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

By W. D. Puleston | Go to book overview

Chapter XLVI Death

LATE in October, 1914, Mrs. Mahan went to Washington to look for a house for the family. With Dr. Jameson's help she found one on Hillyer Place which was near enough to a trolley line to be convenient for her husband, who could not walk as he once had. Meanwhile Mahan visited relatives in Philadelphia and reached Washington the first of November. He entered upon his duties at once and found in them some compensation for the prohibition President Wilson had placed upon his writing. His fellow students were impressed with his unaffected scholarship, and his natural friendliness soon made a place for him in their regard. Mrs. Mahan was much pleased with their new home, which she described as having on the second floor a "lovely sunny library across the whole front of the house, with a bay window--facing due south so we have sun all day. Alfred rejoices in it." This room was furnished with a desk, large tables, and comfortable easy chairs, full book- cases, and a wide sofa on which he could "stretch out and nap. "

But Mahan was feeling very wretched. He suffered a good deal of pain in his back, and complained of weakness and of shortness of breath. He slept but three or four hours a night. On November 9 Dr. Pleadwell was called and the following day he came again and gave Mahan a thorough examination. Mrs. Mahan confided to a cousin thai she was very anxious about her husband: "Although his work here is easy and congenial and his hours are what he chooses, I do not know how long he will be able to do even that work."

Mahan's labors were drawing to a close amid the first

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