Mahan: The Life and Work of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, U.S.N.

By W. D. Puleston | Go to book overview

Chapter XXIII British Acclaim

A HOST of invitations awaited Mahan. Within a few days his calendar was filled with dinner and week-end engagements. The guests invited to meet him were drawn mainly from the literary and official groups and there were always interesting people present. He particularly enjoyed talking with people like Sydenham Clarke, Professor Laughton, Professor Thursfield, and Samuel Rawson Gardiner, the historian of the Protectorate and Restoration. He continued to keep in touch with them by correspondence and exchange of articles, although he rarely saw them in after life. His friendship for Captain Bouverie Clark, R.N., was more intimate, as they had served together in South America. Many naval officers told him that the sentiment for larger naval appropriations was due to his books; and one of the Rothschilds held him responsible for the "increased taxation."

At Gravesend one of those irritating incidents occurred that frequently marked the relations between Mahan and Erben. Professor Thursfield had arranged a luncheon in Mahan's honor which he was compelled to decline because Erben chose that particular date for what seemed an unnecessary "consultation" on the Chicago. Mahan relieved his feelings by writing to a friend: "Great believer as I am in concentration of force, I am disposed to question the advisability of concentrating an Admiral's command in a single ship."

Banquets were taken more seriously then than now, as can be seen from one which the Lord Mayor tendered to Erben, Mahan, and the officers of the Chicago. The guests began by stimulating their palates with plover's eggs and

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