Let This Life Speak: The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury

By Margaret Hope Bacon | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 14
An Appropriate Farewell

Following his ninetieth birthday, Henry Cadbury became noticeably more frail, people thought. His hearing was worse, if possible. He could understand only if people shouted directly into his ear, and then only certain voices. He began to carry around a small schoolboy's slate and pencil and to ask his friends to write their messages on it.

As the world of silence in which he lived became more total, he felt increasingly cut off from life. After the publication of three books in 1972, he had undertaken no more major projects. Although he kept up his "Letters from the Past" and wrote book reviews and articles for "Quaker History", he felt that his life work was accomplished. Stephen G. Cary remembers seeing him watching a soccer game at the Haverford field about this time. It was cold, and he was bundled up and looked miserable. "Steve, never grow old," he said. In the early fall of 1974, his colleague Howard Kee visited with him on his porch one evening after dinner and found him feeling low and out of touch with the scholarly world he so loved. The dark cloud over his spirits which he had fought so valiantly and hidden so well from the world was beginning to show through.1

In mid September, Maurine Parker, who had been a member of the household for the past two years, left and a young couple came to take her place in the house and give aid to the Cadburys. Henry had come to depend on Maurine and to feel toward her as though she were a daughter. He mourned her departure, although he liked Abigail and John Fust.

He was busy during the last week of September preparing a speech he was to give Saturday, September 29, 1974, at George School in Bucks County. The Twelfth Street Meeting House, to

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