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

By W. D. Puleston | Go to book overview

Chapter XL Clausewitz

AFTER his illness, 0Mahan's family life continued almost as before. He was happiest within the small circle of friends and relatives that gathered around the afternoon tea table at Quogue. His wife relieved him of all domestic cares. His two daughters delighted in his company. As they all wished to spend more of the year at Quogue, the construction of a somewhat larger cottage with central heating was begun in the summer. The family watched the improvements with pleasant anticipations.

Mahan's long illness, his slow recovery, and his work for the President and the Navy Department made deep inroads into his writing. He prepared only one article in 1908. During his convalescence, when he had a good deal of time for reflection, his mind turned naturally to religious meditation. He interpreted the Scriptures very strictly. At nearly sixty-eight, he looked forward to the scriptural limit of three score years and ten with a certain solemnity. The urge to write was greater, for his age and his illness impressed upon him that his "time, always short, has become surely scant." In this mood he wrote his only book devoted entirely to religious observations and reflections, completing it in January, 1909. He called it The Harvest Within.

This book was so entirely different from his previous ones that before submitting it formally to Little, Brown, and Company he wrote a personal letter to Mr. McIntyre asking if the firm would be interested and whether it had the facilities for marketing a religious publication. He was doubtful that Sampson Low, Marston, and Company, his English publishers, would be prepared to bring it out in England, since he knew thai religious publishing was rather

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