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Author of "Causes and Effects in American History," 
"The Vanguard of American Volunteers," etc. 




. % * COPYRIGHT, 1920, 











A MEMORABLE DECADE . ^ . . . . . . . .85 











INDEX OF NAMES AND PLACES . . ... . . . 339 


Hamilton W. Mabie Frontispiece 


As a Boy of Eight 10 

As an Undergraduate at Williams 32 

Mabie s Mother and Father 64 

Mabie s Home in Summit 138 

The Library in Mabie s Summit Home 178 

The Mabies in Japan . . . 244 

Mabie with One of his Little Friends 334 




THE story of the life of Hamilton W. Mabie is 
of public interest and importance for two prin 
cipal reasons. In the first place his influence as an 
educational force, through his writings and his lec 
tures, was vastly greater than most people were aware 
of. This influence was nation-wide in extent, and 
was powerful in effect, especially upon the young peo 
ple of his generation. Through his contributions for 
nearly forty years to The Christian Union and The 
Outlook, through his books, and through his addresses 
before popular audiences on literary subjects, he was 
always a torch-bearer on the difficult path leading to 
high ideals, attainable only through intellectual enrich 
ment and spiritual enlightenment. His followers, who 
gained courage and inspiration from his words, were 
numbered by the thousands, and their debt to him was 
great. As a public-spirited citizen, too, his activities 
outside of his professional work were of high value 



to various communities. So that it may be truly said 
of him, in the sense that the phrase can be applied to 
few men, that he left his mark upon his time. 

In the second place, only a man of exceptional char 
acter and of unusual personality could have accom 
plished what he did. His character, his standards, his 
ideals, are known to all men. Of his rare personality, 
however, less is generally known. For a man s books 
do not tell the whole story, do not reveal the full por 
trait. For these more intimate traits one must look 
elsewhere to those who knew him and to his letters 
to his friends. " Of the things we do," said Mabie 
on one occasion, " if they are memorable, there are 
sometimes enduring tokens; but of what we are there 
are no records save the memory that lies in the hearts 
of our friends and the influence that, passing into 
other natures, loses itself in their larger growth." It 
is doubtful if any man of his generation, save Theo 
dore Roosevelt, had a greater number of devoted 
friends than Hamilton Mabie; and the memory that 
he has left in the hearts of those friends will always 
be cherished. To them he brought a nature of such 
simplicity, frankness, charm and cheerfulness and a 
spirit of such buoyant helpfulness and hopefulness, 
that all those who came under their spell derived from 
him new vigor and fresh courage with which to take 
up their daily tasks, however burdensome they might 
be. " He is gone from our earth," wrote his old 


friend, Mr. Ho wells, " but he has left in each of us 
the consciousness of an abiding presence, serene and 
fine and true, which we know for the soul of Hamilton 
W. Mabie." No man could hope to leave in the 
hearts of his friends a richer or a more enduring 
memory than is suggested in these words. 

Hamilton Wright Mabie was born on December 13, 
1845, m Coldspring, a village on the east bank of the 
Hudson river opposite Cornwall. The plateau of 
West Point to the south, the huge bulk of Storm King 
across the Hudson and the broad reaches of the river 
towards Newburg, gave the neighborhood natural pic- 
turesqueness and historical interest. The boy came 
of mixed stock, Huguenot on his father s side and 
Scotch-English on his mother s, a combination that 
throws an interesting sidelight upon the development 
of his character and upon the peculiarities of his tem 
perament. The founder of the family in America 
was Sergeant Gaspard Mabille, whose father, Seig 
neur Pierre Mabille, had been obliged to flee from 
the village of Nevy, in the old province of Anjou, 
where his estates were situated, after the massacre of 
St. Bartholomew s Day, in 1572. Gaspard, who had 
been named for the Huguenot leader, Admiral Gas 
pard de Coligny, arrived in New Amsterdam from 
Holland, about the middle of the seventeenth century. 
After a generation or two the spelling of the name 


was made to conform to the usual pronunciation, Ma- 

In course of time members of the family left New 
York, as the city had then become, and settled among 
their compatriots of French-Protestant descent in New 
Rochelle. From New Rochelle Peter Mabie, Hamil 
ton s great-grandfather, went, when a boy, with his 
father s family to the village of Carmel, in what is now 
Putnam County, New York, where he grew into man 
hood and where he acquired a farm of more than a 
hundred acres on the shores of Lake Mahopac, not 
more than a dozen miles or so east of Coldspring. 
He served in the Revolution, his regiment being active 
in the guerilla warfare in western Connecticut. 

The alluring prospects which the West held out to 
settlers in those days finally made Peter Mabie dis 
contented with his lot at Carmel, and with several of 
his sons he made his way by slow stages to what later 
became northern Illinois. The second of these sons, 
Libbeus, finding pioneer life in the Far West less to 
his liking than farming in the neighborhood of the 
home that he had left in Carmel, returned to the East. 
Levi Jeremiah, Hamilton Mabie s father, was the sec 
ond of seven children who were born to Libbeus Ma 
bie and his wife, Carmel being his birthplace. 

Hamilton s mother was also born in Carmel. Her 
maiden name was Sarah Colwell, and she was the 
daughter, one of seven children, of Samuel Colwell, 


of a wealthy Tory family of New York City, and his 
wife, Charlotte Wright Col well.. On his mother s 
side Hamilton represented the fourth generation in 
descent from Mercer Hamilton, a younger brother of 
Sir William Hamilton. Both Mercer and his elder 
brother were educated at the University of Edinburgh. 
Efforts were made by the family to induce the younger 
of the two to enter the church, but an ecclesiastical 
career had no attractions for him. His eyes were al 
ready directed towards the new world, where certainly 
adventure and perhaps opportunity awaited him. His 
father s second marriage and his unhappiness under 
the new family conditions finally gave him the excuse 
which he desired to run away from home and to sail 
for America. 

Reaching America, Mercer Hamilton fell a victim 
to the wiles of a pretty widow, a Mrs. Belden; and in 
due course of time one of their four daughters mar 
ried a man named Wright, the couple making their 
home near Carmel. The Charlotte Wright, Hamil 
ton s maternal grandmother, who married Samuel Col- 
well, was one of their children. Mrs. Colwell s huo- 
band was a patriot and was estranged from his royal 
ist relatives in New York City. Charlotte Colwell 
had a brother, Mercer Hamilton Wright, who made 
his home in his maturity in New Orleans. He was 
the favorite uncle of Hamilton s mother; and when 
her first-born came she gave him the name of this 


uncle, dropping the Mercer and calling him Hamilton 
Wright Mabie. Her marriage to Levi Mabie had 
taken place in the Colwell homestead not far from the 
village of Carmel on January 22, 1845, tne bride be 
ing in her twenty-second and the groom in his twenty- 
fourth year. 

Levi Mabie immediately took his bride to Cold- 
spring where he had been living for some time and 
where they made their home. The opportunities in 
Carmel were too few for a man of ambition and en 
ergy like Levi Mabie, who, as appeared later, had the 
latent capacity for business affairs on a large scale. 
His removal from Carmel to Coldspring was un 
doubtedly inspired by a desire to get nearer the cur 
rent of traffic that flowed up and down the Hudson 
between New York and Buffalo by way of the river 
and of the recently completed Erie Canal, in order 
to take advantage of whatever opportunity chance or 
industry might bring him. He remained in Cold- 
spring only a few years, a period during which he 
watched with interest the efforts that were making to 
complete the railway line between New York and Al 
bany. It is a tradition in the family that he was of 
an inventive turn of mind and that he supplied several 
valuable suggestions for the solution of problems that 
were puzzling the engineers in charge of the railway 
work. It is easy to imagine that his little son Hamil 
ton, then three or four years old, may have accom- 


panied his father on some of these excursions, and 
stood with wide-eyed wonder and curiosity during 
these mysterious proceedings. The railway was not 
opened for traffic between New York and Albany 
until 1851. 

A year or so before this date Levi Mabie and his 
family had moved from Coldspring to Buffalo, where 
they remained nine years, living for a part of this time 
in Washington Street and later near Johnson Park. 
A baby sister, Jennie, was one member of the family 
to make this journey; and during their sojourn in 
Buffalo two more children, both sons, were born to 
Levi Mabie and his wife, Frank Marvin in 1854 and 
Edgar Washburn in 1858. Hamilton Mabie left no 
record of his recollections of these years of his boy 
hood and youth such as at least one of his contem 
poraries in the literary world, T. B. Aldrich, left. In 
later years he was too much interested in the problems 
which the present offered and the future foreshadowed 
to give any time to his own past. Although in a gen 
eral way he was proud of his Huguenot blood and 
was especially pleased when he was elected an honor 
ary member of the Huguenot Society of America, he 
was on the whole indifferent to the details of his an 
cestry. " Our chief concern," he said in one of his 
early papers, " is to know ourselves, not our forbears/ 
This was his attitude throughout his life. The conse 
quence is that the main source of information regard- 


ing these early years is the family tradition as it has 
been preserved by his surviving sister, Mrs. Champney 
H. Judson, of Dobbs Ferry. 

According to Mrs. Judson, as soon as Hamilton 
reached the proper age he was sent to the public schools 
in Buffalo, where he developed into a studious and apt 
pupil. His mother was a woman of a sweet, gentle 
and lovable nature, whose interests were all centred in 
her young family. From her the boy derived similar 
traits, which later endeared him to a large circle of 
devoted friends. She was a woman, too, of decided 
strength of character, which she also bequeathed to 
her son, and believed in the old-fashioned doctrine as 
to the proper relation between the rod and the wilful 

Young Hamilton must occasionally have wandered 
outside the bounds which parental discipline set for 
him, for it is remembered in the family that he much 
preferred punishment, which was no doubt mild, by 
his mother, to a moral lecture on his delinquencies by 
his father. One of his escapades had a curious sequel. 
In company with another boy he stayed away from 
school one day, making the freight cars and railway 
tracks his playground. The next morning, having 
no excuse to give his teacher for his previous day s 
absence, he found it easier to lose himself in the 
freight yards again than to present himself at school. 
This went on for a full week, the problem becoming 



more difficult of solution each day, until the boy was 
at last fairly overwhelmed by the consciousness that 
he had placed himself entirely outside the social order 
to which he was accustomed and to which everyone 
else conformed, and that he knew of no way in which 
he could recover his lost standing. A note of inquiry 
from his teacher to his parents brought matters to a 
crisis. The youth took his punishment with a great 
sense of relief, and went back to school. He never, 
however, forgot the lesson which that experience 
taught him. 

Levi Mabie was a man of rigid probity and of high 
standards of conduct, both in his business dealings and 
in his private life; and he required all the members of 
his family to conform to these standards. There 
was nothing hard, however, in his character or harsh 
or even severe in his manner. On the contrary, he 
was always helpful and considerate, charitable in both 
thought and deed. His control over his family was 
one of sweet reasonableness; and his influence had a 
decided effect upon the character of his son Hamil 
ton. Deeply religious by nature, he attended the Dutch 
Reformed Church regularly, and conducted family 
prayers daily. 

At this period, from about 1850 to 1858, Buffalo 
was a rapidly growing city of great commercial activ 
ity through the lake and canal traffic. Levi Mabie 
was engaged during these years in one of the principal 


industries of the city, the wholesale lumber business. 
As the greater part of this lumber came from Can 
ada numerous opportunities presented themselves for 
revenue frauds. On one occasion Mr. Mabie s part 
ner, who had been in Canada buying lumber, returned 
with the joyful news that he had perfected an ar 
rangement by which the lumber he had purchased was 
to be got into New York State free of duty. With 
out any discussion or hesitation Mr. Mabie left word 
with his wife that he was to be called early the next 
morning; and, proceeding to the point on the border 
where the lumber was to arrive, he paid the customs 
officials what was due on the consignment which his 
partner had bought. It is not difficult to understand 
why a sensitive boy like young Mabie should have 
suffered more from a lecture on personal conduct by 
a man of this type than from a gentle chastisement by 
his mother. The principles, however, of right-living 
and right-thinking which the father laid down in these 
interviews probably sank deeper into the boy s heart 
than he realized at the time. 

A man of such uncompromising integrity as Levi 
Mabie may have had some difficulty in holding his own 
against less scrupulous business rivals. It is certain, 
however, that he was handicapped by his inability to 
withstand the rugged winter climate of the lake city, 
which compelled him to go inland to Binghamton once 
or twice in order to recover his health. Whatever the 


reason, or the combination of reasons, may have been, 
he left Buffalo in 1858, after a residence there of 
nearly nine years, and moved his family to Brooklyn. 
There they made their home in Putnam Avenue near 
Bedford Avenue, where they lived until they moved to 

During this period Levi Mabie was engaged in the 
wholesale boot and shoe business at No. 75 Warren 
Street, and later in Grand Street, New York. Here 
again he was unfortunate in one of his partners, who 
in the early Sixties became dissipated and erratic and 
who saddled the firm with a large quantity of goods 
that could not be sold at a profit. The temptation to 
go into voluntary bankruptcy, and thus to escape the 
necessity of paying the firm s debts, would have caused 
most men at least to hesitate before deciding what 
policy to adopt. But Levi Mabie was made of sterner 
stuff. " We will wind up the business, pay what we 
can and the balance as we can," was his decision; and 
this course was followed. The worry and anxiety, 
however, incidental to these transactions, undermined 
his far from robust health; and his doctor s decree 
finally was that he must move into the country and 
take things easily. It was for this reason that in 
1864 the family went to Tarrytown to live. 

Meanwhile it had been decided that the eldest son, 
Hamilton, should be prepared for college. In Buf 
falo he had attended the public schools, but some other 


arrangement was thought to be necessary in Brooklyn, 
and his father s circumstances made the new arrange 
ment possible. A neighbor of the Mabies named 
Brevoort, who had a son Harry whom he desired to 
fit for college, invited Hamilton and another boy, 
Charles S. West, the son of the Rev. Jacob West, to 
study together under an especially competent tutor, 
and the invitation was accepted. All three boys lived 
near each other, in or near Putnam Avenue, and were 
of about the same age. 

Williams College had been selected for Hamilton, 
Mr. Mabie preferring to have his son go to one of the 
smaller New England colleges, with country surround 
ings. The boy applied himself to his studies with such 
diligence and such zeal that by the summer of 1862, 
when he was sixteen years old, he was ready to take 
the examinations. He was thought, however, to be 
too young to be sent to college, and he was held back 
for a year. He occupied part of the time in the in 
terval in reading law in the office of a Brooklyn attor 
ney, showing that even before he entered Williams his 
mind, or that of his father, pointed to the law as a 
possible profession for him. 

It is probably safe to assume that in this leisurely 
year young Mabie read more fiction and poetry than 
he did law. For in an evidently authoritative article 
about him in The Bookman for December, 1895, 
James MacArthur wrote: 


" When asked if he had any profession in view 
when he went to Williams Mr. Mabie replied : No, 
I had no definite professional aim in my education. I 
have been a great reader all my life; if there is any 
thing that I might venture to claim for myself, it is 
that I belong to the class Lowell called the great 
readers. I have been reading as long as I can re 
member. As a boy I was very fond of Sir Walter 
Scott s novels ; indeed my memory begins with Walter 
Scott. The first poet I remember reading was Long 
fellow. " 


HALF a century ago life at Williams College was 
very different from what it is today. In those 
times Commencement exercises were held at the end of 
July; and it was the custom to suspend the college 
activities for a period of six weeks or so in mid-winter 
in order to allow the students to earn a little money, 
with which to meet their college expenses, by teaching 
school. The examinations for entrance took place 
immediately after the close of the Commencement ex 

The echoes of these exercises must have still lin 
gered in the college halls when young Mabie, accom 
panied by the companion of his Brooklyn studies, 
Charles West, who had also been fitted for Williams, 
arrived in Williamstown early in August, 1863, and 
presented himself for the examinations. It was of 
course inevitable that the Civil War, then half over, 
should color all the Commencement proceedings. The 
great war-governor of the Commonwealth of Massa 
chusetts, Governor Andrew, and his staff had been 
present. A poem, " Fifty Years," by William Cullen 



Bryant, of the class of 1813, had been read, the last 
lines of which reflected the fervent hope of the North 
for a victorious outcome of the bloody struggle : 

" For us, who fifty years ago went forth 
Upon the world s great theatre, may we 
Yet see the day of triumph, which the hours 
On steady wing waft hither from the depths 
Of a serener future; may we yet, 
Beneath the reign of a new peace, behold 
The shaken pillars of our Commonwealth 
Stand readjusted in their ancient poise, 
And the great crime of which our strife was born 
Perish with its accursed progeny." 

With the defeat a few weeks earlier of Lee at 
Gettysburg and the capture of Vicksburg by Grant, the 
turning point in the war had been reached, although 
this fact could not, of course, have been comprehended 
either by the Williams alumni who took part in these 
Commencement festivities or by the youths who, a day 
or two later, presented themselves for examination for 
entrance into the class of 1867. It was in front of old 
West College, the original home of the Free School 
from which Williams was developed, that, in one of 
the intervals between examinations, Mabie met an 
other youth, Francis Lynde Stetson, who was to be 
come later his chum in college and his devoted friend 


for life. Young Stetson s home town was Plattsburg, 
New York. He had as a fellow candidate for admis 
sion a boy named Henry A. Harman, whose home was 
in Bennington, Vermont, both being, as was the cus 
tom, under the charge of a senior. Mr. Harman, who 
is now living in Rutland, recalls the Mabie whom he 
then met as " a simple-hearted, modest, unpretentious 
lad, who impressed us all as thoroughly genuine and 
well brought up." 

When the accepted freshmen met in Williamstown 
at the beginning of the autumn term, Mabie and his 
Brooklyn companion, West, secured a room together 
in the house of Professor Tatlock, in Main Street, 
near the Congregational Church of the present day. 
During the following winter Stetson had a room in 
what was known as Fleissigheim ; and in the spring of 
1864, young West having been compelled for some 
reason to return to Brooklyn, Mabie joined Stetson in 
this Teutonic home of industry, and the two remained 
chums until they were graduated. 

According to Mr. Harman, who since 1877 nas 
been the secretary of the class of 1867, and to whom 
the writer is indebted for these and many other facts 
relating to Mabie s college life, Fleissigheim at this 
time was the name of the fraternity home of the Alpha 
Delta Phi society, of which Mabie, Stetson and Har 
man became members while they were freshmen. The 
rooms were in the second story of an old dingy brick 


store building standing on the northeast corner of 
Main and Park streets ; and after these rooms became 
unrentable for dormitory purposes, on account of their 
condition, they continued to be used by the Alpha Belts 
for their social reunions and their mysterious secret 
rites until about 1868. 

By the autumn of 1864, however, at the beginning 
of their sophomore year, Mabie and Stetson, desirous 
of securing better quarters, had taken rooms in the 
second story of a frame business building, owned by 
a Mr. Whitman, which stood on the opposite corner 
of Main and Park streets from Fleissigheim. The 
ground floor of the building was a store, and the stu 
dents rooms were reached by an outside stairway 
which led to a second-story balcony. Here Mabie and 
Stetson lived for the remaining years of their college 
course. The associations of the opposite corner, how 
ever, must have made a deep impression upon their 
classmates, for at the class reunions for many years 
after there were always vociferous calls upon Mabie 
and Stetson to give their recollections of what, with 
facetious post-graduate humor, was always called 
" Fleischman s." 

Apparently the freshmen of Mabie s day had ac 
quired a good deal of freedom and independence. In 
the earlier years of the college the custom of com 
pelling them to fag for upper-classmen must have been 
in vogue. For the editor of The Williams Quarterly 


for November, 1863, expressed his regrets at the dis 
appearance of these convenient and useful disciplinary 
methods, and lamented the degeneracy of the changed 
times. "O temporal O mores!" he cried. " The 
freshmen swing canes, wear tall hats, part their hair 
behind and go with the ladies ! " That this bravado 
on the part of the freshmen was contrary in one re 
spect at least to the traditions of the college would 
appear from a statement in an earlier issue of the 
Quarterly to the effect that in view of the approach 
ing class-day the seniors " had provided themselves 
with beavers." 

The social life of the undergraduates at Williams 
centred in those days in the half-dozen or so Greek 
letter fraternities, which, as in the case of the Alpha 
Belts in Fleissigheim, occupied whatever convenient 
quarters were available, and surrounded their proceed 
ings with secrecy and mystery. The four members of 
the class of 67 who, with Mabie, were in Alpha Delta 
Phi in their senior year were Stetson, Granville S. 
Hall, of Ashville, Mass., who is now president of 
Clark University, at Worcester, Mass., the late Rev. 
Frederick A. Hand, whose home in his college days 
was Hancock, Mass., and Henry A. Harman, already 
mentioned, who took his law degree at Harvard. Of 
Mabie s classmates outside of this small group who in 
after life attained to more or less distinction, Henry 
L. Nelson was professor of Political Science at Wil- 


Hams for many years, the Rev. Dr. A. F. Schauffler 
became prominent in mission work, the Rev. Dr. 
Moses Bross Thomas is professor of Biblical Liter 
ature in Lake Forest University, Gilbert M. Tucker 
was the editor of The Country Gentleman, Dr. Charles 
Denison and Dr. John D. Rushmore were noted in 
medicine and surgery respectively, Rollin E. Harmon 
is judge of the Probate Court of Essex County, 
Massachusetts, and the late John M. Taylor was for 
many years president of the Connecticut Mutual Life 
Insurance Company. 

During his college course, and more especially dur 
ing his junior and senior years, Mabie s development 
was along three lines, each of which pointed unerringly 
to fields in which he was to become eminent in later 
years literature, public speaking and the spiritual 
life. By far the most important of these was liter 
ature. Recalling these remote days he said to James 
MacArthur, in the Bookman article already referred 

" While in college I read constantly and omnivo- 
rously. I know of no greater joy I have had in life 
than the long winter terms at Williams, when I used 
to begin reading about seven o clock in the evening and 
read often uninterruptedly until eleven. In this way 
I gave five or six hours a day to solid reading. I 
found out then for the first time that the Greek classics 
were literature, and I did not discover it in the class- 


room so much as outside of it. I became also deeply 
interested, during this period, in German literature. 
" I had a very strong literary bent in my aims and 
feelings even before I entered Williams, and while in 
college it almost became a passion with me. I had a 
group in my class who were men of exceptional abil 
ity. We formed an informal talking club, which met 
on Saturday evenings, and our discussions on liter 
ature, art and philosophy were of distinct educational 
value to me. They remind me of Tennyson s account 
of similar discussions at Cambridge: 

" Where once we held debate, a band 
Of youthful friends, on mind and art 
And labor, and the changing mart, 
And all the framework of the land. 

The " group " to which Mabie here referred is de 
scribed more fully by President Hall, of Clark Uni 
versity, in a letter to the writer : 

" I first met Mabie when we were both boys enter 
ing Williams in the year 1863, and I was tremen 
dously impressed by what I should call the delicacy of 
his mind and character. He had extraordinary power 
of sympathy with everybody and everything, and I 
cannot remember that I ever saw the slightest sign of 
temper. He had rather a mild horror, I think, of 
antagonisms or conflicts. 


" He was young and looked still younger, but he had 
read before entering and during the college course 
far more in general literature than any other member 
of the class, and so I regarded him as the leading mem 
ber in our junto/ which we held weekly the last two 
college years, to pool our reading. 

"The Alpha Delta Phi and the junto had noth 
ing whatever to do with each other, although Mabie 
and I belonged to both. The A.D.P. met weekly and 
always had literary exercises, and was a very good 
society; the junto, which also met weekly, was sim 
ply to pool our reading. The members of the latter, 
in addition to Mabie and me, were Francis Lynde 
Stetson, the well-known New York lawyer ; F. W. Gun- 
ster, later judge at Scranton, Pa., and now dead; Pro 
fessor M. B. Thomas, of Lake Forest University, and 
R. E. Harmon, now a judge in Lowell, Mass., who is 
still living, I think, as is Professor Thomas. Perhaps 
there were more, but I cannot recall any other names." 

In the chapter entitled " Under College Elms," one 
of the outdoor studies and meditations, as he calls 
them, which he included in " Under the Trees and 
Elsewhere," published in 1891, Mabie recalled in a 
more formal manner the memories that came to him in 
connection with the same theme, his introduction to 
the literature of all ages during his undergraduate 
days at Williams. 

" And then," he wrote, " there were those unbroken 


winter evenings, when one began really to know the 
great modern masters of literature. What would one 
not give to have them back again, with their undis 
turbed hours ending only when the fire or the lamp 
went out! Those were nights of royal fellowships, 
of introduction into the noblest society the world has 
ever known, and it is the recollection of this com 
panionship which gives those days under college roofs 
a unique and perennial charm. Then first the spirit 
of our own race was revealed to us in Chaucer, Shake 
speare and Milton; then first we thrilled to that music 
which has never faltered since Caedmon found his 
voice in answer to the heavenly vision. There are 
days which will always have a place by themselves in 
our memory, nights whose stars have never set, be 
cause they brought us face to face with some great 
soul and struck into life in an instant some new and 
mighty meaning. * * * It is the recollection of such 
hours that gives those bending elms an imperishable 
charm, and lends to this landscape a deathless interest." 
In his senior year Mabie was prominent in several 
pursuits of a more or less intellectual character outside 
of the college curriculum. He was elected president 
of the Adelphic Union, the oldest of all of the under 
graduate organizations that were devoted to science, 
literature or art. The Adelphic Union had been 
formed as a debating club a few years after the col 
lege was founded. Its popularity soon caused its 


membership to outgrow its quarters, and two sub 
sidiary societies were formed, the Philologian and the 
Philotechnian. The parent organization survived, 
however, and exercised general supervision over the 
literary, debating and oratorical contests of its two 
subsidiaries, and held annual public exhibitions at 
Commencement time. The Union also acted as a 
local lyceum committee, securing speakers of national 
reputation for the entertainment of audiences of both 
students and townspeople. In Mabie s day Emerson, 
William Lloyd Garrison, John W. Goff and George 
William Curtis were among those who addressed the 
Adelphic Union, at least one of whom, Emerson, as 
will appear later, made a deep impression upon his 
youthful mind. 

By the time they came to be seniors every member 
of a class was expected to be enrolled among either 
the Philologians or the Philotechnians, or among the 
Logians or Technians, as they were colloquially 
called. When Mabie s class came to graduate only one 
of the forty-nine men was not a member of one or the 
other of these two societies. Mabie, like his chum, 
Stetson, and like G. Stanley Hall, Henry L. Nelson 
and F. A. Schauffler, was a Technian. Each of these 
societies had rooms and a library of about five thou 
sand volumes. 

Mabie s first experience as a presiding officer, a post 
in which he won renown in later years, grew out of 


his election to the presidency of the Adelphic Union. 
Two debates were held in his senior year, one in Oc 
tober and one in March, with contestants from among 
the rival Logians and Technians. Then there was the 
annual public exhibition of the Union, just before 
Commencement, with a programme that must have 
taxed the patience even of a New England audience 
of that day, hungry as it doubtless was for intellectual 
sustenance a debate between two seniors on the 
value of secret societies; two poems, one of which 
entitled, " Old Things New," was by Mabie himself ; 
no fewer than six " orations," including one by Stet 
son on " The Reliability of Hope," and a valedictory. 
The leading student publication of the day was The 
Williams Quarterly, a dignified, serious periodical con 
taining papers on all kinds of literary and kindred 
topics, editorial articles and college news. When 
Mabie entered Williams, the Quarterly was ten years 
old and it survived until 1872, " a worthy literary ex 
ponent," as Professor Spring, in his " History of Wil 
liams College," justly characterizes it, " of the latter 
half of the Mark Hopkins era." In view of his later 
career one is not surprised to find that in his senior 
year Mabie was one of the editors of this magazine, 
his associates among his classmates being F. W. Gun- 
ster, G. Stanley Hall, R. E. Harmon and M. B. 
Thomas, all of whom, it is worth noting, had been 
members of the " junto " described by Dr. Hall which 


met weekly in the junior and senior years for an ex 
change of ideas on literary matters. The contribu 
tions to the pages of the Quarterly were anonymous; 
and in the absence of an index to the volume for 
1866-67 identifying the writers, it is impossible to 
know for a certainty what was Mabie s share in the 
editorial work of the year. The previous volume, 
however, contains a paper on " Poetry " contributed 
by him to the June, 1866, issue, which may have won 
for him his election to an editorial position. 

Mabie wrote another poem besides the one which 
was read at the Adelphic Union exhibition, entitled 
" Something Beyond." These verses were his con 
tribution to the Commencement exercises of his class, 
which took place on the last day of July, 1867 the 
only poem on the programme. One of those to whom 
" honorary orations " were assigned was Stetson, 
whose subject was " The Value of Success." Neither 
of these poetic juvenilia of Mabie s has survived in 
the college or class records. When questioned about 
them in later years, he always answered in a vein of 
jocose surprise that anyone should remember them or 
be interested in them. 

It is evident from the foregoing that Mabie must 
have had considerable experience during his under 
graduate days in talking on his feet, especially while 
he was conducting the meetings of the Adelphic Union. 
Another field for the incidental practice of the art of 


extemporaneous speaking was found in the meetings 
of the Mills Theological Society, in which the moral 
convictions and spiritual aspirations of the under 
graduates found full and free expression. The so 
ciety got its name from Samuel J. Mills, of the Wil 
liams Class of 1809, a leader in his day in home 
missionary work and a pioneer in the extension of mis 
sionary labors to foreign lands. Mabie s early interest 
in religious matters and his desire to ally himself with 
some religious organization, a trait which remained 
with him through life, were reflected in his member 
ship in the Mills Theological Society. That he was by 
no means a passive member is indicated by his election 
as president of the society for the first term of his 
senior year, during which fourteen of his classmates 
were members with him of this society. Incidental, 
possibly, to the purposes of this society was a series 
of Sunday afternoon prayer meetings, of which, ac 
cording to the recollection of Mr. Harman, Mabie was 
the promoter, during his senior year. 

The principal, and almost the only, out-of-door 
sport that was practised at Williams in the Sixties 
was what was called New York baseball the game 
from which the baseball of the present day was devel 
oped. Football and tennis were in the future, but 
croquet was just acquiring mild popularity. Mabie 
was a member of his class ball club, which bore the 
name of Ironsides. This name, formidable as it was, 


inspired no terrors, however, in the breasts of their 
sophomore antagonists, who, in the summer of 1864, 
defeated the freshman nine by a score of 59 to 14 runs, 
the lively ball used accounting in part for the large 
score. If Mabie had any share in this game, it must 
have been, in the baseball slang of today, as a fresh 
man " rooter " merely. One of the star players on 
the sophomore nine was the late Eugene Delano, who 
became a leader in New York banking circles. 

The victories of the Williams sophomores over sev 
eral class teams from other colleges led to the forma 
tion of a nine to represent the college and incidentally 
to the selection of a college color for Williams. As 
Professor Spring tells the story in his " History," 
when the Williams nine was preparing" to start for 
Cambridge to play the Harvard boys in the summer 
of 1865, two young women who were passing the sea 
son in Williamstown, discovering that the players had 
no college color, hastily purchased some purple ribbon, 
made it into small rosettes and pinned one of these 
on each member of the team, with the words, " Let this 
royal purple be the Williams color, and may it bring 
you victory." It did, on this occasion. 

Mabie, as has already been shown, was a voracious 
reader while at Williams, and his standing in his class 
on the four years work must have suffered somewhat 
in consequence of his unrestrained indulgence in this 
appetite for general literature. Like many another 


youth of similar temperament and tastes, he had great 
difficulty in mastering mathematics ; and this fact must 
also have affected his standing. The college records 
for this period are not sufficiently full and exact to 
enable one to determine what his rank was among his 
fellows; but that his standing in his junior year must 
have been fairly good is evident from the fact that 
he was a " Moonlighter." On this point Mr. Harman 
writes : 

" In the year 1866 the faculty of the college did 
select him as one of the four contestants from the 
junior class for the so-called Moonlight prizes. I 
do not recall the names of more than five or six of the 
twelve men so selected from our class, to write and 
deliver orations on a public competition. . . . He was 
one of the third selection; but aside from Dr. Stanley 
Hall, I fancy that Dr. Mabie in later life took more 
prizes for public speaking than all the eight persons 
whom the College Dons picked out in 1864 and 1865, 
before they reached his name." 

A Williams chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, 
the Gamma of Massachusetts, was organized while 
Mabie was in college. He was elected an honorary 
member of the society in 1885, in recognition of the 
prominence that he had meanwhile acquired both as a 
writer and as a speaker. 



MABIE did not often refer in his writings to his 
college experiences. As has already been 
pointed out, he was interested in the present and the 
future, rather than in the past, so far as his own life 
was concerned. Two men, however, under whose in 
fluence he came while at Williams, left so deep and 
abiding an impression upon him that in after life he 
referred to them at length, presenting pen-portraits of 
them which are of permanent value. One of these 
men was Dr. Mark Hopkins, the president of the col 
lege in his day, and the other was Ralph Waldo Emer 
son, who delivered a series of lectures in Williamstown 
in the early autumn of 1865. 

In the Sixties Dr. Mark Hopkins was the most 
commanding figure in the educational world in Amer 
ica. In the staff of professors under him were several 
men who later acquired national reputations. Two of 
them became successively presidents of the college, 
Paul A. Chadbourne, Professor of Natural History, 
and Franklin Carter, Professor of both French and 



Latin. Then there was another man of originality, 
independence and intellectual force, Arthur Latham 
Perry, Professor of Political Economy and History, 
who also taught the German language and German lit 
erature while Mabie was at Williams, and who, as an 
advocate of free-trade became and remained for many 
years an academic and economic storm-centre. His 
first book, " Elements of Political Economy," was pub 
lished in 1865, when Mabie was half through his col 
lege course. His two sons, Bliss Perry, Professor of 
English at Harvard, and Lewis Perry, Principal of 
Phillips Exeter Academy, carry on admirably the fam 
ily tradition of high scholarship combined with in 
dependent thinking. In addition to these distinguished 
men John Tatlock was Professor of Mathematics, Al 
bert Hopkins was Professor of Natural Philosophy 
and Astronomy, John L. T. Phillips was Professor of 
Greek, John Bascom was Professor of English, and 
Charles R. Treat was Professor of Physiology. There 
was only one instructor, John D. Davenport, whose 
branches were Latin and Mathematics. 

Probably one reason why so many of the students 
of Mabie s time attained to eminence in their profes 
sions was because during their entire college course 
they came in direct contact with professors of wide 
experience and of mature minds instead of with 
tutors and other young instructors. The classes were 
small. It was the deliberate policy of the college au- 



thorities of that day and for years after to lay stress 
upon the quality of the instruction and upon personal 
influence in the formation of character rather than 
upon the number of students. According to Professor 
Spring, Dr. Hopkins was satisfied with fifty new stu 
dents a year two hundred altogether. In only ten 
of the thirty-six years of his presidency lasting from 
1836 to 1872 did the number exceed this total, and 
then only slightly. The high water mark of attendance 
in Dr. Hopkins s presidency was in 1849-^0, when the 
four classes numbered 240. While Mabie was at Wil 
liams the classes were of a singular uniformity in size. 
In the autumn of 1864, for example, the seniors num 
bered 49, the juniors 47, the sophomores, Mabie s 
class, 48, and the freshmen 43 187 in all. When 
Mabie s class came to graduate, degrees were given to 
forty-nine men, although sixty-seven in all had been 
enrolled at one time or another in the class. 

Of all the men in the Williams faculty the one who 
easily made the deepest impression upon the pliable 
minds of the youths who came under his influence was 
the great president of the college, Dr. Mark Hopkins. 
In the teaching force Dr. Hopkins was officially de 
scribed as the Jackson Professor of Christian The 
ology and also as Professor of Moral and Intellectual 
Philosophy. Professor Spring calls him " primarily 
and essentially a philosopher a philosopher of the 
cheerful, expectant, optimistic type." To Mabie, Dr. 


Hopkins, in retrospect, was " a philosopher in the old- 
fashioned sense of the word, but philosophy," he added, 
" was not in his view a system of intellectual gym 
nastics nor a highly specialized department of educa 
tion; it was man thinking, in order that he might feel 
not only deeply but intelligently, that he might act not 
only with force but with wisdom." 

This summary of Dr. Hopkins s view of philosophy 
is taken from an article entitled " Two College Presi 
dents," which appeared in The Outlook in March, 
1902, soon after the election of Dr. Henry Hopkins, a 
son of Mark Hopkins, as President of Williams. In 
the course of this article Mabie, drawing upon his 
memory of his years at Williams, analyzed, with even 
more than his customary acumen, the sources of Dr. 
Hopkins s power as an educator, and illustrated by 
some recollections the methods which he was wont to 
use in applying his theories. Of Dr. Hopkins the man 
he said : 

" A great personality is often more influential with 
men in the impressionable age than a great teacher; 
Dr. Hopkins was both. He was a born teacher, with 
a genius for getting students to cooperate with him; 
but he was, above all, a great person; a character of 
such mingled strength and kindliness that men of a 
different temperament sometimes underrated his prac 
tical wisdom. He had charming geniality of nature, 


but no man ever thought of presuming upon his ami 
ability. His breadth of view kept him sane and open- 
eyed, and preserved him from narrowness and fa 
naticism of all kinds. He knew human nature, and 
was well acquainted with the special development of 
that nature which appears in college students. He 
held an easy rein, but he always drove. He had a 
keen feeling for reality and for ultimate results, and 
he knew when to ignore minor matters. On one oc 
casion, when a misdemeanor of a somewhat dramatic 
kind had been committed in college, a trustee, who was 
much disturbed, declared that the culprit ought to be 
found, if it was necessary to put a detective on the 
trail. Dr. Hopkins assented to his strong character 
ization of the offense, but added that it would be very 
much to the advantage of the college if the sinner 

" One of his most interesting subjects was the 
Shorter Catechism, which he expounded with a lucidity 
and charm that captivated his classes. His theology, 
like his philosophy, was broad, human and progressive ; 
but at that time the loosening of the bonds of dogma 
was in its early tentative stages. He was once asked 
what he did in the class-room with the doctrines of 
election and predestination. He answered promptly, 
with the smile that was so characteristic, I have never 
yet been able to reach them. As a matter of fact, the 


deepest drift of his teaching reached them without 
specific direction. In all his thinking law was not only 
love, but love was law. 

" Much has been said about his thought, his teach 
ing, his eminence in the world, but nothing adequate 
has been said about the charm of his nature; his 
gayety, his humor, his abounding and winning human 
ity. He was of a sunny, fertile nature, with a south 
ern exposure in spite of and perhaps because of his 
New England environment; deeply in earnest, and yet 
never too strenuous; profoundly religious, and yet, 
although a theologian, possessed of a certain child-like 
simplicity of faith; a great teacher, but a companion 
rather than a master of the student s mind ; a venerable 
and venerated figure, and yet never out of touch with 
youth, never without that spirit of the boy in him 
which is so often the sign of greatness a beautiful 
prophecy of the unfading youth of the great spirit." 

Mabie s recollections of Emerson s visit to Williams- 
town were contributed to the Gulielmensian for 1895. 
In his day in college, by the way, this periodical, pub 
lished annually by the junior class, was little more than 
a compilation of college statistics. Thirty years later 
the Gul, as it was known colloquially, aspired to cover 
a broader field and contained papers by graduates. In 
the course of his article on Emerson Mabie said: 

" It is impossible to describe the eagerness with 
which I looked forward to that visit, or the satisfac- 


tion with which I finally looked upon the man himself ; 
so perfectly in harmony with all my impressions of 
him and so beautifully in harmony with his expres 
sions of himself. Never, it seemed to me, was a 
great writer more entirely in keeping with that image 
of him which a devoted reader had formed. 

" The lectures were delivered in the building now 
used by the Episcopal Church. There was a large at 
tendance of students, and, if I remember rightly, the 
interest in the course was sustained to the end. I am 
sure there were many men in college at the moment 
who received a very distinct impulse from the series, 
which dealt largely with American life and literature. 
I have not forgotten the absolute simplicity of the lec 
turer, his evident disdain at all attempts to invest his 
theme with any attraction which was not an essential 
part of it, and his absolute reliance upon the subject it 
self and upon his sincerity in dealing with it to hold 
the attention of the audience. 

" It has always seemed to me that Mr. Emerson s 
charm as a speaker has not been sufficiently empha 
sized. He was one of the best readers I have ever 
heard; as a reader of meditative poetry I can recall no 
one who, in my judgment, has approached him. His 
reading had the very highest effect of art, but it was 
apparently entirely free from art. I never got at the 
heart of Wordsworth until I listened to Mr. Emerson s 
readings from the poet whom he had studied with such 


loving insight. I can never forget the marvellous ex 
pression which he put into that little fragment, begin 

" There was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs 
And islands of Winander! 

" I can see to this day, as I saw then, the solitary 
figure of the boy, blowing mimic hootings to the owls, 
and receiving into his soul meanwhile the moving pic 
ture of the scene about him. The voice was wonder 
fully sympathetic and interpretative, and I can quite 
understand the feeling of an English auditor of Mr. 
Emerson, who wrote concerning his reading from the 
Odyssey at one of his lectures in England, that 
while he spoke, there were but two things in the room, 
the silence and the voice that broke it. 

" With the few students who had the courage to 
seek his acquaintance Emerson spoke with a fatherly 
kindness, but in a manner characteristic of himself. 
If there were those who ventured to ask him very 
definite questions, I doubt if they received very def 
inite replies. What he seemed to be anxious to do 
was to awaken the individual intellectual life and then 
to leave the man to find his own way. I remember 
that he spoke particularly of the impression which the 
scenery about Williamstown made upon him, and of 
the great importance which ought to attach to it from 


the educational standpoint. Mr. Woodbury, in his 
very interesting volume on Emerson, has commented 
upon this visit to Williamstown, and has reported at 
some length the conversations which took place. It 
was in every way memorable for a good many men, 
and the recollection of the slender, quiet thinker, with 
his clear eye, his perfect poise, his beautiful courtesy 
and his freshness of spirit and thought, is, to me, one 
of the most precious memories of my college life." 

Finally, as a background for the portraits of these 
distinguished men, it may not be inappropriate to 
quote, from the article which Mabie contributed to 
Harper s Weekly on " The Centenary of Williams 
College- 1793-1893," a paragraph in which, with a 
poet s eye and imagination and with the affection of a 
devoted son, he dwelt upon the subtle influence of the 
" surpassing loveliness of the scenery " and " the de 
lightful atmosphere of the college." 

" The valley, the hills and the sky," he said, " are 
a part of the curriculum of the college; and no student, 
however dull of perception, escapes their constant but 
unintrusive influence. The charm of the Berkshire 
country has been loudly exploited of late years, but it 
can never be described; it must come as the changes 
of the seasons come, silently distilled into the imagina 
tion and the memory. The spell of the shadows of 
the summer clouds on the summer hills lies forever on 
the Williams graduate, and calls him back to his Alma 


Mater long after he has forgotten the tones of the 
chapel bell. Nor has human cooperation with nature 
in the making of the town and the housing of the col 
lege proved ineffective. It is not too much to say 
that there is no more beautiful village in the country 
than Williamstown, preserving as it does the old-time 
New England verdure and ripeness with the new time 
taste and generosity in college structure and domestic 


WHEN the statistics of the Williams class of 
1867 were published, it was found that no 
fewer than one-third of the members had declared 
their intention to make the law their profession. In 
this number were undoubtedly both Mabie and his 
chum Stetson. According to Stetson s recollection, 
Mabie s intention during the greater part of his col 
lege course was to study theology, after he was gradu 
ated, and to enter the ministry. In his senior year, 
however, uncertainty as to the wisest course to pursue 
seized him, and he finally chose the law. Stetson re 
calls also the curious fact that Mabie s father was will 
ing at this time that his son should become either a 
lawyer or a clergyman, as he preferred; but he was 
resolutely opposed to his attempting to earn a living 
by literature. 

Mabie s selection of the law as a career seems to 
have been the result, as is so often the case, of fol 
lowing the line of least resistance. Both by tempera 
ment and taste he was altogether unfitted for the active 
practice of the law, the very essence of which is an- 



tagonism, contention and strife, all of which were re 
pugnant to his nature. Moreover his mind, as is 
shown by his difficulty in mastering mathematics, had 
more of the quality of a poet than that of a logician. 
Finally, although the example of Stetson may have 
had weight with him, he appears to have decided in 
favor of the law because it offered something well- 
organized, concrete, definite, whereas to his inexperi 
ence a possible literary career, alluring as it may have 
seemed in a vague sort of way, was too chimerical to 
be considered seriously. 

This hypothesis is borne out by his own words, as 
quoted by James MacArthur in the Bookman inter 
view already referred to. "I was greatly lacking in 
confidence," he said, " and when I left college was still 
very young and immature young, that is, for my 
years. I could not make up my mind to adopt liter 
ature as a profession, so I did what so many others 
have done under similar circumstances, I studied law, 
taking the course at the Columbia Law School." 

Mabie took his degrees as a Bachelor of Laws in the 
spring of 1869, and was admitted to the New York 
Bar in May of the same year. He was then living and 
continued to live with his father s family in Tarry- 
town, whither, it will be remembered, the Mabies had 
moved from Brooklyn in 1864 on account of Mr. 
Mabie s poor health. He began his legal work in the 
office of Judge Thomas Nelson, at No. 55 Liberty 


Street, New York. Judge Nelson was an old friend 
of Levi Mabie, who had a great admiration for him, 
and who was very glad to have his son in the office of 
so fine a man and so able a lawyer. Judge Nelson, 
whose home was in Peekskill, had charge of several 
large estates, and, although there was no partnership 
between them, Mabie was in a position to acquire con 
siderable legal business through the association. 

His heart, however, was not in his work. At that 
time the offices of The Evening Post, of which Wil 
liam Cullen Bryant, another Williams man, was the 
editor, were in a building that stood on the northwest 
corner of Liberty and Nassau Streets. That the edi 
torial rooms of The Evening Post were within a tant- 
alizingly easy view of the young lawyer s desk, would 
appear from a paragraph in the sketch of Mabie which 
was printed in the report of the thirty-fifth anniver 
sary of the Williams class of 1867. 

" He practised eight years," said this anonymous 
writer, who may have been Stetson himself, " in the 
City of New York, but his mind was not made for 
litigation or title-searching. It concerned itself with 
more beautiful things, and the story goes that he often 
neglected the making out of summonses and such like 
troubles, and passed his afternoons looking wistfully 
across a court into the editorial rooms of The Evening 
Post, while he read and reread Paradise Lost. 

From No. 55 Liberty Street, Judge Nelson moved 


his office to No. 160 Broadway, and Mabie went with 
him to these new quarters. The change of scene, how 
ever, did not bring with it any corresponding change 
in his attitude towards his profession. There are sev 
eral of his friends who recall some of the incidents of 
those days. George R. Bishop, whose office was only 
a few doors from Mabie s, remembers that on several 
occasions he made visits to Washington, from which 
Mr. Bishop inferred that he was interesting himself in 
patent law. Many years later when these days were 
recalled, Mabie admitted to Mr. Bishop that even then 
he was reading more poetry than law, notwithstanding 
the fact that he was trying to be a lawyer. 

Another of his legal friends of that period was 
James S. Greves, who recalls meeting him on Broad 
way one day and being accosted by the perplexed and 
discouraged young lawyer somewhat in this wise : 

" Say, Greves, what is this profession of the law 
that you and I are engaged in? Where does it lead 
to? What does it amount to? I cannot make any 
thing out of it! Can you? " 

Possibly this encounter followed an experience in 
court which Mabie once had and out of which in later 
years he made a most amusing story when he was 
among his intimate friends. It seems that on one oc 
casion he had to go into court and argue a legal ques 
tion of some intricacy in the interest of a client. He 
prepared his argument with great care, arranging his 


citations and his reasoning from them under half a 
dozen headings. On appearing in court he presented 
his points seriatim, in the confident expectation that 
they would prove to be convincing. To his dismay 
and even consternation the only comment which the 
judge made, at the conclusion of his argument on each 
of the points, was, " There s nothing in that." If it 
was after this or any equally disheartening experience 
in the courts that he met Mr. Greves, it is not sur 
prising that he told his friend that he could make noth 
ing out of the law. 

The social instinct was strongly developed in Mabie, 
and it found free play in these years when the limited 
demands of his profession left him with abundant 
leisure and an unwearied mind. The social and lit 
erary life of Tarrytown centred in the early Seventies 
in a club called The Fortnightly, which had been or 
ganized a few years earlier and which met every two 
weeks during the season at the house of some member. 
The club numbered in all about sixty members, of 
whom thirty or forty were sure to attend every meet 
ing. Like all properly regulated organizations of this 
class, The Fortnightly had its light and gay, even its 
frivolous, as well as its serious, side ; which is probably 
one of the principal reasons why it lived to celebrate 
its fiftieth anniversary in 1918, and still possesses an 
abundance of vitality. 

Mabie became a member of this club in 1869, a year 


after it was founded, according to the recollection of 
his old Tarrytown friend, the Rev. Dr. John K. Allen. 
From the outset he found pleasure not only in prepar 
ing his share of the papers on literary subjects that 
were read and discussed, but in contributing nonsense 
to the club paper, Once in a While, as it was appro 
priately called, because it could be published only when 
the editorial hopper contained a sufficient grist of non 
sense of the required quality to fill its columns. Occa 
sionally, too, a few of the more daring members ven 
tured to write and produce a burlesque operetta, the 
music for which was original or eclectic, as was most 
convenient and effective. The early records of the 
club make the unexpected revelation that in one of 
these operettas called " II Benjamini " Mabie took the 
part of the Priest, while the late Major Marshal H. 
Bright, the editor at that time of The Christian Work, 
was the Count in the same cast. 

Mabie never lost his interest in The Fortnightly, 
even after his residence in Tarrytown came to an end. 
" For a number of years," writes Dr. Allen, " he was 
its first choice as speaker on its anniversary occasions, 
and its members eagerly anticipated these addresses. 
In the interval between his election in 1869 and the 
time of his death he had gained a high place in the 
world of letters, his acquaintance with literature and 
with men of prominence had become very large; and 
speaking in an informal way, as he commonly did on 


these anniversary occasions, his addresses were rich in 
references to literary matters, to the men who were 
making literature, and to men of culture throughout 
the country. Any members of the old days who still 
survived were always his friends, and he was con 
stantly making new ones. He was never too busy, 
never had too many engagements, to answer the call of 
the club ; and never seemed to feel that he had so many 
new friends that he could afford to drop the old ones." 
His social life during his bachelorhood was not con 
fined, however, to Tarrytown. At this period Stetson, 
who had been graduated at the Columbia Law School 
and had been admitted to the Bar in the same class 
with Mabie, was living in the family of his uncle, Wil 
liam S. Hascall, at No. 116 West Twenty-ninth Street. 
Mabie was naturally often at the Hascall house, stop 
ping there each morning, when the weather permitted, 
and being joined by Stetson for a walk down town. 
It was this association with the Hascalls through Stet 
son that determined for Mabie the two most important 
events that can occur in any young man s life his 
choice of a wife and his acquirement of a congenial 
vocation fitted to his abilities. One of the other fre 
quent visitors at the Hascalls was Miss Jeannette 
Trivett, the daughter of the Rev. Robert Trivett, of 
Poughkeepsie, who was related to the Hascalls. Miss 
Trivett was accustomed to spend not a little of her time 
with them during the social season, often helping Mrs. 


Hascall and her daughters to " receive " on New 
Year s day. Mabie met Miss Trivett at Mrs. Hascall s 
on some such occasion, the acquaintance ripened into 
friendship and then into affection, and, finally, on Oc 
tober n, 1876, the two were married. 

This venture into matrimony did not involve so 
great a " hazard of new fortunes " as the reader may 
think it did. Mabie s income from his profession was 
small, it is true, but young people were willing to live 
very simply in those days, and could and did do so 
without loss of dignity. He had not thought of giv 
ing up the law then, and might have continued in it for 
a further period, if he had not married. Sooner or 
later, however, he would have had to respond to the 
call of his real life work. The first home of the young 
couple was a house on Broadway near the Andre 
monument in Tarrytown; and it was here that their 
first child, Lorraine, was born, in November 1877. 
As his responsibilities, of which this little daughter 
was one of the weightiest, increased, he came to a 
gradual realization that the time had arrived when, if 
ever, he must do the work for which he was best fitted. 
He had matured slowly. He was thirty-two years old. 
He had been out of college ten years. He saw clearly 
that the path he was on led nowhere, that he must find 
the right one, and that when found, it would lead to 
some kind of literary work. He decided, therefore, 
that, while prudently retaining his law practice, he 


would make a supreme effort to find an opening in 
which his taste for writing, for books and for literary 
matters generally, could find free play. 

This momentous decision involved several changes 
in his mode of life, the most important of which was 
the transfer of his family, in the autumn of 1878, to 
Greenwich, Connecticut, where an old college friend 
of his, the Rev. Charles R. Treat, was the pastor of 
the Congregational Church. No little faith, patience 
and courage were required to make a fresh start under 
these conditions, but Mabie possessed these traits in 
abundance in his young manhood as well as in later 
years. The story of how, finally, as a result of these 
efforts, he secured a position on the editorial staff of 
The Christian Union, belongs to another chapter. 



DURING this time, after his marriage and while 
he was living in Greenwich, Mabie had made 
occasional visits to his friends the Hascalls in New 
York, although his friend Stetson had meanwhile mar 
ried and had made a home for himself. Hospitable 
by nature and possessing a mind of unusual breadth 
and brilliancy, Mrs. Hascall made her home a social 
and intellectual centre that had no counterpart in the 
New York of that day. Her interest extended to all 
reform movements, and one was sure to meet at her 
home many of the best known men and women of 
her day. Among these was Miss Frances E. Willard, 
at that time the corresponding secretary of the Wom 
en s Christian Temperance Union. Mabie met Miss 
Willard at the Hascalls , and she at once became inter 
ested in furthering his ambition to escape from the 
law and to get some sort of work as a writer. One 
of her friends was Dr. Edward Eggleston, then at the 
height of his fame as the author of " The Hoosier 
Schoolmaster," " Roxy " and "The Circuit Rider," 


all of which were published between 1871 and 1878. 
Moreover he had been connected editorially with The 
Independent and with The Hearth and Home, and 
altogether was a personage of importance and influ 
ence in the literary world. 

Miss Willard spoke to Dr. Eggleston about Mabie s 
desire to get a foothold in the editorial office of some 
periodical, and asked him to bear the young man in 
mind. She must also have suggested to Mabie that he 
write to Dr. Eggleston in his own behalf and that he 
make his acquaintance, if possible. Mabie followed 
this advice, as is shown by the letter bearing the earliest 
date of all those in the treasured letter-file which he 
kept throughout his life. This letter was from Dr. 
Eggleston, and was written from No. 130 Rodney 
Street, Brooklyn, on December 2, 1878, Dr. Eggleston 
being at that time the pastor of the Church of Chris 
tian Endeavor in Brooklyn. The formal address of 
this letter itself " Hamilton W. Mabie, Esq., Dear 
Sir," together with the invitation in the last line to 
call, would indicate that up to this time the two men 
had not met. Dr. Eggleston wrote as follows: 

" I am sure from your letters that you can succeed 
as a magazinist. You lack what all beginners lack, a 
practical knowledge of the conditions. No introduc 
tion of mine or anybody else is of advantage, but 
rather harmful. The main thing is to know what they 
want and how it is wanted to be done. A common- 


place, grocery knowledge of the business is what is 
hardest for a man of gifts to acquire. Editors are 
always eager to get a young man who can do what 
they want done. He is a treasure trove. Such a man 
has not the advantage of a man of wide reputation 
the name of the latter will often float a water-logged 
article. But otherwise his chance is just as good if he 
can offer what is wanted at the time it is wanted. 
" I hope you will come to see me some day." 
It is safe to assume that the invitation contained in 
the last line of this characteristic letter was promptly 
accepted by the would-be " magazinist." In the ac 
quaintance that followed Dr. Eggleston must have been 
impressed both by the character of the young man and 
by his capacity, actual and latent, as a writer. For 
when, a few months later, in the spring of 1879, Dr. 
Lyman Abbott, the editor of The Christian Union, 
spoke to Dr. Eggleston of his need of a young man 
for some editorial work, Dr. Eggleston recommended 
Mabie as likely to prove just the person he required. 
What followed was related by Dr. Abbott in the bio 
graphical sketch of his associate published in The Out 
look on the occasion of his death, as follows : 

" In 1879 The Christian Union (now The Outlook) 
was an undenominational church paper. It had a de 
partment of church news which included personal min 
isterial items, at that time a usual feature of church 
papers. I wanted someone to write this department. 


A friend recommended to me a young lawyer of his 
acquaintance, whose interests were literary, not legal. 
This young lawyer called. I explained my desire, and 
Mr. Mabie was installed as a member of our very 
modest staff." 

Mabie was naturally greatly elated at this happy 
turn in the tide of his affairs. The association was 
one of which he might well be proud and from which 
he might reasonably expect great things. He closed 
up his law business not an arduous and by no means 
an unwelcome task, and began the work that was 
to bring him fame and a reasonable degree of fortune. 
The Christian Union at that time was a dignified, seri 
ous, influential weekly paper, with a large circulation 
and a long list of distinguished contributors. It was 
published by Ford, Howard & Hulbert at No. 27 Park 
Place, and the editorial offices were in the same build 
ing. Early in 1880, however, the paper moved up 
town to Washington Square and a few years later its 
headquarters were transferred to Lafayette Place. 

The editorial staff was small. The names of Henry 
Ward Beecher and Lyman Abbott were bracketed as 
" editors," and Eliot McCormick and Mabie completed 
the staff. Mr. Beecher s weekly Plymouth Pulpit ser 
mon and his " Lecture Room Talk " were features of 
practically every issue, except when his church was 
closed. Besides writing editorials and having general 
charge of the paper, Dr. Abbott conducted the Interna- 


tional Sunday School lesson weekly. The outside oc 
casional contributors in 1880, Mabie s first full year on 
the paper, included many of the best known men and 
the most brilliant among the women writers of the 
day Philips Brooks, Edward Everett Hale, John 
Burroughs, Charles Dudley Warner, Edward Eggles- 
ton, Horace E. Scudder, Dr. A. P. Peabody, Curtis 
Guild and John G. Whittier; while among the women 
were Kate Field, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Susan 
Coolidge, Gail Hamilton, Sarah O. Jewett and Abby 
Sage Richardson. Mrs. Beecher contributed to the 
Home department, and a novel by E. P. Roe ran 
through many numbers. Altogether the paper had a 
rich and varied assortment of interesting reading. It 
was Mabie s mission to give it a noteworthy literary 

One of the first things that he did after making his 
arrangement with Dr. Abbott was to write to Dr. Eg- 
gleston, acquainting him with the news and thanking 
him for his good offices in securing for him this 
coveted opening. In reply Dr. Eggleston wrote to him 
as follows, under date of June 20 : 

" I am glad you like your place and glad you have it. 
My merit in the matter is small I only gave Dr. 
Abbott my sincere judgment. Good results are only 
achieved by the conjunction of two factors the man 
and the opportunity. How often is the one lost for 
the want of the other in this luckless chaos in which we 


live ! He ought to be glad who can now and then 
bring the two together and thus stand godfather to 
some good work." 

When in the autumn of 1878, the Mabies went from 
Tarrytown to Greenwich they found comfortable ac 
commodations in a boarding house. In the spring of 
1880, this house having been rented, they were obliged 
to find other quarters, and accepted an invitation from 
a friend, a Mrs. Button, to spend the summer with her 
and her four daughters in the old family homestead 
which they occupied. The house was commodious and 
attractive, and stood on a commanding site on Putnam 
Hill, down which General Putnam is reported to have 
made his famous ride, overlooking a lovely valley to 
wards Long Island Sound. The Button family en 
joyed the companionship of Mr. and Mrs. Mabie and 
their little daughter so much and the Mabies found 
them so agreeable that this arrangement was continued 
until the spring of 1882, when Mr. and Mrs. Mabie 
moved into a home of their own. A second daughter, 
Helen Rockwell, was born to them in November of 
the same year. Mabie s affection for the members of 
the Button family, as will appear from occasional let 
ters in the subsequent narrative, continued until the 

For some time before his marriage Mabie had de 
veloped a deep interest in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church; and in the spring following his marriage he 


became a communicant of the church of that denom 
ination in Tarrytown. His breadth of view, however, 
in religious matters was marked even at this early 
period; and when he came to Greenwich to live, he 
devoted some of his leisure time from his own church 
to a Bible class for young men in the church of his 
old college friend, Mr. Treat. He continued this work, 
moreover, in which he found great satisfaction, under 
the ,R-ev. George A. Gordon, who, a few years later, 
succeeded Mr. Treat. 

The life-long friendship between Mabie and the 
Rev. Mr. Gordon dated from the summer of 1880, 
when the latter was about to begin his final year at 
Harvard. On being graduated at the Bangor The 
ological Seminary in 1877, Mr. Gordon had been or 
dained a minister in the Congregational Church; and 
after he took his degree at Harvard in 1881 he be 
came the pastor of the Congregational Church in 
Greenwich. He and Mabie at once became warm 
friends ; and that Mr. Gordon, who was seven or eight 
years the younger of the two, exerted nevertheless a 
profound influence upon Mabie, was frankly and 
gratefully admitted by the latter in after life. In 1909 
Dr. Gordon celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary as 
the pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, whither 
he went in 1884 f rom Greenwich. In reply to Mabie s 
congratulations on this occasion, Dr. Gordon, writing 
from his summer home, recalled some of the incidents 


attending the beginning of their acquaintance in 
Greenwich, when the Mabies were living at Mrs. But 
ton s : 

From Dr. George A. Gordon 

KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE, August 26, 1909. 

DEAR MR. MABIE, I found it impossible to thank 
all my friends who wrote me at my twenty-fifth anni 
versary kind and golden words, but a very few I sin 
gled out of the throng that in time I might answer, 
and high on that list I find your honored and friendly 

It is nine and twenty years since we met August, 
1880. and I have gone over that event in thought 
many times. I recall the greeting at the Buttons door 
unusual in heartiness and depth, your responses to 
the wild sermon the next day on the text, " What is 
Your Lif e ? " Then on Monday the day in New York, 
my first visit to that city, the hour together in Central 
Park and abundance of talk on literature and phi 
losophy, and theology. The two weeks that followed 
I still look upon as among the most refreshing in my 
life. Mrs. Mabie, young and beautiful, with her dear 
daughter then a child and since admitted to the host 
of the glorified; her brother so urbane, the four [But 
ton] sisters and their lovely mother and the dear sar 
castic old cousin! I could paint every face and the 
whole scene. 


Afterwards came the three years so significant to 
me and the wealth of friendships that have made exist 
ence forever rich. It is all gone, far away, but the 
memory of it abides, vivid, complete, precious. Hail 
and farewell, once more! Since then you have made 
your life tell upon the lives of tens of thousands; you 
have more than fulfilled the rich promise of those 
years. May your genius to illumine the mind and 
elevate the heart continue to the distant end, and be 
lieve that I am, with endless good wishes, 

Affectionately yours, GEO. A. GORDON. 

In response to a request from the writer that he 
should endeavor to recall and to portray his friend 
Mabie, as he appeared to him in those far-away Green 
wich days, Dr. Gordon sent the following: 

" Hamilton Wright Mabie, in 1880, when I first 
met him in Greenwich, Conn., was finding leisurely 
his vocation. He had abandoned the profession of 
law for which he was not intended; he was turning 
towards literature, and before his eyes the vision that 
was to lead him to the end of his days was already 
burning bright. My association with him from 1880 
to 1884 was one of growing intimacy, and our friend 
ship was affectionate and sure. 

" Literature was to Mabie a vital thing. He had 
then made this great discovery, not new to the world 
but new to him, and grasped at that time by few of 


our writing men. He was then getting his message 
literature as the artistic expression of man s deepest 
thought and life; literature as the imaginative utter 
ance of the ideals, hopes, despairs, sympathies, joys 
and sorrows of the soul; literature as the great car 
rier from generation to generation, from age to age, 
of the best that man has thought, felt, experienced 
this was in those years the discovery of Mr. Mabie; 
this was the message that was slowly taking posses 
sion of his mind and to the service of which by pen 
and voice he was to devote his life. 

" He was at that time acquiring the art of the 
speaker. It was not an easy task for him; but he 
knew no discouragement, resolutely improved every 
opportunity, and toward the end of the period of 
which I write he had mastered the art of coherent 
and impressive speech. He was fluent, abundant, elo 
quent, and the young people in Greenwich followed 
him with delight. Later, as we all know, he became 
an expert in many forms of address, and was known 
across the country as a lecturer on literary subjects. 
This testimony as to the difficulty of acquiring what 
later became second nature, should encourage others. 

" His style at this time was too poetic, and he was 
aware of it. His writing was not mundane but ce 
lestial. He set himself to inform his imagination with 
exact knowledge and to temper his enthusiasm with 
wide reading and reading of the best books. One 


could see the steady evolution of a more chastened 
style and a weightier judgment on the subjects upon 
which he wrote. 

" His chief intellectual gift was sympathy. He 
could take another man s thought, look at it, live in 
it, speak of it, write about it, as that other man him 
self might be unable to do. A more sympathetic 
intellect I have never known. Hence he became an 
expounder of the poets rather than a critic, and the 
service he performed through his luminous appre 
ciations it would not be easy to exaggerate. 

" In this sympathetic quality there were together 
keen receptivity and creative treatment of what was 
received a rare combination, but in Mabie one with 
the security and force of nature. Here, I imagine, 
was the secret of that touch of genius which we all 
felt in him. 

" Personally Mabie was then, what he ever re 
mained, one of the friendliest of men, one of the best 
of companions. Owing to distance, absorption in 
our occupations, in after years we seldom met, but 
whenever we did meet it was with the old feeling of 
affection. The young people of our country of taste 
and aspiration lost a rare guide and friend when 
Hamilton W. Mabie died." 

Meanwhile Mabie was making good progress in his 
work on The Christian Union, and soon showed a 
capacity for something better than the writing of items 


of church news. Dr. Abbott described his rapid de 
velopment as follows : 

" He did his work faithfully and well. His copy 
was always ready in time; he gave the paper perform 
ances, not promises nor excuses. It soon became evi 
dent that he took no interest in his department. 
Neither did I. I now wonder whether anybody ever 
was interested in it. It has long since been discon 
tinued. Meanwhile, Mr. Mabie proving to be a will 
ing worker, quite ready to give more than his con 
tract called for, an occasional book was turned over 
to him for review. The reviews had quality, some 
thing which ecclesiastical gossip could not have. 
Presently he graduated from the gossip and became 
the literary editor. He began also to write occa 
sional editorials, and, perhaps less frequently, con 
tributed articles. Among the latter were some charm 
ing stories for children. He became an adviser whose 
judgment could be trusted in passing on manuscripts 
offered for publication, especially those of a literary 

The first of these stories for children that was pub 
lished under Mabie s name was entitled " A Piece of 
a Star." It appeared in the issue of The Christian 
Union for July 30, 1879. By the following year, 
however, he had acquired sufficient confidence in him 
self to venture upon the serious discussion of sub 
jects of significance and importance in the literary 


world. The issue for November 10, 1880, for ex 
ample, contained an article by him called " An Amer 
ican Critic," which was an interpretation and appre 
ciation of the creative qualities in the critical work of 
Edmund Clarence Stedman, as shown in his " Vic 
torian Poets " and more especially in a recent essay 
in Scribner s Monthly on Walt Whitman. A few 
days later Stedman, writing from his down-town office, 
for he was then and for many years after a member 
of the New York Stock Exchange and literature was 
only his avocation, sent Mabie a letter, the essential 
part of which was as follows : 

From E. C. Stedman 

80, BROADWAY, NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 1880. 

MY DEAR MR. MABIE, * * * * It may seem odd 
to you that I should take occasion to compliment you 
upon an article so friendly to myself! But it is a 
fact that as I read your paper, and found it so close, 
analytic, transparent, and observed its excellence of 
English style, my first thought was " How admirably 
this is done! How satisfying to be criticized, even 
though unfavorably, by a man who can think and 
write like this!" I receive a great number of re 
views and notices, constantly, but it is long since I 
have had one, like this, whose writer seemed to me 
to work with as clear and high a purpose as I try to 
entertain myself. 


My second thought was one of gratitude for I 
have had troubles of late and your words put more 
heart into me than the friendliest offices do at ordinary 
times. Lastly, I perceived how plucky and bold you 
were. This made me call to mind that I have never 
known a writer finally succeed who was otherwise, 
who hesitated to speak in plain language the likes and 
dislikes of his intellect, the impulses of his heart. 

You know me, I perceive, well enough to know that 
this is my objective view of the matter; that I should 
recognize these qualities if they had worked adversely 
to myself. But they have worked in my favor; and 
therefore I add to my intellectual belief that your fu 
ture (with your health, youth, brain) is to be no 
obscure one, my feeling that I shall closely watch it 
and that I trust our paths may not lie so far apart that 
I cannot profit by your companionship. 

Sincerely yours, EDMUND C. STEDMAN. 

These words from a man of Stedman s position in 
the world of letters must have pleased Mabie mightily. 
And it may be worth while to pause for a moment 
in order to consider one sentence in his letter: "I 
have had troubles of late, and your words put more 
heart into me than the friendliest offices do at ordi 
nary times." In this sentence is reflected the dominant 
note in Mabie s philosophy of life by cheer and 
encouragement and help to hearten his friends, and, 


by ungrudging praise, when praise was deserved, to 
spur writers of merit, whether friends or not, to fresh 
endeavors and to higher achievement. The note will 
be heard again and again throughout his correspond 
ence. " I have no respect," he said in a letter a dozen 
years later, to his friend Miss Grace King, " I have 
no respect for posthumous appreciation." 

Mabie s first public lecture was given in Green 
wich, the subject being " Dr. Samuel Johnson and 
his Friends " a lecture that he repeated elsewhere 
on numerous occasions. It was in Greenwich also, 
and at this period, that he wrote " Norse Stories Re 
told from the Eddas," out of which he made his first 
book. In the spring of 1881 he began to print these 
stories in the Young Folks department of The Chris 
tian Union, one every other week or so. The little 
volume containing these stories was published in Octo 
ber, 1882, by Roberts Brothers, of Boston. In 1900 
the book was sold by Little, Brown & Co., who had 
meanwhile acquired it, to Dodd, Mead & Co., of New 
York, who, through the friendship between the late 
Frank H. Dodd and Mabie, had become the publishers 
of his books, and who reprinted it in the autumn of 
the same year. 

Mabie s paper on Stedman as a critic and other 
articles that followed it speedily made him known to 
the leading literary men of the city and brought him 
into friendly relations with many of them. During 



the year 1882 there had been some talk among a few 
of these men of the desirability of forming an Au 
thors Club, and in the autumn the project took definite 
shape. In October of that year Mabie was invited 
to join half a dozen or so well-known men in found 
ing such a club Noah Brooks, Edward Eggleston, 
R. W. Gilder, the editor of The Century Magazine, 
Laurence Hutton, Charles de Kay, Brander Matthews 
and E. C. Stedman. He accepted the invitation, and 
thus became one of the founders of the club. Out of 
this beginning grew the organization which was in 
corporated a few years later and to which Mabie re 
mained loyal throughout his life. The great annual 
event in the life of the Authors Club was the celebra 
tion of Watch Night on December 31; and, unless 
absence from the country or illness prevented such a 
reunion, it was the invariable custom of Mabie and his 
friend, Dr. Henry van Dyke, to dine together on that 
evening and to attend the Watch Night festivities. 
The last letter that Mabie wrote was, as we shall see, 
one in which he expressed his regrets at his inability to 
be present at the exercises that would usher in the 
year 1917. 

A few months after the birth to Mr. and Mrs. 
Mabie of their second child, when they were living in 
their own home in Greenwich, Mabie experienced the 
first great sorrow of his life in the death of his fa 
ther, in March, 1883, at the age of sixty-two. His 


remedy for his grief was to plunge even more earnestly 
into the work which was so congenial to him and in 
which he could feel that he was making unmistak 
able progress. That his father could not have lived 
to see in the success he achieved a full justification 
for his change in his profession, remained a source 
of sorrow and deep regret throughout Mabie s life. 
It was in these years in Greenwich that he began to 
write for The Christian Union the articles that were 
to be gathered together and published in book form. 
He was finding great happiness in his home life, in 
his work, in his growing friendship with his editorial 
associates and in the prospect which the future held 
out to him. He was soon to enjoy the supreme pleas 
ure of having his industry and his capacity publicly 



THE promotion of Mabie to the position of As 
sociate Editor, with Dr. Abbott as Editor, of 
The Christian Union, came to him considerably less 
than five years after he began work on the paper. 
He had had no hint from any source that such a piece 
of good fortune awaited him, and was taken com 
pletely by surprise by the formal announcement. Dr. 
Abbott has told the story of how his usefulness to the 
paper won for him this honor: 

" Although increasing work brought increasing re 
sponsibility, I am sure that he never asked for any 
official recognition. But he earned it. On the sec 
ond day of January, 1884, after he had left the office 
I put his name with mine at the head of our editorial 
columns and explained that I did so in order to pro 
tect myself from undeserved praise. If/ I wrote, 
the editor is often compelled to accept in silence 
condemnation for words he did not utter and for 
opinions he does not hold, he is also sometimes com 
pelled to accept in silence praise for industry greater 



than he possesses and for services which he has not 
rendered. This is the more difficult silence of the 
two; and this is my excuse, if one is needed, for this 
personal tribute to my associate, whose name I this 
week place at the head of these columns with my 
own. When the next morning Mr. Mabie arrived 
at the office, he found this announcement in the issue 
of the paper lying on his desk." 

With the foregoing Dr. Abbott printed the letter 
which Mabie immediately sent to him in grateful ac 
knowledgement of this public announcement of his 
new position on The Christian Union a letter which, 
as Dr. Abbott intimates, is of no little value as an 
interpretation both of the writer s character and of 
the nature of the friendship that always existed be 
tween the two men. The letter was as follows : 

To Dr. Lyman Abbott 

NEW YORK, January 3, 1884. 

MY DEAR DR. ABBOTT, You have taken my 
breath clear out of me; when I saw The Christian 
Union this morning I could not understand what had 
happened to it or to me. When I saw the page proofs 
last night the first page looked innocent enough, and 
this morning I find it full of dynamite. You can 
hardly understand my complete mystification, and as 
that was my first feeling I express it first here. 
When I comprehended what had happened I recog- 


nized your thought and touch upon it all and was 
more grateful than I can express. In fact, I am still 
quite overcome, and feel as if I had been suddenly 
pushed out of obscurity into something like fame. It 
is a public companionship of which I am proud, I can 
assure you, and it comforts me to feel that if my 
work has not entitled me to it, my regard for and 
devotion to you would afford a kind of subjective 
justification. I set this result ahead of me as a prize 
to be held by better work and not as a reward for 
work done. I prize the association and the place as 
stimulants to and opportunities for the rendering of 
that service which is the joy of life. 

My dear Mr. Abbott, you have opened the new 
year auspiciously for me, and I shall try to make this 
advance an open door to greater service and higher 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

No sooner had this announcement been made public 
than Mabie was in receipt of many congratulations. 
Stedman wrote to him on the 4th : " I have seen The 
Christian Union today, and must send you just a word 
of congratulation on your accession to open journal 
istic credit and responsibility. Dr. Abbott s tribute 
has been ably and honestly earned, and it is most 
handsomely rendered. There is not a writing man 
who knows you and your work that does not think 


as I do." From Mr. Gordon, who was still in Green 
wich, came these words of hearty good will : " I am 
delighted with that very handsome tribute to your 
influence in the C. U. from Dr. Abbott s pen in this 
week s issue. It does Dr. A. honor while it does you 
duty i. e., pays what it owes. Those who know 
you best must think you most deserving of this public 
recognition. Health of head and heart to the editor 
of the C. U. and great prosperity to the paper." Dr. 
Franklin Carter, who, it will be remembered, was a 
professor at Williams when Mabie was an undergrad 
uate, and who was at this time the president of the 
college, wrote in the same strain : " My heartiest 
congratulations on the promotion which has given your 
friends apparently more pleasure than it has given 
you. I am very glad that life runs successfully and 
that your knowledge of literature is finding so good 
a field for its exercise." And Helen Hunt Jackson 
wrote : " It was as gracefully worded a thing as I 
ever read and true enough too, as anyone who has 
followed your work in the C. U. as closely as I have 
can testify." President Carter was only one of many 
Williams men to whom this evidence of Mabie s grow 
ing prominence as a writer was a source of gratifica 
tion and pride: and one result of this feeling was his 
election, in this year, as an honorary member of the 
Williams chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. 
Mabie s reputation, however, as a speaker, as well 


as a thinker and writer, soon spread beyond the little 
circle of his New York friends, and made him wel 
come on occasions of more than local importance. 
In 1885 he was pleased to receive an invitation to 
attend and to speak at one of the Ashfield Academy 
dinners, the fame of which was beginning to extend 
from the Berkshires into adjoining states. Charles 
Eliot Norton and George William Curtis, who had 
their summer homes in Ashfield, organized these din 
ners in 1879, an d Norton presided at them as long as 
they lasted for twenty-five years. They were pri 
marily for the financial benefit of the Academy in the 
village. But the high character of the men who spoke 
at them and the freedom of utterance which they en 
joyed in the discussion of public questions occasion 
ally gave even national importance to the addresses. 

Mabie attended the dinner given in the summer of 
1885, and spoke before a distinguished gathering. 
In a letter to his friend Mr. Gordon, who meanwhile 
had left Greenwich in order to assume the pastorate 
of the Old South Church in Boston, he described his 
experience, giving interesting glimpses of Lowell and 
Curtis and a rather remarkable full-length pen-portrait 
of Norton, and incidentally revealing the value of the 
discipline to which he had subjected himself in order 
to master the art of public speaking. The letter was 
as follows : 


To the Rev. George A. Gordon 

GREENWICH, CONN., Sept. 2, 1885. 

MY DEAR MR. GORDON, * * * I have just re 
turned from a most stimulating week at Ashfield, 
Mass., with Dr. Hall, Lowell, Norton and Curtis. I 
had long talks with them all, and enjoyed to the full 
the free intercourse with these charming men. Lowell 
has a touch of worldliness, but is saved by grace of an 
insight which keeps him true in spite of temptations. 
He is a genuine man, rich in thought and knowledge 
and with sympathies quickly reached and beautifully 
responsive to the pathos of common things. Beneath 
the elegance of Curtis I recognize more clearly than 
ever a virile and perfectly loyal ethical instinct; he 
turns unconsciously to moral aspects and he values 
men according to their moral fidelity. He may make 
mistakes, but he is prepared to go anywhere and do 
anything for the truth as he sees it. I got much from 

Norton I had long talks with and heard the old, old 
story of Agnosticism, but a good deal more too. He 
helps me by mutual irritation in one way, and by clear 
ness in another. On the side of art and of moral life 
as shown in art, he is really strong; he has the culture 
and the imagination to rebuild for you a past epoch 
with wonderful accuracy and beauty of outline. His 
Agnosticism is somewhat put on* a kind of conversa- 


tional edifice which he has put together so many times 
that he likes to do it now just for exercise and to 
show his hand. When he has laid the whole matter 
out one breathes a sigh of relief to find that the world- 
enveloping fog that promised to obliterate the stars 
resolves itself into a few gracefully curling rings of 
tobacco smoke, blown by a master of the art. I closed 
with him several times in good earnest, and found 
him frank in his admissions and disposed to let the 
ground slip from under him as gracefully as he piled 
it up. Altogether I like and enjoy him, and his little 
atheistic vanity disturbs me not at all. Dr. Hall gets 
fuller and clearer and more religious every year; the 
ethical element in his nature is steadily mastering him 
and will use him to noble ends. 

I spoke with Norton, Lowell and Curtis at a great 
dinner last Thursday ; I believe The Boston Advertiser 
of Friday contained a full report and you may have 
seen it. You will readily understand that my position 
was no easy one. When I rose to speak I was 
crowded between Lowell and Norton, and Curtis 
looked me right in the eye. The first moment was 
awful, but I said to myself that I had convictions and 
as much right to utter them as the best man living, 
and I was never more tranquil in my life after the 
first sentence. 

I hope you are at the top of your physical condition 


and that the new year of work is to be a fruitful year 
for us both. 

Ever affectionately yours, 


It was at this period that public discussion waxed 
warm over the rival merits of realism, naturalism, 
romanticism and idealism in fiction; and the publica 
tion of William D. Howells s novel, " The Rise of 
Silas Lapham," gave Mabie an opportunity to express 
his views on the subject in The Christian Union. The 
following letter to him from Stedman relates to this 
article : 

From E. C. Stedman 

45 EAST SOTH ST., Nov. 15, 1885. 

MY DEAR MABIE, I expected to see you on the 
evening of the Authors Club thought you possibly 
might drop in for another of our prelusive (to use 
Browning s word) confabulations. Else I should 
have written at once to say that I had read your paper 
on " Silas Lapham " with great interest, especially as 
you had given me some forescope of its critical tenor. 
On some points I might debate with you, but I am 
thoroughly in accord (as every believer in the higher 
spirit of Art must be) with your appeal for imagina 
tion against a bald naturalism, not only in fiction, but 
in every form of ideal effort. Your argument, forti- 


fied by Madame Necker s exquisite antithesis, is irre 
futable; and nothing gives me so much hope of the 
near future as to see men like you of late bold in 
their protests, perfectly clear in their knowledge of 
our greatest and most instant want. " A Typical 
Novel/ title and all, is by all odds the ablest and best 
sustained work I have seen from your pen. I feel 
the more content to cease my labors of a kindred sort, 
since it is very plain to me that you will continue, and 
excel, them. With all good omens, then, 

I am fraternally yours, E. C. STEDMAN. 

The next two or three years brought Mabie out of 
the sunshine and into the heavy shadow of a great 
anxiety over the health of his wife. In the spring of 
1887 Mrs. Mabie developed an illness which compelled 
her to go to the Adirondacks, where, with her two 
daughters as companions, she stayed a year and a half. 
Thus left homeless and familyless, Mabie rejoined his 
old friends, the Buttons, and remained with them un 
til the return to Greenwich of his wife and daughters, 
in the autumn of 1888. 

His acquaintance with Miss Grace King, the New 
Orleans novelist, began at this time, an acquaintance 
that soon developed into one of the most treasured of 
his literary friendships, ending only with his death. 
The correspondence began with a note from Miss 
King, to which he replied as follows : 


To Miss Grace King 

NEW YORK, April n, 1888. 

DEAR Miss KING,< Your very kind note gave me 
the most sincere satisfaction. When one who has 
been long brooding over thoughts which have for him 
some power of illumination, ventures at last with 
hesitation and diffidence to put them forth, such re 
sponse as you were good enough to send me is more 
helpful than any other piece of fortune that can befall 
me. It proves the reality of the thought to another 
mind, and I must add frankly that there are no read 
ers of my words whose recognition would give me 
greater satisfaction than the company of young read 
ers among whom you belong. Nothing has given me 
greater hope for our native literature than the fresh 
and vital spirit which I find in much of your com 
bined work; work full of charm to those of us who 
care for real books. I count myself your debtor for 
much that has given me present satisfaction and fu 
ture anticipation. I suppose most people who venture 
to write at all nowadays are often regretful that the 
power of fiction was denied them; so instinctively does 
the imagination crave this form of expression at this 
particular time, and so large an amount of interest 
and personal force is revealed in the truest novel writ 
ing. I feel very strongly the necessity of a great 


educational influence in this country; and a literature 
so close to our life that it shall touch us where we are 
most sensitive to the highest appeals will be of incal 
culable value. 

I did not mean to burden you with so long a note, 
but my interest in your own work, in the fresh move 
ment of thought of which it is a part, must be my 
excuse. I shall presently print a short article on Fic 
tion in Scribner s Magazine which I hope will fall 
under your notice. And as you are interested in the 
interpretation of literature which is steadily becoming 
more clear to me, I shall venture to send you an ar 
ticle on Browning, in which certain aspects of the 
same general subject are more distinctly brought out. 
Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The appearance, a few weeks later, of her " Mon 
sieur Motte " in book form, gave Mabie a theme for 
another note to Miss King : 

To Miss Grace King 

NEW YORK, May 26, 1888. 

DEAR Miss KING, When I received your kind 
note about my article, I had already read the succes 
sive chapters of " Monsieur Motte " in The Princeton 
Review, and was only restrained by motives which you 
will understand from telling you what I thought of 


your work. Now that I have reread the story in book 
form, I hasten to give myself the pleasure which I have 
before denied myself. 

Your story possessed me; its atmosphere is so per 
vasive that I found myself instinctively writing the 
book as well as reading it. It is a piece of life; full 
of freshness, strength and beauty. I felt its tender 
ness from page to page; the tenderness of the heart 
dealing with that which is the child of its insight and 
aspiration. A young girl s nature is always a sacred 
thing to a pure imagination, and I can think of noth 
ing better to say of Marie Modeste than that you have 
filled us with reverence for her unfolding womanhood. 
The variety and distinctness of your characterizations 
and the marked dramatic impulse which inspires the 
story assure us that you have true work in you, and 
that your ideals will save you from the snares which 
beset the young novelists. I am sincerely glad in your 
success and I shall expect " Monsieur Motte " to be 
the beginning of a solid and noble work. 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In reply to the foregoing, he received the following 
letter : 

From Miss Grace King 

NEW ORLEANS, June 6, 1888. 

MY DEAR MR. MABIE, I feel more and more thank 
ful that I obeyed my impulse to write you that first 


time. To have the praise you give my little book is 
a compensation I never expected, never dared hope for. 
I might now be deprived of its noble encouragement 
if my heart had not told me to acknowledge my obli 
gation to you. The obligation still remains, is in 
creasing. Your Browning comes to me like an inspi 
ration ; it gives answers ; it expresses, it explains, what 
I felt must for my own peace of mind be expressed 
or explained for me somewhere, by somebody. 

If you knew what life down here in New Orleans 
meant, since the war; if your imagination can paint 
to you the bare facts, in the existence of what might 
be called ante-bellum parents and post-bellum children, 
if you knew all that I know, had felt what I have 
felt, you would perhaps appreciate the first pages of 
your Browning more than you have done before, and 
find a significance in them greater than you intended. 

Your endorsement of me therefore is peculiarly 
gratifying. I hope I may never give you the occasion 
to cancel it. 

Believe me, with all respect, 

Sincerely yours, GRACE KING. 

A characteristic letter of the same date from John 
Burroughs, who had just published an article on Mat 
thew Arnold s Criticism, described incidentally his 
method of doctoring himself for insomnia: 


From John Burroughs 

WEST PARK, NEW YORK, June 6, 1888. 

DEAR MR. MABIE, * * * Any criticism is far 
less satisfying to myself, and I believe it is to the 
public, than any out-of-doors papers. It is not my 
proper field, but I cannot always get my fresh salt 
on the tails of the birds, but one can catch an author 
almost any time. But I can say this for myself, I 
always make a serious study of the man I write about, 
and work away at it till my thought on the subject runs 

I hope you and your wife are well and in the coun 
try. The world is very beautiful now. Indeed it has 
been so to me all the spring for I have been a day la 
borer in the field since the ist of April, trying to win 
back my sleep, which has been very capricious for two 
years past. I am greatly benefited and life has a new 
zest. I am just beginning to know the sweetness of 
real labor. I believe it cures the soul as well as the 
body. How good the earth tastes to my hoe ! Every 
drop of sweat I shed in the soil seems to come back to 
me as in flowers and perfume. 
With sincere regards, I am, 

Truly yours, JOHN BURROUGHS. 

In the summer of 1888 Mabie began the serial pub 
lication, in The Christian Union, of his picture of an 
idealized state of human nature and society, " In The 


Forest of Arden," which, when issued several years 
later between covers, was to win a wide popularity. 
This fantasy was written in Greenwich while Mabie 
was living with the Button family. Serious though 
it was in its underlying purposes, one has little diffi 
culty in detecting in the vein of charming sentiment 
that runs through it and in the lightness of touch and 
flexibility of style with which it was written, a reflec 
tion of the writer s buoyancy of spirits at the pros 
pect of the early return from the Adirondacks of his 
wife, fully recovered, and of his children. 

In a midsummer note to Miss King he referred to 
the serial appearance of " In the Forest of Arden " : 

To Miss Grace King 

NEW YORK, August 8, 1888. 

MY DEAR Miss KING, I am delighted that you find 
the " Forest of Arden " worth staying in for a few 
minutes each week. I have put the chapters into cold 
type with a good deal of trepidation. When one is 
dealing entirely with sentiment and imagination one 
has no judgment as to the quality of the work; it is 
simple and a word spoken out of the heart. I know 
that to a great many the whole thing must seem a 
piece of moonshine; but I have hoped that to a few 
the idea might be clear and helpful. 

I do not intend to inflict myself upon you, but there 
is one other article of mine which I am sending you 


because it deals with your art. When you have done 
with it will you please return the review to me ; I have 
no other copy. 

You have reason to feel honest gratification in the 
reception with which your story has met. I hear the 
best things said about it. I am especially delighted 
that its interior beauty is so widely recognized. It is 
certainly a book with a soul in it. 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

With the return of Mrs. Mabie from the Adiron- 
dacks, it was considered to be prudent that, for the sake 
of her health, the family should make its permanent 
home in Summit, New Jersey, which stands on the 
high ground adjacent to the Orange Mountains; and 
this change was effected in the autumn of 1888. In 
the following summer Mabie took advantage of the 
absence of his family for the season in the Adiron- 
dacks to make his first visit to Europe a visit that 
he had naturally looked forward to for years with 
anticipations of the greatest pleasure. He was away 
about two months. Landing at Antwerp he made the 
usual sight-seeing journey up the Rhine, through some 
of the cities of Germany, into Switzerland, where to 
his delight he met Mr. and Mrs. Stetson, and then to 
Paris and England. 

It was not until several years had passed that the 
Mabies built their own home in Summit at Fernwood 


Road and Whittredge Place, in his study in the third 
story of which Mabie did the greater part of his more 
important literary work during the next twenty years. 
In the intervening period they had occupied a pleas 
antly situated house in the outskirts of the town. 
Summit, in 1888, was a town with a population of 
only about 4,000; later it became a city. It was not 
long, as will appear later, before Mabie made his in 
fluence felt in a variety of ways in the community. 
As early as the winter of 1889-90 he gave a short 
course of lectures on literary subjects in the Summit 
Academy. Invitations for him to speak came from 
different parts of the country, and his lectures soon 
became an important part of his work. 

One of these invitations, evidently not the first from 
this source, was from Miss Louise M. Hodgkins, who 
had been professor of English Literature at Wellesley 
since 1877. To this Mabie replied as follows: 

To Miss Louise E. Hodgkins 

SUMMIT, N. J., Dec. 28, 1888. 

MY DEAR Miss HODGKINS, It isn t often that I 
have you on my conscience but you have been there of 
late a good deal and I was meaning this very day to 
get you into another and better place. Your letter 
came in the very rush of things, and each day as I 
took it up to dictate an answer I put it down for the 
pleasure of writing one with my own hand the next 


day; and then came the next day with its rush and I 
just didn t. That is the whole story, and the failure 
to praise my Scribner article, flagrant as it was, had 
nothing to do with it. 

Now you know that at heart I am good and always 
do in the end what you want me to do, and do it at the 
time. Having established this good reputation, I have 
no hesitation in asking, must I write on Carlyle or 
Geo. Eliot? Might I not take some such subject as 
Modern Criticism, or The Unconscious Element in 
Literature? Are these not alluring subjects and are 
you not dying to hear what I have to say about them ? 
If I must choose between Thomas and George, I will 
stand by Thomas, or rather he shall fall with me. 
May will suit me, and Mrs. Mabie declares with great 
energy that she is coming too. I really believe she 
will get there this time and become a Wellesley dev 

It really makes me homesick sometimes when I think 
of the college and of my friends there. I count it no 
small privilege to know Wellesley and to feel at home 
there. * * * 

I am very busy studying Dante, writing at literary 
themes and editing a newspaper. Think of me leni 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 


THE decade from 1890 to 1900 was a memorable 
period in Mabie s life a period of both in 
tellectual growth and of spiritual development. In 
the way of positive literary achievement he could look 
back at the end of the century, upon no fewer than 
nine books which he had published in this decade, vol 
umes made up chiefly of his contributions to The 
Christian Union and The Outlook, together with a 
few essays which had appeared in other periodicals. 
It was in Summit that Mabie became acquainted with 
the late Frank H. Dodd; and, as has already been 
noted, it was through this friendship that Dodd, Mead 
& Co. became the publishers of his books. The first 
of these to appear was " My Study Fire," dedicated to 
J. T. M., the initials of his wife, which was published 
in August, 1890. A few months later the same pub 
lishers brought out a new edition of the " Norse 
Stories Retold from the Eddas," originally issued eight 
years earlier by Roberts Brothers. 

With the copy of " My Study Fire " which Mabie 
sent to Stedman went the following letter : 



To E. C. Stedman 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. 23, 1890. 

MY DEAR STEDMAN, It is your misfortune to be 
" unduly exposed to literary persons," to recall Well 
ington s phrase. I suppose everybody sends you his 
or her new book. Now, I don t send mine because 
you are a shining mark, but because I want to take 
this way of expressing my great regard for what you 
have done. I fancy if most of the younger men should 
compare notes they would discover that each had had 
some help from you. I have more than once said 
my say about your work, but I wish I could find good 
occasion for saying how much I think all men who 
care for letters owe to the example of indomitable 
energy and high personal ideals which you have fur 

Faithfully yours, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In February of the following year he received from 
Aldrich a copy of " The Sisters Tragedy, with Other 
Poems, Lyrical and Dramatic," which he had just pub 
lished, and wrote as follows in acknowledgment of its 
receipt : 

To T. B. Aldrich 

SUMMIT, N. J., Feb. 26, 1891. 

MY DEAR MR. ALDRICH, I am your very grate 
ful friend. No book with its author s name on the 


fly leaf could have given me greater pleasure than 
that which came yesterday. For, between ourselves, 
there is no one who could have written this book save 
the friend who sent it. I am grateful for everything 
you print ; it is so much gained and saved. Every line 
of it is pure poetry and goes straight to one s imagina 
tion. They say you are like the post-Elizabethan fel 
lows. So far as music goes you can sit with them 
whenever it pleases you ; but there is something in you 
which they lacked. This latest book delights me be 
cause without loss of melody a deeper insight pervades 
it. Am I wrong in thinking that there is something 
in these latest verses which reveals the poet s widening 
vision? I used to think that the perfection of your 
verse sometimes withdrew the attention from the range 
of your thought. But beauty is the best interpreter 
in the long run and the strength and compass of your 
work are becoming more and more clear. If I were 
writing to anyone else I should say frankly that by and 
by there will be a general discovery that our truest poet 
hid himself for a time behind so fine an art that while 
we saw the beauty we did not at first perceive the truth. 
Now, you will pardon these expressions of most sincere 
and honest delight. I could not have told you this, 
but why should I not say it to you, instead of saying 
it about you? You have the best years in your hand. 
May they be fruitful of just such work as this ! Don t 


bother to acknowledge this, but count me as one who 
knows gold when he sees it, and is therefore 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

To the foregoing Aldrich made the following char 
acteristic reply, in which he freed his mind upon one 
point : 

From T. B. Aldrich 

57 MOUNT VERNON STREET, BOSTON, April 10, 1891. 

DEAR MR. MABIE,- A while ago, when I got back 
from the Tropics, one of the few things which helped 
to reconcile me to the Frigid Zone was your generous 
letter. You made it possible for me not to answer it, 
by telling me not to; but I must, for my own satis 
faction and in order to be able to sleep o nights, place 
on record the unusual pleasure which your words 
brought to me. 

It has been a difficult task to wipe out the impres 
sion naturally taken from my earlier verse, that I 
aimed only at being a " dainty " Lyrist. I am ill of 
that word ! Every parrot in the land has learned it 
by heart, and if I were to write an epic as ponderous 
as " Paradise Lost " some motley little bird, stupidly 
swinging in his critical ring, would cry out " How 
dainty ! " Except now and then by a man like you 
the serious quality in my work has been wholly over 
looked. (Think of a misbegotten son of Columbia 


calling the " Monody on the Death of Wendell 
Phillips " " charming " !) However, I dream of better 
days. Your letter and the Tribune s review of " The 
Sisters Tragedy" justify me in believing that my 
work will presently find better understanding. My 
verses sell, they have always been popular, but that 
isn t what I want. * * * 

Faithfully yours, T. B. ALDRICH. 

In the same month in which Aldrich s letter was 
written Mabie published " Under the Trees and Else 
where." In his prefatory note to the volume he called 
the book a collection of out-door studies and dreams, 
and expressed the hope that it might have as friendly 
a reception as did his indoor reveries, " My Study 
Fire." Among the " dreams " in this volume was 
" In the Forest of Arden," about which, as we have 
seen, he had written, in a vein of doubt, to Miss Grace 
King in the summer of 1888, when it was appearing 
serially. Published separately a number of years later 
" In The Forest of Arden " proved in course of time 
to be the most popular of all of Mabie s books. 

As the years passed Mabie came to be more and more 
in demand at Commencement time in school and col 
lege, for he could always be depended upon to say 
something to young people of either sex that would 
be both graceful in form and stimulating in spirit. 
These activities were hinted at in a note to Miss Hodg- 


kins, as she was about to sever her connection with 
Wellesley College: 

To Miss Louise M. Hodgkins 

SUMMIT, N. J., June 22, 1891. 

MY DEAR Miss HODGKINS, This is to say good 
bye just as you are leaving Wellesley. I have been 
rushing about among the colleges since I left you, and 
have now come to the winding up. If you have not 
seen Williamstown, make a break sometime and look 
upon a brother institution as near the standard of 
Wellesley s loveliness as coarser man can come. I 
bathe in the fountain of youth annually among these 
hills. This year they are a little damp for that par 
ticular form of recreation. 

Now that you are going into Nirvana for a year I 

suppose you will neither read nor write letters. I 

make haste, therefore, to close this farewell in order 

that it may anticipate the first hour of obliviousness. 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In September of this year, 1891, Mabie published 
his " Short Studies in Literature," in the preface to 
which he defined with characteristic clearness, sim 
plicity and modesty, his attitude towards both his 
subject and his readers. His hope, he said, was that 
the chapters might " prove helpful to readers of books 
who desire to become students of literature." " These 


studies," he went on, " are not critical but interpreta 
tive ; they are neither expansive nor inclusive ; they are 
mainly hints and suggestions." These " hints \and 
suggestions " were embodied in a little book of two 
hundred pages, divided into no fewer than forty chap 
ters. Anticipating that he might be charged with su 
perficiality in treatment he added : " It is the inevi 
table limitation of a volume dealing with so large a 
subject within so small a compass that it must be, in 
a sense, superficial; if it shall lead any reader to that 
deeper study of books which opens the heart of litera 
ture, the reproach of superficiality will be gladly 
borne." This was Mr. Mabie s attitude throughout 
his life. He was content to point out the way to 
those who were seeking light, to indicate the lines 
of investigation and study which might profitably be 
followed by those who were endeavoring to get at 
" the heart of literature." 

Lowell died in August, 1891 ; and the December 
number of Scribner s Magazine contained a poem in 
his memory by Aldrich, " Elmwood," which prompted 
Mabie to write to him. The book mentioned in the 
postscript was " Short Studies in Literature." 

To T. B. Aldrich 

SUMMIT, N. J., Dec. 13, 1891. 

MY DEAR MR. ALDRICH, I remember hearing Mr. 
Lowell say concerning a certain poem that it left him 


cold. Your lines in the current Scribner s have put 
me into a tumult. I suppose you are surfeited with 
letters of this kind, but poetry so rarely passes this way 
that when it comes I take off my hat though all the 
street remain covered. Your tribute to Lowell has 
found the note which expresses not only your thought 
but his nature ; it has the breadth, the fullness and the 
substance which one associates with him at his best. 
I can think of but one word which fitly expresses my 
feeling about your poem and it is the word noble. 
The mantle has fallen on you, and the steady advance 
of your art in range of idea and depth of feeling shows 
that the gods have made no mistake. Live long and 
write much, and count me as one who saw the shadow 
of this present power and form before some others. 
Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

P.S. I am going to send you my new book. I don t 
believe you will like it and I don t want you to write 
me about it, but I shall send it all the same. 

Mabie s reference, in the following letter to Miss 
Hodgkins, to his next book was to " Essays in Literary 
Interpretation," the most ambitious in subject of any 
he had yet attempted. It was to include essays on 
Rossetti, Browning, Dante and Keats. The Miss 
Bates mentioned was Miss Katherine Lee Bates, who 


had succeeded Miss Hodgkins as professor of Eng 
lish Literature at Wellesley. 

To Miss Louise M. Hodgkins 

SUMMIT, N. J., Dec. 31, 1891. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, Let me devote the last quarter 
of an hour of the year at my desk to a brief letter in 
answer to your generous letter of the I3th. I was de 
lighted when that letter came. I began to fear I had 
dropped below your horizon, and I meditated a note 
of inquiry to Dr. Steele. I am glad these are days of 
rest for you and that the long strain is over. I find 
Women s Colleges mighty interesting but too taut; if 
I lived in one I should become nervous shreds and 
tatters. I am encouraged by what you say about my 
book. Everybody who writes about it and some 
very nice people like yourself and Prof. Everett have 
written about it uses the word insight and that de 
lights me. I am fearfully shy down in my roots and 
can stand a good deal of comforting. 

The next book will be a volume of essays, including 
two or three of the things you have heard. I have 
just finished something on Keats which wrote itself. 
It is an attempt to separate John Keats from " John 
nie " Keats the real man from the sentimental 
weakling which popular fancy has set up. Now and 
next I am going to try to paint what a deep and funda- 


mental quality humor is in life and literature. There 
will be about eight articles in all and I suppose the 
book will settle my fate. People will make up their 
minds about me from it. So remember me occasion 
ally in your petitions to the muses. 

If Miss Bates wants me at Wellesley I shall cer 
tainly do my best to get there. Wellesley has been my 
good friend, and I am Miss Bates s good friend, and 
it is not solely a question of money. I had a very 
delightful time at Vassar the other night when I gave 
the Philolethian address and " received " the whole 
crowd later with the blooming president of the day. 
I also had a very good time on the I4th at Smith, 
when Miss Jordan gave me a breakfast. * * * 

With all manner of good wishes for the New Year, 
Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In the spring of 1892 the editorial offices of The 
Christian Union were at No. 30 Lafayette Place, only 
a few steps from the Alcline Club, which had been 
organized a few years earlier and which included in 
its membership the leading publishers, editors and 
artists in the neighborhood, with not a few authors. 
Although its primary purpose was that of a luncheon 
club, the Aldine soon began to play an important part 
in the literary life of the city through its dinners to 
distinguished writers. As will appear later Mabie be 
came famous as the presiding officer on these occa- 


sions. It was the custom also of the Aldine Club 
to give dinners occasionally at which the speeches and 
stories should be confined to variations on one theme. 
It was evidently with reference to a Sportsmen s 
Night at the Aldine that Frank R. Stockton, who had 
been the president of the club the previous year, wrote 
to Mabie from his home in Convent Station, New 
Jersey, under the date of April 12: 

" I expect to be in the Aldine Camp on the twenty- 
first, with my rod, my gun, my whiskey flask and my 
ointment for spider bites. I am very sorry that we 
shall not see you there. Could not Dante be per 
suaded to rest himself in Purgatory for a day or 
two until you are ready to take him on to Chi- 

Of the results of this visit to Chicago, Mabie wrote 
to his old friend, Mr. Gordon, of Boston. It is evi 
dent from this letter that in these years he was both 
a busy and a happy man. The book, to the appear 
ance of which he looked forward with some anxiety, 
was of course the " Essays in Literary Interpreta 

To the Rev. George A. Gordon 

SUMMIT, N. J., April 30, 1892. 

MY DEAR MR. GORDON, I was very sorry not to 
go to Boston early this month; but I was so pressed 
by work that I could not do it. I expect to be at 


Wellesley June 6th, but by that time you will be away 
on your vacation. I expect to publish a volume of 
long essays in the autumn, to which I have given my 
best and closest work this winter. I hope you will 
like it, and I suppose it will settle the question whether 
I have anything to say worth saying. 

In Chicago I gave two addresses: one on Dante 
which I tried to make a test of my thinking. Every 
thing is so unsatisfactory the moment you have done 
with it that I am now all modesty about this venture, 
more elaborate and ambitious than any I have yet 
made. It is the thorn in all our work,- this instinc 
tive measurement of what we do with what we would 
do. But it is the deepest satisfaction that life offers, 
this clear perception that after our best endeavor to 
compass and express it, the best of it is always just 
beyond. Browning was right in holding that our im 
perfection is the greatest of the witnesses to the reality 
of perfection. To get at the bottom of anything 
would hint at limitation in God. 

I have had a very busy and fruitful winter. There 
has been plenty of expression, but a great deal more 
of meditation. * * * I hail with delight every report 
of your growth. You are never long out of mind, 
and your life is one of my supreme satisfactions. To 
possess happiness in one s home and the opportunity 
of free expression surely we ought both to be 


deeply grateful. Remember me to the best of all your 
prosperities, and to your brother. 

Affectionately, H. W. M. 

The " Essays in Literary Interpretation " was pub 
lished in November. The dedication read, " To my 
Classmates and Friends, G. Stanley Hall and Francis 
Lynde Stetson." Mabie s editorial associates sent a 
copy of the book to Mr. Gordon for review ; and when 
the review appeared in The Christian Union Mabie 
wrote him a letter which is chiefly interesting for its 
frank acknowledgment of the stimulating influence 
which Mr. Gordon had upon him in the davs, ten 
years earlier, of their close friendship in Greenwich: 

To the Rev. George A. Gordon 

NEW YORK, November u, 1892. 

MY DEAR MR. GORDON, Your notice of my book 
has just come under my eye. I hardly know what to 
say about it. You have touched me very deeply. 
You have said the things I might have longed to have 
said about the book, but which I did not dare to hope 
would be said. And among all men you are the man 
from whose pen these words could have helped me 
most. This is a matter beyond gratitude; it is like a 
sudden disclosure of the objective reality of a thing 
you have long seen subjectively. It makes me feel 


that I have not dreamed these things and that I had a 
right to say them. 

You came into my life with a tidal influence years 
ago ; you cleared, confirmed and strengthened my moral 
decision and my spiritual vision. I owe you more 
than I have ever told you or shall ever tell you. Now 
you have given me another mighty impulse, and I go 
forward with new definiteness of purpose and clear 
ness of perception as the servant of the truth. In this 
fellowship there are no common rewards but there is 
love, which becomes in itself a new motivity. 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

One of the earliest of the dinners which the Aldine 
Club gave was in honor of Thomas Bailey Aldrich; 
and Mabie s increasing importance in the affairs of 
the Club is indicated by the fact that it was he who, 
in the club s name, sent the invitation to Aldrich : 

To T. B. Aldrich 

ALDINE CLUB, NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 1893. 

MY DEAR MR. ALDRICH, There is a very general 
desire among the members of the Aldine Club to ex 
tend to you the hospitality of the club by way of ex 
pressing our recognition of your place and work as a 
man of letters. I am commissioned, by way of giving 
voice to this feeling, to ask you to become the guest 
of the club at a dinner to be given some time next 


month. I may say that the club is made of men in 
terested in books either as writers, editors or pub 
lishers. We should gather about you the men whose 
presence would give the occasion the significance which 
it ought to possess. We should also invite other men 
whom you would naturally wish to have about you. 
I can promise you a most cordial welcome and the 
presence of a representative company of men. I shall 
be delighted if your friends in this city can have this 
opportunity of expressing their regard for you and 
their appreciation of the beautiful quality of your 
work. Of many of the poems which you have re 
cently printed in the magazines, I can only say that 
they have reminded me of William Hunt s characteriza 
tion of a vase once put into his hands : " it is one of 
those damned finalities." Of the earlier work you 
know what I think. Pardon this little outbreak of 
enthusiasm. I know no reason why a man of such 
power and artistic quality should not hear the truth 
about himself occasionally. I earnestly hope that this 
invitation will tempt you and that you will name a 
date, or dates, after the Fourth of March when we 
may have the satisfaction of welcoming you here. 
Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

At first Aldrich was disposed to decline this honor 
on the plea that he was not a public speaker. He 
finally accepted, however, and the occasion was bril- 


liant, Aldrich s speech being an admirable one, despite 
his dread of the ordeal. Mabie presided. A few days 
later, under the date of April 6, he wrote to Aldrich : 

" I had a charming speech to make about you at the 
dinner but I didn t make it. I cannot preside on such 
an occasion and make a decent talk. All the things I 
mean to say evaporate, under the pressure of the sense 
of being responsible for avoiding shoals and quick 
sands, and leave a residuum of commonplace. Some 
of the points I wanted to emphasize are made in an 
editorial in The Christian Union of this week, and I 
take the liberty of mailing a copy." 

Having in the meantime changed its abiding place 
from Lafayette Place to Clinton Hall, Astor Place, 
The Christian Union in July, 1893, changed its name 
to The Outlook, which had been the heading over the 
editorials in the paper for many years. There was no 
change, however, in the ownership, editorship, or gen 
eral policy and character of the paper. 

Mabie s interest in the development of Miss King 
as a novelist increased as the years passed. In No 
vember, 1893, he wrote to her as follows: 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., Sunday, Nov. 12, 1893. 

MY DEAR Miss KING, I have been sitting before 
my library fire this morning reading Lowell s letters 
and thinking how completely the joy of life, for some 


men and women, lies in the passionate pursuit of ex 
cellence. There is something pathetic in it from one 
point of view, something divinely encouraging about 
it from another. For some of us, even when made 
happy by all manner of affection, it is the great real 
ity; we never grasp it, but we never despair of it. Of 
course you do not think your work discloses the art 
quality which I find in it; if it satisfied you, or if you 
could be satisfied, your work would not be what it 
is. There is a divine reality in art the longing for 
the last touch of perfection- or it would not search 
our natures as it does, try us as by fire. One would 
really die to do one thing to the very heart of life and 
to the very height of power and beauty. 

I am glad if my words about the " Balcony Stories " 
gave you any pleasure. I hope some day I shall have 
a chance to say something more at length. You have 
the genuine quality and that is happiness enough for 
you ; I hope, however, you will have generous recogni 
tion as well. What I may call the " old lace quality " 
in you may defer popular interest a little. There is 
a touch of distinction in the things you have done 
which necessitates a certain education in those who 
appreciate it. Have you read Mr. Shorthouse s " Mar 
quis de St. Palaya " ? If you have you know what 
I mean. I disclaim any right to speak on such a 
matter from any standpoint save that of appreciation, 
but those of us who care for whatever is best ought 


not to be slow or cold in our recognition. I have no 
respect for post-mortem appreciation. I was always 
impressed, when I met Mr. Lowell, by the opulence 
of his nature and the richness of his conditions; there 
was an easy prodigality in his talk which hinted at 
all manner of wealth. He was modest, simple and 
direct; but one felt that he was sufficient in himself. 
In his letters, however, one notes the craving for an 
excellence which constantly evaded him; a hunger for 
honest appreciation. How simple life is for us all 
whatever our conditions; just a long hunger for love 
and the power to do on the level of our ideals. 

I did not mean to let Sunday get into my letter in 
the form of a sermon; but it is, after all, the thing 
we care for most deeply, and which makes us friends 
though we have hardly looked in each others 
faces. * * * 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The earliest of Mabie s letters of general interest to 
his Greenwich friends, the Buttons, was an Easter 
meditation written in March, 1894. It was also his 
invariable custom to send them a Christmas greeting; 
and the regularity with which, amid all his preoccu 
pations, he remembered these ladies each Easter and 
each Christmas, is one of many evidences that might 
be cited of his loyalty throughout his life to the friend 
ships of his early manhood. Of Mrs. Button s four 


daughters, one married and became Mrs. Holmes. 
This earliest letter was as follows : 

To Miss Annie Button 

SUMMIT, N. J., March 23, 1894. 

MY DEAR Miss ANNIE, It always seems fitting 
when Good Friday falls on such a day as this; dark, 
rainy, with no gleam of sky or light. Then when 
Easter breaks clear and bright, I feel as if Nature had 
let herself into our thought and given us a visible 
illustration of the truth about the here and the here 
after. It seems to me that as the years go by, I find 
confirmation of my faith from some sources which 
did not feed the earlier generations. I believe science 
is coming to our aid mightily in several ways, and that 
the earth which once seemed only eager to receive the 
dead, will seem eager to declare that there are no 
dead; only empty graves. And every year brings the 
confirmation of noble living to the belief that such liv 
ing is invincible. Hume once said that when he re 
membered his mother he believed in immortality. The 
pure, the unselfish and the aspiring, with us or gone 
before, have for me always a light on their faces not 
of earthly shining. I cannot think of the great com 
pany of the good without thinking of the eternity of 
goodness. Blessed are the dead when they make us 
think of immortality. * * * 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 


The Mabies spent the summer of 1894 in Debruce, 
in Sullivan County, New York, among the foothills 
of the Catskills; and from there Mabie wrote to Miss 
King. The story spoken of in the last paragraph of 
his letter was " A Child of Nature," which he did not 
get in shape for publication until 1901. 

To Miss Grace King 

DEBRUCE, NEW YORK, Sept. 14, 1894. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, The article on " Union for 
Moral Action " stopped in New York and got itself 
printed last week, but your very welcome letter of 
July 30th travelled on and finally overtook me here. 
Later came a very pleasant letter from your mother 
which both Mrs. Mabie and myself enjoyed very 
much; not only for its descriptive passages (your 
mother inherits the story telling faculty from her 
daughter), but for its cordial hanging out of the latch 
string. It is very pleasant not only to have friends, 
but to have your friends express their friendship. * * * 

It is two months and more since I came among 
these hills and escaped from the intolerable heat of this 
phenomenal summer. * * * I have given myself over 
to the coolness of the mountain brooks, to long tramps 
in the woods and to much mountain climbing. As a 
result I am fiercely energetic. 

The news that you are actually writing that novel 
delights me. I know it is in you to do it with fresh- 


ness of feeling and that intense sensitiveness to life 
which stirs me in all your stories. * * * 

I have been writing a book this summer; a book on 
Nature; what we get out of nature for our own de 
velopment. As usual, I thought the idea fruitful and 
I still think so; but in the working out the power has 
somehow gone out of it. I have tried to put into a 
personal form the story of my own intimacy with na 
ture; a kind of love story. * * * 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

A month later Mabie published " My Study Fire, 
Second Series," dedicating the book " To Lorraine 
and Helen," his daughters. That he was making 
steady progress in his work and was winning recogni 
tion from those best qualified to judge of its value, 
would appear from the tone of a letter which Sted- 
man sent to him, under the date of November 23, in 
which he said : 

" I really can find, when entering upon my list of 
friends, no other one whose heart + head, to put it 
algebraically, are quite so enviable as yours. You 
must get a lot of happiness out of life assuredly 
you do, if health of body and temper and the practice 
of making others feel better and do better, have a re 
flex action. * * * 

" I do read your essays. They always instruct me 
and always give me pleasure. I wish I had learned 


your art of putting sound principles into one s own 
style there is where the originality comes in and 
especially of saying just what one wishes to say within 
an artistic and pleasurable compass. You have re 
duced this to perfection : in truth, I think you are now 
our literary essayist, to use the old word par excel 
lence. Many a night I have read one or two of your 
papers, after my work, for sheer mental change and 
enjoyment. * * * " 

Whenever any honor or distinction came to one of 
his classmates Mabie was quick to send him a word of 
congratulation and encouragement. In the following 
year, 1895, when John D. Teller, of Auburn, New 
York, was nominated for the Court of Appeals bench, 
Mabie sent him a letter wishing him all success in his 
campaign. The reference in the letter to Dole was to 
San ford B. Dole, who was born in the Hawaiian Is 
lands of missionary parentage and who had taken a 
partial course at Williams in the class of 1867. In 
1894 he became President of the republic of Hawaii. 
The Hall mentioned was of course G. Stanley Hall, 
since 1888 the president of Clark University. Mabie s 
letter was as follows: 

To John D. Teller 


MY DEAR TELLER,. The class of 67 rejoices in 
your excellent chance of sitting on the Court of Ap- 


peals bench, and, so far as it lives in New York, will 
vote for you to a man. Having devoted Dole to the 
presidential chair and made Hall the head of a uni 
versity, we are anxious for judicial distinction. You 
and Stetson have done well for us at the bar * * *. 
I shall take great interest in the campaign on your ac 
count, and wish I could vote for you in every county 
in the state. I find it hard to realize that so many 
years have passed since we " distinguished ourselves in 
the halls of learning." I find I am still thinking of 
myself as a promising young man. I fear I shall 
never get beyond that stage. Meantime the success 
of the class is a kind of common property. 

Yours cordially, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Of all of Mr. Mabie s intimate friends no one was 
closer to him than Dr. Henry van Dyke. The depth 
and the breadth of this friendship, which extended 
over many years, are scarcely to be measured. They 
may be imagined, however, from the tone of the letter 
in which Dr. van Dyke wrote to Mrs. Mabie placing 
at her disposal the letters which her husband had writ 
ten to him. Under date of July 22, 1918, Dr. van 
Dyke reviewing this long friendship, wrote from Seal 
Harbor, Maine : 

fc The bond between your husband and myself was 
a pure and perfect friendship. It had no shadows and 
no concealments. It was good for days of joy and 


days of sorrow. It lasted and it still endures, because 
the very heart of it was mutual trust and loyalty. 

" Both of us having liberal ideas and conservative 
tastes, we yet found many questions on which we could 
differ joyously. Being without idols we never had 
any disputes on theology, and it was in religion that 
we had our closest converse. Life seemed to both of 
us infinitely worth while, and God was never far away. 
Many a time the serenity of Hamilton s temperament 
was a godsend to the storminess of mine. But the 
foundation of our faith and our joy was always the 
same; and it remains unchanged. 

" Walking along these Seal Harbor trails through 
the woods and over the mountains this summer, where 
Hamilton was my first guide, I think of him with 
thankful heart, and miss him, and feel him near me. 
No need of spiritistic mediums and controls, and 
all that foolish machinery! The song of the hermit- 
thrush, the flower of the fringed orchid, the peace of 
the woodland twilight, these bring me his comrade 
ship, and the same old message of gratitude, cheerful 
ness and courage." 

The letters that passed between Mabie and Dr. van 
Dyke were not numerous. They saw each other fre 
quently and had little occasion to write. The one 
bearing the earliest date was written by Dr. van Dyke 
in November, 1895, when he was the pastor of the 


Brick Church in New York, and referred to a volume 
of stories which he had recently published : 

" My dear Mabie, You must know how much I 
care for your sentence not of condemnation on 
my Little Rivers. I have just read three lines of it 
which Scribner has sent me. There is truly no man 
whose respect and liking for this little honest piece of 
work I would rather have than yours. I want, to 
thank you for it, all the more because I believe you are 
too conscientious a critic to let a friendly feeling for 
an author make you praise a bad book, and at the same 
time you are too good a friend not to be ready to make 
all the needful allowances for the personal shortcom 
ings of the man. Now this is a mighty comfortable 
and pleasant feeling, and I am gratefully yours." 

Mabie had no gift for fiction as a vehicle for con 
veying his ideas to the public, and he made only one 
or two attempts in that direction. He was able, how 
ever, in at least one instance, to pass on to a dis 
tinguished contemporary, the idea for a story that 
proved in the hands of this master of the art to be 

In February, 1896, Mr. Howells sent a copy of his 
new book, " The Day of their Wedding," to Mabie. 
In forwarding to the present writer the letter which 
he received from Mabie acknowledging the receipt of 
this book, Mr. Howells wrote : " The inclosed letter 


refers to a story of Shaker life which Mabie gave me 
and which I used as a novelette called The Day of 
their Wedding. I have always been very grateful to 
him for that story." 

Mabie s letter acknowledging the receipt of Mr. 
Ho wells gift was as follows : 

To W. D. Howells 

THE OUTLOOK, 13 ASTOR PLACE, Feb. 24, 1896. 

MY DEAR MR. HOWELLS, I have read the story 
and I think it a beautiful piece of work, full of del 
icacy of feeling and of truth; reverential and tender. 
I did not realize how difficult the theme was until I 
saw your handling of it. Then I understood it. I 
can think of no one else who could have shown more 
clearly the possession of that tact which involves not 
only artistic instinct and feeling, but a clean heart and 
genuine purity. I am very grateful for a copy of the 
story with your autograph. 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

With the publication, in the spring of 1896, of " Es 
says on Nature and Culture," which he dedicated to 
John Burroughs, Mabie began the proclamation, in a 
fuller and more systematic form than he had employed 
up to that time, of his philosophy of life as inter 
preted through nature, literature and art; two later 
volumes, " Books and Culture," dedicated to Sted- 


man, and " Essays on V/ork and Culture," dedicated 
to Dr. van Dyke, completing the trilogy. With the 
copy of " Nature and Culture," which he sent to Mr. 
Burroughs, went this letter: 

To John Burroughs 

THE OUTLOOK, NEW YORK, July i, 1896. 

MY DEAR MR. BURROUGHS, I send you by this 
mail a book which I hope will not seem to you entirely 
inadequate; although now that it is done I am pain 
fully aware of its shortcomings. I hope you will not 
take exception to the use of your name on the page 
of dedication. I could put no other name there. I 
wanted to add some words of my own, but nothing 
could add to the significance of the name standing by 
itself. I shall always be your debtor, and I count it 
an honor to associate you in any way with any book 
of mine. You opened the world of nature to me, and 
if I had known you earlier in my life, I sometimes feel 
that I might have said something worth while on the 
subjects which you know at first hand and which I can 
approach only through my instincts and feelings. 
Sometime during the summer I hope to see you; for 
the last two years I have had to make a complete sur 
render of my time to my work. But I am always in 
your society. 

Yours sincerely, 



" Books and Culture " appeared in the autumn of 
the same year. In a letter to Miss King, Mabie called 
it a companion to " Nature and Culture," and added 
that the two contained about all the philosophy of art 
and life that he had been able to formulate. The ref 
erence in the last paragraph was to the great Sound 
Money parade on the eve of the election of McKinley 
over Bryan for the Presidency. 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., Nov. i, 1896. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, It is a long time since you have 
heard from me; a long time since your very pleasant 
letter from the mountains of North Carolina reached 
me in the heart of the Adirondacks. While I have 
been anticipating autumn it has almost slipped through 
my fingers ; the trees are fast baring their boughs, and 
one oak opposite my window keeps me in heart with its 
show of rich red leaves. * * * 

I don t think you realize how much I am attached 
to New Orleans and what a home feeling I have about 
it thanks to your bountiful hospitality. I hope the 
recent bank disasters have not touched you in any way. 
It has been a very distressing season financially. I 
hope the election will be decisive enough to settle some 
questions and get them out of the way. I suppose 
we shall work our way out of the muddle we are in, 
but I sometimes feel very blue about the immediate 


future. Democracy, in the first real consciousness of 
the fact that everything is in its hands at last, will try 
no doubt to change by ballot some of the natural laws 
and modify some of the inevitable conditions of life, 
and will learn by experience that the limits of its 
power are sharply defined. All society must go 
through this stage and we have the satisfaction of 
knowing that we are actually in and may work through 
it sooner than England and Germany. 

How are you getting along with The Story? I 
hope it is not sitting on your heart. I am always 
hearing pleasant and encouraging things said of your 
work, and every new reader of " New Orleans " joins 
in the chorus of praise which has greeted that book. 
You have every reason to feel that the quality of your 
work is understood, and it needs only to be under 
stood to be valued. My little volume on " Books and 
Culture " is off the press and will go to you presently. 
It is a companion volume to " Nature and Culture," 
and the two contain about all the philosophy of art 
and life I have been able to formulate. Now I am 
bracing myself to try something more extended. It is 
a formative time and one would like to do something 
to make it comprehensible and give it a little impulse 
and direction. 

New York was magnificent yesterday; the whole 
city in the streets and flags from end to end. I was in 
a procession for the first time and saw the people from 


the one place where they can be seen the middle of 
the street. New York is really becoming a great city ; 
great to the eye and great in its activities. I saw this 
yesterday more clearly than ever and was lifted up in 
spirit by the sight of it. 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In acknowledging the receipt of a copy of " Books 
and Culture " which Mabie had sent to him, Dr. van 
Dyke wrote: 

From Dr. Henry van Dyke 


DEAR MABIE, Your last book of essays has been 
my after-dinner friend for nearly a fortnight now; 
and I want to thank you for the true and intimate 
pleasure it has brought to me, and left with me. It 
has the same qualities of insight and charm that be 
long to all of your work. But in this case I have re 
joiced in them even more than usual, just because I 
know how often a man who writes charmingly and 
naturally and sincerely about other things, becomes un 
natural and formal and pedantic when he writes about 

This has not befallen you. You love books as sim 
ply and as sincerely as you love trees, you are " True 
to nature, true to art." And I think the reason why 
you get at the heart of both, is because you feel 


both as parts of something larger, Life everlasting. 
The chapters that I like best are the Imagination, 
Freshness of Feeling and Liberation from One s Time 
and Place. I have marked plenty of sentences apropos 
of our talk on style the other day. But they are all 
good in their place. A fine style is to be contained in 
cupfuls it flows like a river. I thank you, dear Ma- 
bie, for this good and fine book. 

Ever yours, HENRY VAN DYKE. 

In reply to the foregoing Mabie wrote Dr. van Dyke 
as follows : 

To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

SUMMIT, N. J., Nov. 21, 1896. 

MY DEAR VAN DYKE, It was very good of you to 
write me your impressions of " Books and Culture " 
and I am much cheered by what you say. I have felt 
a good deal discouraged about myself this autumn be 
cause I have felt that so many men whom I care for 
personally care so little for my literary point of view. 
I have felt that I was not putting my interpretation 
vigorously and effectively; that I ought to change my 
style. But what you said confirmed the conclusion 
to which I was moving and to which my own consti 
tution would probably have driven me; a man cannot 
change his style without first changing himself. I 
ought not to be discouraged for the country at large 


shows me immense friendliness. I shall go on and do 
what I can to make people see the spiritual rootage of 
art; I cannot do anything else. But I am going now 
to try my hand at something more elaborate and with 
more distinctness of tone. I feel strongly that we 
need in this country just now a restatement of the 
functions of literature and of the conditions which 
are likely to produce it on a great scale. 

I have had a fine time this week with Huntington, 
Newton, Grant, Rainsford, and a crowd of able men 
at the Church Congress at Norfolk. What a delight 
real men are, and how refreshing to have ideas play 
ing about you! Then there were at Norfolk and 
Hampton those quick, appealing audiences that touch 
your imagination and let you out of yourself; and 
when that happens when you really get rid of your 
infernal self and pour your heart out what fun 
speaking is! * * * 

Affectionately, H. W. M. 

No one watched Mabie s progress in his literary 
work with more eager interest than the friend of his 
Greenwich days, Dr. Gordon, who wrote to him from 
Boston of his " Essays on Nature and Culture " : 
" You have become a guide and teacher to thousands 
and your books must have in mind this large and ever 
increasing class. Every new book that you write 


brings into view the fresh development of a new 
power. The ease and mastery of exposition, the fas 
cinating unfolding of your thought, the fine way in 
which you drop it into the mind of your reader, is 
the note of the book before me." 

When his intimate friends were in anxiety and sor 
row, Mabie wrote to them out of a heart full of sym 
pathy and affection. The following letter to Dr. van 
Dyke was written when his second son, Bernard, who 
had been ill, was thought to be beyond recovery. 

To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

SUMMIT, N. J., March 20, 1807. 

MY DEAR VAN DYKE, I do not know whether the 
note I sent to the house yesterday on receipt of your 
postal was forwarded to you or not; but I must send 
a further line this morning. In these great issues we 
cannot comfort each other, but the sound of friendly 
voices counts for something. We are all feeling for 
you and with you. I am sharing this experience as a 
friend deeply drawn to you must and can. It is almost 
as if it were in my own household. You must know 
that I have been drawn very near to you in these recent 
months after years of preparation; and now I am in 
the fellowship of sorrow with you. What an ultimate 
world of hope there is ever in our bitterest outcry: 
" God only knows what it all means." If God does 


know nothing else matters in the long run. I wish I 
were with you, near you, could be of some use to you. 
Yours affectionately, H. W. M. 

When finally the expected end came, Mabie wrote to 
his friend as follows : 

To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

SUMMIT, N. J., Sunday, April 4, 1897. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, This day has been full of the 
sense of your trial and your consolation. As I listened 
to the Communion Service I thought also of those 
wonderful words in the Old Testament, " Thou art 
weary in the greatness of thy way." They have long 
been in my heart, so sublimely do they offset, and 
silence the voices of doubt and complaint. The hard 
ness of life springs from its greatness; the splendid 
end towards which the earthly education moves is at 
tested by the very rigor of the discipline. The greater 
the art the more arduous the discipline which brings 
us to its mastery. And I have found something for 
myself in my companionship with you. I have felt 
in this fierce light which beats not on but from the 
throne, how far below the line of immortal doing my 
thoughts and works are. If a little child can lead you 
I must go too. There is nothing, absolutely nothing 
for us but spiritual mastery. If we can only get that 


somehow it will shine through any expression and ac 

I see that to-day as I never saw it before, and 
though I have a horrible sense of unworthiness I pluck 
courage to make another trial. " Blessed are the pure 
in heart," is only another way of saying " blessed are 
the children," for they bring us nearer the Father. 
That beautiful thought of Phillip Brooks about the 
heavenly and the human brotherhood comes to me 
again; the mystery of the two relationships. We go a 
little way with the children and another voice calls 
them; we plan one kind of life for them and God 
plans another. There is something wonderful in this 
sharing of parentage with God, and our own loneli 
ness comes from the fact that we share our own lives 
with God. We dip into many things, have many 
works, form many ties; but how often something 
from beyond sweeps into consciousness and separates 
us from them all. Over the invisible line the other 
half of life suddenly summons us. I have seen many 
letters of Brooks in which he speaks pathetically of 
his loneliness, and all the time such wealth of sym 
pathy and vitality are flowing from him! And to be 
spiritually great who would not pay the price of that 
sense of loneliness born of a passion for things which 
are still beyond our sight ! 

Pardon this long letter, but I must write out of such 


a day as this in my spiritual experience ; I hope I 
may say, in my own spiritual growth. 

Yours affectionately, H. W. M. 

Up to this year the Mabies had passed their summer 
holidays in the mountains usually the Adirondacks. 
By 1897, however, both of their daughters were old 
enough to be taken abroad, and the entire family, sail 
ing from Montreal, spent the summer in England. 
For the next decade it was the custom of the Mabies 
to go abroad for the summer every other year. Then 
they allowed their foreign holidays to accumulate until 
1910, when they were able to enjoy a vacation of six 
months in Europe. This proved to be their last trip 

In December, 1897, Mabie experienced the first seri 
ous illness of his life an attack of appendicitis. 
When in the following spring, he was fully recovered 
he wrote as follows to Aldrich : 

To T. B. Aldrich 

SUMMIT, N. J., March 13-, 1898. 

MY DEAR MR. ALDRICH, You have probably for 
gotten the delightful letter you wrote me in December, 
which I shall always value as a bit of autobiography. 
When that letter came I was in bed with the first seri 
ous illness of my life. * * * Well, I was on a bed 
of pain when Mrs. Mabie read your letter to me, and 


I found it distinctly better than any other form of 
alleviation. I loafed with no very distinct desire of 
any kind for six weeks, and then I went South and 
found myself again. By virtue of much idleness and 
copious draughts of Scotch whiskey, I am somewhat 
better than I ever was before. 

Pardon these physical details; they are introduced 
by way of explanation of my long delay in acknowl 
edging your very interesting comment on my Chap- 
Book article. I was greatly pleased by what you said ; 
for the article seemed very inadequate to me. More 
over, no proof was sent me and it was full of those 
stinging little blunders which ally typography so in 
timately with profanity. I have some things to say 
about your work which I hope will not show more 
than the average critical blindness when they finally 
come to light. It took me a long time to see the 
reformatory poets in true perspective, but I have come 
to my five senses of late years. 

Your work has steadily grown upon me. I am 
ready to insure it for several centuries. Mrs. Mabie 
has been rereading the prose stories this winter and 
they seem to touch the finalities of clear, sound, ade 
quate style. You have more self restraint than any 
other man in our literature; you illustrate Schiller s 
thought that an artist reveals himself quite as much 
by what he rejects as by what he expresses. I thought 
the Shaw Ode distinctly noble in thought and dignity. 


I was moved to write and tell you so, but I feared I 
should bore you. I am glad The Nation did not like 
it. The Nation gave me a dreadful stab last week, 
and I should like to believe that it sometimes blunders. 
* * * I fancy this letter will follow you somewhere 
where there are flowers and birds. Wherever you are, 
long life and health to you and more poetry for 
us! * * * 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In the autumn of 1898 the " Essays on Work and 
Culture " appeared ; and a month later the publication 
in a volume by itself of " In the Forest of Arden," 
which, it will be remembered, had originally been in 
cluded in " Under the Trees and Elsewhere," took 
place. It was apparently in reply to a letter suggested 
by these two books that in December Mabie wrote to 
Dr. van Dyke a letter in which he expressed without 
reserve his indebtedness to his friend : 

To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

SUMMIT, N. J., Dec. 2, 1898. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, You must have known when 
you wrote that letter that you are giving me one of 
the greatest pleasures of my life. Nothing has ever 
been said about any books of mine that has touched 
me so deeply and that I value half as much as those 
words of yours. Nobody has ever given me so much 


confidence in my vision of life or my ability to put it 
into words. In fact I have never before had a friend 
who has shared so completely my intellectual life and 
its spiritual background. You have rendered me the 
highest of all services, for you have made me realize 
myself far more clearly than before, and so you have 
helped to liberate me. And the highest quality of 
friendship is this silent uncovering of the depths of 
one s own consciousness; this invitation through in 
timate companionship in the best of one s nature. To 
share the ultimate aims, to come together in those 
faiths which give life its deepest meaning and thought 
its highest significance, is to build on eternal founda 
tions. In this time when art has so little to nourish 
the soul our fellowship must be a doubling of indi 
vidual force. If we can stand together for the best in 
ourselves and in life we can stir the waters of life for 
those who cannot, unaided, reach them. There must 
be healing in us for the sadness, and perplexity of the 
world, and so God bless you, my dear friend, and let 
us bear the irritable burdens and do the great work 
together in all loyalty and love. 

Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Mabie s great admiration for Kipling is revealed in 
a letter from him to Mrs. Kate Douglas Riggs, written 
in the following February, when the English speaking 
world was awaiting with almost breathless anxiety the 


issue of his struggle between life and death in New 
York City: 

To Kate Douglas Wiggin (Mrs. Riggs) 

SUMMIT, N. J., Feb. 26, 1899. 

DEAR MRS. RIGGS, When I came home on Thurs 
day night and found your kind invitation for last Mon 
day evening I was disconsolate. But I suppose Mr. 
Kipling s illness postponed the dinner, and now I am 
consumed with anxiety about him. Such vitality as 
his warms the whole world. Even when his matter 
does not appeal to me his immense health fulness car 
ries me along. In an age of lamenting pessimists his 
grip on life has a tonic quality. If he can only live! 
It seems as if we must keep him alive. * * * 

This is the second time an invitation from you has 
found me in the South. Now I am going to stay at 
home and hold out my plate. * * * 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The Book Buyer for May of this year contained 
an article by Dr. Henry van Dyke in which Mabie s 
influence through his writings and through his lec 
tures was analyzed and explained at length. Of his 
view of culture, as reflected in the group of books 
published in the three previous years, Dr. van Dyke 

" Culture, as Mr. Mabie believes in it, and com- 


mends it to all men, is at the farthest possible remove 
from the mere process of intellectual or aesthetic 
adornment. It is not a thing that may be bought and 
put on, like a diamond breastpin or a mantle of pea 
cock s feathers. It is a clearer light on the eyes, a 
keener hearing in the ears, a more vivid color in the 
imagination, a quicker, freer movement in the mind, 
warmer interest in the heart. It is the result of enter 
ing into life s discipline awake, instead of passing 
through it asleep. It is man s coming to himself. In 
thought, it means emancipation from the slavery of 
prejudice and from the imprisonment of ignorant con 
ceit. In society it means elevation above the vul 
garity of fashion and entrance into the broader 
sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men. In 
religion it means a new birth into the life of the spirit. 
" Mr. Mabie does not believe that this kind of cul 
ture is intended to be a monopoly. He believes that 
every man is capable of getting some of it, and that 
life has some of it to give to every man. Work edu 
cates. Nature is a university. Books live because 
they minister to life. The aim of schools and col 
leges is not to separate a learned class from the com 
mon herd. It is to send out men who shall be able 
to utilize the undeveloped forces of culture, in every 
region, for the benefit of all mankind and the produc 
tion of a noble manhood. This is the keynote of Mr. 
Mabie s teaching." 


Mabie was deeply touched by this article, and wrote 
to Dr. van Dyke with reference to it : 

To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

SUMMIT, N. J., May 9, 1899. 

MY DEAR VAN DYKE, The longer I think of your 
article in The Book Buyer the more do I value the 
service you have rendered me. Mrs. Mabie s pleasure 
in it has given me as deep satisfaction as I have ever 
had from any kind of recognition. As I told you, it 
is the first time that any one has written of the books 
as the exposition of a group of ideas which constitute 
my philosophy of art and life on the side of expres 
sion. These ideas have been clear in my own con 
sciousness, but they are clearer than before now that 
they are reflected back to me from your consciousness. 
One is so often praised for the things that are sec 
ondary in his own interest that it is immensely en 
couraging to be praised for the paramount things. 
You have done more than anyone else in recent years 
to give me courage and hope. I don t think one 
friend can do more for another. And then you are 
honest; that counts for a great deal. Your words are 
timely, too; for I have felt somewhat discouraged 
about my work of late. I find that it does not do to 
think much about it at any time. That you believe 
in my ability to do something for the aims I have at 
heart is a tonic which has done much for me. There 


is surely nothing sweeter in this stage of life than a 
friendship based on a common loyalty to the highest 

Affectionately, H. W. M. 

In the following month he was gratified to receive 
an invitation to deliver the principal address at the 
unveiling of Zolnay s bust of Poe in the library of the 
University of Virginia, at Charlottesville, on the occa 
sion of the fiftieth anniversary of the poet s death. 
In a letter to Miss King he referred to this invitation, 
and frankly expressed the pleasure which it had given 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., June 19, 1899. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, You have often been in my 
thoughts of late, and I wish I could look into the King 
home for a few hours. It has been very hot for two 
weeks and I have been giving Commencement ad 
dresses in a heavy silk gown and wishing I were in 
Iceland. I have still two more colleges to close. One 
of them proposes to make me an L. L. D., then I shall 
be two kinds of a doctor, and not one whit wiser than 
I used to be when you first knew me. I have just had 
an invitation which pleases me mightily. The Uni 
versity of Virginia has asked me to make the address 
at the unveiling of the Poe bust in October. This 
pleases me more than if Harvard had asked me to 


speak on Lowell, because it is in the field of national 
literature, and I am glad to be regarded as standing 
for the literature of the nation. This is private until 
the University makes the announcement. That I 
should be asked to speak on the greatest literary occa 
sion in the recent history of the South makes me feel 
that I have not loved the South in vain. 

On Thursday of next week, the 29th, we expect to 
sail by the Konigin Luise for Southampton, to spend 
three weeks in England and then go to the Continent, 
to be gone until the end of September. My girls have 
never been beyond England and I am looking forward 
to taking them up the Rhine to Munich, Dresden, 
Bayreuth, Innsbruck, into Switzerland, to your dear 
Paris and through Holland. My love to all the Kings. 
Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The Poe ceremonies took place on October 7th. 
The subject of Mabie s address was " Poe s Place in 
American Literature." The address was printed in 
the University of Virginia Magazine for December, 
1899. Several years later he received from the Uni 
versity of Virginia, through Professor Charles W. 
Kent, of the English department, the Poe Centenary 
Medal, in recognition of his general interest in the 
literary life of the University and especially of his 
participation in the exercises attending the unveiling 
of the Zolnay bust. 


Before sailing for Europe at the end of June, Mabie 
had gathered together from the files of The Christian 
Union and The Outlook and had published the first of 
his volumes of meditations on ethical themes - " The 
Life of the Spirit." He dedicated the book to Dr. 
George A. Gordon, who wrote to him, in acknowl 
edging this courtesy : " I congratulate you that your 
life, in pursuit of its ideal, has been rewarded thus 
early with a recognition so wide and so weighty, and 
that a wonderful audience listens to your message, 
always ethical and yet set in living beauty upon our 
great and mysterious existence." " The Life of the 
Spirit " became one of the three most popular books 
in Mabie s list. 

Thomas Nelson Page s " Santa Claus s Partner " 
was published in the autumn of the year, 1899; an d 
Mabie s praise of the story drew from its author this 
characteristic letter: 

From Thomas Nelson Page 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 1899. 

MY DEAR MABIE, * * * I was brought up, reared, 
why the deuce won t you literary fellows let me say 
" raised " ! to believe that the principal of a debt dou 
bled every sixteen years and something. But my debt 
to you doubles every year. There are some things I 
dearly love, and one of them is appreciative words 
from a real literary man. If " Santa Claus s Partner " 


pleased you and hit you deep, I think better of it than 
I did before, and I don t mind telling you I thought 
of it perhaps more highly than I ought to think before. 
The only trouble is that confounded Dickens went 
and took up all the ground every blamed square 
foot of it, and I was always running up against his 
corner stakes. I wish he had not done it. If I have 
grabbed a part of his land, I am sorry, for it was unin 
tentional and I tried to avoid it; but when after I had 
finished my story I read his over I was a blamed sight 
sorrier I could not march in and grab the whole busi 
ness. That Dickens was the worst kind of a robber 
he has robbed posterity. If it had not been for him 
who knows what I might have written, and yet I am 
glad after all, and I hope my little homestead has not 
altogether overlapped his broad acres; and I am glad 
you like my story and glad you told me so for I 
value very highly your good esteem, both personal 
and literary, and I am always, with the warmest re 
gards to all at your fireside, 

Faithfully your friend, 


Mabie s interest in the literature that Southern 
writers had produced and were producing was deep. 
A few weeks after the date of the letter from Mr. 
Page, he printed an editorial article in The Outlook, 
reviewing the literary activity of the South during the 


previous twenty years and maintaining that the con 
tribution to literature of Southern writers " of original 
gift and genuine art " in that period was " perhaps 
more important than that furnished by any other sec 
tion of the country." 


M ABIE S activities during the memorable decade 
reviewed in the last chapter were by no means 
confined to his work as a writer and lecturer. Keenly 
alive to his obligations as a citizen and always eager 
to lend his help to any and every cause that appeared to 
him to be worthy, he soon found himself engaged in 
various enterprises more or less educational in char 
acter, to which he willingly gave the time and atten 
tion which only the busiest men are proverbially sup 
posed to have in reserve for matters outside of their 
professional work. 

Of all of these avocations the one that lay nearest 
to his heart, and the one in which he took the greatest 
pride, was his membership in the Board of Trustees 
of Williams College. This board consisted of sixteen 
members, eleven of whom were permanent trustees 
elected by the board itself for life. The other five 
members were elected by the alumni, one each year for 
a term of five years. In Mabie s day such an alumni 
trustee was eligible for reelection. He was elected an 



alumni member of this board in 1895, and was re- 
elected in 1900 and again in 1905. With this enviable 
record of popularity with the Williams alumni, it is 
not surprising that he was elected in 1906 a permanent 
trustee by the board itself. He served as such until 
his death. The beginning of his friend Stetson s term 
of service as a Williams trustee antedated Mabie s by 
five years ; he also became a permanent trustee. 

Stetson was in London in July, 1900, when he re 
ceived the news of Mabie s reelection to the board. 
Congratulating him, he wrote : 

" My letter of Friday was written before the receipt 
of your delightful letter of the 28th of June, every 
word of which went straight to my heart. Thank you 
for your account of Commencement where I should 
love to have been with you. Every event of the day 
and of the week was in my mind and heart, and I am 
only too glad to know that everything was successful. 
Your election as Trustee and the vote that did it were 
no less gratifying to me than they must have been to 
you; and you deserved this much because you have 
much honored your Alma Mater by service and by 

The service to which Stetson referred in this letter 
extended over a long period and was rendered in a 
variety of ways. The character and extent of this 
service were summarized in a paragraph which may be 
quoted from the memorial minute that was adopted by 


the Williams Board of Trustees on the occasion of 
Mabie s death : 

" The services of Dr. Mabie to his Alma Mater are 
inadequately indicated by any formal record of his 
membership in this Board. * * * From 1898 to 1915 
he served upon the Executive Committee, and then, 
upon the reorganization of the committees, became 
chairman of the Committee on Instruction, and, there 
fore, a member of the Executive Committee as newly 
constituted. But this official service of more than 
twenty years was only one proof of a loyalty which was 
unwearied for almost half a century. Few graduates 
of Williams have been so constant in their attendance 
upon the gatherings of the alumni. Few were so 
widely and affectionately known. In his editorial 
columns in The Outlook he was constantly interpreting 
the ideals of Williams College and of Williams men. 
He understood the temper and traditions of the place, 
and no college could have a more gracious spokesman. 
In his personal relations with the members of this 
board Dr. Mabie revealed all the courtesy and charm 
of a sweet nature, and a friendliness which was the 
natural expression of his rich and deeply spiritual life." 

In amplification of the foregoing Professor Bliss 
Perry, of Harvard, who was one of Mabie s associates 
for many years on the Williams Board of Trustees, 
writes as follows : 

" I have been trying yesterday and to-day to recall 


some special incident in connection with his service 
that might possibly prove of use to you. The fact 
is, however, that Mr. Mabie s value as an alumnus and 
trustee was not in any single act, or in the champion 
ship of any particular theory of college education or 
organization. What he did was to diffuse an atmos 
phere of genial good-will, of personal friendship, and 
of full comprehension of the complex intellectual and 
spiritual influences that make up the life of a college. 
I served with him on some important committees. He 
was imperturbably patient, deferential to opinions op 
posed to his own and endowed with rare wisdom in 
refusing to attempt the impracticable. He understood, 
as few of our alumni could, the long traditions of the 
place. He kept in touch with the faculty and the stu 
dent-body. He was an idealist, as you know, and all 
of his public utterances, in Williamstown and else 
where at college gatherings, lifted us to a higher level 
of feeling and purpose. But we looked upon him not 
as an exhorter to excellence, but as a friend whose high 
standards beckoned us to richer achievement. He was 
unwearied, for instance, in his recognition of any lit 
erary work done by the faculty or graduates of Wil 
liams. His interest in us, and faith in us, heartened 
younger men, even more than we realized. Perhaps 
he praised some of us more highly than we deserved, 
but we could easily forgive him for that. I look back 
upon him as a rich and full personal force. He radi- 


ated sunshine. He did not strive nor cry. He did 
not get excited over petty matters. He used his ripe 
judgment and his intimate knowledge of men to make 
the work at Williams agreeable and fruitful and nor 
mal. We counted upon him each year just as one 
counts upon a long and beautiful June day, and we 
were never disappointed." 

It was the custom of Mabie and Stetson to go to the 
meetings of the Board of Trustees and to Commence 
ment together; and on such occasions they were well- 
nigh inseparable. Mabie was always a welcome 
speaker at gatherings of the Williams alumni; and a 
signal honor was paid him when he was selected to be 
the presiding officer at the luncheon following the 
formal introduction of Dr. Harry A. Garfield into the 
office of President of Williams, in October, 1908. 
There were no fewer than six hundred alumni and 
guests at this luncheon, the latter including Ambas 
sador Bryce and Governor Guild, in addition to the 
presidents of all the larger universities and colleges 
in the county. Mabie was at his best in his introduc 
tions of the distinguished speakers on this occasion. 
His descriptions, moreover, in The Outlook of such 
academic festivals were noteworthy for both sympa 
thetic insight and felicity of phrase. A similar occa 
sion was in October, 1893, when the centenary of Wil 
liams was celebrated. The historical sketch of the 
college which Mabie wrote for Harper s Weekly, in 


anticipation of this celebration, revealed his full under 
standing of the Williams traditions and ideals. 

Before his election as a trustee the Williams authori 
ties had placed on record their appreciation of his pub 
lic services as a writer and lecturer by giving him the 
honorary degrees, first of Master of Arts and, in 1890, 
of Doctor of the Humanities, which is perhaps a fair 
equivalent for the cumbersome Latin phrase repre 
sented by the degree of L.H.D. At different times, 
moreover, he received the honorary degree of LL.D. 
from Union, Western Reserve and Washington and 

As the years passed during Mabie s residence in 
Summit and as his own daughters came to the proper 
age, the conviction forced itself upon him that one of 
the greatest needs, not only of the city itself, but of 
the neighboring communities, was a good school in 
which girls could be prepared for college. The solu 
tion of this problem fell in happily, moreover, with his 
firm belief in the theory that the thing best worth 
doing was the thing nearest at hand, if such service 
promised to be of substantial benefit to those among 
whom one was living. " There is no community so 
small," he said in one of his papers in " Works and 
Days," " that there is not room in it for the spirit and 
work of large-hearted and large-minded men and 
women; there is no village, no remote neighborhood, 


which does not cry out for the inspiration and help of 
a great service." 

It was to be his privilege to supply this inspiration 
and this help in various enterprises for the public good 
in Summit. Through his initiative, for example, the 
city was led to take over the property of the Library 
Association, of which he was a trustee and which was 
privately supported, and to form a public library. It 
was he, moreover, who took the lead in securing funds 
from Andrew Carnegie to provide for a library build 
ing; and from time to time he gave the library in all no 
fewer than five thousand volumes. 

The local enterprise, however, in which he took the 
deepest interest and which occupied the first place in 
his mind and heart was the Kent Place School for 
girls. The first steps towards the development of this 
project were taken in 1894 by a group of men of 
whom he was one, the name given to the institution 
being due to the fact that the property which they 
acquired for this purpose belonged at one time to 
Chancellor Kent of New York. The first president of 
the Board of Directors was William J. Curtis. When, 
a year or two latter, Mr. Curtis resigned, Mabie was 
elected president of the board, an office that he con 
tinued to fill until his death. Throughout his life he 
gave a great deal of time and thought to the develop 
ment of the school. Except on one or two occasions, 
caused by absence from the country or by illness, he 

I ~ 


delivered all the Commencement addresses. At other 
times in the year, too, he kept in close and friendly 
relations with the school. It was his custom to speak 
to the girls on the first and last Sunday evenings of 
the school year and often on Sunday evenings during 
the term; and it was through these frequent informal 
talks that his influence had the greatest effect with the 
girls in the formation of their standards and ideals. 

Under Mabie s direction the school prospered. 
While he was president of the board more than nine 
hundred and fifty girls were pupils at Kent Place, of 
whom two hundred and fifty completed the course and 
were graduated. Of these no fewer than one hundred 
and thirty-nine including Mabie s younger daughter, 
entered the various women s colleges, Wellesley, Smith, 
Vassar and others, where their records were high. It 
was his ambition to make Kent Place perform for girls 
the same service that the national schools like Phillips 
Exeter, Andover and Lawrenceville performed for 
boys. But great endowed schools of this type require 
generations of slow growth before they come to ma 
turity and full usefulness ; and such a development for 
Kent Place could not be brought about in the life-time 
of one man, however great devotion he might give to 
the task. 

The last Commencement address that he delivered 
to the Kent Place girls was on June 7, 1915. The last 
message that he sent to them was a year later, during 


his illness. A paragraph from that letter will illus 
trate his method of bringing home to them some sim 
ple lesson in character building. 

" You have seen very little of me this year," he 
wrote, " though I intended to see a good deal of you. 
I have been going to school myself under conditions 
not nearly as pleasant as those at Kent Place; and I 
have been trying to learn some lessons which I sup 
posed I had learned; willingness to give up my own 
way and learn not what I like but what I must. I have 
found out that going to school is just as hard as it 
used to be, that teachers are just as inexorable, and 
that it is not always easy to understand the value of 
what we are learning * * *. Going to school is simply 
preparedness for the hard, mysterious and wonderful 
possibilities of life. I suppose I have said this to you 
before. I say it again only because I have been learn 
ing it again. Don t be afraid either of pain or mis 
fortune. If things are hard remember that education 
is hard in the exact proportion in which it prepares us 
for difficult and splendid things." 

The plans of the present Board of Directors for the 
development of the school will follow the lines marked 
out by their late president. " No one," said Frank L. 
Crawford, the president of the board, at the twenty- 
fifth anniversary of the founding of the school, " can 
ever adequately state what the school owes to. Dr. 
Mabie. Most of you remember him personally. Most 


of you know how he used to come down here at the 
beginning of the year, at the end of the year and oft- 
times in between, and talk to the girls, talk to them 
sometimes seriously and sometimes playfully, but 
always in the tone of the lofty spirit. He was one of 
the greatest optimists I ever knew. He always be 
lieved that the best was to come out of every difficulty, 
for the country, for the school, for all that he had to 
do. His optimism inspired everybody with whom he 
associated. * * * He left no successor. The mantle 
of Elijah fell on no Elisha. But we have done our 
best to take up his plans and follow them out as well as 
we can." 

Another educational enterprise in which Mabie be 
came deeply interested in this the busiest period of his 
life was the New York Kindergarten Association, of 
which he was the head for twenty-two years, presiding 
at all of the meetings of the Board of Managers and at 
the annual meetings, except when unable to be present 
through illness or unavoidable absence. The associa 
tion had been organized in 1892 under the presidency 
of Richard Watson Gilder, when the Froebel kinder 
garten system of training children was rapidly gaining 
in favor throughout the country ; and it was under Ma- 
bie s presidency that the greatest advance in populariz 
ing the kindergarten took place in New York City. In 
reviewing his connection with the association and his 


influence in carrying out the work during nearly a 
quarter of a century, the officers and managers placed 
on record, at the time of his death, the following 
minute as an expression of their personal grief and 
their sense of irreparable loss : 

" He had the highest estimate of the kindergarten 
idea. He believed in the principles of Froebel and in 
the methods devised by him for their practical applica 

" He also believed in the mission of the New York 
Kindergarten Association. He did not think that mis 
sion was fulfilled and the association ready to go out 
of business when its aim of securing the introduction 
of kindergartens into the New York public schools 
was accomplished. He recognized the further task 
laid on the association of upholding the kindergarten 
ideal and setting the highest standards of kindergarten 
work. He hailed with enthusiasm the teaching of 
teachers as a signally designated and officially recog 
nized function of the association. He claimed no 
credit as the instigator of this splendid evolution of our 
service, although in fact he did much to inspire as well 
as to develop it. In its natural establishment his tact 
and his power of enlisting interest went a long way to 
secure the noble equipment which has made possible 
the association s Training School for Kindergartners 
and Department of Graduate Study now so conspicu- 


ous and so unique among the educational opportunities 
our city has to offer." 

Mabie was never a figure-head in any enterprise to 
which he gave the use of his name. His optimism, 
his breadth of view and his stimulating suggestiveness, 
united with his tact, his sanity and his sympathetic 
knowledge of human nature, made him accepted at 
once as a working leader. Thus he directed and car 
ried through all the policies of the New York Kinder 
garten Association, doing a great deal more work than 
anyone could suppose him capable of doing, in view 
of his other engagements. It was largely due to his 
efforts that the late John D. Archbold was induced to 
give the association its present handsome and commo 
dious home in West Forty-second Street; and it was 
directly due to his representations that Mr. Archbold 
was led to supplement this munificent gift with a fur 
ther large sum to be used as a maintenance fund. 

A member of the Board of Managers, who served 
for many years under Mabie s presidency, recalls the 
personnel of the board and his method of conducting 
its affairs in the following words : 

The board was composed of people who were very 
much in earnest and who represented various types of 
mind, among them that of the amateur in education, 
with much enthusiasm for the cause and with un 
bounded faith that its triumph would solve all the prob- 


lems of the future; there were also teachers, philan 
thropists, business men. 

!< We had educational theories to discuss and prac 
tical problems to solve, and we did not always agree, 
but our meetings were all the more interesting on this 
account and often even inspiring for the opportunity 
they offered our presiding officer, of which he made 
such fine use. Mr. Mabie brought to the board meet 
ings a keen interest, much sympathy and sound com 
mon sense. He handled us though I am not sure 
he was conscious of doing it with much tact, and his 
unfailing sense of humor lit up many a discussion just 
at the point where it was about to become an argument. 
He was equilibrium itself. 

" He was regular and very punctual, and the mo 
ment he took his place at the head of the table he gave 
his complete attention to the business in hand. No 
time was wasted, but there was no sense of hurry, and 
Mr. Mabie imparted a living quality to everything that 
happened. There was something in his warm and 
kindly interest which kindled in us the desire to do our 
best; and although he rarely expressed his own opin 
ions, he patiently listened to ours, and there was some 
thing in his attitude that helped us to open the doors 
of our minds." 

Apropos of one statement in the foregoing, not 
a few legends survive illustrating the skill with 
which Mabie kept the board to its serious work, while 


relieving the occasional tension by a relaxation into a 
humorous observation which often resulted in a play 
of wits. Mrs. Kate Douglas Riggs, a charter member 
and vice-president of the association, attended most of 
the board meetings during his presidency; and, if their 
fellow members are to be believed, the verbal passages 
at arms between the two, when the word, the phrase or 
the idea invited to a brief indulgence in jocular com 
ment, must have provided rare entertainment for the 
listeners. While the recollection of these matches of 
wits is vivid, they were too evanescent, too dependent 
on the mood and circumstance of the moment, to be 
recalled in detail or to bear transfer to the printed 

The twentieth annual meeting of the New York 
Kindergarten Association took the form of a recep 
tion to Mrs. Riggs. No one could be more felicitous 
as a presiding officer on such an occasion than Mabie. 
The concluding paragraph of his address is here re 
produced because, as Mrs. Riggs writes, " it gives a 
glimpse of the beautiful relations existing between 
Mr. Mabie and me as president and vice-president of 
the association." After describing the land of child 
hood, peopled by fairies and witches, heroes and giants, 
princes and princesses, where " the great adventure of 
life begins," a land, he said, the golden key to which 
is given to some, he ended his remarks with these 
words : 


" We have come here to-day, not to honor that is 
unnecessary but to express our affection for and 
our obligation to our Lady of the Golden Key. She 
has never been far from the country of childhood; 
teaching children in San Francisco, speaking for them 
in New York, and in every part of the country through 
a series of charming, natural and affecting stories. 
She has now set Rebecca on the stage, and has 
made herself an interpreter of childhood through all 
forms of literature. In the Luxembourg there is a 
charming picture of a little Maine village asleep in the 
moonlight, with a quiet stream flowing through the 
heart of it. What Mr. Ben Foster has done with the 
brush, our Lady of the Golden Key has done in the 
story and on the stage. She has given us the familiar 
and beautiful background of the New England farm 
and village, she has set a charming girl in our midst, 
and has held the kingdom of childhood open to a mul 
titude of people." 

The annual appeals for financial assistance for the 
Kindergarten Association which were sent out in Ma- 
bie s name occasionally drew unexpected replies. One 
of these was a characteristic letter from the veteran 
journalist, diplomatist and author, John Bigelow, then 
in his eighty-ninth year: 

From John Bigeloiv 

21 GRAMERCY PARK, NEW YORK, April 27, 1906. 

MY DEAR MABIE, I am myself the President and 
Treasurer and the rest of the officers of a kindergarten 
association at which there is a regular attendance of 
sixteen children and grandchildren whom it is very 
important to keep out of the street. 

Unlike you and Trask I am too old to earn any 
thing and too wise or lazy to worry about that. I 
have therefore little to bestow on other kindergartens 
in the way of charity except so much of a good ex 
ample as you may possibly get a glimpse of with the 
aid of a lump of radium; and paternal advice which I 
always keep on tap for patient listeners. That is the 
only crop I grow that seems to become every year 
more abundant at a constantly diminishing cost for 
labor. I send you with this note a specimen of the 
latter which will show you that I am not exaggerating. 

These I regard as good and sufficient excuses for let 
ting the unfortunate children of the poor, who are 
rarely cuddled into idiocy by silly mothers who have 
never enjoyed their educational advantages; children 
to whom every street is a park and the hinder end of 
every vehicle a coach, have a good time in their 
youth as good at least as I had myself instead of 
imprisoning them with a schoolmarm in a kindergarten 
during the very hours that the blessed sun and breezes 
of heaven are inviting them out to their school in 


which lessons are taught which the wisest university 
professors can neither teach nor comprehend. It is 
from this class of pupils that our republic has always 
recruited its ablest and most useful servants. 

Nevertheless in response to your eloquent appeal 
which my children, I dare say, will sell some day be 
fore you are as old as I am for many shekels ; I enclose 
$5, as evidence for you to give your constituents of 
your assiduity and zeal as their President. If every 
one as poor as I responds as generously to your appeal 
I should not be surprised to meet your kindergart- 
nerines bearing you on their shoulders in procession 
through our public thoroughfares, an homage they are 
sure to pay you some day for that or better reasons. 
Yours sincerely, JOHN BIGELOW. 

When Mabie made his home in Summit he became 
a communicant of Calvary Church. In time he was 
recognized as a great layman, notable not only in his 
own parish but in the diocese and even in the national 
councils of the church, for his large-mindedness, his 
tolerance and his intelligence, and for the broad hu 
manity which he brought to the discussion and settle 
ment of all questions affecting the church. For six 
teen years he was a member of the vestry of Calvary 
Church, and for eleven years of that period he was a 
warden. He soon came to be known as a wise coun- 


seller. He was always listened to with the greatest 
respect, and he early acquired a commanding influence 
in the affairs of the parish and later in the diocese. 

In this larger field his influence was active, far- 
reaching and of high value in a practical way as well 
as in a sipirtual sense. At the request of the writer 
Bishop Edwin S. Lines, of the Diocese of Newark, 
with whom Mabie was closely associated in church 
work during many years, prepared the following brief 
review of his relations to the work of the diocese: 

" I have a sense of great obligation and gratitude to 
Mr. Mabie, for he was most kind and helpful in the 
work of the church. With large and generous thought 
about religion and its supreme place in human life, 
he appreciated also the place of the church as religion 
organized and made effective. He loved his own 
church also with his whole heart, while entirely free 
from narrowness in his judgment of other churches 
and recognition of their service to the world. 

" He identified himself closely with the diocese, 
holding a place upon its Standing Committee, which 
is the Bishop s council of advice, and serving as a dep 
uty in General Conventions where his presence and 
interest meant very much. He was not unmindful of 
the details of administration, while maintaining the 
largest thought about religious movements and spir 
itual forces. He had much to do with the establish 
ment of the Diocesan Church Club where he was al- 


ways a most acceptable and helpful speaker, and also 
in the establishment of our diocesan paper as a means 
of giving information and awakening interest in 
church work. He was constantly asked to speak to 
congregations or church clubs in the parishes and he 
always answered the invitations when he possibly 
could. It was surprising that a man with so many 
obligations could go to so many meetings and with a 
message prepared with care and suited to the occasion. 

" The diocese was proud of having as one of its 
representative men a writer of more than national 
reputation. He held a place of leadership among us 
with a large and generous church policy and an entirely 
practical judgment and attention to what are regarded 
as the less important concerns. He brought to us with 
free hand of the treasures of his experience and his 
studies and his words were always an inspiration, 
making for a larger and finer outlook in church life. 
He disliked ecclesiasticism, but he was always patient 
and kindly with those who differed from him, and 
what he said or did always made for peace and good 
will. He lived out a rich and fine life here among us 
and we all owe him a great debt for the way he taught 
us and the way he led us into an appreciation of the 
supreme value of spiritual forces and into a better 
understanding of the mission of Jesus Christ and His 

Mabie s influence was by no means confined, how- 


ever, to his own diocese. He often spoke in churches 
elsewhere. One such typical occasion is referred to in 
the following letter to him from Bishop H. C. Potter, 
of New York, written early in January, 1899: 

" You have made me doubly your debtor : first 
by your most characteristic and admirable volume of 
essays on Work and Culture which I shall take with 
me to Cornell, where I am to have a quiet ten days, 
and read at my leisure, and then for doing me the 
kindness to give me a copy of your address at St. An 
drew s, Harlem. 

" I do not agree with you as to its relative value as 
spoken or in print, and I am more than ever satisfied 
after reading it that it will make a very valuable paper 
for circulation. I am taking the liberty of writing a 
brief prefatory note to it, for which I hope you will 
forgive me." 

The address referred to by Bishop Potter was one 
delivered in the interests of the City Mission Society. 
The subject was " Service and Sacrifice: the Business 
of Humanity." At the request of Bishop Potter 
Mabie wrote out the address, the tone of which may 
be inferred from the final paragraph: 

" No man s life is safe unless there is something of 
the missionary spirit in it; the spirit of one who is sent 
and behind whom there is a tremendous impulse. 
Such men are recognizable wherever they appear by 
their note of courage, their clear integrity, their power 


of leadership. And no life is safe unless it has also 
something of the martyr in it; the willingness to sacri 
fice and suffer for others. The real cure for selfish 
ness and pessimism is to carry the needs of the world 
in our hearts." 

With reference to Mabie s power as an editorial 
writer on spiritual themes and as a lay preacher, Elbert 
Francis Baldwin, his associate for many years on the 
staff of The Outlook, writes as follows : 

" Underneath an emotional exterior Theodore 
Roosevelt had a great astuteness. So underneath 
Hamilton Mabie s smiling exterior was a great earnest 
ness. Perhaps this revealed itself most in the reli 
gious editorials, essays and addresses, expressing a 
spiritual nature which grew to be a dominating char 
acteristic in his later years. Especially in the ad 
dresses there was no question about the fact that you 
were listening, not to a clergyman, but to a layman, 
to direct, simple, practical, unecclesiastical, unpietistic 
talk. No wonder that the clergy envied this speaker; 
some of them thought that Mr. Mabie ought to take 
orders. Bishop Potter himself once said Mabie, if 
I ever catch you out after dark, I will ordain you 
right then and there. 

No complete record can ever be made of the scores 
and even hundreds of letters which Mabie wrote with 
his own hand in these busy years to young men and 


young women throughout the country who were led 
by his published writings to appeal to him for advice, 
help and encouragement in starting them upon their 
literary or other careers, for which they felt that they 
were destined. To such an appeal he could never turn 
a deaf ear. For, recalling his own early manhood 
and the trials and difficulties he had to overcome be 
fore he found his life work, he had the deepest sym 
pathy with those who were struggling to solve the 
same hard problem. 

To one of these unknown correspondents, Miss 
Susan Rice, of Falls Church, Virginia, who had come 
upon " My Study Fire " by some chance, he wrote 
letter after letter during five years, commenting crit 
ically and encouragingly upon the stories she sent him. 
At last he wrote to her as follows, recalling his own 
similar perplexity and pointing the only way out : 

" I wish I could tell you definitely what to do, but the 
problem on which you are working is personal, and 
can only be solved by yourself. The adjustment 
which you are trying to make is the greatest problem 
with which any of us have to deal, and we have to 
make it for ourselves. No one can make it for us. I 
believe that a sound life, the best habits of work you 
can form, faith in the best things that you can set 
before yourself, and the wisest use you can make of 
the best in your way, will settle the question for you. 
In my own experience it was a long, painful and very 


depressing matter, but it was finally solved, and I be 
lieve it is in most lives. If your heart is entirely set 
on doing one thing, by all means do it, and do it with 
all your heart. Fidelity to one s ideals is, I am sure, 
the only salvation for one s soul." 

Another instance is narrated by Miss Cora Mars- 
land, who, while she was the head of a department in 
the Kansas State Normal School, at Emporia, and a 
regular reader of The Outlook, sent Mabie " some 
bits " as she calls them, which she had been asked 
to send him. " I felt," writes Miss Marsland, " that 
I should not burden him to return them, but he did, 
with gracious, helpful words. I thanked him for 
every word and back to me came this second letter," 
as follows : 

" It was very good of you to send me so delicate 
an expression of appreciation of a service too slight 
to merit recognition at your hands. We all need so 
much help in this tremendous education we call life 
that I am persuaded that one of our chief duties here 
is to be of use to each other. The difficulty of really 
helping each other effectively lies in our necessary 
absorption in the work at hand and in our slight ac 
quaintance with each other s needs." 

From the Rev. E. B. Woodruff, Dean of Calvary 
Cathedral, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, comes evi 
dence of a different sort but to the same purport. 
The incident concerned one of his intimate friends, a 


young man who was then an assistant in a Connecticut 
parish, but who was dissatisfied with his methods of 
work. " He had to wait for the inspiration of some 
particular moment," wrote Dean Woodruff, " rather 
than to command his faculties when he should con 
trol his moods. The Essays on Nature and Culture 
led me to suggest that Mr. Mabie could help him, and 
his editorials in The Outlook, afterwards gathered in 
Work and Culture analyzed my friend s condition 
admirably. He wrote Mr. Mabie and had a wonder 
ful letter in reply, which ended by inviting him to 
make an appointment to lunch in New York. My 
friend went down a stranger and Mr. Mabie took him 
to the Aldine Club and gave him several hours of his 
valuable time. He put my friend on the right track, 
and his ministry has been both scholarly and spirit 

Such instances are typical and might be multiplied 
almost indefinitely. They carry their own comment 
as an illustration of the time, labor and painstaking 
care which Mabie throughout his life was willing to 
give to young men and young women all over the 
country, who were led by something he had written 
to seek his advice and assistance. 


THE last year of the nineteenth and the first year 
of the twentieth century were to be of the 
highest importance in Mabie s literary history. were, 
indeed, to mark the culmination of his purely literary 
career. For within a few months he was to publish 
his " William Shakespeare, Poet, Dramatist and 
Man," a work to which he had given his best thought 
in his maturist and most vigorous period; he was to 
deliver the Turnbull lectures at Johns Hopkins Uni 
versity on "American Poetry"; and he was to be 
honored for his service and achievements by a dinner 
at the University Club in New York by more than a 
hundred men representing the literary and other pro 
fessional life of the city. 

While these events were in the immediate future, 
however, his contributions to The Outlook continued 
to attract attention. One of these was an article on 
the work of George E. Woodberry, who for the ten 
years previous had been Professor of Comparative 
Literature at Columbia University, and who had re 
cently published several volumes of poems and essays. 



One sentence in the letter which Professor Woodberry 
sent to Mabie when this article appeared stands out 
with distinctness his characterization of apprecia- 
tiveness as " the most powerful motive to a literary 
career." Mabie was never chary of praise, when he 
thought praise to be due. Professor Woodberry s let 
ter was as follows: 

From G. E. Woodberry 


DEAR MR. MABIE, I was at home for a short rest 
when your paper in my behalf appeared in The Out 
look; and now that I have come back to my usual 
world I want to thank you for it. There has never 
been any similar notice of my books, and I am glad 
my first exposition is of so generous a nature and 
pleasant to me and the friends who have kept me 
going through these years with hope and encourage 
ment. I can only express my thanks to you and let 
you imagine the strangeness of the feeling to find 
that appreciativeness beginning which I have seldom 
really expected and yet which is the most powerful 
motive to a literary career. I began to feel it first in 
the response of my students, to which a good deal of 
the " Heart of Man " is indebted, and now it does not 
seem so hopeless as it did to reach the public. * * * 

However these things may turn out, such attention 
as you gave me is a great help to one to believe in his 


task, and I think it is a help to more than one. There 
is a kind of oppressive feeling in young writers, I 
think, that an American writer cannot produce any 
thing that will receive attention, except in the new 
novel style: the attention which you gave me will 
hearten them to hope that all is not over for us yet; 
but you will know as well as I do the discouraging 
conditions for that sort of brilliant work which re 
quires spirit as well as other qualities. To find an 
American praised as I have recently been is almost a 
sign of the times. I don t say it proudly for myself, 
but with a kind of general gratitude, in the hope that 
the long frost will break soon, and we shall have critics 
and poets again, as well as makers of stories and his 
tories and text books. 

You must interpret my egotism as generously as 
you have my other qualities, and let me go unscathed 
for this talk of myself. 

Sincerely yours, G. E. WOODBERRY. 

The publication of the Shakespeare in the columns 
of The Outlook extended over nearly the entire year 
1900, beginning early in January and not ending un 
til the first issue in December. The chapters, espe 
cially those treating of the " Poetic Period," evoked 
some comment from Mabie s contemporaries. Early 
in the summer, when he and his family were enjoying 
their first season at Seal Harbor, Maine, Dr. van 


Dyke wrote to him : " It is good work that you are 
doing. And all the better because it is done so quietly, 
so smoothly, without strain, without explosion. Sky 
rockets are for Coney Island! The crowd goes there 
now-a-days. * * * I hate to see an idea running 
around with a fire-cracker tied to its tail. It is a joy 
to read work like yours calm, steady, self-confi 
dent, unassuming, with the charm of a lucid serenity 
lying over it, like the afternoon light on the river." 

Occasionally, however, a friend raised a question 
as to the soundness of his literary judgment in some 
matter of detail. Such an instance was the following 
letter from Aldrich with reference to a statement in 
the paper on Shakespeare s sonnets : 

From T. B. Aldrich 

PONKAPOG, MASS., September 12, 1900. 

DEAR MR. MABIE, I have just been reading a 
charming paper of yours on Shakespeare s Sonnets, 
and one or two I don t call them criticisms things 
occur to me. You speak of the English form of 
sonnet as " surrendering something of the sustained 
fulness of tone of the Italian sonnet, but securing in 
exchange a sweetness, a flow of pure melody, which 
were beyond the compass of the original sonnet 
form. " Are you sure of that? I have always en 
tertained the conviction that the Petrarchan form of 
sonnet, with its interwoven rhymes, its capacity for 


expressing subtle magic, was an instrument as su 
perior to the English form as the harp or the guitar 
is superior to the banjo, and I fancy that most work 
ers in this kind of verse will agree with me. " The 
alternate lines rhyming, and closing with a couplet, 
gave the poet the command of some of the richest 
melodic effects within the reach of English versifica 
tion." The sonnet that ends with a couplet misses 
that fine unrolling of music which belongs to the son 
net proper. The couplet brings the reader up with a 
jerk. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the 
couplet has the snap of a whiplash, and turns the 
sonnet into an epigram. To my thinking this abrupt 
ness hurts many of Shakespeare s beautiful poems of 
fourteen lines for they are simply that. One must 
go to Milton, and Wordsworth, and Keats (in three 
instances) in order to find the highest development of 
the English SONNET. * * * 

Sincerely yours, 


Mabie expressed his gratitude to Aldrich for this 
friendly criticism in the following letter: 

To T. B. Aldrich 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. i, 1900. 

MY DEAR MR. ALDRICH, Your letter was a 
friendly act of the most genuine and helpful kind, 


and I shall gladly remember it as an expression of your 
interest. I have gone over the whole matter carefully 
and I have modified the passages you quoted so as to 
conform them to your general view. I have always 
regarded the sonnet form used by Shakespeare as 
legitimate, , but I have not regarded it as a higher de 
velopment of the sonnet. What I meant to say was 
that Shakespeare gave this form a place in our versifi 
cation and that he secured with it effects which were 
beyond the reach of his English predecessors. I think 
that is true, but I made myself say that he was more 
musical than the Italians ! Although a lover of 
Shakespeare s sonnets, I entirely agree with you as 
regards the superiority, in musical effects, of Milton, 
Wordsworth, and Keats. I am greatly indebted to 
you for fastening my attention on a matter which I 
had touched carelessly. 

I fear the chapters on Shakespeare will seem very 
ambitious to some of my friends. As a matter of fact, 
they were conceived in modesty and born in humility 
of mind. I lost my heart to Shakespeare long ago; 
he seems very real to me; a good many people think 
of him as a shadowy creature; all the lives approach 
him from the standpoint of the expert. It was in my 
heart to tell the story of a poet as I read it, avoiding 
the questions and problems which make for intellectual 
acuteness, but not for comprehension, appreciation and 


We had a beautiful summer at Seal Harbor and 
are in great form as regards health. 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The " Shakespeare " was published in October of 
this year by the Macmillans. The work was well re 
ceived both by the general public and by scholars. 
Within two years a fourth edition was called for. In 
the preface which he wrote for this new edition Ma- 
bie defined his attitude towards his subject in these 
words: "In this study of Shakespeare it has been 
the endeavor of the writer to present the poet as a 
man, not as a series of problems associated with a 
name; to reveal the dramatist in the growth of his 
spirit, his thought, and his art by filling in the back 
ground of landscape, educational opportunity, social 
condition and race activity, which, in connection with 
his work, give his face distinctness of outline and 
feature." The demand for the book has been con 

The regret of the true artist that his finished work 
was not better than it turned out to be, is again heard 
in the reference to the Shakespeare in the following 
letter to Miss King. The recent death of Charles 
Dudley Warner was the subject of the opening para 
graph : 


To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., Thanksgiving Day, 1900. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I have been meaning to write 
you for several weeks ; ever since Mr. Warner s death. 
I saw Mrs. Warner a few days ago and found her 
very much absorbed by the experience through which 
she is passing, but quiet and self-controlled. She 
spoke particularly of the messages letters and tele 
grams she had received from you. The house 
seemed solitary without Mr. Warner; and yet I was 
not sorry that he had gone. He came to see me 
about ten days before his death, and he seemed so 
feeble that I feared he was slowly going to pieces 
physically. He was always so alert and spiritual, so 
well kept and at home in the world, that decline in 
him would have been unspeakably painful. He was 
gay, however, even then, and he has gone without any 
memory of eclipse of his mind or spirits. His affec 
tion for you and his admiration were deep; he was 
always talking of " Grace." What a fine thing it is 
that practically all our writers have been and are gen 
tlemen: men of honor, breeding and charm! 

I wish I saw you oftener; there are so many things 
I would like to talk over with you. I have been 
spending ten days in Virginia, where I seem to have 
many good friends. I had three days in dear shabby 
old Williamsburg ; utterly run down at the heel and 


out at the elbows, but with a blissful consciousness of 
past greatness. I saw many pleasant people, and made 
a charming collection of " old fashioned Virginia gen 
tlemen"; delightful cranks, many of them; who cure 
gout with more Port and more Madeira. 

In Richmond I was lulled and soothed with songs 
of the Confederacy, in a way that would have given 
you unmitigated delight. I sang the praises of Lee 
and Jackson my Southern heroes as I am sing 
ing them everywhere, and finding them everywhere 
accepted. I noticed, however, to my joy, that when 
ever I touched the great chord of nationality, Rich 
mond instantly responded. Some day we are going 
to have a real and great nation here. 

The Shakespeare will go to New Orleans presently 
and I hope you will like it a little. It ought to have 
been very much better, but ; I don t do things the 
way I want to. * * * 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

A week or so later, on December 4, 1900, the Al- 
dine Club, which by this time had moved to the Fifth 
Avenue Building at Twenty-third Street, gave a din 
ner in honor of Mark Twain. Mabie was the pre 
siding officer and was even more felicitous than usual 
in his introductions. In addition to Mr. Clemens the 
speakers on this occasion included Mr. Howells, Hop- 


kinson Smith, Marion Crawford, Dr. Weir Mitchell, 
James Lane Allen, Winston Churchill and Brander 
Matthews. William W. Ellsworth has described the 
affair in his " Golden Age of Authors " ; and it was 
to Ellsworth, as they were on the way home from the 
banquet, that Clemens declared that Mabie was the 
best presiding officer at a dinner he had ever seen. 

A few weeks later he made up his usual Christmas 
package of books to send to the Kings, including a 
copy of Maurice Hewlett s " Richard Yea-and-Nay " 
and a copy, bound in calf, with illustrations, of his 
" Shakespeare." With the parcel went this letter: 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., Dec. 22, 1900. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, Your letter was very welcome. 
I should love New Orleans if I had a chance; if you 
were not so far away you would see me often. Next 
season I must run down to see the Cherokee roses and 
the Kings once more. We Northerners are not 
wholly bad; for one thing we are very fond of you 
Southerners and that is a saving grace. And then 
we really have some sentiment and plenty of humor! 
but even when you Southerners are all wrong you are 

I am sending you a little package of Christmas books 
with my love. I do not care for the Shakespeare in 


this form, but the illustrations were really too inter 
esting to be lost and in order to save them a big book 
had to be made; five hundred calves were slain in 
order that the first edition might appear ! It is gone ; 
the dear public still believes in me. I want you to 
read the book. I tried to deal with the poet as a 
poet and not as a problem, and the critics have been 
surprisingly gentle with me. I am sure you will like 
Hewlett. It is the one book of the season that seemed 
predestined to be sent to you. There are cards in the 
title pages to indicate the destinies of these books and 
will you be sure and see to it that my love goes with 
each volume ? * * * 

Tell all my New Orleans friends that I have not 
forgotten them. I do not forget; that is one of my 
Southern traits. Merry Christmas and a new century 
of prosperity to the Kings and to the dear old city. 
Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Despite his habitually optimistic frame of mind and 
cheerfulness of spirits, which always served to buoy 
up his friends, there were moments when Mabie was 
depressed in the contemplation of his own work and 
in the realization of the difficulty of conveying his 
message effectively to those whom he was anxious to 
reach. He was in this mood when he received a letter 
from Dr. van Dyke, to which he replied as follows : 


To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

THE OUTLOOK, NEW YORK, Dec. 23, 1900. 

MY DEAR VAN DYKE, Your latest letter to me 
gave me more pleasure than anything else which has 
come to me this year. I believe I am always down 
in my soul about myself and I manage to keep com 
fortable by resolutely keeping myself out of my mind. 
But a man cannot always live in entire objectivity, 
and I cannot avoid reckoning with myself from time 
to time. One of those times had come when your 
letter reached me. It really was a Godsend. I shall 
read it from time to time when I am in the depths 
about my work and am tempted to try and make my 
self all over again. Your friendship has been an in 
valuable help to me. Most of the people who cannot 
and would not escape the religious view of life have 
no real care for the art side of things; while the men 
who care for work on the side of conscience as ex 
pressed in beauty are indifferent if not hostile to reli 
gion. I have found in you a friend of the spirit and 
also a friend of the craft; you know when a thing is 
true in thought and feeling and you also know when 
it is right in form. That you think there is something 
real and sound in some things I have done has been 
the saving of my spirits. Your own way is so dis 
tinctly marked out by your qualities that I could hardly 
understand why you are ever in doubt, if I did not 


know the tricks of the poetic temperament and the 
exacting demands of a man s ideals. 

I am sending you a trifle by way of remembrance, 
and I send you herewith all the faith in you and your 
work and your future you need or care for, besides 
my love. 

Yours faithfully, H. W. M. 

The " Shakespeare " brought Mabie many letters of 
congratulation from his fellow-craftsmen. Among 
them was the following from Aldrich : 

From T. B. Aldrich 

BOSTON, March 7, 1901. 

MY DEAR MR. MABIE, If I were to ink all the 
thoughts that came to me while I was reading, or, 
rather, re-reading your Shakespeare, I should produce 
a volume as corpulent as your own, and probably in 
convenience you by the bulk of my praise and 
praise is a thing that should be partaken of more 
sparingly than either biography or criticism. I shall 
put my impression into a space better befitting its real 
modesty and yours. 

When Lowell printed his paper on Shakespeare he 
called it " Shakespeare Once More." At the time the 
apologetic quality in the title seemed to me eminently 
proper and becoming^; for wasn t the theme a little 
threadbare? But since then a man in Germany, and 


two more in England, and now one man in the United 
States, have proved the contrary. Your way of tell 
ing the story of Shakespeare s life makes the biography 
seem novel again, and your gloss on the plays and 
poems has the freshness of a new personality justify 
ing new points of view. * * * 

Ever faithfully yours, T. B. ALDRICH. 

In January of this year Mabie had received an in 
vitation from President Daniel C. Oilman to deliver 
the Turnbull lectures on Poetry at Johns Hopkins 
University. This invitation was a high compliment 
and a gratifying recognition of the eminent position 
which he had acquired in the American world of let 
ters. This lectureship on Poetry had been founded 
in 1889 by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull, of 
Baltimore, in memory of their son Percy Graeme Turn- 
bull. The first course of lectures on the foundation 
had been delivered by Stedman; and among the lec 
turers who, in addition to Mabie, succeeded him were 
Professor Jebb of Cambridge, England, Ferdinand 
Brunetiere and Professor Woodberry, of Columbia. 
Mabie selected as his subject " American Poetry," and 
delivered the lectures in the following April. 

Early in that month he had received from his old 
Williams classmate, Henry L. Nelson, who until re 
cently had been editor of Harper s Weekly and who in 
the following year was to become Professor of Polit- 


ical Science at Williams College, a letter inviting him 
to be the guest at a dinner which some of his friends 
desired to give in his honor. Nelson s letter was as 
follows : 

.-" M-V* V 

From Henry L. Nelson 

NEW ROCHELLE, April i, 1901. 

MY DEAR MABIE,. It gives me great pleasure to 
invite you, in the name of a committee of your friends, 
to a dinner in your honor to be given at a date most 
convenient to you. I have reserved three evenings at 
the University Club, April 26, 28 and 29, but as the 
earliest of these will interfere with your lectures at 
Baltimore, I wish to leave the matter to you. Per 
haps you would prefer even a later date than April 
29, although I rather hope not, since I must be in 
Williamstown on May 3, and expect to be away sev 
eral days. 

The other members of the committee are Frank 
Stetson, W. D. Howells, Henry van Dyke, Andrew 
Carnegie and W. H. Mallory. 

Yours sincerely, H. L. NELSON. 

The date finally selected was April 29. The invita 
tions to the dinner, which were sent out early in the 
month, made clear the timeliness of the honor that his 
friends desired to pay the guest of the evening: 

" Some of the friends of Hamilton W. Mabie, of 


whom the undersigned are a committee, desire to tes 
tify in an appropriate manner their appreciation of 
his service and success in literature, and they believe 
that many others will be happy to join with them. 

" The completion and publication of his monumental 
work on Shakespeare and his appointment to the Turn- 
bull lectureship at Johns Hopkins University make 
this a fitting time for the expression of the high esteem 
in which Mr. Mabie is held by his literary associates 
and his personal friends. 

The dinner was given in the Council Chamber of 
the University Club, and was attended by more than 
a hundred men representing the highest literary and 
other professional life of the city. Dr. van Dyke 
presided, occupying for once the place that Mabie had 
made peculiarly his own. The speakers who followed 
Dr. Van Dyke and the guest of the evening were 
Stedman, Clemens, Dr. J. H. Canfield, the librarian at 
Columbia, who was at Williams for three years while 
Mabie was an undergraduate; Brander Mathews and 
Hopkinson Smith. 

Two paragraphs may be quoted from the reply to 
Dr. van Dyke s opening address, for their value in 
keeping before the mind of the reader the modesty of 
Mabie s claims for himself as a literary man, and the 
clarity of vision with which, during the preceding 
decade, he had striven for the goal which was ever 
his objective, that of guide and teacher to those who 


were seeking the best in life as revealed in litera 
ture : 

" Over-generous, too generous things have been said 
by my good friend on my left and by the good friends 
who have written about the things that I have done. 
Now I am quite sure that what I believe to be a very 
sound sense of literary values and a saving sense of 
humor will keep me perfectly sane on that point. If 
I stopped to think, as I can frankly say I never did, 
because it depresses me of what I have done, I 
should claim simply this one service : I have not cre 
ated any literature, but I think I may say that I have 
pointed other people told other people where to find 
literature and how to recognize it when they came in 
contact with it. 

" I remember when the Victorian Anthology ap 
peared, one writer said very gravely that Mr. Sted- 
man had stood in the house of fame, like a gracious 
host, welcoming everyone with a smile and allotting 
each man his place. Now I have stood far off, as it 
were, at the cross-roads, doing my best for Homer 
and Shakespeare, for Tennyson and Browning, for 
Hawthorne and Poe, for Mr. Stedman and Mr. Aid- 
rich, and others of my contemporaries who are men of 
gift and grace. They have not needed the service, but 
it has been a joy to render it. If it has not been a 
service to them, it has been a service to those who by 
any word of mine have been made acquainted with the 


leaders and the interpreters and the inspirers of our 

A few days after this dinner took place Mabie wrote 
to Dr. van Dyke in appreciation of his friend s share 
in this memorable occasion : " This is my first chance 
to tell you how deeply I felt all your kind and gracious 
words last Monday night. You interpreted me to my 
self, little as what I have done deserved the generous 
judgment you passed upon it. The dinner was a 
kind of crowning of many friendships. I can never 
forget its beautiful affection nor lose the impulse of 
its recognition. I can guess how large a part you had 
in it, and I shall treasure it as another evidence of 
the love between us." 

As soon as Mrs. Kate Douglas Riggs, who hap 
pened to be abroad at the time, received a copy of the 
newspaper account of this dinner, she wrote Mabie a 
letter of warm congratulation. Following is his reply 
to that letter : 

To Kate Douglas Wig gin (Mrs. Riggs) 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. 23, 1901. 

DEAR MRS. RIGGS,- Early last June I received a 
charming letter from you which filled me with joy and 
gratitude. There was no trace of an address upon 
it, however, and I knew of no way to reach you. 

One of the pleasant things about that dinner was a 
beautiful volume which made a complete record of the 


affair and was presented to Mrs. Mabie. In that book 
are preserved for all time the letters of the Good and 
Great, from the President of the United States up to 
the editor of The Atlantic Monthly. 

Among those letters, which modesty forbids me to 
read, but in which Mrs. Mabie finds comfort, your 
letter holds a conspicuous place. Judicious persons 
who have examined the book are agreed that your 
letter is the most entertaining document between its 
covers. I certainly value it with the best, and there 
are some good recommendations there, if I ever lose 
my job. Nobody could have written it but the au 
thor of the adorable Penelope, and it was like her to 
seize her pen on the other side of the Atlantic and 
write it. * * * 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Only one other incident of this period remains to be 
recorded the publication in October, 1901, of "A 
Child of Nature." This story, or sketch, as the au 
thor preferred to call it, one of Mabie s few attempts 
to express himself in some form other than that of 
the essay or parable, appeared serially in the pages of 
The Bookman under the title of " John Forster." It 
was brought out in book form, with illustrations, by 
Dodd, Mead & Co. The dedication was " To J. B. H. 
and A. L. B. and to those who have gone into the 
world of light. These initials were those of the 


two sisters still surviving of the four who, with their 
mother, were the intimate friends of the Mabies in 
their Greenwich days. Mrs. Button and her two other 
daughters were no longer living. 

With the copy of "A Child of Nature" which 
Mabie sent to Mrs. Holmes and Miss Button went a 
letter in which he referred to the birth of the idea of 
this book in the old house in which they had spent such 
pleasant years together, and which had meanwhile 
made way for a new house not far from the site of the 
old one : 

To Mrs. Holmes and Miss Annie Button 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. 23, 1901. 

MY DEAR FRIENDS, I mailed you yesterday a spe 
cial advance copy of the new book, the only one that 
has yet come from the printers. You will notice that 
the book is dedicated to you and I am anxious that 
the first copy should go straight to you. 

I am afraid that it is a very slight affair, but it has 
old and sweet associations for me. Although written 
last February it was really born in the big sunny, upper 
room in the old house where I passed many quiet but 
very happy hours. The idea came to me there and I 
started to write the sketch, but it did not seem to write 
itself so I laid it aside for the future. I wanted to 
associate it with you as a suggestion of how much I 
owe to you all, of my gratitude for what your home 


was to me in those difficult years when the shadow 
was on Mrs. Mabie, of my love for the old house and 
you all, and my sharing in your sacred memories. 

The little sketch may be thin as a piece of literature, 
but it has one quality which makes it seem natural to 
associate it with you, with your mother, and Miss 
Lydia and Miss Fanny and yourselves: it is the pic 
ture of an unselfish, unworldly, beautiful spirit, un 
spoiled by the evil among men, of a pure heart and a 
stainless life. All these things and many more the 
old and the new homes stand for to 

Yours affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 


WITH the year 1902 there began what may per 
haps be called the middle period in Mabie s 
life the period following the culmination of his 
purely literary career, as described in the last chap 
ter, and preceding the crowning event of his public 
activities, his mission to Japan as the representative 
of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 
If anyone were to draw from the following pages 
the inference that Mabie was chiefly occupied during 
this period in writing and receiving an occasional let 
ter, in making trips to Europe and in enjoying his 
summer holidays, when not abroad, on the New Eng 
land coast or in the Adirondacks, he would be wide 
of the mark. For, like their predecessors, these were 
years of incessant activity in editorial work and in 
lecturing, with which must also be reckoned the extra- 
professional duties which Mabie had assumed, as sum 
marized in a previous chapter. The reader should con 
stantly bear in mind, moreover, that Mabie s editorial 
interests, especially during this middle period of his 
life, were by no means confined to literary matters. 



He was a regular attendant at the weekly conferences 
of The Outlook editorial board, at which the policy 
of the paper on all public questions was discussed and 
determined. Literary matters were seldom or never 
mentioned at these conferences ; they took care of them 
selves, under Mabie s general guidance. The topics 
considered were the large political, economic, or social 
questions of the day affecting the nation, the state or 
the city; and during the two administrations of Presi 
dent Roosevelt and the administration of President 
Taft, many such questions of the highest importance, 
it will be recalled, came up for discussion. " They 
interested him," says Dr. Abbott, " because they were 
human problems, because they concerned the life of 
his fellow men. It was this interest in life that made 
him the kind of literary critic that he was." Mabie s 
broad intelligence, wide acquaintance with men, sanity 
of judgment and freshness of spirit, made his views 
on these matters, and especially on all economic, theo 
logical and social problems, of both interest and value 
to his colleagues. 

This period of ten years or so was broken by two 
events which brought Mabie in the shadow of a great 
sorrow, the death of his mother and the loss of his 
elder daughter. It witnessed also the publication of 
numerous books by him, one of which confirmed, if 
it did not increase materially, his reputation as an 
essayist on literary subjects, and several of which, fol- 











lowing the bent of his mind in his later years, dealt 
with the spiritual side of life. 

The first of the volumes in this latter category was 
" Parables of Life " which was originally published 
by The Outlook Company in April, 1902, and later 
taken over by the Macmillan Company. The book 
was dedicated to Lyman Abbott. It consisted of a 
thin volume made up of a dozen or so parables of a 
few pages each, designed, as Mabie explained in a 
letter written a decade or so later, to give courage and 
hope to those to whom the difficulties of life seemed 
well nigh insurmountable. Notwithstanding the fact 
that he looked upon the book as not altogether suc 
cessful, it ultimately found a large audience. 

Similar in aim, although more in the form of lay ser 
mons, was the collection of brief meditations on eth 
ical themes which he published in the same month 
through Dodd, Mead & Co., called " Works and Days." 
The book was dedicated to Mabie s Tarrytown friend, 
Major Marshal H. Bright, the editor of The Christian 
Work. All of these little papers had of course ap 
peared originally in The Outlook. 

Through all of these years Mabie continued to make 
frequent visits to educational centres in the South for 
the purpose of delivering lectures. One of these visits 
was to Spartanburg, South Carolina, at the invitation 
of Professor Joseph A. Gamewell, who was connected 
with Wofford College in that town. Professor Game- 


well had been instrumental in securing Dr. Lyman 
Abbott and Dr. Henry van Dyke as lecturers in that 
section. " Each," he once wrote Mabie, " gave us 
a great message." A paragraph from the letter which 
Mabie sent to Professor Gamewell after his return 
reveals anew the breadth of his sympathies and his 
desire to nationalize his outlook on life and literature : 
" I love the South," he wrote, " and every time I touch 
its life I respect and value its friendship more. Its 
kindness goes to one s heart. It is a privilege to meet 
so many people whom one likes at first glance, and to 
have such access to the homes and minds of a great 
section. It has long been my aim to enter into the 
life of the whole country so far as my ability permits, 
and to help on, by pen and voice, that mutual under 
standing which means the purest and richest and most 
powerful national life in the future." 

A month later Mabie received from Aldrich a note 
of acknowledgment for a review that had appeared in 
The Outlook of a collection of his short stories. " You 
have been so persistently good to my little book," he 
wrote, " that I did not know how to thank you, and 
consequently have not tried to. The instinct to steer 
clear of attempting to accomplish what one is unable 
to do, belongs to the wisdom of mature years. It 
plainly has been pleasant to you to say all these pleas 
ant things about A Sea Turn, and my advice is for 
you to keep on saying them. It is the last call to dine 


on any fresh fiction of mine. I shall never make 
another collection of short stories. If I produce any 
thing further of the sort, I shall quietly add it to my 
ever incomplete complete works. * * * " 

The Mabies spent the summer of 1903 in Europe. 
A letter which Mabie sent to his old Summit friend 
and neighbor, Ernest Dressel North, who was then in 
London, will give an idea of the pleasure which this 
holiday must have brought to him and his family: 

To E. D. North 

INNSBRUCK, Aug. 21, 1903. 

MY DEAR ERNEST, Your letter was most welcome. 
It came like a touch of reality in our Venetian week, 
when we had to pinch ourselves to make things seem 
real. We had Hopkinson Smith s gondolier for the 
week; a splendid fellow in white duck from head to 
foot, with a crimson sash about his waist. We did 
all the usual things and many others which Luigi knew 
about because he had been trained by Hopkinson. We 
had rooms on the Grand Canal, the moon was at the 
full, there was singing every night till midnight; in a 
word, it was grand opera for a week, and we doubt if 
there is any real Venice. 

Then we came back to the North, spent a night at 
Belluno, with a delicious dinner in the garden. The 
next day we made the first part of the drive through 
the Dolomites of all our great drives this summer 


the most beautiful. At Cortina we found friends and 
spent five charming days; a valley of indescribable 
loveliness, far from railroads, with no " German trip 
pers." With our usual good luck we celebrated the 
Emperor s birthday there and saw the peasants in their 
costume. On Wednesday we came here; the close of 
the drive being even finer than the beginning. Our 
hotel is in a large garden on the hillside overlooking 
the city, and the snow-covered hills are simply tum 
bling on us. 

Here we have also fallen on our feet, for a Passion 
Play is being given by the peasants in a neighboring 
valley and we expect to see it on Sunday. Next week 
we hope to spend at the Hotel Bellevue in Munich ; the 
following week we plan to go by way of Frankfurt 
to Bremen, sailing Sept. 5th on the " Konig Albert." 
I hope to shake hands with you in dear old New York 
on the 1 5th or i6th. It has been pleasant to feel you 
in London, and I wish with all my heart our paths 
might have crossed. We all send our love to Mrs. 
North. This note is written under very adverse con 
ditions, but I hope you can decipher it. 

Yours faithfully, H. W. M. 

Soon after his return from Europe Mabie received 
a letter from Mrs. Riggs in which she announced in a 
characteristic manner her emancipation from Pene 
lope and the publication of " Rebecca " : 


From Kate Douglas Wig gin (Mrs. Riggs} 


DEAR MR. MABIE V I am sending you a different 
kind of a book this time ! After three Penelopes and 
the Goose Girl I determined to forsake the first per 
son singular; though apparently my public wants this 
and nothing else, if we can judge by their impassioned 
appeals to take Penelope anywhere, so long as she 
goes somewhere! 

I intend, however, to be mistress of my pen, such 
as it is, and not allow it to govern me entirely. So I 
broke away from the enticing ease of Penelope and 
wrote " Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm." I do hope 
you will like her, for it doesn t seem really worth 
while to write a book that you don t like! (This seems 
simple, but is really quite subtle and nice!) * * * 

It is a nice book, but the great trouble is that it has 
to be read quite through to get the whole effect of 
the quiet little life-picture. Of course now that you 
are no longer simply a man, an essayist and an editor, 
but a reviewer, nobody can hope for this treatment. 

I have been here (save for an interval of two 
weeks) all summer, but hope to emerge October I5th. 
* * * My love to you all. 


In the following month Mabie s " In Arcady " and 
" Backgrounds of Literature " appeared, both being 


published in book form by The Outlook Company and 
being taken over later by the Macmillans. " In Ar- 
cady " consisted of a series of fanciful pictures of the 
passage of the seasons and of the parallel periods in 
the life of man. It was illustrated by Will H. Low 
and was dedicated to James Lane Allen. Four of 
the eight essays in " Backgrounds of Literature " 
treated of Emerson, Irving, Whitman and Hawthorne 
and their environments physical and spiritual; the 
other subjects were Wordsworth, Goethe, Scott and 
Blackmore s " Lorna Doone." The book was dedi 
cated to Lawrence F. Abbott, who since 1891 had 
been president of The Outlook Company. The letter 
w r hich Mr. Abbott wrote in recognition of this dedi 
cation is interesting for its reflection of the unusually 
cordial relations, personal as well as professional, 
which always existed between Mabie and his editorial 
associates. Writing from Montclair under date of 
November 16, Mr. Abbott said: 

" MY DEAR MABIE, If I may drop the Mr. out 
side of working hours this is the first quiet hour I 
have had since its publication to look over Back 
grounds of Literature not as a publisher or editor, 
but as a book-lover and friend of the author. I have 
just been turning over the pages, examining the pic 
tures and reading snatches here and there. It is a 
delightful book and I am proud to have my name 
appear on the leaf where you have done me the honor 


of placing it. I am especially glad of the friendship 
of which the honor is the token. Believe me that as 
time goes on I want to do all I can to make the work 
shop we occupy together a source of comfort and help 
to you in the inspiring work you are doing in teach 
ing men and women to seek out and recognize the 
best that has been thought and said in the world/ For 
what you have thus taught me in personal intercourse 
as well as by your writing, I shall always be your 
indebted friend." 

On the day on which he received this letter Mabie 
delivered the principal address at the ninety-ninth anni 
versary of the founding of the New York Historical 
Society, the special occasion being the laying of the 
corner stone of the new home of the society in Central 
Park West. He took as his subject " The Genius of 
the Cosmopolitan City," his thesis being that a city 
like New York had a spiritual individuality just as 
distinct as the genius of the greatest man who grew 
up in its shelter. 

In the letter which he sent to Mabie, on receipt of 
" Backgrounds of Literature," Aldrich expressed his 
high opinion of Emerson as a poet : 

From T. B. Aldrich 

SARANAC LAKE, N. Y., Nov. 24, 1903. 

MY DEAR MR. MABIE, I did not send you enough 
" thanks in advance." Your herald, playing so softly 


on his trumpet, misled me. It is a charming book. 
Though the paper on " The Lake Country and Words 
worth " ranks first in my liking, I wish that all your 
backgrounds had been American. Salem, Old Cam 
bridge on the Charles, and Danvers are still to be 
painted by you, I trust. Your essay on Whitman is 
full of sense and sanity, it seems to me, though I did 
not fully agree with all you said about him. I wish 
you had set Emerson in his quality of poet a little more 
in the foreground. The last ten or twelve lines of 
the Whitman paper might have been written by Emer 
son. At his best, no other American poet, to my 
thinking, comes near him. However, it is a matter 
of personal taste. If we all were of one mind the 
world would be the poorer. Meanwhile I should like 
to have everybody like your book. 

Yours sincerely, T. B. ALDRICH. 

At Easter-time in the following year he wrote, in 
his customary meditative vein, to his old friends Mrs. 
Holmes and her sister: 

To Mrs. Holmes and Miss Annie Button 

NEW YORK, Easter, 1904. 

MY DEAR FRIENDS, I was much struck by an old 
legend told in the service this afternoon. A vision of 
Christ once appeared to an old saint, crowned and 
with a scepter and saying, " Worship me." The saint 


was falling on his knees when something arrested 
him, and he looked at the hands held out, " No," he 
said, rising ; " I cannot worship you. The Lord does 
wear a crown and bear a scepter; but he is always 
known by the scars in His hands. Your hands are 
smooth." And Satan immediately vanished! 

I could not help thinking how far reaching the leg 
end is. The Divine thing is not the power and glory, 
but the suffering! We remember all the pleasant 
things we have shared together; all the pleasant days 
we have enjoyed together; but when the great days 
come, which send us, by their associations, down to 
the foundations of things, we think of the sorrows; 
in them our lives have come most closely together, 
through them we know each other best, by them we are 
bound immortally one to the other. Our joys always 
seem to us foretastes of Heaven; but I suppose that 
the real glimpses come through our sorrows, and that 
without sorrow Heaven would have no foundation. 
If God had also to suffer, this must be true. But how 
the heart does long for a little pure joy, without sor 
rows from the past or fears for the future; just a 
little play spell in the long school of life! I believe 
God sympathizes with all human feelings and doesn t 
expect or like us to be superhuman saints. Having 
given us such capacity for suffering, he must be tender 
with us while we suffer; as we are tender with chil 
dren, even when we know that in a little while they 


will be happy. Well, we have been children together 
a long time ; we have played together and we have wept 
together; and all the time we have had the same Fa 
ther and been in the same home. 

Most affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The M. Wagner referred to in the following letter 
to Miss King was the Alsatian, Charles Wagner, the 
author of " The Simple Life." Miss King s mother 
had died in the previous December. 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., May 13, 1904. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I was very glad to get your 
note or, rather, your very full letter with its report of 
the family and of your plans. I have been very anx 
ious to hear from you, but I hesitated to write again, 
feeling that when you felt like writing you would do 
so without any suggestion from me. I have thought 
of you often realizing what you are going through, 
and wishing with all my heart that I could be of some 
use to you. The solitude of life is sometimes appall 
ing. When Miss Nina comes to New York she must 
let me know in advance. It is a constant regret that 
we are always away in summer and cannot put our 
own roof over our friends. Miss Nina will find Chau- 
tauqua cool if nothing else. I have declined many 
invitations to go there in recent years because I will 


not work in vacation. I shall certainly take every 
step to see M. Wagner when he comes. I am about 
writing to him. I am looking forward also to M. 
Brunetiere, who comes in the autumn. 

I had a delightful letter from Madam Blanc a day 
or two ago. Her interest in my books has been a 
great encouragement and she is making friends for 
me in France. I spent a delightful afternoon with her 
last summer in a garden overlooking Paris, 

The story will probably clear itself up when you are 
rested. I am greatly interested in it. I continually 
hear your works spoken of with admiration by people 
who know what is good in writing. I believe there 
is a race soul, and you are certainly right in saying 
that the way to develop it is to bring the individual 
soul to the right kind of self -consciousness. 

I am so glad my book reached your mother before 
she went; she could not know how much she inter 
ested me nor how deeply I valued her interest in me. 
She was one of those spirits who make us aware that 
immortality is not an inference but a fact. I remem 
ber many talks with her which made me feel her vi 
tality, her courage, the vigor of her nature, the warmth 
of her heart. She taught me much about the South. 
In fact, in nothing have I made greater advance than 
in my recognition of the sorrows, the heroism and the 
immense reserve of energy in the South. There has 
come a great change over the whole North in the mat- 


ter of trusting the South. Personal admiration there 
always was, recognition of charm of temperament, 
but of late years there has come a new sense of brother- 
liness, of sympathy, of a desire to stand by and help. 
I had a charming visit in Charleston three weeks ago ; 
everything in full bloom and everybody full of kind 
ness. Out of that old tragedy beautiful things are 
visibly coming. 

We leave our house next month and go to Seal 
Harbor, Maine, for the summer. I shall probably be 
in New York until July and return for a part of Au 
gust. Spring has come at last after the longest win 
ter in everybody s memory, and we are reveling in the 
first burst of foliage. Do send me a line occasion 
ally and let me be of any possible service. With love 
to all the family. 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In a letter written in December of the same year to 
Miss King Mabie gave his opinion of the author of 
" The Simple Life " : " M. Charles Wagner spent a 
delightful day with us not long before he sailed and 
we talked much of you. He was evidently greatly 
disappointed not to see you. We found him full of 
individual quality and interest; a man standing reso 
lutely and fearlessly on his own feet. His doctrine 
is not novel, but it is presented by a fresh voice, it fits 
the need of the time as if it were a special revelation. 


There is so much kindness, generosity, nobility in the 
world; but what tumult, haste, crowding of life with 
things ! " 

Mabie s interest in the progress of education through 
out the country was the natural complement of his 
interest in literature. This interest found expression 
in many ways in articles and in editorial comment 
in The Outlook on the various questions arising from 
week to week regarding school and college manage 
ment; in his service as trustee both of Williams and 
of Barnard colleges; in frequent visits, usually for the 
purpose of delivering addresses, to this or that college, 
school or educational convention; and, in a word, in 
furthering the cause of learning wherever and when 
ever the opportunity to do so presented itself. 

In his editorial work relating to educational topics 
of national scope he often applied for advice and 
assistance to his friend, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, 
who, in 1901, became the president of Columbia Uni 
versity. It was the custom of The Outlook to publish 
in midsummer each year an educational number re 
viewing the progress that had been made in this field 
during the previous twelvemonth; and occasionally 
Dr. Butler prepared this review, or indicated to Mabie 
the subjects that called for discussion and the lines 
that might be most profitably followed, with sugges 
tions as to those who would be best able to supply 
the articles treating of the different aspects of the 


subject. The letters that passed between the two re 
lated mainly to these editorial matters, with an occa 
sional variation, as will be noted elsewhere. Thus on 
assistance to his friend, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, 
as he then was : " I have just read your address on 
the Kindergarten, and I think it so admirable in its 
sympathy and in its criticism that I am going to put 
the substance of it into an editorial. I presume you 
will not object to its further use in that form; it ex 
actly voices my own views." 

Again in April of 1904, he wrote to Dr. Butler: 
" As the time approaches for our annual editorial sur 
vey of the educational work of the year, which we 
ought to have in hand the beginning of the last week 
in July, our thoughts turn fondly to you. Last year 
you could not do it, but we are hoping that this year 
you may be able to find the time to dictate 1500 or 
1800 or 2000 words after your old fashion. You 
gave us a fairly good substitute last year, but not so 
good as the original authority. Hence, in one of those 
numerous hours of leisure which come to you, with 
your facility in massing and interpreting facts, could 
you not dash off, with the aid of a stenographer, a 
comment on the educational work of the year and let 
us have it by July 20? In consideration we shall 
probably want to endow Columbia University ! " 

Early in October of the same year Mabie, referring 
to the coming celebration of the one hundred and 


fiftieth anniversary of the founding of King s College, 
ended a letter to Dr. Butler with these words : " I 
think I told you I meant to attend all the services at 
the end of the month, and to do so as a trustee [of 
Barnard College], for the sake of being sure of a 
seat as well as the satisfaction of wearing beautiful 

In February of the following year, 1905, Mabie s 
mother died at the age of eighty-one; and a few weeks 
later he wrote to his Greenwich friend : 

To Mrs. Julia Button Holmes 

SUMMIT, N. J., March n, 1905. 

MY DEAR MRS. HOLMES, I meant to answer your 
kind letter at once, but so many things crowded upon 
me that I have not had the time to even acknowledge 
the notes I have received. We are always sure of 
your sympathy in any deep experience as you are sure 
of ours. I cannot mourn for my Mother; I can only 
be glad that she has been spared increasing infirmity 
and that her brave, generous, delightful spirit has at 
last full spread of wing. Do we realize what it must 
be to awaken some morning and find a word for every 
thought and a happiness for every longing and the 
fetters all gone, and the dear familiar faces still dear 
and familiar and no fear in the heart of loneliness, 
no dull burden of anxiety! 

Our thoughts are with you all the time in these days 


and we stand ready to be and to do all that in us lies. 
Our memories and hopes and prayers are with you 
daily, as they have been these many years. * * * I 
have found myself, after all these years, utterly unable 
to stop praying for Mother; now I am praying for 
them all with a new sense of joy. Why not? We are 
only in different rooms, we may still help them; who 
can tell how near they are to us? 

Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

When Easter came he sent his usual letter, accom 
panied by a copy of Dr. Abbott s book, " The Other 
Room," dealing with questions of immortality, to 
Mrs. Holmes and her sister: 

To Mrs. Holmes and Miss Annie Button 

SUMMIT, N. J., April 6, 1905. 

MY DEAR FRIENDS, I hope the little book by Dr. 
Abbott, which I am sending you, will interpret Easter 
to you with fresh feeling. I have the feeling that the 
mist about us, which prevents us from seeing the en 
during realities, is so thin that if it were parted for 
a moment, we should be startled to find the spiritual 
so very near. I am going to send you also a little 
volume of sermons by Dr. Shipman, which puts this 
aspect of life with wonderful clearness and simplicity. 
If we could only hold what we really believe, how 


much easier life would be! If we could realize day 
by day that all that ever lived are living, that the 
household is intact however widely its members are 
scattered, that life is the reality and death only a phase 
or change from one condition to another, we should 
not cease to be lonely at times, but we should have the 
joy of a certain reunion in our hearts. All these 
things are true, or nothing is true; and that is incred 
ible. It is a great help that the noblest spirits here 
always believed the best things of life; it makes one 
understand the relation of character to faith, and that 
relation is itself one of the proofs of immortality. I 
feel that the great mood of Easter is to have the sense 
of belonging to a great undivided family, of which 
much the larger portion are far beyond us in strength 
and joy. Dr. van Dyke always speaks of the life be 
yond as " the great vacation." * * * 

Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The following summer was passed by the Mabies 
in Europe. An idea of the places they visited and of 
some of their experiences may be had from a letter 
which Mabie sent from a village in the Black Forest 
to his friend North, then in London. The holiday 
spirits of the writer are reflected in his occasional 
lapses into burlesque German. 


To E. D. North 

TlTISEE, July 22, IQOS. 

DEAR ERNEST, Were haben so phar gegomen with 
finest wetter und great good spirits. We have had 
one hot morning, Sunday, a week ago yesterday. 
We went to the Russian Church, and between the heat 
and the incense we nearly suffocated. But the sing 
ing was glorious. All the other days have been beau 
tiful, specially those on which our journeys have be 

We left Paris on Wednesday morning on the rapide 
and had a most interesting journey to Strassburg. 
When we passed Bar-le-Duc I my hat off-tooken. A 
town that produces a jelly, like a nation that produces 
a sauce, is to be treated with reverence. Strassburg 
delighted us. There were the storks in their nests on 
the chimneys just as I saw them in childhood, and at 
noon St. Peter passed in front of the great clock and 
the cock crowed just as I imagined he would. When 
things really come true years afterward, what a feel 
ing of youth comes over one ! 

On Thursday we came to Freiburg with its lovely 
surrounding hills, its noble cathedral and its university. 
The Swabian corps at the university were holding their 
fiftieth anniversary, and the town was full of old boys 
in bright yellow caps. Yesterday they all came here 
with a band and their wives, and we saw a crowd of 


university graduates have a festivity. I heard the 
speeches, we all heard the music, and oh, Ernest, with 
mine own eyes I saw the Bier; otherwise I had not 
believed how great it was. 

Saturday we came here, a magnificent road through 
the defiles of the Black Forest, and here we are in 
one of the most charming places imaginable. The gar 
den is dense and full of lovely retreats with chairs and 
tables; the lake has hills about it, and those hills are 
with black pines and evergreens ge-covered. The 
depth and silence and duskiness of the woods are so 
impressive that we got all the religion we needed and 
all there was here out of yesterday morning. We in 
tend to drive most of the way through the Forest to 
Baden, where we shall emerge into the world again. 
We are going to one captivating place where in five 
years only three Americans have been and two of 
them last week. Of it I will not tell ; it shall be for my 
very few sacredly ge-cherished. 

Were haben no letters (brie fen) from you, but hope 
for one when once again our mail we get. We have to 
your wife from Paris ge-schreiben. Remain well; 
keep a good hope that by and bye you may once more 
see the dear old Hoboken. Cherish your wife such 
women are not in Germany. Here is beautiful scenery, 
delightful hotels, much politeness, but oh! so much 
foods and beer! 

Leben sie wohl! HAMILTON W. MABIE. 


In September, soon after his return from Europe, 
Mabie published another of his volumes of brief med 
itative papers entitled " The Great Word " Love 
and the part that it plays, or should play, in life. The 
title was taken from Browning s lines, 

" Think, when our one soul understands 

The great Word which makes all things new, 

When earth breaks up and heaven expands, 
How will the change strike me and you 

In the house not made with hands ? " 

In his writings and in his correspondence he re 
curred again and again to this theme. Thus, a number 
of years later, in acknowledging the receipt of a copy 
of his " Authority of Religious Experience," which 
Dr. Charles L. Slattery, rector of Grace Church, New 
York, had sent to him, he wrote: 

" I have read nothing so convincing as your com 
ment on compulsory confession and it is interesting 
to note how strangely Bergson reinforces your preface 
by suggestive discussion of Change in God. That 
God should not be compelled to sacrifice humor to 
omniscience has always seemed to me one of the im 
pertinences of human logic. It is a great comfort to 
feel that God is not logic, or, rather, that the Di 
vine logic is large enough to provide for the easy 
play of the higher forces. Chesterton says that the 


trouble with the Puritans was that they were logical 
in an illogical world. They were also moral in an 
immoral world: using the word immoral as signi 
fying our neat and rigid little black and white scheme 
of the Divine government. The old lady who said: 
We are in the hands of an all wise and unscrupulous 
Providence was on the track of a truth of tremendous 

" I hope that it will come in your way some day to 
discuss the one real fatal heresy the lack of love: 
and show it not only devastates life but retards the 
discovery of truth and defeats the very vision of God. 
There are many things I would like to say about your 
book, but this thank you is already too long." 

The appearance at this time of Mrs. Wharton s 
novel, " The House of Mirth," led Mabie to write to 
the author; and in reply he received the following let 

From Mrs. Wharton 

THE MOUNT, LENOX, MASS., October 14, 1905. 

DEAR MR. MABIE, Your letter was a great sur 
prise and pleasure to me. We all know, in our trade, 
that there is no happiness like that of having one s 
inmost intention divined and interpreted by the reader : 
Every writer gets so many pages of praise espe 
cially in these days of literary optimism to one of 
understanding ! 


And so, of all the kind and encouraging things you 
say, the one that best pleases me is your reference to 
my poor Lily s " core of integrity," and, next to that, 
your telling me that I have held the threads firmly and 
gathered them up at the end with some semblance of 
the inevitableness that the real novelists manage to 
put into their work. If you could measure the width 
of the gulf that I always see between what I aim at 
and what I accomplish, you would understand what 
help you have given me in finding time to write these 
few lines. * * * 

Sincerely yours, EDITH WHARTON. 

During the winter of 1905-6 deep concern was felt 
by both Mr. and Mrs. Mabie because of the slowly 
failing health of their elder daughter, Lorraine. De 
spite all the care that was given to her, under the ad 
vice of skilled physicians, she lost ground steadily. 
The family passed the summer of 1906 in the village 
of Essex, on Lake Champlain, returning in the early 
autumn to Summit, where Lorraine died on September 
23, at the age of twenty-eight. The blow was a heavy 
one for Mabie to bear. In many respects Lorraine 
was like her father - in her love of beauty in every 
form, in her discriminating taste, in her literary sense, 
in the warmth of her friendships and in her gentle, 
affectionate nature. Father and daughter were most 
companionable, and he felt her loss keenly. 


One of Mabie s helpful companions during the try 
ing days of the summer at Essex had been the Rev. 
Dr. Edward T. Carroll, rector of St. Ann s Church 
in Amsterdam, New York; and to Dr. Carroll he sent 
the following letter, " very beautiful and character 
istic," as Dr. Carroll justly calls it, shortly after the 
death of his daughter: 

To the Rev. Dr. Edward T. Carroll 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. 2, 1906. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I cannot tell you how much 
you and Richardson and Newell helped me to carry 
my cross last summer. It was not that we talked 
much about it, but that I knew you understood and 
were helping me with your thoughts and more than 
your thoughts. I knew that Lorraine could not live, 
and I had intense anxiety about the great strain to 
which Mrs. Mabie was subjected. I could not say 
much to her about either of these matters, and in 
my great loneliness your presence was a Godsend. 

Lorraine fell asleep painlessly at the end, after 
three wonderful days when we knew the angel was 
in the house. The solemn exaltation of it all was 
almost greater than mortal strength could bear. I had 
heard the cry with which she came to earth, and I 
heard the cry with which she entered heaven, and 
both were equally awe inspiring ; for each took me into 
the very presence of God. 


Mrs. Mabie has gone through these strange days 
not without great sadness, but with beautiful con 
stancy of faith, for ours is a " radiant sorrow." 

With affectionate thoughts of you both, 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

His friends were quick to send him their sympathy 
in his grief. One of these was Henry M. Alden, the 
veteran editor of Harper s Magazine. As has already 
been intimated, Mabie had an alert eye for the achieve 
ments in the field of literature of his fellow alumni of 
Williams men of the type of Bliss Perry, Rollo 
Ogden and Mr. Alden, and always regarded it as a 
duty as well as a privilege and a pleasure to call pub 
lic attention to their books. An article which he pub 
lished in The Outlook about Mr. Alden drew from 
him this reply : 

From Henry M. Alden 


DEAR MR. MABIE, I have so many grateful ac 
knowledgments to make to you that I hardly know 
what to begin with : except to find the source and 
sum of them all in your great, generous and tireless 
heart. There I will begin and end, dear friend of 
many years. 

One thing in particular in your Outlook article about 
me I wish to especially thank you for your refer- 


ence to my books. Next another thing in that article 
strongly appealed to me as something which I have 
often felt like saying myself, when a point is made 
of a man s sensitiveness to publicity : How about the 
man, just as sensitive, who accepts the penalty of pub 

I have thought often of you during the last few 
weeks and always with the deepest sympathy, prompted 
by sincerely affectionate regards. 

Faithfully yours, H. M. ALDEN. 

The appearance of Owen Wister s novel, " Lady 
Baltimore," led Mabie to make some favorable com 
ments upon the book, in acknowledgment of which 
Mr. Wister wrote to him, the final sentence of his 
letter being : " Do you remember lunching with me 
once at the Philadelphia Club and intimating that the 
cowboy was not the only kind of person in the world ? " 

Several years earlier, in June, 1902, Mr. Wister had 
written to Mabie as follows with reference to his cow 
boy and the men he typified as portrayed in " The Vir 
ginian " : 

" If the Virginian is a reality, he embodies some 
thing I have felt the throb of far and wide in our 
land the best thing the Declaration of Independence 
ever turned out. He is the same creature who was 
the volunteer on both sides in the Civil War the son 
of the soil, whose passion and intelligence and char- 


acter made him able at last to fight battles almost with 
out need of captains, and then to disperse among his 
fields when it was over as simply as if nothing had 
happened. That is the fellow I mean; and the plains 
brought him again to perfections only latent in civil 
ization. I don t know how he will stand the strain of 
the future. With trusts to unman him and populism 
to turn him into a beast of destruction, his clean, 
splendid self-respect is in danger of being polluted on 
all sides. Our first century bred men the world had 
not seen before, and I begin to believe it was all too 
good to be true. We have lost our innocence without 
gaining knowledge, and daily grow in resemblance to 
everybody else. 

" But I m glad you like the picture I have tried to 
paint; and it is both rare and delightful to have one s 
meaning followed and taken as you do. * * * " 

One of the books which brought him frequent let 
ters from persons who had derived from its pages 
fresh courage and new vigor with which to face life, 
was " In the Forest of Arden." To one of these 
correspondents to whom the book had brought a pe 
culiar inspiration and a sense of refuge, and who had 
written him to that effect, he sent the following char 
acteristic letter, with its ever- recurring note of the 
need of mutual helpfulness : 


To Miss Edith Brownell 

PINEHURST, N. C., March 8, 1907. 

MY DEAR Miss BROWNELL,. It was very good of 
you to send me so gracious and helpful a note about 
" The Forest of Arden." I am sometimes tempted 
to think that I have greater claims than Mr. Wagner 
to the leadership of the movement towards the simple 
life: my book preceded his by several years. But I 
am willing he should stand for the simple life; I 
should like to stand for the richer life. In our pre 
occupied age we need to help one another to keep 
the vision of the ends of living clear; so many things 
come in to blur it. I think the events of the last two 
years point to the Forest of Arden as the refuge for 
the sane; so many people have gone mad and com 
mitted such useless crimes. Idealism of the true kind 
is, after all, not only the most beautiful but the most 
real interpretation of life. With sincere gratitude for 
your kind words, believe me, 

Very cordially yours, 


The death of Madam Blanc formed the theme of a 
letter which, a week later, he sent to Miss King: 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., March 17, 1907. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I want to send you an Easter 


greeting. I know how much the day will mean to you, 
and you will understand how much it will mean to us. 
You will think of us as we shall think of you. 

The cable had brought the sad news of Madam 
Blanc s death before your letter came, and I was very 
grateful for the setting of the closing scene which 
you supplied. I saw her only once in two years and 
her letters were infrequent, but I felt as though I 
knew her well and was always drawn to her as to a 
dear friend. She was the embodiment of all that 
was best in France : character, intelligence, breadth of 
view, charm of mind as of manner, and a certain ripe 
ness and repose which had their roots in an old and 
deep civilization. Mrs. Mabie was speaking the other 
day of the largeness of her view, shown in her insight 
into our life, her ability to get at the soul behind con 
ditions so different from those in which she had been 
bred. She was rare and, as you say, she was great; 
the first woman in the France of today. No Eu 
ropean has interpreted us with such a fine sympathy, 
nor has any given such a sympathetic version of our 
inner life. It is not easy to think of Paris without 
her, and I can understand how great a sorrow her 
going has brought into your life. 

We were in Richmond a week ago and I spoke at 
a meeting called to decide on a memorial to General 
Lee; a great privilege which I counted one of my spe 
cial pieces of good fortune. Death has come very 


near us all; shall we not call it Life, freedom, the 
break of day for our loved ones ? The more one holds 
to the hope of immortality, the more real does it be 
come; and its real foundation rests in this growing 
experience. My love to you all, my loving remem 
brance of your undivided family on earth and in 

Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The same Easter season brought Mabie, from the 
rector of the Church of the Ascension, New York, 
gratifying evidence of the helpfulness of his writings : 

From the Rev. Dr. Percy S. Grant 

7 WEST TENTH STREET, NEW YORK. Easter Even, 1907. 

DEAR MR. MABIE, I must send you my Easter 
greetings. Your sorrow these last months has been 
an unhappiness for all your friends and you have 
been constantly and affectionately in their thoughts. 

But I have something special to thank you for. My 
father, after two years of invalidism, died last Oc 
tober. He was a fine, manly type; but old-fashioned 
enough to wish my mother to be with him all the 
time. This my mother was only too anxious to do ; 
but in the course of months the anxiety and strain 
told on one no longer young. How do you think she 
pulled herself together when often she seemed near a 
collapse? Not by reading the Bible, or her son s ser- 


mons or poems; but by reading favorite passages in 
your volumes. My only surprise is that she read your 
books I thought she knew them by heart. What 
happened in my fathers home is an example of your 
influence and your value to your time. I tell you this 
to cheer you for a moment, if, in the midst of all the 
Easter joy, you still find yourself looking backward. 
With warmest best wishes, 

Yours most sincerely, PERCY S. GRANT. 

The Mabies spent the summer of this year abroad. 
While in the Isle of Wight they visited Hallam, sec 
ond Lord Tennyson, and Lady Tennyson, at Farring- 
ford. Of this experience Mabie wrote to his friend 
North as follows : 

To E. D. North 

BONCHURCH, ISLE OF WIGHT, September 7, 1907. 

MY DEAR ERNEST, * * * The second week of 
our stay here is drawing to a close in lovely weather. 
We have seen all parts of the island, and think Bon- 
church much the loveliest ; indeed, except Pallanza and 
Lake Maggiore, we have seen nothing lovelier. The 
towns are the usual little English watering places, but 
the country is exquisite in the richness of its foliage 
and flowers and in the delicacy of its detail. I have 
got acquainted with some people here and been in 
gardens which will make me homesick all my life. 


Yesterday we had a charming time at Farringford. 
On arriving here I sent my card to Lord Tennyson 
and got a telegram the same day inviting me to lunch 
eon the following day. I went to Freshwater by train 
and had a welcome which made me feel at home at 
once. I saw the house thoroughly, smoked in the 
great chair in the big library upstairs where the great 
talk used to go on, saw the manuscripts, the auto 
graphs and all the memorials, and walked all over the 
place. I lost my heart to the whole family; to Hal- 
lam who is a fine fellow, to Lady Tennyson, who is 
the charming Mary Boyle of the biography grown to 
middle age ; and to the boys Lionel, Aubrey and 
Harold dear, wholesome English boys. 

They insisted on another visit and yesterday we all 
drove over on a perfect day* the whole length of the 
Island. They took us everywhere and showed us 
everything, and gave us a charming luncheon and asked 
us to come again. Aside from the interest of the 
house, it is a beautiful English home, and the sweet 
ness and simplicity of the family life seemed to us 
quite in the spirit of the place. I wish you and Mrs. 
North could have been with us. 

Your letter was most welcome. Our thoughts are 
turning homeward. I feel like a new man and have 
already written five articles by way of letting off 
steam. * * * 

Yours faithfully, H. W. M. 


The death of Stedman in January, 1908, prompted 
Mabie to print an editorial about him and his work in 
The Outlook. With reference to this article Richard 
Watson Gilder, the editor of The Century Magazine, 
wrote him : " I can t help dropping you a word of 
hearty thanks and congratulation on your admirable 
editorial about Stedman. It was so full and satis 
factory that hardly anything seemed left to be said. 
I can t seem to make out the possibility of things going 
on without his generous help. It s discouraging to 
know how few of his countrymen were really ac 
quainted with his poetry, but his best is sure to last, 
and perhaps poets are refound in time by the lack of 
contemporary appreciation." 

The memorial meeting in honor of Stedman was not 
held until a year after his death. Gilder presided, and 
it was Mabie s privilege to deliver the principal ad 
dress before a distinguished assembly, his subject 
being " Stedman as a Man of Letters." 

With the passing of years Mabie s increasing sense 
of his indebtedness to his old college friend, Stetson, 
for the things that count for the most in a man s 
life, found grateful expression. Thus in the spring 
of 1908 he wrote to him as follows, his signature re 
calling the intimacy of their years together at Wil 
liams : 


To Francis Lynde Stetson 

NEW YORK, April 23, 1908. 

MY DEAR FRANK, You and Shakespeare were 
very sensible when you put your birthday in the fore 
front of April. You have both been very good 
friends to me; I don t see how I could have got along 
without you both. You have contributed so many 
things to my happiness that I could not put them down 
in the compass of a note. I have more than once told 
you that, so far as I can see, meeting you was the spe 
cial providence in my life; almost all the important 
things that have come to me wife, work, oppor 
tunity came through you. I lay this big wreath at 
your feet with gratitude as capacious as the benefit. 
I have cared for you more every decade and never so 
much as today; and it is my constant prayer that you 
may out-live me. You have made life worth while 
for a great many people, and the rich returns of 
honor and affection which are coming to you in these 
later years, are the harvest of your own sowing. 
Long life and more honor to you ! 

Affectionately, HAM. 

The following summer the Mabies were in the Adi- 
rondacks. The reference to the " Journal," in the 
following letter, was to The Ladies Home Journal, 
to which Mabie had become a contributing editor in 
1902. Through his articles on books and authors and 


literary matters generally he reached an enormous 
audience of young people, who were entirely distinct 
from those with whom, through The Outlook, his 
books and his lectures, he had been in touch. 

To Mrs. E. D. North 

AUSABLE CLUB, August 28, 1908. 

MY DEAR MRS. NORTH, This section is so beauti 
ful that it takes a whole season to find all its secret 
places of loveliness and quietness. I really doubt if 
any ten miles in this part of the world holds so much 
and such varied beauty. The very sky has a nobility 
of its own, and we cannot recall such cloud effects any 
where except in the English Lakes. One very at 
tractive feature of the life here is the Sunday quiet. 
There are no rules, but there is a general sentiment 
against golf and games, and a heavenly quietness rests 
on the valley. 

And I have found here a religious service, natural 
enough and devout enough and simple enough to be 
in the key of the woods and mountains. The little 
Chapel opens on all sides to branches and birds and 
is practically an out-of-doors altar. The old Rector 
eighty-six is a visible peace, and the rector in 
charge reads the service and preaches as if the spirit 
of the God of the woods and mountains were in his 
heart, with the Christ who loved the flowers and the 


fields. Our Sundays have been a delight to us, and I 
hate to think of going back into a church again. 

We have wished for you many times, for we are 
sure you would enjoy your soul here. It was good of 
you to read my screed and send your comments on it. 
Of course character is the root of every virtue and 
strength. I was, however, dealing specifically with 
the question of the kind of books young people ought 
to read; and I have found that the only way to help 
the Journal readers is to be specific and point out the 
exact steps to be taken in any field of education or 
life. * * * 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

He published comparatively few books in these 
years, and those he did publish were of spiritual im 
port. One of these, brought out in October, was 
" Christmas Today," a slender volume in which he 
contrasted the world of the Syrian herdsman of nine 
teen hundred years ago with the world of today. 

References have already been made in earlier chap 
ters to the persistency and painstaking care with which 
Mabie, as a young man, sought to master the art of 
public speaking. The following letter to a dramatic 
reader and teacher of dramatic expression, shows how 
broad a comprehension of the fundamental principles 
of the art he had meanwhile acquired: 


To Miss Kathcrine Jewell Everts 

NEW YORK, Dec. 23, 1908. 

MY DEAR Miss EVERTS, Your letter was the best 
gift of the season, and I am bound to tell you that 
you greatly overrate what I have been able to do for 
you. Nobody can do very much for us; all the real 
things of life we do and must do for ourselves. All 
that I have done has been to see what you have done 
and tell others about it. I have reported what I have 

I suspect that Heaven will be largely a state of ex 
pression: the dumb will speak! You have the gift of 
speaking in many ways. It is a beautiful and perilous 
gift, and I have taken the liberty of telling you so. 
To keep such an eloquence as you command abso 
lutely sincere by making every word match a reality, 
and never to let speech run beyond real and deep 
feeling that is your problem. You have not been 
spoiled so far, and I am not afraid that you will be. 
The practical problem in your case will, I think, be a 
simple one : a little good steering will settle it. * * * 
Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The opening of the new year, 1909, was an un 
usually busy period for Mabie. Early in the month 
he wrote to President Butler of Columbia inviting him 
to speak before the new club that had been organized 
in Summit the previous autumn The Athenaeum. 


The club, he said, had proved to be a great success: 
" Four hundred people tumbled in, head over heels, 
and a lot more want to come in. Our aim is to pre 
sent serious discussions of serious subjects by men 
who know what they are talking about. At our next 
meeting I think Horace White is to speak on Lincoln; 
in February we expect Booker Washington, and we 
very much want you for the second Thursday in 
March, the nth. As I told you, the audience is really 
worth talking to." He was one of the leaders in the 
movement to organize the club and was its president 
for five years, until it was in good running order. 

A week or so after the Stedman memorial meeting 
at which Mabie, as has already been mentioned, de 
livered the principal address, the Poe bust, by Ed- 
mond T. Quinn, was unveiled in Poe Park, Fordham ; 
and he was again the speaker at the memorial meeting 
held in New York University after the ceremony of 
unveiling, his subject being " Poe at the End of a 
Century." The date of the meeting, January 19, 1909, 
was the one hundredth anniversary of Poe s birth. 

It was also his privilege to deliver the historical 
address on the occasion of the international celebration 
at Fort Ticonderoga, in July, of the three hundredth 
anniversary of Champlain s discovery of the lake bear 
ing his name. His address followed the addresses of 
Ambassador Bryce, President Taft, Governor Hughes 
and Ambassador Jusserand, his subject being " Cham- 


plain in History." He described the occasion in full 
in a letter to his friend North, who was abroad. The 
reference to Skylands was to the summer home in 
Rockland County, on the New York-New Jersey 
boundary line, of the Stetsons, w r here the Mabies were 
always welcome guests. 

To E, D. North 

AUSABLE CLUB, July 27, 1909. 

DEAR ERNEST,- * * * After you sailed there was 
nothing to do but to leave Summit, and we left. A 
week at Skylands was a very pretty interlude between 
work and play. " Then I proceeded to become the guest 
of the State in New York at Albany and was borne 
to Ticonderoga on a special train. There the Presi 
dent, Governor Hughes, and the British and French 
Ambassadors joined Me and the celebrations began. 

The afternoon at Ticonderoga was great. To look 
up into the faces of 5,000 people on the hillside with 
the great and good around you, and the lovely land 
scape enfolding you, was quite an experience. * * * 
After we had all spoken and the crowd had cheered 
itself hoarse, we the performers at the International 
Show took a special steamer and went up the Lake. 
It was a lovely afternoon and the Lake was enchant 
ing. The President, the Governor, Mr. Bryce, Mon 
sieur Jusserand, and I were in the pilot house with the 
oldest pilot on the Lake and his joy in his guests was 


delightful to see. We had a very interesting time, 
pointing out the historic points to the Ambassadors 
and telling stories. The President is a master hand 
at that business, and I lost my heart to him; no airs, 
perfect simplicity and sincerity and the natural dignity 
of a strong, self-reliant nature. His smile is capti 
vating and when it fades it is like sunlight fading off 
a granite foundation. Congress is discovering the 
foundation. M. Jusserand really embraced me by 
way of saying thank you for what I said about France. 
We were lodged in the beautiful Hotel Champlain that 

The next morning was superb, and in the afternoon 
we had a great review at the Army Post of Regulars 
and English regiments. The great parade ground 
stretching to the lake, the smiling water, the Green 
Mountains in Vermont, 5,000 people on the benches, 
20,000 on the edges, the brilliant English and High 
land troops in the distance, the bands playing, the 
whole scene was magnificent. I happend to be with 
the Bryces behind the President and saw the splendid 
spectacle at every point. When the Red Coats came 
up, the band playing " The British Grenadiers " every 
body rose, uncovered and cheered. It was very mov 
ing when we remembered the old rights, and Mr. 
Bryce trembled with emotion. The addresses by the 
President and the Ambassadors were up to the level 
of the occasion, and Mr. Root quite surpassed himself. 


There were thousands of Frenchmen from over the 
border and their faces kindled when Jusserand dropped 
his English and spoke in French. We had a great 
dinner that night with some noble speaking, two mem 
bers of the Canadian Cabinet making eloquent ad 
dresses. The beauty of the landscape at every point, 
the nobility of so many of the men of three countries 
who have fought on the Lake, the distinction of the 
speakers and the great notes of race fellowship and 
peace struck everywhere, gave these festivities a beauty 
quite beyond any exercises I have ever known. And 
I have written too long I fear, because they seem to 
me so significant of the new age. It was a great hap 
piness to have two such men as the President and 
Governor speak for us on such a historic occasion. 
Moreover, I had one of the best times of my life, for 
everyone was in the gayest mood and the talk was 
worth going a thousand miles to hear. Then we had 
such splendid gentlemen in uniforms to give color to 
the flying hours. * * * 

We have a sporty golf course and I play twice a 
day, generally with Admiral Stockton who is great 
fun. Little news from Summit; why should there 
be, when you and I are absent? * * * 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In the autumn of 1901 Mabie had visited Berea 
College, of which Dr. William G. Frost was the Presi- 


dent; and was deeply impressed by the work which 
the college was doing for the people of the mountain 
sections of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and 
the Virginias. On his return he wrote to Dr. Frost, 
under date of November 27, " The spectacle of your 
work, your speech and your self-denial, and the raw 
material of life upon which you are working, filled 
me with something like envy. I shall not rest until 
I have been able to do something for Berea." 

Apparently the conditions which Dr. Frost had to 
meet grew more and more difficult year by year, for 
in October, 1909, we find Mabie writing to him in a 
sportively admonitory vein not usual with him : 

To Dr. William G. Frost 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. 2, 1909. 

MY DEAR DR. FROST, I have been intending to 
write you with my own hand, but I have been away a 
great deal for the last three months, and now I must 
have recourse to a bit of stenography. 

I did not like your last annual report which I read 
the other night, because it seemed to me that there was 
a note of despondency; and despondency is not your 
note. Somebody must have got into your shoes, and 
I suspect it is a very tired and overworked man who 
has been keeping at it a great deal longer than he 
ought. Looking at the matter from a purely selfish 
point of view that is to say, from what Berea Col- 


lege can make out of you I think it is your bounden 
duty as a man, a Christian, and a brother, to get rid 
of that tired man at once. Put him out to grass. He 
is an interloper. I have forgotten what the endow 
ment of Berea is; but whatever it is, you are far and 
away the most valuable asset of the college. It has 
had altogether too much income out of you; the per 
centage of return has been usurious. It has been very 
immoral on your part to pay it, and outrageous in 
justice on the part of the college to take it. Now, 
as you value the college, take care of that asset. Six 
months or a year devoted to rest will double the value 
of that asset for the next ten years. That is what you 
owe to the college. You owe something to your fam 
ily, and a little to your friends. Speaking for them 
all, I want to press the hope that you will look at your 
self impersonally, and then you will understand that 
your prime duty is to get right out to grass and stay 
there indefinitely. The loss of time won t be worth 
reckoning when you get back to work. This is not 
an impertinence, it is a piece of the Vox Populi. 

Faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

With the usual package of books which Mabie sent 
to Miss King at Christmas time, went a letter recall 
ing the days when, under her experienced guidance, he 
first became acquainted with New Orleans, adding: 
"A flood of change has swept us all into another 


world since then, a world in which we can never feel 
quite at home, since so many dear and familiar faces 
no longer make it homelike and warm for us. They 
are all gone into a World of Light, to recall one of the 
most beautiful lines in English poetry, and we can 
think of them as safe beyond the storm of years. I 
like to recall these vanished faces at Christmas time, 
and to pay them the tribute of special remembrance; 
and so I think of your beautiful home as I first saw 
it and your dear mother, who was one of the most 
interesting women I ever met; your brother, with his 
quiet courtesy. I wish to join you in the festival of 
remembrance and to warm myself again at your fire 

Few things gave Mabie more pleasure than to meet 
and to talk to school boys. It was his custom to make 
one or two visits each year to Mercersburg, Pennsyl 
vania, for the purpose of speaking to the boys in the 
Mercersburg Academy, of which his old and highly 
valued friend, Dr. William M. Irvine, was the head 
master. In February, 1910, after one of these visits 
he wrote to Mrs. Irvine : 

" It does me good to go to Mercersburg and get into 
the atmosphere of your home, so full of simple faith 
and brave endeavor, and to look into the faces of the 
boys. It makes a man take vigorous account of him 
self when he stands in that chapel, and shake all the 
pretense and ignobility out of his nature and try to be 


absolutely and unaffectedly honest with himself and 
those boys. He feels as if any touch of rhetoric and 
any artificial tone would lose their attention and 
alienate them. Nothing short of transparent sincerity 
will satisfy him. You and Dr. Irvine are doing a 
great work in the school; it is a very hard work, but 
you have the unrivalled opportunity of making men; 
and there isn t a better or more satisfying thing in 

The longest and the last sojourn the Mabies had in 
Europe was in 1910, six months. Two letters written 
in this period, both addressed to old friends, will give 
the reader an idea of the rare enjoyment which Mabie 
always got from foreign travel. The first shows how 
completely the mystical charm of Capri got into his 

To Mrs. E. D. North 

CAPRI, April 8, 1910. 

MY DEAR MRS. NORTH, If we ever return to Sum 
mit, I shall perhaps be able to give you some faint im 
pressions of the spell of Capri, but I doubt whether 
we shall ever leave the island. There is magic here; 
the magic of wonderful color, of splendid moulding 
of hills, of an atmosphere full of illusions of distance, 
of that element of mystery which we so rarely get at 
home. The island of the Sirens is in full view and 


they are still singing. The place is full of stories of 
people who have fallen under their spell; of the Eng 
lishman who came over from Naples to spend the night 
and stayed fifty years and now lies the mortal part 
of him in the little churchyard; of a young and 
brilliant writer on the Post who came for a little rest 
and lived here until his last penny was gone and he 
died in a hospital. We have some friends here who 
lead a " charmed life"; they came for four days and 
are completing their sixteenth year! 

The few English and American families are of the 
best sort and live at ease in a world of magical beauty 
no talk of business or school committees; but books, 
music, nature! We are all a bit intoxicated; you 
might expect it of me, but even Mrs. Mabie has suc 
cumbed to the spell. I wish you were here ; you would 
understand; some people would not. It is enough to 
say to you that the island looks on the Bay of Naples 
to the north and on the sea to the south, and the coast 
from Sorrento, buried in orange groves, to Salerno lies 
in full view. I did not know that the world could be 
so beautiful, so ravishing as this old, old Mediterra 
nean shows it. 

The M s have lived here so long that they know 
the people intimately and they have initiated us. The 
girls speak the language freely, have lived with the 
fishing people and made friends with everyone. They 


have put us on the inside of things. The resident 
families have called on us and we have had tea with 
them, and we are absurdly at home after a week. 
Don t be surprised if you hear that we have done some 
crazy thing; if we never go back you must come and 
see us every summer. * * * 

The American Consul here (salary reduced last year 
from $15.00 to $10.00) is a scholar who is devoting 
himself to a history of the later Roman Empire and 
knows the last detail about this part of the world. A 
grandson of Wordsworth has a beautiful villa; Chas. 
Coleman, the painter, and Mr. Vedder are also resi 
dent here. But I must stop talking about Capri; it s 
those seductive Sirens! You can sit still here and 
simply look and behold! You are twenty-five and 
you can t understand where the years have gone ! 

Mrs. Mabie has probably told you about our week 
in Naples and our deep interest in Pompeii. We have 
been among the mountains at La Cava; why has no 
body ever told me about the mountains of Southern 
Italy? We spent a beautiful day with the Greek tem 
ples at Paestum, and under that sky and with that 
sea flashing between the columns we felt the poetry of 
the old mythology. 

We made the drive from Salerno to Sorrento in 
two days, with two days at the Cappucini at Amalfi, 
where you live in fairyland. * * * 

We are all well, only a little touched in our minds. 


I am off with Mr. Andrews to see his olive farm. If 
we never go home, do come and see us. 

Yours here or there, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The other letter, addressed to his friend Stetson, re 
called Mabie s first visit to Europe, in 1889, when he 
was so fortunate as to meet Mr. and Mrs. Stetson in 
Switzerland : 

To Francis Lynde Stetson 

DIJON, July 23, 1910. 

MY DEAR FRANK, Your letter was most welcome 
and came very opportunely; the reports of the illness 
following the Alumni luncheon had made me anxious 
about you. I hope the reports were as far beyond the 
facts as such reports usually are. I had a letter from 
Bishop Lines, giving such an enthusiastic account of 
Skylands that it made us all homesick. What a beau 
tiful place it is and how generously you have shared 
it with your friends ! We have often wished this sum 
mer that we could spend the Sundays in Skylands; I 
find myself more and more grateful for the quiet of 
our Sundays at home. 

You had a great combination for July 4th, and you 
must have had some good talk. You have been con 
stantly in my thoughts since we entered Switzerland. 
I heard " Weggis " called in the bull-frog tones of 
twenty-one years ago, and I saw the Jungfrau as we 


saw it on that wonderful night when the moon un 
veiled it. We stopped here day before yesterday to 
break our journey to Paris, and yesterday I saw the 
house in which Charles the Bold was born. That* 
took me back to the winter of our sophomore year 
when we read history so enthusiastically. Those old 
Dukes had fine names and none of them seems to have 
been afraid. I especially like Jean sans Peur, whose 
fine tomb is here. 

We had a good deal of rain in Switzerland with 
some splendid days; and we harvested most of the 
great views. The weather is now warm and clear, 
but the rains in Western Europe have been torren 
tial. * * * 

Yours affectionately, HAMILTON. 

In March, 1909, Theodore Roosevelt became a 
member of the staff of The Outlook as special Con 
tributing Editor, and continued to occupy that posi 
tion for more than five years, until June, 1914. 
" During that time," says Lawrence F. Abbott, in his 
" Impressions of Theodore Roosevelt," " he was in a 
very real sense a member of our staff. He made his 
office with us and he regularly attended our weekly 
editorial conferences." His association with The 
Outlook had one curious result. Stetson had often 
spoken of the parallelism that had run through his 
own career and that of his friend Mabie. They were 


both born in New York State; were graduated in the 
same class at Williams, studied law and were ad 
mitted to the bar together; practised law in the same 
city; were both communicants of the Protestant Epis 
copal Church, and occasionally met as deputies at the 
General Conventions of the church; had both been 
presidents of the Alpha Delta Phi Society, and were 
both trustees for many years of Williams College. 
When, one day, Stetson came to pay his friend a visit 
and saw the name of Theodore Roosevelt on the door 
of a neighboring office, he recalled the fact that Grover 
Cleveland had been a member of his own law firm in 
the interval between his first and second administra 
tions. That he and Mabie should have been associated 
in their respective professions with two ex-Presidents 
of the United States, struck him as an amazingly odd 
coincidence, especially in view of the other parallelisms 
in their careers. 

Through this editorial association Roosevelt became 
well acquainted with Mabie, who referred to him in 
terms of enthusiasm in his Christmas letter to his 
Greenwich friends : 

To Mrs. Holmes and Miss Annie Button 

SUMMIT, N. J., Dec. 22, 1910. 

MY DEAR FRIENDS, It does not seem possible that 
Christmas is at the door again, and that we are on the 
threshold of 1911. That old hymn about time " bear- 


ing all its sons away " is getting impressive ; whether 
we like it or not we are borne along on a stream 
that runs faster every decade. It is much happier to 
like it and get the good of ripening years and use the 
freedom of life than to inwardly protest and feebly try 
to hold on to that which has done its work for us. 
Youth is a matter of the spirit, and the spirit is im 

We celebrated Christmas in good old Outlook fash 
ion, and Dr. Abbott s 75th birthday at the same time 
on Monday evening. He is stepping lightly and 
radiantly along with a clear, strong mind, a beautiful 
spirit of peace and faith, and a gentleness and courtesy 
of manner which make him very dear to us. Mr. 
Roosevelt is great fun; a warm hearted, affectionate, 
companionable giant, who makes everybody that 
knows him his friend ; as unlike the newspaper pictures 
of him as I am unlike Tim Sullivan. No office could 
be more interesting than ours, and none filled with a 
finer atmosphere of mutual devotion to the higher 
things of life. * * * 

With affectionate good wishes from your old-time 
and all-time friend, 


This reference to Dr. Abbott reflects the respect, 
the admiration and the affection which Mabie always 
had for his chief, his intimate association with whom 


through a long series of years he regarded as one of 
the most important and helpful influences in his life. 
When he wrote the foregoing letter, he was sixty-five 
years old. His spirit was still youthful, his hope buoy 
ant. He could not, however, fail to recognize the 
changes that were taking place, with the passage of the 
years, in himself and in his friends, and he read a deep 
spiritual significance in those changes. This thought 
found expression in his Easter letter to the same 
friends of his early manhood : 

To Mrs. Holmes and Miss Annie Button 

SUMMIT, N. J., April 15, 1911. 

MY DEAR FRIENDS, Wouldn t it be delightful if 
we could spend Easter together! One of the hardest 
things in life is the necessity of being separated from 
your friends. We have to learn to live together in 
the spirit and that is one of the ways in which we put 
on immortality. One of the great interests of life, as 
I have discovered in these later years is this beautiful 
transformation through which so many people are 
visibly passing putting off this mortal and putting 
on the immortal. This is what is going on when we 
notice how people are refining as they get older; which 
is only a way of saying that the earthly is giving place 
to the heavenly, and they are getting ready for the next 
stage. Love is after all the great and convincing evi 
dence that we are already in the immortal life. It 


does not for a moment stop when they whom we love 
vanish ; it follows and stays with them. And it makes 
our hearts ache because it is so great and there is so 
little room for it here and now. So friends are to 
gether in eternity while they are separated in time, and 
we are all of one immortal household here and there ! 
Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The Mabies passed the following summer at Hyan- 
nisport. While there Mabie received a letter from 
Stetson inclosing one he had received from Dr. Asa 
H. Morton, who in 1910 had been appointed to a pro 
fessorship of theology at Williams, and in whose views 
both Mabie and Stetson, as trustees of the college, were 
naturally interested. Mabie s reply was as follows: 

To Francis Lynde Stetson 

HYANNISPORT, MASS., Aug. 2, 1911. 

MY DEAR FRANK, I am very glad to have seen Dr. 
Morton s very interesting letter. He has evidently 
made a tour of the whole field of philosophy during 
his absence. I was greatly interested in the view of 
art as a kind of middle term between the spiritual and 
the material; an idea which is not new but which has 
special significance just now when people are so dis 
satisfied with materialism because they cannot get the 
satisfactions of the spirit out of things; and I was also 
interested in the evidence of increasing emphasis on 


social religion. Of course religion does not begin 
until there is someone to be religious, and in the New 
Testament the expression of religion is almost wholly 
social. Christianity is all afield in the Apostolic 
times ; no temples, altars, only the ever widening touch 
of the healing .hand on men and women. Of course 
organization had to come, but I suspect that the real 
centre of religion ought always to be out-of-doors. 
And I suppose the doctrine of the Trinity came be 
cause it wasn t possible to think of a solitary God. 

Affectionately, HAM. 


THE crowning event in Mabie s life of service 
occurred in the years 1912 and 1913 when, ac 
companied by his wife and daughter, he spent six 
months in Japan, delivering lectures on American 
Ideals, Character and Life, as the representative of 
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 
the winter and spring of 1911 and 1912 Professor 
Inazo Nitobe, of the Imperial University of Tokio, a 
leader in educational affairs and an authority in Jap 
anese colonial history and policy, had delivered a series 
of lectures on Japan in American universities and be 
fore other organizations. Professor Nitobe s lectures 
were published in book form under the title, " The 
Japanese Nation : Its Land and Its People " ; and in 
the preface to the volume the author gave to Hamilton 
Holt, of New York, the editor of The Independent, 
the credit for originating the idea of an exchange of 
public men of note as lecturers to the people of Japan 
and America. " When the plan," says Professor 
Nitobe, " had developed to a certain degree of feasi 
bility, the task of carrying it into effect was accepted 



by President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia 
University, in whose hands the idea took the more 
practical, if less ambitious, form of an exchange pro 
fessorship, and he interested certain typical universities 
to join in putting it into effect. After the enterprise 
was fairly launched, the responsibility for its con 
tinuance was passed on to, and made a part of, the 
work of the Carnegie Peace Endowment." 

In pursuance of the policy thus outlined the ex 
ecutive committee of the Carnegie Endowment, of 
which Elihu Root was chairman, in May, 1912, au 
thorized Dr. Butler, Acting Director of the Division 
of Intercourse and Education, to invite Mabie to go 
to Japan and deliver a series of lectures as the repre 
sentative of the Endowment. 

Two principal reasons influenced Dr. Butler and his 
fellow trustees in selecting Mabie for this important 
mission. In the first place he possessed an admirable 
platform presence and manner, a personality that of 
itself was sure to win from the outset the interest and 
sympathetic attention of his Japanese hearers. More 
over his tact, his wide experience as a speaker, and the 
not unimportant fact that he always had something 
worth while to say, equipped him for any emergency 
that was likely to arise. In the second place he was 
considered to be an ideal representative of the literary 
and other cultural life of America. For years the 
Japanese point of view in considering the United 


States and its people had been either political or eco 
nomic; and it was thought to be highly desirable to 
send to Japan a lecturer who could present the other 
side of American life its intellectual and artistic 
aspects, who, in the official phrase, could " interpret 
the American as he is and as his origins and history 
exhibit him." And it was felt that this result could 
be accomplished far better by a gentleman of address, 
general culture and taste than by a lecturer renowned 
only, or mainly, for his scholarship in some special 
field. A third important qualification for this under 
taking which Mabie possessed was summarized by ex- 
President Taft who later said of him: " No one 
could have been selected who was a better embodiment 
of the spirit of international brotherhood." 

Having accepted this commission, Mabie went to 
Hyannisport for the summer in order to prepare his 
lectures. These, ten in number, with one on " The 
American in Art " added from the pages of The At 
lantic Monthly, were published by the Macmillans in 
the autumn following his return from Japan, under 
the title of " American Ideals, Character and Life." 
In his preface he explained that the addresses were 
delivered to audiences of unusual intellectual alertness 
and remarkable knowledge of the English language, 
but which were largely unfamiliar with American his 
tory and institutions. " No attempt," he added, " has 
been made to do more, on the historical side, than to 


sketch with a free hand and in large outline, the de 
velopment of the American people, bringing into view 
only those events which have contributed to that de 
velopment and disclose and interpret the American 

While thus 6ccupied Mabie found the time to send 
to his friend Stetson a letter on a theme far removed 
from the work upon which he was engaged the at 
titude of the poets, from the earliest times, towards 
nature. The " little essay " which prompted Stetson s 
letter was called " Theocritus on Cape Cod," and had 
appeared in the current number of The Atlantic 
Monthly. Brander Matthews included it in his " Ox 
ford Book of American Essays," published in 1914. 
In it Mabie had discussed the Sicily and the Sicilians 
of the time of Theocritus from the point of view of 
the Cape Cod of Thoreau. 

To Francis Lynde Stetson 

HYANNISPORT, MASS., August u, 1912. 

MY DEAR FRANK, Your letter gave me the great 
est pleasure the publication of that little essay has 
brought me. I did not expect that it would interest 
many people, but it gave me the chance of saying some 
things about poetry. After Aeschylus, in whose mind 
there was an Oriental strain of love for the vast and 
vague, the Greek poets dealt with Nature only in its 
beautiful or familiar aspects, its details, so to speak. 


This was still more true of the Roman poets, to whom 
Nature was of interest chiefly in its relations to man. 
Some of them, like Lucretius, had big philosophical 
ideas about Nature, but had none of our feeling. 
Through the Middle Ages the loneliness of life and the 
isolation in castles and little villages with wild, un 
occupied tracts of country between, combined with the 
belief in all kinds of evil beings in woods and moun 
tains, estranged people from Nature, save in gardens 
and cultivated places. When Petrarch proposed to 
climb Mount Ventoux for the sake of the view, every 
body protested against so rash and incomprehensible 
a plan. The feeling for wild Nature the Alps, 
Scotch Highlands, and Wales does not appear in 
English literature until Gray s letters. People dreaded 
those aspects of Nature which today attract us most. 
But I didn t mean to write a lecture; I meant to say 
that I shall be more than glad to spend Friday night 
at the Essex Hotel in Boston, arriving about six 
thirty. * * * 

Affectionately, HAM. 

Mabie did not complete the writing of his lectures 
until after his return to Summit, as appears from the 
following letter, with its reference to the " Parables 
of Life," published ten years earlier, to Mrs. Jennie 
L. Sawyer, who was connected with the public library 
in Hammond, Indiana : 

To Mrs. Jennie L. Sawyer 

SUMMIT, N. J., Oct. 6, 1912. 

MY DEAR MRS. SAWYER,- I am the more grateful 
for your kind note because I have always felt that the 
" Parables " are not quite successful. I console my 
self with the thought that they were written simply to 
help people, and however much they fall short in art 
they seem to have given some people more courage and 
hope, and that is after all the most important matter. 

I greatly enjoyed breaking into my vacation by 
speaking to the librarians of Cape Cod not long ago. 
I found them very responsive, and the sea was quietly 
making us know it was under the windows. I am 
preparing some addresses to be given in the univer 
sities of Japan this winter, and your note gives me a 
little more courage in facing a unique and important 
experience. Thank you. 

Yours sincerely, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

The Mabies were not allowed to start on their long 
journey to Japan without several manifestations of 
the good will and affection in which they were held 
by their friends. The Japan Society, of which Lind 
say Russell was the president, gave a farewell dinner 
in their honor at the Hotel Astor on the evening of 
October 22, at which several hundred guests were pres 
ent. President Butler of Columbia presided, and the 
speakers, in addition to President Butler and the guest 


of the evening, were Dr. van Dyke, Dr. John Finley, 
Talcott Williams, Hamilton Holt and the Japanese 
Consul General, Y. Numarro. It happened, moreover, 
that a meeting of .The Athenaeum was held in Summit 
just before they were to start for Japan ; and after the 
address an informal reception was held to give their 
neighbors an opportunity to bid them good-bye and to 
wish them a safe return. 

They left Summit on election day and sailed from 
San Francisco on November I5th. The steamship 
touched at Honolulu, and in a letter written at sea a 
few days later to his friend Stetson, Mabie described 
his experiences there. The Dole mentioned was Judge 
Sanford B. Dole, who had been president of the Re 
public of Hawaii for several years. Rowell was Wil 
liam E. Rowell, a classmate of Mabie s; Emerson was 
Dr. Nathaniel B. Emerson, president of the Hawaiian 
Board of Health; Gulick-was the missionary, John T. 
Gulick, of the Williams class of 1859. 

To Francis Lynde Stetson 

S.S. CHIYO MARU, AT SEA, Nov. 26, 1912. 

MY DEAR FRANK, I am trying to accustom myself 
to the idea that we have lost a day. We have crossed 
the iSoth degree and Monday the 25th has disap 
peared ! When we went to bed last night it was Sun 
day, and now it is Tuesday morning! We are four 
days out from Yokohama, and so far we have been 


sailing through quiet semi-tropical days. You will be 
especially interested in hearing about our day at Hono 
lulu. We arrived early and were met on the pier by 
Dole and Rowell and motored until noon. It was a 
magical day; raining, sunshining and rainbows in 
every direction. We went to the Gorge of Pali where 
the wind was a solid wall which we could not stand 
against. The view is wild and lonely mountains, 
lagoon, and ocean. We went to Pearl Harbor, and 
everywhere saw stately palms and hedges ablaze with 
the crimson Hibiscus (if that is the correct spelling). 
The University Club gave me a luncheon at which 
over a hundred men were present, representing many 
colleges. The Williams men were at the table with 
me to the number of eight or nine: Dole, Rowell, Em 
erson of 65, Gulick, and others. Jennie and Helen 
lunched with Mrs. Dole in their bungalow on the 
beach where the great white rollers come in precisely 
as you expect to see them. After luncheon we went to 
the Aquarium where there is a wonderful collection 
of gorgeous, tropical fish, and then Dole had arranged 
a fine display of surf swimming for us, both canoe and 
board riding. We left at four wreathed, after the 
Hawaiian custom, with garlands of flowers. Dole is 
evidently the first man in the islands and impressed 
Jennie and me as a fine, strong, kindly personality; a 
distinguished man of probity and courage. He has a 
lot of white hair, but a clear young eye, and a vigorous 


physique. Mrs. Dole is an attractive, cultivated 
woman. They have a charming home in the city; 
half tropical in its surroundings and crowded with 
books and pictures. Their bungalow opens on three 
sides, looks as if it were made of mahogany; and, with 
a beautifully appointed table, loaded with tropical 
fruits, and the sea at the foot of the hill, gave one an 
impression of an earthly paradise. * * * Altogether 
our day at Honolulu was one of novel experiences and 
of overflowing friendliness. 
Our love to you both, 

Affectionately, HAM. 

When their steamship was three days from Yoko 
hama, wireless messages of welcome began to be re 
ceived by the Mabies. " When we dropped anchor in 
the harbor of Yokohama," wrote Mabie, " a committee 
came on board, and twenty reporters crowded around 
us. Our photographs were taken they have been 
taken a hundred times since, and we were driven to 
one of the great banks, taken to the directors rooms, 
waited upon by the officials, and served with tea and 
delicious confectionery. Half an hour later we were 
driven to the railway station where we took the train 
for Tokyo. On our arrival at the capital we were met 
by a large company of people, and were taken in a 
motor to a suite of rooms in this hotel which were 


filled with flowers. From that moment we have never 
been allowed to forget that we were the guests of the 
nation. Every hour has been full and everything has 
been done for us." 

The formal welcome took place a few days later at 
a large luncheon given at the house of Baron Shi- 
busawa, " a leader," as Mabie called him, " not only 
in finance, but in all movements for the public welfare 
and for international peace." " The gardens," he 
wrote, " were still beautiful and gave us our first 
glimpse of Oriental loveliness in a series of chrysan 
themums, azalea and dwarf-pine gardens, with charm 
ing tea-houses. Then we were taken to the enter 
tainment room and saw the Geisha dancing, which is a 
part of every hospitality in a Japanese house." 

Then, in the following week, came a dinner, given 
by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the Japanese 
fashion, although the Mabies were provided with piles 
of cushions on which to sit. " The room," continued 
Mabie, " was lovely, beautifully proportioned, with ex 
quisite matting we were all in soft slippers; shoes 
are never worn in Japanese houses, and with screens 
along the sides that filled you with envy, and with a 
delicately starred ceiling. The master of the feast 
sits at the end of the room, the guests in rows on 
either side, with a little lacquer table before each 
guest. The dinner was served by noiseless girls, who 


seemed to glide over the matting, serving innumerable 
dishes in lacquer bowls and cups, and who danced in 
lovely costumes after the feast." 

Mabie had been in Japan only a short time when he 
wrote at length to Dr. Abbott, for his information in 
the editorial conduct of The Outlook, with reference 
to a cabinet crisis that then disturbed the politics of 
the nation. As regards the attitude of the leaders 
among the Japanese towards America, referring par 
ticularly to the agitation in California on the subject of 
Japanese immigration, he wrote : 

" I have inquired in every direction, of all sorts of 
people, and I can get but one opinion that there has 
never been the slightest foundation for the idea that 
Japan has ever thought of fighting us. I believe that 
scare has been manufactured out of nothing, and I 
am sure we can safely deride and condemn it. If they 
felt like fighting the conditions would make it suicidal. 
As a minister said not long ago Japan might as well 
commit hari-kari as fight the U. S. They seem, on 
the other hand, to have a real sense of gratitude to 
wards us and to be grieved and confused by what they 
think has been a change of feeling towards them. 
* * * They seem to me to be conscious they are 
carrying a heavy load, and they are anxious about the 
near future in the East. They are sensitive rather 
than aggressive toward us." 

For the holidays that in Japan last over New Year s 


the Mabies went first to a hotel in a " wildly beautiful 
place," as Mabie called it, " in the mountains, with 
noble views of Fujiyama at one end of the gorge and 
of the Pacific at the other." From here, a few days 
before Christmas, he wrote to his friend North : 

To E. D. North 

MlYANOSHITA, Dec. 23, IQI2. 

DEAR , ERNEST,- Christmas day after to-morrow 
and we are nine thousand miles from home! We 
don t like that combination. I am writing just before 
dinner and you are still asleep this morning ! You are 
on solid ground, and we had four earthquakes the first 
week; one while I was having a very interesting talk 
with Count Okuma, the most interesting man in Japan, 
when the house groaned for a moment, and one at 
night when a gentle sigh seemed to come from the 
earth, as if it was tired of staying in one position. 
You have mumps and measles ; we have been drinking 
boiled water and leaving out uncooked vegetables be 
cause there was cholera here and there (it seems to 
have disappeared). You are on New England Ave 
nue and we are near the shrines to Buddha. We are 
far from home and we shall be homesick thinking of 
you day after tomorrow. 

I wish I could give you any impression of the 
beauty of the things that have been done for us. For 
instance, the Kokka Club, which includes the foremost 


artists in Japan, gave us a dinner. They met us at 
the bottom of one of those flights of stone steps that 
climb, under mysterious pines, to ancient temples. At 
the top, on the edge of the hill, Tokyo twinkling with 
lights below, stands the club house among old, old 
temples ; not a nail in it, nor a touch of paint ; exquis 
itely beautiful woods, soft mattings, screens of lovely 
tone, ceilings delicately starred in gold. First we had 
ceremonial tea according to the ancient ritual. Then 
in our slippers we went upstairs : a half dozen artists 
sat on the floor surrounded by bowls and jars, and 
made rapid studies to show us how the brush work is 
done here. It was a striking picture : that little group 
of painters, the larger group of dark interesting men 
sitting or standing around in the dress of Japanese 

Then came the dinner in a long room of wonderful 
beauty. Helen whispered to me again and again; 
" Oh, if this could only be painted " ; the long rows 
of men on either side, the Master of the Feast at one 
end and we at the other, the beautiful little lacquer 
tables, the multitude of exquisite cups and bowls, the 
noiseless girls coming and going in their brilliant 
kimonos. In the middle of the dinner the President 
moved across the floor, bowed low before me, and 
announced that I had been made an honorary member 
of the club (the third in its history), presented me with 
a beautiful certificate in a beautiful box, made by 




members, and put the button in my coat. The menus 
were all individual and were gathered up and pre 
sented to me. I shall send you one when we get back 
to Tokyo. They escorted us with lanterns to the 
head of the steps and we went down through the pine 
groves and temples to the carriage and drove home 
through the picturesque streets, and felt as if we had 
been in fairyland. * * * 

We are here for the holidays; a wildly beautiful 
country of mountains, with Fujiyama towering in the 
distance. Hot springs everywhere; streams of hot 
water pouring down the great ravines and foliage of 
indescribable richness in consequence. The moun 
tains are laced with walks; how I wish we could take 
some of them together! 

My love to both of you and the happiest of all years 
to you. 

Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Christmas at this resort and a ride down the moun 
tain through a snowstorm were described in a long 
letter which Mabie sent to Miss Julia E. Bell, to be 
read to her Sunday School class in Greenwich : 

" We expected to have a lonely Christmas, but there 
was a company from all parts of the world in the pic 
turesque hotel and we had a merry dinner, two cable 
grams (one from the Summit club, The Athenaeum) 
and many letters from home, so we were not too home- 


sick. We were snowed in for two days, and were 
carried down the mountain when we left in three 
rickshaws, one man to draw and two to hold back. 
They ran all the way down through the snow, and it 
was an exciting ride. Then we spent two weeks at a 
most fascinating old place on the Pacific Kama- 
kura. We had a New Year s eve dinner and three 
very unpleasant shocks of earthquake. We have had 
six since we came, and do not care for them. The 
Japanese dread them; one never knows when the big 
one is coming." 

After the New Year s holidays, Mabie began the 
delivery of his lectures at the Imperial and other uni 
versities and at the secondary colleges and schools. 
In the elementary schools instruction is given entirely 
in Japanese. In the secondary schools, including col 
leges, high schools, higher commercial schools, normal 
schools and technical and foreign language schools, 
the study of English holds a foremost place, no fewer 
than six hours a week being devoted to it throughout 
the entire course of five years. Boys, therefore, enter 
the universities with a reading knowledge of literary 
English as illustrated by "A Tale of Two Cities," 
Irving s " Sketch Book " or Franklin s Autobiography. 
At the universities and before the higher commercial 
colleges Mabie could therefore give his lectures in 
English without the aid of translation. When he 
spoke to popular audiences, a translator was required, 


which more than doubled the time of delivery. In all 
about eighty addresses were made in Japan, Korea 
and Southern Manchuria, whither Mabie went for a 
brief visit. 

One of the most interesting incidents in the sojourn 
of the Mabies in Japan was the audience which the 
Emperor and Empress gave them at the palace in 
Tokyo. Mabie described the ceremony as follows 
in his letter to Miss Bell : 

" We had private audiences. The Palace grounds 
are very large and beautiful, in the very centre of the 
city, surrounded by an ancient wall and moat, two and 
a half miles in circumference and overhung with pines. 
We were received at the great entrance by a group 
of delightfully polite gentlemen of the Court, whose 
manners and English were of the best, and were con 
ducted through endless halls to a beautiful waiting 
room. The Palace is in pure Japanese style and has 
all the elegance of their wonderful simplicity. 

" Presently other gentlemen came, and I walked 
through more halls. The size and beauty and stillness 
of the Palace were very impressive. The floors are 
covered with wonderful rugs, and two or three rooms 
are furnished in the European way, so that ambassa 
dors and other foreigners can be comfortable. Soon I 
arrived at a smaller room of very lovely decoration in 
which the Emperor was waiting. He stood sur 
rounded by handsomely uniformed gentlemen in wait- 


ing. Dead silence in the room, everybody like a 
statue. When I remembered that the young man 
waiting for me represented the oldest reigning family 
in history twenty-five hundred years, and that his 
ancestors have been worshipped as semi-divine by 
generations, and when I felt the stillness of the place 
and the sense of remoteness from the world, I real 
ized that I was in the heart of old Japan. 

" I made a very low bow at the entrance, bowed 
again half way up the room, and a third time when 
I reached the Emperor. He held out his hand and 
grasped mine cordially; expressed Ms pleasure in 
meeting so distinguished an American/ asked what 
scenery I liked best, how long I was to stay, said he 
thought I must be working very hard, and hoped I 
was taking good care of myself. I expressed my 
gratitude for our reception in Japan and told him our 
plans for travel. Then I retreated in good order. 
More halls followed and then the most beautiful room 
I ever saw in any palace the Hall of a Hundred 
Flowers/ looking out on a great garden. Here Mrs. 
Mabie and Helen were waiting. I was taken first into 
the famous Peony Room, dimly lighted, perfectly still. 
Here attended by two ladies stood the Empress. I 
made three more bows and we shook hands and had 
a little talk of five minutes, and I saw Mrs. Mabie 
and Helen make their courtesies and disappear into 
the royal presence. As I think of it and remember 


the wonderful silence it seems like a dream of fairy 

Early in February Mabie wrote again to his friend 
North, giving further details of his experiences. 

To E. D. North 

TOKYO, Sunday, Feb. 2, 1913. 

MY DEAR ERNEST, I have been trembling on the 
verge of a letter to you for at least three weeks, and 
now comes your note of January 4th, acknowledging 
the note I mailed the day we landed more than two 
months ago! How far we are from home! It is a 
lovely, early April day, as many winter days are here. 
We have been to the English church and walked home 
through a park of those ancient pines that seem to be 
always whispering of old Japan. We are curiously 
at home in this vast wilderness of a city. We talk 
about " dear old Tokyo," crowded with people and 
shops and signs that are all novel. We seem to be 
simply enveloped with friends; the official Japanese, 
the people of the universities, the bankers and leaders 
of the Japanese world, the Embassy folk and the 
missionaries. They are all dropping in, inviting us to 
drive, sending us things, making plans for us; it is 
all we can do to keep up with the procession. 

I am speaking in the three universities here, at the 
colleges, schools, at missionary meetings, and literary 
clubs. The university authorities send their motors 


for me and wait in a body to receive me ; and there is 
always tea and confectionery. Before the first lecture 
at the University of Tokyo, the university gave us a 
beautiful luncheon; four presidents of the universities, 
two members of the Ministry, the Mayor of Tokyo and 
other prominent people present. They expected two 
or three hundred and the biggest hall was packed; at 
least nine hundred. The audience cheered at the be 
ginning and recalled the speaker at the end. Then 
we got into our motor, which was filled with flowers, 
and the students lined up and cheered us. It was very 
like being President. I expected a great falling off 
after the first lecture, but every lecture has had the 
same big audience and the same cheering crowds wait 
outside. It is a great relief to me to find that the 
boys understand me. 

We have done so many things that I have not time 
to record them. The English Speaking Club gave us 
a dinner; they expected forty and they had to shut 
off the applicants at something over two hundred. A 
granddaughter of one of the Court nobles danced a 
very old historic dance " to welcome Dr. Mabie." 
Bishop MeKim, who has been here forty years, told 
me it was the first time in the history of Japan that 
such a thing had happened. Prince Katsura, the 
Prime Minister, gave me a dinner of about twenty men 
of great prominence and afterwards took me off for 


an hour s talk ; a powerful, vital man. We had a de 
lightful dinner at Baron Goto s and I dined there 
again on Friday. He is regarded as the strongest 
man in the Empire after the Premier and is called " the 
Roosevelt of Japan." 

At last we have an Ambassador and we dine at 
the Embassy tomorrow night. I am also intimate with 
the " big business " men and I have four small din 
ners in the near future given me by the Bankers Club, 
the Bank of Japan (which is like the bank of Eng 
land), the Chamber of Commerce and the City of 
Tokyo. Helen said yesterday, " Can you ever be an 
ordinary person again and go down on the 8.15 train 
and have nobody pay any attention to you? " I told 
her I could do it tomorrow, for this experience is 
one of the accidents of history. 

Last Sunday night I went with Bishop McKim to a 
Confirmation in a little room in the slums and saw 
a church born! It was the most impressive thing I 
have seen in Japan. The Bishop is a dear, and so 
is " Cecil, Lord Bishop of South Tokyo," with whom 
we dined last Tuesday; a charming, simple earnest 
English gentleman; university man and gentleman all 
over, and as simple as a child. Bishop Harris is ex 
pected soon. The Athenaeum cablegram was lovely. 
Our love to you both. 

Faithfully, H. W. M. 


A few weeks later, while he was on a steamship 
bound for Korea, Mabie wrote to Mrs. North: 

To Mrs. E. D. North 

S. S. BINGO MARU, Mar. 20, 1913. 

MY DEAR MRS. NORTH, Your letter, received two 
or three days ago, made me feel as if I was sitting 
by your fire and had just been handed a cup of tea; 
it was delightful. In Japan whenever you go to an 
Army post, a university, a factory, a school you 
are taken at once to a reception room and tea, sponge 
cake and confectionery are at once brought in, and 
there is a little address of welcome to which you make 
a proper reply, everybody standing. I am so accus 
tomed to be met at the station, to be welcomed and to 
make a little speech that I suppose I shall do it in 
Summit, to the consternation of the commuters. I 
shall become polite if this discipline is continued until 
May loth. 

I left Mrs. Mabie and Helen in Nara Monday 
morning and came to Kobe where I spoke in two col 
leges morning and afternoon. On Tuesday I went 
to Osaka, which is the great manufacturing town of 
the Empire. They were all at the station, and the 
Governor s carriage was waiting for me and was at 
my door until I left yesterday noon. In the evening 
the City gave me a dinner; the Governor presiding, a 
delightful man, son of Okubo the great statesman 


who was the Governor s right hand in the difficult 
days of the Restoration. The missionaries were 
there in a solid body. There is so much evil report 
of America through our infernal sensational news 
papers and the European press that when a man stands 
up and makes America clear in her intellectual, moral 
and spiritual life, their joy is touching. * * * 

The missionaries gave us a little party one evening 
and warmed our hearts. Bishop Tucker is their de 
light and they are all Christians together. Some of 
the Buddhist temples there are superb in size and 
decoration; everything splendid, not a touch of the 
tawdry; noble columns of wood, great golden roofs 
cathedral effects. In the temples and palaces we have 
seen the big pictures ; many of them are superb. Some 
of the rooms are painted on all sides. Yesterday 
afternoon one of the foremost collectors in Japan 
opened his house to me and I saw a wonderful collec 
tion of Kakemonos of every period. There we sat 
half a dozen men and looked at pictures all the after 
noon, and every man was an expert. My guide knew 
every picture and gave me a rapid characterization of 
the different schools and methods. I wish you could 
have seen the tea-room with the slides open to the 
garden. Such exquisite harmony of detail makes 
you ache with the sense of the possible perfection of 
things. A bamboo vase, irregular in shape, held a 
rose, another a flower, a spray, a few leaves; it was a 


ravishing poem; the masterpiece of one of the masters 
of flower arrangement. 

And now I am sailing down the Inland Sea bound 
for Korea and Manchuria. * * * I have promised 
not to go tiger hunting, but Dr. Nitobe and I are off 
for a spree and we are like boys on a vacation. Don t 
worry about me; this Arabian Nights winter won t 
harm me; my head is exactly the size it was when I 
left, but my heart is much bigger. No more race 
prejudices for me; when I realize how our country 
is misunderstood through sheer ignorance, I dedicate 
the rest of life to the vision of the brotherhood which 
must come, now that the world is becoming a neigh 
borhood. My love to Ernest. 

Yours faithfully, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Writing in April from the same hotel in the moun 
tains in which he had passed the Christmas holidays, 
Mabie, in a letter to his friend North, gave his im 
pressions of Korea and Southern Manchuria: 

To E. D. North 


DEAR ERNEST, Here we are again in this wildly 
beautiful place and my work in Japan is done, though 
my work for Japan has only begun; and this is my 
last Japanese letter to you. There have been times 
when you two have seemed to belong to another world, 


so far away have you been and so remote have seemed 
the chances of seeing 1 you again. But we sail on 
Saturday of next week (May loth) if all goes well, 
and now the distance grows less. 

Many of the most interesting experiences of the win 
ter have come during the closing weeks. I think I 
sent you a few words from Seoul. At Mukden I saw 
a Chinese city, and Heaven help the man who has to 
live in one. There I saw a Llama temple and felt 
for the first time that I was in Heathendom. I think 
I must have said something about it to you before. 

Since my visit to Gettysburg I have not had so 
thrilling a day as the day I spent at Port Arthur. I 
was met at the station by the Governor General 
and his staff in uniform. I spent the day as his guest, 
met a group of officers at luncheon in his house, was 
driven around and saw the points of interest, with 
the story from a man who was in the heart of it; and 
wound up at the Naval Club, where there were large 
models of the naval fights, which were explained to 
me by the Admiral who made the first attack, smashed 
a good part of the Russian fleet and was blown up by 
a mine at the end of the day. The Governor Gen 
eral is a fine old boy; a good linguist; rode across 
Siberia alone when he was a young man; and was 
in command at the closing battle at Mukden. He was 
delightful to me; came over to Dalny to attend a 
luncheon given me by the Consul, and presided at a 


dinner given me in the evening 1 . My three days sail 
on the Yellow Sea was an unbroken pleasure of ex 
quisite harmony of sea and sky, and I had two per 
fect days on the Inland Sea. 

I passed two days in Kyoto before coming north. 
On one of these days Helen and I went by rail to a 
village twenty miles distant in order to come down 
the river through the rapids. It was to be a quiet 
little excursion. On arriving we found the provin 
cial and local authorities waiting in frock coats and 
high hats. We made a little procession, and when 
we reached the highway, I found they had given the 
children a holiday and twelve hundred were drawn up 
on either side. I got out and walked bareheaded 
through them while they bowed like corn when the 
wind plays on it. Arriving at a beautiful hillside 
H. and I planted trees ; then I stood under a cherry 
tree in full bloom and spoke to fifteen hundred people. 
After that we had lunch in a beautiful house in a 
lovely garden. When we went to the river to take 
the boat, the children were standing in ranks on the 
sloping banks and I felt like Lohegrin. They ban- 
zaied in a mighty volume, and I stood up and bowed 
until a bend of the river carried us out of sight. 

We sail May loth on the Shinyo Maru of the Japa 
nese line; a fine big boat, sister to the boat on which 
we came. We shall be due in San Francisco May 
26th and shall spend three or four days at the Hotel 


Stewart. Please send a line there. I do not know 
when we shall reach Summit. We may spend two 
weeks on the Coast. I am in receipt of urgent in 
vitations to speak on Japan in California. I cannot 
decide until I reach San Francisco. The Anti- Japa 
nese agitators have stirred all Japan as we should 
be stirred if Germany tried to exclude us simply be 
cause we were Americans. There would be no trouble 
about restriction of immigration; it is the discrimina 
tion that hurts. * * * 

Please get the fatted calf ready. 
Yours affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Five days before he sailed from Japan Mabie wrote 
to his friend Stetson about Williams College matters, 
the anti-Japanese agitation in California, the death in 
Rome of J. P. Morgan, and his preparations for de 

To Francis Lynde Stetson 

YOKOHAMA, May 5, 1913. 

MY DEAR FRANK, Your letter was a great joy to 
me, though I have only time to acknowledge its re 
ceipt. We sail on Saturday and shall be due in San 
Francisco on the 26th. I shall probably be able to 
attend Commencement on June 25th as usual. If we 
prolong our stay a week or two on the Pacific Coast, 
I might be too late; in that event I will send you my 


impression with regard to the selection of Trustees. 
I sincerely hope that we can keep Le favour. He is 
one of our few educational experts. 

This country is behaving well under provocation 
from the California Legislature. It does not object 
to restriction of immigration; it does object to dis 
crimination. There are many things to say on the 
legal aspects of the situation, but there is nothing to 
say in defense of the manner in which the subject has 
been approached. The Japanese have been deeply 
hurt and they are as proud and sensitive as we are. 
I have talked over the situation with members of the 
Ministry; they are taking a very wise attitude and 
are trying to keep the people from intemperate speech 
or action. From many points of view the whole 
business is most unfortunate; and the Californians 
are acting with a blind disregard of the future pros 
perity of the Coast. Any man out here who looks 
ahead a few years cannot fail to have a sense of great 
things to come. Great issues are at stake; but Cali 
fornia sees none of these things. 

You will feel the disappearance of such a tremen 
dous constructive force as Mr. Morgan. I thought 
The Outlook struck a fine note in its treatment of his 
personality and career. I had a very interesting trip 
to Korea and Manchuria. I thought of what was 
happening here when we graduated the restoration 
of sovereignty to the Emperor after eight centuries of 


divided authority when I was called up from Tokyo 
by telephone day before yesterday and requested to 
come to the Palace on Friday to receive a gift from 
the Emperor. We are already loaded with gifts after 
the Japanese fashion. We are all well. The strain 
of the winter has been great, but it has been so inter 
esting and novel and stimulating that I have hardly 
been conscious of fatigue. But it will be mighty pleas 
ant to see you again. Our love to you both. 

Affectionately, HAM. 

Japan is incredibly beautiful in May 1 ; wave after 
wave of flowers is sweeping over the country: plum 
blossoms, cherry blossoms (great billowy masses), 
azalea, wisteria. 

The gift from the Emperor referred to in the fore 
going letter was a cloisonne vase bearing the Imperial 
crest. Two days before they sailed a farewell dinner 
was given in honor of the Mabies by the Advisory 
Council of the Japan Society of New York, Baron 
Shibusawa presiding in his capacity as chairman of 
the council. The assembly represented the highest 
political, diplomatic, commercial, industrial and in 
tellectual life of Japan. Before his departure Mabie 
gave an interview to a representative of The Japan 
Advertiser, in the course of which he likened the in 
tellectual curiosity of the Japanese and their eagerness 
to learn everything possible about foreign countries 


to the same traits in the English of Elizabeth s time. 
In the same interview he uttered a word of warning 
regarding Japanese educational methods, which seemed 
to him to result in pouring more information into the 
minds of students than they could hold or digest, and 
in securing from them too little independent mental 
activity and cooperation with the teachers. 

It must be obvious to every reader of the foregoing 
pages that the Japanese, in their private as well as 
in their official capacities, left nothing undone to make 
Mabie s visit full of honors and in the highest degree 
enjoyable. All the arrangements were in the efficient 
hands of three representative men, to whom he dedi 
cated the book which he published later describing 
some of his experiences and observations Tsune- 
jiro Miyaoka, Inazo Nitobe and Eijiro Ono, whom 
he characterized as his " wise counselors and loyal 
friends." Of these the first-named was an attorney- 
at-law, with offices in Tokyo who at one time was 
Charge d Affaires at Washington, and who was the 
correspondent in Japan of the Carnegie Endowment 
for International Peace. As already noted, Professor 
Nitobe had lectured in the United States. Dr. Ono 
represented the Bank of Japan. An expert in the 
history, literature and art of the country, S. Nakano, 
was Mabie s constant companion as guide and in 


From the steamship which was bearing him to the 
United States Mabie wrote to his friend Dr. van Dyke, 
summarizing the results of his visit and giving his 
plans for the, summer : 

To Dr. Henry van Dyke 

S. S. SHINYO MARU, May, 1913. 

MY DEAR HENRY, I have heard of you, but noth 
ing from you since I said good-bye to you in the Grand 
Central Station. Since that time enough water has 
gone under the bridge to float a navy. I must have 
spoken about eighty times to all kinds of audiences, 
on all sorts of occasions; sometimes with an inter 
preter, often without one. How much my audiences 
have understood, I don t know; they have been so 
polite that they have seemed to understand everything. 
I am not sure that those who failed to understand lost 
much that was valuable. I have seen Japan, Korea 
and Manchuria. I have sat on my mat and eaten 
Japanese dinners, and I have progressed as far as the 
twenty-third course in a Chinese dinner. I have been 
treated like a Prince of the blood and have simply lived 
on special privileges. I know a great deal more than 
I did, and I hope I shall live to tell some of our igno 
rant fellow-countrymen what I have learned. * * * 
We expect to spend the summer in Seal Harbor, but 
I suppose you will run off to Europe. Meanwhile I 


am homesick for a sight of you when we get to New 
York in June. My love to you and yours. 

Affectionately, H. W. M. 

The result of Mabie s visit to Japan gave complete 
satisfaction to the trustees of the Carnegie Endow 
ment. They felt that he had entirely justified their 
selection of him as a man of letters and of broad cul 
ture, who could interpret the spirit of the West to 
the leaders of thought in the East. It was a task not 
without difficulties, for, as Yoshio Nitobe, a son of 
Dr. Inazo Nitobe, pointed out later, " though address 
ing himself to audiences that could only partly follow 
him, he could not lower the standard of his diction 
and style. In the selection of his subjects he had to 
use the utmost wisdom, and in their presentation he 
had to adapt his English to the linguistic capacity of 
his hearers, without doing violence to the subject or 
to the hearers." 

Mabie, however, had one qualification for this un 
dertaking which probably no other American pos 
sessed to the same degree intellectual sympathy. 
The Japanese of all ranks were quick to comprehend 
and to appreciate at its full value this quality of mind 
and heart a quality which from the outset gave him 
the Japanese point of view and made him a welcome 
guest on every occasion, academic or social. Mr. 
Aimaro Sato, the Japanese Ambassador to the United 


States in 1917, put his finger unerringly on this trait 
when, in recalling Mabie s visit to Japan, he said: 
" His winning personality which in itself was a mas 
ter-key to any social circle, along with his firm con 
viction that the heart of a race opens to those who 
approach it, not with distrust and suspicion, but as 
members of the same great family, made him pecu 
liarly acceptable to the Japanese people. Naturally he 
won unfeigned admiration wherever he went, and 
formed lasting friendships with Japan s foremost 

Mabie s visit to Japan had a marked influence upon 
the remaining years of his life. He returned to the 
United States with the firm conviction that his own 
countrymen were more in need of enlightenment about 
the Japanese than Japan was in need of information 
about America. As a consequence he felt that his 
work for Japan, instead of being finished, had only 
just begun. Thenceforth he took advantage of every 
opportunity, in the pages of The Outlook and in lec 
tures everywhere, to make the Japanese point of view 
and the real feelings of the Japanese towards the 
United States clear to his American readers and hear 
ers. No sooner had he arrived in San Francisco, 
after a seventeen days voyage from Yokohama, than 
he wrote a long letter to his chief in charge of The 
Outlook, Dr. Abbott, going over the whole ground 
of the controversy created by the anti-Japanese legis- 


lation in California and analyzing the local situation 
as he found it on his arrival. On this latter point he 

" The sentiment in the State behind the legislation 
is that of the labor unions and of the small farmers. 
Capitalism has worn its worst face in Calif ornia and 
labor unionism is wearing its worst face here. It is 
tyrannical, and indifferent to any except immediate 
interests, and the workingmen are helpless in the hands 
of their leaders. A workingman told me this morn 
ing that getting a job in California depended not on 
your employer but on the leader of your union. There 
is no considerable competition between the members 
of labor unions and the Japanese. They are in differ 
ent fields of work, but the Japanese worker is a for 
eigner, and the other foreigners who have already 
got in wish the door shut in his face. * * * The 
Japanese farmers are in competition with the small 
farmers because they work harder and they work bet 
ter and they live more economically. They are being 
opposed precisely as the Jews are opposed by the Rus 
sian small farmers, because they are abler men." 

Mabie spent the summer of 1913 at Seal Harbor 
reading and correcting the proofs of his lectures de 
livered in Japan on " American Ideals, Character and 
Life," the book being published in the following Octo 
ber. Soon after the return of himself and his family 
to Summit, he was the principal speaker at a meeting 


of The Athenaeum when he gave his neighbors an 
account of his stewardship, his subject being " Our 
Japanese Hosts." There was a great outpouring of 
his fellow townsmen to hear him, and the affair took 
the form of a " welcome home " that had never had 
its counterpart in the city. He spoke at length of his 
experiences. The three great characteristics of the 
Japanese were, he said, passionate patriotism, dare 
devil courage and all the skill there is. He sketched 
the modern history of Japan since American men-of- 
war opened the country to outside influences, and 
maintained that as we had entirely changed the life of 
Japan by that act, we were under obligations to give 
the Japanese all the help possible in their new status 
in the world. Moreover, we were in a better position 
to do this than any other nation, because the Japanese 
were the only people in the world that have really liked 

Mabie s report to the trustees of the Carnegie En 
dowment of his observations made during his visit 
to Japan was dated December 15. In conclusion he 
gave this picture of Japan: 

" It is sincerely friendly to the United States and 
eager to understand its institutions and the spirit of 
its people. Of all modern countries it is most re 
ceptive of ideas and methods other than its own. It 
has a genius, not for imitation but for assimilation. 
It has patiently and enthusiastically followed for half 


a century the noble maxim of the great Emperor and 
has sought knowledge wherever it can be found 
throughout the world. Having a highly developed 
civilization of its own, it has not hesitated to test, 
change or discard its traditions and customs. It has 
had the courage of the pride which is eager to see and 
to accept the higher aim and the better way. It has 
as much to teach as to learn, but it is more eager to 
receive than to impart knowledge. 

" The whole nation has been at school for sixty 
years, and it is more and more matching science and 
skill against material resource and physical power. 
Its entire modern development has been forced upon 
it from without and it is eager for a long period of 
quiet growth, in order that it may not only deepen 
and broaden that growth but nationalize it. It is 
eager to find itself, to use a current phrase. 

" Japan has gone far and will go farther. It asks 
nothing of any other nation which it is not willing to 
give. It has a high and worthy conception of its 
place and future in the development of the Far East. 
It is in a position to render a great service to the 
peace of the world; its friendship is of immense value 
to Americans, and if they are true to their traditions 
and understand their responsibilities to the country 
which they forced to come into relations with the 
world, they will preserve towards it a policy which 
shall be not only just but sympathetic and helpful." 


IT was a singular turn of the wheel of fortune by 
which the greatest war in the history of the world 
should have broken out in the year following the re 
turn of Mabie from his mission of peace to Japan 
a war, too, which early involved Japan and later the 
United States. The illness, moreover, which over 
took him when the war had been under way less than 
a year and a half was largely, if not wholly, due to 
the self -forgetting zeal and fervor with which he threw 
himself into the work of pleading for sympathy and 
help for Japan and of preaching patriotism and pre 
paredness to his fellow countrymen, in the days when 
Americans were being officially enjoined to remain 
neutral in the great conflict, in thought as well as in 

One of the opportunities that presented itself to him 
to interpret the spirit of Japan to American audiences 
came when he was invited to deliver the address under 
the George Dana Boardman Lectureship in Christian 
Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. The lec 
ture was delivered in March, 1914. He chose for his 



subject " Ethics and the Larger Neighborhood," the 
lecture being a vigorous plea for broad and disin 
terested service as the most satisfying and enduring 
form of ethical activity. He appealed for justice, 
courtesy and helpfulness on the part of the United 
States to her neighbor Japan " in whose affairs she 
forcibly interfered and who is now trying to find her 
way on the tragically painful and difficult road of na 
tional reconstruction." In conclusion he said that 
America s attitude was " important to Japan, but far 
more important to herself; for in taking it she will 
decide whether she is to be a leader among neighbors 
or only what is called a great power among other 
powers as strong in money and arms as herself and as 
small in ideas and in vision." 

Mabie was spending the summer at Seal Harbor 
when the war began. It is interesting to note that 
early in September, less than six weeks after the inva 
sion of Belgium by the German troops, he made the 
prediction, in a letter to Dr. Abbott, that one result 
of the conflict would be some sort of a league of na 
tions as a preventive against the recurrence of such a 
world cataclysm as this promised to become. 

" I certainly did not intend," he wrote, " to advise 
disarmament now. Germany has had to keep armed, 
but the entire concentration of German thought and 
energy on armaments and arms has compelled all the 
rest of Europe to keep armed to the teeth. It does 


seem to me that the oft-repeated argument that being 
armed to the teeth keeps the peace is absurd. Nor 
do I believe that the movement for arbitration has 
been useless. It has sometimes been misdirected, 
but it seems to me that it has no more failed than has 
Christianity in a world which is still largely unchris 
tian, or the movement for morality in a world which 
is still largely unmoral, or the movement for social 
justice in a society in which it is practically a new idea. 
The movement for arbitration has definitely put the 
idea in the minds of all civilized countries. It has 
provided the machinery and has created growing and 
highly influential parties of men in every state and 
country in the world. This is to have done a great 
deal. The most significant, and I think the most 
tragic, incident in the war is the announcement yester 
day that the German universities will not open this 
autumn. In a word Germany abdicates entirely her 
chief function in the world. When one remembers 
that Germany is now engaged in destroying civiliza 
tion, the closing of her universities is a tragic circum 
stance and a very illuminating fact. * * * 

" I believe that one great result of this war will be 
a tremendous impetus to the movement for some form 
of civilized relationship between the nations. Either 
that must be accomplished in some way or we must all 
withdraw into ourselves. The nerves of the world 
cannot be cut in this way." 


Another letter which he wrote at about the same 
time to Dr. Abbott is interesting not only for its sub 
stance, but for the light that it throws upon the mu 
tual helpfulness of the editors of The Outlook to each 
other and the methods by which this helpfulness was 
extended : 

To Dr. Lyman Abbott 

SEAL HARBOR, MAINE, Sept. 9, 1914. 

MY DEAR DR. ABBOTT, All Europe is praying for 
antagonistic things, and much of this praying is per 
fectly sincere. They are all saying " our Father " ! 
Many good people are confused by this spectacle and 
the cynics and skeptics jeer and declare that this pour 
ing out of prayer for mutually destructive ends shows 
how futile all prayer is. 

Won t you write one of your luminous editorials 
making the difference between the prayer " my will 
be done and the prayer "Thy will be done" clear; 
the difference between praying that our way may pre 
vail and the prayer that God s may prevail, between 
the prayer for our kingdom and for Thy kingdom, is 
plain enough, if people will only think it out. And 
people are praying that war may end, instead of pray 
ing that we master the things in us and the conditions 
outside of us that cause war. 

One great source of confusion with regard to prayer 
arises from the fact that we pray for conditions that 


can only come as the result of processes of discipline 
and education ; we pray for things that God could not 
give us if He tried. It is like praying for books 
without learning to read. Do you remember Mr. 
Beecher s illustration : a woman prays for patience 
and the Lord sends her a green Irish girl, and she 
doesn t see that He has answered her prayer in the 
only way in which he could answer it. 

I suggest this subject to you because you would 
treat it so much better than I could. It is a chance to 
give a striking interpretation of a great fact of the 
spiritual life. 

In great haste, H. W. M. 

The World War had been in progress less than three 
months when Mabie published through the Macmillans 
" Japan Today and Tomorrow," made up of papers 
which he had contributed to The Outlook. Believing 
that the source of anti- Japanese feeling in the United 
States was not so much race antagonism as ignorance 
of Japanese history and character, he undertook in 
this book " to convey an impression of the genius of 
the Japanese people, not by definition or by character 
ization, but by making clear its reflection in the vital 
landscape of the country." For, he went on to ex 
plain, " the genius of a people eludes the direct search 
for it, but reveals itself in shops and fields and homes 
more clearly than in universities and courts," Ap- 


pear ing at a time when everyone s mind was fixed 
upon the stupendous occurrences in Belgium and north 
ern France, the book did not receive the attention to 
which its merit entitled it, as an interpretation, by an 
uncommonly acute and sympathetic observer, of the 
Japanese spirit. 

In the same month Mabie received a letter from 
Sir A. Conan Doyle which reflects admirably the bull 
dog British temper of the early period of the war: 

From Sir A. Conan Doyle 


MY DEAR MABIE, Many thanks for your kind let 
ter. The sympathy and understanding of such Amer 
icans as you are very precious to us. We believe that 
we are fighting the cause of freedom as against mili 
tarism and reaction, and we shall never give in. 

Thank God that I have been spared to see this old 
nation so purged of all unworthiness and filled with 
such a white-hot zeal for a high object. We have no 
illusions as to the difficulty of our task. We held on 
to Napoleon from 1803 to 1815 and never lost our 
grip. We will do as much now. We expect tips and 
downs now as then, but they will stimulate us to 
greater effort. 

I was interrupted here by singing, and looking out 
of the window (I am writing at Eastbourne) I see 
1500 Kitchener recruits marching from their camp 


which is on the Downs eight miles off. They have 
rifles but are in civilian dress and cloth caps. It is 
pouring rain and they are soaked but singing at the 
top of their voices. They are mighty good raw ma 
terial far better than the regular supply in peace 
time, and when I see the German comic pictures of 
tramps and wastrels I think the laugh will be with us. 
We hope to have a round million in the actual fight 
ing by the spring 500,000 before Xmas. 

You can think that I ache to go. But at my age 
and under present conditions my old J pen is very 
much mightier than my crocky sword, and my voice 
also counts for something at recruiting meetings. 
And yet it is very hard not to go. 

At present the Germans are on the opposite coast 
which I can almost see. I don t think they will be 
there long. Nous verrons. 

Adieu, my dear Mabie, 

Yours as ever, A. CONAN DOYLE. 

My brother whom you remember as a subaltern is 
now Colonel of an Artillery Brigade. 

In the following month Mabie sent a copy of his 
book on Japan to Dr. Inazo Nitobe, and with it went 
the following letter : 


To Dr. Inazo Nitobe 

SUMMIT, N. J., Nov. 1914. 

MY DEAR DR. NITOBE, So much has happened 
lately that I don t remember where we were when I 
wrote you last. The tragedy about which we had 
talked for years with incredulity is staged in Europe, 
and is darker than our darkest forebodings. Amer 
icans grow more deeply impressed as time goes by 
with the far-reaching significance of the Prusssian 
view of Germany s destiny. The Allies are fighting 
for us, and our fortunes are at stake. If Germany 
wins, our turn will come next; but Germany is fight 
ing against the higher powers as well as against the 

Japan has borne herself admirably, and it seems as 
if Count Okuma had been kept in reserve for this 
crisis. I have asked the Macmillans to send you a 
copy of my book on Japan. You will see that I have 
taken the liberty of dedicating it to my three mentors 
and guides, placing their names in alphabetical order, 
after our custom in such cases. I ought to have given 
you your title, but I was afraid of blundering and 
so refrained. The very simple purpose of the book 
is, I hope, made clear in the first chapter. 

We are all well after a very restful summer, over 
shadowed at the end by the nightmare of war. I 
would give much for a chance to sit in front of your 


fire and talk over this unprecedented situation through 
out the world. I believe we shall have a clearer air 
when the conflagration has burned itself out. We 
often look at the photographs of your delightful home 
and recall the warm friendships which it gave us. 
Mrs. Mabie is out and Helen in Boston. If they were 
here they would want me to send their love with mine 
to you and Mrs. Nitobe. 

Yours faithfully, H. W. MABIE. 

The distractions caused by the war in Europe did 
not prevent Mabie from remembering his friend, Miss 
King, to whom he sent his usual Christmas parcel of 
books. In return he received this letter: 

From Miss Grace King 

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. i, 1915. 

MY DEAR, DEAR FRIEND, When we came from 
church on Christmas day we found the postman be 
fore our gate, and among the letters and parcels de 
livered we found yours. * * * You don t know really 
how kind it is of you to remember us this way Christ 
mas after Christmas and to write as you do of our 
dear home. You remember what Dostoievsky says 
about sowing a pleasant memory in life? Years ago 
we sowed one in yours, but every year you sow one 
in ours, until it is a part of Christmas to receive one 
from you. * * * 


The war has weighed me down almost to illness, 
but, as I have told you before, in its great cathedral 
shadow my own shadow has disappeared, my own past 
suffering from war is forgotten. We are still all 
working to send food and clothing to the Belgians, and 
we may have a tiny share in alleviating present dis 
tress. But what of the future life-time of sorrow 
awaiting the women and children from which they 
can never be free until they reach " that place which 
no vicissitude can reach " ? * * * 

I do not know what the literary quality is of the 
books you sent. I only know that they are very nice 
reading after my surfeit of war-news. What a re 
newal of novel reading there will be after Peace. 
That is a good word to close with! * * * 

Ever affectionately, GRACE KING. 

In the following month Mabie wrote a charming 
little letter to the daughter of his Mercersberg friends, 
Dr. and Mrs. William M. Irvine, on the occasion of 
her " coming out " : 

To Miss Hart Irvine 

SUMMIT, N. J., Feb. 9, 1915. 

DEAR HART, What a lovely name you have to 
begin with! Every note you receive all your life will 
begin like a love letter! And I have no doubt they 
all will be love letters : Certainly mine will be. You 


will get " out " beautifully tomorrow without any help 
from us, but I wish we could be there to cheer you 
and throw flowers at you. If I could have my way 
girls would have only flowers and sunshine on the 
road to heaven: But that would be as bad for them 
as too much Huyler, besides making life monotonous. 
You have carried the sunshine with you and you scat 
ter the flowers as you go. Our love to you and may 
all the good fairies troop to North Cottage tomorrow 
and all the wicked witches stay at home. I am send 
ing you a trifling remembrance. Dr. van Dyke ought 
to be here to write a poem for you : All your friends 
will think poems about you. 

Yours affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Later in the same month in which the foregoing let 
ter was written Mabie was one of the speakers at a 
meeting held in Washington in behalf of Berea Col 
lege, of which his friend of many years, Dr. William 
G. Frost, was the president. President Wilson and 
Justice Hughes were among the speakers on this occa 
sion. Dr. Frost described Appalachian America as 
" the mountainous backyards of eight great states," 
and announced that up to that time no fewer than 
eight thousand mountaineers had attended Berea. 
Mabie s subject was " An Interpretation of Berea." 
It was the function of Berea College, he said, to set 
the mountaineers free, to teach them what the world 


is, and to help them to discover their own country. 
Easter recalled his Greenwich friends to Mabie, and 
he sent them a letter from Providence, where he had 
gone to speak on " Peace and War." Although he 
was approaching his seventieth birthday and hardly 
realized the exhausting nature of the work upon which 
he was engaged, he welcomed the future as the most 
active period of his life. 

To Mrs. Holmes and Miss Annie Button 

PROVIDENCE, R. I., April 2, 1915. 

MY DEAR FRIENDS, It is hard to realize that 
Easter is so near at hand; and I have suddenly awak 
ened to the fact that if I am to send you an Easter 
greeting, it must go today. I came here last night to 
speak on " Peace and War " ; a very lively evening 
with a packed room and four very earnest speakers. 
It is certainly a tremendous time to live in, and if I 
am to have any old age, it promises to be the most 
active period of my life. If that is the fact I shall 
be very happy, for work is the breath of life. 

A great many people must feel this spring that death 
is only an incident of life; a mysterious event, but not 
more mysterious than the other events with which life 
is crowded. Since the hour that Lorraine came, I 
have felt that birth is stranger and more wonderful 
than death; the going into life there will be more like 
a miracle than the going out of life here. I suspect 


that in the twinkling of an eye, it will all seem as nat 
ural as sunrise and the day s work. The bigger life 
seems to me to be pressing more and more into the 
smaller life as men grow more and more to realize 
their duties and obligations to one another, and the 
necessity of being just and generous if society is to 
exist at all. Our personal fortunes our love and 
memory and hopes are part of this great fortune of 
the race, this wonderful shaping of character, the 
making of Heaven out of the common stuff of daily 
life here and now. 

Your visit was a delight to us; it enabled us to 
catch up with you and start on again with a fresh 
sense of an old-time friendship, and our treasure of 
common memories and our common share of immor 
tality with those who have gone on, but to whom we 
are as real and as present as they are to us. A very 
happy Easter to you. 

Affectionately, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

One of the warning signs that he was overtaxing 
his strength came to him at this time in the form of 
writer s cramp, which made it necessary for him to 
dictate his personal letters to a stenographer some 
thing that he had never done. He referred to this 
affliction in a letter to John Burroughs : 


To John Burroughs 

THE OUTLOOK, NEW YORK, June 3, 1915. 

MY DEAR MR. BURROUGHS, I am writing to you 
by dictation because the affliction of writer s cramp 
lays too great a burden on my friends shoulders when 
I write to them with my own hand. 

I am very glad you liked that editorial. It was 
the simple truth told by a friend; that is the whole 
story. I am very glad if I said anything that gave 
you pleasure; anything that seemed to you intelligent 
and intelligible. I might have said many things more; 
but I do not believe that you quite understand, with 
your modesty and your absorption in other things than 
yourself, how largely you have entered into the life 
of this country and how much you have done to make 
a host of people understand this country. You re 
member that at the reception which the Authors Club 
gave Matthew Arnold years ago, he said that whatever 
success he had won was due to the fact that he had 
put his heart into his work - le coeur au metier. 
You have always put your heart into your business, 
and the result is that you have gone to the hearts of 
other people. Then you have had eyes, ears and ideas ; 
a pretty stout equipment for a long life and a useful 
and distinguished one. 

My only regret when I think of you is that I see 
you so rarely. We were speaking this morning at 
breakfast of the Saturday night which you and dear 


John Alexander spent with us ten or twelve years ago 
on the occasion of the dinner to Worthington Whitt- 
redge. The next morning being Sunday you went over 
to Davenport s farm with some friends of ours, and 
Alexander and I went up to see Mr. Whittredge ; and 
now they are both gone. John Alexander was a prince 
among painters and among men; a man as simple as 
the simplest American, but with a kind of distinction 
in his work which we associate with Sir Anthony van 

With all good wishes, faithfully yours, 


In a second letter to Mr. Burroughs, written a couple 
of weeks later than the foregoing, Mabie expressed 
a desire to get back to literature, from which his visit 
to Japan and the World War had estranged him : 

To John Burroughs 

NEW YORK, June 18, 1915. 

MY DEAR JOHN BURROUGHS, I have been waiting 
several days hoping to get enough steadiness of hand 
to write you; but it does not come yet. Writer s 
cramp is a very queer thing; so in order to save you 
I am writing again by dictation. 

Your last letter to me was an answer to a letter 
from me; but it was so gracious and gave so much 
pleasure to Mrs. Mabie and myself that I am going 


to tell you that you never did a kinder thing in your 
life. I am very grateful to you for a decided push 
forward. It came just in time to confirm a resolution 
I had taken. My visit in the Far East and the tre 
mendous events that have happened since have rather 
deflected me from literature, but I feel that I ought 
to go back to it; and your very kind letter is an au 
thoritative confirmation of my inclination. 

This morning, reading the new biography of Emer 
son by O. W. Firkins, I came upon this sentence : 

" In 1863 by appointment of President Lincoln he 
served as visitor to the Academy at West Point; in 
which function Mr. John Burroughs, destined later 
to write one of the few memorable essays upon Emer 
son, mistook him at first sight for an inquisitive 

When I think of all the doors you have opened to 
people and when I realize, as I certainly do, the uni 
versal affection in which you are held in all parts of 
the country, by all kinds of people, I think your career 
has been pretty well and adequately crowned, entirely 
aside from your membership in the Academy! You 
have won both kinds of laurel; the kind that grows 
on the mountains and the kind that people cultivate 
in their gardens. 

Affectionately yours, HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

Mabie s resolution to take up literature again did 


not prevent him from accepting an invitation to deliver 
his lecture on Japan, entitled " East and West," at 
Chautauqua, in the following July. He kept this en 
gagement with some misgivings. He had always de 
clined to speak at Chautauqua because he was unwill 
ing to interrupt his summer vacation by so doing. He 
was led to break this rule, however, by the feeling that 
here was an opportunity of which he ought to take ad 
vantage to address a great audience of people from 
different parts of the country whom he could reach in 
no other way. It was also his intention to speak in 
one or two other places in the Middle West, but his 
address at Chautauqua left him not feeling well, and, 
under the doctor s advice, he reluctantly cancelled these 
other engagements. He returned to Seal Harbor very 
tired. He didn t realize it, but his interest in life and 
his ardent desire to do his part in solving the difficult 
problems of the day, were leading him to overtax his 
strength. With thousands, yes, tens of thousands, of 
his fellow countrymen, moreover, Mabie was no doubt 
suffering far more than he or they realized through 
these trying months from the tremendous nervous 
strain brought on by the tragic events of the World 
War, such as the recent sinking of the Lusitania, and 
by deep and ever-increasing anxiety as to the prob 
able outcome of the mighty struggle. 

Every phase of the war engrossed his attention; and 
the puzzling psychology and the apparently uncon- 


scious immorality of the Germans of all ranks inter 
ested him especially. He ended a letter from Seal 
Harbor to Dr. Abbott about various editorial matters 
with this paragraph, the Dr. Jastrow quoted being 
Professor Morris Jastrow, Jr., of the University of 
Pennsylvania: " Dr. Jastrow, who was here yester 
day, said a thing that I think very true : German 
thinking is so subjective that it cannot see any posi 
tion other than its own objectivity. If one adds that 
it is worshipping a false God and has made a Sinai 
for itself, but has no Mountain of Beatitudes and no 
Calvary, the German spirit becomes comprehensible." 

Interest in the war and in Japan did not, however, 
entirely monopolize his attention in these days. While 
he was absent in Japan he had been elected president 
of the newly-organized National Institute of Social 
Sciences; and early in August he wrote to President 
Butler of Columbia inviting him to deliver the address 
at the annual meeting in January, an invitation which 
Dr. Butler accepted. His letter is a good illustration 
of his ingratiating and persuasive manner, when he 
desired to secure the cooperation of some friend in 
a good cause : 

" Making my bow to you as President of the Na 
tional Institute of Social Sciences, a position to which 
I was elected during my absence in Japan when I could 
not help myself, I have the honor to ask you to de 
liver an address at the annual meeting of the Institute, 


which will be held on the afternoon of January I5th, 
probably at the Hotel Astor. 

" The Institute has now an extremely influential 
membership of nearly a thousand persons, Mrs. Butler 
being one of them. We had a very fine audience and 
an extremely successful dinner at the last annual meet 
ing. The people present, almost without exception, 
counted. They had all done something besides mak 
ing personal success. The address was made by Mr. 
Taft. What we want to do is to repeat the distinc 
tion of the dinner last year. You can talk on any 
subject you choose for the address is expected to be 
serious, and that is one reason why we are asking you 
to give it. It will probably consume an hour of your 
time, but of course you need not prepare a special 
address for the occasion." 

He returned to Summit in the autumn and busied 
himself with his editorial and other duties. Sometime 
before this Mr. Howells had published a book " The 
Seen and Unseen at Stratford-on-Avon," which had 
appealed strongly to Mabie, who had written about it 
in The Outlook. The following letter related to that 
review and to the forthcoming presentation to Mr. 
Howells, by the National Institute of Arts and Letters, 
of its gold medal for fiction : 


From W. D. Howells 

130 WEST 57TH STREET, Nov. 10, 1915. 

MY DEAR MABIE, Yes indeed, I duly received your 
Outlook with that kindest notice of my Stratford 
book. You must know that I value such words from 
such a Shakespearean as you. They are such words 
as hardly another man living could speak with the 
same authority, and I thank you most truly for them. 

I like them so much that I would be willing to have 
you read them in default of any others when you re 
ceive my medal for me at the Institute meeting in Bos 
ton ; I know you are not going to refuse me this office 
which I have asked in preference of you to any other 

Yours sincerely, W. D. HOWELLS. 

The National Institute of Arts and Letters had been 
organized in 1898, with a membership at first of one 
hundred and fifty, which was later increased to two 
hundred and fifty. Mabie was its first secretary. 
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was 
founded in 1904, with Mr. Howells as president, and 
four years later Mabie was made a member of this 
smaller body selected from members of the Institute. 
The gold medal of the Institute had already been given 
to Augustus Saint-Gaudens for sculpture, to James F. 
Rhodes for history, to James Whitcomb Riley for 
poetry, to William R. Mead for architecture, to Au- 


gustus Thomas for dramatic composition and to John 
S. Sargent for painting. 

The joint meeting of the Academy and the Insti 
tute for the presentation of the medal for fiction to 
Mr. Howells was held in Boston on Friday, November 
19. Instead of receiving the medal for Mr. Howells, 
it was Mabie s privilege to deliver the presentation ad 
dress, the secretary reading a letter from Mr. Howells 
in acceptance of the honor. Although Mabie was far 
from well when he was in Boston, his address was up 
to his best standard both in matter and in manner. 
One characterization of Mr. Howells, with special 
reference to which he received, a few days later, a 
note from Judge Robert Grant, of Boston, may be 
quoted : " It is his distinction that he has made com 
monplace people significant and the unsalted average 
man and woman interesting." Judge Grant, under 
date of November 21, wrote in part as follows: 

" I did not have the chance to tell you how greatly 
I liked your presentation address. It was very de 
lightful, a masterly expression of our feeling towards 
Mr. Howells, alike discerning, sympathetic and grace 
ful. Your point that he was the first to make every 
day people companionable and interesting was espe 
cially happy. Indeed your words were a fitting close 
to a very interesting meeting." 

On the Monday evening following Mabie made 
what proved to be his last public appearance as a 


speaker in Summit. The occasion was the first public 
meeting of the Summit branch of the National Se 
curity League, the local organization having been re 
cently perfected, with Mabie as its president. The 
meeting was one of many which the National Security 
League was promoting for the purpose of arousing 
public sentiment as to the criminally unprepared state 
of the nation, in view of the likelihood that sooner or 
later the United States would be forced to take part, 
for its own protection, in the World War then raging 
a cause that he had deeply at heart. There were 
addresses by other speakers, but Mabie s speech was 
far and away the most impassioned and eloquent that 
he had ever delivered, in his home city or anywhere 
else. Everyone who heard it was impressed by the 
deep feeling and intense earnestness with which he 
spoke. His subject was " Patriotism " ; and in the 
course of his remarks he recalled an incident in his 
foreign travels which had made a deep impression 
upon his imagination and was later printed in his 
" Fruits of the Spirit " : 

" Years ago, in a foreign city, long after midnight, 
a bugle rang out clear and penetrating in the darkness 
that comes before dawn. It pierced the deepest re 
cesses of sleep and sounded the great note of action 
and adventure. To what duty it summoned and 
whither it led, they only knew to whom it was a com 
mand; but a great company of those who came out of 


their dreams to hear it were shaken by its imperative 
call, and must remember it as an impersonal symbol of 
that divine voice which from time to time rings in the 
innermost courts of a man s soul with the music of 
great deeds on noble fields." 

The emotional fervor which he displayed on this oc 
casion, without a parallel in his career as a speaker, 
was one indication of the extreme nervous tension 
under which he was laboring in these days. Relax 
ation and a long rest might have warded off the blow 
that was impending. He had no suspicion, however, 
at this time, nor had any member of his family, that 
he had any organic weakness. Although he realized, 
in the rare moments when he allowed himself to think 
of it, that he was not in his normal health, he supposed 
that he had only been overdoing, and that with a brief 
opportunity for rest he would be perfectly well again. 
Although in these days he often came home tired 
almost to the point of exhaustion, he met every un 
expected call that was made upon his time and strength 
with a steadiness and courage, which showed how 
completely his resolute spirit was forcing his body to 
do its will. Instead of resting, therefore, he went 
without hesitation to Philadelphia, a week or so after 
the meeting in Summit, in order to fill several en 
gagements to deliver his lecture on Japan in various 
places in and near that city. 

Arriving in Philadelphia, Mabie made his head- 


quarters at the University Club. He spoke first in 
Lancaster and early on the evening of December 3, ten 
days before his seventieth birthday, as he was prepar 
ing to leave the club in order to keep another of his 
engagements, he was taken suddenly and dangerously 
ill. The physicians diagnosed his condition as due to 
dilatation of the heart. As it was thought to be doubt 
ful if he would live through the night, the Rev. Pnilip 
J. Steinmetz, Jr., an old friend of his, whose home was 
in Philadelphia and who was with him at this critical 
time, decided to telephone Mrs. Mabie in Summit. 
When he had done so, acquainting her with the nature 
and gravity of her husband s illness, Mabie himself 
asked to take the telephone. In a clear, steady voice 
came the characteristically reassuring words over the 
wire, " Now, you must not be frightened. I m not." 
It was three weeks before he could be removed to 
his home in Summit. Months, however, were to pass 
before he made any appreciable gain in strength. Al 
though he recovered sufficiently to do some writing and 
even to visit his office in New York occasionally, his 
active work in the world was done; he had fallen 
grievously wounded in the front ranks of those who 
were fighting to uphold the ideals of national honor 
and duty, and the end was not far off. 


M ABIE S illness made it of course impossible for 
him to preside at the annual rrieeting on Jan 
uary 21, 1916, of the National Institute of Social Sci 
ences, of which he was the president. A few days 
before the meeting he sent a dictated note to Dr. Nich 
olas Murray Butler who, it will be remembered, had 
accepted his invitation of the previous summer to de 
liver the principal address, expressing his regret that 
he was not to introduce him. With his usual optimism 
he pictures himself as " climbing back to vigor." He 
wrote as follows from Summit : 

" You may have known of my serious illness, which 
is now receding into the past. I am climbing back to 
vigor, but I have not climbed far enough yet to get 
out of the house. I have had to give up many pleas 
ant things, but none with such regret as the annual 
meeting of the Institute of Social Sciences, at which 
you are to speak on Friday afternoon. It is a great 
disappointment to me not to hear you at that time, and 
not to introduce you. I should have enjoyed the op- 



portunity of saying some things about the really big 
services of permanent value you are rendering to New 
York on Morningside Heights/ 

To this note Dr. Butler replied immediately, ex 
pressing his delight at learning of his friend s pros 
pective recovery, the anxiety which the news of his 
illness had caused him, and his anticipation of pleas 
ure at the meeting of the Institute, " where," he added, 
" you will of course be greatly missed as the natural 
presiding genius and dynamo." When the news 
reached Mabie, a few days later, that Dr. Butler had 
been elected president of the Institute, he wrote to 
him as follows : 

" I was delighted by the news that you had ac 
cepted the presidency of the National Institute of So 
cial Sciences. Nothing better could happen to the 
Institute because you combine so many of the qualities 
and conditions which will be of service to it. I should 
not have thought of urging the position upon you, if 
I had not thought the Institute capable of doing really 
valuable things. It is a very pleasant association; it 
includes a great many distinguished people. But there 
are many such associations and there is no need of 
adding to them. The Institute, however, seems to me 
to open the way in various directions for the encour 
agement and co-operation of men and women who have 
the American spirit the real thing, and not the 
sham, semi-political article." 


" I am delighted that the Institute has been fortu 
nate enough to get you." 

There was no abatement throughout his illness of 
his interest in public affairs. Early in March, just 
after the debate in Congress on the McLemore resolu 
tion prohibiting American citizens from traveling on 
armed merchant vessels, he dictated a note from his 
sick-bed to Dr. Abbott containing these sentences, 
" quite characteristic," Dr. Abbott calls them, " of his 
virile nature " : 

" When I can go to New York twice a week and 
write as much as I want to, I shall be very happy. I 
wrote L. the other day that it was great discipline to 
stay at home, half the time in bed, when one s strong 
natural impulse was to get out of bed and swear. 
Congress has left me pretty nearly speechless with in 
dignation. It has often been short-sighted; but was it 
ever more stupid and cowardly than during the last 
two weeks? " 

Before his illness Mabie had looked forward with 
pleasure to the celebration, in April of this year, of 
the three hundredth anniversary of the death of 
Shakespeare. The popularity of his book on Shake 
speare and the standing as a Shakespearean scholar 
which that book had given him, had led directly to the 
selection of him as the chairman of the committee 
of the Civic Forum which, in conjunction with various 
other societies, was to hold its commemoration meet- 


ing in Carnegie Hall on the evening of April 25. To 
wards the end of March, however, he was obliged to 
appeal to his friend Dr. Butler to take his place as the 
presiding officer on this occasion. \ . 

Later in the spring he was again desperately ill. 
With his usual quiet courage he made a brave and 
successful fight against the depression and irritability 
which were the accompaniments of such an illness, but 
these results were negative and did not satisfy him. 
Although he was conscious of the love and sympathy 
which surrounded him, he longed for the companion 
ship of his friends and for the strength which would 
enable him again to take part in the larger interests 
which had filled his life. He saw a few old friends, 
Dr. van Dyke and Bishop Brent among them, and 
later Mr. Stetson and one or two of his editorial asso 
ciates. Because, however, of the danger that fatigue 
or emotional strain might bring on a recurrence of his 
heart attacks, these revivals of old friendships were 
not encouraged. He rallied somewhat, and by the 
early summer he was able to be out of doors and to 
take short walks. Usually the chief speaker, he was 
this year a spectator merely, from a seat in his motor 
car, of the out-door Commencement exercises of the 
Kent Place School. And in the preparedness parade 
on the Fourth of July, his car followed that of the 
Mayor. It was a great satisfaction to him, moreover, 
that during the summer and autumn, he was able to 


attend church frequently and to exchange a few words 
with the friends who were always waiting at the close 
of the service to greet him. 

Mabie was fully aware of the seriousness of the 
danger through which he had passed. In the course 
of a letter which he sent to his old Tarrytown friend, 
the Rev. Dr. John K. Allen, occurred this characteris 
tic reflection : " I have looked out of the western gate 
several times this winter, and it looked strangely rest 
ful and normal." To the same friend he had written 
several years earlier, in one of the rare moments when 
he allowed himself to dwell on the passing of the 
years : * I am determined not to grow old unwill 
ingly. If I can I am going upstairs quietly; and by 
and by I am going to bed with the expectation that in 
a little while it will be morning. I am not going to 
cling to the banisters and fight the good old nurse, 
Life, all the way up. Let s make a go for cheer 
fulness and a good heart to the end. I am sure it will 
be a great satisfaction when we wake and find how 
near heaven was all the time." 

As he grew stronger Mabie began to send an oc 
casional editorial article to The Outlook. One of the 
first of these was entitled "The Test of Courage," 
which was written directly out of his recent experiences 
and which showed that, notwithstanding his weakness 
and depression, his spirit was as high and as uncon 
querable as ever. " The testing of courage," he wrote, 


" is not the moment when the charge is made with 
ringing bugles and the impetus and inspiration of a 
great strain onward; it is when the inspiration of ac 
tion has been lost; when all the conditions are full of 
disillusion, and few see clearly on account of the de 
pression and monotony; and only they are heroically 
strengthened who are steadfast in the faith in which 
they began the fight loyal to the very end." This 
expressed his resolute determination. Let come what 
might, he would be " loyal to the very end." 

Among the intimate friends of the Mabies in Sum 
mit were Mr. and Mrs. J. Clifford Woodhull, who 
lived in a charming house which they had built in the 
outskirts of the town, with ample, well-shaded grounds 
and with a fine view of the mountains. The mistress 
of the house was an accomplished musician ; and, next 
to the abundant and gracious hospitality which she and 
her husband dispensed, the feature of The Knoll, as 
they called their home, was a large organ built into 
the very structure of the house. Mabie was fond of 
music and especially of organ music. Passages might 
easily be cited from his books in which this fondness 
is revealed in various ways. " I rarely look at my 
books/ he once wrote, " in that leisurely half hour 
which precedes getting to work without fancying my 
self at the keyboard of an organ, the pipes of which 
are the gilded and many-colored rows on the shelves 
about me. One may have any kind of music he 


chooses; it is only a question of mood. There is no 
deep harmony, no haunting melody, ever heard by the 
spirit of man which one may not hear if he knows his 
books thoroughly." 

A dozen years before the summer of his illness he 
had written a little essay entitled " The Organ in the 
House," which he had had handsomely printed and 
bound as a Christmas gift for this friend whose organ 
playing had given him so much pleasure and in whose 
house he and Mrs. Mabie had passed so many happy 

When these friends went to their farm, about 
twenty miles distant, for the summer, as was their 
annual custom, they placed their house at the disposal 
of the Mabies, who were very glad to give the invalid 
the benefit of this welcome change of environment and 
of scene from his own home. While he was there the 
mistress of the house used occasionally to make him 
a visit in order to give an organ concert for his 

The summer, however, was not without its dis 
cords, due to the growing bitterness between Japan 
and China and to the part which Mabie and The Out 
look took in that controversy. Writing some time 
later to The Herald of Asia, published in Tokyo, 
Yoshio Nitobe said of him : " Last summer, soon 
after he fell ill, he wrote to a Japanese friend in Tokyo 
that The Outlook and he were being severely criticized 


for their stand against the views current in America 
about Japan s policy towards China. He said that he 
sometimes received twenty letters in one day from 
Chinese students and their American friends attack 
ing him and even charging him with being a paid 
spokesman of Japan." 

Mabie s last letter to Miss King was written towards 
the end of the summer and reflected his hope of an 
early restoration to complete health. The story by 
Miss King to which he referred was " Pleasant Ways 
of St. Medard." 

To Miss Grace King 

SUMMIT, N. J., Aug. 28, 1916. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, Warmest congratulations on 
the completion of your long task and the publication 
of the story. It came to me ten days ago and I am 
not yet half way through it. I am reading it very 
slowly, tasting it " all the way down," like a rare 
liqueur. What a charming title you have given it! 
And a title is half the battle with the public. This 
title is a winning invitation to sit in a quiet place and 
listen to life for a while. I inclose these notices which 
appeared in Saturday and yesterday s New York 
dailies : extraordinary promptness. I shall write you 
when I have finished the story. 

The doctor has kept me here all summer; wisely, I 
think. I have gained strength slowly but steadily, and 


when the cool days of autumn come I hope to be a 
man again. Love to you all. 

Yours " for keeps," HAMILTON W. MABIE. 

In September the Mabies returned to their own 
home. Complete rest and his out-of-door life during 
the summer, had restored to the invalid so much of 
his old strength that he went to New York several 
times and passed his mornings in the office of The 
Outlook, gathering up some of the threads of his 
work which he had been obliged to drop so suddenly 
the previous December. His admiration for the 
French people who were bearing the larger share of 
the heavy burden of the war with such quiet fortitude 
and resolute determination led him to write an article 
at this time in praise of their conduct as a nation. 
This article, when printed, he sent to Ambassador 
Jusserand, from whom he was pleased soon after to 
receive the following letter: 

From Ambassador Jusserand 

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 1916. 

DEAR MR. MABIE, I read with admiration and 
delight the article in The Outlook on " The French 
Spirit," not knowing whom to thank for it. I had 
silently thanked my stars that there were such good 
and warm-hearted Americans to speak so finely and 
so lovingly of the old Ally. 


I am glad to know who did it, and I do not wonder, 
given the author, that the article is what it is. Allow 
me to express to you my heartfelt gratitude for your 
printed, and for your written, words. 

I hope that you are recovering apace and that you 
will soon be just as you were before your unfortunate 
illness. I cannot bear the thought of diminished pow 
ers in one who makes such good use of the ample pro 
vision thereof he has received from nature. 

Believe me, dear Mr. Mabie, 

Very sincerely yours, JUSSERAND. 

He was well enough at this time to look forward 
with his usual interest to the joint meeting in Novem 
ber of the National Institute and of the American 
Academy of Arts and Letters, when the gold medal of 
the Institute was to be presented to his friend of 
many years, John Burroughs, for essays and belles- 
lettres. In October he received an urgent invitation 
from Dr. Butler to attend the annual dinner of the 
Academy in December. To this note he replied, un 
der date of October 13: " I am so keenly disap 
pointed to find that my doctors have decided that I 
must refrain from even small dinners until after the 
holidays that I am going to send you a personal note. 
They are now letting me play by daylight, but not yet 
by candle light. I am seriously and sincerely sorry." 

He was able, however, to attend the joint session 


of- the Institute and of the Academy at the Ritz-Carl- 
ton Hotel in New York on the morning of Thursday, 
November i6th, when Colonel Roosevelt spoke on 
" Nationalism in Art and Literature." This proved 
to be his last, meeting with the group of men with 
whom he had been proud to be associated for many 
years. A few weeks later he began to have severe 
attacks of cardiac asthma. In the midst of this suf 
fering he was cheered to receive on his seventy-first 
birthday this note from his old friend, Dr. George A. 
Gordon, dated from the Old South Parsonage, Bos 

DEC. 13, 1916, Between these two dates there has 
been lived a life of rare gifts of singular grace and 
humanity, of wide-reaching and benign influence; and 
on this significant anniversary many will pray for the 
full return of strength and for other years of service. 

" So prays his old friend who sends to him and his 
dear family a world of affectionate good wishes." 

Mabie s life-long philosophy of cheerfulness and 
hopefulness in all his relations with his friends did not 
desert him even in these trying last days. Not long 
before his illness from this new complication took a 
most serious turn he dictated the following letter in 
reply to a special invitation from the Authors Club 
to be present at the Watch Night festivities on Decem 
ber 31: 


" The special invitation to be present at the Watch 
Night meeting of the Authors Club gave me a great 
deal of pleasure. I have been looking forward to 
Watch Night as a kind of debauch after dark, so to 
speak. For several weeks I have had the liberty of 
the town, with many restrictions, but I haven t 
gone to anything after dark. When I said Watch 
Night to my doctor some time ago, he promptly 
replied : That means lots of friends you want to 
see and talk with, many cigars, probably lots of things 
to drink, and two o clock in the morning at the very 
earliest. No; I am sorry, but I can t let you do it. 
That s the whole story, and I have no doubt he is 
right. At any rate I have to bow my head to the 

" Do you remember the delightful talk Dr. Sheer 
gave us seven years ago, serious in substance, but 
as light as an after-dinner speech in manner? I hardly 
know of any one else who could have done it. It s 
worth while being seriously sick once in a while for 
the sake of finding out how many dear and good 
friends you have. I expect to be as strong as ever 
presently. I want you to give the meeting my love, 
individually and collectively." 

Always at Christmas the years dropped from Ma- 
bie s shoulders, and left him as a child again in his 
enjoyment of all the festivities of the season. This 
last Christmas was to be no exception to this rule. 


Notwithstanding his severe illness and his extreme 
weakness, he made his plans for his gifts as usual; 
and when the day came he was able to open the pack 
ages and to hear some of the messages sent by his 
friends. At the end of the day he said, " I have had 
a quiet but very happy Christmas," One of the things 
that contributed to his happiness was the singing of 
some carols under his window by a group of the Kent 
Place girls. 

The hope of a restoration to health expressed in his 
letter to the Authors Club was destined not to be real 
ized. The attacks of cardiac asthma from which he 
had suffered finally developed into pneumonia and 
early in the morning of Sunday, December 31, he 
died. The funeral services, simple in their dignity 
and impressiveness, were held in Calvary Church, 
which w 7 as still beautiful with the Christmas greens 
and other decorations. The attendance was large, and 
included not only his friends in Summit, but represen 
tatives of the Academy of Arts and Letters, the Japan 
Society, and of many other organizations of which 
he was a conspicuous member. The body was laid 
at rest by the side of that of his daughter Lorraine, 
in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown. 


IN the light of his life and his letters, as fully re 
vealed in the foregoing chapters, it seems hardly 
necessary to dwell at length upon the variety, quality 
and far-reaching influence of Mabie s work as an 
editor, author and lecturer. It would be a mistake, 
however, for any one in considering the nature, aims 
and results of his labors, to think of him chiefly as 
a writer of books and as a lecturer, who happened to 
be connected with a weekly paper. On the contrary, 
he was primarily an editor; and it was his editorial 
work that monopolized by far the larger part of his 
time and his energies. 

When he first attracted the attention of his contem 
poraries it was as a reviewer of books and as a " liter 
ary essayist," to quote Stedman s phrase. These pa 
pers and their successors were addressed to a popular 
audience; and yet they were directly in line with what 
he believed to be the underlying principles of the high 
est criticism. According to his view the prime char 
acteristic of the great critics, the men of insight and 
creative power, like Goethe, Sainte-Beuve, Coleridge, 



Arnold and Emerson, was interpretation, and the most 
important result to be obtained through interpretation 
was education. In his articles on literary and kin 
dred themes he sought, with all the resources that were 
at his command, to reach the same high goal. 

In the minds of some people to criticize a book or 
any other work that assumes to be artistic, has come 
to be synonymous with searching for and pointing out 
its defects, its shortcomings. Mabie s theory of criti 
cism, as we have seen, was based upon a much broader 
and a much more generous principle than this. He 
was a firm believer in the soundness of Arnold s con 
tention that the business of criticism was " simply to 
know the best that is known and thought in the world, 
and by in its turn making this known, to create a 
current of true and fresh ideas." And in one of his 
essays he quoted Goethe as saying that " the most 
important characteristic of the real critic the man 
who penetrates the secret of a work of art is the 
ability to admire greatly." He was content to ignore 
books of a vicious tendency or of mediocre or poor 
quality. And it was entirely in accord with his liter 
ary character, and with the large educational purpose 
of his life, to call the attention of his readers to the 
admirable qualities in the writings of his contem 
poraries and to ignore all books from which these 
qualities were absent. He was perfectly willing to 
leave to others the business of discouraging bad writ- 


ing by exposing and condemning it. As letters from 
not a few of the leading literary men of his time have 
shown, his large-minded generosity, fortified by insight 
and a true estimate of value, had the heartening effect 
upon them which he hoped it would have. John Bur 
roughs summarized the matter admirably when he 
wrote to him in 1894: "You have one invaluable 
trait of a critic or any writer one of the prime es 
sentials of all greatness generosity. You can be 
generous without flattering the generosity of a 
broad, open, affirmative mind. I am always re 
freshed by the large and generous appreciation of your 
Outlook essays. I speak of this one feature because 
it seems to me it is very rare in current criticism." 

Mabie s equipment for the task of literary interpre 
tation was in one particular altogether exceptional 
probably, indeed, unique among the writers of his 
time,- in his intellectual sympathy, which enabled 
him to look at the world of books and at the human 
nature portrayed therein from the point of view of 
the author and of the time in which he lived. In an 
earlier chapter Dr. Gordon referred to this gift as 
constituting the touch of genius which Mabie s most 
intimate and discerning friends were disposed to credit 
him with possessing. Dr. Abbott, than whom no one 
knew Mabie better, offers similar testimony on the 
same interesting point : " His human sympathy 
amounted to genius. He read himself into the mind 


of his author. I do not know with what fluency he 
read any language but his own; but I know no mod 
ern critic whose interpretation of Turgenev or Goethe 
or Victor Hugo or Fogazzaro I would prefer to his. 
I do not think that he often held a book off at arm s 
length and subjected it to a critic s scrutiny. I doubt 
whether he ever laid it on the dissecting-table and in 
vestigated it with the scalpel and the microscope. 
But he saw what the author saw, felt what the author 
felt, was for the time being Russian or German or 
French or Italian, and, writing about the author, in 
terpreted him in terms of the Anglo-Saxon mind. 
And this seems to me much the most important func 
tion of the critic." Mabie shared this opinion, and 
was governed by it during his entire literary career. 
His interests as an editor were by no means con 
fined, however, to literature. With the wider ac 
quaintance with men and affairs that came with the 
passing years, his vision broadened correspondingly, 
and his contributions to his paper on educational, eco 
nomic, religious and even political questions became 
yearly more numerous and of greater carrying power. 
Idealist though he was, his feet were on the solid 
ground of reality all the time; and his views regard 
ing the practical, every-day affairs of the paper, were 
sought and were held in high esteem by his editorial 
associates. At his death they placed on the formal 
record of the Board of Directors their declaration 


that " he combined to a remarkable degree a sound 
business judgment with an understanding of broad 
economic, sociological and human questions, so that 
his counsel and guidance were of great value in the 
deliberations of the board." One of his associates has 
assured the writer that Mabie s acquaintance with 
political history also, English as well as American, and 
with the views of leading statesmen of both nations, 
was so wide and so accurate that his opinions on po 
litical matters always carried great weight in the coun 
sels of the board. 

By no means the least important of his editorial 
contributions were his brief essays on ethical themes, 
in which the depth and the sincerity and the broad 
humanity of his spiritual nature were made manifest. 
These papers became in time one of the most distinc 
tive features of The Outlook. Dr. Abbott had the 
highest opinion of his associate editor s special ability 
in this field. Among the papers which Mabie left 
was a scrap of an undated letter bearing this single 
sentence from his chief : " I do not know anyone but 
yourself who can write such an editorial as your 
Lenten Meditation the spirit of life emancipated 
from intellectual limitations of a theological defini 
tion." In the discussion of such themes as this he 
brought comfort, encouragement and hope to multi 
tudes of readers. His style, at first rather poetic and 
touched with sentiment, but always flexible and gra- 


cious, acquired, with the gradual development of his 
character, simplicity, directness and strength, and 
finally became in his hands an instrument of much 

A retentive memory was of the greatest help to him 
in all of this varied editorial work. Having read 
widely and well, his memory was a reservoir upon 
which he drew at will for some apt quotation or some 
authoritative opinion with which to enforce his point. 
Moreover he escaped the fate of most editors who, 
becoming chained to their desks from choice or neces 
sity, gradually acquire a distorted or a pessimistic view 
of human nature and of human affairs through lack 
of contact with the living world and through a con 
sequent lack of first-hand knowledge of the difficulty 
of the problems humanity has to face and solve. In 
this respect he was the antithesis, for example, of the 
late editor of The New York Evening Post, Edwin L. 
Godkin. When Godkin was asked by a sympathetic 
friend if visitors didn t take a good deal of his time 
at his office and interfere with his work, he replied, 
with the grim humor characteristic of him, " No. For 
I see no one before one o clock; and at one o clock I 
go home." 

Mabie, on the other hand, not only had a hearty 
welcome for anyone who called on him, but as a lec 
turer was continually making excursions into the out 
side world and meeting men and women of the high- 


est types at educational centres, at church conventions, 
at social gatherings and at meetings of this or that 
literary or other society. Social by nature, he made 
friends in this way with scores and hundreds of peo 
ple who were worth while, talked with them, got 
their points of view and their opinions on all sorts 
of topics; and after intimate contact with these cur 
rents of fresh ideas, brough back to his desk many 
suggestions for editorials, with facts and arguments 
of the greatest value. One of the incidental conse 
quences of this outside activity and of this wide ac 
quaintance with prominent men extending over a long 
period was to give him from time to time the oppor 
tunity to analyze the character, portray the person 
ality and to estimate the value to his age of such men 
as Mark Hopkins or Bishop Potter, or Lowell or Sted- 
man, when death overtook them, in a manner not to 
be matched by any of his contemporaries in the field 
of journalism. 

During seven years, from 1891 to 1898, of the most 
active period in Mr. Mabie s career as an editor, the 
offices of The Outlook were in Clinton Hall, Astor 
Place. Early in 1898 the headquarters of the paper 
were moved to the United Charities Building, at 
Fourth Avenue and Twenty-second Street, where they 
remained for sixteen years. In the early years of his 
connection with the paper he used to come to the office 
with regularity. Later it became more and more his 


custom to do his important writing in his study in 
his Summit home and to go to the city less frequently. 
For years he wrote all his editorial and other articles 
with his own hand, succumbing finally, as we have 
seen, to writer s cramp. His handwriting was not 
easily read by the printers, and consequently he used 
to turn his articles over to his office secretary to be 
typewritten. He always had his subject and its treat 
ment well thought out before he began to write. He 
wrote easily, as a rule, but with care and exactness, 
and rarely made corrections. 

At the request of the writer Mabie s editorial asso 
ciate, Elbert Francis Baldwin, has been kind enough 
to set down his recollections of him as he appeared in 
the office of The Outlook: 

" Those in daily companionship with a man can best 
appreciate him. So we of The Outlook felt with 
regard to Hamilton Mabie. 

" For about a quarter of a century my room ad 
joined his in our editorial office. It was a grateful 
nearness. What influence could be more wholesome, 
than that of this man Mabie who had no frills/ who 
never affected a pose, who was not pompous or patron 
izing, who was always doing something but never 
hurrying about it, who did not try to do more than 
he knew he could, and who certainly never over played 
his hand? 

" Every morning we came to expect the appear- 


ance of a short, solid-looking, well-dressed man, who 
was accustomed to come in very unnoisily, but who 
managed to make a round of little visits at the va 
rious desks before reaching his own. Indeed we got 
into the habit of waiting for his appearance before 
we felt that the day had really begun. And, when 
he was away in Japan or on one of his lecture tours 
in this country, while we were glad that he could have 
the change and rest, the office always missed some 
thing. And now that it is gone for good, the office 
misses it more than ever. We know that no one can 
take Mr. Mabie s place. 

" It is a better office, however, and the world is bet 
ter off because such an affectionate, sane man lived 
and worked in it. His living was so much a part of 
his working and his working a part of his living that 
one never thought of the two as things apart. In our 
editorial conferences he would talk with the same 
simplicity and directness and sense of humor as he 
wrote. And he never talked flowers that is to 
say, rhetoric never got the best of him. He was sim 
ple, sincere, straightforward. Yet, admirable extem 
poraneous speaker as he was, he did most of his best 
work, I believe, with the pen as The Outlook has long 

If no man may be a hero to his valet, an editor 
may, it seems, be a hero to his secretary. Mrs. Anna 
Knight, who was Mabie s secretary for many years, 


has graciously drawn this pen-portrait of him, as he 
appeared in the office: 

" Mr. Mabie s predominant characteristic in his 
daily working life was his cheerfulness. During my 
eighteen years working association with him, no mat 
ter how overburdened with work and engagements, I 
never knew him to be impatient, irritable, peevish, 
sarcastic, exacting, or even unreasonable, all of which 
traits most people manifest at one time or another, 
and a large number much of the time. But with all his 
gentleness, he worked in a positive rather than a 
negative spirit the Thou shalt spirit of the New 
Testament rather than the * Thou shalt not of the 
old. He diffused in a remarkable degree an atmos 
phere of anti-antagonism; so that, once knowing the 
trend of his wishes, it was as natural as breathing for 
his associates to follow those wishes and feel that 
everything was right. Daily association with him 
seemed to eradicate the evils of arrogance and egoism 
at least while he was present. 

" As to his manner of working, he usually came 
in with his pockets crammed with items relating to the 
topics he was to treat editorially, for the clipping of 
which, en route to the office, he always carried a small 
pair of scissors (which I now have in my sweet grass 
work basket which he brought me from the Adiron- 
dacks), but his use of such extraneous help was most 
casual. After acquainting himself with the facts of 


a case to the best of his ability, all clippings and 
printed matter were laid aside he never quoted long 
extracts to fill space but went straight to the crux 
of a subject with his own mind; in a few illuminating 
sentences laying bare the heart of some political issue, 
public question, or, in his own inimitable, sympathetic 
way, presenting the merits or demerits of some new 
work of essay, poetry or fiction." 

As regards Mabie s helpfulness to all manner of 
persons who sought his advice and assistance, Mrs. 
Knight says : " I recall a number of men now hold 
ing influential positions in literary and .publishing 
work who owe their start entirely to the right word 
written, spoken or telephoned by Mr. Mabie at 
just the right time; he was never too busy to Stop, 
Listen and Help. Most of us are every ready to prat 
tle incessantly about our own affairs, hopes, fears, 
aspirations, but the pearl of priceless value is the one 
who will listen and help. Such an one was Mr. Ma 
bie. His pockets and his letter-basket on his office 
desk were never free of letters asking for help and 
guidance, and he always gave his best. If he felt 
compelled to tell a truth where he knew it would hurt, 
his sympathy and graciousness helped him to say it 
in the least hurtable way possible." 

Of the score and more of books which Mabie left 
as a permanent record of his literary achievement, 


two have shown more vitality and have won wider 
audiences than their fellows " In the Forest of Ar- 
den " and the " Shakespeare." Freshness of spirit, 
buoyancy and freedom of style and charm of senti 
ment, gave to the former an attractiveness that won the 
hearts of all its readers ; and the book promises to 
go on winning new friends indefinitely. In his 
" Shakespeare " he undoubtedly touched his highest 
point. It was a book which it had been a labor of 
love for him to write, and he gave the best that was in 
him to the painting of a portrait of the man based 
upon a most careful study not only of the poems and 
the dramas, but of the richly- variegated life of the 
time. It will stand as a monument not only to his 
industry and to his critical acumen, but to his genius 
for reading a man and his work through intellectual 
sympathy with him and his period, instead of from a 
position of critical detachment. It is not without 
significance, moreover, that both of these books, to 
tally dissimilar as they are in theme and in treatment, 
have in common an organic unity and a structural 
form which it was, of course, impossible for him to 
give to his volumes of essays. Some of his other 
books also possess this quality of movement, of log 
ical development and of completeness, notably his 
" American Ideals, Character and Life " and a few 
of his slighter sketches like " A Child of Nature " and 
" In Arcady." 


In the majority of his books which were made up 
from year to year mainly from his contributions to 
The Outlook there was a unity of purpose whether 
the themes were literary and artistic or ethical, which 
served to give to each a certain coherency and which 
goes far to bear out the theory that, although the 
chapters were published from week to week, they 
were originally conceived and planned as definite parts 
of a book. It was through these volumes, giving the 
fruits of the writer s observations, studies and reflec 
tions not only on literature but on nature, culture, 
conduct, character and the higher spiritual life, that he 
exerted his widest influence. The fine ideal which 
guides the course of the essays in all of these volumes 
was dwelt upon by Dr. van Dyke in his memorial 
address before the Academy of Arts and Letters 
" an ideal," as he happily defined it, " of the coopera 
tion of nature and books and work in the unfolding 
of personality." Several of these books, notably 
" Books and Culture " and " Works and Days," are 
still in active demand. 

Of the volumes of meditations two, " The Life of 
the Spirit " and " The Great Word," were published 
during Mabie s lifetime. Two other volumes treat 
ing of similar themes, " Fruits of the Spirit " and 
" Essays in Lent," appeared after his death. These 
books, with their messages of hope and encouragement, 
reached large audiences, more copies having been sold 


of "The Life of the Spirit" than of any other of 
his works save " In the Forest of Arden." Their 
character and their quality have nowhere been better 
indicated than in these words from Dr. Abbott s pref 
ace to " Fruits of the Spirit " : " Their wide range 
brings them into touch with eager youth seeking in 
spiration, with those weary in well-doing, needing en 
couragement; with those bringing the fruits of expe 
rience to enrich the activities of our busy age; and 
with those who face the sunset in serene quiet. Here 
all may find breadth of vision, renewed courage, clearer 
insight into the complexities of life and profound 
spiritual meanings." 

Mabie s name was to be found on the title-pages 
of many books other than those which he wrote. It 
was natural that various publishers should endeavor 
to secure the editorial cooperation of a man of his 
standing in the literary world in presenting some of 
their books to the public, and more especially books 
of an educational or semi-educational character de 
signed for young readers. He wrote numerous intro 
ductions to such books Fairy Tales, Myths, Leg 
ends, Heroes and what not that every child should 
know and of which, it may be added, most adults 
have only the most inaccurate or superficial knowl 
edge; interpretations of famous and introductions to 
notable poems; brief biographies for various series, 
etc., etc. He was the associate of Charles Dudley 


Warner in the editorial conduct of " The World s 
Best Literature," and contributed several biographical 
sketches to that work. His wide acquaintance with 
the literatures and the great writers of all countries 
made these tasks comparatively easy for him. They 
are entitled to this brief mention more to insure the 
completeness of the record than for any particular 
bearing they may have upon his literary reputation. 

As a lecturer Mabie occupied a unique place among 
American literary men. We have seen how he began 
in his early manhood to cultivate the art of public 
speaking and how by persistent practice he had mas 
tered it. In preparation for a formal address, espe 
cially if it was to be delivered before an academic 
audience, like his lectures on American poetry at Johns 
Hopkins, or on Poe at the University of Virginia, it 
was his custom to write his lectures and to read from 
this manuscript. On less formal occasions it was 
sufficient for him to make a memorandum merely of 
the headings of his discourse on a small square of 
paper which he could hold in his hand and to which 
it was rarely necessary for him to refer. And when 
he was to speak before a college audience, for exam 
ple, he did not require the aid even of such mem 

The vast difference between the written word and 
the spoken word was well illustrated in his case. The 


listener to his discourse got much nearer to the real 
man than did the reader of his essays. He gave him 
self much more freedom as a speaker than he did as a 
writer; and then his personality counted of course 
for a great deal, and gave his auditor a new interest 
in him and a new point of view from which to con 
sider him. His popularity as a speaker became great, 
especially at educational centres throughout the coun 
try. At the dinner given to him in the University 
Club Stedman quoted people from all over the country 
as saying: "Do you know Hamilton W. Mabie? 
Did you ever hear such a speaker? When is he com 
ing this way again ? " And Stedman went on to say : 
" I have thought it over a great deal, for we in New 
York do not know how these things are. Mr. Mabie 
goes from one end of the country to the other and 
charms everybody. He has the gift of charm, and 
that is a great gift to begin with." Stedman was right. 
Few in New York except Mabie s most intimate 
friends had any idea of the country- wide popularity 
he had won as a lecturer of extraordinary charm. 

What it was that constituted this charm may per 
haps be gathered from this paragraph from Dr. van 
Dyke s address in memory of his friend before the 
Academy of Arts and Letters : 

" No man in America was more welcome to an in 
telligent audience, for a lyceum lecture or a commence 
ment address than Hamilton Mabie. Here his per- 


sonal qualities had full play, perhaps even more than 
in his writings. His radiant nature, his keen sense 
of humor, his ready and attractive manner of speech, 
his sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men and 
women, gave him quick and easy access to his listen 
ers. They went with him because he appealed to them. 
He reached them because he took the trouble to open 
the doors. The material of his lectures, as in the 
case of Emerson, was that which he afterwards used 
in his books. But when he was speaking it was put 
in a different form, more free, more colloquial, 
adapted to the occasion. Why should a speaker re 
gard his auditors as cast-iron receptacles for a dose 
of doctrine? Mabie never did that. But he always 
had something to say that was serious, well-consid 
ered, worth thinking about. That was why thought 
ful people liked to hear him. He was a popular lec 
turer in the best sense of the phrase. The demands 
upon his time and strength in this field were inces 

His letters moreover show that Mabie got as much 
enjoyment out of speaking as his audiences did in 
listening to him. When the occasion was an inspir 
ing one and when he was deeply moved he was ca 
pable of rising to a high pitch of oratorical power. 
One such occasion, already described, was his last 
appearance as a speaker in Summit when " Patriot 
ism " was his subject. Another is referred to in a 


letter from his classmate Dr. G. Stanley Hall, who, 
in writing from Worcester, says : " One of the most 
remarkable things I ever saw him do was to take a 
large Commencement audience here, a few years ago, 
when it was very apathetic and bored, and starting in 
a very commonplace way, for the sake of contrast, 
lead them on and up before his hour was past to a 
pitch of enthusiasm very rare in staid Commencement 
groups, and of which President Roosevelt, who was 
present, said afterwards in public as well as in private 
that it was a wonderful bit of oratorical art." 

It was often a cause for regret among some of Ma- 
bie s friends that he had not gone into the church 
instead of into the office of The Outlook. For it 
was felt by them that, with his character and tem 
perament and with his capacity as a speaker, he would 
have made a preacher of extraordinary power. In 
addition to his eloquence he would have brought to 
the pulpit a broad humanity, a refreshing sanity and 
a catholicity of view which would have won him a 
high place and a large influence. But this influence 
would have been nowhere nearly as broad and as far- 
reaching as was that which he wielded through his 
writings and his lectures, and for this reason he never 
regretted the choice that he had made, or was ever 
tempted to change the field of his labors. 

He was always an especially welcome guest at the 
Commencement exercises of the Williams alumni to 


whom, by reason of these annually recurring occasions, 
he was probably better known as a speaker than as 
a writer. The late Dr. Franklin Carter, recalling 
these meetings, once wrote of him: "His melodious 
voice, his subtle humor, his keen discernment of rela 
tions, his careful estimate of values, often made his 
speech a long-remembered feature of the occasion. 
With all his friendliness he could administer a rebuke 
and so gently that one doubted that the arrow pierced 
the target." In illustration of this last statement Dr. 
Carter went on to tell the story of how Mabie, taking 
his cue from the remarks of a graduate who in his 
speech had complained because Williams was lacking 
in equipment and was falling behind other colleges in 
numbers, made a careful and telling analysis of the 
difference between bigness and greatness in college af 

An audience of blooming girls such as he was sure 
to meet when visiting any one of the women s colleges 
brought his geniality and his wit to the surface im 
mediately. He once gained the immediate and sym 
pathetic attention of a hall full of girls at Vassar by 
his first sentence : " You will all understand me, I 
think, when I assure you that it would be much more 
enjoyable for me to talk to one girl for six hours 
than to talk to six hundred girls for one hour." The 
writer is further indebted to Mr. Baldwin, for a de 
scription of another incident which could hardly have 


happened to anyone less self-possessed or less likely 
than he to be swept off his feet : 

" Some twenty years ago he was asked to make 
the Commencement address at the Teachers Normal 
College, then located in University Place. He faced 
an audience of several hundred young women about to 
become teachers. During the course of his address 
he attempted to quote Wordsworth s Daffodils. He 
got half way through when he found himself simply 
tied up. He could go neither forward nor backward. 
His mind was a blank and he himself in a maze. 
What was he to do? His characteristic poise came 
to his rescue. Instead of getting fidgety, he stepped 
as slowly as possible to the edge of the platform, looked 
benignly on his auditors from one side of the room 
to the other, smiled, bowed slightly (all to gain time 
of course) and then as the lines would not come 
back to him said quite simply : Young ladies, I 
hope that none of you will ever find yourself in such 
an embarrassing position as mine the words com 
ing more and more slowly as he tried to gain more 
and more time, querying within himself How does 
the pesky thing go anyway ? And then, as it did not 
go, he stepped back again to his original position, 
unhurried and unworried, smiled upon the girls once 
more and there it was ! He began again and went 
through the whole poem and then you should have 
heard the girls! They clapped and waved handker- 


chiefs until the whole place was filled with an en 
thusiasm and with a certain tender sympathy for the 
speaker which nothing else would have aroused in 
the same way. Every one of those girls, I am sure, 
became Mr. Mabie s firm friend." 


4 4 TV T O W behind all these books and behind all 
X^l these lectures and behind all these editorials 
and behind all these letters is the man Hamilton W. 
Mabie; honest, true, kind, sunny, hearty; an author 
without a grudge, a teacher without a rod, an idealist 
without a fad ; a good man to tie to, and a good friend 
to have." 

So spoke his friend of many years, Dr. van Dyke, 
at the dinner at the University Club, in introducing 
Mabie to a hundred and more of his friends there 
gathered to do him honor. Now if anyone wishes to 
learn what were the leading traits of character of the 
man Mabie, there is no better source of information 
than the writings of the man himself. For he was 
no exception to the rule that a man writes himself, 
although not necessarily all of himself, into his books, 
especially if these books are essays dealing with the 
formation of character, with conduct and with the 
spiritual side of life. Such a man reveals even more 
of his real self in his letters to his personal friends, 
written without any expectation, or even thought, that 



they may some day be published. " The careless 
ease," Mabie once wrote, " with which a man often 
writes to his friend is more favorable to free and un 
conscious expression of himself than the essay or 
the novel over which he broods and upon which he 
works month after month, perhaps year after year." 
If this is true, no doubt or uncertainty can rest in the 
mind of any reader of the foregoing pages, especially 
if he is familiar with Mabie s books, as to the con 
victions and principles, or the standards and ideals 
which governed his life. He has made them as plain 
as day by his acts also as well as by his words; and 
the conclusions which one draws from them as to his 
character and his temperament are confirmed by the 
letters of his many friends to him. 

No higher tribute could be paid to a man s charac 
ter and personality than was contained in the addresses 
that were delivered and in the letters that were read 
at the memorial meeting in Summit a few weeks after 
his death. This meeting was primarily designed to 
give his neighbors an opportunity to express the high 
regard and affection in which they had held their 
" First Citizen." People of all classes and condi 
tions, more than a thousand in number, crowded the 
Lyric Theatre on this occasion, showing how universal 
was the sense of loss to the city in his death and how 
deep the sense of personal bereavement on the part 
of everyone who had enjoyed his friendship. From 


outside the city, moreover, came letters reflecting the 
wide extent of his friendships and the esteem in which 
he was held by men in the highest walks of life 
throughout the country. These tributes were all to 
the man, not to the writer. " No one," said The Out 
look, " could have come away from this meeting with 
out being deeply impressed with the everlasting truth 
that the greatest force in art, in literature, in politics 
and in education, is found not in ideas or in work 
manship, but in personality." 

Mabie had indeed left a precious memory in the 
hearts of his friends. Joseph H. Choate, for example, 
went to the foundation of things in declaring that the 
cardinal feature of his character and conduct was dis 
coverable in his love for his fellow men and in his 
belief that the noblest study of mankind was man. 
Dr. Abbott, in his analysis of his associate s " genius 
for friendship," went still further : " Unseen in every 
day there walked with him a better tomorrow. He 
was an inspirational writer and speaker because he was 
rilled with hope, and his hope was the child of his 
spiritual faith. This faith of his in the abundance of 
life gave him not only his intellectual interest in na 
ture, in literature and in current events, but it gave 
him his interest in men and women about him. It 
inspired in him what I may call his genius for friend 
ship. It made him a universal friend." 

Mabie s philosophy of life was erected upon a broad 


and solid foundation of religious conviction and of 
spiritual faith, which formed the basis of his char 
acter. The ideal towards which he was constantly 
striving was high. " He looked forward," said Dr. 
Abbott, " to a divinely predestined human brotherhood, 
and tested every policy, whether political, industrial 
or ecclesiastical, by the relations which that policy 
bore to the coming Kingdom." Yet he was too large- 
minded to allow himself to be hampered by dogma or 
ritual. " He regarded all theologies, all liturgies, all 
ecclesiastical organizations," continued Dr. Abbott, 
" as instruments either to express or to promote the 
spiritual life. Loyal to the communion with which 
he was identified, he belonged to the church universal, 
and recognized the fact that every branch of that 
church possesses something of the universal truth of 
Christ and contributes something to the common Chris 
tian life. I have often heard him say that the church 
of Christ ought to be large enough to embrace men of 
all opinions and all temperaments. He believed that 
the bond of union and the test of fellowship should 
be, not agreement upon a dogma, but loyalty to a 
Person, not intellectual or emotional, but vital." 

Mention has already been made of the slowness with 
which his character matured. He was a long time in 
finding himself a fact which gave him a peculiar 
sympathy, as has already been noted, for those young 
men and young women who were trying to solve the 


same hard problem. But he met his trials patiently 
and bravely. One of the chief tasks which he set him 
self was always to profit by his own mistakes and fail 
ures; and in this hard school of experience his char 
acter deepened and strengthened. This development 
showed itself in the lines of his face which more and 
more expressed strength. He gradually overcame his 
earlier tendency to avoid unpleasant controversies with 
other men, and when any principle or conviction was 
at stake, he met the issue squarely and firmly. " Un 
derneath all his friendly exterior," writes Mr. Bald 
win, " Mabie was virile and vigorous. He had his 
opinions and he stuck to them, not with obstinacy, for 
he was as catholic-minded as any one could be, but, 
when he had once become thoroughly permeated with 
a particular phase of feeling, when he had once grap 
pled with a great principle and made it his own, his 
devotion and loyalty were quietly but eloquently evi 

" l^ext to character," he wrote in one of his papers 
in " Works and Days," " the most essential qualities 
for comfort, peace and happiness are sweetness and 
serenity of spirit." If the opinions of his intimate 
friends are to be trusted, these qualities were char 
acteristic of Mabie himself to a remarkable degree. 
Theodore Roosevelt wrote of him : " He possessed a 
peculiarly sweet and lovable nature, and the more inti 
mately one was thrown with him, the more one grew 


to appreciate the beauty and fineness of his charac 
ter." In an earlier letter to Mrs. Mabie, Mr. Roose 
velt had expressed himself somewhat more fully: 
" His purity and sweetness of nature and earnest de 
sire to help others to the realization of high ideals 
were set off and heightened by his delicate sense of 
humor and his unfailing courtesy; he combined the 
two essentials, gentleness and strength." Dr. Abbott 
thought that if he were to select a single word to in 
dicate not perhaps Mabie s most distinguishing, but 
the most apparent, characteristic, he would choose the 
word " reposeful." One has only to turn again to 
" Works and Days " to learn how Mabie had discov 
ered in " repose fulness " the secret of enjoyment in 
one s occupation. " The man," he wrote, " who works 
with delight and ease grows by means of his activity, 
and the first secret to be learned in order to rid work 
of worry and wear is to take it in a reposeful spirit, 
to refuse to be hurried, to exchange the sense of be 
ing mastered by one s occupation for the consciousness 
of mastery." And again in "Work and Culture" 
he laid down the principle that " ease of mood is 
essential to long-sustained working power." To him 
restlessness was always " the sign of a life unfulfilled 
and a soul unsatisfied." 

The key, moreover, to his creed of optimism is to 
be found in his sense of obligation to be cheerful and 
hopeful in his relations with his fellowmen for the 


moral stimulus of this example. " We owe our fel 
lows," he said, " the duty of sweetness and cheerful 
ness quite as much as the duty of fidelity and honesty." 
And again in the same book, " Works and Days," he 
elaborated this idea : " The greatest service which 
any of us can render to our fellows is, first and fore 
most, to be so evidently strong, earnest and cheerful 
that the discouraged take a new lease of hope from us, 
the doubtful secure a new vision of faith and those 
who have fallen a new impulse to get on their feet 
again. It is of infinitely more importance today to 
pour a new tide of victorious faith and hope and 
strength into the souls of men than to do anything, 

This variety of optimism is altogether different from 
that of the easy-going sort which rests upon a lazy 
faith that in some unknown way and by some un 
known means things will come out right in the end, 
if one only waits long enough. 

One of the principal sources, if not the principal 
source, of his serenity of soul and cheerfulness of 
spirit, was to be found in the happiness of his mar 
ried life. In his first volume of essays, " My Study 
Fire," he took his readers frankly into his confidence 
on this point. " One cannot write about his own 
home without egotism," he said, " for it is the best 
part of himself. If I were to write about mine, as 
I fear I am constantly doing, I should simply write 


about Rosalind. When I think of what home is and 
means, I understand the absolute veracity of Lowell s 
sentiment that many make the household, but only 
one the home. In every home there is one whose 
nature gives law and beauty to its life; who builds 
it slowly out of her heart and soul, adorns it with the 
outward and visible symbols of her own inward and 
spiritual gifts, and makes it her own by ministrations 
not to be weighed and counted, so impalpable, so num 
berless and so beyond all price are they." 

More than ten years later, in the course of his re 
marks at the dinner given to him at the University 
Club, he came back to this theme in the following 
words, the tone having acquired maturity in the mean 
time and the thought having gained breadth and a 
deeper significance: 

" Now no man succeeds alone. Every man s suc 
cess is based on some sort of cooperation, and those 
who have succeeded in the arts, who have especially 
needed sympathy and faith and fellowship, have in 
variably succeeded because that success has been a 
matter of cooperation between one who inspired and 
another who executed, between one who worked in the 
sight of the world and another who stood behind, 
invisible, with an influence searching and inclusive and 
silent, the effluence of a beautiful character which be 
comes the key and the explanation of anything that is 
fine and true and enduring, in the visible world. 


" I suppose this is what Tennyson had in his mind 
when he said in his extreme old age : The peace of 
God came into my life on my wedding day. 

It was due to this perfect cooperation that Mabie was 
enabled to enjoy, throughout his busiest years, the 
absolute freedom of mind necessary for his daily task. 
One can easily believe, moreover, that his character, 
tastes and temperament were a not unimportant factor 
in making this cooperation effective. In his home his 
gift to those who found inspiration and happiness 
in living with him day by day, in an atmosphere of 
love, sympathy and encouragement that never failed, 
only those who shared it can measure. Quiet, simple, 
methodical, unhurried but always busy, he accom 
plished a prodigious amount of work, without any 
evidence, until towards the end of his life, of strain 
or of great effort. One of his methodical habits was 
always to carry with him a small note-book in which 
he kept the briefest sort of a record of his doings from 
day to day, resulting in a large collection of small 
volumes which have been of the greatest service to 
the writer in checking occurrences and in verifying 
dates. His conscientiousness in keeping faithfully the 
multifarious engagements recorded in these little note 
books was one of his marked traits; and he would 
always put himself to endless trouble rather than dis 
appoint an audience before which he was to speak or 
a friend whom he had promised to meet. 


He enjoyed his leisure, too, as well as his work. 
The companionship of children, those of his friends 
as well as his own, was a source of great pleasure to 
him. His daughters were his companions everywhere, 
especially on his bicycle rides, a form of exercise that 
he persisted in until he was fairly driven off the high 
ways by the ever-increasing number of motor-cars. 
He delighted, as his letters abundantly show, in mak 
ing presents to his friends; and he took an especial 
pleasure in surreptitiously inserting little gifts, like 
books and boxes of candy, into hidden corners of his 
daughters trunks, as they were about to go back to 
college after their holidays. 

After he gave up bicycling, walking was his prin 
cipal exercise. At Hyannisport, finding himself for 
the first time within reach of salt water of a suitable 
temperature, he had the moral courage to learn to 
swim after he was sixty years old. Golf was another 
of his mild recreations. But he played at, rather than 
played, golf. What he really liked in the sport was 
the open air and the sunshine and the companionship 
of some congenial spirit who was as indifferent to the 
score and as alive to the beauty of nature as he was. 
In one of his letters, it will be recalled, he speaks of 
playing golf with Admiral Stockton, " who," he sig 
nificantly adds, " is great fun." 

He was once the guest of Andrew Carnegie at 
Skibo Castle in Scotland; and on his return he told, 



with great enjoyment, some of his expert Baltusrol 
golfing friends the story of a memorable morning 
which he spent on the private links of the Laird of 
Skibo. A canny old Scottish retainer was assigned 
to him as a corqpanion. This grizzled veteran of many 
a hard-fought battle on the greens preserved a per 
fectly stolid demeanor during what must have been 
to him an agonizing experience. Having finished, 
Mabie determined to see if he could not extort at 
least a word of indirect praise from his taciturn com 
panion. Turning to the Scot he said, with his most 
ingratiating smile, "Well, MacPherson (or MacDon- 
ald or whatever Mac he happened to be), I suppose 
you never saw anybody play a worse game of golf 
than that ? " To which query the honest Scot replied, 
with perfect gravity, " No, sir, I never did ! " 

Mabie s sense of humor was always with him, but 
it came to the surface and into play only when the 
special occasion or the special person invited its use. 
Such a person might be an intimate friend with whom 
he had had many a passage at arms ; and such an occa 
sion might be any informal gathering before which 
he was to speak. Dr. van Dyke referred to this trait 
in his Book Buyer article, when he said : " His books 
reflect the man. But they do not reflect the whole 
man. For one thing, there is a rich fund of humor 
in him which does not often come to the surface in 
the printed page. His speaking style is livelier and 


more varied than his written style. On the platform 
and at the dinner table when the coffee cups have come 
in, he is full of amiable discourse, brilliant anecdote 
and genial eloquence. No man presides at a banquet 
or a board meeting with a readier wit or with finer 

In illustration of Mabie s readiness of wit as a pre 
siding officer, the following incident, as described by 
Mr. Baldwin, may be cited : " At an Aldine Club 
dinner one night, Mr. Mabie was toastmaster and Hop- 
kinson Smith was the guest of the evening. Smith 
was a squirmer and the lightweight chair on which 
he sat finally gave way, and down went Smith to the 
floor right in the midst of the toastmaster s presenta 
tion speech. Every one laughed at Smith s discom 
fiture and he most of all. The toastmaster proceeded 
placidly with his address, however, just as if nothing 
had happened. But at the close he said to the au 
dience, And now Mr. Smith will again take the 
floor ? " 

Good as he was in his books, and better as he was 
in a lecture hall or as a presiding officer, it was not 
until the coffee and cigars had made their appearance 
after a dinner, or until he was at leisure in front of 
his own or some friend s study fire, that Mabie was 
at his best. Then the real man revealed itself in his 
genial, cordial manner, in the atmosphere of good 
comradeship which he unconsciously diffused, and in 


the easy play of ideas, interspersed with humorous 
story or happy quotation from the ample storehouse 
of his memory, between him and his friends. This 
was the Mabie whom his associates in The Outlook 
office and his other intimate friends knew; and it 
was because of these qualities that they felt that they 
had derived much more benefit from this close con 
tact with him than they had ever got from his books. 
Those, moreover, who heard him speak or who met 
him casually when he was on one of his lecture tours, 
caught from his sympathetic personality a glimpse at 
least of the real man, which not only aroused their 
interest and perhaps their admiration, but often won 
their immediate affection. For, in Professor Bliss 
Perry s expressive phrase, " he radiated sunshine," 
and so warmed the souls of all those whom he met. 


Abbott, Lawrence R, 184, 226. 
Abbott, Dr. Lyman, 52, 53, 54, 

67, 68, 69, 70, 178, 179, 180, 

228, 242, 263, 268, 270, 284, 

293, 306, 308, 317, 327, 328, 


Adelphic Union, 24, 25, 26, 27. 
Alden, Henry M., 202, 203. 
Aldine Club, 94, 95, 98, 164, 

Aldrich, T. B., 9, 86, 88, 89, 91, 

98, 99, 100, 120, 159, 160, 168, 

169, 180, 185, 186. 
Alexander, John, 281. 
Allen, James, Lane, 184. 
Allen, Rev. Dr. John K., 46, 

Alpha Delta Phi, 18, 19, 20, 23, 


Amalfi, 224. 
American Academy of Arts 

and Letters, 286, 287, 300, 

30i, 303, 316, 319. 
" American Ideals, Character 

and Life," 234, 264, 315. 
Andrew, Governor, 16. 
Archbold, John D., 143. 
Athenaeum, The, 214, 238, 264. 
Authors Club, 65, 74, 301, 302, 


Beecher, Henry Ward, 53. 

Belden, Mrs., 7. 

Bell, Julia E., 245, 247. 

Berea College, 218, 219, 220, 


Bigelow, John, 146, 148. 
Bishop, George R., 44. 
Blanc, Madam, 205, 206. 
Bonchurch, 208. 
Bookman, The, 14, 21, 41, 174. 
"Books and Culture," no, 112, 

114, 115, 316. 
Brent, Bishop, 294. 
Bright, Major Marshal H., 46, 


Brooktyn, 13, 14, 18, 42. 
Brownell, Edith, 205. 
Brunetiere, Ferdinand, 169. 
Bryant, William Cullen, 16, 43. 
Bryce, Ambassador, 215, 216, 


Buffalo, 9, n, 13. 
Burroughs, John, 78, 80, in, 

279, 28o>, 281, 300, 306. 
Butler, Dr. Nicholas Murray, 

191, 192, 193, 214, 233, 237, 

284, 291, 292, 294, 300. 
Button Family, 55, 56, 75, 81, 

102, 103, 175, 186, 193, 194, 

227, 228, 230, 278. 

"Backgrounds of Literature," Canada, n. 

183, 185. 
Baldwin, Elbert Francis, 152, 

311, 322, 329, 336. 
Bascom, Professor John, 32. 
Bay of Naples, The, 223. 

Cappucini, The, 224. 
Capri, 222, 224. 
Carmel, 6, 7, 8. 
Carnegie, Andrew, 334. 
Carnegie Endowment for In- 




ternational Peace, 232, 233, 

260, 262, 265. 
Carroll, Rev. Dr. Edward T., 

Carter, Dr. Franklin, 31, 70, 


Chadbourne, Dr. Paul A., 31. 
Chautauqua, 283. 
" A Child of Nature," 104, 174, 


Choate, Joseph H., 327. 
Christian Union, The, 3, 49, 52, 

53, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 74, 

80, 85, 94, 97, loo, 129. 
Christian Work, The, 46, 179. 
" Christmas Today," 213. 
Cleveland, Grover, 227. 
Coleman, Charles, 224. 
Coligny, Admiral Gaspard de, 


Colwell, Charlotte Wright, 7. 
Colwell, Samuel, 6, 7. 
Crawford, Frank L., 140. 
Curtis, George William, 71, 72, 

Curtis, William J., 138. 

Dalny, 255. 

Davenport, John D., 32. 

Delano, Eugene, 29. 

Denison, Dr. Charles, 21. 

Dodd, Frank H., 64, 85. 

Dole, Sanford B., 106, 107, 238, 

Doyle, Sir A. Conan, 272. 

Eggleston, Dr. Edward, 50, 51, 

52, 54- 

Ellsworth, William W., 165. 
Emerson, Dr. Nathaniel B., 

238, 239. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 25, 31, 

36, 37, 38. 
"Essays in Lent," 316. 

"Essays in Literary Interpre 
tation," 92, 95, 97. 

"Essays on Nature and Cul 
ture," no, in, 116. 

" Essays on Work and Cul 
ture," in, 122, 330. 

Everts, Katherine Jewell, 214. 

Farringford, 208, 209. 
Fleissigheim, 18, 19, 20. 
Fortnightly, The, 45, 46. 
Fort Ticonderoga, 215. 
Freshwater, 209. 
Frost, Dr. William G., 218, 

219, 277. 
" Fruits of the Spirit," 288, 

3i6, 317. 
Fujiyama, 243. 

Gamewell, Professor Joseph 

A., 179. 

Garfield, Dr. Harry A., 136. 
Gilder, Richard Watson, 141, 


Gilman, Dr. Daniel C., 169. 
Godkin, Edwin L., 309. 
Gordon, Rev. Dr. George A., 

56, 57, 58, 70, 7i, 72, 95, n6, 

129, 301, 306. 
Gorge of Pali, The, 239. 
Goto, Baron, 251. 
Grant, Rev. Dr. Percy S., 207, 


Grant, Judge Robert, 287. 
"Great Word, The," 198, 316. 
Greves, James S., 44, 45. 
Gulick, John T., 238, 239. 
Gnlielmensian, The, 36. 
Gunster, F. W., 23. 

Hall, Dr. Granville S. (G. 
Stanley), 20, 22, 23, 25, 30, 
72, 73, 97, 106, 107, 321. 

Hamilton, Mercer, 7. 


Hamilton, Sir William, 7- 
Hand, Rev. Frederick A., 20. 
Harman, Henry A., 18, 20, 28, 


Harmon, Rollin E., 21, 23. 
Hascall, Mr. and Mrs. William 

S, 47, 48, 50. 

Hearth and Home, The, 51. 
Hodgkins, Louise M., 83, 89, 

90, 92, 93. 

Holt, Hamilton, 232. 
Honolulu, 238, 239, 240. 
Hopkins, Professor Albert, 32. 
Hopkins, Dr. Henry, 34. 
Hopkins, Dr. Mark, 31, 33, 34, 

35, 3io. 
Howells, William Dean, 5, 74, 

109, no, 285, 286, 287. 
Hughes, Governor Charles E., 

215, 216, 218. 
Hyannisport, 234, 334. 

" In Arcady," 183, 184. 
Independent, The, 51, 232. 
"In the Forest of Arden," 81, 

89, 122, 204, 315, 317. 
Irvine, Hart, 276. 
Irvine, Dr. William M., 221, 

222, 276. 
Isle of Wight, The, 208. 

Jackson, Helen Hunt, 70. 

Japan, 177, 232, 237, 238, 242, 
247, 261, 263, 265, 266, 267, 
268, 274. 

Japan, Society, The, 237, 259, 

"Japan Today and Tomor 
row," 271. 

Jastrow, Jr., Professor Morris, 

Jebb, Professor, 169. 

Judson, Mrs. Champney H., 10. 

Jungfrau, The, 225. 

Jusserand, Ambassador, 215, 

216, 217, 218, 299, 300. 
Kamakura, 246. 
Katsura, Prince, 250. 
Kent Place School, 138, 139, 

140, 294, 303. 
King, Grace, 64, 75, 76, 77, 78, 

79, 81, 89, 100, 104, 112, 127, 

163, 165, 188, 190, 205, 220, 

275, 298. 

Kipling, Rudyard, 123, 124. 
Knight, Anna, 312, 314. 
Kobe, 252. 
Kokka Club, 243. 
Korea, 247, 258, 261. 
Kyoto, 256. 

La Cava, 224. 

" Life of the Spirit, The," 129, 
3i6, 317. 

Lines, Bishop Edwin S., 149, 

Longfellow, Henry Wads- 
worth, 15. 

Low, Will H., 184. 

Lowell, James Russell, 15, 71, 
72, 73, 91, 102, 310, 332. 

Mabie, Edgar Washburn, 9. 
Mabie, Frank Marvin, 9. 
Mabie, Helen Rockwell, 55, 

244, 248, 252, 256, 275. 
Mabie, Levi Jeremiah, 6, 8, 9, 

11, 12, 13, 14, 43. 
Mabie, Libbeus, 6. 
Mabie, Lorraine, 48, 200, 303. 
Mabie, Peter, 6. 
Mabie, Sarah Colwell, 6. 
Mabille, Seigneur Pierre, 5. 
Mabille, Sergeant Gaspard, 5. 
MacArthur, James, 14, 21, 42. 
Manchuria, 247, 258, 261. 
Marsland, Cora, 154. 
McCormick Eliot, 53. 



McKim, Bishop, 250, 251. 
Mead, William R., 286. 
Mercersburg Academy, 221. 
Mills, Samuel J., 28. 
Mills Theological Society, 28. 
Miyaoka, Tsunejiro, 260. 
Morgan, J. P., 257, 258. 
Morton, Dr. Asa H., 230. 
Mukden, 255. 

" My Study Fire," 85, 89, 153. 
" My Study Fire, Second Se 
ries," 105. 

Nakano, S., 260. 

Naples, 224. 

Nara, 252. 

National Institute of Arts and 

Letters, 286, 287, 300, 301. 
National Institute of Social 

Science, 284, 285, 286, 291, 

292, 293. 
Nelson, Henry L., 20, 25, 169, 


Nelson, Judge Thomas, 42, 43. 
Nevy, 5. 

New Amsterdam, 5. 
New Rochelle, 6. 
New York Kindergarten Asso 
ciation, 141, 142, 143, 145, 

Nitobe, Professor Inazo, 232, 

254, 273, 274. 
Nitobe, Yoshio, 262, 297. 
" Norse Stories Retold from 

the Eddas," 64, 85. 
North, Ernest Dressel, 181, 

195, 196, 208, 216, 243, 249, 

North, Mrs. E. D., 209, 212, 

222, 252. 

Norton, Professor Charles 
Eliot, 71, 72, 73. 

Ogden, Rollo, 202. 

Okuma, Count, 243, 274. 

Ono, Eijiro, 260. 

Osaka, 252. 

Outlook, The, 3, 34, 52, 85, 100, 
129, 130, 136, 152, 154, 156, 
158, 178, 179, 180, 184, 191, 

2O2, 210, 212, 226, 228, 242, 

258, 263, 270, 285, 29.5, 297, 

299, 306, 308, 310, 311, 312, 
316, 321, 327, 337. 

Paestum, 224. 

Page, Thomas Nelson, 129, 

" Parables of Life," 179, 236. 

Pearl Harbor, 239. 

Perry, Professor Arthur La 
tham, 32. 

Perry, Professor Bliss, 32, 134. 
202, 337. 

Perry, Lewis, 32. 

Philadelphia, 275, 289, 290. 

Phi Beta Kappa, 30, 70. 

Phillips, Professor John L. T., 

Philologian Society, 25, 26. 

Philotechnian Society, 25, 26. 

Pompeii, 224. 

Port Arthur, 255. 

Potter, Bishop H. C, 151, 152, 

Rhodes, James F., 286. 

Rice, Susan, 153. 

Riggs, Mrs. Kate Douglas, 123, 

124, 145, 173, 182, 183. 
Riley, James Whitcomb, 286. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 4, 152, 

178, 226, 227, 228, 301, 321, 

329, 330. 

Root, Elihu, 217, 233. 
Rowell, William E., 238, 239, 
Rushmore, Dr. John D., 21. 
Russell, Lindsay, 237. 



Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 286. 
Salerno, 223, 224. 
San Francisco, 256, 263. 
.Sargent, John S., 287. 
Sato, Aimaro, 262. 
Sawyer, Jennie L., 236, 237. 
Schauffler, Rev. Dr. A. F., 21, 


Seal Harbor, 261, 264, 268, 283, 

Seoul, 255. 

Shibusawa, Baron, 241, 259. 

" Short Studies in Literature," 
90, 91. 

Slattery, Rev. Dr. Charles L., 

Slicer, Rev. Dr., 302. 

Smith, F. Hopkinson, 336. 

Sorrento, 223, 224. 

Spring, Professor, 26, 29, 33. 

St. Bartholomew s Day, Mas 
sacre of, 5. 

Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 
62, 63, 64, 69, 74, 75, 85, 86, 
105, no, 169, 210, 215, 304, 
3io, 319- 

Steinmetz, Jr., Rev. Philip, 

Stetson, Francis Lynde, 17, 18, 
19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 41, 42, 
43, 47, SO, 82, 97, 107, 133, 
136, 210, 211, 216, 225, 
226, 227, 230, 235, 238, 257, 

Stockton, Admiral, 218, 334. 

Stockton, Frank R., 95. 

Summit, 82, 83, 85, 138, 148, 
200, 214, 236, 238, 257, 264, 
285, 288, 289, 290, 291, 303, 
320, 326. 

Switzerland, 225, 226. 

Taft, President, 178, 215, 216, 
217, 218, 234, 285. 

Tarrytown, 13, 42, 45, 47, 48, 
55, 56, 303- 

Tatlock, Professor John, 18, 32. 

Taylor, John M., 21. 

Teller, John D., 106. 

Tennyson, Aubrey, 209. 

Tennyson, Hallam, 208, 209. 

Tennyson, Harold, 209. 

Tennyson, Lady, 208, 209. 

Tennyson, Lionel, 209. 

" Theocritus on Cape Cod," 

Thomas, Augustus, 287. 

Thomas, Professor Moses 
Bross, 21, 23. 

Tokio, 240, 244, 247, 259, 260. 

Tokio, Imperial University of, 

Treat, Charles R., 32, 49, 56. 

Trivett, Jeannette, 47, 48. 

Trivett, Rev. Robert, 47. 

Tucker, Bishop, 253. 

Tucker, Gilbert M., 21. 

Turnbull, Mr. and Mrs. Law 
rence, 169. 

Twain, Mark (Samuel L. 
Clemens), 164, 165. 

" Under the Trees and Else 
where," 23, 89, 122. 

van Dyke, Dr. Henry, 65, 107, 

108, 109, in, 114, 115, 117, 

118, 122, 124, 126, 158, 166, 

167, 171, 173, 180, 261, 294, 
316, 319, 325, 335. 

Vedder, Elihu, 224. 

Wagner, Charles, 188, 205. 
Warner, Charles Dudley, 162, 


Washington, Booker, 215. 
West, Charles S., 14, 16, 18. 
West, Rev. Jacob, 14. 



Wharton, Mrs. Edith, 199. 

White, Horace, 215. 

Whitman, Mr., 19. 

Whittredge, Worthington, 281. 

Willard, Frances E., 50, 51. 

" William Shakespeare, Poet, 
Dramatist and Man," 156, 
162, 168, 315- 

Williams College, 14, 15, 16, 17, 
20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 28, 29, 31, 
32, 33, 34, 39, 4i, 43, 70, 106, 
132, 135, 136, 137, 170, 171, 

191, 202, 211, 226, 227, 23O, 
238, 257, 321, 322. 

Williams Quarterly, The, 19, 
26, 27. 

Williamstown, 16, 18, 29, 31, 

36, 38, 40. 
Wister, Owen, 203. 
Wofford College, 179. 
Woodberry, Professor George 

E., 156, 157, 158, 169. 
Woodhull, Mr. and Mrs. J. 

Clifford, 296. 

Woodruff, Rev. E. B., 154, 155. 
"Works and Days," 179, 316, 

329, 330, 331. 
Wright, Mercer Hamilton, 7. 

Yokohama, 238, 240, 263. 





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