the Lord, indeed, my brother! as their voices, fervent and grave, mingled in talk. She never tried to be interested in people. She was interested, with every fibre of her being. Little househo
Francis J. Garrison (search for this): chapter 32
dent of the United States and Mrs. Julia Ward Howe. He also claims to be a reincarnation of some remarkable philosopher; and to be so greatly interested in the cause of Peace that he declines to visit our ships now in the harbor here, to which he has been invited. Reading Theodore Parker's sermon on Wisdom and Intellect, she found it so full of notable sayings that she thought a little familiar book of daily inspiration and aspiration might be made from his writings: she wrote to Mr. Francis J. Garrison suggesting this, and suggesting also, what had been long in her mind, the collecting and publishing of her Occasional poems. In late September, she was moved to write one or more open letters on what religion really is, for some one of the women's papers ; and the next day began upon What is religion? or rather, What Sort of Religion makes Religious Liberty possible? A day or two later, she was giving an offhand talk on the early recollections of Newport at the Papeterie, and
Bradford Norman (search for this): chapter 32
living so long. I don't even enjoy my books as I used to. My efforts to find a fit word for the Biennial [of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, to meet in Boston, June 22 and 23] are not successful ... . She soon revived under her green trees, and enjoyed her books as much as ever: got hold of her screed, wrote it, went up to Boston to deliver it, came back to meet an excursion party of Biennial ladies visiting Newport. (N. B. She was late for the reception, and her neighbor, Bradford Norman, drove her into Newport in his automobile at a terrific clip. On alighting, Braddie, she said, if I were ten years younger, I would set up one of these hell-wagons myself! ) She enjoyed all this hugely, but the fatigue was followed by distress so great that the next morning she thought she should die with her door locked. (She would lock her door: no prayers of ours availed against this. In Boston, an elaborate arrangement of keys made it possible for her room to be entered; at O
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