Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview
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16
WALKING, WORKING, FROGS, LOVE

SEVEN years after I was graduated from the High School I was again to meet Martin--not in New Haven but in Paris--and we had more than one meal together. Of that meeting, more anon.

When I was in the High School, George William Curtis, one of the most fastidious and exquisite gentlemen who ever appeared on a public platform, delivered an address on civil service reform in Hartford. Of this address I heard only three words but I can see him now and hear his voice as plainly as if he were in the room. He appeared on the platform in full evening dress, immaculate and graceful, with the grey side-whiskers of the period. He examined his manuscript, said 'Ladies and Gentlemen'--at that moment I fell asleep and was awakened by the applause one hour later.

It was a winter night and I had been coasting all the afternoon. There was a silver dollar in my pocket and when the big sled turned over, as it did when we were rounding a curve, that silver dollar was embedded in my hip and for a month I wore on my leg the circular impression of the U.S.A.

I did an immense amount of walking in my schooldays; several times walking the 37 miles between Hartford and New Haven in a day; the first time when I was only eleven. When I was sixteen I spent the Easter week vacation with my pal, Frank Hubbard, walking 100 miles in five days, from Hartford to Norwich to New London and Saybrook,

-104-

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