So much of Barrie's life is second nature to me that have to remind myself that other people do not know it so well; and much of it is so intimate that it is hard to touch with a sense of the delicacy it demands.
THESE WORDS, written by Maude Adams when she was asked for some memories of the Scottish playwright whose work was so inextricably linked with her own, are the perfect expression of my feelings as I begin this book about her. Never was there a spirit more sensitive and elusive than hers. At the same time, no one is more in need of rescue from the web of legends spun around her by those who knew her less well, or not at all.
It is not without reason that there is a great deal of Boston in this story. Maude Adams loved the old city and was happy there, feelings that may well have had their roots in her family background. Her mother's family lived in Massachusetts and in New England from 1620, when her forefather, John Howland, stepped off the Mayflower, until well into the nineteenth century, when her venturesome branch broke away and started west -- long enough to bequeath to Maude Adams an understanding of Yankees and their land. Her first Adams ancestor, Joshua, was born in 1780, in what was then far-off Rutland, Vermont, and died in Canada. Still, with a great-great-greatgreat-grandmother bearing the Boston name of Lothrop and married to Thomas Chipman, a native of Barnstable on Cape Cod, Maude Adams was no stranger to Boston.