W. D. HOWELLS
ONE day in the late nineties I had the pleasure of a long conversation with Mr. Howells at his home in New York. He was extremely kind and made an indelible impression of sincerity and nobility. He expressed his dislike of romanticism in the strongest terms; his creed was realism. I never saw him or any one else laugh more unrestrainedly than he did while discussing romantic fiction; 'he drew himself up to his full height,' etc. He laughed till the tears ran down his face.
He gave a lecture in New Haven on 19 February 1900 and the next day he came to lunch at our house. Other guests were Professors T. R. Lounsbury, Henry A. Beers, Theodore S. Woolsey, Charlton M. Lewis. Mr. Howells was particularly agreeable, courteous, and kind to my mother. After luncheon, in my library, when he saw the Nathan Haskell Dole edition of Tolstoy in many volumes, he was enormously interested, as he had not known of its existence.
40 WEST 59TH STREET
March 25, 1900
My DEAR MR. PHELPS:
Thank you for the book which you have sent me, and I will read it as soon as I get time, and write you again about it.
I have not been very well and I have been very busy; otherwise I should have acknowledged before this the great pleasure I enjoyed at your house, in meeting your family and friends. The cordial interest with which your Mother met me was especially gratifying and hereafter I shall write nothing without hoping that she will like