Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview
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93
EDISON

THURSDAY 20 February 1930 was the hottest 20 February in the records of the New York weather bureau. Nearly seventy degrees. That night I attended a dinner at the Harvard Club given by Thomas B. Wells in honour of H. M. Tomlinson of England. Hugh Walpole, Harry Hansen, William Bolitho, Professor Samuel Morison, Sava Botzaris, Cass Canfield, Eugene Saxton, Leo Hartman were present. Wells told me that Tomlinson was more like Jesus Christ than any man he had ever known. Tomlinson impressed us by his modesty, sincerity, and unaffected goodness.

When I came out at midnight, it was difficult to believe it was February; the air was balmy.

Next morning my wife and I entrained for Winter Park, Florida; it was fearfully hot on the train and during the few days we spent at Winter Park, the temperature reached 96 every day.

I was to receive the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Rollins College; but the great event was the appearance of Thomas Edison, who broke his almost invariable custom of refusing degrees, and was made Doctor of Science. He was 83 years old, and I was amazed to see him reading without glasses the fine print of the programme. After the ceremonies were over, I asked him if he always read without glasses. He laughed and took from his pocket a pair of spectacles. 'I can read well enough without them, but I use them when I feel like it.'

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