A Williams Anthology
Compiled by Edwin Partridge Lehman and Julian Park
Part 4 out of 4
was my friend," he whimpered, bending over the loathsome dead. "He was
"Aye, aye," mused the jester, fingering the mildewed shroud, "and
sooth, he was the finest mute that ever crooked a back in the Bohemian
court. Famous he was, all hereabouts, to the marches of the northern
"And so high was he in the king's favor and graces!" snivelled the
eunuch. "They shall never find another such as he."
"True, true; and yet hast heard another must be found? The king has
thus ordered: another mute must now be gotten to take his
place--another just so strange." The jester bent over the face and
shuddered. A few swift clouds sped across the moon, and caused the
greenish shadows under the misshapen features to flicker and melt
grotesquely. Then the light shone clear again and he saw the broken,
twisted nose; and the eyes that stared obstinately from their split
lids; and the gaping, grinning mouth that, years ago, the torturers
had cut wide upon each seared and tattooed cheek; and the swollen,
split lips that could not hide where once had been a tongue. He passed
his hand along the shroud and lightly touched the ugly hump where the
spine had been pressed and snapped, and the slanted shoulders and the
twisted hips and legs. "Thou wast so laughable to all the court," he
cried. "Thy bones were so comically broken. And now, another must be
made for the court's delight, just so comical as thou. Aye, aye," and
he sighed heavily, "Jesu have pity on the child's face of some young
page or squire."
The iron door behind them swung suddenly open, and a captain of the
palace guard clanked into the donjon. The flare of a spluttering
flambeau, which he held in his hand, caused them to blink and shrink
away, beyond its yellow circle. But he thrust it close to their faces
with a cross oath. "Silence," he growled, "cease thy shrill
chatterings. What dost thou here, foul black? By what right hast thou
left thy post before the ladies' hall--before the chamber of the
"He was my friend," the eunuch faltered. "I wished to pray for him
that was my friend."
"Pray? To thy heathen gods?" Upon his coat of mail the captain thumped
a vigorous sign of the cross. "Go, get thee back, lest aught should
happen in thy absence. Thou knowest the penalty, both for thee and any
gallant that dare pass the Lady Suelva's portal. Thou know'st the
penalty," and he slapped his thigh with the flat of the halberd that
hung from his girdle.
"Hush!" Faint from across the courtyard came a voice singing, a high
fresh tenor voice. The black sprang to his feet and stood rooted in
trembling horror. "From what corner of the yard comes that
serenading?" thundered the captain. The jester rose to the window; he
looked first out into the courtyard, then back at the eunuch, who
stood picking nervously at his tunic; then out of the window again.
"From below the Lady Suelva's chambers. See! Someone is climbing the
winding steps of her balcony!"
"And Lady Suelva? Has she come out on the balcony?"
"I cannot see; a tilting-post stands directly in the way." In the
furthest corner of the donjon, a dim black square disclosed an ugly
trap leading down to the torture-room. To the trap-door the captain
bounded, and from above, they could hear the thump of his feet on the
creaking ladder. He was up again in an instant, chuckling viciously.
"I found them all asleep, the old torturer and his two sons. But ho!
they are awake now--I kicked them hard awake. They have much to do
to-night." He stopped for a moment at the big iron door. "Wait here
till I return," he commanded, and ran stealthily into the courtyard.
The eunuch fell to his knees again, and prayed jabberingly--this time
for his own soul. The jester softly trod the length and breadth of the
stone flaggings, and stopped to peer at the corpse and its face. "Jesu
ha' mercy," he repeated ofttimes; "Jesu ha' mercy!"
The pulsating suspense broke with the reentrance of the captain. Over
his shoulder was slung a dark, limp burden which he swung down and
held out in the crook of his thick arms, as if it were a doll.
"Twas a tussle the young peacock gave me," he said thickly. "Look
ye--I have lost my flambeau, but come to the window and take a squint
at him." He held the figure up to the grating, to where the moon shone
pale on its face and tumbled locks and over its gay-colored tunic, and
lustered its silken hose.
"By St. Godfrey, what a handsome lad! Who is he?"
"Methinks he is a squire but lately come to court, so there'll be few
to miss him, when the night's work is done."
The jester sighed. "So young he is and fair. See that great purple
welt across his forehead."
"'Twas where I clubbed him senseless."
"And must thou torture him to death? Must he so surely die?"
"Aye, so run my orders. He will die--and thou too, black. Hold thou my
burden, fool, whilst I undo my halberd!"
From the kneeling eunuch came a shriek and moan and incoherent
jabbering. The captain cursed and stayed his uplifted arm.
"It is too dark to strike," he growled. "Wait till the moon is from
behind that cloud. Ugh! It is black here, pitchy black." A full, heavy
minute elapsed, disturbed by the scuffle of the negro's feet as he ran
and cowered in the furthest corner, and the soft creaking of the iron
door, and a sudden suck and soughing of the night air. Then the moon
slipped slyly from its frayed woolly covers, and relit the donjon
keep. "Holy God and Father," and the halberd clanked noisily to the
floor. In the half open doorway stood the king's favorite, the Lady
Suelva. Against the frosted green background of the moonlit courtyard
her shimmering robe, her white face and throat, and her long hair of
flaming copper stood out gloriously. She did not move, but stayed
peering through the unaccustomed gloom, as if to recognize the dark
figures before her. The eunuch flung himself at her feet, and squirmed
and grovelled. "Save me, lady save me!" But she thrust him from her
with a sharp push of her foot.
The captain turned to the jester. "Take down thy burden," he
whispered. "Down to the torture room with him."
But the lady heard and came forward. "No," she said imperiously, "lay
him down upon the floor, and let me see what has been done with him."
The captain grumbled and swore under his heavy mustache. "Take him
away, fool. Do as I bid!"
But the lady stepped between. "Stop! Let me see him." Her voice rose
high and shaking; she was fast losing her stately calmness.
The captain sneered. "See him! And why? Have you not seen enough of
him this night?"
"No, no! he was but singing to me!"
"Yet I found you with him on the balcony."
"I swear it," she repeated, "he was but singing to me."
The captain heaved his shoulders with so great a shrug that the
ringlets of his coat of mail jangled and clinked. "I have my orders,"
he said, "which come from the king himself."
"The king?" She snapped her fingers. "And who orders the king? He
would obey my slightest wish."
"No use, dame. Nor heaven nor hell could save this squire from his
death. As for the eunuch, he will mayhap be spared, if thou so wish
it. He is thy servant--and his life at thy command." The negro whined
and moaned and crept to kiss her feet.
But Suelva flung herself back. "What care I for his foul black hide?
'Tis the young squire's life I crave."
"Then both must die."
"Mother Mary! But let me hold him in my arms." She tore the jester's
burden from him, and staggering under its weight, turned to the middle
of the room. Then she saw, for the first time, the bier and what it
bore. She gasped, and let the squire's body sink in a huddled heap on
the floor. "Who is it?" she asked, crossing herself. She looked
closer. "Yes, I remember thee, fond old mute. Pha! but thou smellest
of the grave. And why have they left thee lying here, this fortnight?"
From the dark corner came a stifled cry and piping gurgle. "My lady,
oh, my lady!"
"How now, black; let go my skirt."
"Mistress, let me whisper close. He need not die, thy lover."
"Hast thou some scheme? Quick, tell it to me."
"First speak the word to let me live."
"Aye, we spare thy life--but haste!"
"He is but a young stripling; his bones are not yet set and hardened.
Let him be made the king's mute."
The jester heard the words. He flung himself upon the eunuch, and
grasping his throat, throttled him until his black face ran with shiny
sweat and his great white eyes hung nearly from their sockets. "I
feared that thou wouldst dare to speak of that--squealing coward--I
might have known it." Again he whacked the woolly head against the
The captain dragged them apart. "Why so wroth, fool?" he asked.
"Sooth, 'tis a wise plan, and one to save me a deal of trouble. For it
was my special commission from the king to furnish a new mute. And
since the lad must suffer, lady--come, by the Holy Tokens, I'll make a
bond with thee. I'll spare his life, an' ye say nought of it to the
king. I'll keep intact his pulse and true heart's beat; and thou, in
turn, give me his lower limbs to twist and his doll's face to
alter--only to alter slightly," and he laughed lewdly.
Lady Suelva moved to look at the dead mute; but the wily black had
thrust himself before the face and hid its loathsomeness. "Do as he
bids, mistress," he whispered. "Let thy lover live and love thee. Let
him have life."
"And what a life!" cried the jester. "Oh, noble lady, be merciful and
let him die."
"Would not the king or some one recognize him?" she asked.
"No," answered the captain; "he is but lately come to court--and
anyway, there's none would recognize him after--"
"Might he not some day blurt out the truth?"
"Ho, you forget: mutes make safe lovers, for they have no tongues."
She recoiled. "True. And so, may he love me fearlessly in such a
"Aye, and thou him--that we promise thee."
She dropped to her knees, beside the unconscious squire. She took his
head in her lap, and with her warm hands brushed back the locks from
his bruised forehead. "He is so beautiful," she sighed, wavering. "It
were a shame--"
"He would never be beautiful again," said the jester.
"Rather an ugly lover than a dead one," retorted the captain.
Lady Suelva fell to sobbing. "Canst thou not spare him altogether?"
"Nay! nay!" He stamped his foot impatiently. "And it were best to
"Only wait till he awakes from the hard blow thou gavest him. He will
decide for himself."
"'Twill be by far less painful if done now."
"Then take him."
"Think well and long," said the jester. "'Tis a life of hell thou
wouldst prolong him to. The jeers, the coarse and ribald laughter of
the court, the scorn and teasing--aye--God! I know the life, for I too
suffer as a courtier's play-thing--and yet, I have a straight body and
a human face and a tongue to answer with. What canst thou offer him to
compensate for all his loss and misery?"
She looked up proudly. "My love. Is it not enough?"
The fool bowed. "It must be, when kings crave for it. Yet beauty such
as thine can only love the beautiful."
"Then I shall pity him--with all my heart's strength; I'll comfort his
poor life with sweetest pity."
"Lady, pity is the meanest gate of love."
The captain growled and swung his halberd viciously. "Keep thy wit for
the king's ear," he said. "The lady Suelva hath spoken her decision.
We dally no longer." He bent down and lifted the squire's body over
his back. Then he turned to the eunuch. "Take thou the old mute's
corpse. I have kept his carcass these seven days; to serve as a
pattern. So carry it down."
The black's eyes dilated again, and he shrank back. "I dare not touch
it. He was my friend."
"Bah. Then take thou my load," and in exchange the captain slung the
corpse across his own shoulders. As he crossed the room, the loose
head showed upside-down over his back, bobbing and flabbily wagging
its grin-split face.
The lady stared at it rigidly. She seized the jester's arm. "And is
his face to be a counterpart of that one?"
"Aye--every feature exactly."
The captain threw open the trap-door and went down the ladder. The
eunuch, staggering a little under the squire's weight, followed him
and disappeared from view. Suelva ran forward a few steps as if to
call them back; then she stopped short, hand at breast.
"'Tis too late," said the jester bitterly, and shut down the
"God pity me," she sobbed. "I was too selfish of his life--and of his
"And now, be sure, he will do naught but hate thee!"
As if to spite her overwrought emotions, she turned on him sharply.
"Thou art impertinent, fool."
He smiled sadly. "Unpleasant truths must ever seem impertinent--but
they are no less true. An' I be the court fool, pray, noble lady, what
art thou? We be all king's play-things--my wit and thy beauty and the
mute's deformities. For all of us sweet life is slowly spoiled--for
the mute and me by scorn and snickerings; for thee by the cold glitter
of lavished finery and callous flattery. That squire, young and
beautiful and bursting with ambition, was only a play-thing, too--thy
toy, to dally with and break."
"Nay, nay! I loved him dearly and so shall for all time."
The jester laughed shortly. "I had not meant for thee to glance upon
this scene," he said, "but if 'twere best, then look, lady, look!" and
he threw open the trap. A great red light flared up into the donjon,
and waved and danced along the moon-green walls. The empty bier seemed
licked in ruddy flames, and on the moist mould of the ceiling, each
little drop of water sparkled like a ruby.
"Look at him," repeated the jester. "Shrink not; they are only heating
She crept to the edge of the trap, and peered down, fascinated. "Who
are those huge hairy men, with wild beasts' faces?" she asked.
"Oh! what have they done to his hair--to all his long, pretty locks?
How strange he looks with his head shaven thus! And see! what is the
torturer to do with that glowing iron in his hand? Ugh!" and she fell
back, near swooning.
There was a sudden sizzle of burnt flesh and stenching smoke.
"Look," commanded the jester. "Look again."
"I dare not--nay, I cannot," and she flung herself away from the trap,
and lay at full length on the floor, with the moon and the furnace
light reflecting a mad swirl of color over her upturned, staring face.
For some moments she lay there, and above her stood the jester.
Neither spoke nor moved; they could only listen and listen to the
noises below them: the soft purring of the furnace-fire; the scuffle
of the workers' feet; the deadened clank of instruments; the faint
groans of the insensible youth; the binding, searing, ripping of
flesh; the crack and crunch of bones.
"Quick," cried the jester, "before they bandage him; quick! look
again," and when she shrank further back, he pushed her forward to the
very edge of the trap, until she could not help but see. "And couldst
thou love him now?" he asked, and keenly searched her face.
She said no word, but slightly swayed from side to side. She threw her
hands before her eyes, and dug her fists deep into them, as if to blot
the sight from her memory. She crouched, stunned and sickened. Her
hands dropped back to her breast; and the jester saw the expression of
There was no sign of love in her face; there was no tenderness or
pity. Only black horror and disgust; only a sullen, disappointed rage,
and a scowling disgust.
"They have made him as ugly as the king's gorillas," she sobbed. "Ugh!
he is ugly!"
The jester nodded his head mockingly. "Thou art right. They have made
him too foul for thee ever to love, have they not?"
"Love? God! I could not love a beast like that."
"Nor couldst thou even pity him--is he not too foul even for pity?"
"Nay, I'd never dare to pity such a thing. He is too horrible, too
loathsome. I would swoon if he touched me."
"What, lady, neither love nor pity? Yet this may merely be a passing
sickness of the humours. To-morrow thou mayest love him better than
"Love?" She was fast growing hysterical. "I could never bear the sight
of such a mangled dwarf." Thrusting her hand inside her dress, she
drew out a gleaming bodkin, and flung it at the fool's feet. "Kill
him," she screamed, "kill him!" Then she rose unsteadily and staggered
out the iron door.
"Kill him!" the jester echoed. "Merciful Mary, I thank thee!" and,
concealing the bodkin in his blouse, he descended the ladder, to help
the captain and the torturers in their work.
An hour later, the squire's corpse was thrown over the castle walls.
"'Tis a shame," growled the captain; "he would have made so fine a
mute. One of the torturers' knives must ha' slipped, whilst they were
cutting out his tongue. For I noticed that the spinal cord was severed
at the base of the mouth--and that is a sure death, you know."
"So? I had not known that," said the jester softly, and he smiled to
The old dead mute was placed back on his bier and the trap-door shut
down. "So now I must hunt for another page or squire," growled the
captain, and he clanked wrathfully out of the donjon.
The jester stayed a little while, to pray for the mute's soul and for
the squire's soul and for his own. Then he too rose and, swinging the
iron door behind him, left the corpse alone. The moonlight shone dimly
and more dimly through the grating, and soon had disappeared. It left
the donjon keep in total darkness, and in a stillness broken only by
the dripping of water from the mouldy ceiling.
_Literary Monthly_, 1910.
NINE WILLIAMS ALUMNI
[Footnote 1: A series which ran through Vol. XXV. of the _Lit_.,
I. JOHN BASCOM
JOHN ADAMS LOWE '06
Already long past the threescore years and ten allotted man, Dr.
Bascom exerted a vital influence on the college when we first met him.
On the shadowy side of the valley, and even then silvery haired, he
moved beneath these classic shades like a patriarch, "the grand old
The facts of his life and of his achievements require volumes for the
telling. They speak of his genius-like career at Williams, of his keen
philosophical insight, and of how, after being graduated in 1849, he
tried the law and theology before accepting a tutorship in his alma
mater. A score of years from 1855 to 1874, he served the college as
professor of rhetoric, although his desire was to give his attention
to philosophy. The times were filled with conflict and struggle, and
Dr. Bascom accepted the presidency of the University of Wisconsin,
where he made a glorious record covering fourteen years. In 1887 he
returned to Williamstown with unimpaired powers, and became lecturer
in sociology and later professor of political economy, a position
which he filled till 1903. They speak of his degrees of honor:
Wisconsin, Amherst, and Williams conferred the LL.D., Iowa College the
It is in the evening of his life that it has been our good fortune to
know him. As when, the day's work done and the worries of its earlier
hours laid aside, we look forward to the rest that awaits us and live
over in thought the events of the day that is gone, the conflicts lose
their bitterness. Here is a man whose limitless energy built up a
great university; whose straightforward counsel for many years shaped
the policies of one of the political parties of the Commonwealth;
whose earnest teaching pointed out to many a man his civic duty; and
whose personal life is an incentive to high intellectual morality. By
a score of books covering the various fields of rhetoric, aesthetics,
political economy, philosophy, and religion, he has moulded public
opinion in his generation. The same undaunted ambition keeps his eye
bright now as then; the same keen brain grapples with vital problems;
the same magnetic personality commands respect and love.
II. HENRY MILLS ALDEN
LEVERETT W. SPRING '62
Henry M. Alden has been the editor of _Harper's Monthly_ since 1869,
and is still in active service. He was transferred to this position
from _Harper's Weekly_, of which he was the editor for the five years
preceding. For this long and distinguished service he seems to have
had little or no preliminary training. The first six years of his
life--he was born in 1836--were spent in Mount Tabor, a Vermont hamlet
with the rude life of a remote country town three quarters of a
century ago. From Mount Tabor he removed in 1842 to Hoosick Falls, New
York. Here, after some service as an operative in a cotton mill and
other tentative vocations, he prepared for college, and, in the autumn
of 1853, entered Williams, where he supported himself by teaching
during the long winter vacations and by such miscellaneous work as
fell in his way. "I remember among other things," said the late
President Henry Hopkins to the writer, "that he took care of my
In Mr. Alden's day the opportunities at Williams in the way of
preparation for an editorial career were very slender. The only
student publication was a quarterly magazine of less than a hundred
pages, and by some oversight his class-mates failed to elect him as
one of the five editors. At Andover Theological Seminary, where he was
a student from 1857 to 1860, the opportunities for 'prentice work as
an editor were wholly wanting. Hence the preparation which the college
and seminary afforded for his life-work was of a very general and
indirect sort. Yet his success has been one of the notable landmarks
in the history of modern periodicals. In the conduct of _Harper's
Monthly_ with its wide range of attractive material, he has done the
world a service, high and fine. For the first thirty years of this
service Mr. Alden seems to have devoted himself to the task of
securing and organizing the material to be printed. In 1900 he added
to the departments of the magazine an "Editor's Study," and begged "an
audience speaking in his own name." Here he discusses from month to
month such topics as the shiftings of popular taste, the story with a
purpose, the volunteer contributor, rejected manuscripts, the
"dullards of the college world for whom a Jowett or a Mark Hopkins is
superfluous," and the present outlook of literature.
That such a career was possible for Mr. Alden--the career of an
indefatigable editor, keenly alive to the various needs of the reading
public, with an office in a great New York business establishment,
bethumped without by the roar of elevated trains and confused within
by the noise of incessant printing presses--no one who knew him in
Williamstown from 1853 to 1857 had the slightest conception. Then and
there he was a dreamer, and showed relatively little interest in this
present material, workaday world. Dr. Gladden says in his
_Recollections_ that he could never find out how he got down from
cloudland to Franklin Square. But as a matter of fact, in whatever
hostile regions he may have sojourned, he never quite lost his
residence in the supersensual world. Somehow he succeeded in reaching
Franklin Square and becoming an editor without ceasing to be a mystic.
The literary history of Mr. Alden the mystic, as distinguished from
the editor, seems to have begun with the appearance of an essay on
"The Philosophy of Art" in the _Williams Quarterly_ for December,
1856. Then, three or four years later, came "The Eleusinia," two
articles printed in the _Atlantic Monthly_. These papers led to the
delivery in 1864 of a course of lectures before the Lowell Institute
on "The Structure of Paganism." Some thirty years afterward two books
appeared--_God in His World_ in 1893 and _The Study of Death_ in
1895--which may be regarded as the culmination of the mental and
spiritual characteristics revealed in the _Williams Quarterly_ essay
and in the _Atlantic_ papers. Both of these books abound in rhythmic,
melodious pages of prose poetry like the rhapsody on "The Coming of
the Bridegroom" or on "The Lesson of the Sea." Mr. Alden's prose is
perhaps more poetic than his verse. Of the latter, scanty in amount,
the best is his "Ancient Lady of Sorrows," before whom pass
"All shapes that come, or soon or late,
Of this world's misery."
In general, the books may be described as an interpretation of the
great problems of life by the mystic intuitions as distinguished from
abstract intellectualism, which finds that many of these problems are
hopelessly beyond its reach. If one cares for the philosophy of nature
and history, of Christianity and other religions, brilliantly
expounded by an idealizing, poetic optimist and seer, we commend him
to "God in His World" and "The Study of Death."
III. WASHINGTON GLADDEN
STEPHEN T. LIVINGSTON '87
Washington Gladden, whose very name irradiates the nobility and
wholesomeness of the man himself, has for years been a foremost
interpreter of the perplexing problems of our time. His appeal is to
honest intelligence in whatever concerns human welfare. He has done
much to humanize theology and stimulate popular interest in modern
scholarship. Moreover, in the region of industrial, social, and civic
reform he stands out conspicuously as a bold champion of the Golden
Rule in its application to every-day activities; and though sometimes
charged with being a dreamer, he shows that the sky (to use his own
figure) is less remote than is commonly supposed, and in fact adjoins
the surface of the earth where human feet daily walk.
Dr. Gladden, who is now a little more than seventy, was born in
Pennsylvania. He prepared for college in Owego, New York, and was
graduated from Williams in 1859. After preaching in New York state for
a few years, he came to Massachusetts, where he was settled first in
North Adams, and then in Springfield. Since 1882 he has been minister
of the First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio. As preacher,
author, and lecturer he is famous throughout the English-speaking
world, and all his recent books (the latest being his _Recollections_)
are published simultaneously in England and the United States. The
honorary degrees conferred on him are D.D. and LL.D.
The instructive and practical elements in Dr. Gladden's writings, the
wide influence he exerts in the cause of aggressive righteousness, and
his interesting personality, do not, however, measure the full extent
of his gifts. One has only to read his well-known hymns to realize
anew that here is lyric quality of the first order. Then, too, the
Williams alumnus, whether he sings hymns or not, has the warmest place
in his heart for "The Mountains," and when he comes back to the
college with white hair will continue to thank Washington Gladden for
that song. While serving as one of the trustees of Williams, Dr.
Gladden was a familiar figure at commencement. His personal presence
indicates the character of his thought, and the spirit which
challenged him to high daring in the early days is still unflinching.
During the present disintegration of old beliefs, this servant of the
truth has always been eager to reconstruct the new with the clear and
definite purpose of meeting the highest requirements of life.
IV. FRANKLIN CARTER
HENRY D. WILD '88
It was largely owing to her location that Williams College gained the
son who was to become her sixth president. Born at Waterbury,
Connecticut, and thus well within the centripetal sweep of Yale,
Franklin Carter left New Haven at the close of his sophomore year for
reasons of health, and later sought the more favorable climate of the
Berkshire Hills. Thus, once a member of the class of 1859 at Yale, he
was graduated from Williams in the class of 1862. There came a
blending of these affiliations throughout his career. Williams was the
first to claim him, as professor of French and Latin till 1868 and
then as Massachusetts Professor of Latin until 1872, when Yale drew
him to a professorship of German, to relinquish him in 1881 when he
succeeded Dr. Chadbourne as president of Williams. For twenty years,
the third longest administration in the history of the college, he
stood at the head of her interests.
The history of education can show fewer periods more critical or more
rapid in change than the last quarter of the nineteenth century in
this country. Williams was in her own crisis when Dr. Carter came as
president. How he met it, and how he guided the college in a steady
movement toward larger things, a mere comparison of the catalogues
marking the limits of his administration can tell the younger men of
to-day, who enjoy the fruits without knowing the process. Such a
comparison would show an increase of sixty per cent. in the number of
students and over one hundred per cent. in the number of instructors.
This period also saw an increase in real estate, buildings, and
improvements of $600,000, and, in addition to this, of $900,000 in
But educational realities go deeper than outward prosperity. A college
reflects her president's personality in things of mind and of spirit.
To business capacity Dr. Carter added distinguished scholarship and
the genius of a teacher born. All this was made living effective by
single-hearted loyalty to the best interests of the college as he saw
them and by devotion to the highest moral and intellectual good of the
students. He did not swerve from duty as he understood it to follow an
easy popularity. The burdens that he bore and the labors that he
accomplished, at personal cost in more ways than one, rested in the
last analysis on this substratum of self-denying service.
His work has extended far beyond the college. His grace of expression
in both speech and print, the keenness of his wit, his administrative
power, and his command of educational resources have been recognized
and made available beyond the limits of his presidency and apart from
the demands of Williams alone. Honored in many spheres, he has thus
brought added honor to the college. The solidarity of his achievements
for Williams is revealed more clearly as time proceeds. More and more
the alumni are coming to appreciate this as both historical fact and
academic heritage. This shall be his reward as he continues, and may
it be for long, to live close to the college and to the town that he
has served and loved.
V. HAMILTON WRIGHT MABIE
WILLIAM M. GROSVENOR '85
It would be easy enough for me to study critically Mr. Mabie's books,
for he has written many and they are well known and widely read; I
might give you a criticism of him as thinker and author. If criticism
is, (as I believe Matthew Arnold once defined it) the discerning of
the characteristic excellencies in things, I could easily show you the
charm of Mr. Mabie's English, the wide range of his culture, the
sweetness and light of his interpretations of nature and human life.
But this is rather a brief tribute to the man himself whom we sons of
Williams have known and admired these many years, and this or any like
tribute, however inadequate, will serve to pay a little of the debt we
owe him for all that he is and all that he has done.
Born in 1846, he graduated from college in 1867 and from the Columbia
Law School in 1869. As I graduated eighteen years later, I never knew
him in those earlier days. But the law did not claim him; almost at
once he turned to literature, for that clearly was his God-given
aptitude. For nearly thirty years he has been an editor of the
_Christian Union_, which afterward became the _Outlook_.
... The boy is father to the man. The gentleness, the refinement, the
generous outlook on life, the genial friendliness, have only grown
into nobler forms through the strenuous years. But he is an editor as
well as a litterateur. He has had his share in the fight to preserve
our national ideals. The years have put iron into his soul and
strength into his judgments, and the sweetness has become only the
pleasing incasement of the strong medicine which our social and
political life so often needs. So his personal influence has grown in
weight and effectiveness. Mr. Mabie is serving the state, the church,
human society, in all the wide range of its interests, with singular
efficiency and is quietly achieving many very useful things; and
withal it is done with methods that are constructive and with the
gentle arts of a gracious persuasiveness and a winning courtesy.
May he have many years of rich and fruitful work, and a golden harvest
of all the good deeds he has sown!
VI. HENRY LOOMIS NELSON
JULIAN PARK '10
To some of the college body the name of Henry Loomis Nelson is nothing
more than a name, but the three upper classes, especially that
considerable portion of them who at one time or another came under his
influence, will not soon allow the memory of his personality to pass.
The facts of his life are simple enough and as well known; the fruits
of that life would take many pages to set forth. His power as
educator, journalist, and man of public affairs reached infinitely
further than most of us, who first saw in him the man of even, witty
temperament, were used to realize.
Professor Nelson was graduated with the class of 1867, later taking
the M.A. degree; the college further honored him and itself by
conferring the degree of L.H.D. in 1902. Together with Mabie and
Stetson of his class, he organized a little circle for literary
discussion; and that group, each afterward to attain eminence, showed
more vital interest in art and letters than can be found to-day. After
taking his law degree at Columbia he went to Washington as newspaper
correspondent and there began a great series of political and economic
writings. Called to the editorial chair of _Harper's Weekly_ in 1895,
he resigned it after four years because, he said, he felt that he
would be false to his own convictions if he wrote those of the
publisher, false to the publisher if he used the magazine to voice his
own. His writings include also a novel as well as treatises on
political science. In 1902 he came back to his alma mater as head of
the department of Government. He died on February 29, 1908.
In his devotion to the ideals of Williams as he saw them, Dr. Nelson
was, many have said, more distinguished by manly but quiet zeal than
any other graduate of his prominence in public life. He stood for
scholarship, fine scholarship of course, but even above that he put
honor, a gentleman's code of honor. He was unconditional in his
contempt for hedging, for trickery, for meanness. Constantly he showed
himself an idealist, as in his advocacy of an absolute honor system.
But in all there was the play of a shrewd wit, the touch of sureness,
lacking snobbery, of the man who knows where he stands, and a love of
entertaining others. For only six years we knew him as a teacher, but
the time was long enough for many of his ideals and ideas to take
root, and the fruit of them will long be apparent.
VII. HARRY PRATT JUDSON
GEORGE EDWIN MACLEAN '71
Harry Judson entered Williams from Stillwater, New York, and it was
said that he made the best entrance examinations ever passed up to
that time. Immediately upon his graduation, the third in his class, in
1870, he taught public school in Troy, and was initiated as a reformer
in municipal politics when Troy was infamous for corruption.
The second public era of his life, 1885 to 1892, witnessed his
introduction to the West as professor of history in the University of
Minnesota. This was the time of the refounding of that institution
under the beginning of President Northrop's administration, to whom
Professor Judson became a right hand. His career is an illustrious
example of one rising slowly and patiently through every grade of the
public school system, to its crown in the highest grades in the state
university. It must have been of inestimable worth to him to become
familiar with the genius of a state university, so peculiarly a
people's institution and so characteristic of the middle West.
Unconsciously he was preparing for crowning his career in the new
University of Chicago. It is not strange that, in 1889, three years
before he became a member of the university's first faculty, President
Harper's attention was attracted to him, and he brought the early
drafts of his plan for a herculean university to Professor Judson for
criticism. When the inner history of that university is written, in my
opinion, the world will be surprised to learn of the contribution of
Professor Judson, who was Dr. Harper's Secretary of the Interior from
the beginning. What Mr. Rockefeller was as a silent partner in money
matters, Dr. Judson was in matters of the mind.
As dean of the Faculty of Arts, Literature, and Science from 1892 till
his accession to the presidency, he was in admirable training for that
office. His facility in using his knowledge, his versatility of
powers, fired by an innate energy, regulated by steadiness of purpose,
and aimed at the highest ideals, make his name synonymous with
efficiency incarnate. His modesty equals his ability. Harper stands as
an heroic figure, a Napoleon with visions of educational conquest,
selected by the far-seeing Rockefeller to build a university in the
center of the nation and to give the West intellectual self-respect.
With the same keenness of vision Mr. Rockefeller and the trustees
selected as Dr. Harper's successor a human figure, one in almost every
way a contrast to Dr. Harper; an Elisha succeeding an Elijah and
fitted to balance and round out the creative stage in a university to
be not only the biggest but the best in the West. Williams as the
mother of many educators must place the name of Judson beside that of
VIII. CHARLES CUTHBERT HALL
SOLOMON BULKLEY GRIFFIN '72
Dr. Hall was born in 1852, and died within a short time of two of his
best and best-known college friends, H.L. Nelson and Isaac Henderson,
on March 15, 1908. On being graduated from Williams in 1872 and from
the Union Seminary, his first pastorates were spent in Newburgh, N.Y.,
and in Brooklyn, whence he was called to the presidency of Union
Seminary in 1897. The most brilliant of his achievements was perhaps
embodied in his two trips to India as the Barrows lecturer of the
University of Chicago;--he had a wonderful aptitude in applying the
principles of Christianity to an alien civilization. A class-mate, the
editor of the _Springfield Republican_ is the author of the tribute to
his memory which follows.
* * * * *
It is around the thought of Cuthbert Hall the college boy, rather than
the distinguished president of a great seminary and all the rest, with
the world so much his parish, that any word of loving memory shapes
itself. He was refined and winning. If ever the sunlight of a gracious
nature touched any youth, it rested on him; the unworthy and the
trivial passed him by. His adjustment of values even then was mature
and firm. His literary taste and product were superior. He was a
natural gentleman, and that meant a Christian by all the call of his
nature. Love of the fine, the high, the genuine, and the generous, was
instinctive. His breadth of charity and welcome for knowledge in youth
became the distinction of his manhood.
Qualities were conspicuous in his life that bound worldlings to him in
a bond of fellowship that grappled the best that was in them. Goodness
of his sort is commanding--the practical power of a pure life is a
pulpit asset that reenforces the spoken word beyond all human
calculation. Under his leadership Union Seminary could not have been
other than liberal and sympathetic toward devout scholarship that
might seem to threaten the ancient foundations of faith.
When a class-mate late in life found repose in the Roman church, Dr.
Hall could see and say that such anchorage was best for his friend.
All paths that led to trust in God and the strengthening of the
essentials of character were allowable in the brotherhood of the
service of humanity.
The world of scholarship has its arrogancies--sometimes it is critical
over-much, intolerant toward the lesser requirements of busy men
outside. This man never lost touch with men as they passed. His own
assurance of belief was a flame which lighted many torches. It was a
sane and a glad evangel that he gave to his students, and brought in
almost constant and always ardent addresses to the youth of many
Intellectual integrity was joined in him with the finest spiritual
apprehension and expression, so that he was qualified to carry a
message to the cultivated of India, where he got his mortal hurt. In
the knightly loyalty with which he labored his zeal was a highly
tempered blade. He respected all faiths, but an abiding assurance of
the supremacy of the service of Christ gave him unwavering serenity
and poise. It is easy to think of Charles Cuthbert Hall entering the
Supreme Presence reverently, unafraid, rejoicing, as naturally as a
child would come home.
IX. BLISS PERRY
CARROLL LEWIS MAXCY '87
The subject of this brief sketch may indeed be termed a Williams man
both by heredity and by environment. He passed his boyhood and early
youth under the very shadow of our hills; and his father, Professor
A.L. Perry, was for years the most widely known as well as the most
generally loved of its faculty.
Bliss Perry was born in 1860; after graduation, in 1881, he became
instructor in English and elocution at his alma mater and in 1886 was
advanced to the full professorship. In 1893 he accepted a call to the
same chair at Princeton. Six years later he was appointed to the
editorship of the _Atlantic Monthly_, thus becoming one of a famous
line of editors including Lowell, Howells, and Aldrich. He remained at
the head of the _Atlantic_ for just ten years, resigning in August
1909 to devote himself wholly to the duties of the chair of English
literature at Harvard, which he had accepted two years before and
which had already been filled by Longfellow and Lowell. The year
1909-1910 he spent abroad as Hyde lecturer at the Sorbonne.
Professor Perry's publications extend over the fields of fiction,
criticism, and the occasional essay. His _Study of Prose Fiction_, a
clear exposition of narrative writing, is one of the best-known
college textbooks on the subject. His _Walt Whitman_ is without doubt
his most careful and elaborate critical work and is a recognized
authority. The _Amateur Spirit_, a series of familiar essays, shows
Professor Perry at his best and should be read especially by those who
delight to study the personality of an author as revealed in his work.
But whatever fame Professor Perry may have attained in the fields of
literature, to Williams men he is the teacher. In _The Amateur Spirit_
he has written: "Your born teacher is as rare as a poet.... Once in a
while a college gets hold of one. It does not always know that it has
him, and proceeds to ruin him by over-driving, the moment he shows
power; or to let another college lure him away for a few hundred
dollars more a year. But while he lasts--and sometimes, fortunately,
he lasts till the end of a long life--he transforms the lecture-hall
as by enchantment. Lucky is the alumnus who can call the roll of his
old instructors, and among the martinets and the pedants and the
piously inane can here and there come suddenly upon a man; a man who
taught him to think, or helped him to feel, and thrilled him with a
Those of us who have been under Professor Perry's instruction in the
class-room must smile to note how--all unconsciously--he has here
portrayed what we know him to be. Scholarly in his tastes, clear in
his thinking, simple and direct in the expression of his thought, and
always human in his personality, he "taught us to think, he helped us
to feel, and he thrilled us with a new horizon." To us he seemed the
ideal teacher, and as teacher and as man withal he has won the loyalty
of Harvard, Princeton, and Williams men alike.
OVER THE HILLS
"Mister," my companion in the smoking-car addressed me rather timidly,
"hev you ever bin to Ebenezer?"
I looked at him a moment: kindly eyes, tanned face, grizzled beard;
clothing of that indescribable, faded greenish brown which had lost
all resemblance to its original color.
"Yes," I answered, "I've been there a number of times."
A moment's pause; then, "Quite a sizeable place, so folks say."
I assented, wondering what was to come.
"An' to think I've never seen it--never bin to Ebenezer in all my
life, an' I live right back here a piece, not ten miles over the hills
from Ebenezer. But if this here train stays on the track till we git
there," he added with some pride, "I'm goin' to see it.
"I'm goin' to see Ebenezer, jest to think of it! Well sir, it makes me
all het up. Many's the time when I come in fr'm chores, I'd set by the
fire an' read the _Ebenezer Weekly Review and Advertiser_; an' there
I'd see, 'Ebenezer items: Squire Hodge's store painted; the Ebenezer
Dry Goods Emporium moved into new and more commodorious quarters,' et
cetery. Then I'd say to Mandy, 'Mandy, some day we'll go to Ebenezer.'
But we never went. Well, I s'pose it's all fer the best." He sighed
and shook his head.
"But I'm goin' to see it all now." He brightened up again. "Yes, sir,
poor Mandy's fixed so she can't leave the house now, kind of laid up
with rheumatiz. A spell back, though, when our daughter got married,
an' time kind o' hung heavy on our hands, Mandy says, 'Why don't you
go alone, pa? Now's a good chance. So I fixed things up spick an'
span, an' Nancy--that's our girl--come over this mornin' to stay with
her ma, an' I--well, it'll be grand! D'you s'pose I c'n see it all in
"Well," he sighed contentedly, "that's good. Say, you've bin awful
good to me, tellin' me all about Ebenezer. I'm glad I met some one
who's had experience in such a big town." Silence for a minute. Then
he leaned over confidentially.
"D'y' know, it sort o' seems 's though the sunshine was a leetle bit
brighter to-day than usual, all on 'count of my goin' to Ebenezer.
Only I wish Mandy c'd be along."
"Ebenezer!" yelled the brakeman. "Ebenezer!"
_Literary Monthly_, 1906.
A NEW LIFE IN READING
When we were at home the gas always went out at a certain time, and if
we were tempted to finish just one more chapter of _Coral Island_ or
_Out on the Pampas_, we needs must steal a candle from the pantry
stock and furtively read by its flickering light. Our own sense of
danger, together with the imaginative effect wrought upon our excitive
minds by the dancing candlelight and the awesome shadows of the still
house, gave a strange relish to our childhood reading.
At boarding-school we found (among its other strange things) the
electric light. At nine-thirty the bell in the chapel sounded taps,
and all the lights in the school were extinguished simultaneously.
Then the master would make his rounds and find the whole school
evidently asleep in their beds. But presently doors would open and
books would be read by the light in the hall. Still we had that same
adventurous feeling in our readings, still that sweet taste of stolen
When we were graduated from the boarding-school, put away the
proverbial childish things, and came to college, we were given a
freedom such as we had never had before. No interfering master, no
provoking lack of light to annoy us. We could burn our lamps all
night, and receive no paternal rebuke or master's chastisement. And
now, though there is none of that sweetness of stolen fruits, none of
that creeping insecurity of former readings, there is an undisturbing,
quiet secureness that makes our books more living to us. Now, when all
the dormitory is asleep; when the lighted windowpanes have ceased to
cast their gleams upon the snow; when the streets are deserted, the
pool-rooms closed, and the last good-fellow has gone to bed, and only
oneself is awake, then we have the full enjoyment of our quiet study
lamp-light. We may yawn once or twice, a creak on the stair may
startle us,--but we do not go to bed. We reach out our hand for some
favorite volume, Stevenson's _Garden of Verses_, _Underwoods_, or
Emily Bronte's _Wuthering Heights_: and read far on into the night
towards cock-crow. We mingle our reading with dreams, and read on and
on, finding a new feeling in our book: we find the author's deeper
meaning. Our reading is undisturbed by the ghost-creep of childhood
and the adventuresome daring of boarding-school. Formerly we had the
mere tale or story; now we feel in a small degree the soul-expression
of the writer--an indefinable, will-o'-the-wisp sort of thing; a
something not always caught, but that strange intangible something
which lends the spark of immortality to the master creations.
_Literary Monthly_, 1909.
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