Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview

47
QUEER SOUNDS AND SIGHTS

ON the night of 25 February 1906, with the exception of the maids on the top floor, I was alone in the house. I had not been well for many days, and felt particularly miserable when I went to bed. I had lain uneasily for some hours, and had finally lapsed into semi-consciousness. At half-past two I was startled by the loud ringing of the front doorbell. Accoutred as I was, I descended, and opened the door. There was no-one. For a few moments, like the man in Poe's poem, I stood, deep into the darkness peering. But the darkness gave no token, and wonderingly I shut the door. I had not got half-way up the stairs, when once again the doorbell rang with violence. It is easy enough to tell this lightly now, but then, alone in the house, and ill, it was worse than mysterious. I ran to the door, and flung it wide open. Not a soul in sight, the street silent and deserted. Then I thought it might after all not have been the doorbell, but the telephone. Accordingly I rang up Central, only to be informed that no-one had called my number. While I was considering this, the doorbell once more reverberated through the empty house. Again I opened the door. No-one.

I decided that someone with a deficient or perverted sense of humour was making me a victim. Accordingly I shut the front door, and crouched directly behind it, with the intention of leaping out and seizing the humorist as soon as he rang again. In a few moments the bell rang loudly; I jerked back the door and sprang outside. But

-473-

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Autobiography, with Letters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgement vi
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • I - Early Childhood 3
  • 2 - Early Education 12
  • 3 - Boyhood Experiences 23
  • 4 - Interlude on Cats 28
  • 5 - Rufus H. Phelps 38
  • 6 - Three Blessings 41
  • 7- First Diary 48
  • 8 - Reflexions on Animals 58
  • 9 - Early Friendships, Mark Twain, And Billiards 61
  • 10 - Astronomy 73
  • II - Moody and Sankey 80
  • 12 - Chinese Schoolmates 83
  • 13 - My Aunt 87
  • 14 - Experiences at Grammar School 91
  • 15 - The Hartford Public High School 100
  • 16 - Walking, Working, Frogs, Love 104
  • 17 - Going to the Theatre 111
  • 18 - Clyde Fitch 122
  • 19 - Looking Forward to College 126
  • 20 - The Robber 129
  • 21 - College Days at Yale 132
  • 22 - The Younger Generation 154
  • 23 - Interlude: Hic Et Ubique 163
  • 24 - William Graham Sumner 195
  • 25 - Henry Drummond and Schopenhauer 199
  • 26 - Browning 207
  • 27 - Beginning Teaching 211
  • 28 - Graduate Studies and Sport 217
  • 29 - Bicycling in Europe 225
  • 30- Life at Harvard 245
  • 31 - Teaching at Yale 279
  • 32 - My First Book 316
  • 33 - Professors 328
  • 34 - George Santayana 332
  • 35 - Thomas Sergeant Perry 350
  • 36 - Playing Games 354
  • 37 - Journey to Europe 376
  • 38 - Thomas Hardy 389
  • 39- Roosevelt and Riley 405
  • 40 - Events in 1902 Sickness, Maeterlinck, Wister, Whittier 412
  • 41 - 1903 421
  • 42 - First Sabbatical Year (1903-1904) 427
  • 43 - The City of Munich 1904 439
  • 44 - Literary Pilgrimage in Italy 446
  • 45 - Events in the Theatre 460
  • 46 - William De Morgan 468
  • 47 - Queer Sounds and Sights 473
  • 48 - Various Notes 477
  • 49 - First Journey to California Thirteen Thousand Miles in the West 489
  • 50 - W. D. Howells 502
  • 51 - Mahaffy and Japan 505
  • 52 - Journey to the South 508
  • 53 - Second Sabbatical 514
  • 54 - Journey to Russia 1911 522
  • 55 - Gerhart Hauptmann 529
  • 56 - The Riviera 1912 534
  • 57 - The Fano Club 542
  • 58 - Henry James 550
  • 59 - J. M. Barrie 565
  • 60 - Singing Birds 584
  • 61 - Dorothy Canfield 588
  • 62 - Conversations with Paul Heyse 595
  • 63 - France in 1913 599
  • 64 - Some Events in 1914 602
  • 65 - William Howard Taft 608
  • 66 - Some Events in 1915-16 617
  • 67 - Journey to the Hawaiian Islands 624
  • 68 - Vachel Lindsay 629
  • 69 - America in the War 633
  • 70 - Alfred Noyes and Others 649
  • 71 - Mea Ornamenta 656
  • 72 - John Galsworthy 667
  • 73 - Second Journey to California 685
  • 74 - Some Poets and Novelists 688
  • 75 - A Journey to Andover (1919) 699
  • 76 - Events in 1920 and 1921 704
  • 77 - British Dialect and American Voices 711
  • 78 - St. John Ervine 716
  • 79 - 'As I like It' 737
  • 80 - A Visible Church in an Invisible Town 742
  • 81 - Mrs. Wharton; Conrad; Benavente 751
  • 82 - An American in England 757
  • 83 - Edna Ferber 771
  • 84 - The Conversation Club in Augusta (1925-38) 777
  • 85 - Notes of Travel and Other Notes 783
  • 86 - Gene Tunney 792
  • 87 - Journey to Europe in 1928 800
  • 88 - Anthony Hope 813
  • 89 - George Moore 818
  • 90 - Æ. 828
  • 91 - Captain Liddell Hart and General J.G.Harbord 836
  • 92 - Events in 1929-30 841
  • 93 - Edison 846
  • 94 - Nathan Straus and the Grand Duchess 849
  • 95 - Henry Ford 857
  • 96 - Journey to Athens 862
  • 97 - The Pope 881
  • 98 - Munich in 1932 882
  • 99 - An American in Paris 886
  • 100 - Pirandello, Bernstein, Daudet 891
  • 101 - Helen Wills Moody 896
  • 102 - Literary and Celestial Events 903
  • 103- Emeritus 908
  • 104 - Other Events in 1933 A Literary Feast 910
  • 105 - Various Notes in 1934-5 916
  • 106- Emma Eames and Music 922
  • 107 - England in 1935 930
  • 108 - Radio 939
  • 109 - City or Country 941
  • 110 - Informality 947
  • III - Reflexions in the Nineteen-Thirties 954
  • Index 973
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