FOR the last few months of his life my father was failing rapidly. In October 1928 he said to me, "I'm so tired, I'm getting near home, Doris, and I don't mind how soon I get there." Until the day of his death, when Dr. Risien Russell saw him and told us that he could not possibly live many hours longer, we did not know he was suffering from an incurable and very rare disease, myasthenia gravis, a gradual paralysis which affects all the muscular powers. He used to say to his nurse, "Nannie, you must get me a new pair of knees," and for a long time he was very unsteady when he walked. Just at the last he could not always articulate clearly or sign his name properly.
His spirit was so valiant that he did occasionally conquer and throw off these physical disabilities, notably when Max Beerbohm came to see him on 5th December. For two hours Henry Arthur was his old self, so greatly delighted was he to be with "Max" again. Nothing in the last year of his life gave him greater pleasure than this visit. Cunninghame Graham came to see him a week or two before Christmas; Captain Allan Pollock, whom he loved and saw too rarely, came up on Christmas Eve; Malcolm Watson had tea with him eight days before he died; and again he rallied at the call of old and valued friendships. It was a great spirit that could so conquer and overcome the body.
Eleven days before he died he went to the Stoll studios to see my daughter make her début in the film version of The Silver King. He was too feeble to walk any distance,