AMERICA IN THE WAR
WE woke up New Year's Day 1917 in Augusta, Georgia; we had been there a few days and liked the place, the climate, and the people; and we liked them even more eight years later! On our return North, we stopped 7 January at Washington, where I called on Browning's daughter-in- law, Fanny (Mrs. Pen Browning). She told me about the poet's last days, how cheerful he was even up to the end, how he lay in bed on that last day ( 12 December 1889) turning over the leaves of his last book of poems, Asolando, an advance copy of which had been sent him. She showed me the very copy. He died at ten in the evening. He was told that the book was published in London that day; the evening papers contained complimentary reviews. 'That is very gratifying' said he; and those were his last words. She made me some presents so valuable that I was amazed; an original etching by Rembrandt and a picture of the Abbé Vogler, both of which had belonged to Browning; a lock of his hair, a book of press cuttings and other treasures.
On 22 January and succeeding five days I gave lectures at the Convocation of Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine; weather ten below zero, air crisp and inspiring. I had distinguished colleagues as speakers that week-- William H. Taft, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Ritchie Smith of Princeton. Taft made a fine address on world peace, but it was clear to him and to us all that we should soon be in the war.
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Publication information: Book title: Autobiography, with Letters. Contributors: William Lyon Phelps - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 633.
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